Ed Said: Edward Gelernt’s comments on the world
This week: Celebrity nude photos scandal
Digital idiocy is rampant. From insipid questions on Yahoo Answers to numbskulls’ posts on Facebook, a simple Google search can reveal flocks of women wondering if they should get maternity tests, high school students stating that “a sun is a sun, not a star,” or individuals hoping that $50 will be enough to purchase someone’s soul as a backup. Recently, a number of celebrities saw naked photos they took of themselves publicly leaked, revealing a different, much deeper kind of stupidity present throughout humanity.
The first and most controversial stupid component of the scandal is the victims themselves. I understand that people have a right to privacy, to not have their devices hacked, and I recognize that these women are indeed victims. But in an age where digital privacy breaches seem to be a dime a dozen and people are ravenous for authentic images of a celebrity’s breasts, female public figures ought to be cautious about what photographs they take and store of their naked bodies. (Men really should be careful about this too, although worldwide hunger for male skin is not nearly as significant.) If women really want to model naked, they should probably just resort to doing it in the mirror. If pictures are an absolute necessity, good old-fashioned film cameras that are hack-immune are useful tools. I do not blame these women for this scandal, but there is some forethought that should go into decisions whose consequences could be as significant as having naked pictures of oneself on the internet, irretractable, permanent. It’s hard to fault the victims for idiocy, although given the recent history of nude leaks, they certainly fit Albert Einstein’s definition of insane.
Perhaps the dumbest people involved in the scandal are the hackers themselves. They gain absolutely nothing from stealing these photos and will assuredly end up in prison. Edward Snowden was brave and informed the American populace about secret governmental surveillance; these people revealed that women take naked photos of themselves. I was much more surprised to learn that my internet searches were being tracked by the government than that Jennifer Lawrence has boobs. There are a plethora of hacking-related jobs, many employed by the government itself, that put technological gurus to good use protecting the United States from terrorist attacks or intercepting malicious foreign communications. These hackers have demonstrated that what they have in hacking skills, they lack in common sense, trading in their liberty for a few pairs of celebrity nipples.
The most easily overlooked idiots involved in the scandal are the websites that published the photos. Perez Hilton, a rather infamous blogger, put out a public apology to Jennifer Lawrence for posting naked photos of her on his website, perezhilton.com. Such an apology is bound to be necessary when a major website publicizes a clear breach of privacy. Sure, posting these photos attracts traffic to the website, at least initially, but ultimately the pictures will have to come down and the publishers will wind up in legal trouble. Getting involved in such a scandal is unnecessary, idiotic, and shows the lack of consideration for the future demonstrated by far too many users of the internet.
And of course, the last group of idiots in the nude leaks debacle is that of the viewers, those who flocked immediately to 4chan to see pictures of faceless female breasts just because they happened to belong to attractive celebrities. There are countless nude fakes of all of these celebrities; they are easier to find, less often censored, and far more revealing than any authentic picture. Why people care whether a photo is “genuine” perplexes me in an age when photoshop allows for a stunning degree of seeming reality in any fake picture. In many of the latest nude scandals, web users have perused naked pictures for telltale signs that the pictures are real–more than once have the two oddly placed freckles on Selena Gomez’s chest been used to “validate” a photo. Said the wordsmith William James, “A difference that makes no difference is no difference at all.” It seems just plain dumb to waste one’s time looking for “real” pictures when the “fake” ones seem just as, if not more, real. It also doesn’t seem to make much sense to spend one’s time looking for naked pictures of celebrities, real or fake, in the first place.
Upon careful analysis of the recent nude leaks scandal, one is forced to come to an inevitable conclusion: everyone is an idiot. From the phones of the celebrities to the computer screens of the viewers, every step in this process of digital madness shows true idiocy, demonstrating just how little we, as a collective unit of society, actually think about consequences and consider alternatives before acting. It looks like all those wonderful skills we learned about digital citizenship go out the window when skin hits the fans.