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Monday, June 10, 2013

What if she was wrong?

On the weekend I was reading an article about a woman who took a picture of a man on the subway who was bragging about cheating on his wife and then posted it on Facebook. This brings up several issues, and of course there is a big difference of opinion on her actions. For the record, I am totally against what she did. More though, the way she did it. If she felt the need to tell his wife (if that was her true motive) then she could have done that in private. But again, I don't think it was her business to do that either.

 Woman who photographed alleged cheater: “I just thought he was such a pig”

Above, that is the headline as it read on Salon. Gets your attention for sure.

Of course what he did was stupid and he is a pig, at the very least. If you are going to cheat, you certainly don't go bragging it all over a public subway train. That is just stupid. And arrogant. And inappropriate. And inconsiderate. And stupid. Did I say stupid twice? I did. Because it is insanely fucking stupid.
So, even though I may or may not condone what this woman did, I certainly have no doubt in my mind that I have no sympathy for this guy. Because he is just an idiot.

"Cause OJ broke the rules. Not the law. Everybody breaks the law. OJ broke the rules. Society, we make up rules. And when people break them we get pissed. You know, simple stuff like if you get away with something, shut your fricken mouth.You don't see Woody Allen hanging out at Chinese daycare."

-Steve White

Yes, you can get pissed. That is always your right. And most people would be pissed. But isn't it selfish to post something in the open forum when it really isn't any of your business? Of course it is. And secondly, what if this guy was actually the husband of one of her friends, does she then have the right or obligation to at least tell her friend in private what she knows and what he was bragging about? I would say that is more a personal question. Every person would react and act differently in that case. But at least that is something still kept private, and allows them to sort it out however they so choose without public scrutiny. That opportunity is now gone. In addition to dealing with a cheating, loud mouth husband, this woman now has to deal with everybody knowing about it when it really isn't anybodies business but hers.I would say his as well, but shooting off his mouth on a crowded subway means he gave up that right. But his wife didn't.
So, while I have no sympathy for him, I do have some sympathy for his wife. She didn't need her private business blasted all over Facebook because some woman got pissed and felt she needed to deal out some vigilante justice.

 Later, she added, “A friend of mine said, ‘Have you thought about this might hurt his wife’s feelings?’” But Stephanie said if she were his wife, she’d want to know: “I would be thinking if I were in her shoes, knowledge is power.”

But she isn't in her shoes. Because they aren't her shoes to be in. She has taken it upon herself to place herself in that situation when she isn't in that situation. All of that would be bad enough on its own. But there are other questions. Most of them most likely don't apply, but you never know.

What if he was doing some sort of performance art?

Or reading a scene from a script?

It's very unlikely. but it is possible.

Does she have the right, legally and morally to post such a thing?

That is a tricky question. And one I don't have the answer to. Because there certainly doesn't seem to be any rules out there for this. But common sense tells you that you don't post it on Facebook, or Twitter, or any other place. Because first off, what if you are wrong on the details. Do you get sued like a reporter and newspaper would? I would sue her for sure. Most would. Once it is on the record over the social media internet waves, you can't undo it. So, you better be 100% right. 

Stephanie’s unaccustomed to Internet fame. “I keep things kind of private,” she said. “I don’t have 2,000 friends.” But her experience over the last few days has shown her how fast and how far a single Facebook post can travel. “I’m just so shocked by the power of social media,” she said. “That’s what I take from this.”

Secondly, what if he didn't actually do the things he said, but was just bragging for some reason to impress his buddy? That would make him a huge idiot, but he wouldn't be the first guy I know of who has done that sort of thing. Again, she could tell his wife and then he could deal with it in private. Now, that won't happen. It's too late. 

Obviously this is a woman who doesn't understand the power and reach of the technology she is using. I would be unlikely to trust her level of accurately repeating what she heard if she doesn't even understand the medium she is placing it in. 
And flat out, what if she was wrong? Just plain wrong? I don't think she even considered that while she was so pissed off. That's too bad, because the rest of us are considering that. Considering that we see all sorts of Facebook posts by people caught up in the moment who end up deleting them later and who think we didn't see them. We did and no matter whether they got deleted or not, everyone saw them. You can't unring that bell. 
I know one thing for sure. If she was my Facebook friend, I would delete her on the spot. And if she was just my real life friend, I would distance myself from her. She doesn't understand boundaries. Neither does the husband, but his bad behavior doesn't justify her bad behavior. At the end of all this, the only one who will really suffer is the wife, who did nothing wrong as far as I can tell. 
And that's just wrong. No ifs, ands or buts about it. 

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