Social media gave us the social media sex scandal which has been a bonanza for late night comedians. So much so that one has to wonder who is really responsible for the proliferation of social media in the last decade? The official story says geeks in Silicon Valley; I don’t buy it.
Instead, I picture, John Stewart, Letterman, Leno, and Conan doing a comedian’s version of a Native American rain dance. This occurred sometime after 9/11 when irony was declared dead. All of them half-naked, dancing around a fire under a full moon, and praying to their great father in the sky, , to give them an unlimited supply of comedy. Father Johnny answered their prayers and thus social media has been raining down on us ever since. With new media interacting with old-fashioned scandal, the jesters ushered in a new age of comedic prosperity.
Last year was particularly fruitful with the downfall of congressmenand Christopher Lee. Both scandals as you will recall were directly linked to social media. Weiner used social media website Twitter to send lewd photos of himself to women, and Lee used craigslist to solicit an extra-marital affair.
Even when social media is not directly used by politicians during an indiscretion it has become the go to tool to fuel the reporting on who has been naughty. In addition to Weiner and Lee, in the last six years we have had scandals from: Rep., Sen. , Sen. , Mayor , Gov. Elliot Spitzer, Presidential candidate John Edwards, Sen. , Gov. , and Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger.
There have always been powerful men behaving inappropriately, but the rise of social media has put their indiscretions center stage. Combine our love of gossip and penchant for getting distracted with social media and the anonymity that it gives us, and we put any small town to shame.
What kind of political career do you think knew he had a “gentlemen’s understanding” with the media. Today there are no gentlemen, and there is no understanding.or JFK would have in the early 21st Century? President Kennedy, who served in the 1960’s,
George Clooney once remarked that he would never seek public office because of his excess consumption of sex and drugs. I am not sure what kind of public official Mr. Clooney would make, but surely we are discouraging many competent candidates from service because of the intense scrutiny we would put them through.
Maybe social media will result in more monogamous politicians. That would probably be a good thing, but I think these scandals will continue. Public officials will continue to be brought down for private indiscretions. Privacy, does it even exist anymore?
This is not to condone the behavior of the aforementioned politicians, but one has to wonder if this is really the best use of social media. Yes, there is more transparency in government, and that is good for democracy. But please make the bedroom opaque.