The global grid of communications has a second edge: You get away with less. The entity of the Internet is a fickle beast, casting scorn magnified upon those who meet with even its mild disdain. Offer gracious sacrifices to Shub-Internet – it never sleeps.
Perhaps your worst behavior will be video-blogged. That happened with the “Bus Uncle”. A man talking on the phone on the bus in China is briefly disturbed by the younger man behind him and throws a shouting temper tantrum. The whole thing was captured and posted online. The older man, the “uncle”, may yet live it down.
Maybe you’re just ugly. So ugly that Snopes has to confirm that that’s really your face. Warning, don’t click this link, you’ll be shocked. Oh! This guy is Brian Peppers, and he suffers from a rare genetic disorder. He became famous through appearing in an Internet registered sex offender database. Given his condition, you could almost forgive the guy.
Maybe you were caught in a bad moment when a digital camera lurked nearby. This gal has certainly suffered enough. True, her pet made a mess on the subway, and she wasn’t going to clean it up, and she had an attitude about it and flipped off the camera person, but really, the way that picture got around for a while was punishment enough.
Maybe you were just caught acting silly. Seriously, you can have your Star Wars kids and Tron guys, but who can forget Numa Numa? just because of him, people love this song. Heck, he even seemed to love the attention himself!
The eye of Shub-Internet. It sees what you blog, it tells your boss what you do, it rates your every eBay transaction. Maybe George Orwell only got it half-right. Big Brother will be watching us, but it won’t be the Government… it will be us. We will watch each other. And it is so much easier to condemn from a distance, to judge across a border. There, in the merciless eye of our global peers, will we find our merest infraction grounds for the harshest penalty.
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