Let’s Talk About Privacy

"My best day ever is living in a fairytale. High up in a castle, I await the arrival of my prince charming as he scales the tower, careful not to wake my sleeping dragon. After being rescued, we make a daring escape out of the kingdom in his carriage." --Lauren S., Grade 9, Wyoming

“My best day ever is living in a fairytale. High up in a castle, I await the arrival of my prince charming as he scales the tower, careful not to wake my sleeping dragon. After being rescued, we make a daring escape out of the kingdom in his carriage.” –Lauren S., Grade 9, Wyoming

I like to think that even in a time when Google, social media sites, advertisers, and now the government are monitoring your internet activity and can trace the location of anyone carrying a phone or tablet, it’s possible to keep a few secrets. There really isn’t much need for anyone else to know about my porn-viewing habits. It mostly just features consenting adults fucking, and the stuff that doesn’t is still harmless and legal. If I were a pedophile or a zoophile, maybe you’d have cause to worry, but I’m not, so you don’t. Anybody who wanted to track me down based solely on the information in this blog could probably do so inside of an hour. But who reads this thing? It gets, like, ten hits per day, if that. Lots of people describe themselves as very private, but what does that mean? I like to think that it means that even if somebody were to dig through your phone records and emails and such, they still might not be able to learn everything about you. At least some of what I do is completely off the grid. And what isn’t might at least take some time to dig up. I hope to keep it that way.

I am resistant to the recent trend in technology of combining different devices into one device. I don’t need something that can play music, make phone calls, check my Wells Fargo balance and give me a prostate exam all at the same time. It’s been my experience that anytime somebody tries to do all of those things at once, they do most of them very poorly. I’m going to sound like either an old fuddy duddy or some Zen master-in-training, but why are we so afraid to leave our homes without our smartphones? Are we worried that we’ll get lost if we don’t have Google Maps to tell us to put the left foot in front of the right, then the opposite, and so on? I imagine that there are plenty of practical uses to some recent technology–having a Magellan is probably more convenient than writing down the directions on a piece of paper and fumbling with it as you drive–but man, I still don’t get why anybody needs a Kindle. Just stuff a goddamn paperback in your pocket, why don’t you. Besides, if you lose your book, it’s no big deal. If your Kindle screen gets so much as a crack, you’ll feel like a tool for having wasted all that money on it. And while I know plenty of people who have iPads or tablets, I don’t see the point of those things at all. If you want a computer, JUST BUY A FUCKING COMPUTER. No, you don’t need to be able to stream Netflix while you’re on the treadmill at the gym. You don’t need to, that’s my point.

I realized recently that I don’t want an office job. I might be willing to work in one someday, but I can safely say that at this point in my life, I have no interest whatsoever in sitting in a cubicle all day. Give me some kind of job where I can actually reach out and touch whatever it is that I’m working on. I’m sure that there are plenty of interesting jobs that involve staring at a computer screen all day, but none of them interest me. So there’s that.

The problem with social media is that nobody takes it seriously. I’ve had people tell me off for getting angry at somebody on the internet because I can’t really discern somebody’s true intentions unless we’re speaking face-to-face, can I? By that logic, I shouldn’t even be able to understand the person who’s telling me off, yet somehow, I always manage to. What the person is really doing in that situation is cutting me out of the conversation. They and the person I just called out will go on with their lives, possibly continuing in person the conversation that they started on Facebook the other day. The only difference is that I won’t be a part of it. Which I actually might not mind if they were more upfront about it. It’s amazing how angry people can get because you responded to what they actually said rather than what they wanted you to think they said. Which doesn’t mean I’ll stop.

There are few things more obnoxious than a person who thinks they know what they’re talking about but doesn’t. I meet a lot of those one the internet, folks who say, “Yeah, the Republicans might be hypocritical about which amendments they care about, but the Democrats are just as hypocritical about their ice cream toppings!” I don’t give a shit that some Democrat somewhere did something bad. I hate to say it, but people like that really are beneath me. They say that they’re just trying to add balance to the conversation by bringing up desserts in a post that is about gun control, but really, they’re just trying to paralyze us so that nothing can ever get done. No, it’s not hypocritical for Jimmy Carter to say that he supports public education, then send his daughter to a private school. People do what’s best for them at any given moment. You can be anti-capital punishment and pro-choice. Judge every situation on its own merits. That goes for people, too.

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