The Wall Street Journal on Monday, March 19, 2007 carried an Opinion piece titled, "Trash Talk," by Miss Wurtzel, a student at Yale Law School. She writes about AutoAdmit – a website of postings where law students can post whatever they like. Anonymously, of course! Rings a bell?
Most of the postings are mean-spirited – a signature of anonymous blogs. Rings a bell? That’s what cowards do – they do and say mean-spirited and untrue things about others while they hide behind the First Amendment. I could not but help think about the anonymous Alfred State blog. There were too many parallels. Both educational institutions (of course there is no comparison between Yale and Alfred State!). Both anonymous blogs. Both mean-spirited, filled with lies and innuendos.
Last week the Washington Post ran a front page story about how AutoAdmit had destroyed the lives and careers of a few Yale women graduates because of its cruel, salacious postings! Oh! yeah! I said to myself. I can relate to that. Isn’t that what digital predators do? Cowards get up in the morning and ask themselves, "What can I do to destroy someone?" And then they turn around and teach their children about the First Amendment and how you can get away with murder using the First Amendment.
These Yale graduates were referred to as sluts and whores. Oh! yeah! I said to myself. I can relate to that. Yes, the Alfred State blog referred to female administrators (the President, the Vice President of Administrative Affairs, and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement) as whores and sluts. The Vice President of Enrollment Management was spared this description. We did not know then why an exception was made. We now know why.
Read the article, especially if you are a true believer in the First Amendment. Read the article especially if you are one of those anonymous bloggers who call other women whores and then go home to your wives and daughters. Read the article if you believe that human decency outlasts indecency. And then reread Ms. Wurtzels’ conclusion and the following statement:
"We all have to live in this world, all seven billion of us, brushing closer and closer together, and bristling in this claustrophobia. May be we ought to be slightly more careful before we say whatever it is we feel compelled to freely express."
Good advice for faculty at institutions of higher learning!