There is a massive hypocrisy in this post, I admit. It is one that cannot be avoided, but which hopefully does not obscure the point.
Last night, at the NBA Draft Lottery, the Milwaukee Bucks’ representative was a young girl named Mallory Edens, the daughter of their new owner, Wesley Edens. Mallory – and to a slightly lesser extent, the Sacramento Kings’ representative Anjali Ranadive, daughter of new owner Vivek – became a topic of conversation because everyone thought she was attractive.
This post is born out of frustration at that conversation. Put simply, it needn’t be a conversation.
Said conversation has taken place across all strands of internet media. Twitter, of course, was ablaze, especially so for Edens, who has an active Twitter account that was easy enough to find based on her fairly rare name. Yet more pertinently for this post, the vast majority of blogs felt obliged to say something about it the morning after. Edens was a ‘hot topic’ in the NBA, and blogs are obliged to comment on hot topics, because no one can be left behind. A friend of mine who ran one such blog post on a well known market leading blog did so while confessing in private that he had absolutely no desire to do so, but because he felt he had an obligation to.
This process needs to end. This process is messed up. People not comfortable with posting uncomfortable things that are making people uncomfortable are feeling obliged to do so anyway because the rat race demands it. And the cycle perpetuates.
Not everyone is uncomfortable, of course. Some people were genuinely trying to pay forward good vibes, well wishes and compliments. It’s a weird thing to do to a stranger, and extremely hard to nuance via such an anonymous, emotionless medium, yet ultimately it is well intentioned, which matters the most. And hopefully Edens and Ranadive, both juniors and seniors, are OK with it all. But of course, there was a lecherous contingent of Creepy McCreepypantsers who wanted to say McCreepypantsy things. And the media went and facilitated it all through self-imposed obligations. The heavy hearts with which those media members with a conscience did so only makes it worse.
People will always lech on people. It happens. And some lechers will always direct their leching directly at the lechee. Twitter is a worryingly accommodating tool for this. It allows you to direct your leching directly to the object of your desire, whether they like it or not – they can only tell you to get rooted after the fact, once you’ve done it, once they’ve noticed you, by which time you’ve said your piece and got whatever kick you came for. It should be given as a standard that you shouldn’t talk to anyone on the internet in a manner any different to how you would talk to them in person – and if that is how you would talk to someone in person, then you’re a sociopath – yet that standard isn’t standard. The only way to potentially make it a standard is to discourage the very same leching by not accommodating and facilitating it.
But, nope. Rules of the game won’t allow it. You can get hits for putting her picture up and throwing some key words in there. Balls to decency. Nothing is sacred.
Without being overly sanctimonious, if (some of) the very people facilitating this manipulative and ridiculous conversation are doing so out of obligation while feeling uneasy themselves about doing it, then we messed something up somewhere horribly. If you aren’t comfortable with propagating a narrative – and this is directed to those creating the obligation, implictly or explicitly, moreso than those bound by it – then don’t do it. Don’t be that guy. Get your hits elsewhere and let McCreepypants get his kicks elsewhere. Set the standards.
Someone needs to, because our collective standards seem to be pretty terrible.