Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Days 237 to 241 - I Believe in Harvey Dent

When I read Pride and Prejudice it was always strange to me how interconnected everyone was. The gossip got around so fast it made your head spin, and even if you did manage to marry off your scandalous kid sister who had her heart set on social destruction, everyone KNEW it was just a cover. 

In a way the internet has taken us back to those days. There are no secrets you can keep - and while you can live two completely separate lives online you have to be damn sure you keep your house of cards straight because it can all be knocked over in an instant.

In the last weeks, two people have had their barriers crumble between lives. On the funny side, Scott Adams was caught out using an alter-ego to tell everyone exactly how much of a genius he was. And then when he was caught out he interviewed himself using his own sock puppet

All good for him. But what about poor Judy Buranich? The English teacher with a night job writing racy romance novels who is now being investigated for having the temerity to teach kids about Camus while she writes erotica. In her author persona, she did a YouTube video and now there's no shoving her lives back in their separate boxes. 

Sarah at Earful of Cider put up an interesting (if somewhat annoyingly voiced) video on this, but it makes me wonder whether we aren't going backwards as a society. Goody Buranich has been denounced, and if she doesn't disown the Devil's writing she can kiss her teaching career goodbye. 

Personally, I hope she tells them to go teach their own kids the difference between a noun and a verb and goes on to become an extremely famous full-time author. But that's not the point. 

We all do things in the privacy of our own home that we wouldn't want children to see or emulate. You know all the teachers in your children's school? They've had sex - more than once. They don't tell your kids about it. A lot of them have probably tried drugs. They don't tell your kids about it. Some of them moonlight as horror writers, or erotica writers, or bloggers on the evils of religion, or activists for abortion centres. They don't tell your kids about it. 

And the above also applies to your dentists, doctors, police officers, firemen, military, politicians, librarians, dog walkers, waitresses, nurses, lawyers and judges. 

Even before the internet, we all had two faces. Only now we're more reliant than ever on people's ability as a crowd to keep perspective and think things through rationally because when the barriers get knocked over it's the whole world who can see.  

We're so completely screwed. 

Word count - 1,754


  1. As long as people are ready to defend people like Mrs. Buranich (even if they do rush through their video rebuttals a little), I have hope.

  2. I should hope as well no one who writes mysteries is teaching in our children's schools. Can you imagine some teacher going home at night and writing about killing people! Depraved. After all, we must always confuse the art with the artist.

  3. See, that's the difference between you and me Sarah! You're an optimist!

    And Phoenix - don't forget literary fiction! Some of those have *rape* in it! What kind of person would a teacher be if they started to write about that? I shudder to think what these parents would consider an acceptable syllabus.