Sort of Like Responsibility…
I’ve got a question…well actually several questions.
Are we in any way responsible for how people interpret what we write?
Do we bear any accountability for the thoughts we post here in wordpress?
For instance, if we advocate violence against a particular group of people, because we have found it to be an effective tool of terror, then someone, after reading our post, attacks and seriously injures an individual, should we shoulder any blame?
Let me pose another situation.
What if we honestly believe that everyone should have sex with whoever they want, as long as all the parties involved in the actual act are of consenting age and agree and we write a post advocating my position. An individual reads our post and decides they ought to engage in a tryst with someone they have been having a flirtatious relationship with. But lets add one more detail. One of the parties is married with a couple of children and a loving spouse. The loving spouse finds out and is completely devastated by the broken trust.
Should we assume any liability?
Lets go a little deeper.
We write several posts detailing our high-flying, decadent, no holes barred, hedonistic life style full of drug and alcohol use, frequent and varied sex partners, a reckless disregard for the norms of society and law, and overall just a I don’t give a damn about anyone or anything attitude. We pick up several “followers,” who over time, actually start imitating our life style. Because of our posts they read, our videos they watch, and our tweets they receive, they begin to act out in their own lives the way we live. They embrace it with gusto…except they start to experience what we never mention…they hurt those who love them, others lose faith in them, and their lives begin a downward spiral.
Now how about this.
We write a blog that displays a hard edge. We are sharp, irreverent, and sometimes vicious, except only in words. We know how to run right up to the edge, but we never go over. We push the envelope of what is acceptable and maybe we lean over it, but we are cautious not to go too far. We are exploring new terrain and we begin to go viral. Thousands begin to read our posts. Jimmy Kimmel quotes us. Hip comedians weave our comments into their acts. Before long we are enjoying the type of success reserved only for a very few. But as time goes by new, more edgy blogs appear. What we once considered outlandish is now considered lame. Our bite is now more like a toothless grin. we are old school and we are not old enough for old school to be cool. Our fans trickle at first, then run away. The next new thing is so far out there that we can’t believe it. They don’t write they spew.
Are we in any way responsible for laying the ground-work for what came next?
Let me ask one more question?
Can we write whatever we want, yet wash our hands (and souls) of any responsibility for how our readers will interpret what we write?
You, no doubt, have noted how I’ve asked several questions without providing any answers. I have my opinions and I will write about them in my next post, but for now, I would like to hear what you think. You have also noticed how the scenarios I constructed are one-dimensional. In real life there would be many more nuances. Life rarely comes without dangling, messy strings. But I know you get the idea.
Let me know what you believe.