"Just because we can say anything, does that mean we must say everything?" That's legal scholar Elizabeth Wurtzel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this morning. We're not sure where to go with the irony of the author of Prozac Nation coming up with that line, but we'll give it the old college try. Liz is upset about something called AutoAdmit, "Web site of postings for law schools prestigious and otherwise, where students blab about whatever." Guess what? People say mean things on it.
The former New Yorker music critic, being old, is shocked to learn that the Internet lends itself to scurrilous gossip, even from "allegedly intelligent legal minds," (i.e., people willing to spend time cramming for the LSATs). While she tells a tale of three students who seem to have gotten a raw deal at the hands of fellow Elis, the piece is so irritating that one forgets the real reason for it and channels one's anger towards Ms. Wurtzel, who, in turn, seems to be channeling Peggy Noonan:
Because people are delicate. The neighborhood rumormongers of yore could cause enough trouble in a small town, but the unpoliced World Wide Web is really a mess. It's unpoliced, which demands that we be better people, gentler and more humane. Because if not we will surely all go mad. As it is we are overwhelmed: It never stops, we don't know how to stop it, we wouldn't want to anyway, and then we relish complaining about it. This is how we live now.
We all have to live in this world, all seven billion of us, brushing closer and closer together, and bristling in this claustrophobia. Maybe we ought to be slightly more careful before we say whatever it is we feel compelled to freely express. Maybe we ought to stop, have a hesitation, before pressing the send button.