Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Washingtonienne

I just read about Jessica Cutler, the Capital Hill Aide and blogger that wrote The Washingtonienne. She's being sued because she wrote explicit information about her boyfriend, amongst the other men she was "dating". It was published, then taken down once all the drama started.

As a blogger myself, I was intrigued by the story. The issue is basically whether she has the first amendment right to publish information about her personal life, including those she associates with, online (Keep in mind, she did list her conquests by letters of the alphabet, although anyone in the same social circle could have deciphered her genius system). This issue is one that's foremost in my mind as I type away. What do I want anyone who has a computer to know about me?

My list of DON'Ts:
1. My last name
2. My friends and coworkers first or last names.
3. Any identifying information about my clients, as well as any sort of issue going on at work that would be a breach of the confidentiality statement I signed when I was hired.
4. Personal information about my family.
5. I WILL write in generalities about The Boyfriend, but I don't write about anything pertaining to OUR relationship...such as fights, finances, sex (oh wait, I was raised Catholic, I don't have sex), etc.
6. Anything I think my parents would find offensive or inappropriate (my bleeding heart political views are exempt to this rule).

My list of Don'ts are pretty clear cut for me. I was going to post a couple lines from her blog, but I shuddered at the thought of my parents reading her choice in language. I sound like a prude, but I think in this day and age of posting personal information on the internet, we can lose our private lives.

I feel like I need to say that I don't judge her for her sexual choices - I'm a firm believer in everyone doing what they want to with their own bodies. What I do have an issue with is her complete lack of concern for the reputations of the men she's doing all this with. In an interview, she stated her original intent was to "keep friends updated on my social life". It was clearly a blog about her sex life. She now has a new website with a button where people can donate money to, "pay for slutty clothes and drugs". Classy.

So the lawsuit. Was her blog illegal? Probably not. But there are such things as ethics and judgement. I think she got caught up in more and more people reading it and sending comments about how interesting she is. She probably began seeing herself as this happening East Coast hipster with the world in her hands. And the dude who filed the lawsuit is probably really embarassed...but I would think he'd want the attention to just go away, not end up in a court room for public review.

When I googled her blog, an entry came up for her on Wikpedia. If I were in there, I think I'd want to be listed for more than a Washington blog sex scandal.


Anonymous Stephen said...

It could be illegal, if there's anything that constitutes slander or defamation of character.

I don't think the person's consent is required to publish personal information about them, as long as it isn't slander. Which is kind of odd, when you think about it. If you published my photo, I could sue you. If you disclosed the size of my dick, I probably have no recourse — unless you misrepresented the facts.

You're quite right about the distinction between law and ethics. What she did is immoral, if not necessarily illegal.

10:00 AM  

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