Last night my girlfriend (I haven’t decided on her nom de blog yet.) and I were watching Anderson Cooper when we saw something that cracked us up – Train Lady!
If you’re not aware of this story, a young woman had a meltdown after a train conductor asked her to stop using profanity while talking on her cell phone. The whole thing was caught on video by a passenger with a cell phone camera. Now the actual video is supposed to be fifteen minutes long, but only two minutes have been shown on sites like Gawker. And it’s pretty damning. The young woman tells the conductor, “Excuse me, do you know what schools I’ve been to and how well-educated I am?” And that’s what pissed people off. Like educated people don’t act like idiots. Please. As one Internet wag stated, “Just look at Congress.”
This incident happened about a month ago. After the video went viral, the young woman tried to engage to services of a PR firm to help rehabilitate her image. That was dumb. She should have let the Internet hoopla die down, as it always does, or just get out in front of things and say, “I was a raging idiot that day. I apologize for my crazy behavior.” I think that would have gone a long way towards ending her troubles. But when Anderson Cooper rips you a new one on national TV, that’s bad.
I will admit I took voyeuristic glee in watching that video. “What a dipshit,” I said to my girlfriend. “ Who cares how educated she is?” And when the video shows the woman asking for her money back and for the conductor to “stop the train,” I was annoyed by her entitled attitude. After chuckling about the whole affair we went to bed. But when I woke up the next day, I felt guilt tugging at my conscience.
Every single one of us, especially me, has acted like a complete and utter asshole. That’s part and parcel of being human. None of us is a saint. And now, with the Internet, every stupid thing we do has the potential to become a worldwide Internet phenomenon. And that’s a very bad thing. As I read through the comments on various websites, I was alarmed to see that the young woman was accused of racism and called a “cunt.” Someone even wrote that the young woman is in danger of losing her job. People love watching the misery of others. I’m guilty of it too. But ask yourself, if it were you, would you want your stupidity blasted all over the world? Do you want to be publicly crucified? I think not. As the Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would want them to treat you.” And I think videotaping people freaking and putting it on You Tube is a bad thing. When billions of people have the potential to say horrible things about you with relative anonymity and impunity, we’ve got a problem.
Just look at young girls who have naked pictures taken of them by a shitty boyfriends and blasted all over their high school and the world. If some guy did that to my daughter I’d want to shove that cell phone up his ass. Some fathers would beat him. I’m not advocating violence, mind you, but I understand the impulse. And look at that poor college boy that committed suicide after some of his classmates filmed him in a sexual act with another man and outed him online. When these things happen they are met with outrage. But when an average person’s bad day in shown on You Tube, many of those same people will line up to nail them to the cross. I’m not defending this young woman’s comments. But I am defending her right to not have a brief slice of her life screw up the rest of it. And if train lady killed herself over this mess we’d all be taking a long look in the mirror.
Besides, we have more important things to worry about. Police officers are now starting to arrest people who videotape their activities. That is supremely fucked up. Like police state fucked up. Cops are allowed to have a bad day, but not in the performance of their duties. When they use their authority improperly the public has a right to see it. That’s what we should be getting upset about. Anderson Cooper needs to focus on that like a laser beam. Keep them honest buddy. “Train Lady” is a waste of time.
And Keith Olberrman singled out train lady for his “worst person in the world” segment! Are you kidding me? That Serbian general who slaughtered thousands of men and boys in front of their mothers, wives and daughters is a “worst person in the world.” We’ve got a debt crisis, wars without end, vets killing themselves and bankers who tanked the world economy. And you’re wasting time on a powerless woman? Speak to power. Go after people who can fight back. You’ve done it before Keith.
That woman was a dope. But so are we. Shame on the guy who took the video. Shame on the websites that showed it and the news people who gloated over it. Shame on me. Shame on all of us.