Ashley Madison is a dating website for people who are already in a relationship and are looking for a new person to have a sexual relationship with. Obviously a lot of their members are looking to cheat, so when hackers got into the website’s database and threw all of their members’ information out in the open, this eh, got lots of people in trouble. And the response has been remarkably.. cheerful.
I enjoyed this article: The Puritanical Glee Over the Ashley Madison Hack
The Scarlet Letter [..] chronicles the life of a woman who is found to have committed adultery; as punishment, she is forced to stand before her village with the letter “A” attached to her dress. The intent is to forever publicly shame her for her moral transgression.
Busybodies sitting in judgment of and righteously condemning the private, sexual acts of other adults remains one of the most self-satisfying and entertaining — and thus most popular — public spectacles. It simultaneously uplifts the moral judges (I am superior to that which I condemn), distracts them from their own behaviors (I am focused on those other people’s sins, and thus not my own), and titillates (to condemn this, I simply must immerse myself in the tawdry details of their sexual acts). To see just how current is the mentality driving the scarlet letter, observe the reaction to the Ashley Madison hack.
It’s hard to overstate the devastation to some people’s lives from having their names published as part of this hack: not only to their relationships with their spouses and children but to their careers, reputations, and — depending on where they live — possibly their liberty or even life.
Adultery [..] “is a moral misdemeanor,” something the law does not even punish. To destroy someone’s reputation and life over it is so wildly out of proportion to the actual transgression.
None [..] of us [should] cheer when the private lives of ordinary people are indiscriminately invaded, no matter how much voyeuristic arousal or feelings of moral superiority it provides.