Recently, a notable Hollywood plastic surgeon drove his Jeep off a Malibu cliff while texting. Dr. Frank Ryan, plastic surgeon to Heidi Montag and other celebs, was allegedly Tweeting about his dog just before the big plunge. Apparently the doctor is not unique. The president of the American College of Emergency Physicians says, “It has stopped being an oddity when we hear that someone was texting and has a wreck. Now it’s more of a fairly common occurrence.”
The verbiage surrounding such news items often features words like tragic, accidental and unfortunate. Shoddy journalism. It’s stupid. And negligent. People expect drunk drivers to be prosecuted. Why not texting buffoons? Isn’t their act of keyboard thumb-hockey every bit as reckless and lethal as driving under the influence?
We at VMG love Twitter and texting and all things digital. But at freeway speeds, we’ll have to amputate all texting thumbs. No exceptions.
On a non-lethal level, another Facebook imbroglio caught our eye. A Massachusetts high school teacher was canned over some uncomplimentary comments about her students and their parents on her Facebook page. She referred to the kids as “germ-bags.” And what of it? In fact, they are. My daughters brought home more contagion from pre-school than the CDC could identify, and the onslaught nearly killed me. June Talvitie-Siple ( supervisor of the school’s math and science programs) also referred to some parents as “snobby” and “arrogant.” Gee. Anybody out there know someone like that?
Initially, she blamed the Facebook interface, which is far from intuitive, for its inscrutable privacy settings. We were on June’s side until, in an act of unforgivable cowardice, she apologized for these meaningless transgressions, saying “I take full responsibility for my stupidity and I hope it serves as an example to kids that they need to be very, very vigilant about their privacy.”
Well, of course, June. Everyone should be careful about their privacy. But why must they when expressing valid opinions?