[T]he Washington Post ran a front-page story about some young women here at Yale Law School whose careers--if not their lives--had been ruined by some salacious postings. The descriptions of them--sluts and whores--and the suggestions about what might be done to them--rape and sodomy--were showing up on Google searches of their names, and had prevented at least one of them from securing employment."In the mean time"? Well, I guess we are living in a mean time. Maybe sometime in the future, people will be nicer.
Since then, Dean Elena Kagan at Harvard Law School and Dean Harold Koh here at Yale have sent out open letters, condemning the nasty communications. We've had speak-outs and write-ins, organized blue-ribbon panels and worn red outfits for solidarity. There's talk of legal remedies and media campaigns....
In such a world, what to do about AutoAdmit? To start with, pray for mercy, because based on the content of its postings, the future of jurisprudence does not look good. Having done that, plead for civility. Just because we can say anything, does that mean we must say everything? While I could never advocate censorship, I would certainly ask for sensitivity....
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. Do we want to add random postings about ourselves, our private selves, that aren't even true, into this volatile mix? AutoAdmit for adults?
In the mean time, the three young women here at Yale Law School who've been most harmed by AutoAdmit--beautiful and brilliant all--deserve a way out of this electronic shock.
In the meantime, I'm still recommending laughter and a thick skin. It's much more liberating than asking your professors to nurture your sensitive soul.
Speak-outs and write-ins, organized blue-ribbon panels... oh, my.