Oh, internet. Without it, we'd go mad. And with it, we frequently do. This has been a week more of a monument to that notion than usual.
First, to Hello Kitty. You know, that cat thing from Japan that's emblazoned on anything even remotely merchandisable, from contact lenses to condoms? Well stop right there, that's no cat. It's actually a 10 year old girl from outside London. Head exploding stuff. "I could go on", said the Hello Kitty expert all this was relayed to, and people the world over lapped it up, like the cats they or indeed Kitty aren't.
Then there was the White House press conference on the danger of Islamic State, where all anyone online could comment on was the the Del Monte-ness of Barack Obama's suit. The fact he was lacking any kind of strategy probably didn't help though. His administration has had its disappointments in dealing with guns too, but then it's hard to make any sort of national headway when gun culture is baked in to the point it seems like a good idea to give a 9 year old kid an Uzi. The reactions ranged from the perversely understated ("Experts agree that an Uzi was the wrong choice for a 9-year-old girl") to the just plain perverse. The whole sorry episode was punctuated by the fact the macabre affair was also filmed. Kids grow up so fast these days, it's important to capture the really traumatic moments I guess.
So a young man found out in Georgia this week, when he surreptitiously recorded a discussion regarding the fact he was gay with his family. It started with his mum stating calmly that she loved him, but that he was also a demon child who needed to leave the house right away. And it sort of got worse from there. It was the sort of reaction that made you wonder, "What the hell is wrong with people?"
Which brings us to Jennifer Lawrence.
And the slew of other celebrities whose privacy has been upturned, for that matter. And all of them female to boot. But apart from the clear problems with that, the whole sorry state (that will forever be known, in comically grim fashion, as The Fappening) is the internet in its essence: paranoia (uploaders and several commenters were concerned that the FBI would get involved, or that the whole thing was an NSA distraction trick), publicly bombastic hand wringing juxtaposed with cruel jokes (pretty much any timeline will take you to that) and surreal yet organic developments (Reddit users becoming a massive source of prostate cancer donations this week which were rejected, the original uploader doing it for internet money). And of course, celebrity nudity with so, so much entitlement to see it.
The saddest thing about this is that when the dust settles, this is not just something to be stashed away under "internet gonna internet". Nude leaked celebrity photos is the reductio ad absurdum effect of an era where newspaper sidebars document all manner of curve pouring, tacit displays we all think we own celebrities' bodies anyway. We Facebook stalk or check the LinkedIn profile of people we barely know instinctively, and Street View places we've never been to. We expect and demand information before we even think about what we're asking for. Time was a personal diary was sacrosanct. Now the whole world is a permanent eavesdropper, reading over the shoulder asking "Whatcha doin?". And if there's pictures of tits to be seen, all the better.
And speaking of internet tits, this week's clinic in creepiness was topped off by a spare room ad from Dublin, where a guy - presumably one who owns his own velvet smoking jacket and water bed - was looking for "all broad-minded, smart, sexy, confident, unconventional and adventurous dames...and would consider sharing this double bedroom, their body and life experience for the duration of their stay with a sexy,outspoken and laid-back gentleman such as me".
Ah yeah, but how secure is his iCloud?