Christian Ross

Crossing the line

I’ve never seen an episode of The Hills and can only recently name two characters from the entire cast. In fact, I can’t even be sure there is a “cast” cause I don’t actually know if it is reality TV or an actual actor-driven sitcom. I am hardly qualified to speak about any of it all together.

With the introduction of the iPad this week, I was reminded that we live in an era that’s seen more technological advances in the last twenty years than we’ve probably had total in the last two millenniums. Medical advances, TVs, mobile devices, computers, the Internet and so much more. While the improvements in technology are a fantastic thing to watch for nerds like myself, they aren’t without their drawbacks.

Devices that have been created to help us connect with each other often do just the opposite and break down the lines of communication with those we care about most; our fancy tools can be used against us to feed the machine that is greed and lack of contentment; and sadly, the advancements have also encouraged a sense of entitlement for many people and given them a platform to share their views with everyone else. It’s been said before but these days, everyone has a microphone. And to be brutally honest, not all of us are deserving of one.

I have a client who happens to be a parent of what I would consider a D-list celebrity from the aforementioned TV show, The Hills. Not being a follower of the show, the information I have seen recently about the celebrity comes only from being a quasi-news junky and noticing the attention she has received on the cover of several recent magazines as well as TV magazines. The reason for her cover stories only peaks my interest only to see the bizarre lengths she has taken to manipulate her look/figure. If I never heard her name mentioned again, I wouldn’t notice.

Barring an unforeseen accident in my life, I have no intentions of getting plastic surgery on my own body. Just like anybody else, my self-esteem can be low at different times but I’ve never gotten so low that I thought people would love me more (or worse, I might love myself a little more) if I could just somehow change my outer appearance. I don’t understand the need for others to go through such lengths, but then again, I don’t have to and it isn’t my place to judge. Unfortunately, many in our society disagree.

The Internet has created an environment that I often don’t like. One where we can hide behind usernames and pretty much say whatever we want without remorse. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my inability to hold my tongue often has and will again get me in trouble.

There’s no excuse for it when I hurt others but each and every time I do it, I am willing to stand up and accept responsibility for the words I have spoken. If for nothing else to at least apologize or offer clarification if it came out wrong.

Due to a recent rush of boundary crossing, my client is about to become an ex-client. Not because of anything we have done or not provided her, but because of the brashness of so many fans and/or haters of her daughter and her actions. They don’t even share a common surname. But it didn’t take long for one person to figure out how to get in touch with her before the masses of un-tactful and tasteless people to swarm.

It’s sad to see that technology has not only created the medium for these people to invade her life, it has also helped to cultivate the idolatry we place on people in the spotlight so much so that we almost feel like we know them and can speak to/for them.

Her decision to shut down her business couldn’t have been an easy one. Especially since this is a child that didn’t even grow up in her house or her surroundings РI can’t help but imagine how different she might be if she had. Once the word got out, there wasn’t much more she could do. It was either close up shop or deal with increasing number of distractions that people from both viewpoints felt it was their right to share.

I would be pretty oblivious to the entire situation if it had ended at the point she made the decision to close her doors if it wasn’t for the fact that one person without boundaries couldn’t let it end there. It makes sense, once her website went offline, what is your next best option? Email the former provider and address your insane comments in a way that we might possibly forward them on. We didn’t.

“Crazy, I expected better from the viewers of The Hills.”

– Cole Stanford

While the number of emails and interactions during this situation are probably track-able, the number of boundaries crossed is endless. This mindset of entitlement is a sad one, we are the generation of “you owe me” and “I have the right” and it just doesn’t wear well on anybody.

Technology has given the platform but moving forward I hope we can find ways of turning a deaf ear to those who think we should be forced to listen.

Somebody please shut their mic off.


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