I've been thinking a lot lately about slander, and particularly the pettiness to which it sinks in the political and entertainment arenas. We're barraged by "breaking news" about divorces, infidelity, drug use, slip-ups, or even just a bad photo. Minutiae that are blown up to operatic proportions and evidence of why we can no longer put our trust in this or that person.
At the same time, we are a generation living through changes in the definition of privacy. Most of us are aware that our Tweets and Facebook posts are publicly available, and most of what we do online can be found one way or another. There are the stories of people losing jobs over Facebook and blog content, and reports that organizations now thoroughly research prospective employees' online presence.
I wonder what's going to happen in ten to fifteen years when the majority of our celebrities and politicians have been raised in this culture. I'd like to think we will become desensitized to this brand of "news", but I'm not sure. How will it change our definitions of privacy and our expectations of behavior when the people we look up to and choose to lead us have every past mistake documented for our scrutiny? How will the news media adapt to such a readily available source of gossip? Will we become more forgiving as a culture?