If personal relationships were perfect they wouldn’t be personal relationships—they’d be the kind of insincere form of civility that characterizes many employee-employer relations. Which is to say they’d be a mix of performance art and sublimation (‘Really looking forward to that corporate retreat over the long weekend, ma’am!’).
Human beings have traditionally relied on the discretion and compassion of their nearest and dearest to praise their virtues while simultaneously keeping quiet about moral failings and any unique romantic/anatomical descriptions. Of course, this kind of discretion rarely occurs in real life (I know more about my friends’ husbands and boyfriends than seems fair to them or me) but before the Internet at least we could pretend there was such a thing as privacy.
Now relationships—in all their embarrassingly vivid reality—are making their way online. We’ve got Facebook status updates that announce everything from pregnancy to divorce as well as salty Tweets and creepy jpegs the likes of which would make George Eastman regret his intellectual curiosity.
The website Cheaterville (via Time.com) is taking the public’s interest in private affairs to another level—some might say it’s taking things to a whole new low. The website publicly outs cheaters by providing the public with searchable profiles of the formerly unfaithful.
The list includes a few famous philanderers such as Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, but the majority of the profiles seem to be made up of regular men and women who’ve coloured outside of the lines of monogamy.
Profiles are posted by the spurned—the site encourages vigilante- type vengeance with the tagline “Fight infidelity, post a known cheater now”. But for all of its rhetoric, the site is pretty problematic, morally speaking. For one, it’s a petty and mean-spirited form of revenge. More importantly, there’s no way to prove the claims, which should be enough to make most people think twice about searching its database.
Does infidelity strip a person of their basic right to privacy? It shouldn’t. But try and explain that to the guy you cheated on. Unfortunately he’s not in the mood for a rational discussion and even worse he’s got an active wireless connection.