Looking in From the Outside

What would it feel like to be raped by America? To have all of your junk, some of your darkest moments, thrown onto the Internet and tossed casually about by the television news? Imagine making a decision in a crunch, perhaps because you really needed the money…one that you know most would see as unsavory at best, and perhaps even one that you yourself see as questionable. But you do it, because you’re human, and therefore not perfect by definition.

Now imagine that it all goes south, in a major way. Imagine confessing that you haven’t slept since it did. Imagine knowing that you will be branded and poked and prodded by an unforgiving media spotlight until it has had its satisfaction with you: knowing that, even if you do not offer a comment, that they will just speculate in your silence and put their speculations on the air. Imagine that you just “got involved in something much larger” than you are, and that now, no matter how much you regret it or wish it hadn’t happened, or possibly are still okay with your decision but just don’t want it plastered all over the world’s screens, you know it will always, always be there. Your photos of fun moments, embarassing moments…your photo of yourself in a bikini, perhaps, suddenly available for millions of vultures in all corners of the world to pour over at their leisure. Would you cling desperately to the statement that you love who you are? Would you weep? Would you assume that there’s no such thing as bad publicity for your aspirations as a musician? Would you want the heartfelt words of your Myspace page read casually and analytically on the air?

I wonder what despair and heartbreak might be going through Ashley Alexandra Dupre’s mind right now? I wonder what sort of sick feeling she might have in her chest, the knot in her stomach. I wonder how much she would give anything to make a mistake go away.

And I wonder who we think we are in all of our voyeuristic pleasure that we won’t permit her that break.

So much for grace.

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