No secrets required

A quote from Nora Ephron, via her mother:

When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people that you slipped on a banana peel, it's your laugh, so you become the hero, rather than the victim, of the joke.

I love this. Obviously she is speaking to the idea that it’s better to have people laugh with you than laugh at you, but I think there’s more here. It also speaks to transparency.

A willingness to live in the open.

The blessed degradation of culturally-imposed privacy standards.


A desire to share what might have been considered excessively personal just ten years ago.

I am often amused at the stern warnings, befuddled stares and nostalgic laments from people older than me (and sometimes younger than me) who find the willingness and propensity of people to use blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media to disseminate their lives both disturbing and alarming.

Why would you share so much of your life with readers on a blog?

Why tweet your random thoughts to the world?

Why divulge secrets and potential embarrassments to anyone who has an Internet connection?

Why put your life on such transparent display?

Hasn’t this desire to write about anything that comes into your mind already hurt you already?

While I know it’s not necessarily true, these people remind me of the same one who once sent pregnant teenagers to convents to have their babies, far away from the prying eyes of society.

The same people who kept JFK’s indiscretions under wraps during his Presidency.

The same people who attempt to push their homosexual children into the closet.

The same people who allow pedophile priests go unpunished rather than expose them and their church for their criminals behavior.

The same people who perpetuate the kind of family secrets upon which so many novels are built.

The time for these kinds of secrets has passed. It’s no longer necessary to cloak your indiscretions, errors, and divergent thinking from the rest of the world. While no one is certainly required to do so, the time for frowning upon such action is no more. And though there are still a great many people in the world who oppose such a view, they are rapidly losing power and favor in a more connected and transparent world.

I am often told that employers are now using Facebook and Twitter to evaluate a potential employee’s candidacy, and while also true, the day will come, not very far off, when these hiring managers, human resource experts and the like will be using these social networks as well and will understand the dynamics of such environments.

The fear, the stigma and the rush to judgment will end as people will be free to share their ideas, their predilections and their criticisms to the world without condemnation.

So no, I did not slip on a banana peel today, nor did I experience anything especially embarrassing or humorous, but when I do, I will be sure to follow Nora Ephron and her mother’s advice and share, share away.