A Not-So-Private Life

An extremely private individual, Bortolucci is fiercely protective of his family and private life and rarely talks about either of them. Known to conceal even the smallest of nugatory facts about his life.
       
Ah, the Internet. It’s so much fun.
        The quote above, as you’ve certainly guessed by now, is indeed from the Internet – in fact from a brief profile on Wikipedia. You can’t get much more non-private than that.
        It turns out that this Bortolucci fellow values his privacy so much that he went into acting and appeared in a bunch of movies. That’s not something I particularly care about – I’d never heard of him until just the other day. His privacy was perfectly safe from me.
        Then what does he do?
        Yes, you’ve guessed this too – he files a lawsuit that once again demonstrates the wonders of the Internet. You can be anyone on the Internet and anyone can be you.
        Apparently David Bortolucci has something of an online stalker or at least somebody committed to making him look bad. (I haven’t seen any of his movies so I don’t know if he looks bad on his own or not.) He sued a John Doe for setting up a bunch of websites apparently designed to defame him.
        My favorite is lyingcheatingloser.com. You just know you’re not going to find anything good there.
       And even davidbortolussi.com is bogus according to the lawsuit. It doesn’t have much except a bunch of innocent-looking links – to bad reviews and the celebrity nudity database. Yes, there is such a thing.
        Someone’s either got a serious grudge or way, way too much time on their hands.
        Interestingly, the Bortolucci site has a “disclaimer” at the bottom of the page: “This is an unofficial, informational website. This site is in no way affiliated with David Bortolucci.”
       You find the same things, by the way, at Davidbertolucci.com in case you prefer an alternative spelling.
       All of which brings me to the Medill School of Journalism.
        I’ve decided I’ve officially become an old fogy. I never used to think this was true, but I may have to fess up to it now. Teachers, students, and alums at Medill, my alma mater at Northwestern University, are now in uproar over the new programs being instituted by a new dean at the school. It seems the new guy is revamping the journalism curriculum to include a bunch of courses on new technology – e.g. the Internet – and telling everyone that journalists should be finding out what people want to read and/or hear.
         This has prompted cries of outrage from all the journalists who think we should be reporting on what’s good for you as opposed to what you want to know. And from writers who somehow think they won’t learn to write if they have to learn how to use a computer.
        I’m an old fogy because when I went to Medill we chiseled out stories on stone tablets. This Internet thing didn’t exist.
        What does all this have to with David Bortolucci?
        Well, not a lot except that it does demonstrate the difficulties of new media. Back in the old stone tablet days, it might have been hard getting information, but you knew who was supplying it (even if most of it was junk). Now, it’s easy to get information – good, bad, libelous, silly, and information you want whether it’s useful or not – but you don’t necessarily know where it’s coming from.
        Or whether it’s true.
        And I, the stone tablet guy, am writing a column on the Internet.
        Or am I?
        I may not be me.
        Don’t you love this brave new world of information?

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