Revenge porn webs sites? Oh gee…

Every day in every way I am astounded at what is going on out there on the thing that used to be called the World Wide Web.

The gross nastiness astounds me. The utter absence of self-consciousness mixed with the utter presence of narcissism astounds me. The utter absence of conscience sort of astounds me, too.

But this story, about lawsuits of course — and since what laws actually support these lawsuits are a hazy territory, there is movement toward new state legislation to make these acts criminal — exemplifies a lot of what is wrong with so many people, and how they use the internet for nefarious and ugly purposes. And how people who are not nefarious and ugly do really dumb, short-sighted things that feed the nefarious and ugly of our world.

Let’s stop feeding the animals, okay?

Here’s how this Times story by Erica Goode begins:

He was a muscular guy with “kind of a nerdy kind of charm,” Marianna Taschinger recalled, a combination that proved irresistible to an 18-year-old girl in a small Texas town.

They dated, broke up, dated again. He asked her to pick out a wedding ring. He also made another request — that she take nude pictures of herself and send them to him.

“He said if I didn’t want to send them to him, that meant that I didn’t trust him, which meant that I didn’t love him,” Ms. Taschinger said.

The photos would never be shared with anyone else, she remembers him promising. And she believed him — until last December, more than a year after the couple broke up, when a dozen nude images of her popped up on a Web site focusing on what has become known as revenge porn. She is suing the site and her ex-boyfriend.

Revenge porn sites feature explicit photos posted by ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands and ex-lovers, often accompanied by disparaging descriptions and identifying details, like where the women live and work, as well as links to their Facebook pages. The sites, which are proliferating, are largely immune to criminal pursuit. But that may be changing. California lawmakers this month passed the first law aimed at revenge porn sites.

The good news, I suppose, is that the young women mentioned in the article are suing. They are not committing suicide. Their lives have been hideously messed with, as you’ll read. They’ve got a lot of guts.

But still …

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