*Image credit- found on the internet, copied from www.123rf.com
DEMNITAS- a Latin word which denoted the accumulated reputational cachet of a family. Extremely protective of it because their society was built around the concept of reputation (especially the heroic kind), according to history, Roman citizens are said to have killed to protect it. The Gracchi, Julii and others are long gone, though for some of them their reputations endure. So, here we are in the 21st century, where a far more superficial form of DEMNITAS survives, and that is one’s online reputation. I know it goes back to 1989, when I had more hair but less sense, yet these lines from the Roadhouse movie with Patrick Swayze seem to apply…
“Dalton: If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal.
Steve: Being called a cocksucker isn't personal?
Dalton: No. It's two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.
Steve: What if somebody calls my mama a whore?
Dalton: Is she?”
Ask about crypto-currencies and you’ll hear “Bitcoin” in reply. Yet, if we look at the world today, there’s another crypto-currency which largely goes unmentioned, ie. reputation. I’ve just googled myself and it turns out there are 22 pages where my name pops up as author and/or commentator. At 10 or 15 results per page, that works out to between 220 and 330 hits. In terms of “hits”, even the lowest number far exceeds the considerable-by-normal-standards number of attempts on my life, but still strikes me as high for pretty much a nobody. Of course, the next logical question is, what would a prospective employer think after doing an online search of my name? Broadly speaking, I’ll shamelessly reply with what is probably the most famous quote from Gone With The Wind, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. It’s not false bravado, but God’s honest truth, because after 2 years, 7 months and 7 days of unemployment along with fruitless interviews, junk mail, countless attempts to steal my identity and lack of response from the “Great Big Black Hole” the internet job hunting thing is, I couldn’t care less even if I had an ISIS psycho with a knife to my throat. Still, I wonder what those who searched for my name would think after all it threw up, out of curiosity if nothing else.
So, here’s my “pull pin, throw flash-bang grenade” moment (invented by the British SAS, it explodes twice, though my question is threefold)- after googling yourself, how many hits do you get and what do you think a prospective employer, love interest, intelligence analyst or embassy official would think, especially since the latest U.S. visa regulations require prospective visitors to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts? If the opinion was wrong both subjectively and objectively, what would you be willing to do in order to remedy it, especially if it had tangible consequences such as being denied a visa or employment? What if in these days of electronically-induced mental blindness someone actually believed yo’ mama was a whore? I await your responses…