Flamewar of the Day: Gawkers

Rear Window: no parking in rear

No parking in rear

This actually happened last week, which is right and natural when you consider what a shitstorm last week was: when ELSE would it have happened, right? Instead of our usual fun flamewars, toying with the early drinkers and short bus riders of the blogosphere, this one went a little bit sideways and turned into something akin to watching hara kiri right there in the comments section on Gawker. What people are willing to do in front of strangers, and blame upon those strangers, never ceases to fascinate me.

There’s no question I was guilty, but what of exactly what, nobody is quite sure, except for the victim, who is quite sure of many things despite being quite wrong.

What is pretty much certain is that some grownups still have to learn that lesson about when to keep your mouth shut, the one most of us learned around the time we first encountered those savvy genii of the interwebs, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, not to mention Socrates, who came later (what with him being an old man and all).

Judge for yourselves, as always. This is from the comments section of a Gawker post about a “Spiderman” who freeclimbed a 58-story building with suction cups and was arrested for trespassing once he got to the top.

If residents gave him water en route, he can persuasively claim to have been a guest who was there with their permission.

@raincoaster: How about the floors in which nobody gave him water? If I invite you to my apartment does that mean you get to visit all my neighbors? How about reckless endangerment of parked Dodges? How about his impending Darwin award nomination? Questions, questions for the jury..

Seriously, this will be only a misdemeanor, no? 

raincoaster promoted this comment

@lethedrinker: Presumably even if you don’t invite him in, if your neighbors are okay with him walking by, he’s allowed to walk past your door via the hallway. He didn’t invade the apartments.

@raincoaster: Well, he climbed past their windows without their permission. I’d consider that an invasion of privacy.

This happened to me a few months ago. I live in a high rise condo looking directly at a bay, so privacy is not usually a concern. It’s a 1BR with a window in the BR; the LR has floor-to-ceiling doors to the balcony.

I got a notice saying that the window washing crew would be there on a certain date, and that they did not clean the windows in the LR, so I shut the blinds to the bedroom and thought I was all set.

Imagine my surprise when I was seated in the LR wearing only panties, and the crew appeared in my LR window to clean the glass balcony! I gently sank lower in the chair and raised my kindle to try and hide the tits. Not that they are anything to look at, I just prefer that people don’t.

They took 30 minutes to clean the damn balcony, and I couldn’t move in all that time.

So, with respect, your defense fails.

raincoaster promoted this comment

@Registered: Isn’t there some merit to the argumenet that by keeping the blinds up or door open, one implicity lowers the threshold for reasonable expectation of privacy. According to my lawyer friend, cops often use this excuse (made up or otherwise) to get around fourth amendment restrictions – not directly relevant to the privacy argument..

@lethedrinker: I don’t know about open front doors – they’re against the fire code here, must close automatically – but if I live in, say, a 26th floor condo that faces directly onto the ocean (or bay, in my case; you’d need the Hubble telescope to look in unless you are on a scaffold cleaning the windows ) then I would say the police lose their case.

Also, are you suggesting that people should live in caves with the blinds shut and the doors closed, or else lose any right to privacy? Bushish. 

raincoaster promoted this comment

@Registered: I said reduced not lose any or all. Bushish? I bet such dubious arguments existed long before either Bush and will continue to be used till 2084.

Anyway, it was a generic comment not specific to the 26th floor dwelling, bay watching, automatic door closing kindle readers.

@Registered: If you got a notice that the window washing crew would be there washing your windows on a certain date and you’re sitting in your apartment topless in your panties, SOMETHING ain’t an accident. And it ain’t invasion of privacy, either.

@Registered: He wasn’t arrested for invasion of privacy; I believe he was arrested for trespassing (which is where the hallway argument comes into play; if he was a guest of some of the residents, public areas of the building are not off-limits to him) and public nuisance.

@raincoaster: The accident was that I thought they wouldn’t be near the living room windows. In fact, the notice said so. It didn’t add that they would be cleaning the glass on the balcony, or you can be sure I would have closed the blinds.

Yes, it was an invasion of privacy. One of the reasons I like where I live is I don’t get peeping Toms.

I don’t suppose you ever sit around your place at home in your boxers, tightie whities, or panties. I committed no crime and simply didn’t expect these visitors.

Thanks for implying that I wanted to be seen half-naked. No, I did not. If I’d wanted that, I would have moved from the chair in the 30 minutes. Instead, I sat there frozen with fear. I am nothing to look at, semi-naked or not, but I was concerned that these guys on the scaffolding might lose their concentration and fall.

Yep. Really.

@lethedrinker: Thanks for making me sound like an ass. I gather you have the mob behind you. I don’t live on the 26th floor (I said, say) and I am entirely guilty of owning a Kindle. Trust me, if the phone directory still existed and had been at hand, I would have perused that in place of the Kindle. Better coverage.

Are you still arguing that we should all live behind drawn shades?

@Registered: Yes, certainly sitting there in full view half-naked for thirty minutes was less exhibitionistic than getting up and moving to a different room. Absolutely. Good call, there!

I never said you committed a crime. I did imply you’re either stupid or disingenuous, which I stand by.

I have certainly been caught by surprise running around the apartment naked or under-dressed when workers have been outside. I simply went to the other room and got dressed. No biggie; accidents happen. Has a crime been committed? Nope, unless you count the crime of showing some BC Hydro linesmen my Hello Kitty sports bra.

@raincoaster: I was afraid to move. Moving to another room would have revealed more than I cared to. At least sitting there covered the essentials. It was very boring.

I’m 50 and not attractive, so the guys cleaning the windows were not exactly lining up to see my Hello Kitty sports bra, which I don’t own.

Exhibitionistic? Are you kidding me? Frozen with shame would be a better description.

But thanks for putting words into my mouth. I may be old and ugly but I still have a right to privacy, and you are way off the mark here. Stupid, even.

@Registered: Oh, it wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last, but I’m a bit puzzled by how moving would have revealed more than sitting there for half an hour. Remember all those articles on sunscreen and exposure? Exposure is not just the square inches, it’s the duration.

@raincoaster: Because I was in a deep armchair that covered most of my belly from view and the kindle covered my tits. The guys could tell I was not wearing much but could not see much either, and I’m sure it was their earnest wish that I stayed seated.

If I had gotten up and moved, they would have had to look at my belly and tits, and they didn’t really need to do that from a high-floor scaffold, and I didn’t really need to be seen like that either.

Thanks for making me spell it out for you. You are odious.

@raincoaster: Now, this long, complicated and nuanced legal and ethical question can be settled only using objective and tangible evidence. @Registered, show us your boobs. 

raincoaster promoted this comment

@Registered: That’s not news; that’s my BRAND!

And now, you have exposed more of yourself, to millions of people, than you ever did to those unsuspecting window washers.

@lethedrinker: I, personally, believe they arrested him just for being awesome. It’s enough, lately.

@raincoaster: I hope you’re proud of yourself. I’m upset at what I revealed (here, not in my apartment).

You are odious, you know. But I guess that will never stop you.


@Registered: My dear woman (and I am assuming you’re a woman because no man would admit to having tits, even if he did have them) you could at any point have said “none of your business.” I didn’t get into this to hear more details about the view; I got into this to hear more details about why you felt this was some sort of criminal act on the part of the Spiderman (and, presumably, the window washers who were just trying to do their jobs). The sense of entitlement astonishes me. You want not only to be invulnerable to peeping toms (something anyone can agree with, of course) but also to be invulnerable to ordinary accidents.

I mean, if you were mostly hidden by the chair, I see the logic in not moving. But you could have just said that. Or “none of your business, stranger on the internet.”

But you can’t blame me for the things you did, whether it’s sitting in that chair a half an hour or putting 800 words about it on Gawker.

@raincoaster: I think she is only kidding about being upset and what not. Atleast, I hope so. Otherwise, it is in the lady doth whine too much territory. 
raincoaster promoted this comment

@Registered: jeez. It’s fine, nothing to be ashamed of hanging around your apartment in your underwear or naked for that matter, window washers aren’t going to be all shocked and fall lol. God only knows the things you see washing windows in a city. Nothing really wrong with being embarrassed either, but as long as they were professional s’all good.


raincoaster promoted this comment

@raincoaster: You. are. a prize. bitch.

@raincoaster: Don’t call me “My Dear Woman.”

I didn’t count the words; so sweet of you to have bothered. I had to explain why I sat in the chair for 30 minutes because you accused me of being an exhibitionist.

Sitting in the chair for half an hour was something I had to do because – well, I’ve already explained it.

Would you like to explain what it was I did that gave you the right or any reason to mock and humiliate me?

Does it just come naturally? Are you just delighted at your wit?

Are you glad you can hurt people? As a child, did you wet the bed, or torture animals?

I don’t know what I did to deserve this total trashing. Where do you get the idea I have a sense of entitlement? You’re the one boasting about running around in a sports bra when strangers walk in. I’m the one saying I am old and don’t have a body worth looking at, one that I hid in shame when I got surprised by some window washers.

There’s a clear distinction between a Spiderman who peers, uninvited, into windows and a window-washing crew who are just doing their job.

@Registered: Why in god’s name do you get so upset about random people on the internet? I didn’t give you a “total trashing.” You’re the one who went ad-hominem, you’re the one putting out all that information you’re upset is out there, you’re the one insulting yourself to the point of mortification. Jesus, woman, have some pride.

Spiderman didn’t peer, univited, into windows any more than the window-washers did. They weren’t supposed to be on your living room windows and he wasn’t supposed to be on those other people’s. He was just doing his job, too, not snooping. Presumably climbing is somewhat preoccupying.

@lethedrinker: No, she is not kidding. You can tell when they really mean it; at least, I can. And she’s not being coy either. For whatever reason, she’s really, really upset and has probably emailed somebody at Gawker to ask to have this closed or erased (to which they will reply no, of course).

@lethedrinker: And you know what? Other than irritating me with the “I have a view of the Pacific and therefore mortals should not look upon me or I shall have them arrested” high-handedness, I’ve got nothing personal against this woman. I just find the whole thing bizarre. So an accident happens; you get over it. It has nothing to do with being 50 or 20 or gorgeous or not.

Eva Gabor was swimming naked in her pool once; she was in her 80’s. A linesman working on a power line could see her, waved, and said, Hi Eva!

She waved back and said, “no no, darling, it’s Zsa Zsa!”

THAT is how to do it.

@raincoaster: Yeah, well. Sometimes seemingly mundane things affect some people strongly when taken by surprise especially if it concerns things they are already touchy about – in this case age and/or tits.

Moving on. Eva Gabor and Spider-dude might make a hoot of a couple, don’t you think?

@lethedrinker: Ah, alas it is too late for Eva. Besides, she found True Love with Merv Griffin. Or at least True Gay Wingman Love.

@lethedrinker: Also: I’m only three years shy of Sensitive Person. This really isn’t a question of voyeurism; it’s a straight-up industrial accident, and would be if she or I were 20 and hot. That’s not the point.

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