Elizabeth Wurzel, author of Prozac Nation, wrote an interesting commentary piece, “Trash Talk,” in last Monday's Wall Street Journal. Ms. Wurzel is discussing a recent situation at Yale where some women were "trash talked" on a law school website called AutoAdmit, and as a result one of the woman's hirability was compromised. While fully defending the First Amendment right to free speech Ms. Wurzel wonders what is to be done.
In such a world, what to do about AutoAdmit? To start with, pray for mercy, because based on the content of its postings, the future of jurisprudence does not look good. Having done that, plead for civility. Just because we can say anything, does that mean we must say everything? While I could never advocate censorship, I would certainly ask for sensitivity.
I'd like to think that we here on this blog are answering her call to civility. Our quest for more modesty in the world is not enacted by shrill demands for Modesty Laws or Clothing Censorship. Instead, we do our best to encourage a love of things modest while pointing out how much more fruitful and rewarding the modest life is. Naturally, we recognize that people have a right to wear whatever they want, but aren't we trying to encourage people to be considerate to others in this respect?
Ms. Wurzel continues:
We all have to live in this world, all seven billion of us, brushing closer and closer together, and bristling in this claustrophobia. Maybe we ought to be slightly more careful before we say whatever it is we feel compelled to freely express. Maybe we ought to stop, have a hesitation, before pressing the send button.
I can definitely agree with the feeling that we are all "brushing closer and closer together" and because we live in a—as we like to say these days—global village, it seems that more civility and charity towards one another is the prescription. And as I have just said, I believe that encouraging others to "the good" without adding to the deafening noise of incivility should be the communal goal. After all, isn't modesty itself, that moderate mode of behavior, a form of civility towards others?