Brendan Leipsic is Not Your Privacy Posterchild

And now he’s released, per multiple online reports, including theScore.

He, of course, is Brendan Leipsic. If you’ve been under a rock the last few days, a private Instagram chat of Leipsic and his friends, including fellow fringe NHLer Jack Rodewald, was leaked publicly. In this chat, as you might imagine there would be when a bunch of testosterone-fueled, intellectually underdeveloped 20-somethings are involved, were a bunch of appalling comments about women, sex, and drug use among other things. You can google them if you please but we’re not in a hurry to link to stuff like that.

As evolved as we like to think we are as a species, degrading rhetoric, especially about women and especially by men is still rampant in the workplace, in social circles, online, etc. For Christ’s sake, they even make a freaking documentary about incels. The man elected to the presidency famously bragged about grabbing women by their private parts with impunity. His presumptive opponent is himself the subject of assault allegations, albeit ones with dubious merit. Yeah, it’s 2020 and here we are.

Before you think that I’m trying to virtue signal or paint myself as some kind of social justice warrior for the aggrieved, or use this situation to make a political statement, hear me out. I’m a couple months shy of 42 now, so long removed from my teens and 20s. But in my youth, I made jokes and comments that would be considered patently offensive by most people, attempting to be clever and edgy to get a rise out of my friends, succeeding only in sounding like an asshole. It’s pretty embarrassing, and one day, Brendan Leipsic will probably look back on this with embarrassment too.

But here’s what really pisses me off. While we are seeing plenty of justified commentary about what a jerk Leipsic is on social media, we’re also seeing pathetic lamentations of losing the assumption of privacy. Let me say that again. A professional athlete makes repeated abhorrent comments about women in a chat with his friends, and people are upset that those comments didn’t stay private.

Welcome to my Ted Talk. You have no privacy. When you go online, your activity is tracked. When you talk, people are listening. It’s not conspiratorial. Pull out your phone right now, make a comment about sleeper sofas, and then open your Facebook app to see what ads are on your feed. Your conversations are not private, and they are not safe. Your social security number is not safe. Your credit card information is not safe. There is a multi-billion dollar industry in identity protection because NOTHING YOU DO IS DAMN PRIVATE. I personally buy an annual membership to an identity protection company. I’d tell you which one but they don’t advertise with us so you will just have to guess.

Your phone is password protected. Your computer has a log in. Every website you visit makes you log in. If you work for a large company, they likely have a policy of making you lock your work station when you leave for breaks, or at the end of the shift. They may have keystroke monitoring software. They may actually be tracking your online activity as you “work.” Why? Because nothing is private.

When you’re driving, the police can just scan your license plate. If you’re out to eat, and someone was so inclined, they could take your drinking glass and harvest your DNA from it. If you’re having a conversation at the restaurant, someone could hear you if they wanted to. And not just the person sitting at the next table. Anyone with a few bucks to purchase a particular kind of microphone can.

The Internet is forever. Things don’t go away and things don’t get forgotten. Just ask Josh Hader. Screenshots are a thing. Ask anyone with a smart phone and 99.9% of people know how.

When you travel out of the country, what happens? That’s right, they stamp your damn passport.

When you pull out your aforementioned cellphone to call or text somebody, what happens? That’s right, your location is mapped by a cell tower.

You ever walk by a storefront and see a promotion come up on their digital advertising board that oddly lists some kind of special for exactly your demographic? It’s not that odd. They have a camera with technology in it that immediately determines your gender and approximate age.

Nothing. Is. Private.

So if your first reaction to the news of Leipsic and his friends’ commentary in their “private” Instagram chat was, “whatever happened to the presumption of privacy?” I have some news for you. What you are really saying is, “what has the world come to when legally adult men can’t engage in horrifyingly degrading rhetoric with impunity?” Is that really how you want to be interpreted? I didn’t think so. Now go delete that tweet. Hopefully for you, nobody screenshotted it.

This has been my Ted Talk.

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