“What they were thinking is beyond me.” –Peter King, House Chairman, Homeland Security Committee, on Meet the Press, 4/22/12
‘What were he/she/they thinking’ seems to be the universal question these days.
Boards ask it about CEOs and other executives.
Managers ask it about employees.
People ask it about their politicians and religious leaders.
Spouses ask it about their each other and their kids.
In short, everybody asks about everybody and no one is exempt as either asker or askee.
Have people really stopped thinking, gotten stupider or is something else going on?
All of the above.
The something else started with tele—telegraph, teletype, telephone, television—and the world shrank as communications sped up.
Attitudes too changed, as captured in the title of The Hombres 1967 hit “Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out).”
Subjects that were covert, if not downright taboo became titillation fodder for the salivating mob—everyday folks who were delighted to learn that feet of clay were as common in self-described role models and “superior” career paths as in their friends and neighbors.
Now communication is instant; not necessarily true, but real-time fast,
(Corrections, however, are problematical, since stuff on the web is uncontrollable and, therefore, for all practical purposes, uncorrectable.)
Were the pre-Boomer generations of secrecy better?
Not really; secrecy opens the door to threats and blackmail (still true today).
How much is too much?
Is it viable to evaluate you now based on your actions at Woodstock, Spring Break or even a drive-in movie when you were 17?
It’s not generational; men and women have raised hell, lied, stolen, cheated and played around since time immemorial and many were/are caught.
But in these days of instant, irretrievable and irrevocable information perhaps it’s time to start thinking about consequences before, instead of being asked “What were you thinking?” after.
Flickr image credit: Myrrien