Privacy, Please
by Jan Baughman

Fame has a cost: The loss of privacy. Now, one could successfully argue that if I wanted my life to be a secret, I would not write for Swans and I certainly would not have such a revealing and ironic personal web page posted herein. I agree with myself; it's just that the consequences of my notoriety have been rather unexpected.

Recently, my estranged ex-husband did a Net search on me, came across my home page and sent me a surprise e-mail. He thanked me for my past support (though later repealed it) and advised me that his second ex-wife was not a Christian Fundamentalist, as my page states, but an old-fashioned Catholic. I stand corrected and apologize to those of you out there of either persuasion. You know who you are and where your differences lie, and would be equally offended, I'm sure. But the page will remain as is, and I personally blame my ghost-writer for any misrepresentation of my former life (or anyone who formerly existed in it) which I may or may not have authorized. I briefly considered suing my ghost-writer, but with my luck I would lose it all. I wish my ex would have simply read my 5/15/96 article about marriage and divorce. It's full of accurate wit.

Not only is my past eavesdropping on my present; my life has been intruded upon by big business. I once interviewed for a position that required, among other things, strong writing skills. "I have very strong scientific writing skills", I assured the interviewer, "and in fact, I love writing so much that I contribute a weekly commentary to a web site". The next day the interviewer did a search on me, found that troublesome web page of mine and read my first article, "Comfortable Traveling". They said I was overqualified for the job; perhaps I was simply too high-profile and controversial. These are qualities that are difficult to hide. (To all of my future employers out there: I'm am NOT controversial at work... seriously.) And, of course, anyone from my present company who is reading this article now also knows more about my life than they should. I would like to add here that the breast taunting Jesse Helms on my web page is NOT mine. My ghost-writer put it there. And I'll take on the Pope if necessary to defend its presence. There are principles I would risk losing everything for, and the preservation of Catholicism is not one of them. Mea Culpa; I take the Fifth.

Published March 31, 1997
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