The Internet has opened up some creepy windows of virtual voyeurism. The peep show has gone from your neighbor's bathroom window to a boundless landscape of instant access.
This isn't about a stereotypical pervert with the trench coat and freaky tastes. It's about you, me and anybody else who is sucked into the titillating vortex of possibilities, all just a click away.
Erin Andrews was one of the hot online topics on OrlandoSentinel.com Tuesday. Andrews was going viral on other Web sites. It's not because of her skills as a sideline reporter for ESPN.
It's because she's a hot babe. And she's naked.
She didn't ask for this horrific intrusion of her privacy. But some lowlife surreptitiously videotaped her undressing through a peephole at a hotel room recently, and it was game on for anybody who wanted to play.
The blogosphere went bonkers. The cyberspace landslide had its consequences as the video link grew tentacles. It allowed some hackers to infect the video with a computer virus. Thousands of people thinking they were downloading the video got a big surprise -- virus, not voyeurism.
Although the tape has been made unavailable at most reputable Web sites, there's still a craving for more. A Google search of "Erin Andrews, ESPN and naked" drew 61,200 hits Tuesday afternoon.
So here we are wondering what to make of this seedy mess.
It's easy to cast blame at the lowlife and be done with it, but that would be disingenuous. The media have no moral high ground to stand on here. Women are objectified all over the Internet, including mainstream outlets.
Check out usatoday.com, which has a photo gallery featuring 46 images of NFL cheerleaders.
Check out OrlandoSentinel.com, where you will find a link to "Athletes who have posed nude for Playboy."
Check out Fox & Friends, which repeatedly aired a number of video stills from the tape. Some of Andrews' body parts were covered with lacy red tape. Or how about the CBS Early Show, which brought in science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg for a segment featuring several seconds of the videotape with parts of Andrews' body blurred.
Andrews' employers at ESPN don't escape scrutiny, either. You can debate whether Andrews is a competent reporter or not, but I suspect there won't be much dissension among the rank and file when it comes to her appearance. She is a beautiful woman.
There are a lot of other cuties on the sidelines, who rightfully or not are judged partly by their looks. The subliminal message is obvious: Sex sells.
A number of Web sites, including ours, have included links to photo galleries of Andrews, who has not been shy about dressing provocatively at times (See ESPY awards). Let's be very clear: Andrews is very much still a victim here, but her sexy image has its downside. A pervert and a peephole made that painfully clear.
The need to feed the beast may have helped lead the pervert into that hotel room.
Sadly, it says a lot about us. We're the beast. I'm as guilty as the next guy (or gal). I spent a few minutes recently going through the gallery of Playboy athletes.
We could take an optimistic turn here and predict that everyone who is behaving badly will learn a few things and avoid Temptation Island next time. But that's not going to happen.
There's going to be the usual flurry of indignation, for, oh, a week or so. And then we will move on, oblivious to it all.
There will be another story that will titillate our souls.
Another peep hole awaits.
We will look again.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun