Philip Weiss is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and Harper's. A controversial 2008 article, "The Affairs of Men," published in New York magazine, sought to explain why so many men pursue sexual variety. Weiss also writes the Anti-Zionism blog, Mondoweiss. He is the author of American Taboo: A Murder In The Peace Corps, and he's working on a novel.
Question: How do you view the internet as a medium?
Philip Weiss :Well, this is what I find fascinating about the internet is that-- And I’m a print guy but I think that one of the things that’s great about the internet is that people said, “Oh, anything goes there” when the internet started and if you thought some girl was attractive then you could just send her an e-mail saying, “I want to go to bed with you” and so- and that kind of stuff happened early on in the internet, that people felt that anything goes here. Well, in fact it’s just another human institution and the rules apply on the internet as they do to other social life, and what I’ve found is that I used to run more profanity in print than I do on the internet. I think that the internet really does-- Those ancient virtues of sort of- in speech of sincerity, honesty-- I wish economy was one of them too but these kind of virtues of being respectful to your audience they’re really true on the internet. And the more respectful you are and the more sincere you are I think it’s just like you’re going to do well and if you’re a jerk and a sleaze bag then you’re going to be punished for it on the internet and banished from communities. And yeah, you might be able to get away with it in certain ways more easily but you’ll suffer I hope.