Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Marked by Deception


Inspired by one-time collegiate entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, two students at Arizona State University have started a unique website. The idea was to create an online community that allowed users to unburden themselves of their guilt and shame while remaining anonymous. The process is as follow: conscience-tortured souls can surf to clearmyguilt.com and submit a brief summary of their misdeeds. Once these submissions have been screened by the site’s staff, they are published on the homepage where the public can leave comments and categorize each offense as “forgivable” or “unforgivable” based on the severity of the infraction. Based on this community rating, each confession is placed under a subcategory of “heaven” or “hell.” 

Site co-founder Lonny Rueben admits there are limits to what they will publish insisting that "any posts that are dealing with suicide, murder, rape, we wouldn't want any of those on our site." The goal is to create enough web traffic to allow for on-site advertising to provide a revenue stream. Clearmyguilt.com currently processes about 100 submitted confessions per day and averages 800 page views in that same time frame.
My curiosity peaked by such an unusual service, I spent a half-hour or so perusing the darkest secrets of the Internet populace. I began with Hell, which contained an impressive amount of sexual deviance and infidelity along with the occasional unique drug habit (one personal in particular admitted an addiction to his dog’s anti-seizure medication). However the offense with the distinction of generated the most unforgivable ratings involved none of the above. It was sordid tale of greed, deception, and euthanasia involving some guys who kicked his friend’s dog for eating his sneakers and then lying about the canine’s fatal injuries.

Heaven, while still boasting its fair share of carnal dalliances, features many more unique confessions than its counterpart. One young man laments that his girlfriend’s face reminds him of a squirrel, another involved an incident of church flatulence and still another details a bar fight over a difference of opinion concerning Michelle Bachman. As with the Hell distinction, there seems to be an inordinate amount of people urinating in other people’s shampoo…. 

Curious as to how the process worked, I created and submitted the following confession:

Several years ago I commissioned a very unique tattoo that was placed on my right shoulder. It is about 2 ½ inches in diameter and consists of a bespectacled eagle perched on a Golden Corral restaurant logo. The eagle is peering intently through a window pane at a weeping female silhouette cupping a partially consumed apple. The entire piece is encircled by a repeating series of numbers and set against a gradient grey background. I acquired the ink after being dumped by an ex (who was employed at the Golden Corral) and the eagle represents me looking toward a future of mutual fulfillment only to discover her secret unhappiness with our relationship which I ultimately blame on original sin. The repeating number sequence is actually the external IP address of her personal laptop which I utilize to clandestinely read her correspondence to this very day.  However, whenever my current fiancée asks me why I got the tattoo I just mumble something about the Bengals having a bad season and change the subject. Is this forgivable?
Unfortunately the site has a character limit so it was truncated:
I have a tattoo that consists of an eagle perched on a Golden Corral logo peering intently through a window at a weeping female silhouette cupping a partially consumed apple. The entire piece is encircled by a repeating series of numbers that represent my ex's IP address. My ex and I got them together before we broke up. However, whenever my fiancée asks me why I got the tattoo I just mumble something about the Bengals having a bad season and change the subject. Is this forgivable?
After only two days I was surprised to see my submission prominently-displayed on the homepage. As of this writing I have received fifty-three “Forgivable” votes compared to only nine “Unforgivable” placing me firmly within the realm of hypothetical salvation. I also received three supportive replies reassuring me that “we all have a past.”

Having glanced through the hundreds of submissions now on the page, I feel that the majority of the issue could be prevented by monogamy, integrity, and a renewed commitment to personal hygiene. The site’s founders readily admit that they have no way of determining which submissions constitute actual guilt and which are complete fabrications, which is somewhat comforting after taking in a few of the site’s more troubling posts. Perhaps some things are better left unsaid.

3 comments:

  1. First, ANY amount of urinating in someone else's shampoo should be considered "inordinate."
    I'm all for monogamy and integrity and personal hygiene sans clandestine urine.

    I also believe in honesty, but I'm pretty sure that one guy should NEVER EVER tell his girlfriend that her face reminds him of a squirrel... at least not until he catches her in bed with his best friend and discovers that all this time, she thought he kinda looked like an English bulldog...

    However, you might be interested to know that the individual claiming addiction to his dog's seizure meds may very well be telling the truth. The medication given to dogs for seizures is actually a controlled substance. In at least 2 different vet clinics where I worked, those meds were kept locked in a safe in the back with the ketamine, euthanasia injections, and anesthesia. Its supposed to be pretty mind-altering stuff, and we typically kept a separate record strictly of clients picking up that type of medication so we could compare the prescribed dosage with how often they were picking it up. And we had to count the remaining pills in the supply bottle every time we filled a prescription to make sure none were missing.

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    1. Exceptional MediocrityMarch 8, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      I can see your point as even I am smart enough to realize that telling a girl she resembles a small woodland creature is no aphrodisiac.

      The seizure medication aspect is interesting. I had no idea that hallucinogens could be obtained from a vet.....

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  2. I worry - the same people that are "voting" on these posts on clear my guilt are serving on juries and deciding life in prison or the death penalty !

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