Keep Out or Else!

Over the weekend, my husband and I landed on the topic of published posthumous diaries, and it really made me think (that either makes us sound really smart... or really boring). As a 20 year journal-keeping veteran, the idea of the whole world gaining access to my most personal thoughts does not sound appealing in the slightest. While I highly doubt there would be much of a market for my musings, there is definitely one for celebrities, politicians, and other famous figures. Take Kurt Cobain's, for example- who knows how much money Courtney Love made from selling his diary!

By nature, humans are curious, and for some this crosses the line into just plain nosiness. Most of us have been tempted at one point or another to snoop into the belongings of someone else, whether it be a journal, an email account, or a cell phone. When it's someone close, our conscience usually takes hold, reminding us of the consequences attached to invading someone else's privacy. But what happens when it's an actual published work? And the person is dead? Does that justify reading what they hadn't intended for others?

I admit to moments of nosiness (or, shall we say "extreme curiosity"), but I don't think I could ever get myself to read what someone else has written, for entertainment purposes, without their consent. As I said, I'd be mortified if anyone ever read mine, and I have a problem with someone making money off another person's thoughts. I do believe that there are exceptions, though, mostly those falling into the academic realm. Often people mix business and pleasure in their journals- a scholarly investigation of a great scientist's diaries might divulge more than just his affair with the secretary, but also the beginning formulas for a new medication.

Lesson of the day: if you keep a journal, burn them before you die.

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