The lesson of the Ashley Madison leaks

As I write this, the media frenzy surrounding the leak of a reported 32 million user accounts from the adultery website Ashley Madison has subsided into the background hum behind Donald Trump and the U.S. elections, the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the United States, and the apparently shocking news that Volkswagen diesel motors produce exhaust emissions.

For the last half of August, however, news of the leak gripped the news cycle like a convulsion of schadenfreude, as newsrooms, chat shows and legal offices everywhere nearly squealed in anticipation of an avalanche of famous names and sordid stories. And for a moment some of us had a thought that we’d likely dismissed as mere optimism years ago: Is it possible that adultery is still a shameful thing?