Archive - Aug 26, 2010

Pants Luddites

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Memo to Bill Bennett: JUST HOW MUCH DID YOU LOSE?

Now, I freely admit this may be because I think parenting is for suckers, but I am not the slightest bit concerned about sexting. Sexting is, I am led to believe, the sending of lewd text messages, or worse, blurry phone-cam pictures of nipples and wangs, between one or more individuals we have deemed to be too young to be doing such things.

Maybe I'm naive and jaded, but you know what I think? I think this country desperately needs a generation or two that's spent its formative years looking at VGA pictures of each others' butts. In the long run, it's got to be better than the pseudo-Victorian stash of wrinkled Penthouses and scrambled Cinemax soft-core that formed the sexuality of my generation.

I mean seriously, do you think that when today's teens get into power, we're ever going to have a five-year court battle over a half-second glimpse of Janet Jackson's areola? No they will not, and that's a good thing.

But Bill Bennett doesn't think it's a good thing. Or at least he thinks he can make some money off parents not thinking it's a good thing. He's started a new service called "" that is somehow intended to keep your kids safe from the evils of sexting - or at the very least let you know when they're doing it so that you can beat some Christian shame into them like God intended.

The way it works is this. You give Bill Bennett's webmaster between $13 and $25 a month, depending on how full your quiver is - although the prices only cover up to six children, which means that Tommeh* ** is going to have to negotiate a special rate. Then Bill Bennett takes an undisclosed share of that money and blows it at a casino.

But you're probably more curious about how it OSTENSIBLY works. Fine. It's a filtered e-mail account. E-Mail from people not on the parental approval list is bounced, e-mail from people on the list is forwarded to the parents if it contains dirrrrrty words. In other words, there's absolutely nothing preventing Jimmy from snapping a photo of his post-pubescent junk to his girlfriend. It's just flim-flam and snake-oil, a fact made even more evident by the over-the-top sales pitch. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"With, you can rest assured that your children are safe and protected from inappropriate email and text messages. The patent pending process protects children from questionable and dangerous email and text messages by preventing inappropriate messages from reaching your child and notifying the parent that 'questionable content' has been identified in an incoming or outgoing email or text message. Rest assured that your children are safe and protected from unwanted sexual advances and cyber-bullying with" - from the "Our Services" page.

How this works with cell phones is a bit of a mystery. Salon reports that the mobile service only works with Android, Blackberry, and iPhone - which makes me think that they only mean accessing the MouseMail e-mail account from those devices, and that actual text messaging, photo messaging, etc. - all the services teens actually use to communicate - are unaffected. Which makes me think that parents' rest is not in fact assured.

In fact, I'd like to segue from that to an earlier paragraph from that very same page, a paragraph that so succinctly sums up how American society has been sold a bill of goods in the name of "safety" - from the War on Terror to the authoritarian Taser culture to this very website.

"We can never do enough to keep our children safe. The tragedy is when we do too little. No parent should ever have to say 'If only I had done more.'"

You can, in fact, do too much to keep your children safe. You can keep them from having any experiences at all that teach them anything about risk assessment and danger. Or, more commonly, you can keep them from learning about aspects of society you want them to disapprove of - homosexuals, liberals, atheists, whatever. And then they grow up to be just like you. Stupid, and prone to giving pro-family scam artists their hard-earned money for pretend-safety.

And even then, everyone will still all be looking at titties and wieners. They'll just be doing it in secret shame.

*Tommeh, if you don't recall, is Minnesota goober-natorial candidate Tom Emmer.

**I recently learned that Tommeh has SEVEN KIDS. Which puts him well into Dangerously Insane territory on the Lambert Index of Breeding.