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Parents and kids, Porn and Libraries (83 posts)

1. Parents and kids, Porn and Libraries
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 2:15 AM/EST
RatGirl

Okay -- did everyone else hear the story on NPR this morning about the woman who's suing the library for not having software to keep her son from loading down feelthy pictures off the Internet and passing 'em around at school?

Now, I don't have kids, and I know a lot of you do. So -- somebody help me figure this out. Isn't it more the responsibility of the parent to raise a kid who doesn't want to do something like that more than it's the responsibility of the library to keep people from looking at feelthy pictures? Or am I being a naive non-parent?

Ratso

2. Porn?
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 10:04 AM/EST
Sharon

I heard that and had pretty much the same reaction you did! I do have kids - 21 and 23 yr old sons so we are a little past this point - by the time we got the Internet they were both over 18! At that point (and probably before) they both did their share of delving into the world of porn, but if I hadn't instilled in them the correct attitude toward women, it was way too late (and believe me, that was a BIG part of their upbringing!)!

I think the case should be thrown out of court - the library is not there to babysit this woman's child - if she cannot trust him not to look at porn on the computer, than SHE is the one that has to sit with him and supervise! If this were a school library, she might have a legitimate complaint, but in a public library...I am pretty sure protection of kids from 'questionable' material, electronic or print, is NOT in their charter! And I wouldn't want it to be!

3. Been there, done that
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 10:08 AM/EST
Kola

Ms. Rat, I'm absolutely with you on this one. When my daughters were growing up, I often wondered if my "parenting" (hate that word!) style was too casual, but in retrospect it compares awfully well with the amazingly irresponsible way parents are behaving now.

I've never been a big advocate of public schools, but it's clear they're being held responsible for way too much, and the real victims, of course, have been the children.

That said, I'm realistic enough to know even the most assiduous parental training probably couldn't compete with the hormonal imperatives that govern the lives of the pubescent. To the extent that kids surfing porno is perceived as a problem in a school environment, some controls (software or otherwise) are, perhaps, called for. To sue the school district for damages, however, is very, very silly.

BTW, looking forward to another 4 weeks of bantering with you all!

4. is not about software,the real obscenity....
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 11:11 AM/EST
alan O.

complicated issue...i think you folks are right but there is a but... in a society such as ours where it is pretty well accepted that both parents must work, that tv sets are baby sitters, consumerism is king and peer group pressure is greater than ever (helps fill the vacuum of working parents). we must take this into consideration when assigning responsibility to parents. remember not all parents are able to give our kids what we gave/give our kids (except for ratzo). i think the problem is that no one wants to deal with the problem of just why parents aren't parenting, that's parenting properly. again people are in this mess way above their heads and are desperately seeking help. i wonder if this woman also thinks taxes should be progressive, that we should have national health care etc. or is she one of the who preach the right wing cowboy/girl individualism, your on your own agenda? to me that is the real obscenity - that hypocrisy. i apologize for sounding like a broken record but...remember when we use the argument, that this woman should be responsible herself as a parent, that is exactly the argument the conservatives use against progressive people such as us, and on so many issues. of course we should all take responsibility...but that is dependent on being capable of taking responsibility. when people are not able or capable, we (society as a whole) then must figure out a way for them to become responsible. but in a system that does teach/promotes/foster people to being responsible this creates a big problem. so i ask why wasn't that mother on npr not able to parent properly, that is the question. it's not about software thanks.

5. CORRECTION. i'm sorry....
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 11:42 AM/EST
alan O.

should be: but in a system that does NOT teach/promote/foster people to being responsible this creates.....

6. libraries & censorship
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 12:48 PM/EST
LouisC

I work as a computer programer for a private university, and my primary responsibility is support of the university libraries
computer software. When we started to make internet access available in our libraries, the issue of pornography, and limiting
access was talked about. Of course we are dealing with university students, so we aren't taking about young children, but the
basic idea that was agreed upon is since we don't censor the books we offer on our shelves, we also wouldn't try to limit
what was available over the internet.

Should the public library the woman is suing also have to remove books from it's collection that are not appropriate for
children? Are they supposed to post a security guard at certain locations in the library, to make sure minors don't go to a
particular shelf? Isn't putting that kind of software on their computers the same thing?

This is not to say it's an easy issue to deal with. At our library, for example, we have had students complain that they see
other students pulling up pornographic images on their computer screens in plain view of other patrons. We have a large
number of computers in our libraries, and it would not be practical to place them so they cannot be seen by other patrons.

7. Yep, and...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 12:51 PM/EST
owl kathy

I agree, Alan. I, too, have noticed this trend away from personal responsibility and toward finding somebody, ANYBODY, else to blame. (e.g. the lady that sued McDonald's because she scalded herself with her coffee [who doesn't know that coffee out of a coffeepot is hot?!]; smokers who blame the tobacco companies for their cancer [who hasn't known for 30 years now that smoking will give you cancer?!]; and now this mom, bless her!)

When did this start? Does it have anything to do with the growth of the "victim" mentality (hate to call it that, but couldn't think of better term)? How wide-spread is it, or are we all still pretty responsible and these examples strike us and draw attention because of their rareness and "extremeness."

8. and...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 12:57 PM/EST
owl kathy

Here's the next suit: Guy (person) driving down the street talkin' on the cell phone. Attention's divided. Causes an accident. Sues the cell phone company!! *giggle* Sorry--just couldn't resist!

9. Um.
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 1:01 PM/EST
RatGirl

"Desperately seeking help" parenting to me doesn't equate with suing a public library because you didn't teach your kid that handing out pictures of naked ladies to your schoolyard pals might not be such a hot idea. Considering the kind of issues that this sort of legal action will cause across the US, I personally don't think that this is really a good excuse, although it might qualify for an underlying reason.

Rick? Barrister? Do you think she has a case?

ratso

10. call me mr. root cause....
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 1:25 PM/EST
alan O.

wooooooooow! hey ratzo hold your horses....i'm only saying that social/economic/political etc. conditions have created a situation where this npr gal wants to sue the library. i am not for suing (i agree it's nuts), but i'm saying what kind of society have we become that gets people to that point of suing in place of parenting. and more important what are we going to do about it? i am not in the blame game here, i am trying to offer insight and a possible road to a possible solution to a definite problem. what good does it do anyway to say that this nutty npr woman is nutty - end of sentence! we need the next sentence; let's take the next step and ask why is, and what causes her behavior to sue instead of parent properly? then we can begin to begin to even think about changing the behavior. you get my drift? calll me mr. root cause.

11. um & um's they melt in your hand not in your ...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 1:44 PM/EST
alan O.

and for rick and the counsler, they must be busy parenting. thanks

12. Continuing on the same subject...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 2:01 PM/EST
Sharon

First - alan - we aren't talking about the library in a public school - that would be a different situation. This is a public library - not just for children. Has nothing to do with public schools - and that is another subject entirely that I don't want to get into.

owlkathy - I agree that there are ridiculous lawsuits - but I am so tired of hearing about the woman who sued McDonalds - this has grown into one of those urban myths. Don't get me wrong - this woman did end up suing, but only after she had originally gone to the management of McDonalds and they dismissed her. The cup was not closed properly, the coffee was WAY too hot, and all she wanted originally was to get her medical bills paid. It was only AFTER she was rebuffed that it grew into such a big deal.

OK - off my soapbox.

13. a gal named sue....
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 2:53 PM/EST
alan O.

sharon, what i am saying doesn't matter - public, private, school library or any library. please don't misunderstand me. i also am against this lawsuit but... all i am saying is that i just want to find out why the npr gal would get to the point where she feels the need to sue. if we can understand how the situation came about, why the kids behave the way they do, why the parents feel they can't control their own kids, etc. then we can begin to begin to solve the problem. we agree!!! i just want to see if we can stop these lawsuits before they begin!!!!! now i am bit confused since you then go on to defend the woman in the mcdonald's coffee law suit. that's comparing coffee to tea, not coffee to coffee. totallly different circumstances. you made you case for her suing mickydees very well. thanks.

14. The thing is...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 5:05 PM/EST
RatGirl

Today's parents were the kids my parent's generation brought up. Surely they were never taught by the Depression era parents that this was okay, this sort of parenting. Is this another baby boomer thing?

Yipes.

rg

15. Boomer Parenting...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 6:28 PM/EST
Sharon

First - alan, I am not defending the MickeyD suit - only explaining it - why (perhaps) it came about in the first place, and then obviously, got WAY out of hand!

RG - I am a BB (Baby Boomer - if the shoe fits...) - born in 1951. My parents didn't teach me to parent in that manner, and I didn't (and don't). I did tend to be more liberal (read that more open) with my kids - and they are VERY open with me. I did work - didn't wait until I was in my 30's to have kids - had them young and worked (and no, they are not juvenile delinquents, nor have they each fathered 10 children (or any, for that matter) so I guess it MAY be possible to raise decent kids and work), but I still did parent my children to the fullest extent of that word. I really don't think this type of litigious behavior has anything to do with the Boomer generation. Maybe it's the 'Pleasantville' type of mentality - if you've seen the movie - if you haven't, quick, go see it!

I'll end this rambling now. After all, I AM supposed to be working!

Sharon

16. true confessions
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 7:14 PM/EST
owl kathy

Yea, Sharon! Now I know I'm not the only one doing RealityCheck on company time!

And I couldn't agree with you more about recommending "Pleasantville."

And thanks for lifting the fog (that I didn't even know was there) about the coffee suit a couple entries ago.

And I don't know WHY the litigious atmosphere nowadays, but it's definitely increased in the last 20-25 years!

17. i rest my case...maybe
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 9:02 PM/EST
alan O.

hello! i think i am not coming in clearly and i take full responsibility for poor communications. why have we created so many unbalanced parents out there? i'm trying to deal with psychological- sociological dynamic of the society. it is possible to be a good, well intended parent today and still have to deal with all the other input that children have throughout in life. my sense is that people are neither born good nor bad, but just born waiting to be formed. that people become who they are due to the input that they absorb (bf skinner writes on this topic quite well) and when they absorb it. note i don't dicount genetics. my point is that the npr gal(should we call her sue? ha ha ha) is not one of a kind but that there many others sues out there like her. that when a form of behavior becomes so widespread and not isolated we must look to the role that society plays in contributating to that behavior. something is amiss in our society. one only need to open their eyes and look around to the , madison avenue, media, there schools, sports, entertainment, waco tx, ruby ridge, jonestown, gary bauer, david duke, how people relate or should i say not relate to each other and on & on & on. sharon i have NO DOUBTS that you & your husband are good parents just by the kind of person you come across via this forum. but think of all the possibilities that could of happened so that your kids might have gone down the wrong path. i know that you are a person who has values that are based in family, and decent ethics and people come before things. news bulletin: you are unfortunately parenting against the on coming tide of a different ethic in society. people who might be a little weaker or more vulnerable to social pressure unable to be as strong a parent as maybe you or i or ratzo or owl might be, opens the door for other influences. a vacuum occurs and videos, computer games, pornography (that could be another subject), the religious right, you name it. the whole crap cultural out there just fills in where nothing is there. we have no extended families, communities are places where people live and go off to work and don't form a sense of "community". people shop in malls and main street is gone and it took those familiar faces with it.i think you know what i'm getting at (i hope). we need to understand that sue is an unhappy person, who is not able to control her life let alone her kid's. this happens when people are alienated. we are a society of increasing alienation from work, to play, to the public's disgust with politics (remember the impeachment) etc. i feel both sorry for sue and also the effect of her being alienated. it is not simple to solve, but i know she is not going away. she and all the other sues have to be dealt with because they give birth to little sues. something is rotten & not just in denmark. people are not just out of balance there is a reason. it is our responsibilty to find the reason in order to bring back balance. i promise to say no more on the subject. but don't read my lips. thanks.







18. Bi-cycles made for two
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 9:44 PM/EST
RatGirl

Cycles, cycles, cycles. There are complaints back in the time of the Caesars about kids not having respect for their elders and a deletorious drop in the manners and education and people not bringing up their children properly.

ARE there that many unbalanced parents out there now? People were complaining about this very subject right before the turn of the century, too. Is it perhaps sociological that more people can now afford to DO something like sue someone?

Maybe we're assuming our time is more special than it really is. Maybe this is a normal human thing. Maybe we just hear about it more now.

Thoughts?

rg

19. Blame the media...
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 10:47 PM/EST
Sharon

alan - I do understand your point - RG - I think you have hit the nail on the head. There ARE terrible things going on 'out there' - bad or non-existent parenting, children murdering children, various and sundry beings committing (sp?) unspeakable acts on other beings, etc.. IMHO, this has ALWAYS gone on, to one extent or another, sometimes more, sometimes less. One thing is for sure - when it goes on now, we ALL hear about it - ALL about it, IMMEDIATELY, from all sides, all walks of life, in print, on the radio, in the papers, on the Net, etc.. Can't get away from it even if we try! I really don't think there is anything new - just new ways of looking at things, or hearing about them.

Everything old is new again...even the bad stuff!

20. Next up:
Fri, Jan 15, 1999 - 11:59 PM/EST
RatGirl

So I wonder if one can do anything about it?

21. the whole new dynamic is = to more than the sum of it's parts
Sat, Jan 16, 1999 - 8:50 AM/EST
alan O.

sharon, here is what's new and why it is different today. but first, what is constant in human nature - the desire for survival. what's different is that a) things happen at a much faster rate b) there is more happening at once c) technology increases possibilities many times d) a,b,& c creates a whole NEW DYNAMIC. we hardly know the extent or the degree of a,b & c on modern society but what we know is that they definitely have an effect on people. don't you think it affects people knowing that it is possible that if some terrorist could possible wipe out most of nyc with a drop of some germ or biological weapon? that's new. this takes on a life of it's own. we know that people are very effected when they live in crowded cities, the stress of urban living. jobs that are mindless, meaningless & demeaning. yes things as you say have been happening but the results are different and that effects people and differently. ratzo herself many post ago said that there is an overload of information on people. (thanks ratzo)this has an effect on peoples' behavior! much of what influences human behavior feels like an ether that one can't feel touch or see, but it's there, trust me. part of the problem is that we don't understand the ramafications of what all this is doing to us. the whole is equal to more than the sum of it's parts. something's happening in here, but what it is ain't exactly clear... thanks

22. Whup...
Sat, Jan 16, 1999 - 12:53 PM/EST
RatGirl

*grin* Just remember, that little theory of mine is just a theory, or really, more a hypothesis. I wonder -- has anyone seen any research on this sort of work?

23. And...
Sat, Jan 16, 1999 - 5:54 PM/EST
RatGirl

Any of you sociological or historian types got any comments about whether parenting has gone downhill to now?

24. The times have been a changin...
Sat, Jan 16, 1999 - 11:23 PM/EST
Sharon

Yes alan - things are different now - parenting has changed - but I don't know if one can link this to the bigger picture of the threat of 'the bomb' - different now than 30 years ago, for sure, but tell me - honestly now, how often do you really think about the possibility of some terrorist blowing NYC off the face of the earth? I don't think there is any one reason for the way parenting has gone downhill...if there was (or if there was any reasonable explanation, we could fix it! Listen - I don't understand it myself - I taught for a few years (about 25 yrs ago) and I was astounded then at the behavior of the kids...I continue to be flabbergasted at the behavior of kids and adults, but I am no closer to an explanation of that behavior now than I was then. Think there are as many reasons for those behaviors as there are people who manifest those behaviors, unfortunately. One can set a nasty trap with this type of talk - what I alluded to earlier - things weren't all that wonderful way back when, but that is a simplistic plea of the right-wing, Conservative Christian, 'pro-life' movement - if we would just go back to those 'wonderful' times, with Mom in the kitchen, all of our problems would be solved. Well - I grew up in th 50's - they weren't all that great!

25. Picking at a few threads
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 2:46 PM/EST
Jim43

Sharon, my wife and I are almost your age and just like you we have two sons. They're ages 1 & 7. I don't agree with all the gloom and doom expressed here that "parenting has changed" presumably for the worse. Everyone I know is honestly giving it their best shot. It's a challenge to raise kids; I can't believe it has ever been otherwise.

What grabbed my attention was Kola's statement back in post #3: "I've never been a big advocate of public schools..." I blanched as I read that; what could he mean? Everyone needs to be an advocate of public schools, even if they elect to send their own kids to private or parochial ones, because the vast majority of us, voters and voters of the future, went to and will send our kids to public schools. They're essential.

26. Jim:
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 3:06 PM/EST
RatGirl

D'you think that's why this woman is suing the public library? Because she's trying to remove a "challenge" to her parenting?

Even I, a non-parent, understand that kids are their own separate entities and that you have only so much control over them. However, if I'd ever done anything like what this kid did, I was quite aware that I would have been in some pretty major doodoo and that purdah would seem quite gentle in comparison to my punishment. That would have served (and in fact did serve) as a pretty major brake to me in my younger years.

I guess the whole reason I was commenting about this in the first place is that it seemed like such an abrogation of parental responsibility by this woman, blaming the public library for something she should have been instilling in her kid from day one. He probably doesn't understand that porn reduces people to mere objects any more than most of the population that is titillated by porn, but I think she has only herself to blame for that failure of education in her kid.

Seems to me that you can't keep your kid from indulging in this sort of thing any more than you can keep them from trying out smoking or drinking with their friends. But you can teach them about what those things mean and the consequences of when you indulge in them. I can't blame Larry Flynt and his ilk for porn. Hey, people buy it. Therefore I can't blame a public library for it either. You have to go looking to find it, you know. Like TV, it's your choice whether to press the remote channel changer.

Or is this more naive non-parent stuff from me?

La Rat

27. Public Schools
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 3:09 PM/EST
Sharon

Wow - Jim43, I have to tell you that I am glad that my more active parenting years are behind me, while yours are just beginning! I agree with you about public schools - even if you choose not to send your own children to them, your own interests are served by making them better. I have to admit, after I was finally finished with public schools, in hindsight, I may have started out differently, but as in so far as that is not possible, I'm glad I stuck to my original theory that I wanted to send my children to public school so they could get the experience of all types of kids, instead of just those of similar backgrounds or religion as themselves.

It worked out better for one child than the other - depends a lot on personality. But...both are caring, nice, bright people, with progressive ideas and gentle thoughts. As I said - there have always been good parents and bad parents - with and without means, with and without higher education, with and without organized religion, with and without community support. If you care about your children, you will raise them right.

28. not the library, not the parent, then who?
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 4:30 PM/EST
alan O.

sharon just a few things (right). first of all very important, that when i mention parents, i canıt emphasis enough that i make a clear distinction between you, jim43, ratzo, myself, your friends etc. and the people such as npr sue. youıre absolutely 1,000% correct, it isnıt just the ³bomb² but many different dynamics contributing to social problems. as for jim43 talking about doom & gloom i would like you to think of it another way; that itıs about being a realist and not putting oneıs head in the sand. i donıt think the sky is falling (although how do you feel about the ozone hole being larger than (i think they say) the state of maine. if we donıt tend to our problems and turn them around the prognosis is poor. acknowledgement of the problem is 90% of the solution the saying goes. to not appreciate the extent of our problems is denial, and i donıt mean the river in egypt. sharon we donıt disagree on the conservatives trying to conserve by thinking we can go back to ³the good old days². or for you sharon & myself, the fifties. i am not under any illusions. but I am not talking about then and what does it matter if we agree putting mom back in the kitchen wasnıt so wonderful. i ask you the following; not your kids, nor your friendsı kids, not your friends who are good parents, but all those parents/kids you see in mcdonalds (i confess i donıt go to mcdıs) smacking their kids who are out of control, all those kids who you described in your teaching experience, all the kids who worship sports/business/entertainment stars, all those kids glassy eyed addicted to video/computer games, all those people with kids on drugs, all those people with ill mannered kids, etc. how did this come about? and without telling me (which i agree with you about) that the 50ıies werenıt so hot. how did we end up with some many parents not able to parent? if things havenıt changed so much then why are there so many of the kids today filled with such anger? kids killing people? unable to speak clearly? and why are there so many people like npr sue? a small point about mom in the kitchen in the 50ıies. a big problem is that we havenıt (as a society) solved, and that is the problem of child care in order to deal with both parents working. i am not thrilled with momsı being locked in the kitchen, but i am not also thrilled with kids being brought up on tv. donıt you think that there is a dehumanization out there? kids are not learning social skills sitting in front of computers/video & tv sets all day and then parents coming home exhausted unable to spend time with them. donıt you think the trend toward materialism has an effect on peoplesı values? donıt you think when richard nixon was caught abusing his power it had an effect? or lyndon johnson with his vietnam war? that to a large extend made possible by modern media, something that didnıt happen in the 50ıies. i think it is simplistic to think that all everyone has to do is be good parents, take care of their own families/kids and everything would be hunkie dorie. if they could they would. THEY CAN²T. WHY????? and when you express your not uderstanding the reason for such social disfunction these days and not having the answer, how could you, how can any of us (except maybe ratzo) ? but we canıt throw up our hands and say, while npr sue is wrong to sue the library, itıs her responsibility as a parent to deal with her own kid. if she and many others arenıt dealing with their own kids, somebody better or god help us. then the sky will fall. remember those kids will be adults someday and they will have the authority of being adults. and the cycle will go on & on & on.... but each generation it will get more widespread.thanks.

29. sex must be npr sue's first problem...
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 4:52 PM/EST
alan O.

ratzo children learn by copying behavior of others around them. the younger the child the more the influence. so if you are a decent person and treat your mate decently etc., your kids will imitate that behavior and do as you do. not rocket science. now pornography.... i have mixed feelings about a sweeping generalization concerning the subject. i think that sex is a very natural and essential part of life. exploiting people or dehumanizing them or making them uncomfortable is not good, i agree completely with you. and i also am no fan of larry flynt. but he is a perverse pornographer no different than bob livingston was a perverse congressman. there could be valid pornography and there could be valid congresspeople. and how we relate both of them to our kids is essential as to just how they will handle them. i suspect that npr sueıs first problem is how she related to her child about SEX - probably she could use some therapy herself in that area. by the way sharon, that would be a good place to start dealing with the problem, what do ya think? thanks.

30. Except maybe me, what?
Sun, Jan 17, 1999 - 5:10 PM/EST
RatGirl

Should I be taking offense at that, Alan? Are you saying that maybe I think I DO have the answer to that?

I have my suspicions and theories, but I don't think I have any stringent Answers to anything. People are too varied for me to think that I have one single Answer.

But, that said, personally, I DO think that that woman does have the responsibility to care for her kid in a way that makes him a good citizen of our society. We should as a society expect it. If we don't, it won't happen.

The following is one of my favorite quotes (what else, I'm sorry) from *Hope Against Hope: A Memoir* by Nadezhda Mandelstam. For "kindness," you may substitute a great many things and have it still work:

"There were once many kind people, and even unkind ones pretended to be good because that was the thing to do. Such pretense was the source of the hypocrisy and dishonesty so much exposed in the realist literature at the end of the last century. The unexpected result of this kind of critical writing was that kind people disappeared. Kindness is not, after all, an inborn quality -- it has to be cultivated, and this only happens when it is in demand. For our generation, kindness was an old-fashioned, vanished quality, and its exponents were as extinct as the mammoth. Everything we have seen in our times -- the...class warfare, the constant "unmasking" of people, the search for an ulterior motive behind every action -- all this as taught us to be anything you like except kind."

What we expect from the citizens of our society is often what we get, don't you think? As a child, if you knew everyone would make fun of you for wearing that icky, uncool sweater your Aunt Matilda made you, you didn't like wearing it. Sometimes you didn't care, because you knew Aunt Matilda had made it out of love for you, and you loved her, so you wore it anyway, and sometimes even bragged that Aunt Matilda had made it for you. (Okay, so that's a best case scenario.) Sometimes it was also uncomfortable, so you only wore it when you had to, say when Aunt Matilda visited. Maybe you wore it out of the house all right, where Mom had her eye on you, but you whipped it off as soon as you got to school before the kids could see you in it. Point is, you felt pressure from differing sides about that stupid sweater. Where the pressure was greatest, you gave.

If we expect all parents to be "good" parents (whatever the hell that means to anyone), then there will be societal pressure on all parents to *be* good parents. If there's no pressure -- voila -- the result will be less good parents. I'm not saying that maybe it wouldn't be a good thing to give all parents the tools to BE good parents -- what a concept. Luckily, we seem to have all survived our parents and I suppose we'll all continue to do so.

But there -- this may be a case of good sense over logic.

rg

31. do the right thing & i'm sorry ratzo!!!!!!!
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 7:36 AM/EST
alan O.

ratzo, oh please no. i didn't mean to be rude. i apologize. it was actually out of respect for your intelligence and my failure to be clear about my humor. i only meant to say that in fact your like me, always some answer for any problem and i admire that!!!! apology accepted? anyway we seem to be going in circles so answer me a question please? what you are saying, as far as i can understand, is sort of the bootstrap philosophy of parenting children. i am saying if a person was not properly parented and socialized (and there can be many reasons) then how do they know to properly parent their kids? if social conditions are such that people are so stressed to the point of acting irrational, what do we do? you can't just say to npr sue; here do the right thing. she is not capable of doing what your parents and mine did. and as far as society expecting certain behavior from people, you make my point. they don't demand npr sue to do the right thing and so they don't get it. but it isn't in terms of demanding but rather of teaching and soicalizing. if we don't socialize our citizens properly, they act antisocial. thanks.

32. To the early bird...
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 9:49 AM/EST
Sharon

Alan - you are up early (and thinking clearly too)! I think maybe I have given the wrong impression - I do think things have changed in society as a whole - I don't think the reason for our problems is the lack of good parenting, that's all! The problems lie in the bigger picture - yes, materialism is in there (hate to admit that since I fall into that category too) - lack of decency is another - and the pundits that call more more prayer in our schools miss the point, I'm afraid - don't think that will help. The continued rape of the environment is another that is high on my list of things we need to do something about before the earth isn't fit to live on - the continued (growing) racial problems in our American society (blaming all of our problems on immigration, etc.) - the lowering of standards in public schools (saw it with my own eyes - talking about honors classes - not the bottom level) - where does it end? I don't think it does - we each have to begin and do what we can - starting with the education and proper socialization of our children, and our continued (and renewed) involvement in the community and resistance against the reactionary forces that are SO prevalent today. 'Nuff said.

33. One more time..
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 10:23 AM/EST
Sharon

OK - I printed out the last part of these threads to re-read - I DO find it difficults to absorb all that is said and meant reading a computer screen - kind of scary, since that is what I do for a living (programmer). Anyway - alan, don't let it be said that I think we should each learn how to parent out children and the rest be damned! I AM in favor of using whatever tools we can to properly educate ALL of our children (educate, socialize, humanize, etc.), since the bahavior of the kids next door, or down the block or in the next state, directly affect our own lives, and vice versa. I do think it take a village (and I have believed that concept for many year, way before Hillary used it). Wish we could get her (Hillary) involved in this discussion (sans Bill) - think she could come up with some good suggestions!!

34. full circle - no need to pray....
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 10:31 AM/EST
alan O.

you made my point, thank you. socialization exactly. as i recall i was the one who said the problem of npr sue was in THE BIG PICTURE. that society had been at the root of her not doing the right thing. you all said it was her problem to parent & not the library's or society's. we've finally locked hands and come full circle! no prayers needed! thanks. ps sharon, i'm early to bed and early to rise. it doesn't make me wealthy or wise.


35. sharon keep those posts coming...
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 11:01 AM/EST
alan O.

again exactly my point you've made again. when a child is being illparented it is us, the villlage, society who'd better deal with it now. because if not now when? hillary? that is quite a suggestion. this is an woman who is smart as a whip, poised, but oh does she leave me and many others wondering about her emotions. agree or disagree? as a parent can you answer me about her responsibility concerning chelsea in this whole monica affair? and i don't mean the affair of state. thanks

36. Socialization of parents AND children
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 1:23 PM/EST
RatGirl

No biggie, Alan. Anyway, what I'm saying is that I think we have to socialize both parents AND children. If we have no expectations of good behavior from either, we'll get no good behavior from either.

La Rat

37. is it too late?
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 1:36 PM/EST
alan O.

you socialize parents by socializing children since that comes first and they grow up to be the parents. unfortunately now the question is: is it too late for the parents? thanks

38. I don't think so.
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 1:51 PM/EST
RatGirl

I think we all want the approval of our peers and of society. Societal approval will always win out, no matter when the pressure starts being applied. Robert, don't suppose you'd be willing to expound on societal communication theory, would you? I wonder -- how could we start a movement of expecting Niceness and Good Parenting and Well-Beahved Children from everyone? :)

ratso

39. where bob?
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 2:33 PM/EST
alan O.

rat, clue me in. did i miss something, who's robert?

40. Robert, where are you?
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 4:19 PM/EST
RatGirl

LOL -- check the bios, Alan! Robert's our resident communications professor, arentcha, Robert? Robert? Where aaaaaare you?

rg

41. Language, syntax and jargon
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 5:04 PM/EST
BOB

Having read this thread, I see the same words and thoughts coming up as if they had an inherent meaning. For those of us not up on the latest social studies jargon maybe alan (of the missing upper case) can explain this sentence: "if we don't socialize our citizens properly, they act antisocial." HuH? What is the transitive verb "to socialize" (something)? Sounds a little like gving them a good beating "for their own good." Do you put our citizens in stocks and feed them a good dose of socialize?
I'd suggest to those who have written in this thread that you check these neologisms for the accurate depiction of what you want to say. The English language is so very rich in words and syntactical options there is no need for a loose, "you know" type of development. I think we'd all understand better, particularly while discussing high-level abstractions like freedom, home and love, if the terms used could be used in any ordinary conversation at the local coffee house or bar.
No offense, I just feel full of mushy ideas about raising and educating children that I don't understand. Clarity in anon-elotist way, please.

42. Musings...
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 5:26 PM/EST
Sharon

OK - Bob - I will leave it to others to answer your query - I don't feel up to it!

alan - I guess I'll keep sleeping late (on weekends) - at least I'm not missing out on all of the wealth - although my hubbie says I'm missing out on nature - OK - if I didn't have to get up at 5 during the week, maybe I'd get up earlier on weekends! Anyway...unfortunately I think Hillary either didn't know how to handle this as far as Chelsea was concerned - or more likely - didn't want to - that whole area remains a mystery to me - think the woman is sorely lacking in that area - I would have been OUT OF THERE years ago, but...ya never know. Until she explains it to me, I'll refrain from making a final assessment!

Going back to NPR Sue - if she can't (won't) parent her child - i.e. teach him not to look at porn behind her back and print it out for distribution to the rest of the little panting pre-adolescents in school, I don't think the library should block out those sites for all - nor should they be required to post a guard near the terminals. This goes back to the age-old question of individual morality/rights versus free-speech - but I'm not now nor will I ever be willing to restrict your access to material cause it might offend me - unlike the 'other' side!

OK - back to work now!

43. Bob: Straight English
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 6:32 PM/EST
RatGirl

so - cial - ize: 1) to make social or fit for cooperative group living. 2) to adapt to the common needs of a social group. 3) To put under government ownership. 4) to cause to become socialist -- vi. to take part in social activity. -- socialization n. -- socializer n.

Webster's New World Dictionary, Second Concise Edition

Hardly an elitist dictionary, don't you think? Perhaps I should have looked it up in the Oxford. *grin*

Of course, HOW you go about socializing the inhabitants of any social structure is up to the inhabitants. That would be us. That would be why I asked Robert to comment, since that's his business (ie: the business of how we communicate our ideas to each other), but there, maybe he doesn't wanna talk shop.

ratso

44. P.S.
Mon, Jan 18, 1999 - 6:35 PM/EST
RatGirl

Hey, Sharon, I forgot to tell you -- I post from work too! :)

rg

45. guess what bob-OFFENSE & just answer one question...
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 9:39 AM/EST
alan O.

how big and how deep is that thing that is up your ass? wow i was just wondering who died and appointed bobbie english teacher with a little red pencil. must say i'm not above constructive criticism nor would i assume for a sec (bob is it okay to use sec?) to be the great communicator, nor speller, nor writer like bobbie. i apologize for being an artist and that i just happen to be a visual person. i am so sorry. i should have known i had no right to write. or bob is it.... write tohow big and how deep is that thing that is up your ass? wow i was just wondering who died and appointed bobbie english teacher with a little red pencil. must say i'm not above constructive criticism nor would i assume for a sec (bob is it okay to use sec?) to be the great communicator, nor speller, nor writer like bobbie. i apologize for being an artist and that i just happen to be a visual person. i am so sorry. i should have known i had no right to write. or bob is it.... write to right? please correct me? bobbie would you like to share some of your visual images with th group?. for someone who claims to be in the business of communicating you sure do a good job of turning people off. oh i forgot bobbie, you canıt understand what i wrote because itıs all in lower case.

46. Count to ten...
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 9:50 AM/EST
Sharon

OK, alan - now tell us how you REALLY feel! :-}

47. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,910...fine thanks for asking.
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 10:10 AM/EST
alan O.

there's nothing up my ass.

48. a ship called censor...or access?
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 10:28 AM/EST
alan O.

sharon, never have called for censorship so you ain't going to get me to disagree with you about that. did i give you the impression i thought the library should be a censor? thanks.

49. Alan and Bob
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 10:49 AM/EST
MaryL

Calm down, guys. Let's stick to civilly discussing the issues raised. I must say, tho, Alan, that I often skip your posts, because the e. e. cummings style and minimalist grammer do make your posts difficult to follow. But I'm an accountant, not an artist, so perhaps the failing is mine.

Mary Lynn

50. Language, again
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 9:02 PM/EST
BOB

Well, well, well . . .did I strike a nerve? Did I offend a small group of those who have to be right?
Since I confess to being a curmudgeon, my first post was written because it was what I felt and the offense I felt as an "outsider". I do not cry victimhood, I just ask you regular posters (less than 5 of you)to DG 9 to ask yourselves to write as if you were new to the group or did not speak the psychological jargon - the "in" talk for this thread - and ask if you can be generally understood.
To MaryL: you are obviously a good influence. I will put a bridle on my curmugeonhood, restrict my sarcasm (the last refuge of a small mind) and grin in anticipation of stirring this cosy pot in the future.
To Alan O: I know lots of bright, succesful artists who write carefully and with the reader, not their ego, in mind.

51. Can't we all get along....
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 9:36 PM/EST
Sharon

Was going to put no message, but I remembered something.

alan o. - No, I didn't think you were calling for censorship. But...what should the library have done (if anything - I don't think they should do anything) to circumvent NPR Sue's lack of parenting skills?

52. Hmmm, Bob...
Tue, Jan 19, 1999 - 10:27 PM/EST
RatGirl

The point of my post is that we weren't using psychological and up to the minute jargon, Bob. The copyright of the second concise edition of the Websters is from 1975...hardly a modern edition. "Socialize" is a perfectly good word with a pedigree that goes back further than Sigmund Freud. Besides, while you may find terms like "socialize" cumbersome and not conducive to understanding, I have to admit that I talk that way all the time. It's not even like I'm trying. I just have that sort of vocabulary.

Be a curmudgeon all you like. I happen to like curmudgeons, myself. I'd personally prefer it if you "stirred the pot" -- it makes for a much more interesting forum. The only reason the "regular posters" post and don't lurk is that we like to discuss things, which is, I believe, one of the points of RC in the first place. If your joy is to figure out where you can make the most trouble at any given time instead of telling us what you think about the subject at hand, feel free. Otherwise, I personally would like to hear your "mushy ideas" about child-raising, whether you feel they're elitist or not.

Hey, Bob, why don't you start a thread asking people to talk a lot plainer and whether that's more useful than talking about people using "psychological terms"? We can argue about the degradation of the English language there, if you like.

I agree with you, Sharon -- I don't think the library should be responsible for making up for a lack of parenting skills. But what to do about it? I still think the pressure of her peers would help her figure out her duties as a parent better and faster than anything else. (See, Bob, I didn't use "socialize" in there even once, and I coulda. *grin*)

ratso

53. "the great communicator"
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 10:16 AM/EST
alan O.

after you call maryl to the head of the class, bobbie, you might want to make an appointment with a good proctologist. then you might see a shrink to deal with your "feelings" about being an "outsider". gee...didn't know you were so sensitive. or did we ratzo? also very impressed about your artist friends - love to meet them. and finally bobbie i forgot to thank you for all your kind help.

54. on 2nd thought....
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 10:33 AM/EST
alan O.

hey bobbie i have a better idea that might save you some bucks and doctor appointments. you do understand what bucks means - wouldn't want you to feel like an outsider. we will all submit what we want to post to you first. you can check them over, and with your approval send them back (of course corrected) and then we can go ahead and post them. and for me, specially, you can make sure i'm not too full of myself. wow i'm really excited! what you think teach?

55. ahem!
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 12:21 PM/EST
LouisC

Am I the only one upset with the tone of the Bob & alan O. exchanges? Is it too much to ask for a little civility... something sorley lacking in.. say Congress,. for example! ;-)

In other words, lighten up guys!

Just my 2 cents... thanks.

56. 2 cents plain...
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 1:05 PM/EST
alan O.

no louis your not. "the communicator" is very also upset, that is with my writing skills and bloated ego. i certainly understand and appreciate your reaction and i really don't intend to cause a problem for you or the group. i certainly apologize if i am unreasonable or upset you or anyone. but when somebody out of the blue is nasty and abusive, due to no provocation, i find it reasonable not to just take the abuse. it's kind of like the schoolyard bully - if you let them bully they will get away with it. in fact if everyone feels i'm unreasonable and would prefer me to leave the group....no problem. i find it rather ironic for someone who's bio states;

"I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1974. Now I am a Professor of Communications at Indiana University,Richmond. I teach courses in public address & persuasion. I am most interested in political & social communication. My would deacribe my political views as 'moderately liberal'"

you fooled me bobbie. and please note that this is copied directly from reality check's email. please note his last sentence. i will give him the benifit of the doubt and say maybe it wasn't his error or if it was no big deal. maybe bob needs more than a "reality check"? maybe he needs his manners have a "reality check out"?

57. Alan....
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 1:31 PM/EST
RatGirl

No, that's Robert. Not Bob. Two different guys. Bob's the curmudgeon, Alan.

rg

58. an asshole by anyother name is still an asshole.
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 1:44 PM/EST
alan O.

rg, right, & there's tooth fairy.

59. C'mon, Alan...
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 2:07 PM/EST
RatGirl

Let it go, willya? Robert is the communications professor. Bob is the curmudgeon. So what if Bob think whatever he thinks? Stoppit and let's get back to the interesting stuff, OK? Please?

rg

60. bob or rebo & npr sue....
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 2:08 PM/EST
alan O.

oooooooh right you are ratzo. my tail is between my legs. robert, i am on my knees with pads borrowed from monica (but for a different reason). i apologize ROBERT!!!! as for bob aka "the communicator", my advice still stands - learn some manners. ratzo do you think robert is friends with npr sue? will he sue me? will i need a lawyer? oh boy! see, if i had submitted this first to "the communicator" none of this would have happen.

61. you're right a sex scandal is more interesting...
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 2:22 PM/EST
alan O.

oh no ratzo, who's willya? i'll have to look up his bio. intersting stuff...umh. i guess your right a sex scandal is much more intersting. okay back to that. bye bob.

62. WHOA!
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 6:32 PM/EST
owl kathy

C'mon alan, LIGHTEN UP! Opinions are welcome here without the fear of verbal flagellation by a fellow group member. Bob spoke his mind. Let it go...

Or----is this the very subject we have been adressing in this thread? Socialization? Civility? Whatever you want to call it.

63. just between you & me....
Wed, Jan 20, 1999 - 7:35 PM/EST
alan O.

well owl i guess you might as well get in line. i'll take your 'lighten up' advice under advisement. just between you and me, i'm not thrilled with the direction bob's nose is pointed. but please don't let anyone know i said that. i'd hate for the rest of the group to know i feel that way. and about opinions, would you really be interested in what i think about how bob writes? i could be mushy if you want.

64. How silly
Thu, Jan 21, 1999 - 10:36 PM/EST
BOB

Need I say more?
I take the old saying used by Harry Truman very seriously, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." I thank those who have jumped to the defense of the unpopular Bob, and I consider that evidence that good manners still prevail. I like hot and heavy discussion with civility. If calling attention to method of disposition is considered uncivil on RC, then I am in the wrong venue. Just to bring in a little history, check Cicero's orations and debates (no analogy to mine intended).
BTW, I'd love to hear from the often maligned Robert on all this. Did I pick up something from his past posts I didn't know about?

65. Every time I think it's safe to go back in the water...
Thu, Jan 21, 1999 - 10:50 PM/EST
RatGirl

Bob, as a matter of fact, maybe you shouldn't say more. Perhaps you and Alan should start sticking out your tongues and waggling them at each other now. Will you please stop, already? Sheesh.

And you never did answer me, either, Bob, which was very uncivil of you considering that I have answered you very civilly each time. So there.

Rat

66. my hands out....
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 9:21 AM/EST
alan O.

i want to say apologize to the group for anything i did that might have upset any of you. while some things were posted by some folks that i might disagree with, i do respect your right to express them. while my response may not have been my finest hour, please understand that rc (as i understand) is meant to be a place to exchange ideas, not to criticize people persoanlly or even how they express their ideas. when this happened out of the blue i couldn't understand why bob would do what he did, grumpy or not. in fact had he offered me constructive advice or help in a friendly way- hey i'd love to improve myself in anyway possible. his comment about my ego - what could i say. i might be passionate and seem self assured about my thoughts, feelings & sense of injustice, and desire to improve the human condition, & yes idealistic but self involved - i don't think so. and if i gave that impression to ANYONE i am so sorrry. i sense it was more of him projecting. i was also a bit disappointed that some folks seemed to be NOT bothered by this and just wanted it to go away. and i guess i can even accept that. my mistake was the way i responded, hence my response became 'the issue' for some - and the message was lost in the delivery. if being upset & surprised and then expressing my feelings emotionally, i am guitly. for that i accept the consequences. in a jester of good will and for the good of everyone, i offer bob a truce. as the late israeli leader rabin said "enough is enough". in thinking thinks over i decided i must not just preach, but must also practice. bob my hand is out. i thank you all in advance for your understanding & forgiveness.
ps. i want to thank rc, in not just the spirit of what it fosters by appealing to the better in people, but in this case being sucessful! i especially want to publicly thank barry joseph in being, as my people would say, a real "mensch" in appealing to my "good karma" with your "good karma".

67. Now you've done it...
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 4:11 PM/EST
buck

Hello everyone. I read the newsletter and I was intrigued by the "pornography, public library" advertisement. The RC creators are proud enough of us DG9'ers to tell others to check out the insightful comments in a thread and what does it turn into? What started out as a discussion about parenting, morals and civility has become a plea for a truce and a return to said civility. (apologies to BOB for any mixed tenses or grammatical offenses)

I was somewhat suprised at how quickly alan took offense to BOB's comments. Emotional outbursts seem to be out of character for you, alan. But I also must commend you for being big enough to offer apologies. Props to you.

All that aside, in reference to parenting, being somewhat new to it (my oldest is 6, my youngest is 2 and I have many miles to go before I sleep) I may not know much. But this I believe:My kids are my life. My job, career, religion, hobbies, political opinions, and everything else come in a distant 3rd place behind my 3 (or more?) kids and my wife (who A.would KILL me if she knew I was writing this and B.would DIE from embarassment if she knew I was writing this). And since they are my life I will do all in my power to ensure they have the courage to voice their own opinions (even if they are contrary to mine) the self confidence to pursue their own happiness, and the faith that I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be their loving dad, complete with faults and good intentions.

Now I may be naive, but I believe there are more parents out there that share the same belief. However, they are smarter than me based on the fact that they don't care to profess it. They don't care what others think and they're not trying to fit into some sociological class. So when the occaisional "Sue" pops out of the wood work I just shake my head and wonder to myself "Where do they find these people?"

Do I worry about my kids looking at porno? Sure. Do I fear for the safety of m daughtersnd my son? Daily. But aside from that, I just plod along and try to get the kidspschool, lay nice with

68. Sorry about the meltdown
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 4:15 PM/EST
buck

I had a melt down before I finished;

Get my kids to play nice, say please and thank you and hope they turn out to be decent human beings.

Thanks

69. Reality check
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 4:48 PM/EST
Fish

only one person dealing with the posted theme at this site? What is that about? Our school computers have a device which protects kids from unhealthy sites. I imagine parents could do that too. My children are grown, but I monitored their movies and discussed their reading materials with them sharing those I thought would be thought provoking and value forming (no TV--barbaric mom).Technology is not the problem; the printing press might also have been looked upon as the enemy. The problem is parenting or the lack thereof and a plethera (sp.?) of unhealthy information easily available regardless of age.
How can such things exist though, if people are not laying out hard earned money to support them. We need a better caliber human being and then these things are non-issues.

70. hard to beleive, but they're out there...
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 5:48 PM/EST
alan O.

buck you got me to laugh out loud. and most of all by your question of 'where do they find these people?' well if you could beleive it buck, i live 60 miles north of nyc & a local school district has been involved in a big stink over witchcraft in the community. we're talking 1998 witchcraft.they're out there, as hard as it is to beleive. you are so on the money when you describe your just trying to get thrx each day. wonderful and a .

71. a penny for your thought....
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 5:55 PM/EST
alan O.

fish, any thoughts on why there are parents not parenting properly or a lack of good parenting?
i gather you don't think it's just a issue of software. thanks

72. Wicca and other religions
Fri, Jan 22, 1999 - 7:42 PM/EST
RatGirl

Witchcraft...well, "modern" witchcraft is seen these days by its adherents as basically another form of religion. Satanism and Wicca are different things, of course. I'm interested. So what's the controversy about witchcraft and your schools, Alan?

P.S. Buck -- tell your wife that I think your belief that your family comes first is very admirable and nothing to be ashamed of whatsoever. I can't imagine anyone being embarassed by that!

rg

73. Peace pipe
Sat, Jan 23, 1999 - 11:15 AM/EST
BOB

alan o - I accept your hand and have tamped down the tobacco in the peace pipe I offer you, ratzo, et al; I'll not light it - let it be a symbolic passing.

Let me apologize to all of you. I shouldn't have jumped in, in the first place, because my days of "parenting" were 50 years ago. I see the results and am not too proud. But then, I cannot burden my conscience too much because I was off being a soldier during the child's earliest years and I feel that this lack of a father's love and guidance had much to do with my disappointment. I admire the man (Buck?) who is focusing on being a father and encourage him.

74. bob, it's water under the bridge...
Sat, Jan 23, 1999 - 12:03 PM/EST
alan O.

ACCEPTED! indulge yourself - take a puff. and YES please jump in. we ALL learn from our sucesses and failures. it is not our intent to pass judgement, but rather to comfort each other in the difficulties and to applaud the victories. i admire you (i don't say this lightly) in being able to speak so openly about not being proud of the results of your parenting. write on! thank you very much! you made my day. alan O.

75. Sue's World
Sat, Jan 23, 1999 - 6:05 PM/EST
Jim43

This thread makes great reading. Generally I can only check-in on Saturday and Sunday (while I'm at work); I had to print the whole discussion just to sort it out.

RatGirl posed a question back in post 26: "D'you think that's why this woman is suing the public library? Because she's trying to remove a "challenge" to her parenting?" If I understand RatGirl's use of "challenge" then yes, I do, and thanks for the clarifying question.

With so many "challenges" in the world to good parenting (alan O. and others list these in their posts) "Sue" may have felt that the public library is one place where she could reasonably expect to let her guard down as a parent. If that was her expectation, then I can almost picture her frustration upon learning that junior had found smut.com and printed the kama sutra to share with his pals at recess.

I didn't hear the piece on NPR; I don't know how old Sue's son is. As a parent of a 7 year old boy, I can "picture" that dirty pictures would be a source of passing interest to grade schoolers... my son has shown some cute curiosity about naked bodies.

While I can sympathize with "Sue" I don't agree at all with her making a big deal out of the situation. Suing is an absurd response. Painful though this episode certainly is for her, it surely gives her a golden opportunity to discuss morality with junior, and then move forward with life.

It's tempting to feel superior to "Sue" but I think that would be a mistake. As a parent, she must be totally fried and deserves some sympathy.

Thinking over my youth, I remember the public library as the Greatest source of information about sex. (This is during junior and senior high, not grade school.) I'd scan the "Fiction" section looking for any book that I thought would have racy scenes in it. Since I was clueless, I can't recall having much success.

One huge difference between what I did and what Sue Junior did was that while I had to actively seek racy reading material, porn is practically pushed on the net. "Click Here" and suddenly you're in worldosmut.com. Which takes this thought back to alan O.'s (and others) thoughts on the unique challenges facing parents today.


76. Censorship - of any kind
Sat, Jan 23, 1999 - 10:25 PM/EST
BOB

I've not read the NPR Sue stuff and won't bother, but let me share some experience with you. I was an active member of our library board. We have an active religious minority in our community. Regularly as clockwork, we'd have a complaint from a parent about something in the library. Our solution was to talk it to death with no intent to do anything about it. Librarians and most library lovers are civil libertarians and don't want anyone stepping into the moral arena we try to keep fairly safe. The Madonna book was probably the most difficult challenge but just talking about it but not removing it from circulation finally drove it away. But did a few boys get to see some t & a? They sure did but they could see more than that on many TV programs this old poop considers prurient.
Like the lady having to search "Fiction" for some hot stuff, I learned about Anatole France and Pierre Louye (SP?) and struggled through much pretty good writing to be able to read the word "breast". Did me a lot of good.

77. Hands up...
Sat, Jan 23, 1999 - 11:51 PM/EST
RatGirl

who grew up waiting for each National Geographic to come out to see if they had tribal ladies of one sort or another with no tops on?

Terry Pratchett wrote in some novel or other that people always think that other people are barbaric based largely on how little clothing they wore.

ratso

78. each generation...
Sun, Jan 24, 1999 - 6:15 PM/EST
Trout

RG, not only was it National Geographic but searching the libraries and folks homes where I would babysit for anything, something that was not on my folks coffee table. It is a right of passage and some kids go through the passage at an earlier age depending on chance and luck. As parents we can be there for some discussion something which was not in vogue in the 1950's it seemed.

79. Stayed Away Until Now
Sun, Jan 24, 1999 - 8:29 PM/EST
Barrister

I've read the posts here on and off for some time, but haven't contributed. Looks like we're coming around to a point where I can jump in.

During my career, I have had the opportunity to be involved in litigation upholding free speech rights. (Not of anyone selling material of sexual nature, unless you consider representing an adult theater operator in an eviction for non-speech reasons a porn lawsuit.) I've always been a believer that when the First Amendment says "no law" shall infringe on free speech, it means no law and any kind of speech. The government should not be in the business of picking the messages we can read, hear, etc.

As a parent (boys - 23 & 27; girl - 13), I have been concerned about what my kids read, hear, etc. But I am not there 24 hours a day to control the flow of information to them. Besides, the flow is so fast now that I couldn't stem the tide if I tried.

What I can do is teach them about the marketplace of information. Yes, there's lots of garbage out there. And garbage sells. But even most garbage won't kill you. So what if kids come across naughty stuff as long as parents have put it in perspective. And not blocked it for others through government intervention.

OK. Kids have an intereset in sex. And the stuff they can easily find is definitely raunchier than National Geographic. It just makes our jobs as parents different and maybe more complicated. After all, it's only sex. Paraphrasing Larry Flynt (probably should be some esteemed Supreme Court Judge, but they don't seem to get it), you can put a picture of the massacre of people during a war on the front page and get a Pulitzer Prize for it. If you put a picture of people having sex on the front page, you could get arrested.

80. OK Barrister!
Sun, Jan 24, 1999 - 11:30 PM/EST
Sharon

Agree TOTALLY with your post - I still talk to people who ask about the language in movies - i.e. do they say f**k or s**t and do they show any s*x - if so, the kids can't go see them - however, they see Friday the 13th and other such garbage! When my kids were young (now 21 and 23) they weren't allowed to watch the Dukes of Hazzard and Miami Vice - but I was never upset about them hearing 'bad' language - we did talk about appropriate types of language, and different audiences, etc.. Thought it was important to educate them - and they've turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

81. monday the 25th....
Mon, Jan 25, 1999 - 7:26 AM/EST
alan O.

sharon, the original friday the 13th was shot next to where we live. spooky.

82. Hey, Barrister:
Mon, Jan 25, 1999 - 6:51 PM/EST
RatGirl

Do you think your daughter is growing up in a different environment (tougher, easier, whatever) than your sons did? Granted, she's female, and so pornography isn't quite the same *kind* of, um, issue that it was for your sons, but still -- do you think it's harder for your daughter growing up now than it was for your sons a decade before her? About the same? Just different?

rg

83. real pornography....
Tue, Jan 26, 1999 - 9:44 AM/EST
alan O.

people are uptight about sex because it is about letting go and being out of control. apparently that is very threatening to some folks (even if for a few moments).the problem i have with most porn is that it tends to be degrading, and mostly towards women as far as i can tell. but who of us in this conversation, is really that well versed (or viewed) with porn to actually speak about it in an informed way? just look at the republicans, they seem to be predominately white, uptight, white men and in control. that to me is real pornography. thanks.

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