Saturday, February 03, 2007

Loose associations:

When words won’t suffice:

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck fuck fuck.


Arousal/attribution ad nauseam: Few things demonstrate attachment as much as someone showing up on your blog and spouting epithets: just because they care enough to do so.

The opposite of love is indifference. The opposite of hate is indifference. How can anyone not understand the relationship between love and hate when there are so many divorced couples running around? Are they not paying attention?

Israel: I disagree – Israel does have the right to exist; it just doesn’t have the right to exist in, uhm, Israel. What we should have done: purchased Baja California for our Jewish friends and let them set up shop there. It would’ve benefited both Mexico and “New Israel” economically (and probably socially), and certainly stabilized things in the Middle East.

Besides – wouldn’t you rather live in Baja? It’s not too late – they could start building settlements next week*!

Online relationships: There is no reason to believe they are not just as potent as flesh/blood relationships. Projection vs. perception: These days, I’m in the perception camp. While on the one hand you might think the unidimensional quality of online interaction means the degree of projection going on dramatically increases, it’s possible that much of what’s absent is noise and distraction.

Perception, though, is a tricky thing. I see people rubbing each other the wrong way in a dramatic way, and it’s pretty clearly related to feelings of kinship they wish they didn’t have. See above point on arousal/attribution.

Writing posts: I think writing posts is like catching a wave: timing and momentum are critical. You know how you can feel a post coalescing in the back of your head? You observe something and then it percolates on the backburner for awhile, until suddenly you can smell a fine stew being cooked up.

For me, lately, this has been happening while I’m driving – like, on extended road trips. I’m either going to have to start dictating, however, or cultivate a way of remembering the momentum, along with the ideas. By the time I get around to writing, I’m stuck with a bunch of half-baked concepts and a hollow bewilderment surrounding what, exactly, I had been thinking.

Which is why I haven’t posted anything on Wikifray in a month. And why I’ll be posting this. What’s one more off-topic, I figure?

Switters: I don’t get it. Not the humor, but the critics (and the critics of his defenders). That some find him unfunny: not surprising. The world has never lacked for concrete thinkers of the humor impaired variety. Think Switters unfunny? There’s plenty of room for differences in taste. Think Switters bigoted? That’s just insulting – also insulting to those of us who find him funny (guilt by appreciation?). One might find “The Protocols” funny, if one were of a particularly dark bent, and were able to find that level of paranoia and hate (and the people who promulgate it) funny. If one were to find it funny because of the arguments contained therein were funny, then that might mean something else.

Ghassan apparently doesn’t know how to distinguish the two.

What do you think Mel Brooks was laughing at? Or Vonnegut? They clearly thought something was funny. Are they anti-Semitic?

Online relationships part deux: We seem to be less forgiving of the foibles of people online than IRL. I think it’s easier to treat people badly when you never have to look them in the face. Also, we take a leap of faith when we interpret someone’s behavior. Silly to think some of those leaps aren’t misguided, but where’s the corrective mechanism? In person, I can see whether someone’s apology is accompanied by a frown, or a smirk.

Personal: Got my daughter for today and tomorrow. I took her out for brunch, and was subjected to her characteristic rapid-fire barrage of observations, stories and jokes. [Sample here.] It's always like that - I never tire of it. I marvel we’re genetically related at all. She just came in to share a funny line from her latest teen read; “What is it with you and Jesus: does he, like, turn you on?”

A couple of teens were caught making out in a church basement. “No kissing ‘till you’re eighteen” I say. “No way!” she shouts, so I respond “Fine! Twenty then!” and tickle her. It’s an old joke.

Spanking and abuse: Children, even infants, are incredibly perceptive. The difficulty with enforcing child abuse statutes is that it’s impossible to define abuse in an objective way. When my daughter was five months old, she was subjected to both an upper and lower GI. When my son was a toddler, I tripped while carrying him and he ended up with a mild concussion. The implications for these injuries are far different than if I’d smacked my son on the head with a frying pan, or had forced something up my infant daughter’s anus for purposes of some obscene gratification.

Anti-spanking legislation is just another example of priorities being set out of convenience. Child abuse statutes typically include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional maltreatment. You know how hard it is to substantiate a case of emotional maltreatment? In Utah, the only times I saw it happen were when a parent threatened suicide in front of their kid, and one particularly egregious case in which a preschool-aged girl actually began to identify herself using terms like “spoiled little cunt.” The damaging aspect of abuse – all abuse – is in the ephemeral “emotional maltreatment” dimension.

Short answer: parents modulate environmental input in such a way that children are not overwhelmed, and it is this role in which children internalize what they’re receiving as part of identity formation. Think about that for awhile, and then think about the implications of sexual abuse, or neglect (which is far more problematic, identity development-wise, than physical abuse). We learned to take care of ourselves like our parents were taking care of us. Psychopathology is a gift of love given to children by their parents. [Lorna Benjamin, again. That was a great class.]

Spanking, in itself, is not (in my opinion) problematic. From an ethical standpoint, I understand the argument; why should it be acceptable to treat a defenseless child in a manner that would result in criminal charges, if the victim were an adult?

The answer is: Why is it legally acceptable for that surgeon to slice open my abdomen, when the same behavior would land someone else in jail?

Context makes all the difference. I once had to soak a very antisocial guinea-pig’s paw in a mixture of Epsom-water and hydrogen peroxide every day for about a month [long story]. By the time the month was over, we’d bonded. Even that guinea pig got the difference. My kids didn’t like it when I took their Bandaids off, either. That they knew I was doing it as part of caretaking made all the difference.

But some people have an awfully peculiar and problematic take on what constitutes appropriate caretaking. And there’s the rub, isn’t it**?

*If a free-and-clear title to Baja were not an acceptable solution, I would wonder to what degree the concept of Israel’s right to exist had been pure varnish, to gloss over their desire to regain holy ground. This is a different position – one I believe is far less defensible.

**Could be a metaphor for editorial discretion on the Fray.


Keifus said...

1. Arousal/attribution:
Is this a piss-take on Fray editorial policy too?

2. Israel
It was some alt-history book that I recently read that placed the post-WWII Jewish population in Madagascar. (The Separation by Christopher Priest, I think. Pretty good.) Why not? It'd've pissed off fewer people in the long run, possibly.... can we re-write Zionism?

3. Online relationships
I am fairly convinced (or at least I fear, being sort of a dork) that personal mannerisms and pecadillos matter a lot so far as relationship-building goes.

On the other hand, I remain impressed that I get to know people by the personality they present--usually before knowing very much of the the facts of their lives. I like that. It keeps the mind open, for sure.

So yeah, perception, I guess, and no more projection than usual.

4. Posting
The metaphor I usually choose is crystallization. You get supersaturated in ideas, but unless there's a nucleation site, it just re-dissolves (sometimes slowly and painfully).

But I'm with you. I've got a wallet full of scratched-out formerly brilliant ideas that I just paused too long with. A bunch of yellow chits filled with once-lucid nonsense.

5. Switster
Ghassan disappointed me today.

6. Relationships II
It's always good to put your sarcasm meter* on its highest setting. If it comes down to corrective mechanisms, you have to spell it out. Awkward!

8. Sounds like a good kid.

9. Yup. Context is always everything, isn't it?


*A sarcasm meter, now there's a useful invention.

TenaciousK said...

1. Didn't intend for it to be - more about the way certain players react so dramatically to certain other players. It's that kinship thing. But yeah, I guess it could apply to Freditorial policy - I just wasn't thinking about that at the moment.

2. We could afford a lot more irrationality* when we didn't have to ability to destroy the entire fucking planet. Now that particular genie's out of the bottle, it very well may destroy us. Religion is institutionalized irrationality**.

3. Yeah, well, I dunno. I'm thinking personal mannerisms and pecadillos also occur in the context of relationships (at least to an extent).

4. Don't you hate it when that happens?

5. It's always interesting when people reveal their blindspots. I'm less disappointed than I am puzzled. Similar reaction to the Geoff/Schad thing.

6. Yeah - that's what those irritating emoticons were supposed to do. Somebody should invent a more elegant way of conveying tone.

7. there is no number seven.

8. she never ceases to astound me.

9. Yeah, it is. The other thing is - well-meaning people sure want to be helpful, but seem strangely absent in situations where the rubber's actually hitting the road. If legislators in California want to tackle child abuse, perhaps they ought to first take a good long look at what child abuse is.

*I can make a good argument for how/why irrationality, if not overdone, is very adaptive from a survival pov.

**That it's institutionalized irrationality has a lot less to do with whether or not something is true than with the degree to which it's possible to prove something true.

Be nice if people could get enough separation between the secular and the irrational to decide that "because I feel it in my bones" doesn't always mean they're justified in behaving in a manner that would be otherwise considered morally unacceptable.

alexa-blue said...

Well, a surgeon can't slice open your abdomen without your consent, and he can be retroactively held accountable (not to the level of a murderer) for disasterous outcomes. Children have no such protections from spanking. Surely that changes things a bit.

topazz said...

Online Relationships: I know you're referring to them in "general" but what I've observed (apart from my own good experiences with them) is how people who haven't ever taken part in online forums/discussion groups or participated in one - they can be so narrow minded and judgemental, very opinionated about the "realness" of them. They tend to act as if you're communicating with axe murderers in hiding. At least, that's what a few of my long married siblings act like. I think they're a little afraid of them, actually. Afraid they might start chatting up with someone and have a really interesting conversation, and... then what?

I find that people who hold the most negative views toward them tend to be long married people. Yet we have some posters in happy, long-standing marriages on the fray, I'd be interested in knowing how their spouses feel about their
"fraying time"...obviously they have healthy relationships that allow for individual freedom without fear of jeopardizing their primary relationship - it must be a delicate balance to keep, at times.

TenaciousK said...

Well, a surgeon can't slice open your abdomen without your consent, and he can be retroactively held accountable (not to the level of a murderer) for disasterous outcomes. Children have no such protections from spanking. Surely that changes things a bit.

Well, no, in fact it doesn’t.

Of course a surgeon can slice open my abdomen without my consent – it happens in emergency medicine all the time. In some situations, consent is implied.

Retroactive accountability (malpractice) is based on best practice standards. Follow those, and you have a fair bit of protection. This is why they call it “malpractice” instead of “maloutcome”.

But it’s not the act of spanking that’s damaging to the child. Children have far less protection from parents repetitively shaming them, or emotionally traumatizing them. Anti-spanking legislation is misguided, because it’s focusing on the wrong thing.

It’s focusing on the wrong thing because the wrong thing is by far the most expedient thing to focus on. But it further distracts from the issues we should be attempting to address.

I’m not a big fan of spanking, and I’m particularly dim on spanking with an object. I will say, though, that in those homes – spanking is not the biggest problem.

alexa-blue said...

First off, apologies for vagueness, generally poor grammar, and excessive explication (a disappointing triad, but it's late).

By "changes things," I meant to suggest that the analogy between hitting:spanking and stabbing:surgery is not a good one, for reasons mentioned (corrections noted, but my central thesis remains unchanged). It's possible (and in certain contexts common) to argue that childhood is a state of perpetual implied consent to parents. But the state has a history of overriding parents when the interests of the child are clearly (cough!) harmed by the parents decision -- blood transfusions are probably the classic example. In that regard, anti-spanking laws (must) rely on a similar premise -- that spanking is never in a child's interest (and again differentiating spanking from surgery, since slicing open an abdomen can be beneficial if done well and for the right reason). If that's true, then other concerns (emotional neglect, eg) serve mostly as red-herrings.

I’m particularly dim on spanking with an object. I will say, though, that in those homes – spanking is not the biggest problem.

If reliably true, isn't that another argument for intervention?

TenaciousK said...

By "changes things," I meant to suggest that the analogy between hitting:spanking and stabbing:surgery is not a good one, for reasons mentioned (corrections noted, but my central thesis remains unchanged).

The analogy wasn’t hitting: spanking. The analogy was physical abuse: spanking and stabbing: surgery. And why wouldn’t it hold? Are you assuming that spanking is invariably undertaken purely as a vehicle for a parent to direct aggression towards their child? If you can accept that some parents believe they are spanking purely for the learning benefit of their child, then why would the analogy not stand?

…anti-spanking laws (must) rely on a similar premise -- that spanking is never in a child's interest (and again differentiating spanking from surgery, since slicing open an abdomen can be beneficial if done well and for the right reason).

In the case of uncertainty, do we err on the side of restricting the behavior of parents, or that of protecting the vulnerable? That seems to be the question, but it already presupposes an adversarial relationship between parents, who presumably are also motivated to protect their kids, and the state (who presumably wants to protect them, though I’d argue those motives aren’t always all that pure, either).

Nobody has effectively proved that spanking isn’t sometimes beneficial if done well, and for the right reason. What they have demonstrated is the equivalent of saying, “We looked at all the people whose abdomens were cut open, and we find that as a group, they fared worse than those whose abdomens were not cut open.” And they’re looking at the child abuse statistics of a socialist country as justification of the efficacy for criminalization – as though all of the social supports in Sweden that are directly mitigating risk of abuse have nothing to do with the difference in prevalence. In this case, there’s an alternative treatment for abdominal problems that doesn’t involve cutting. We don’t have that in the US – should we still outlaw abdominal surgery, do you think?

Now, when it comes to spanking as discipline, I’m ambivalent. I’m ambivalent because I think there are better ways of parenting, but I also know parents who have IQ’s in the low 80’s who aren’t as creative or resourceful as I am, and who usually have children who don’t learn nearly as quickly or as thoroughly as mine. I also am not raising severely disturbed children.

I will say this: you cannot use punishment to teach any complex behavior, ever, anywhere – it just doesn’t work (though people certainly seem determined to keep trying). You can, however, teach avoidant behaviors. If you slap a child’s hands when they play the wrong note on a piano, they will quickly learn to avoid playing the piano. If you spank your child after they just ran into the street yet again, despite your best efforts to keep them from doing so, they may learn to avoid running into the street (though they may also just learn to avoid running into the street when a parent is present). The strongest defense of spanking is that a parent is using it to substitute a milder negative consequence for a far more severe one – from this perspective, entirely consistent with the parent’s role as the person who is serving as the buffer between a child and the environment.

If reliably true, isn't that another argument for intervention?

YES! How does passing this law constitute an intervention?

So the good legislators of the state of California would like to pass a law to outlaw spanking. If they’re successful, they get to go home feeling righteous – like they’ve done something helpful to the at-risk children in their state. What they’ve actually done is provided themselves with a convenient excuse to refrain from doing anything substantive (or expensive), further alienated the people they should be reaching out to (the parents of at-risk kids), and distracting away from the most easily remediable causes of abuse (socioeconomic and social). And they’re justifying this approach by comparing us to a socialist country, where the most at-risk do not face the same intensity of pressure, and they’re pretending it’s due to anti-spanking legislation.

The kids that are the most at-risk are the behaviorally-disordered children of working single mothers, or single mothers who are addicts (or both). The most potent risk factors for abuse are socioeconomic hardship and lack of social supports. These are the kids it’s nearly impossible to find childcare for, because they’re aggressive. And these are the parents who end up with jobs in jeopardy, because they’re stuck continually dealing with crises involving the behavior of their children.

So for those reasons, I think anti-spanking legislation is a terrible idea, promulgated by people who, for whatever reason, are motivated to not look at the root causes of the problem of child abuse.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a parent who could not relate to the emotional extremis that’s a seemingly inextricable aspect of parenting, at times. Now, complicate that by introducing an extremely difficult child, removing a spouse, drastically limiting access to supportive services, introducing economic hardship, and putting the family in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Those are the people who will be most impacted by this legislation – people we’re already doing a piss poor job of helping out.

And who do we leave to enforce this problem? Child protective services – an agency where underpaid and inadequately trained or supported workers are forced to make nearly impossible decisions every day, who are already seeing the far more egregious situations where they are powerless to intervene, who are routinely hung out to dry when things go wrong (which is too often), and who have an average tenure, among new hires, of 6 months. Those who stay are left to collude with a horribly dysfunctional system, in which children are seemingly arbitrarily placed in a foster care that, while usually less overtly abusive, is often more damaging to the child in all the ways that matter the most. And of course anti-spanking legislation will result in more children in foster care; child removal is the teeth behind any child protection legislation.

But we don’t really want to wrestle that tar baby – too messy, difficult, and expensive to fix. It’s much easier and more satisfying to blame parents and pretend we’ve addressed, rather than exacerbated, the problem.

Though you didn’t like my prior analogy, though, consider this one: spanking is to child rearing as criminalization is to parenting. If you really don’t like the top-down, seemingly unempathic, noxious consequence approach for children, why support its use for adults? Surely we can find a better solution than that.

TenaciousK said...


I think people who haven’t participated in them are inclined to fall back on their own experiences with infatuation, and I’m thinking that may actually be appropriate. Just because one of your friends was beguiled by infatuation IRL, however, doesn’t mean that you are, online. And yeah, I think they are a little afraid.

I read research once on support groups for spouses of patients with chronic, debilitating health conditions. Turns out, there’s a lot of infidelity going on there. Maybe people DO have something to fear, if they’re in difficult circumstances and they stumble across an otherwise appealing person who by benefit of experience (or whatever) can identify and really empathize. I know married couples who feel it is inappropriate to befriend members of the opposite sex. Implies a similar problem, I think.

Marriages and “fraying time”: if I started consistently affiliating with a social group and spending a lot of time there, and my spouse didn’t join me, my marriage might be in jeopardy – online, or offline. This isn’t necessarily true – I think it depends on the marriage. Still, I have heard many Fraysters either state or imply they were hiding the extent of their Fray interactions from their spouse.

And that can’t be good on a marriage, but the problem is more the hiding and what it implies, than the activity.

Keifus said...


My compromise: if I'm going to refuse to sacrifice all social interaction for the sake of marriage, then I'll at least be an upstanding guy about what I do pursue. How am I doing? (answer: it looks sneaky anyway. also it's a lame compromise: it's how I act irl.)

I don't really hide, but I don't volunteer all the details either...I'd love to get my wife, if not involved, then at least to get her official approval. I think she'd get on well with most of the same people I do if she'd met them herself.


TenaciousK said...

Sheesh, Keifus, you've been a perfect gentleman, as far as I can tell. It would seem that online interactions would be safer, because there's no corporeal interaction. But I don't think infidelity is really so much a matter of opportunity anyway, because if one is really so inclined, it's pretty easy to accomplish.

I do remember having one of those "man" conversations with my son, where we talked about attraction (he had a girlfriend, and was distressed to discover he still thought other hot girls were, well, hot). He had one friend in particular he'd started avoiding because he couldn't help but notice.

I told him limiting his interactions to unattractive (to him) people wasn't being fair to either himself, or them. I also told him that if his relationship couldn't withstand a little temptation, all the avoidance in the world wasn't going to save it anyway.

The same would apply online, I think. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, that says at least as much about IRL issues as online issues.

Same issues apply in reverse as well. If you can't abide your wife engaging in any flirtatious banter, you'd better marry someone unattractive. Beautiful women do that sometimes (I've seen some remarkable things accomplished through the strategic use of girl power). If your relationship is strong, it's not an issue.

Same goes with online behavior here, I think.

I've got lots more to say, but I don't know if that's so much about you, as me. You've been a paragon of virtue and fidelity, as far as I've seen. If you derive a little extra satisfaction out of interacting with appealing people, that's part of the joy of being a social animal, isn't it? If it makes you uncomfortable, that might indicate a problem elsewhere.

There are certainly some lovely people around here.

JohnMcG said...

-- I do think there is a responsibility to, as we Catholics would say, "avoid the near occasion of in." It's true that the temptation itself may not be so much the problem as what is tempting, but it's still responsible to avoid the temptation.

If I drink too much because I'm unhappy with my job, the root cause of my problem is my job, and the problem won't really get solved until I change that. Nevertheless, it would probably be prudent not to hang around in bars in the meantime.

-- The Fray, and in particular the position of "Fray Editor" is an anachronism. I would compare the Fray to having zoo with caged animals in the middle of the African savannah. Who would want to see animals in cages when you can see them wild in their natural habitats? And what kind of animal would want to do that? And why would you want to see that kind of animal?

Fitting one's writing to suit the incentives of Slate may be a somewhat interesting excercise, but in the end is not all the fulfilling.

There may be a space for the "Fray Editor" job to evolve into something akin to a trusted movie critic. But it's hard to fathom why decent writers would want to put their efforts into making WaPo happy, without being significantly renumerated for the effort.

-- Part of the appeal of things like this, and part of why I'm not eager to share it with my real-life frieds including my wife, is that my ideas are separated somewhat from me as a person, if that makes sense. If someone I hardly know calls me a hypocrite, what do they know? If someone who knows me very well rejects my argument, then that's a little more personal.

Maybe that's lack of courage in my convictions, or just lack of courage, period. But it's interesting.

-- I'm with TK in that spanking seems to be to be really lazy law-making.

The professed purpose is to get child abusers that slip through existing laws. And for me, that sets off all kinds of alarm bells.

TenaciousK said...

Hello John.

Avoiding temptation: In general, I think people tend to ignore problems in hopes they will go away (or because they really are powerless to address them at the moment). If an attraction to someone else helps someone recognize and address problems in their marriage, then I think that’s great. If an attraction to someone else helps someone recognize their marriage is irrevocably broken, then I think that’s great.

What I don’t think is great is doing what I was doing until fairly recently, which is sort of like suicide by default. Staying away from attractive people facilitates this course of action. Same goes for bars, and issues underlying alcoholism. The problem is that alcohol serves to facilitate non-attention [insert Fray joke here]. Before long enough, it becomes a big enough problem in it’s own right that it serves as a perpetual distraction;

The biggest problem in the life of any alcoholic is alcohol. [I love Kurt Vonnegut]

The fray on the Savanna: John, a better question might be why you’d want to bounce on a trampoline with 50 people. The answer – sometimes, you catch the perfect bounce.

One of the real virtues of the fray is its exposure to a diversity of opinion (often expressed in obnoxious manner) you might not bother exposing yourself to otherwise. I think the kos experiment illuminated the critical importance of preserving that level of diversity (even if it involves protecting the posting rights of people who might be delusional).

I don’t think the fray editor position is an anachronism. There was a long time I wouldn’t even bother opening the TP fray, because of the routine spamming going on there. I sort of like being caged with a bunch of other animals, because it’s great practice (in defense, hunting, whatever – depending on the type of animal you are).

Fitting one’s writing to suit the incentives of slate in an exclusive sense is stupid [thanks again for the blog, Ender]. Fitting one’s writing to the incentives of Slate when you’re inclined is an exercise in the realities of forum publication – no matter the forum.

The Freditors job is part movie critic, part local sheriff. I think what people are most upset about is the insistence they conform to laws that are not explicitly stated, are often really stupid, and on which they never had a voice. I think Geoff would find people much more receptive to his sheriffing if he had a better justification than “because I said so.”

The deletion of Ender’s all-caps post was stupid. If he had a problem with this type of thing, he should have recruited Chantay to adjust the parameters of post titles. That other people escalated initially served to draw attention to the issue, but ultimately served to distract from it. Now, it becomes an exercise in saving face - so far, inelegantly.

Nobody goes to the Fray to make Wapo happy. We go to the Fray to pick fights with each other, pick up techniques and ideas, and show off how bright and shiny we are (even when we’re not, though those little blue bong-hits can be a surprisingly potent stroke, when you're putting an idea out there you're a little insecure about). It’s a great forum if you want to test ideas against a great diversity of opinion (often, though less-so these days, intelligently expressed).

Part of what keeps me on the Fray is that nobody contingent to me knows what the hell I’m talking about much of the time. If I had real-life friends who were met the dual criteria of capability and interest, I’d invite them in an instant. What ghost is doing right now is interesting – she seems to be looking for someone who knows what the hell she is talking about. I wonder how she feels about the diversity of opinion thing.

I invited my downstairs neighbor to write an article for this blog (he’s educated, politically-minded, informed, and Lebanese). He refused, primarily due to paranoia about homeland security, I think (uhm, I would’ve called it paranoia a couple years ago, anyway).

I dunno if it’s lack of courage, but the fray is a great place to test out new ideas before you release them into the world. I think denying the appeal of such a unique space is ludicrous. Whether or not this blog serves as a sufficient substitute in that regard remains to be seen (though it’s been great so far). I am curious about what will happen / what we will do when certain people some of us might consider “stinky kids” show up (I mean, besides me). The fray is also synergistic – I am exposed to something, see a relationship others don’t see, and when I voice it, sometimes I get the equivalent again in return. That is lovely, and somewhat more likely in a highly diverse environment.

The fray also helps me feel like there may be enough sane people in the world that it’s not hopeless [insert Utah joke here]. Dailykos, despite my sympathetic leanings, never made me feel that way. [They did show me that people who think like I do can be as deluded as anybody, though, which is a personally important observation.]

I think the manifest reason was to get child abusers that slip through existing laws. I think the actual reason was a human desire to be (or appear) righteous. Hubris.

JohnMcG said...


If I may paraphrase -- in the Fray, you have to put up with a lot, but the rewards are greater.

So, perhaps my words were too strong, since they are not universal. Switching metaphors again, I lack the time and patience to hang out in an ocean getting nibbled on by jellyfish waiting for that next great wave. I'd rather go somewhere where most of the waves are decent.

To put another way -- having two small children, my wife and I rarely have the time to go out to eat or to the movies. The effect this has is that our choices are safe -- maybe to an upscale chain, or a well-known star's latest vehicle. We're not going to check out the hole-in-the wall that just opened, or the indie film at the art house. It's too big a risk.

Now, having views that do somewtimes bring out some of the worst in those who disagree, and perhaps being more sensitive to criticism than I ought to be, I am selective about where I post my opinions. Here, most responses are intelligent and thoughtful. On the Fray, not so much. For me, I'm willing to sacrifice the wider range of opinions for not having to filter out unthoughtfule ones.

My error was in universalizing this preference.