Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Busybodies Are At It Again

While SB 1070 has claimed the lion's share of the attention lately, it was far from the only law scheduled to go into effect in Arizona today. One of those new laws is the so-called sexting law, which makes it a class 2 misdemeanor for minors to send or possess sexually explicit text messages to or from another minor. The law appears to be aimed primarily at teens, those being the main culprits according to most surveys on the subject. I still think a class 2 misdemeanor is overreacting, but it certainly beats the asinine alternative of charging these teens under child porn laws for taking pictures of themselves. Stop and think about the illogic of that for a moment.
That is not really what I want to discuss today, though. I realize that I am in the minority here and there is no indication that American public opinion will change in my lifetime. We will continue to treat post-adolescents as though they were 8-years-old and then we will continue to wonder why they have no idea how to act like adults when the time comes. Then, of course, we will continue to wring our hands and claim that we do not know why this is, because we are too busy "protecting the children" to pay any attention to reality.
Skip it. No one will pay attention anyway.
What really caught my attention here was a talk with Chris Segrin, University of Arizona department head of communication and psychology professor. Segrin has apparently done studies on the subject and he is clever enough to notice that the previous situation (using child porn laws against sexting teens) didn't make sense. Now he wants to do studies on sexting at the college level.
“If college students were doing this, it would be much more difficult to catch them.”
Catch them? Catch them for what? Are we saying that a university department head is not aware of the fact that college students are not minors? Sure, there is the occasional 16 or 17-year-old who is ahead of the curve, but their numbers are so small as to relatively not count. College students are legal adults. When it comes to sexting, there is nothing to "catch them" about. It is none of your business.
There is no argument that sexting is not the most brilliant activity in the world, but then, most of a teen's activities are not the most brilliant activities in the world. If you haven't noticed that then you probably don't spend much time around teens.
This kind of ties in with a report I read the other day claiming that colleges don't do enough to keep students from drinking? The reason? They don't nag college towns into cutting down the number of places one can acquire alcohol or requiring stricter standards for those who sell alcohol. Really? Those are a college's areas of responsibility? Silly me, I thought colleges were for higher education.
Somewhere along the way someone got the hair-brained idea that our colleges were supposed to be something more like 19th century finishing schools. According to this line of thinking, colleges are supposed to be brainwashing ... excuse me, I mean teaching young adults about everything from acceptable social norms to how to make the perfect protest sign. Meanwhile, education (you know, the kind parents are actually paying for, that comes in curriculum and textbooks) standards are dropping like rocks and the value of a college deploma is slipping closer and closer to worthless.
Maybe of these so-called professors spent a little less time micromanaging things that are none of their business and a little more time teaching the subjects they are being paid to teach, we might find that some of these "problems" fixed themselves. You'd be amazed by what people can do when they actually learn.

1 comment:

  1. I agree almost completely, with the exception of comparing colleges to finishing schools. I have found that almost without exception, none of these pseudo colleges comes even remotely close to a finishing school. At a finishing school students are taught to be polite, respectful, bearing as much grace in disagreement with another person as humanly possible. All while carefully sipping tea and smiling. The average Harvard or Berkley graduate wouldn't know grace under pressure if they were swatted across the face with it.