October 17, 2007

"Shakedown in your child’s room!"

Bill Cosby — on "Meet the Press" — urges parents to subject their children to intense, prison-style searches:
When you—when—there’s a, there’s a friend of mine who was in jail. He is now a pastor in, in Wilmington. And he talks about a thing called “shakedown.” And in shakedown, you’re in prison, you go to your cell, and all of a sudden they go whoop-whoop! And they stop the water from flowing into your—and they turn the lights, and you have to take your clothes, and they go through everything in your cell, and you have to stand there, period. They’re looking for stuff. And what, and what Pastor Dee says to the people in the church—and I’m telling you, people started cheering—he said, “Shakedown in your child’s room! Your child didn’t buy that room, your child’s not paying rent. You’re trying to keep your child from being murdered, from going to jail, etc., etc. Shake down. Look under the mattress, make sure your kid doesn’t have a gun. Look into materials on the wall. What is your kid talking about? Is it dangerous?” This is a part of love, and this is what we have to do, regardless of race, color or creed.

97 comments:

Windbag said...

I can't wait to see how this thread pans out. Let's start the ball rolling. Privacy is not a sacred constitutional right, nor is it a basic human right.

Within any living arragement (family, room mates, dorm mates, living together, etc.) privacy is a courtesy extended to each other. There may be times to violate that courtesy and the trust associated with it. Cosby is correct in pointing out that the greater good of pulling kids back from the fast track to jail and life-long misery trumps their imaginary right to privacy.

Kids need direction, correction, and surveillance from time to time. Anyone who disagrees with that has either never raised a child or raised one that no one wanted to be around.

For those who think that privacy is an unalienable right, I ask you this: is it acceptable to immunize your infant?

George said...

"We had never seen the belt, but it was eight feet long and seven feet wide, and it had hooks on it that would tear the flesh right off your body..."

A line from Cosby's 20+ minute masterpiece "To Russell, the Brother Whom I Slept With."

It's about two boys tussling in the same tiny bed. They keep waking up their father in the middle of the night...and he threatens to get "The Belt."

Vitriolic Virchow said...

Actually

People, of all ages, do need a safe, secure space. I can't think of a better way to destroy trust and a relationship than going in a turning a room upside down. Were my parents to have done that, I damn sure wouldn't be coming to them with sensitive concerns or questions. If a kid is acting up, that's one thing. That's what military schools are for. But not in the home.

I agree children need direction, correction, and surveillance. What they DON'T need is an adversarial relationship between them and their adult caregivers.

Ron said...

Yes, let's prep Junior to do a dime!
What other prison experiences can we pass on to ready him for, what, the inevitable?

Bill -- put down the pudding pop, and slowly back away from the public stage...

Trooper York said...

I always knew that Rudi carried a shiv.

mcg said...

That's what military schools are for.

Let's get this straight. If your kid is acting up, then send him far away from you where total strangers do exactly what Bill Cosby is advocating, and more. But no, don't do it yourself.

Windbag said...

If a kid is acting up, that's one thing. That's what military schools are for. But not in the home.

So, the parents raise the kid, but if he starts acting up, it's someone else's job to straighten him out? Why not take the kids from the parents at birth and let someone else raise them?

As far as an adversarial role of the parent, that comes with the territory. How many parents have you seen who love their kids, aren't jerks, yet the brats adopt an I'm-so-abused-I'm-so-misunderstood attitude? Parents sometimes have to be the bad guys, it's part of the territory.

Too many parents want to be their kids' buddies first, not their parents.

Luckyoldson said...

Bill appears to lost his mind.

He needs a good bitch-slapping.

mcg said...

I seriously doubt that Bill Cosby is advocating the shakedown as the universal solution to home discipline. I certainly don't see it when I actually read the context of the transcript. What I'm seeing is a man who is telling people not to make excuses for their kids, or for their inaction in straightening them out. I think he's talking about how far parents ought to be willing to go to straighten their kids out and prepare them for the real world. And yes, I do think that he's suggesting that it some circumstances that level of adversarial confrontation is necessary.

Jesus said that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. His words were intended to be more metaphorical than Bill Cosby's, for sure. But in one way the point is similar. Jesus is saying that's how seriously you should be taking sin in your life. Likewise, Bill Cosby is ratcheting up the rhetoric because that's how seriously parents---fellow black parents in particular---ought to be taking their role of saving their children from crime, drugs, gang-banging, and the like.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

If I were living in a very rough area and fighting tooth and nail to keep my kids out of gangs, drugs, and general thuggishness, I would absolutely agree with this advice.

Pogo said...

Consider a scenario: your 15 year old son is using and dealing drugs, unknown to you. You find a huge roll of cash and plastic bags in his room when putting the shirts away.

Aside from that sinking ohmygod feeling, what do you do?

And remember, people have their homes and cars confiscated for drug dealing.

Once a child violates your trust, they have to earn it back. But it would be unwise to cross boundaries this way absent such provocation, as I am sure Cosby would agree.

The Drill SGT said...

Let me frame it without using the prison analogy.

The Army has a concept called a "Health and Welfare inspection"

No warrants needed.

a JAG MEMO as an explanation
FACT SHEETSUBJECT: Conducting Unit Health and Welfare Inspections1. PURPOSE. To provide commanders with information about conduct-ing unit health and welfare inspections.2. FACTS.a. Commanders are responsible for the health, safety, and mili-tary readiness of their units. The health and welfare inspection isan effective tool to use in meeting this responsibility. A command-directed inspection is an examination of all or part of a unit,organization, installation, aircraft, or vehicle. An inspection mayinclude the following types of examinations:(1) An order to produce urine.(2) An examination by narcotic detection dogs.(3) An inspection to ensure the area is free of unlawfulweapons or other contraband.(4) An inspection to determine and ensure the command isproperly equipped (functioning properly), maintaining proper stan-dards of readiness, sanitation and cleanliness, and that personnelare present, fit, and ready for duty.c. In planning an inspection, the commander should prepare awritten memorandum regarding the inspection (see enclosure). Thememorandum should include language that:(1) indicates the inspection was previously scheduled;(2) states his or her purpose for conducting the inspec-tion;(3) establishes objection criteria for selecting the indi-viduals to be inspected;(4) prescribes a scope of inspection that clearly relatesto the purpose of the inspection; and(5) announces inspection procedures that ensure all indi-viduals will be inspected in the same manner.

When I was a Tank Comnay Commander in the 80's the Battalion Cdr would regularly schedule these inspections. They would be a surprise to me. He would personally inspect my office, then we would call the LT's and the First SGT in and go through their stuff. Then bring in everybody else and go through the place from top to bottom, often with drug dogs. Everybody got inspected and you can't use the inspection to target somebody, but if the inspection turns up a kilo of grass, it is fair game to take to court.

bottom line. The Army and a family have the responsibility to ensure a safe living environment for the folks

The Drill SGT said...

The memo

Roost on the Moon said...

When I was about 14, I suspected my mom was searching my room. I filled the bottom of a ziploc bag with baking soda (I imagined it looked like cocaine) and sinutab pills. I put it under my mattress. I forgot about it.

A week or so later, I came home to my mother near tears, screaming "What is this?!" What a self-satisfied little shit I was when I said, "Baking soda and Sinutab, I put it there to see if you search my room."

15 years later, I see clearly enough what a callow little punk I was being. It worked too well. Thereafter, she didn't know what to do with me and I got away with murder.

I do think that parents, if they have good reason to fear that their children maybe getting mixed up in destructive behavior, should investigate, and not let some abstract idea of autonomy keep them from helping their children.

All that said, windbag's cavalier dismissal of privacy in the abstract is totalitarian nonsense.

BJK said...

It's almost hard to believe that this is the same guy who I saw doing his stand up routine in Central Wisconsin a day and a half before his MTP appearance. (Side note: if you ever have the chance to see him perform -- do it.)

To me, the most interesting part of the MTP transcript had to be Cosby's response to the Dyson book. Going through all of the individual decisions that a person makes that can - and will - ultimately confine them to poverty (if they make poor choices). Cosby does a better job of instilling the importance of personal responsability than the eventual Republican nominee for President will.

Still, I can't help but juxtapose the passage Ann quotes from with the classic Cosby episode when Cliff uses the monopoly money to give Theo a lesson on budgets and the importance of an education. (Someone else can try to dig it up on Youtube.)

In contrast, the advocated "shakedown" looks extreme, almost militant. That being said, that kind of imposition of dicipline wouldn't be necessary if parents (or more aptly, the parent) had taken a more active, day-to-day role instilling the kinds of values and responsibilities that Cosby is calling for.

My biggest question to those who think Cosby has "lost it" is this: Do you have a better idea? If the status quo is not working, what alternative can you put forth with brighter prospects than teaching values, responsibility, and the importance of an education?

Trooper York said...

I understand that Florence Henderson performed a short arm inspection on the boys every morning, although I don't know if she was ever in the military.

Michael Reynolds said...

As a parent it's your job to give your life for the kid. Risking some harsh words and teen snippiness is a small enough price to pay. I'll do whatever it takes to keep my kids safe -- and hopefully no more than it takes.

Windbag said...

A rigid adherence to privacy rights would prevent you from overhearing someone's conversation at a rest stop, and learning that they're lost and need directions. You would violate their right to privacy, should you offer directions that would assist them. Privacy is a courtesy, not an absolute right. Lots of grey area, that's for sure.

Balfegor said...

People, of all ages, do need a safe, secure space. I can't think of a better way to destroy trust and a relationship than going in a turning a room upside down. Were my parents to have done that, I damn sure wouldn't be coming to them with sensitive concerns or questions.

Pish posh. I go to my parents and one of my aunts with sensitive questions all the time, and I am perfectly aware that throughout my entire childhood they all kept extremely close tabs on everything I did. And when I say "extremely close tabs," I mean that they recorded what was going on the house when they were out (with a tape recorder. To make sure I did my piano practice exactly as I had been ordered to). They would never come out and say outright that they looked through my room or what embarassing things they found -- it's one of those face things -- but they checked through my possessions regularly as a matter of course. For that matter, I'm fairly certain they also shared anything they found and were troubled by with their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. throughout the family, seeking advice as appropriate. And it hasn't particularly destroyed my trust in them.

To a slightly lesser extent, the same is true of my sisters, who continue to solicit advice from my parents regularly even though they know perfectly well that my parents went through their private things up through high school.

Peter Palladas said...

All quite unnecessary. Too much action.

Just make sure you click the 'Save Conversations' option on MSN and equivalent and then read in peace [or high anxiety] when teenbrat is out of the house.

If you find anything - and it will all be there for good or for bad - then act.

If you find said teenbrat has sussed you out and turned off the save chat option then really panic.

It's wretchedly invasive, but it can save many tears later.

I've not yet done it, but I might.

Roost on the Moon said...

(response to windbag)

Well, right, but then an absolute right to free speech would protect perjurers, and an absolute right to bear arms would allow suitcase bombs in airports, etc, etc... Of course there is gray area, but denying the existence of any privacy rights (because they're just a courtesy) is a goofy place to start the discussion.

In a real sense, privacy is both a constitutional right (4th Amendment) and an essential component of freedom, which most Americans consider in some sense to be a basic human right.

Jeremy said...

For my part, I still follow a strict Cosby regiment of Sunkist and chocolate cake for breakfast everyday.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Ben Cartwright had a strict schedule of cavity searchs every morning on the Ponderosa. But for some reason he never checked under
Hoss's hat. Ya gotta wonder about that.

davidc. said...

It is fairly obvious from looking at some of the comments that many of you have absolutely no idea as to which audience Bill Cosby is talking to. To say that if your child is acting badly and that he should be sent to a military school is typical of the lack of knowledge that you have of the state of affairs of about 80% of the US population. The people that I know and see on a daily basis can barely afford their water bills much less any concept of going to a school that required a tuition. My son goes to a public school because it is the best in our area, he is exposed to kids who have to buget just to buy a backpack. These are the ones who are most likely to fall into the gang circles and use really hard core drugs. Those are the ones that Mr. Cosby is preaching to. Having already experienced two children going through their teens and currently having a third, I can tell you that he does not and never will have privacy rights while on my tab. I certainly respect his space and try to stay out of his business but would be failing him as a parent if I did not supervise his activity and keep a critical eye on friends, purchases, hair, and any other aspect of his life that could clue me into activity that would put him in danger.

I had one child who did get into the drug scene. I suspected that he had problems and tried to check on his grades in college only to be told that I did not have access because of his privacy. Now that is fine if he is paying his way, but I was picking up the tab and as a result my only recourse was to stop the flow of money. That is called tough love, but the college should have let me do it in a different manner by sharing the information that I am paying for. It is the same as if I had a business and pouring money into it only to be told by the accountants that I could not view the balance sheet.

This idea of privacy is absolutely rediculous. In my house, my wife always knows my affairs and I think I know hers. As a physician, I can tell you that the new privacy laws are crazy. We are substantially limited in what we can do and information we can obtain and for zero reason. I can't even put a chart down on a table without concer that someone could read the name.

We do all this in the name of "privacy" yet submit to the TSA searches as sheep. We know full well that the constant violation of the Constitution by the TSA is only a show and has nothing to do with real security. And contray to what you may feel about allowing people to carry guns and was aluded to, an armed population has been shown to reduce crime and would have saved the people on the planes on 9/11.

Ralph said...

Trooper, you could put that on the Romney thread.
If I were living in a very rough area
I hope I'd have the sense to move, but if you grow up there, you don't realize it's bad for kids.

As a non-parent but former child, I think the kids need more normal parental attention early on, and then you won't feel like you have to search their rooms, because they're less likely to play dangerously.

mcg said...

In a real sense, privacy is both a constitutional right (4th Amendment) and an essential component of freedom, which most Americans consider in some sense to be a basic human right.

I think that what people often think of as privacy rights is really, when they boil it down, just a right "to my own stuff and my own space," and the right for that not to be intruded upon. That enables us to seek privacy when you want it. But if you leave your dime bag on your car seat when you get pulled over for speeding---or if it's in the glove compartment but your eyes are bloodshot and your speech is slurred---don't expect to win a privacy argument.

Likewise, in the home, I don't think it's reasonable for a child to be given, or to expect, absolute privacy. It is entirely reasonable for a parent to enter a child's room without his permission for a variety of innocent reasons; and if the child hasn't hidden his contraband, well, tough. Likewise, if the child is acting up or otherwise giving the parents probable cause that something's amiss, I see no reason why the parents can't issue themselves a search warrant if they judge that doing so might help them understand the cause.

Trooper York said...

Fred and Wilma checked under Peebles mattress and you know what they found. Two or three Rocks. Not of cocaine though. They were upset that Bam Bam was always having “a gay old time,” but that was Barney’s problem. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

former law student said...

If a couple of dads had violated their boys' privacy a bit more often, the Columbine tragedy might have been prevented.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9400E7DC1E3AF93AA15755C0A96F958260

One friend of the boys', Nathan Dykeman, said that after Wayne Harris found a pipe bomb in Eric's closet, he grounded his son, took away his car and computer privileges, and started surprise searches of his room.

But the reins were apparently not tightened enough: the police believe that the two boys continued building bombs in the garage attached to the Harris home, as late as the weekend before the Columbine attack.

Trooper York said...

Mr. Drummond never checked on his kids and they turned out just fine. Or at least as good as you could expect.

Luckyoldson said...

former law student said..."If a couple of dads had violated their boys' privacy a bit more often, the Columbine tragedy might have been prevented."

Well, sure, but that's an extremely overstated theory.

Many parents watch and govern their kids like members of the Gestapo and they still do bad things, and of course, you can certainly add mental illness to the equation.

Columbine would have been a lot less of a tragedy if a gun dealer hadn't sold guns and ammo to the kids in the first place. (And as far as I know, the girl who did much of the buying was never prosecuted.)

Trooper York said...

George Jetson never worried about Judy because she was a good girl. But Jane was very concerned about Elroy when he stated hanging around with Johnny Nucleo. It was just a bad scene. It turned into brokeback asteroid.

Luckyoldson said...

Balfegor said..."I am perfectly aware that throughout my entire childhood they all kept extremely close tabs on everything I did. And when I say "extremely close tabs," I mean that they recorded what was going on the house when they were out (with a tape recorder."

Good Lord...now that's what I call a trusting pair of parents. What more could a child ask for, short of a computer chip implanted in their head?

*Oh, and by the way...if you knew they were recording...

Trooper York said...

Children should also confide in their parents. Buffy never told her dad why the housekeeper was called Mr. French. They thought it was his real name, but it was really only his nickname. Since they didn’t pay taxes in those days, he never had to fill out a W-4. Ah the sixties, what a hoot.

former law student said...

Columbine would have been a lot less of a tragedy if a gun dealer hadn't sold guns and ammo to the kids in the first place. (And as far as I know, the girl who did much of the buying was never prosecuted.)

No gun dealers sold them any guns. They got one gun from some meathead at the pizza parlor where one of them worked, and the others were bought by a straw purchaser, the girl that one of them went to the prom with. As I recall, the shotgun whose barrel they sawed off was kept in one boy's closet. All this could have been discoverable had the parents been a little more snoopy.

Trooper York said...

Now Bruce Wayne was very strict with his ward Dick Grayson. He never inspected his room, but he did make him grease up the Bat Pole every weekend.

Ralph said...

They found a pipe bomb and didn't keep the boy chained to a chair? Have they been sued yet?

Trooper York said...

Mr. Brady was in charge of searching the girl’s room. He never found anything but still spent a lot of time in their room. Marcia could never figure out why her undies were all stretched out of shape. Ah the sixties, what a hoot.

Pogo said...

Trooper,
Somebody sure needed to barge in on Danny Partridge back then. Why wasn't Shirley tossing the mattresses?

Didn't Ruben Kincaid do some time for that spy hole he made in Laurie's bedroom?

Trooper York said...

Yes, but Rueben had an unfortunate habit of jumping in Danny's arms until the day he flipped him over his head and smushed his face into the floor of the bus. This move became know as the Rueben sandwich and was later prefected by Jimmy Superfly Snooka in Westlemania XV. It's is now a trade mark violation case pending before the supreme court. My money is on Superfly because everyone knows that David Souter is a big wrestling fan and will influence the court if he can get to meet Adrian Adonis.

Balfegor said...

Re: Luckyoldson:

Good Lord...now that's what I call a trusting pair of parents. What more could a child ask for, short of a computer chip implanted in their head?

Spies! Everywhere! Just like East Germany.

Well, there are people who set up cameras to watch while their au pairs and governesses tend to their children, although this is on account of not trusting the servants, as opposed to the children. Works both ways, though, I imagine.

Ralph said...

Mr. Brady was hanging out in the boys' room. Spice is nice, but incest is best.

SteveR said...

Laurie Partridge... grrr

Trooper York said...

I don’t know about that. But I did worry that Wilbur did spend too much time out in the barn with Mr. Ed when he had such a hot wife. Ah the sixties, what a hoot.

Chip Ahoy said...

*shock*

Do you mean to tell me all parents aren't already like that?

I grew up with inspections, and not a trace of an expectation of privacy.

Skyler said...

The idea that children have a right to privacy is absurd. Children have a right to be fed, cared for, and taught right from wrong. All other rights come with majority or by the grace of the parents.

If a parent fears a child's reaction to a search, then the cause is already lost. I suspect these are the parents that cause all the troubles in the world.

Trooper York said...

How bad a kid do you have to be to get the nickname “The Beaver” in the 1950’s. I understand how Britney Spears got that moniker, but the Jerry Mathers, man he was ahead of his time.

ricpic said...

Well said, Skyler.

Blake said...

I think there's a context here that's missing. A parent can doubtless get into a situation where a shakedown is necessary. Given the gradual morphing of children's schedules from "leaving the house in the morning and coming back at dark" to the more controlled, scheduled, regulated, chaperoned, etc. schedules of today, it would seem like children should have less time to get in trouble.

Whether that's good or not is a different question.

Get the kid a job on his 13th or 14th birthday and he won't have time to get into trouble, too. (Well, unless you get him a job as a drug dealer.)

I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to have the most energetic, hormonally imbalanced, and wildly ignorant people in our society running around without supervision or responsibility.

And now, a thought from Loudon Wainwright III:

Being a dad
starts to get radical
when they turn into teenagers

You gotta tighten the screws
enforce the curfews
confiscate weapons and pagers

jimbino said...

My dad and I both started working and earning wages outside the home at age 10. He knew, as I did, that if he invaded my privacy like that, I'd be long gone. He also knew that if he acted as Bill Cosby advises and I couldn't get gone, he'd be long dead.

Trooper York said...

I think Marilyn Munster was adopted. But Herman was still very strict. He wouldn’t let her go to Don Drysdale’s apartment even if she was going to get Sandy Koufax’s autograph. Of course now she would be validating her parking in Derek Jeter’s condo in the wink of eye of newt.

Liam said...

Amusing...

My kids regularly rifle my office at home when I am on the road looking for toys, pens, paper, batteries, whatever, in spite of dire warnings posted on the door.

I don't think I should treat them any differently than they treat me.

Galvanized said...

I'm totally into parenting in this old-fashioned way. It shows interest,which is missing from a lot of parents' relationships with their kids in recent years. It shows caring and involvement, that your kid is worth your time. I guess, for some, it's a question of what the motivation is for "shakedown." There's a respectful way of doing it. My kids understand that anything going on under our roof is parents' business, and we're closer because of it. And, with cause, I have been known to do this before. Until mine are 18 and living away from home, their rooms, their things, their passwords, their friends are my business. But, again, there is a respectful way of keeping abreast of everything going on. I can see scores of kids that my child knows whose parents, had they only kept their eyes open and, at times, remained forcefully involved in their kids' lives, would have saved them a conflict with law, a pregnancy, abuse by a boyfriend, drinking and driving, and wrecks, parties with a lot of drama, and, in one case, a death due to drugs. It's not a popular way to parent nowadays, but I can assure you that my child knows I love her even more than a lot of other parents, and there's a reason why her friends have respect for our home and family. This is the way parenting is done. Rights to privacy begin when the child becomes an adult. It is such a humanistic concept to thrust autonomy on them and step out of the picture while they are still emotionally and psychologically immature. It's the easy cop-out for a parent who just doesn't have the time to actually parent to have these boundaries that they won't cross out of "respect for privacy." If you love your kids, you stay someone that they are answerable to, and someone who turns over every rock (if given reason to suspect), and prevents the negatives from sliding in while your head is turned. Yea, Bill Cosby. I like that advice...and, sadly, a lot of kids would welcome the change in the direction that parenting has taken, which is now hands-off, laissez faire, you're-on-your-own parenting. How strange.

Trooper York said...

Now James and Florida were very strict with JJ and he managed to stay out of trouble. He stayed away from gangs and drugs and now he is a state Supreme Court judge. But they sort of ignored Thelma who is currently on welfare and weighs approximately 450 lbs. Michael is a Black Muslim and the right hand man of Minister Farrakhan. Ahh the seventies, good times.

Luckyoldson said...

Former Student said: No gun dealers sold them any guns. They got one gun from some meathead at the pizza parlor where one of them worked, and the others were bought by a straw purchaser, the girl that one of them went to the prom with."

The three people who provided the Columbine High killers with guns have been added as defendants to a lawsuit filed by a student injured in the rampage.

Manes and Duran helped Klebold and Harris obtain the TEC-DC9 assault weapon used at Columbine. Both pleaded guilty to providing a handgun to a minor and possessing a sawed-off shotgun during target practice with Klebold and Harris several weeks before the Columbine rampage.

Anderson bought a carbine and two shotguns for Harris and Klebold at a gun show because she was 18 and they were 17 at the time. They later sawed off the shotguns and used them and the carbine to shoot students at Columbine.

Luckyoldson said...

Balfegor said..."Well, there are people who set up cameras to watch while their au pairs and governesses..."

And, with good reason, they're not part of the family and anybody who reads the newspaper knows that bad things can happen..

Recording the kids or secretly video taping them while the parents are gone seems a bit much.

In my family we trusted each other and did our best to adhere to specific rules, etc. If we did something stupid, we were punished.

I don't think I would tape or video my kids.

Trooper York said...

Mrs. Garrett was not the mother for her girls but they did live off campus in a house much like the ones described in another thread here regarding campus housing .She did a very good job with her girls. Now Jo is living with Joan Jett in a slightly ambiguous relationship. Natalie is an editor at the New Republic. Blair is a law professor and bogs under a pseudonym. And of course Tootie is Secretary of State.

AlphaLiberal said...

He sounds more like a "Daddy Dearest" all the time.

Joan Crawford, step aside!

Whoop-whoop!

Smilin' Jack said...

This is such a great idea I don't see why it should be limited to children. Repeal the Fourth Amendment!

Windbag said...

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

For those of you who don't recognize it, that's the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Operative word in the wording is "unreasonable." Also worthy of notice is the absence of the word "privacy".

Balfegor said...

I don't think I would tape or video my kids.

You have good kids. My present self would not trust my 6 year old self to do all the scales, play "Ecossaise" five times start to finish, and then do Bach inventions or whatever else I was required to do at the time without at least the fear of some punishment if it were discovered I had not done as ordered. Scales and inventions can be awfully boring to a young child.

This is wandering somewhat from the point of the discussion, of course, which is warrantless searches and surveillance of one's children to see whether they are doing things that are actually bad, as opposed to merely disobedient -- malum in se rather than mere malum prohibitum, as it were. But I grew up in an environment where the idea that I could keep a secret from my family was laughable on its face. I knew that there were children whose parents did afford them considerable private space -- you see them on television shows all the time, after all -- but it was just one of those peculiarly modern things you saw people do from time to time, like children calling their parents by their first name.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Lots of black parents are like this. That's the problem. They beat their kids too often and scream at their kids too often and curse at their kids too often and violate their privacy and sense of self and override their ability to make informed decisions and indoctrinate them with Jesus-talk and whitey-is-evil talk. Surprise, surprise, the kids are stunted emotionally, stunted socially, have low self-esteem, are overly race-conscious, and think violence is okay.

Instead of shakedowns, black parents might try not forcing their kids to go to church, throwing the TV and video-game consoles out the window and getting their kids a library card and local museum memberships, shaking down the kids in terms of doing their homework and screening them for drugs (without rummaging through their stuff). They could also force their kids to get a job if they want to buy hip-hop CDs and hip-hop urban-wear, i.e., pay for it themselves. It's not that hard. But the worst thing you can do is send them to church, which is -- think about it -- where all the people who admit they need redemption are. You don't send your kids to AA if you want to keep them from drinking. They're just going to meet drunks and hear about how to score alcohol as a kid.

It's one thing to teach your kids morality; it's something else to send them to a black church. The stereotype about the preacher's kids is not a stereotype: it's an archetype.

Trooper York said...

Maude Findlay lost her husband Walter in 1986 and currently lives with three other ladies in Florida. Her only daughter Carol is the proprietor of the very popular site "Grandmother I would Love to F*ck.com" whose board of directors include Linda Evans, Bo Derek and Blythe Danner. Please check out the comments section, you won't be disappointed

Balfegor said...

Lots of black parents are like this. That's the problem. They beat their kids too often and scream at their kids too often and curse at their kids too often and violate their privacy and sense of self and override their ability to make informed decisions and indoctrinate them with Jesus-talk and whitey-is-evil talk.

About half of that describes most of the East Asian parents I know too, though, and East Asian children turn out as well as children of any other race. In my experience, the parents are usually not too heavy on cursing and Whitey-is-evil; Jesus-talk varies with which kind of East Asian your parents are -- many Koreans, for example, are hyper-Christian in the "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" vein; Japanese, by and large, are not. But screaming, beating, and invasion of privacy are kind of par for the course for lots of Asian children growing up.

Mortimer Brezny said...
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Mortimer Brezny said...

But screaming, beating, and invasion of privacy are kind of par for the course for lots of Asian children growing up.

True. But the parents scream, beat, and invade their privacy to motivate them to do well in school. I knew plenty of Asians kids who were beaten or starved for earning a B+. Too often black parents do it for no apparent reason. You may have misunderstood me: there's nothing wrong with beating your kid into playing the violin.

Mortimer Brezny said...

many Koreans, for example, are hyper-Christian in the "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" vein,

Yes, and many of those kids ("Seekers") had many problems in my high school, which was 55% Korean. It interfered with their learning and social development and college admissions (if you refuse to participate in "sinful" extracurriculars, there are no distinctive extracurriculars on your resume). My point is that such emotional and social stunting, combined with other factors, can reach a critical mass. Not that any one of these factors, taken independently, is the sole and unalterable cause of total failure as a human being.

Mortimer Brezny said...

My present self would not trust my 6 year old self to do all the scales, play "Ecossaise" five times start to finish, and then do Bach inventions or whatever else I was required to do at the time without at least the fear of some punishment if it were discovered I had not done as ordered. Scales and inventions can be awfully boring to a young child.

This is different than punishment for punishment's sake. Namely, because the Bible says "Spare the rod and spoil the child," which is interpreted as, "Beat your kid whenever you feel like it."

Trooper York said...

Archie and Edith Bunker had only one child Gloria. Although they were very strict with her, she an unfortunate marriage that ended in divorce. Edith has passed on, but Archie remains in Queens, running his tavern and occasionally posting under the pseudonym Cedarford. His daughter currently makes commercials with starving black children with distended bellies who have flies on their eyes.

Ralph said...

Mortimer, I assumed you were being sarcastic, since abuse knows no color boundaries, it's just that a higher proportion of black kids have a small cushion against wrongdoing. Are any churches crusading against sin these days? Not very effectively, I'd say. Three of the (white) preacher kids I knew growing up were in constant trouble. Their father built a sanctuary for prostitutes while he beat his own kids.

Neglect is just as widespread and nearly as harmful.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Three of the (white) preacher kids I knew growing up were in constant trouble.

I said a preacher's kids. Not a black preacher's kids. I wasn't limiting my statement about preachers' kids to blacks.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Neglect is just as widespread and nearly as harmful.

No, actually, it isn't. It's more widespread amongst blacks, which is the point.

Synova said...

This (and not whatever it is Mort's got up his butt about how going to church is like prison because you learn to be bad while you're there) reminds me of an Ann Landers column (don't think it was Abby) where she told a mother that it was an invasion of her child's privacy to require him to take down an unacceptable poster. She had a big long explanation about how the teen *needed* to work through pornography issues himself in order to get over it. (I kid you not!)

Yeah, so it's *his* room. What if he shared it with a younger brother? What if he had sisters, would the pornography allowed in the house send a message to them about their worth that was as important as their brother's personal sovereignty? Needless to say, I wondered why someone didn't find a clue-bat to use on Landers.

But this sort of thing is what parents have been told, now, for years and years. Told by pepole who are supposedly experts.

But even minimal logical examination would lead one to realize that *having your own room* isn't a right for any child. It's a privilege of wealth. It's nice, sure. I don't want my whole family sleeping in one room... I like my privacy too. But where does this idea come from that a child able to have a bedroom with a door all to him or herself, has somehow also acquired a right to privacy that we parents must not violate?

If a person is worried about mistrust... make it a cleanliness inspection and make it routine.

(Not big on the military school idea either. I worked at a private boarding school for a while and a couple of the girls in the dorms were there because they had been having trouble at home. Someone could maybe explain to me how being supervised by two full time college students (ie., not at all) in a town far from home is going to keep someone out of trouble?)

Mortimer Brezny said...

about how going to church is like prison because you learn to be bad while you're there

I have a friend who is a Bible Wizard champion who has countless stories confirming the point. In fact, almost everyone I know who grew up in a very churchgoing family experimented with drugs and had sex while a minor, most often with other kids they met while unsupervised at church or a church function or a Bible camp. I made a clear distinction between teaching your kids morality and taking them to church to interact with bad people. Be as religious as you want, but don't fool yourself into thinking church is where all the moral people go. Let me put it this way: Let's say you said, "Hey, I heard about this Jesus dude. He's giving a talk tonight. I think I'll go." Would I be wrong if I replied, "I wouldn't go if I were you. Jesus may give a good talk, but the audience will be full of lepers, prostitutes, and other undesireables. Wait for the transcript."?

What if he had sisters, would the pornography allowed in the house send a message to them about their worth that was as important as their brother's personal sovereignty?

That is dumb. Pornography makes no general statements about all women's worth as human beings or any particular woman's worth as a moral agent. It just graphically depicts sex. If the sister has a romance novel, that doesn't mean she objectifies men. It means she likes reading romance novels. The advice columnist was exactly right. Forcing the kid to take down the poster would probably screw him up for life and, if anything, make his love of porn grow until it actually did result in misogyny, because not even a porn star wants to screw a porn addict.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Oh, and the sluttiest girls I've ever met were devout Catholics, especially "abstinent" ones and virgins.

Synova said...

Mort, I make it a policy never to take advice on how not to get myself or anyone else screwed up from someone who is so obviously screwed up.

Sometimes it depends on who you know. People aren't evenly distributed. Most church kids I ever met were more into bible studies than anything else and took personal sanctification very seriously. We didn't do drugs, we discussed the morality involved in "using" caffeine. We didn't slut around, we discussed the morality of kissing before (at least) engagement.

Anyone, however, who thinks that church people are not like other people and represent both good and bad... is a fool.

I'm sorry you were a fool. I'm sorry you were disillusioned. I wish it hadn't happened that way. I can't change that now. But I can point out that you're being rude and it's annoying.

And it makes me very sad that you think sinners in church is a bad thing.

Synova said...

Oh, and Mort?

You don't know squat about the message that porn sends to girls... and if you think romance novels *objectify* men because they have sex in them... you also don't know squat.

Trooper York said...

The Robinson's family was very careful with their children, as they were lost in space and far away from any human society. They did have a bit of a problem with young William who seemed to enjoy reading the Galactic Geographic with the pictures of the naked natives of Alpha Centuri who have eight breasts. However, Dr. Smith agreed to take Master William under his wing and he soon stopped perusing these periodicals in such an obsessive manner. However he did begin to evidence an unhealthy interest in gladiator movies. The future, what a hoot

Revenant said...

You don't know squat about the message that porn sends to girls...

The message that porn sends to girls is "men masturbate". If they're getting a message other than that, they're overthinking it.

and if you think romance novels *objectify* men because they have sex in them... you also don't know squat

You' are apparently unaware of the fact that modern romance novels are usually explicitly pornographic. Some (like Laurell Hamilton's more recent books) are pretty much cover-to-cover boinking. The main difference is that male porn just has the impossible sex. Romance porn has the impossible sex, followed by some angst over what all the impossible sex really *means*. Followed by some more impossible sex.

But even the older novels that didn't get specific about exactly what happened between the bodice ripping and the happy marriage still presented their male characters in an objectified manner -- not as sex objects, but as impossible paragons of every male virtue (or rather, every male virtue women like, minus the ones women don't care for).

The moral of this story is, anyone who takes either porn or romance novels seriously -- or takes offense that other people get a kick out of them -- really needs a reality check. It is called "fantasy" for a reason, you know.

Mortimer Brezny said...

You' are apparently unaware of the fact that modern romance novels are usually explicitly pornographic.

No, I'm not. I'm just not offended by free speech, whether exercised by females or males. Harlequin and Blue Moon rule.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Anyone, however, who thinks that church people are not like other people and represent both good and bad... is a fool.

The above makes no sense. Of couse some church people are good and some are bad. The point is not all of them are good. And the kids are generally unsupervised and because they are indoctrined to be good, they often rebel by being as bad as possible. I wouldn't send my kids into that environment, because numerous hardcore churchers have told me not to. I'm a religious person of faith, but not a churchgoer. I know for sure there are no bad people in my apartment when I am alone reading the Bible.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mort, I make it a policy never to take advice on how not to get myself or anyone else screwed up from someone who is so obviously screwed up.

You only prove my point about hypocritical Christians. You are exactly who I don't want influencing my kids. Look how nasty and rude you are. And all I said was that the body of Christ is not the church, which the Bible says as well. Some Christian you are, you bitch.

Ralph said...

I know for sure there are no bad people in my apartment when I am alone reading the Bible.
You must not be reading the Old Testament.
A teenager with porn hanging on his walls isn't likely to get a real girl in there for very long.

Mortimer Brezny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortimer Brezny said...

A teenager with porn hanging on his walls isn't likely to get a real girl in there for very long.

I'm not a teenager, but thanks. I'll tell my girlfriend.

Mortimer Brezny said...

We didn't slut around, we discussed the morality of kissing before (at least) engagement.

That isn't slutty, but it is so sad it invalidates everything you say.

Ralph said...

That isn't slutty, but it is so sad it invalidates everything you say.
It was normal Western morality in the pre-Crest era. People didn't use their christian names outside their families, or go on "dates" either. A very different, reticent culture, but sad?

Mortimer Brezny said...

It was normal Western morality

So was enslaving people.

Ralph said...

Way to miss the joke, Mortimer

Revenant said...

No, I'm not. I'm just not offended by free speech, whether exercised by females or males.

Yes, Mortimer, that's fascinating and all... but I wasn't talking to you. I was responding to Synova's comment. That's why the quote at the start of my post is from him, not you.

Mortimer Brezny said...

That's why the quote at the start of my post is from him, not you.

I realized that afterward, but it doesn't really matter. I wasn't attacking you, just using you as a springboard. Plus, I was drunk. Take a chill pill.

Joan said...

But even the older novels that didn't get specific about exactly what happened between the bodice ripping and the happy marriage still presented their male characters in an objectified manner -- not as sex objects, but as impossible paragons of every male virtue (or rather, every male virtue women like, minus the ones women don't care for).

I can't believe I'm commenting on this, but here goes -- I was romance novel junkie from about 8th through 10th grades, back in the days when there was never anything more than a kiss described in the pages. Those things are like candy, I could read two a day if my mom didn't have other stuff for me to do. We used to get them for free at the library's swap box.

Anyway -- to say that these novels present "impossible paragons of every male virtue" is ridiculous. True, all the guys were handsome, and they usually made a good living, but they were all, without exception, quick to judge (wrongly), impervious to reason, and stubborn. A lot of them were emotionally damaged, too: angry, bitter, you name it. The heroine could see through these qualities and "save him", often from himself if not from a lifetime of loneliness.

Part of the crock of romance novels is the idea that people who have problems when you meet them will suddenly not have problems any more after they fall in love with you. That's the big lie, IMO.

The message that porn sends to girls is "men masturbate". If they're getting a message other than that, they're overthinking it.

That's probably true for the occasional porn consumer, but it's not true of the porn addict. Unrealistic expectations lead to unsatisfying real life experiences for those guys and their partners.

Ralph said...

That's probably true for the occasional romance consumer, but it's not true of the romance addict. Unrealistic expectations lead to unsatisfying real life experiences for those gals and their partners.

At least we can close our eyes and think of England.

Revenant said...

That's probably true for the occasional porn consumer, but it's not true of the porn addict.

Obviously anyone who builds his or her life around an obsession with fake people is going to have a hard time forming emotional attachments to real people, as Ralph's comment about romance novel junkies points out. It is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg question as to whether or not the preference for fantasy is the result of a disinterest in real relationships or vice versa, though.

Anyway, you're right about the other stereotypical male character of romance novels, but that character is just as much of a ridiculous fantasy object as the paragons I mentioned. The man who just needs to be "fixed" by the right woman is as much a myth as the horny woman looking for cheap sex. They do exist, but the people who meet in real life almost certainly aren't going to be that way. Real men generally find the idea that need a woman to fix their emotional problems to be really annoying.

Trooper York said...

Jeeez, who would want to close their eyes and think of Lynndie England. That's how that whole
Abu Ghraib stuff got started.

Synova said...

joan, the romances I read (yeah, two a day, etc.,) from 8th to 10th grade were terrible and it didn't matter a bit that there wasn't sex in them. The men were awful, the girls were stupid. Powerful man and (usually) young girl are thrown together. They hate each other with a passion that turns out to be... love.

Modern romances are nearly as vapid but some things have changed. The age difference is almost always narrower. Women are often in their 30's instead of 17 or 19. The power level of men and women is usually evener. The men are not abusive. And even if there is a lot of sex (instead of the kiss at the end) the essential thing that makes a romance a romance is emotional. The man isn't a support system for a dick the way a woman in a porn mag is for the tits and ass. Written erotica or porn is different, even if the graphicness of the sex portrayed is similar.

Oh, and unless it's an Historical novel, condoms are always explicitly used.

I really do think that a lot of women "learned" that they were supposed to put up with abusive partners by reading what we read as teenagers. Love stopped the abuse. The horrible man was "saved" and turned into a loving and faithful husband.

I think that the books themselves were damaging to girls who weren't old enough to know better. Modern ones probably are, too, in that relationships don't really work the way they work in books in real life and until you've lived real life for a while a person might not know the difference. But at least women in today's romance don't routinely discover that they like being forced.

re porn addicts: "Unrealistic expectations lead to unsatisfying real life experiences for those guys and their partners."

Blasphemer!