aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, June 17, 2006
He claims to have named 7
In my Six would be easier to remember post yesterday I joined in the poking fun at Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland for not being able to name the Ten Commandments on The Colbert Report.
Today Steve Benen points us to Westmoreland’s official response, in which his press spokesman claims he named seven and challenges “anybody outside of the clergy to try to (name them all).” Says Benen:
[That’s ]a pretty weak argument. According to Westmoreland and the legislation he supports in Congress, the Decalogue includes the nation’s guiding principles. They offer instructions to moral people on how to behave. They’re so important, Westmoreland and lawmakers like him believe Congress should ignore church-state separation and officially endorse and promote the Commandments in the House and Senate chambers. And now Westmoreland’s office believes no one can actually name all 10? Shouldn’t Westmoreland have bothered to commit them to memory a long time ago?
If Westmoreland had been quizzed, apropos of nothing, I’d happily give him a pass. But he’s the one who brought this up by pushing the legislation in the first place.
Why they really want to shut down MySpace
this really hot business man in a pinstriped suit walked past me, said hello, and doubled back. he asked me my name and introduced himself (jack burkman, government relations strategies), asked where i went to school, etc, gave me his card, and asked me to call him. i later texted him and never could get rid of him again. he thought he talked to me on the phone several times, but he never did. i always made kat or kristin be me. he told kristin about how he really enjoyed my outfit (TITS GALORE) and that i was beautiful, etc. by the end of the night (5 am or so), he was offering to pay for our room and give us a thousand dollars if two of us would [Read on]
Now this is the same Jack Burkman who was all over cable [here and here] defending Ann Coulter’s trashing of the 9/11 widows. In her post dispelling any doubts that it really was Burkman, Wonkette adds a new dimension to that Coulter defense.
Crooks and Liars finds that Burkman is a registered lobbyist for the Family Research Council, “I wonder what [FRC President] Tony Perkins will say?” And The American Street found this from Burkman on a June 5 MSNBC appearance:
But this issue [the anti-Gay Marriage Amendment] and the moral fabric of the country is five times as important as the war on terror and the war in Iraq combined . . . . Americans didn’t wake up this morning being afraid of a Lesbian couple. No, but that Lesbian couple is free to do what it wants. It’s not oppressed in America. But that doesn’t mean somehow that it has some right to join what the majority does. What Patrick is arguing here is not only does he want that Lesbian couple to be free from oppression, which it deserves, I agree, but he demands! He demands to this country and this society that they be let into what the majority is doing!
So this Republican strategist wants us free to have sex with him but banned from legally recognized committed relationships. I’m only guessing what his position would be on the Republican sponsored Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006. My position is suggested here and here.
Flower child v social networked child
Earlier in the week I quoted danah boyd, a PhD candidate at the School of Information, University of California-Berkeley, from an interview with Henry Jenkins, co-director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, conducted via email by Sarah Wright of the MIT News Office on MySpace and Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). (Click here for a printable, PDF version.)
I finished it last night, I urge you to read it too. A boomer with my own - shall we say colorful? - history, I find this point by Henry particularly resonant:
[M]ost parents understand their children’s experiences in the context of their memories of their own early years. For the baby boom generation, those defining experiences involved playing in backyards and vacant lots within suburban neighborhoods, socializing with their friends at the local teen hangout, and participating within a social realm which was constrained by the people who went to your local school. All of that is changing. Contemporary children and youth enjoy far less physical mobility, have less time outside of adult control, and have fewer physical places to hang out with their friends.
Much of this activity is being brought online. What teens are doing online is no better and no worse than what previous generations of teens did when their parents weren’t looking. The difference is that as these activities are being digitized, they are also being brought into public view. Video games bring the fantasy lives of young boys into the family room and parents are shocked by what they are seeing. Social networks give adults a way to access their teens’ social and romantic lives and they are startled by their desire to break free from restraints or act older than their age. Parents are experiencing this as a loss of control but in fact, adults have greater control over these aspects of their children’s lives than ever before.
Indeed, one of the biggest risks of these digital technologies is not the ways that they allow teens to escape adult control but rather the permanent traces left behind of their transgressive conduct. Teens used to worry about what teachers or administrators might put in their permanent records since this would impact how they were treated in the future. Yet, we are increasingly discovering that everything we do online becomes part of our public and permanent record, easily recoverable by anyone who knows how to Google, and that there is no longer any statute of limitations on our youthful indiscretions.
Emphasis mine. My experience is that what’s true for baby boomer parents is also true for baby boomer college professors and administrators: we’re too often focused on the wrong problem! Caught up in our own shock, how can we effectively help teens take appropriate precautions?
My goal is to understand and support, and then from that understanding supportive place look for and find the teachable moment. I’ll be very interested in the MacArthur Foundation development of an ethics casebook:
Right now, MySpace and the other social network tools are being read as threats to the civic order, as encouraging anti-social behaviors. But we can easily turn this around and see them as the training ground for future citizens and political leaders. Young people are assuming public roles at earlier and earlier ages. They are interacting with larger communities of their peers and beginning to develop their own styles of leadership. Across a range of issues, young people are using social network software to identify and rally like-minded individualism, forming the basis for new forms of digital activism. Current research shows that teens who participate in massively multiplayer games develop a much stronger ability to work in teams, a greater understanding of how and when to take appropriate risks, an ability to rapidly process complex bodies of information, and so forth. At the same time, these teens are facing an array of ethical challenges which are badly understood by the adults around them. They have nowhere to turn for advice on how to confront some of the choices they make as participants within these communities. Part of the work we will be doing for the MacArthur Foundation involves the development of an ethics casebook which will help parents, teachers, and students work through some of these issues and make sensible decisions about how they conduct their online lives. We see this kind of pedagogical intervention as far more valuable than locking down all public computers and then sending kids out to deal with these issues on their own.
ALSO WATCH FOR: Henry has a book book coming out this summer, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, which he intends to provide some frameworks for thinking about the new forms of participatory culture which are emerging in the digital era.