Category Archives: Privacy

Jane Fonda & The Seven Deadly Words; Texas ban struck down

I’ve had this post in the draft queue since the day (Feb. 14th) Jane said cunt on network television. Maybe I just wanted to be able to type the word cunt (more than once) and not have the wife throw bricks at me. Or maybe I just have my suspicions about why her slip of the tongue (rimshot here, please) still goes unpunished.

True, the word cunt is only the horrendous insult that English speaking American women think it is, in America. Everywhere else, it doesn’t even strictly apply to women. In Britain it could just be the stupid guy next to you.

Strictly speaking, it’s just a low brow word for the female genitalia. But it does rate the list of deadly words on the FCC list. The seven deadly words that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe even bring us, God help us, peace without honor; um, and a bourbon. George Carlin at his best.

The reason Jane’s language malfunction is going unpunished, the only reason that makes sense, is that the FCC knows that they will not win this battle; no matter what they say, they will be made to look like the paternalistic jerks that they are. Jane was on with the author of The Vagina Monologues, and I wouldn’t put it past the two of them to have cooked this up (much like Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction was completely staged) as a publicity stunt to do exactly what Jane Fonda’s apology says she wants to do; change the way that the word is perceived by the average American.

Good luck with that.


An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.Aldous Huxley

Speaking of paternalistic jerks getting what’s coming to them (rimshot again, please) the Texas legislature and the court system have been told that they need to stay out of bedrooms and stop trying to count or control who purchases and uses sexual aids in the state.

From Slate:

On Feb. 13, sex-toy retailers in Texas rejoiced when a federal appeals court ruled—just in time for Valentine’s Day—that a Texas prohibition against the sale of dildos and pocket pussies violated the 14th Amendment.
According to the Texas (ahem) penal code, it is forbidden to sell or to advertise an artificial penis or vagina “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” The statute makes an exception for instances in which the purchase meets a “medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement” need. Even so, in Reliable Consultants v. Ronnie Earle, the normally conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban on the grounds that it violated the right of ordinary citizens “to engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion.”

One of only four states banning sexual doodads (the other three are Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama), Texas is not about to take this insult lying down. Last week, state Attorney General Greg Abbott petitioned the appellate court to reconsider the matter

Sexual aids. Really, it’s a dildo law, I might as well say dildo just as blatantly as I said cunt a few minutes ago (third time, I better start looking over my shoulder) Texas’ dildo law has been overturned. Women can finally ask for and purchase a dildo by name without running the risk of being punished for it. Salesmen can now market a device for it’s real use, rather than having to resort to euphemisms about glow and vitality, without having to face fines and/or jail time.

After all, it was only 1952 when Hysteria was taken off the list of medically treatable diseases. Don’t know what Hysteria is? Then you probably need to read The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines. Doctors treated their patients with “pelvic massages” to produce “hysterical paroxysm” as a cure for the disease. Vibrators were invented in the 1880’s to assist them with this treatment.

I guess, like all medicine, it’s only bad when you start treating the problem yourself…

The Surveillance State: 1984 in 2006

Last week was the news story concerning talking cameras in Britain:

The revolutionary ‘nanny camera’ scheme was first piloted in Wiltshire in 2003 and just seven weeks ago the loudspeakers were introduced by Middlesbrough Council, whose spokesman Mike Clark said they had already made a difference.

He said: “People have been shocked when a voice from a camera tells them to pick up sweet papers and cigarette butts. They tend to follow the request.

“Another example involved a number of people gathering outside the doorway of a pub. They were asked to disperse and they did.”

Cllr Peach added: “The talking cameras would be another weapon in our armoury. They could be used to crack down on any anti-social offence in the street.”

This week is the story concerning the future of cameras in Chicago, one of the US’ largest cities:

“By the time 2016 [rolls around], we’ll have more cameras than Washington, D.C. … Our technology is more advanced than any other city in the world — even compared to London — dealing with our cameras and the sophistication of cameras and retro-fitting all the cameras downtown in new buildings, doing the CTA cameras,” Daley said.
“By 2016, I’ll make you a bet. We’ll have [cameras on] almost every block.”

Both stories make casual allusions to “Big Brother” the almost mystical leader of Engsoc in George Orwell’s novel 1984. How they can acknowledge the kinship of the emerging surveillance state with Engsoc without screaming of the travesty of it all is beyond me. Yet they drop the phrase Big Brother, as if the words are devoid of any meaning.


WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Or maybe they are without meaning anymore. With the advent of ‘reality’ TV shows (one of them named Big Brother, unless I’m mistaken) in which the most private moments of a persons life can be transmitted for the titillation of the viewing audience, perhaps we have become numb to the concept of prying eyes checking up on our every move. Personally, I can’t think of a more dangerous tool to place in the hands of gov’t.

True, crime is down when cameras are placed on the street. It’s also a fact that crime goes down when martial law is declared. Crime sort of becomes a moot point when everyone is a prisoner in their own society, when someone is always watching to report the slightest transgression.

‘You are the dead,’ said an iron voice behind them.
They sprang apart. Winston’s entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia’s eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.
‘You are the dead,’ repeated the iron voice.
‘It was behind the picture,’ breathed Julia.
‘It was behind the picture,’ said the voice. ‘Remain exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.’
It was starting, it was starting at last! They could do nothing except stand gazing into one another’s eyes. To run for life, to get out of the house before it was too late — no such thought occurred to them. Unthinkable to disobey the iron voice from the wall. There was a snap as though a catch had been turned back, and a crash of breaking glass. The picture had fallen to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.
‘Now they can see us,’ said Julia.

Yes, now we can see you.


Mea culpa review, 2017. I keep running across references to Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business of late. I apparently missed this book back when it was released, but it was widely read (or at least everyone pretends they have read it now) and predicted the numbing of the public mind that endless entertainment sets up.

This development (and one of the thesis in that book) makes Aldous Huxley and Brave New World more prescient in the minds of many pundits; more prescient than George Orwell in 1984.

I don’t know. The two books were completely different animals and were focused on two different facets of the human condition. I think what is truer is that none of us knows what the future holds but all of us are convinced by our own experiences that we have better insight than those around us.

The surveillance state as it is developing in the US is almost benign in comparison to the way that it developed in Europe and Britain. At least it appears that way on the surface. I’m sure the victims of drones in our endless terror war in the Middle East would disagree on the subject of the deadliness of the US surveillance state. 

Boiling Frogs

DC City Council Approves Temporary Expansion of Video Surveillance was posted to a list I belong to today with the body of message being “And so it begins”.

Begins? This is just the latest phase here in the US. In Britain and in many other places across the world, this type of technology is already in place, being used by gov’t to keep track of it’s population on a day to day basis.

This is not a beginning, it’s an ending. The beginning is lost to history. Perhaps it occurred following the Civil War; when the gov’t that succeed Lincoln’s, fused what was a collection of independent states into a federal conglomerate that would be henceforth declared “indivisible”. Perhaps it goes all the way back to the time of the founders, when Alexander Hamilton got in bed with the bankers of his time and created the first central bank in the US.

Whenever the ‘beginning’ was, it makes very little difference now. The current (and growing) police state has very little to do with the free nation that existed before it. As the old adage goes, frogs will jump out of hot water, but will stay put until it’s too late if the temperature is slowly raised.

…It’s getting very hot around here.


The entirety of this post is a slippery slope fallacy.  As much as any one of us can see 1984 in the surveillance technologies in use today, there is also no denying that crime is averted or solved, lives are saved, with this technology.  The real question is, where do we draw the limits? That is the conversation that (still) needs to occur.

The title is a reference to a myth, as is the closing statement. As this article points out;

First, a frog cannot jump out of boiling water. Remember the last time you dropped some egg white into boiling water: the proteins coagulated into a mess of thin, white strands. Unfortunately, the proteins in the frog’s skinny legs would do the same thing. So the frog in boiling water could not jump anywhere. It would die a nasty death.

Second, a frog would notice the water getting hot. Professor Hutchison states, “The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ [the maximum temperature an animal can bear] of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water.”