05 May 2009

Sexting ... "and it Rhymes with P"

"Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital 'T'"

At The Nation is this smart essay - "Through a Lens Starkly" - by Joann Wypijewski on the insanity of prosecuting kids for making and receiving child pornography because they are "sexting" - taking and sending putatively sexual or provocative pictures of themselves over cell phones to their friends. Scandalized, moralistic town fathers and mothers abetted by draconian laws are prosecuting (or threatening to) teenagers for the heinous crime. As Wypijewski notes:
"The recent attention to teen "sexting" has focused quite a lot on the presumed self-exploitation of kids, not so much on the prurient reflex of grown-ups who spy on and punish them. It has dwelt quite a lot on the traps of technology, not so much on the desires that precede picking up a camera. Quite a lot on the question of whether the teens are sex offenders or merely stupid, sluttish or mean, not so much on the freedom to see and be. Quite a lot on the legal meaning of images, not so much on the ways in which making them might delight, or on the cultural freakout that colors law, images and how they are perceived."
As a result, kids in many states are facing prison and years (lifetimes?) as registered sex offenders for the "crime" of being kids. If they were not going to ruin lives, the antics of the prosecutors and teachers and politicians and other authorities would be as pompously silly as Harold Hill.

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