Applying sideways logic to pedophilia!

I remember having seen the movie Brainscan on video back in the 1990s. I remembered liking the movie quite a bit back then, and thought that the story was clever enough that I should force my wife allow my wife to enjoy it with me. Surprisingly, the special effects on this held up fairly well for being 15 years old; there isn’t anything so fake that it takes you out of the movie (possibly one scene where we see a foot being cut off, but eh, I haven’t ever amputated a foot, so who knows). The story was still good enough to make the movie watchable, although the huge surprise twist ending aspect was completely lost to me since I had already seen the movie, but also to my wife -since it was foreshadowed pretty much from the opening credits. That is the risk you take when you try to go back and watch movies you remember fondly from your younger years though; you may have simply been easier to fool when you were younger.

At some point during the movie, the main character is watching a young lady through her bedroom window (here I use the term “young lady” relatively; she was supposed to be around 15 years old for the story of the film, though I can’t figure out which actress it was, so I can’t find her true age) and it appears as though we are going to get to see her topless. I turned to my wife and said, “Ooh, I think we get to see her tits!” And the wife said something like “She’s too young for you to be looking at them.” To which I replied, “This movie came out in 1994, she’s at least 30 now.” Game, Set, Match. Right? Well, it turns out that the wife thinks that just because she was (or was supposedly) underage at the time the movie was made it makes it perverted to look at her naked -despite the fact that she has obviously passed the age of consent in the mean time…

Leave it to a woman to come up with some crazy shit like that.

Which leads me to the sideways logic and its application to pedophilia. For the purposes of this example I am going to have to make a lot of suppositions. I know that the situation could never present itself exactly as I will describe it, but nothing in life ever does. I want to try to separate this down to its barest form to try to determine exactly where the moral boundary is, where the legal boundary is, and whether the moral and legal boundaries even intersect. This is purely hypothetical, of course, and the only question I am concerned about is the end question, not how or why we arrive there…

A family lives in a house with two small children. Unbeknown to anyone, there are cameras hidden in the bedrooms of the children. The cameras run to a DVR somewhere that records thousands of hours of footage, but it is never viewed by anyone. The children live in the same house until they are in their 30s, at which point they discover the DVR. The video contains a lot of footage of each of them totally naked, dressing, undressing, etc. Knowing there is a market for such material, they decide to sell the video. Is this wrong?

Legally, of course, this is wrong. Distribution of naked images of children is a crime. The legal theory, however, is that it is exploitation of the children, and in our scenario there has been no such exploitation, as the photos were never seen by human eyes until the children were fully grown, they were never made to pose for the photos, and they themselves are the ones that are distributing them. So while it is legally wrong, it seems that the basis of the laws that make it wrong do not take the welfare of the children into consideration at all. But illegal is illegal, and distribution of this would be against the law.

How about morals? Is it morally wrong for them to distribute this? I am asking if it is morally wrong for them to distribute it here, not whether it is morally wrong for someone to look at it. Obviously it is morally wrong to look at photos of naked children, but is it morally wrong for them to sell them? If it is morally wrong to sell the photos, is it morally wrong to give them away?

Personally I think it is definitely immoral and illegal to look at the photos. However I can’t really get my head wrapped around how it could be immoral or illegal for them to sell them. I am absolutely sure they would get convicted (if caught) of distributing the photos of naked children, but I just can’t imagine a jury convicting someone for selling photos of themselves.

What do you think?

Health Care in the news

As you likely know, I generally try to steer clear of posting anything of a political nature on my site. I do make such posts on occasion, this being one of them, but generally I stay away from them just because so many other people are so much more knowledgeable on the subject than I am. Also, I doubt anyone has ever said, “I need some leftish, candid political views, I’m going to go to the site where that guy posted naked pictures with a guitar.”

The subject of health care, though, is one that I feel strongly enough about to throw my opinion out there.

First things first, universal health care is a very good thing -if executed properly. Whether or not it will ever be able to be executed properly in the U.S. remains to be seen, but we are moving in the right direction. A properly executed system will have many long-term benefits for the country as a whole. None of which I want to go into right now.

What I do want to go into right now is something that I was thinking about on the way home: the GOP seems to be a lot like GM. I am basing this all on my perception, and do not mean anything here to be taken as actual fact. This is absolutely unresearched.

GM started making those huge, gas-guzzling SUV’s back in the 1990s, and they were popular at the time, but so were the economy cars that Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, and others were putting out. GM made a couple half-assed attempts at economy cars, but they were generally unreliable and didn’t come with nearly the same warranty as their foreign counterparts. GM was focused on building ever larger SUVs, almost as if they conceded the market for economy cars to the foreign companies, assuming there would always be a huge base buying their road hogs.

By the mid 2000s gas prices and public sentiment had pushed most Americans out of their SUV’s and back into smaller cars. GM still hadn’t made a serious attempt at a reliable, inexpensive, light car, and hadn’t done anything to try to improve the unreliable tag that their small car offerings came clouded with. So Americans bought foreign cars, and a LOT of them.

By the late 2000s GM wasn’t selling any enormous SUVs, but that was their stock and trade. They couldn’t scramble to put together a reasonable small car fast enough. And since they had let the reputation of their small cars go straight to shit from their first attempt, they couldn’t have sold it if they did.

GM went bankrupt because they wanted to continue making enormous, gas-guzzling SUV’s even though that wasn’t what people wanted.

The Republican party seems like GM right now. As the baby-boomers are slowly dying off the party is getting younger and younger. While some of the core ideals seem to be ageless, others seem to be dying out with the baby-boomers. Some of the things that still make the baby-boomers bitter like women voting, social security -although they probably don’t mind collecting it-, medicare- things that their generation were staunchly against 50-60 years ago are not only accepted today, but most of the party can’t even remember a time when they weren’t that way. The core of the party is getting younger and their values are changing, but the GOP is still only offering their 1950’s version of an agenda. If they don’t watch out, soon they could be just like GM; Offering something that was popular some time ago, but everyone has moved on to something reasonable, if they aren’t offering it, the people will get it from a competitor.

“Tailgate” the movie

If you know anything about me at all, this video needs no introduction. Sit back and enjoy. If you don’t know anything about me, this video still needs no introduction, although it won’t seem like nearly the same cinematic masterpiece if you don’t know about my propensity to put things off for as long as possible.

Now, without further ado, I give you “Tailgate” the movie:

Now wasn’t that the funniest thing since sliced bread? The timing is a bit off in some places, but it was hard to take it too seriously while I was editing it.

Mindf@&k me, Baby!

When I quit drinking several years ago, that accomplishment gave me confidence that I would also be able to quit smoking sometime in the not so immediate future. Since I have been thinking about quitting for a few months now, I had initially thought about quitting smoking on the four year anniversary of quitting drinking… That didn’t work out, in fact I forgot to try. This Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, depending of which part I am keeping track of) I decided to give it a go.

I know a few people that have quit smoking. I also know, well, only one person other than myself that has quit drinking (here I am defining ‘drinking’ as getting drunk every single day without exception). While I think it may still be a bit too early to call my attempt to quit smoking a success (just passed 48 hours without a cigarette), I am going to make a couple observations anyway.

Quitting smoking is significantly easier than quitting drinking. I woke up one morning and decided I was done smoking, and I simply haven’t smoked since. I have had a couple urges, but I bought some black licorice to help me out (black licorice is an odd form of a comfort food for me), I have a bag handy and usually just eating a piece will get me through the urge. Licorice seemed like the way to go because the flavor is pretty intense and the vines being roughly cigarette shaped could help with the habitual part of it (or so I reasoned). I also have handy some Camel Snus which I have used a couple of times when I began to get a strong headache (which I suppose technically means that I haven’t actually kicked the nicotine addiction, but that is quite a minor point), having used a total of 4 pouches over the 48 hours since quitting.

I really thought that quitting smoking was going to be way harder than quitting drinking because, well, because everyone always talks about how hard it is, I guess. Also with cigarettes you have the nicotine addiction as well as the habitual part of it to overcome. The habitual part is actually much harder to overcome than the addiction (for me at least). Waking up in the morning without a cigarette is probably the toughest part, and I don’t mean because I want one so bad that I have to run and light one up, I mean because I generally have one lit before I have a single cognitive thought. In order to keep myself from lighting up first thing in the morning I moved my cigarettes from their usual spot on my nightstand so that I wouldn’t have one lit up before I had a chance to think about it. It was a good thing I did too, this morning I reached to where they normally are and only when I couldn’t find them did I wake up enough to realize that I had ‘quit’ a couple days ago. Really that has been about the worst it gets; I just occasionally reach for a cigarette and then remember that I quit. There is a bit of discomfort as my brain tries to deal with the lack of nicotine, but it doesn’t even hurt as bad as a caffeine headache (damn it, another addiction).

Now comparing that to quitting drinking, where I literally did not sleep at all for at least 72 hours after I quit, and probably got maybe 8 total hours of sleep over the first two weeks after quitting. My hands were shaking so badly that I could hardly hold a fork. And the worst part is that I knew, and it is absolutely true, that if I had taken one drink the shaking would have gone away and I would have been able to sleep… I guess mind altering substances have a way of grabbing hold of you.

I don’t mean to say that quitting smoking is actually easy; far from it. If you have never had an addiction to a mood altering drug, quitting smoking will be the hardest thing you ever do. If you have beat such an addiction quitting smoking won’t be so bad; no depression or intense feelings of hopelessness, the physical withdrawals are limited to the occasional headache, and you just have to remind yourself from time to time that you are quitting to be successful. Not so bad really.

But the point of this post was not to argue the relative ease of quitting smoking. The reason I wrote it is because of a conversation that went on in my head yesterday (don’t judge me), it went something like this, “You know, no one knows you quit smoking so they won’t judge you if go ahead and light up.” To which I replied, “Nah, I want to quit.” But my brain was a quick thinker, and said “Well, you did quit. You just quit for more than 24 hours, obviously can do it, now let’s put that all behind us and have a smoke to celebrate.” A dialogue very similar to that really did happen internally yesterday. That is why I decided to write about this; I find it remarkable that my own brain can try to get one over on me. I have heard the term ‘mindfuck’ before, but I never imagined it would be an inside job…