The Sexting Witch Hunt

As yet another victim of the OMGEVERYONEISRAPINGOURCHILDREN sexting/child porn witch hunt, I feel bad for Ti-Ying Oei. As assistant principal he retained evidence of students swapping risque pictures of each other, and was arrested for it. It’s bullshit.

But his reasoning behind getting involved in the first place?

My ordeal began in March of last year, when a teacher at my school, Loudoun County’s Freedom High, told me about a rumor that students were sending nude pictures of themselves to one another on their cellphones. We’ve all heard a lot about “sexting” lately, but a year ago the phenomenon was new to me and, I’d venture to say, to most school officials. Because administrators’ first concern is our students’ safety and well-being, it was my responsibility to look into the matter.

I called a student I thought likely to have such a picture into my office. In the presence of the school’s safety and security official, he quickly admitted that he did. He pulled out his phone and showed us an image of the torso of a woman wearing underpants, with her arms crossed over her breasts. Her head was not in the picture. The 17-year-old student claimed not to know who the young woman was or who had sent him the photo.

Okay, let’s go through this step by step.

  1. He heard some students may be sending nekkid pictures to each other.
  2. He said “OMG! I have to protect the children from engaging in consensual activities that don’t involve the school in the least!”
  3. He thought, “I bet student X24AZ is involved in this! Get him in here!”
  4. He lacked basic understanding of the technology he was trying to control.
  5. His sticking his nose in where it wasn’t needed led to others doing the same to him

This makes it much harder to feel sorry for the guy. He was a victim of the same setup he was initially trying to stop. He fed into the hysteria that took him down.

Sexting is today what teenagers in cars were several generations ago. Each generation finds ways to deal with their growing sexualities. Our place as adults is not to punish that, but to try and guide them in healthy ways. As long as teen sexuality is feared and seen as something to be controlled at all costs, then the openness necessary to provide that guidance will never appear. As long as the dialogue on teenage sexuality ranges from “NO!” to “NO! Or else!” then we’ll just continue to create less than ideal situations for youth to learn about themselves.

I can't tell if it's trolling or clueless douchebaggery

I seem to have that reaction to a lot of things these days. Anyway, a post came up on the livejournal polyamory community that said “MTV’s going to portray you in a bad light unless you give us the help you owe us.” On one hand, it sounds like the kind of manipulative bullshit pulled by people who make reality TV. On the other hand, there’s already been some concern about this, so it’d be easy to use to troll people. Anyway, here’s the text, emphasis mine:

Dear Polyamorous Community,

I just came on to LiveJournal to tell you a little bit about myself. I’m 27; I studied anthropology in college focusing on sexual identity; and these days I’m working as a consulting producer on MTV “True Life’s” upcoming exploration of polyamory. This episode of True Life will undoubtedly thrust the national spotlight onto polyamory.

While today MTV may not be known for its sensitivity, the network has been a pioneer in introducing young people to oft-neglected subjects – issues that are outside the mainstream but no less a part of our cultural identity.

I remember when I was a teenager seeing Pedro – a 20 something gay guy who was HIV + — on MTV and that being one of my first exposures to out gay guys.

True life uses first person documentary to provide a window into the lives of young Americans. It has covered issues of sexual identity, mental health, substance abuse, and alternative lifestyles. That said, it has also covered “I’m addicted to plastic surgery” and spent 15 minutes following a man’s vain quest for calf implants.

Let me assure you that the tone of the show is dependent on the people being followed. True Life polyamory is an opportunity to shed light on lifestyles other than hetero-normative monogamy.

That is why I’m writing to you all today. It is imperative that those of you in the community who are living a true, fulfilling polyamorous life – or at least attempting to – are given opportunities to step forward. The alternative, as you can imagine, is less than ideal. True Life polyamory is happening. And it would such a better representation with your help. If you have a moment, please take the time to share any leads that you might have.

We have a real obstacle in that we are constrained to using people 18 – 29 and yet often 18 – 29 year olds are too young, with too little life experience to have evolved into full-fledged polyamorists. But if you all have any ideas, any insight into young people exploring their polyamory let us know. Share and together let’s give the polyamory community an inspiring representation.

Mmm, sexy, sexy blackmail. Who knew that I owed Viacom fodder for turning my life into sensationalist crap. I mean, it must the the only responsible thing to do, right?

EDIT: And just that quick, it’s been deleted!

The Way

“Throughout the first five centuries [of Christianity] people understood Christianity primarily as a way of life in the present, not as a doctrinal system, esoteric belief, or promise of eternal salvation. By followers enacting Jesus’s teachings, Christianity changed and improved the lives of its adherents and served as a practical spiritual pathway.”

~Diana Butler Bass in A People’s History of Christianity

Just a Bit

She smiled, then laughed as I walked out the door.
I smiled back, the brightly colored streaks through our hair creating some instant bond.
She continued inside and my eyes followed her, my smile unfaded.
I traced her legs up to her too-short shorts,
thankful I was there to appreciate the sight.

It’s those little moments like that when I fall in love,
just a bit,
with a stranger.

People doubt it’s love, I’m sure.
They’ll say it’s “just lust.”
It is lust, but that doesn’t diminish the whirlpool feeling of my heart twisting at the joy of beauty in the person before me.
It really is love, and it’s beautiful in its own right,
and its object can be the pink-haired girl at the grocery store,
the stripper closing her eyes and relaxing into the song,
the cyclist sweeping lazily down the street.

I can fall in love with a dozen girls a day,
just a bit.