Friday, May 26, 2006

Deep thoughts on porn, sex toys, and the NSA

I spend much of my time pondering things. I like to ponder on God, the universe, the current state of things, why "ponder" is such a fun word to say, why I don't use the word "pontificate" more often to keep from using the word "ponder" too many times in one sentence. But I digress.

I have often pondered on this very page the absolute hypocrisy that is our society. We tolerate images of someone blowing off another person's head in prime time television but show a glancing shot of nipple and there is outrage. Strippers are not allowed to strip fully nude in most cities in America but wearing a thong made of dental floss makes it OK. Random rules that do not define a clear value system only serve to confuse. Until recently sodomy (defined clearly as any deviation from male-female vaginal sex although usually used in reference to homosexual sex) was a felony but having an unlicensed concealed pistol is only a misdemeanors. Sales of sex toys for any purpose other than "novelty" (i.e. for actual use on the sex organs) can get you arrested in many states yet selling guns at gun shows without a background check is fully legal.

The way I see it, if government is going to legislate a moral code, the least they can do is pick a logical one. I say we stick to the simplest code, do no harm to others, respect people's privacy (yes NSA, that is means you), keep government out of our bedrooms, and for the love of God get over this puritanical idea that the human body is "dirty". I am not saying put porn in front of our kids, I am saying don't warp our kids by telling them all displays of flesh are porn. I am not saying we should run around naked, just stop making a big deal when someone has a "wardrobe malfunction". More people saw Janet's nipple as a result of the huge deal the Christian Right made out of it than ever saw it during the Super Bowl. Remember Mark Twain's admonition, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

Finally, I cannot let another week close without talking about NSA wiretaps. Wired Magazine published papers filed in a lawsuit against AT&T by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation in which a former AT&T technician discovered full AT&T cooperation with the NSA in illegal internet monitoring and phone tapping using hardware hosted in AT&T central offices in many major cities across the country. As a sys admin I understand just how far reaching this is. For the non-geek, here is a quick rundown. AT&T controls most of the backbone of the internet. If you monitor AT&T, you get to monitor most traffic on the net. Even if AT&T isn't your direct provider, most data you send through the net will hit AT&T equipment on the way. The hardware used monitors all data, it does not filter or encrypt it. If you put it on the net, email it, or use Voice Over IP phone service (i.e. Vonage, RoadRunner, Packet8, etc.) the NSA has a full, unencrypted copy and no judge to oversee that data's usage. Use a keyword like "jihad" and you get flagged for review even if you say "jihads suck".

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, "He who gives up liberty for security shall have neither." Those seeking to destroy the American way of life aren't overseas in the desert with rags on their head. They are in our government, slowly chipping away at our freedoms. We Americans have become lazy and fat. Had our founding fathers had the same level of motivation as modern Americans we would still be under English rule. We saw a blip of the revolutionary spirit during the civil rights movement. Those young revolutionaries are now dying, their legacy getting squashed by lazy apathetic Americans who think the W is out to protect them.

2 comments:

poopoocup said...

Haven't we spoken about this before?

Think globally, act locally.

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Deja vu. I know it is kind of old hat, damn the man, save the empire here but some things deserve repeating.