OPINION

ME! ME! ME!

June 01, 2007
smallsquirrel

I am sick and tired of today's culture of unbridled selfishness.

The most recent example of this comes out of the US, where one guy with a drug resistant form of TB got on a plane, flew to Europe and enjoyed his wedding and honeymoon and thereby needlessly exposing countless people he met to the disease he is carrying. And it is no ordinary form of TB. Because it is drug resistant, there are few forms of treatment, with a cure rate of something like 30 percent.

The guy who did this is a lawyer and claims that the hospital advised him that it was not prudent to fly, but never actually forbade him from flying, so he carried on with his plans. However, once he got to Europe he was given the official diagnosis and realized that it would be impossible to fly back into the US, so he instead flew to Canada and drove over the border to avoid getting caught. What makes it even worse is that this assmonkey's father works for the Centers for Disease Control. Could it be more ironic?

Who does that kind of thing? Who knowingly exposes other people to a disease that could possibly kill them just to avoid derailing their own vacation plans? What if I had been sitting next to him on that plane seven months pregnant and then not only my own life but the life of my unborn child would be in danger. What if I was immune deficient? That kind of infection could kill someone with AIDS or Lupus.

But it's not just the US that suffers from this kind of ME! ME! ME! sickness. I see it every day here in India, and it has spread its ugly tentacles everywhere. This sickness ranges from the annoying, like the constant public urination I see here in Bangalore to the outright disgusting and unimaginable. Men in rural Africa rape young children because they believe that having sex with a virgin will cure them of AIDS. Who in the name of fuck-all could rape a 4 year old (or anyone for that matter) and live with themselves afterward?

But like I said, it is not just the heinous acts that get to me. It is the daily accumulation of smaller things. The smaller indecencies. The feeling that people have that their own personal rights and freedoms are so much more important than the person sitting right next to them.

I once was flying to China from the US on a Japanese airline with a stopover in Tokyo, so there were mostly Japanese on the flight. At one point I look up and see a man in his 60's looking at what amounted to child porn. Unfortunately in Japan, they are much more tolerant about having younger looking girls in their mags (14ish). Anyway, this guy was not even discreet about it. He was holding the magazine up and turning it at different angles to examine this young girls barely developed parts. I went MENTAL. I called over the stewardess and told her that I was personally offended, but also that there were a lot of kids on the plane and could she please tell him to put his shit away. Well, she replied, she really could not. Why? Well, Japan has a "politeness" culture, and the rules of engagement prohibited her from admonishing her elders.

Screw that, I thought, and went over and admonished him myself. He spoke no English but the woman with him spoke Mandarin Chinese (as do I) so I went off. He again refused to put the magazine down, so I grabbed it from him and stormed off. He looked outraged. He really believed his right to look at child porn was greater than the discomfort of the people in the surrounding 4 rows on the airplane.

How did we get this way? Why do people think that if it falls within their legal right to do something, then they can just carry on as if they are the only person in the world. And even if it is not in their legal right, who cares? ME! ME! ME!

Smallsquirrel is a born ranter. She is an Italian who moved to India by way of the US to be with her husband, a native Bangalorean. She loves bacon and rava masala dosa in equal measure, but certainly not in the same meal.
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#1
Deepti Lamba
URL
June 1, 2007
06:20 AM

Kiddie porn on the plane? Times like these I wish there were international Marshals;)

#2
Ergo
URL
June 1, 2007
06:23 AM

Good god, your rant is really devoid of careful and logical analysis. None of the examples you cite are of examples of people practicing their "legal right to do something."

You're understanding of "rights" as positive, active principles is wrong. Rights are negative principles, delineating boundaries of actions permitted from those that are not. It's too much to get into right now, but in your example of the man with TB, the deranged man was NOT practicing any legitimate right at the expense and endangerment of others but was actually *violating* the rights of others. That's not self-interest (which would be to take care of one's interest and not jeopardize one's own freedom by getting thrown into jail for violating someone's rights) but irrationalism, brute pursuit of hedonism (which is pleasure at any and all cost, even to the detriment of one's own self-interest).

You linked "The Virtue of Selfishness" at the bottom of your article. I suggest you read the first essay in that book to get a good idea of the difference between rational self-interest and brute, irrational behavior amounting to suicide.

#3
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
07:00 AM

ergo.. sometimes a rant is just that. I mean, I appreciate your dissection of rights and self interest in the hypothetical sense and much as the next person (I, too, went to graduate school) but can't a person just get pissed off and say something about it? Does everything need to be a carefully researched dissertation?

What I mean to say is this...I was really not meaning to provide a careful analysis. this was simply my view of something I think is out of control. while I appreciate your ability to be all analytical about everything, I wish you could not be condescending to me if I wish not to be sometimes. :)

#4
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
07:03 AM

ergo.. sometimes a rant is just that. I mean, I appreciate your dissection of rights and self interest in the hypothetical sense and much as the next person (I, too, went to graduate school) but can't a person just get pissed off and say something about it? Does everything need to be a carefully researched dissertation?

What I mean to say is this...I was really not meaning to provide a careful analysis. this was simply my view of something I think is out of control. while I appreciate your ability to be all analytical about everything, I wish you could not be condescending to me if I wish not to be sometimes. :)

#5
Tanay
URL
June 1, 2007
07:42 AM

smallsquirrel, though it may be a rant but got the implicit message.

Also liked a word 'assmonkey', hehehe :)

To cite an example, I travel a fair bit and few instances in the airport fortify ME!ME!ME! factor, if you agree with me. Once, while travelling, there was a big crowd in the B'lore airport because of fog in North India that caused frustrating delays. The entrance to the domestic flights was jam-packed, and I saw a man in wheel chair probably travelling to Delhi/Mumbai or some place for further treatment/medication. This aged man was helped by an elderly woman. A gentleman suddenly pushes this man, and snakes through to reach the boarding pass collecting counter. I was watching this from a distance. The world doesn't change and the flight doesn't leave if the hurried gentleman was late by 2 mins. Its just the I-Me-Myself attitude.

#6
Ruvy in Jerusalem
June 1, 2007
08:00 AM

Smallsquirrel,

I'll not analyze what you did.

You did right, and not many people have the kind of guts you do to snatch a magazine out of a stranger's hands because it is offensive. Kol hakavód!! All honor to you!! You saw a wrong and you righted it!

Shabbat Shalom,
Reuven

PS "She loves bacon..." Try to lay off the bacon. Leaving aside the prohibition in Leviticus entirely, the fat (and bacon is a very fatty meat) clogs your arteries and you can get a heart attack. This is experience talking, the knowledge of one who could not lay off the bacon egg and cheese croissants till shamed into doing so...

#7
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
08:18 AM

tanay... thank you. I like assmonkey, too.
your tale is far too common. I wrote on here once about people seated in the airport waiting lobby actually laughed at a woman trying to feed her infant and juggle her toddler, with no one offering her a seat or a helping hand. it's depressing when people just act like their own needs are far more important than anyone's else's. I once saw a guy having an epileptic seizure in a grocery store and he cut himself badly on a jar that he had knocked down. I screamed "is there a doctor here?" finally one guy stepped out of the crowd, said he was a doc, called for an ambulance and then while walking off told me he had to go or he would be late for dinner!!!!!!

Ruvy... thanks, I think anyone can do anything when they get angry enough. we should all care about what goes on around us. as for the bacon... it's not plentiful in India, so I am not indulging so much. I used to eat turkey bacon in the US. but yes, bacon is my guilty noshing pleasure... especially (gulp) on a nice bagel from Brooklyn with a shmeer of cream cheese. not exactly a kosher special, eh? i know, i know BAD JEW!! (such a shanda fur die goy, eh?)

#8
Donna
June 1, 2007
09:49 AM

Good for you smallsquirrel! Thanks for standing up for what's right. If more people did likewise, maybe things would change and people would think of someone besides "ME!ME!ME!" simply because of peer pressure.

#9
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
11:21 AM

donna... thanks! but I did not write this to get kudos. I just want everyone to wake up to what is around them. Maybe think about the things they do that suck (I know I am not guiltless myself!), and pay attention when other people are being dolts.

For me, in the two examples I gave, I cannot believe the guy's fiancee did not say to him "hey, I know it's our wedding but maybe you SHOULDN'T fly and infect innocent people" or that the flight attendant did not think "maybe I should not let this guy look at child porn on a plane full of kids"

#10
Amrita
URL
June 1, 2007
11:35 AM

SS - you know what I'm thinking? What about the guy's wife? Where the devil is she and wouldn't she be at primary risk?

The porn on the plane bit is insane.

#11
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
11:56 AM

amrita... the wife, if he had one, was not there. he was with some sort of younger traveling companion who seemed horrified by the whole situation... both his behavior and my confronting him about it so directly...

#12
Aspi
URL
June 1, 2007
12:37 PM

Are you surprised that a generation who held on tight to their Ann Ryand's and bought into her materialistic crap grew up to be the Me generation?

Will I be flamed for saying this? :(

#13
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
12:50 PM

aspi... ooooooh snap!

(that made me smile, yeah, so I for one won't flame ya!)

#14
The Great Ganesha
URL
June 1, 2007
12:55 PM

smallsquirrel,

i hear you loud and clear. i'm totally with you on this.

i see this selfishness most blatantly in the classes i teach to spoiled undergrads (read:teenagers) who have been conditioned to get what they want, when they want it. so, you see, it begins at quite a young age...

-gg

ps. coincidentally, i blogged about the "me" culture in a post on my blog (over a year ago) with an almost identical title. check it out, if you're interested.

#15
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
01:01 PM

GG.. what is the title so I can find it, please :)
and oh god... you have my sympathy. teaching undergrads is seriously trying business.

#16
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
01:19 PM

GG.. I found the article, and sadly I can relate. I did my own stint teaching undergrads while in grad school and I wanted to strangle about 90% of them. exactly the behavior you describe, but thank god this was before the advent of SMS or I would have probably gone completely postal.

#17
GG
June 1, 2007
01:29 PM

SS,
Amrita is referring to the wife of the guy with TB if I interpret her question correctly, not the wife of child porno king. :-)
Good rant. I shamed someone into apologizing to my mom. He stamped her toe in his rush to go to the boarding gate. Worse, he ignored it like nothing happened.
gg

#18
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
01:35 PM

gg... ooooooh, you're right! I cannot read properly anymore. thanks!

amrita... yeah I have no clue what that woman was thinking. it's DRUG RESISTANT TB! I would be like "no way in hell am I being in the same room with you, never mind traveling all over god's green earth" some people are truly clueless!

#19
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
June 1, 2007
01:35 PM

#10 Amrita: Am not sure but did you mean the TB infected guy's wife? The "primary risk" comment made me infer so. A prophylactic antibiotic regimen prevents people from contracting TB, so if the wife knew he was infected (which she probably did) she must've been taking those unlike the other passengers who were unprotected because they didn't know he had TB. It is sad and very irresponsible.

SS: Loved the "ranting" :) I think it is quite logical and more importantly analytical in its approach, not just a conclusive dead-end. I can relate to the frustration you have expressed in this post, really. Kudos for standing up to the 'perv on the plane'! :)

#20
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
01:40 PM

aditi.. yeah she was referring to that, I misread like a total dolt.

but it was drug resistant TB, so she cannot merely take a prophylactic dose of anything to stop herself from contracting it. this strain doesn't respond to anything... which makes her like 200 times stupider than the average moron. (or, if you are evil like me, it just means she got what she deserves.)

#21
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
June 1, 2007
01:52 PM

SS: I am always very happy to give my healthcare advice whenever such a topic comes up :) Makes me feel a tad more useful, hehe.

For mycobacterium infections such as leprosy and TB, a bacterial titer has to be achieved for any given person to become fully infected with the disease. Which means initiation of the disease is crucial. A drug resistant strain usually means that the strain is resistant to the popular drug used for treating the disease (remember the drug resistant Malaria falciparum scare?). Prophylactic doses are usually cocktails meaning there is more than one drug and it is very difficult if not impossible for the mycobacterium to achieve significant blood titer for the infection to be manifested. A prophylactic regimen always assumes the possibility of the strain of TB being drug resistant. Multi-drug regimens are actually the answer to drug resistant strains.

Thats why it is said "Prevention is better than cure". The body's first line of defence is preventing the disease after that treatment is either symptomatic or with antibiotics.

Bottomline: The wife was probably a 100 times better (assuming she was taking the prophylactics) protected than others who came in contact with the patient. Incredibly selfish of them.

#22
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
02:00 PM

aditi... but the conventional therapy, at least in india already involves a "cocktail" of antibiotics (bacteriostatic drugs and bactericidal drugs) for the treatment of TB. so for drug resistant TB, that strain is already resistant to the multiple drug approach.

#23
Amrita
URL
June 1, 2007
02:12 PM

GG, Aditi, SS - yeah, i did mean the TB peddler. I really dont want to know about porn king, ew! Ok, so i don't understand anything of what you and Aditi are talking about but i did understand one thing - drug resistant TB moron and his wife ought to spend their honeymoon in jail

#24
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
June 1, 2007
02:21 PM

SS: Good question! Lemme try and explain: For every mycobacterium infection there is first line, second line and alternative therapies. Each "line therapy" consists of a certain category of drugs. The term "drug resistant" is often mistaken as "untreatable". It is not the same. All it means is that a) the strain is resistant to some of the first/ second line therapy drugs b) a regimen (course) of treatment best fit to counter the infection will have to be experimentally devised.

Now, prophylactic treatment as I mentioned is a different strategy. A drug resistant strain might be "drug resistant" upon infection but preventable for someone who has not yet become infected.

The XDR-TB strain that has infected this particular patient is resistant to first line and a few of second line. Other drugs will have to be tried.

The term multi-drug resistant is used interchangeably but inaccurately with respect to "resistant to many drugs" (multi) but the means of treating a resistant strain is not just by using many drugs BUT by the rotational regimen :For e.g 2 days of drug A, 2 days of drug B, three days of drug C, repeat regimen for six days and rotate treatment. This is actually the means of countering a drug resistant strain. Bacterial and mycobacterium strains develop resistance by certain mechanisms and this rotation of drug therapy is what kills the bacteria before they can develop that resistant mechanism.

Now this is further complicated by the fact that prognosis (success of any treatment) depends greatly on which phase of the infection it is being treated. Earlier the treatment better the success.

This is not to say that the wife is completely protected if she's on prophylactics but only that she is "better" protected than anyone who doesn't have a dose of the drugs in their blood stream.

I hope I am making sense and not sounding argumentative or like a Ms.Know-it-all :) Just thought it might clarify things with regards to why his wife is not infected or at risk.

#25
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
02:42 PM

aditi... no you sound like you know, not a ms know-it-all. I am just looking at Park's Preventive and Social Medicine with Dr. Smallsquirrel (my other half) and we're still going back and forth with all the protocols and your explanation... which of course is much easier to understand than:
2SHT + 10 HT

thanks for breaking it down for me. the hubby is a bit clinical. :)

#26
Aditi Nadkarni
URL
June 1, 2007
02:48 PM

Whew! I was SO worried you were going to roll your eyes and yawn :D I get very few chances to talk about medical stuff in the writing world and so make the most of it whenevr I get a rare opportunity. Heehee.

You know, having taught students, I feel that we underestimate simplification of things. Getting caught up in technicalities and jargon is easy, no? (reference Ergo's comment #2) :)

#27
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
02:54 PM

nah I love medical stuff. I am the only one in my family not in the medical profession and hubby is a doc... I LOVE pharmacology (I am a walking PDR) and psychology. so bring it on, I will catch on eventually :)

#28
Les Feldman
URL
June 1, 2007
09:16 PM

Did my comment make is about the lack of concern for human life the people have who keep the truth about the male biological clock from public knowledge while cancers, diabetes, schizophrenia, autism, MS, Alzheimer's, etc all de novo increase with increasing paternal age and Duchennes's, hemophilia, fragile X etc. increase in son's of mothers who had older fathers when they were born.

http://ageofthefatherandhealthoffuture.blogspot.com/

#29
smallsquirrel
June 1, 2007
10:43 PM

Les, forgive me if I am wrong, but does your comment have anything to do with this post? please don't spam.

#30
debbieann
June 2, 2007
01:48 AM

I see a lot of what I call 'tragedy of the commons' - people do what benefits them even if it hurts the greater good. I am not wild about your examples (why are they so children focused?) and I think all the info about that TB guy is not out yet. There are certainly different stories coming out.

I think another example of the me-me-me thing is people having a lot of children - we are going to run out of water on this planet - it is already a serious problem, and yet the population keeps increasing because everyone feels they have the individual right to have as many kids as they want, but what about the overall health of the planet. It does not seem sustainable to me.

#31
smallsquirrel
June 2, 2007
07:53 AM

debbieann... thanks for your comments. I agree, many people will do whatever benefits them in the short term without regard to others.

But I do not think my examples were child focused at all. The first one had to do with spreading TB, and the second had to do with someone viewing child porn.. which is a matter of ethics and making others uncomfortable.

Your view about having a lot of children is a very western middle class concept. I might have agreed with you at one point, and then I moved to India. Not everyone has the luxury of many things that we have in the west, like education about birth control...and even if they do, some women's husbands do not want them to practice it. Also, if you are a rural family, the more children you have, the more people you have to help you out on the farm or in whatever you do to sustain the family.

In the west we don't generally think like that, and it seems counterintuitive, but for these people, many children also do not make it past infancy. I am not saying that I think it is the best strategy, but you have to understand that not everyone in the world has the same mindset. I agree that resources in the world are becoming scarce, and overpopulation is a serious concern, but you cannot simply call people selfish for having a lot of kids without understanding the deep-seated cultural reasons behind why they do it. People who are existing hand to mouth are not stopping to consider the health of the planet. When you're worried about feeding yourself, those kinds of thoughts are pretty extraneous.

#32
debbieann
June 2, 2007
08:57 AM

Of course my view is influenced by my culture - but the Japanese guy reading his porn is like you said, doing something which is acceptable in _his_ culture, and yet you get up and rip it out of his hands. Perhaps he had deep seated cultural reasons for doing what he did.

People feel like they have very good reasons for doing what they did, even probably the guy flying with TB, but the point is the greater good must override the temporary good to the individual.
It feels like I see that happening in traffic here in Bangalore - people do what benefits them individually instead of thinking about what would work better for everyone. That is cultural too. Should we just leave it at that - they have a deep cultural need to do what they do?

People who are existing hand to mouth are not stopping to consider the health of the planet, but that is the problem. Educating women is key to bringing down the birth rate, it can be done here and elsewhere, and I believe eventually the education and birth control will get out there if we work on it. I'm not so sure we should just say it is cultural and leave it at that. People in China are also living hand to mouth and they aren't western and yet they still see the need to keep the population down.

I really do understand that not everyone has the same mindset - but why don't you understand it in the same way about the man from Japan? There were mostly Japanese on the flight, it was a Japanese airline, the flight attendant already told you that it wasn't the right thing to do and yet you decide your cultural values are the right ones and not his. In that example why isn't you that has the me me me attitude? You know they are tolerant of it in Japan and for all practical purposes you were basically in Japan. If you went to Japan would you be doing the same thing?

#33
smallsquirrel
June 2, 2007
09:30 AM

debbieann..

I think it is different because it is partially a matter of education and survival for some people with the number of children they have, while the porn thing.. this guy is educated and is aware that he is effecting others.

I do see the cultural aspect, believe me. I understand that porn is acceptable in Japan but it is NOT acceptable in public. You do not go to Japan and see people indulging in porn in public. Sexuality in public there is a bit more repressed so while they are more permissive about what goes on behind CLOSED DOORS they are not people who openly read porn in public on a plane. Or in front of children.

I **never** advocated not educating women. But I think a lot of people come to India with this idea that western implementation methods work just fine everywhere. I know I came here thinking like that and was quickly disavowed of that idealistic attitude. My husband is a Indian, and a physician, and he has worked in rural areas. Things simply do not work the same way there. I am not making excuses, because I believe that education DOES work. But you don't automatically aim for the same goals for rural India as you do in Chicago, Ill. And the same education methods do not work.

Rural China. Have you been there? Go. Talk to people about what kind of tricks the government resorts to, and the bribery, to keep the population down in the rural communities. Go see about the abortion rates for female children or the number of female children abandoned in orphanages after the implementation of the one child policy. you'll see what kind of raging success that was. it only worked in the cities, and also that because rich people can pay to have another child anyway and get around the limit.

#34
Ergo
URL
June 3, 2007
11:56 AM

The slow but certain loss of liberty and freedom of speech comes at first with the denunciation of its least attractive practitioners. This is what Ayn Rand said regarding the increased lawsuits and ban against the porn industry. What she meant was, even though the peddlers of porn were in a most disgusting and immoral engagement, they nonetheless had the right to practice their business of adult entertainment, and defending them is the most crucial because such unattractive practitioners of freedom are easy targets for censorship.

Therefore, I am shocked by the ample support and kudos you have been receiving here by commentors on your act of snatching away a porn magazine from a passenger on that flight. That is a most revolting thing to do--to deny a man who has legitimately bought his space/seat on an airline, owns his own magazine (his property) which he is reading personally without disturbing others, and you meddling in his private affairs by peering into the content of his magazine and then creating a threatening environment around him so as to publicly humiliate him for minding his own business.

Even though his actions are depraved, they are NOT illegal. Indeed, your actions are in violation of his legitimate rights. You have acted just like the paternal moral police that we condemn the Indian government and other fascist governments for doing. Frankly, it is very disheartening that no one has condemned you for your behavior, for your censorship, for your violation of another man's private property and privacy, and for your self-righteousness in this matter. You are no different from the moral police that bans couples from kissing in public places in Mumbai.

It has to be said since no one else is saying it. You're behavior is worthy of outright condemnation.

#35
smallsquirrel
June 3, 2007
01:02 PM

well ergo, you have the right to feel the way you do. I however staunchly do not feel that one person has a right to do something like this man was doing. He was not simply quietly reading a magazine. He was holding it up almost above eye level and twisting and turning it at different angles. Everyone within 3 rows of this man caught an eyeful. Should children be subjected to that? No, never. He was not minding his own business, and his behavior was disgusting.

Look, I support peoples' right to do whatever they want behind closed doors (within reason... I do not support immoral behavior like rape, child rape, child abuse, etc.) I do not have to like what you do, but it is your live and your privacy. But when you are in public you MUST weigh how your behavior effects others.

The law is that possessing that kind of porn is not illegal in Japan. But I do not think ANYONE here knows how that law applies to international flights. And even in countries where porn is legal, showing it to minors IS NOT

so before you get all high and mighty and full of condemnation (and yourself for that matter), maybe you should think your argument through a bit more. your self-righteousness is a whole lot more alarming than my one act of defying this man's behavior.

#36
smallsquirrel
June 3, 2007
01:12 PM

BTW... ergo...I think it's really easy to be a raging idealist, and draw lines as sharply as you do. everything is so black and white and you don't even have to think. your arguments are straight up regurgitation of everything we've all studied.

Shall I apply Kierkegaard for you next? What about Chomsky? Just let me know, I also can apply them all, from the ontological to the absurd.

Get back to me in 10 years when you get out of your own head and live in reality for a bit. I don't mind having a conversation with you, (I would welcome it, in fact) but it would be nice to have an actual dialog instead of you constantly LECTURING. I got enough of that in grad school, thanks.

#37
debbieann
June 3, 2007
02:22 PM

>Frankly, it is very disheartening that no one has condemned you for your behavior,

hey, did you read what I said?

but ss why not just ask the man to keep it more in front of him so that hardly anyone could see? again with the children, were the children even awake, how many children are we talking about? besides was it just pictures of naked girls - don't kids see other naked kids sometimes? they would not think of it as porn - that is an adult view, it would've meant nothing to them I bet. Did some child ask you to get him to put it away - I doubt it.

I think porn reading on Japanese trains does happen a lot - check this out:
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/popvox/451
even with children on the train.

Anyway the real point I think is that this was not such a great example of me me me behavior. I agree that behavior happens a lot, this example though does not really fit in this case. in my opinion and all that.

#38
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
12:05 AM

listen, I did ask the guy to be more discreet, and he refused. it's not like I just stormed over and went mental. And there were children everywhere on the plane... it was a flight from LA to Japan, which is long, and the kinds get bored and run around.

debbieann, I cannot believe that you would actually DEFEND child porn. It's not like it's some innocent picture of a naked child taking a bubble bath. It is a child in provocative sexual poses. why would you EVER expose a child to that.
You really don't get it, so you?

and "did a child ask me to put it away?" what is the relevance of that question? a 4 year old knows what porn is? Knows appropriate from inappropriate material? Something tells me you don't know much about children.

#39
debbieann
June 4, 2007
12:49 AM

"something tells me you don't know much about children" is not debating the point that it was not a good illustration of your argument, unless you are trying to say that you were having a ME ME ME moment, which I would agree with.

It doesn't matter what I do/don't know about children. Why not just say it was about you instead of using the children?

I am defending the man's actions more than the childporn ( and sounds like it was 14 yr old girls not child exactly) - I think if the flight attendant was willing to let it go that we don't need vigilantes.

I'm sure you could come up with more me me me examples that make your argument stronger - can't you agree on that point?

#40
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
12:59 AM

NO I am not having a me me me moment. you were basically trying to portray a situation that you were not even in, in the completely wrong light. And you make it sound like it is all good and fine for children to be exposed to child porn because it's just pictures of children, and children see each other naked anyway (that was the gist of your argument). I thought that was preposterous and dangerous in its untruths.

If you make a 14 year old girl look like she is 8-9 and put her in sexually explicit poses does it matter her real age? And you're actually DEFENDING USING 14 YEAR OLDS IN PORN? My god, what is wrong with you?

No I cannot agree on this one. it was not about me. what this guy was doing was not right. I cannot believe that you simply cannot understand how wrong child pornography is, and why it is not someone's right to hold it up for everyone to see in the middle of a crowded flight. Never in my life did I think I would have to have this conversation, with a woman of all people, and have her defend the use of children in pornography.

why don't you go join NAMBLA and defend their rights to have sex with children, because that is exactly the kind of behavior you are endorsing. People who engage in child porn are pedophiles. and you are defending them. Ew.

#41
debbieann
June 4, 2007
02:22 AM

HELLO, you yourself said it was ACCEPTABLE in Japan. You think the whole nation is pedophiles? I am saying that since it is acceptable in Japan to do that and he was on a Japanese airline where even the flight attendant was not going to tell him to put it away, that you should not have taken it upon yrself to rip it out of his hands. He was having a culturally acceptable moment and you were having a that is not acceptable where I come from moment. You think what he was doing was illegal in Japan? I don't think so.

It is true I wasn't there - I am basing my whole argument on the info you have given. If you said American airline and the flight attendant said go ahead, that would be different.

From this you decide I am defending child porn and you go even further and say I am have defending actually having sex with children. How is this not a personal attack rather than an attack on the argument? It weakens yr argument to have to attack me personally. Where did I say having sex with children was appropriate? Since when does looking at porn equal having the same behavior with people?

Are you not even open to debating an issue that you brought up?


#42
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
02:36 AM

I never once said you were having sex with children. Learn how to read. I said you might as well defend other peoples' right to do that. sheesh. this is why talking to you is so difficult, you read whatever you want into what was said.

Also, I said they were MORE TOLERANT of younger looking girls in magazines in Japan. I never said straight up child porn was acceptable. You simply read into my words and twisted them for your own use. Similarly, I said the stewardess felt uncomfortable confronting the man, not that she supported his right to read child porn on the plane. All this you read into, and they are false assumptions.

Also, I have news for you. people who look at child porn are sexually excited by children. it stands to reason that if they have not, they will attempt to follow through on their desires. that is how pedophilia works.

I am open to the debate if you can stop twisting my words, making false inferences and then when I do not agree with them you get even angrier. just because I do not use your style of debate or want to bow to your assertions doesn't make me wrong.

#43
debbieann
June 4, 2007
02:49 AM

ok, they are more tolerant, so then why don't you show the same tolerance in a case where you were on a Japanese airline with Japanese people and the flight attendant said "the rules of engagement prohibited her from admonishing her elders." - you feel you should not follow the rules of engagement that are culturally appropriate?

#44
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
02:59 AM

ah, obfuscation. I just showed you were wrong, so you change the subject (notice that you have never once been able to defend your accusations once I proved them wrong on this thread... you simply drop that topic and move on to the next attack on me while I answer your questions. So who is the one that has no idea how to debate??!?!??!)

But I will answer your question. Yes, culturally speaking she felt she could not admonish her elders. And I feel that is not necessarily so hot for someone who is on the airplane partially to help maintain order. What if the man had been drunk and unruly? Belligerent? As a flight attendant I understood that she felt between a rock and a hard place culturally. But I did not feel that same obligation. It was not my culture and other Japanese people on the plane (as well as people of other cultures) were made to feel uncomfortable my this man's actions (and also the stewardess's inaction).

Note that the stewardess or any other Japanese person on the flight did not tell me that my actions were wrong.

#45
Ergo
URL
June 4, 2007
03:05 AM

Debbieann,

I think it's futile to approach this argument from the "culturally appropriate" or "tolerant" perspective. The fundamental fact is this: smallsquirrel violated the LEGAL and LEGITIMATE right, property, and personal space of a gentleman by forcefully stealing his magazine from him and humiliating him in public. The principle is this: if the act is legal, then however uncomfortable you may be with someone's practice of that act, you must not censor or ban his right to practice the act.

To illustrate, say we lived on a planet where eating brocolli was considered incredibly rude, depraved, immoral, and wrong--but there was no LEGAL sanction against the practice. Then, a man eating brocolli there should have the full right to do so regardless of how uncomfortable it makes other people. This illustrates the necessity of having moral laws that are objective, universal, and fundamental.

For example, notice there is much intolerance in India toward people who eat beef--as many Indians consider the animal their god. Thus, even though it is not illegal to eat beef, most restaurants do not serve beef, and it is hard to obtain it from public stores. This is a gross violation of the legal rights of those people who DO WISH to eat beef--even though it amounts to eating someone else's God!

This is the principle that needs to be defended: we cannot go around denying people their moral right to property or liberty just because it makes us uncomfortable. A credible argument against dissuading someone else's actions can occur only if your own rights are being violated by the person's actions. In smallsquirrel's case, none of her rights were being violated. She has no right to "comfortable, porn-free" flights. Nor is she the "law of the skies" to be a vigilante for the sake of other children and their parents.

Thus, smallsquirrel, you are not any different from the coercive, paternalistic, fascist governments of the world.

#46
debbieann
June 4, 2007
03:12 AM

where did you show me I was wrong? this part?:
I never once said you were having sex with children.

But I didn't say you said that. I said:

you go even further and say I am have defending actually having sex with children.

not me having sex with children, but that I am defending pedophiles, which I never did.

You said I was twisting your words, so I used quotes instead. And I tried to focus on the argument rather than on personal attacks, if that is obfuscation ok. You twist my words just as much equating looking at acceptable in Japan porn with being a pedophile and telling me to join nambla.

#47
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
03:14 AM

wow ergo, stunning use of hyperbole!

#48
Ergo
URL
June 4, 2007
03:20 AM

Thank you smallsquirrel. :)

#49
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
03:20 AM

that is my mistake then. my apologies.

but yes, I stand by what I said. I do believe you are defending child porn, and really not that much different from defending people's right to have sex with children. I am not going to launch into some tutorial about how pedophilia works. It's too much for this thread. child porn IS catering to pedophelia and you are defending it.

If you had said regular porn featuring adults, I would have agreed with you. But nope, you found nothing wrong with the use of even 14 year olds in pornography. That is defending child porn.

#50
debbieann
June 4, 2007
03:25 AM

you are right ergo, that is an even stronger argument.

#51
debbieann
June 4, 2007
03:27 AM

well, I think I was defending this man's right to read what he was reading in this particular situation. that is a far cry from defending child porn and pedophiles.

#52
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
03:33 AM

no debbieann it is not, and for once PLEASE answer what was asked of you. Did you not basically come out and say that child porn was alright because kids look at other kids naked all the time anyway, so why would this hurt them? And did you not basically say it was alright to use 14 year olds in porn cause that is not "a child exactly"?

PEDOPHILES ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO INDULGE IN CHILD PORN. PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT PEDOPHILES DO NOT FIND CHILDREN SEXUALLY EXCITING.

#53
debbieann
June 4, 2007
05:09 AM

I do not think that child porn is ok because kids look at kids naked all the time - now you are the one twisting an argument in one case to fit something larger. The point was in this case you did what you did because of what you believe, not because of some children - just own it. It seems clear it was you that thought what he was doing was wrong. If there had been no kids on the plane would it have been just fine?

I think if _in Japan_ that porn is legal, and Japanese law says that it is acceptable, then I would not have a problem with it. If that magazine is illegal in Japan, then it should be confiscated. I am willing to make some adjustments for the culture I am in - so here in India I don't kiss in public or hold hands (ok except when crossing the street) not because it matches what I believe at all, but because that is the standard here. If I were in Japan I would try to fit in. I wouldn't buy that porn, I am not interested in it, but if I saw a man reading it on the subway and nobody else was throwing a fit then I certainly would not be. so if you consider that approval, then yeah. In the US models have to be over 18 for porn, so I go by that std when in the US - if some other country said 25 was the age limit then I'd support that law there. In France there is more casual nudity at some beaches, but you can't take that standard and be naked in some other country, and you can't enforce yr standards in France.

You didn't answer the question - do you think Japan is full of pedophiles because they look at naked 14 yr olds? I do not think so. I think some men who are not pedophiles might still like looking at naked 14 yr olds.

Where is yr cite to back up your assertion?

#54
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
05:25 AM

I will repeat to you what I said to ergo. while that magazine might have been legal in japan (and I am not sure it was) I am not sure how that is governed in international airspace, and I am sure that showing that materials to minors is probably not legal. I do not know what I would have done had there not been children on the plane, because that was not the situation I was in.

Do I think that people who look at sexually changed pictures of children (no matter the actual age of the model) are pedophiles? Yes, I suppose at the end of the day I do. These were not some artsy black and whites that fall into the gray area. These were kids with their legs splayed showing their genitals wide open or bending over in "come do me" poses. So yes, I think that people who feel the need to get gratification from viewing disgusting sexualized images of children are pedophiles.

#55
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
05:26 AM

* I meant sexually charged, not changed

#56
debbieann
June 4, 2007
08:59 AM

so would you say all those men who get married to 14 yr olds and 15 yr olds are pedophiles?

Average Age at Marriage - India
Year Men Women
Prior to 1951 20 13
1951-55 21.3 14.3
1956-60 21.2 15.1

the conservative Muslims that want to lower the marriage age - they are pedophiles too?

I am happy to see the average age going up, and happy the law now says 18, but I don't think those men are pedophiles.


As for the law in intl airspace I would take the flight attendants actions to be a clue.

#57
Aaman
URL
June 4, 2007
09:14 AM

I do think those men who marry children are pedophiles - no two ways about it

BTW, do you have more recent data than 1960?

#58
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
09:32 AM

debbieann... I find your assertions seriously disturbing. if you had a female child, you would be fine if at 15 that girl was married to a 30 year old man????

yes, I believe that any man who has sex with (or marries) and underage child is a pedophile.

#59
Ruvy in Jerusalem
June 4, 2007
09:55 AM

Boy ergo, that #45 was one mouthful of a comment. But your conclusion, "thus, smallsquirrel, you are not any different from the coercive, paternalistic, fascist governments of the world."

Smallsquirrel is just one woman, supported by no paid off judges, jackbooted goons or propaganda apparatus that supports the typical Fascist regime. And a reminder before throwing the word "fascist" around. Smallsquirrel was born in Italy, and if anybody knows what fascism and fascists really are on this site, it is she.

#60
Ruvy in Jerusalem
June 4, 2007
09:57 AM

Ergo,

Sorry, I forgot my main point: my fingers raced ahead of my brain (or perhaps it was the other way round). Your conclusion at the end of comment #45 is just plain wrong.

#61
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
10:15 AM

thanks Ruvy. I think people throw around terms and they have not a clue what they mean outside a textbook. Many of my relatives were killed by Mussolini's men, and Italy suffered a lot under that regime. My family hid in caves, like many other families did. It was a terrible time.

But to people like Ergo, who only have experienced the world on a philosophical level, it's fine to bandy about these terms because they are just as abstract as everything else. For my family, like many others, terms like Nazism and Fascism had real implications.

that is why I did not really reply to ergo's comments. everything he says is based in some ayn rand-inspired haze of idealism. I do not know a lot of things. but I have lived long enough to know that the kind of absolutism that he spouts simply doesn't pan out in real life.

#62
debbieann
June 4, 2007
10:42 AM

here are the ages after 1960, going steadily up, though for the _average_ age to be 19, I think might still mean there are some under 18 yr olds getting married. maybe not.

1961-65 22.3 16.3
1971 22.6 17.7
1981 23.4 18.6
1991 24 19

Wonder if it'll ever change and the avg age for women will be older than that for men.

I think the definition of 'underage' changes over time and in different cultures.

#63
Deepti Lamba
URL
June 4, 2007
10:47 AM

How is beef connected to a man leaching at a naked child? Sati is an unacceptable act but some people might see its abolition an infringement of their religious rights but do we as a society let such abhorrent practices take place?

Crimes against children cannot be accepted by any civilized society. Excuses such as cultural infringement make weak arguments.



#64
Aspi
URL
June 4, 2007
04:23 PM

I think I agree with Deepti. Do we let something go by that we patently believe to be unfair but is still "legal"?

I can think of a number of patriarchal practices that would still be in place if we had sat quietly because there was no law against them at that time.

Its a fine line we walk because that same argument can be used to accomplish a number of things by others that I would find undesirable. Everything is subjective - even the more precise things we know about like Math :)

#65
smallsquirrel
June 4, 2007
11:20 PM

thanks deepti and aspi... this is what I was getting at. sometimes you just do not know how else to say what you mean.

#66
Ergo
URL
June 5, 2007
12:02 AM

I think it's utterly stupid--and a sign of intellectual weakness--to claim that someone who has lived in Italy or is Italian should know fascism best. That is as naive as saying only Americans know best what free market economy is. This line of argument is such utter rubbish because not only does it invalidate the possibility of having an educated view of a matter, it also assumes that all knowledge is splintered into private domains of national boundaries or some such factor.
Ruvy in Jerusalem seems to think that unless you are not an Italian, you could not know the essence of fascism as well as a real Italian would. So, why do researchers and scholars even bother studying anything from another culture, society, or philosophy? It would clearly be futile because unless it's their own culture, they would never be good at understanding it! You see how stupid this sounds??

And smallsquirrel, indeed, it is because I understand fascism so well, I can notice its traces in your behavior, and hence my most vocal condemnation of your act. It is a disgusting act, especially given that you are Italian. I would have expected you to at least know what behaviors to avoid--given your country's history.

And with regard to some vague and foggy dissection of Randian idealism and your variety of "realism," let me tell you that Objectivism recognizes no dichotomy between principles and reality. In fact, the only way to efficiently handle reality is to think in principles. If you re-read my comments above, you will note how I used *principles* applied to the CONCRETE reality of your actions and CONDEMNED you based on those principles. And I pointed out, in REALISTIC TERMS, why your actions are wrong, immoral, and fascist.

I just believe you are ill-equipped--intellectually--to respond to my comments. Hence, this is the last comment here that I care to write. You can have the last word.

#67
smallsquirrel
June 5, 2007
12:18 AM

yeah ergo, I will have the last word. I think it's funny you thing *I* am ill equipped to handle your pseudo-intellectual comments. you are a 25 year old who needs to stop being so arrogant and offensive and realize that just because people don't agree with you doesn't make them stupid. or a fascist.

what Ruvy was saying is that I would know the impacts of fascism. I have seen it. my family has lived it. you just read about it in your little textbooks then climb on your soapbox and lecture away. I don't give two shits about your *PRINCIPLES* and how you APPLIED them. You don't listen to others and you denigrate them when they do not agree with your regurgitated college syllabus "knowledge"

Ergo, you don't know jack-all. I might not know a lot, but at least I know when not to be wildly offensive and a condescending @^#&@(#*&(@*#&)(*@#@@.

grow up.

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