I Have Met the Enemy and I Have Bad News

by Jon Carroll

Everywhere there is pandering. You are being pandered to and the children you know are being pandered to, and you are scared. No wonder; it's scary. It's a society in decay, ruled by panderers, and there is nowhere to turn.

They want your money; they want your votes. They are indifferent as to how they get it. If you want sex, they have sex. If you have fear, they have more fear. Give them your vote, give them your money. Whaddya want? Every day is Christmas Day, here in Pander Land.

Sex on the Internet. James Exon amendment to the telecommunications bill -- it will end sex on the Net! Feinstein votes for it; Boxer votes for it. Desperate Democrats. Please, friends: It will not end sex on the Net. It won't work. It's deeply cynical.

Fifty out of 50 states have laws against prostitution (yes, even Nevada: local option). In 50 out of 50 states, prostitution flourishes. It is confined to certain neighborhoods. On the Net, every neighborhood is the same neighborhood.

Do you see what I'm saying? There will always be sex on the Net, on the phone lines, in the books, on the streets. There will always be sex in your heart and on your mind. The Exon amendment is a lie, a lie you want to believe because society is falling apart and the children you know are surrounded by panderers. Fear makes us all stupid.

Time magazine: Sex on the Net. Weirdest sex you've ever heard of. Your children are at risk. Alarm! But how many kids have computers? And what percentage of those computers have modems? And what percentage of the kids with computers that have modems also have access to credit card numbers and the will to defraud? Say 0.1 percent of all American citizens fall into that category -- 250,000 kids. It's not that many, but let's pretend.

How many kids get beaten by their parents every night? How many kids get smashed around by good old Dad, the drunk? How many kids are suffering brain damage from malnutrition because Mom just can't get it together? What are the real problems?

You have a right to be scared for the children you know. They are swimming in the soup of noncontext. They may not have computers, but they have friends who have computers. They have friends whose parents have a stash of porno videotapes. They have friends in school who are packing heat.

You have a right to raise your children the way you want. You need to think clearly, though. You must not listen to the media; you must not listen to politicians. Pandering is the last thing you need; pandering is the enemy of reason.

Remember yourself as a child. Remember yourself as a 12-year-old. Remember how curious you were about sex. You were not an innocent; you were not pure. You had already been corrupted by your own hormones, by the natural and wholesome lust God gave us all. The problem is not the sex, not even the pictures by computer. The problem is the marketing, the consuming, the pandering.

That's what is newer and stronger and more vicious; that is the context you need to provide. The first way to provide the context is not to succumb to the pandering.

I read a horrifying story the other day. A 14-year-old girl had sex with her brother while several hundred people watched. Then she had sex with her father. Then the guests had sex with each other and took turns having sex with the 14-year-old girl.

The girl was Lucrezia Borgia. The brother was Cesare Borgia. The father was Rodrigo Borgia, who at the time of the orgy was also Pope Alexander VI, the Holy Father in Rome. The year was 1497.

Our problems are not new. We must not sign away our freedom and our reason to make things even easier for the panderers. The only cure for bad information is better information. You are in charge now; use your power wisely.

Copyright 1995 San Francisco Chronicle. Used by permission.
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