Dé Máirt, Meitheamh 22, 2010

In Other News

I caught a glimpse of one of the network morning shows today, CBS I think, doing a segment on the supposed plague of "sexting". The so-called expert they had on there was adament in her assertion that 'sexting is real', by which I assume she meant a real problem and not a moral panic.

I remember last year when my father gave my number to a cousin I hadn't spoken to in years, (and had no particular desire to speak to) and had her send me a text. When I asked him about it later he explained that he 'knew I liked texting.' which; no, not especially. I do text. It's one of many forms of electronic communication availible to me. I text or I call or I e-mail, it's all the same. Still my father is amazed by my ability to type letters on a phone pad, using the same letter system that phones have had since long before texting or cell phones, (enabling such wonders as 1900-SEXY-TALK and whatnot) Dad is convinced that there is such a thing as a specific "texting phone", and that I have one.

So I've seen first-hand the fascination with new ways of talking to each other; the anxiety, the sense of objective novelty, the ascribing of mystical power. Most of us know about the Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" kerfuffle and maybe about the fears of commies sending subliminal commands through black-and-white televisions.

It's no surprise really that American anxiety towards new media would be expressed as good old fashioned puritanism; fear of sex and what kids are up to these days, the fear that junior is using the computer to look at the porno. You've probably heard that one out of five children is solicited by a predator online; proven bullshit, still it's held as common sense fact and serves to fuel the Constitution-busting pedophiles-under-the-bed hysteria.

The relevent question in regards to sexting is not whether or not it is 'real', it's something that I myself have done, so its existense is solipsism-proof, at least to me. The question is whether lovers sending erotic messages to each other in whatever medium is in any way remarkable.

And while there is such a thing as lovers who are too young to be lovers, this has absolutely nothing to do with the latest form of magic talking box, and so the answer to the question is; no, of course not.

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