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March 13th, 2007


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10:30 am - we have always been at war with east asia junior high
I'm awake, alive, conscious, keeping down liquids, and I never want to go through that hell again. Every time I feel a burp coming on I psychologically steel myself for the awful taste -- and it's a goddamn relief when the taste doesn't come on. That means HEY I MIGHT LIVE.

So off I went, happily toddling to work this morning, and discovered that the Metro was taking great pains to ensure I remained pleasantly nauseated: first, there was a big, beautiful, glaring "would of" on the front page. Oh, glee! Hand me the red marker, Timmy, we're going grammar hunting!

Second, an article inside discussed how overconcerned upper middle-class parents with a great deal of disposable income can now keep track of their precious teenage offspring with any number of GPS devices embedded in cellphones or car keyrings. One such device is named and marketed, without any hint of irony whatsoever, as the "Big Brother Teen Tracker".

I'll wait until that eyebrow of yours has dropped back down to its regular position.

Now I don't know which is worse: the company that'd choose to market a product under this name, or the consumer who'd willingly choose it because they make a connection with some memory of a long-forgotten book they had to read in 8th Grade English which was boring and had to do with like rats or something. (These people ranked the book just above the Worst Book They Ever Read, which was that story of the old guy who went out fishing and waited and waited and waited and it was boring and then he caught a big fish and then he sailed back home and by the time he got home, the sharks had eaten all of the fish so what was the point I mean honestly?)

Actually, I know the worst part: The fact that a generation of kids are growing up learning that this kind of surveillance is a-okay. Anybody can and should be able to spy on you and keep track of your every movement because you're obviously not capable of independent thought and action on your own. This goes beyond the "under 18, under parental jurisdiction" thought, mind you. Blind acquiescence to authority is taught early and is meant to transcend age.

According to these people, there's no such thing as parental trust anymore. Parents apparently can't trust their kids to make solid decisions or even to call in and say "Hey, I'm here, everything's cool." This means kids must have a transmitter on them at all times which calls in a special alert when they stray from their appropriate zones of travel. Only recently has it been realized that this tracking system can be easily done via cellphone or car keys rather than the old method, which required taking the kid down with a tranq dart from 500 feet, then clipping a colored tag on its ear and releasing it back into the wilds of Hubert Humphrey High (watch out when they wake up; they may be groggy at first, but they certainly can get very irritable!)

This means the kids eventually realize they can't trust their parents to consider them capable of making solid decisions, so they do their darndest to subvert the systems and the glorious cycle of distrust and suspicion continues to churn along. But still, the seed is planted, the seed that says this kind of surveillance is normal and should be expected.

I'm sure we all have a Kill Me If list tucked away in some notebook or segment of brain matter; the list of proclamations you've made in confidence (sober or otherwise) to your closest friends, advising them to please do the humane thing and put you out of your misery should you ever grow old and betray your carefully-chosen principles of youth. Kill Me If... I should ever buy a station wagon for the purpose they're made (and not for, say, a bitchin' art car.) ...If I should ever lead my toddler around in public on a leash. ...If I should ever willingly say "I better not, I should be in bed before 11 tonight." (Oops.)

Please add "...if I ever decide I can't trust my own offspring and thus decide to tag 'em with an Orwellian GPS tracker" to my list. Maybe you'll choose to put it on your own as well; just don't ask me to fulfill the prophecy. I've already cheated death many times over with the In Bed Before 11 part.

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:infinitehotel
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)

You may not need me now, Steve, but you will. And you know I'm right...

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>I should ever buy a station wagon for the purpose they're made (and not for, >say, a bitchin' art car.)

Hey! How else are you going to move a surfboard, a diner-gifted tabletop "Marble Madness" video game, seven friends, a craigslist futon, or a slightly used Braunfels barrel smoker?

They're also great for the drive-in...

[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)

Re: You may not need me now, Steve, but you will. And you know I'm right...

(Link)
How else are you going to move a surfboard, a diner-gifted tabletop "Marble Madness" video game, seven friends, a craigslist futon, or a slightly used Braunfels barrel smoker?

That's what the 1982 Chevy Suburban Land Yacht is for, but it's been inexplicably tricked out Big Daddy Roth style.
[User Picture]
From:bedfull_o_books
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
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Oh the things I miss when beloved drives me in to work (he is my hero...).

So glad I missed that one. My bloodpressure is high enough. And yes, it has been added to my "kill me if" list.

I almost wrote in the other day when the captioned a photo with "the wind was whaling" sometime last week. Great image though. "Yo, careful out there today. The wind is a-whaling and there are big harpoons floating around." Whee.

Glad you are feeling better.
[User Picture]
From:kpht
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
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My mom had one of those leash things for me. I apparently wasn't unlike my current dog - the second we entered a Filene's basement, I'd run off and hide in the middle of those round hanger-racks. Personally, I would have avoided the leash and gone with a good-old fashioned beating.

See, my dad never needed a stupid leash. He worked for DSS and promised that every week, he learned new ways to torture kids without leaving bruises. I didn't dare leave his side.
[User Picture]
From:plumtreeblossom
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Word. That article struck me the same way. Trackers are only appropriate for spies and people on house arrest. If I were a teen shackled with one of those things, I'd "accidentally" drop it in the Charles River just to give the 'rents some major heart attackz.
[User Picture]
From:kpht
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
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That's GENIUS.
[User Picture]
From:plumtreeblossom
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
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Eww, ewww, ewwwwww. Child Leash Supporters.

Scroll down to the comments. One idiot used a leash on her 7-year-old. Another said her sprog "loves the leash." Right.

I assert that potty training is harmful to a child's selv uhsteem if attempted before age 12.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
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How else am I supposed to find out where all the cool hangouts are? Ask?
[User Picture]
From:28bytes
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
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What I want to know is, does the GUI for the Big Brother Teen Tracker show large, broken lines where the teen has been, a la little Billy in the Family Circus?
[User Picture]
From:bedfull_o_books
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
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Oh how goofy would that be?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 13th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
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If it doesn't, I'd demand a refund.
[User Picture]
From:lexinatrix
Date:March 13th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
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I'd heard that the teens-of-now have little regard for the darker aspects of surveillance and sharing all of one's personal information on their Myspace page, for example. Perhaps it's the rise of narcissism among 'kids today' that makes them unconcerned about being tracked - because hey, who wouldn't want to know what they are doing every moment?
From:eclecticavatar
Date:March 13th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
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Did you make an appointment with your PCP so's that you can get to see a GI person and therefore avoid this hell in the future?

Would you be uncomfortable talking to a woman GI doctor? I can call mine and get you in to see her this month. Then you'd have to call your PCP and get the referral. Her office (most specialist's offices) may even do that for you.
From:dcart
Date:March 13th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I know the worst part: The fact that a generation of kids are growing up learning that this kind of surveillance is a-okay. Anybody can and should be able to spy on you and keep track of your every movement because you're obviously not capable of independent thought and action on your own. This goes beyond the "under 18, under parental jurisdiction" thought, mind you. Blind acquiescence to authority is taught early and is meant to transcend age.

That more than anything is why I believe that even our less than ideal amount of democracy is completely and utterly doomed within my lifetime.
[User Picture]
From:limax
Date:March 13th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad that you're feeling better Spatch.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:March 13th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
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I saw the "would of" too. I hate to diss this reporter, especially since she caused my photo to appear in the paper, but .... geez. Maybe I can blame an editor instead, if the Metro has any.

Glad you're doing better today.
[User Picture]
From:skatiemom
Date:March 13th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
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A friend wanted to get a GPS tracker thing for her daughter. I asked how she'd know what her darling daughter was doing at the park or Janelle's house. The subject got dropped.

I don't know about others, but I did a lot of Bad Things at innocent places.
[User Picture]
From:bedfull_o_books
Date:March 13th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
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I can so see some kid leaving her tracker with her friend at the library and then going off with her boyfriend. It's something teens totally do for one another.
[User Picture]
From:morgaine723
Date:March 14th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
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Absolutely! Or just stash it in your friend's mailbox on your way to the make-out session and be back to pick it up before the 'rents get home.

Or maybe they're counting on the teens being so totally wedded to their electronic devices that they're unwilling to be without them for a naughty hour or two.
[User Picture]
From:jotasbrane
Date:March 14th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
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How would that work? Maybe buy a separate car battery to attach it to?

I wouldn't be surprised if these things were programmed to trigger an alarm (DANGER! YOUR TEEN HAS JUST DISAPPEARED OFF OF THE FACE OF THE EARTH! DANGER!) as soon as you disconnected it from the vehicle.
[User Picture]
From:morgaine723
Date:March 14th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, I thought we were talking about devices imbedded in phones or other personal electronics.

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