The "Culturebox" Fray this week was a heady mix of intersecting comments on celibate superheroes, sex education for children, and dark deeds in children's books. Thrasymachus had an interesting and controversial point: "The exploitation of children is a real and public danger. The innocence of children is a chimera."
Subject: Net Loss of Information
Re: "Chatterbox: Accountability, FBI-Style"
Date: Thu May 30 1:30 p.m. PT
Timothy Noah hits the nail on the head in his article concerning the press's treatment of FBI Director [Robert] Mueller's "informal but on the record" meeting with the press. ... Because the press is purportedly there to cover the story, and because most people assume (according to numerous random samplings of Slate posters) that the press actually has an interest in digging to the bottom of the muck pile, the standard press conference does little more than narrow the spectrum of what may be considered as legitimate discourse. If "careerism" is rampant in the FBI … then it is equally as rooted in the press corps, who fail to interrogate in a forthright manner for fear of losing their Washington mouthpieces or being reprimanded by their corporate sponsors for digging too deep. …
Subject: The Author Replies
Re: "Culturebox: Lust Busters"
From: Judith Levine, author, Harmful to Minors
Date: Tue Jun 4 6:16 a.m. PT
Hanna Rosin seems to want no one, not the school and not herself, to talk to her daughter about sexuality. Yeah, the kid will find out about the mystery of sex, all right. But she may find out the hard way. Where sex is concerned, ignorance isn't bliss. Any sex therapist will tell you that sex without information is often not pleasurable. Any doctor treating people with HIV or pregnant teens will tell you it isn't safe. My book says that children and teens can have sexual pleasure and be safe too—if we adults take their sexuality seriously. They deserve information and protection—from real perils, not exaggerated ones (and pedophilia, no matter what you think of it, is an exaggerated peril, for reasons the book discusses). But they also deserve pleasure and privacy.
[Reply to this post here.]
Subject: Overpraised Heroines
Re: "Television: Texas Justice"
From: Richard W. Cutler
Date: Fri May 24 4:48 a.m. PT
Just a comment about the reference to Portia's pleading for mercy in The Merchant of Venice. Portia is one of Shakespeare's more frightening creations, and her violations of legal procedure are so numerous as to make anything she says more than suspect. If one reads the play as an indictment of the justice system—and Shakespeare was more than passing knowledgeable about the law—Portia's speech is irony stretched into sarcasm.
Subject: In Praise of Panic
Re: "Foreigners: Cold War in a Hot Climate"
Date: Tue May 28 11:57 a.m. PT
Rampant fear kept nuclear weapons out of Cuba and drove the SALT talks. Underestimating how close we are to nuclear war could undermine efforts to prevent it. Hopefully, the Indians and Pakistanis truly are afraid of nuclear war, and I for one have no intention of trying to calm anyone's nerves about how real that possibility is.
Thousands of readers wanted to talk about Eminem. A featured comment from a 16-year old, RJK, generated a huge response. A post by Yankee turned into a fascinating discussion on parenting, which would have fit well with many recent child-related Fray discussions. Our favorite remark came from SDH, who said "Eminem has some lyrical talent and a sardonic, mean-spirited sense of humor. (Kind of like a top-notch Fray poster.)" SDH was awarded a star this week.
The "Poem" Fray continues a tradition and is featuring poems for Father's Day: Martin Greene is organizing this, so watch for his updates. We don't normally give readers' poems checkmarks (we don't feel qualified to judge), but we made an exception for NoStar's poem—because of the splendid rhymes, and not at all because of the subject matter. …
Who does the Fray belong to? Is it Timothy Noah's Fray or the "Chatterbox" Fray? Readers have been wondering this week, and they also wonder if the other Slate writers are jealous of the "Best of the Fray" Fray. Well of course they are.