Why do we care about the Ramsey murder?

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Aug. 23 2006 2:36 AM

Stranger Dangers

Why do we care about the Ramsey murder?

(Continued from Page 4)

The Dear Prudence Fray has been atwitter this weekend over the curious case of the duplicate letter. In Thursday's column, Prudie responded to a letter from a teacher that had appeared, verbatim, in an earlier column for Salon, by Cary Tennis. Salon's author apparently jumped into the Fray to share some thoughts on the overlap.

As long as you're comparing advisers, Fraywatch is pleased to note the return of the Fray's own shadow Prudence—star poster doodahman. Several years ago, the weekly feature "My Two Cents" was a must-read for followers of Dear Prudence. These newly reminted pennies haven't lost their luster while out of circulation:

Dear Post Graduate Curse:

First year teaching, eh? Hell, lady, you didn't waste much time, huh? MTC needs to put out a disclaimer here. His first foray into actual adult style sex occurred after graduation at the national debate tournament, in the front seat of the car of the coach from another high school. He made it to quarter finals and crossed the plate in the same event.

As a result, MTC considers post-graduation dalliances between teachers and students to be not only acceptable, but A-OK, wink wink, nod nod. In fact, high school forensic teams may have been the very hotbed of sexual activity between students and teachers. doodahman's own coach put the moves on him and other team members more than once, and ultimately ran off with another student a year or two later-- leaving behind a husband and two babies.

So, you're hardly alone. Stop beating yourself up.

A lot of folks will respond with absurd and hyperbolic charges that you're some kind of predator, a pervert, a corrupter of youth. Don't believe a word of it. You are a teacher. What was your little tryst other than teaching? Hell, in this day and age, the kid probably taught you a thing or two. If nothing else, you helped take the steam out of an 18 year old sexual locomotive before it ran over some innocent girl unprepared for the responsibilities of sex. As far as MTC is concerned, you madam, are, if not a saint, surely someone's godsend.

Of course, this is a minority view, and should this affair come to light, it may cause you some professional problems. Fortunately, not legal ones, but problems nonetheless. That'll be the case depending on the maturity of your punky paramour. If he's immature, he'll shoot his mouth off sooner or later and then it's Katie-bar-the-door time. But if he has a degree of maturity that befits somebody qualified to diddle your syllabus, he ought to remain discrete. But, it's a risk you run every time you pick a lover from the junior varsity. Considering that you pulled this the first year on the job, your lust for the boys is something you need to control (as opposed to "stay on top of").

That's for the future, though. For now, don't worry about the past-- you did good girl.

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Fans may wish to check out doodahman's other recent entries here , here, and here.

Have you ever thought about trying your own hand as an advice columnist? Well, there's no need to compete with Prudence! Dolph would like to know "how do you conduct a funeral for a man who said that he didn't believe in God?" mtntraveler is trying to decide "should text messages be considered cheating?" If you're of sound mind and bawdy, we could use your advice in the Dear Prudence Fray.   GA 12:00am PDT

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Based on Ned Lamont's narrow victory over incumbent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's senatorial primary, Jacob Weisberg's prediction of the Democratic Party's retreat into 1970s McGovernite leftism on matters of foreign policy (and with it, electoral doom) provoked an unusually strong reaction, both in tone and quantity of posts.

A spate of fraysters reject the analogy with Vietnam-era liberalism. Samphire calls this an oversimplification, while for doodahman, Weisberg's comparison marks an abrupt about-face for a journalist who has spent the last three "years of this war telling us how it ain't nothing like Vietnam."

Rabin dismisses fears of neo-isolationism  among Democrats as a straw-man argument, unless Weisberg can identify by name the Democratic politicians who actually fit this label, as "people who want to withdraw from Iraq (Feingold, Lamont, Kerry, etc) are not isolationists. None of these people want a radical change in foreign policy outside of Iraq. They're all pro-Israel, they're all pro-US intervention in some areas, they all take the threat of islamic terrorism seriously. One of the largest reasons used for supporting withdrawal is that American presence in Iraq hurts the WoT and resources could be much better spent elsewhere."

ShanCan similarly demands evidence of this radical left-wing contingent: "By evidence I mean something besides our lack of support for Bush's failed policies in the middle east, and our utter disgust at his exploitation of the fears of ordinary citizens in order to gain support for his policies that do nothing to make us safer (policies which arguably make us less safe) while simultaneously ignoring or blocking activities and policies that might actually improve the security of our nation?"

For his part, ElFool picks apart the false dichotomy in Weisberg's characterization of the Lamont camp: "seeing Iraq as a politicized right-wing response is not mutually exclusive with taking terrorism seriously."

In Byron_Raum's formulation, the "anti-war" label applies in earnest only to a very small pacifist minority that does not include the Lamont faction. Instead, there are really "two war camps":

One is, by far, the most belligerent. It's a war against anyone who happens to look like an Arab or a Muslim. It's run by people who are unable to distinguish between bin Laden, a terrorist religious fanatic, and Saddam Hussein, a secular, anti-religion fascist dictator. Hey, they are all Arabs, right?

These are not exactly neocons themselves, but these are the neocons' "useful idiots." In this camp also fall the pro-Israelis, who as a people suffer from the paranoid delusion that anyone who criticizes them has the ultimate goal of exterminating every Jew. In other words, only an anti-Semite would criticize a Jew.

To some extent, given their history, I can sympathize, but indulging them fully is far too expensive and destructive of other human lives. Eventually, if they are left unfettered, this means the extermination of everyone who is not a Jew, because every Jew is a human being, and therefore imperfect.

Quite obviously, a lot of people do not take this war seriously because it is assinine in the extreme.

We are the "other" war lobby, believing that we need to have a war of extermination with terrorists and fanatics. The difference is that we are extremely specific about who we paint with this brush, realizing that people are all pretty much the same; give someone a chance to live a dignified life in peace, and they will live a dignified life in peace. This means a pansy-like worrying about the sensitivites of Muslims, because we want them to feel that we care about them, and that it's a good idea for them to be moderate. It means respecting their dignities and freedoms, treating them and everyone else with decency, in order to get at the terrorists that hide in their midst. We are not willing to sacrifice our freedoms, the freedoms that our fathers paid for in blood. We believe that a competent Administration would be capable of finding terrorists without needing to pry into everything and having the ability to detain anyone at random.

The bottom line is, our war is much less expensive than theirs, and more importantly, it does not leave the world in ruin and the Constitution in tatters. We support the war on terror. We are just not willing to accept your broad definitions of what a terrorist is.

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