The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Sunday, March 6th, 2005
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in recent remarks to the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution, promised an "aggressive prosecution of the purveyors of obscenity.”*  Some of his fellow citizens might consider this a peculiar priority in a world plagued by disease, violence, ignorance, and injustice.  Do, they might wonder, exposed flesh and improper language really pose the same kind of threat as bloodthirsty terrorists?  Is smut truly as urgent a problem for the Justice Department as our enormous and growing prison population, now the highest per capita in the world?* *

Such questions are both short-sighted and wrong-headed, because Mr. Gonzales has his priorities exactly right.  His reasoning is based on the little acorns theory, namely that from little acorns do giant oaks grow.  Today’s careless bad word leads by gradual but inevitable steps to tomorrow’s crime against humanity.  Monday’s exposed flesh inexorably becomes Thursday’s global catastrophe.  The difference between a potty-mouthed on-air tirade and a deadly pandemic is merely one of degree, not kind.  For those willing to follow Mr. Gonzales’ argument, each link in the chain of logic is unbreakable.

Suppose that during the course of a children’s cartoon about a talking sponge, two crustaceans were shown in a compromising situation.  Crustacean mating habits may be subtle to the untrained eye, but mollusks are as capable of suggestive and indecent behavior, in their way, as the next animal.  Their procreative activities, like those of all species, are capable of producing extreme clamminess in the casual observer.  Small fry, no matter how shrimpy, inevitably find scenes of crustacean mating confusing, perplexing.  Though a minority would find it all merely fishy, the unstable state of mind thus produced can lead to chronic crabbiness in the average youngster.

From chronic crabbiness to shell-shock is a short and often fatal step.  And, as leading psychologists confirm, attempting to claw one’s way back to mental equilibrium from shell-shock  can have permanently destabilizing consequences.  Imagine then a generation of unstable youths, rendered suggestible, indeed spineless, by disturbing scenes of shellfish courting.  In their vulnerable state, exposed as a hermit crab between abodes, they become easy prey for the octopus-like reach of world terror organizations.  Stripped of their protective carapace of good sense and judgement, many would become pawns, if not prawns, in the global war on terror –
and on the wrong side.

The nightmare of an entire generation of youths turned into terrorists by a single, subtle, indecent episode of a children’s program is precisely what Attorney General Alberto Gonzales seeks to prevent.  The grim prospect of creating enemies out of our own future generations must be avoided at all costs.  Hence Mr. Gonzales' aggressive pursuit of the purveyors of obscenity, which he correctly views as a vital component of the war on terror.

To those who would asperse the Justice Department’s logic, Mr. Gonzales has his answer ready.  “Oh, baloney, you say?  Au contraire.  Think abalone, baby.”

*http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60679-2005Feb28.html
**http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r188.pdf

©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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