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"And on the day the words flimsy excuse were redefined, we stood in awe, and watched."
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January 10 2009

New Dollhouse promo images. There's one main cast photo, and a few of Eliza which are, well, a bit lacking of the clothes.

At least the nudity is done in a classy way, (well... maybe not the wet t-shirt, but I'm not complaining), sort of like she is a new born or something.
OMG! No... OMFG! Playing dirty, Mr. Whedon? I like it.
Saucy! Well they should generate some interest in the show and in Eliza of course. Is nudity ever classy, hitnrun017?
It could be, like art... I think. The one with her lying down on her stomach has sort of an artistic feel to it, or maybe I'm just an idiot. I wonder if FOX will promote the show with these. I'd imagine they would shamelessly raise the ratings.
It reminds me of the add campaign for Terminator with the Summer Glau 'Lady Godiva' look. But at least Eliza is not in pieces in this one. Not that I'm complaining about either, mind you...
Isn't this exactly the sort of thing you'd never have thought you'd see as a promotion for a Joss Whedon show?
When all else fails, there's always T&A.
Huh. I don't know where you guys are looking. I didn't see any nudie pics. I saw a bunch of Eliza in a brown leather jacket, and then what felt like hundreds of her in a really pretty dress that I want. But she was decidedly clothed.
Along the bottom.
ohh, I see! Ha, not so clever, am I? Well, if you click through a whole bunch, there's a really nice dress.
Sex sells sea shells by the seashore.
Bit risque for a network, they wouldn't be fan manips?
This is Fox... despite the new's corps supposed 'morality' they like the risque.
There's a fine line between liking risque and getting an FCC bollocking. I just can't see those images being used as part of a promotional campaign. Must be the Calvinist in me.
I have to agree with Simon now that I think about it. I don't think even FOX would do a promo image where you can see nipple outlines through a shirt.
But there already was one... of Eliza lying back in the chair, in the black shirt, and it was kinda see through... Erm, at least that's what I heard.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-01-10 23:17 ]
Well, stills aren't going to be used for TV commercials anyway, just, potentially, print. So the FCC has nothing to do with it.

Curious where these came from, because seemingly they're just images from the shoots that led to various PR imagery we've already seen. The stomach-down one is clearly what was used for what's on FOX's Dollhouse site, and the others seem to be unused shots from the semi-underwater image on the early poster.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-01-10 23:16 ]
You know, I really hope these aren't real for the simple fact it's guns, OMG!HOT!GIRLZ and nipples - it seems odd for a Joss Whedon show. However, he's not the boss of everything. The setting of the images is the same as the Comic-Con posters given out directly by FOX last year.

I think I'm correct in saying FOX is currently taking legal action against the FCC. The FCC don't regulate material not on the air, so can't take action against web promo material.

I'm not a fan of these. They might as well write "PLEASE WATCH! OMG!" on them.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-01-10 23:24 ]
Um, Firefly had guns... though way cooler guns than those, but still, guns. Wesley also used a lot of guns in Angel, so I'm not understanding how Joss' shows, other than Buffy's stated beliefs, are anti gun.
Is there a US equivalent of the UK's Advertising Standards Agency?
They might as well write "PLEASE WATCH! OMG!" on them.

Isn't that what they did for Gossip Girl?
I don't believe the ASA can take action against web adverts either Simon - at least, they couldn't last time I checked. It's been an often used loophole here to write any old rubbish on banner ads.
Aren't the white and water ones just stills taken from the current Fox website pic and the original poster? I would guess they're just recycling the pics for online promotion and not necessarily using them widely.
Joss might also be taking a page from BSG, which used a heck of a lot of sex in the first hour of the miniseries. An obvious ploy to hook viewers (especially when it was Tricia Helfer). After that... well, things didn't exactly settle down, but the sex-to-actual plot ratio definitely shifted in favor of plot. And this jump-started a series Joss has called his favorite.
Granted, these pictures are...stimulating. I just hope Fox starts rolling out Dollhouse commercials next week, if not during this week's football games. After all, it's only five weeks away.
She didnt have to show any nudity what so ever to get me to watch the show, but im not complaining.
This will deffinately get people to watch the show.
there was a commercial last night around 9:50
Very effective!
I prefer the picture of Eliza without the cityscape superimposed on her because the red imagery looks IMHO like a rash. Her unadorned alabasterish skin makes her look more like a mannequin -- more like a doll. Also: steamy hot enough enough to make espresso without the pricey machine.

The tank top shot is the best of the (largely not so good IMHO) semi-immersed shots, because she looks like she can't decide whether to kiss you or kill you, and like she can't decide whether you will kiss her or kill her. The topless image has less drama and too much of a There's-No-Promo-Budget-So-I-Became-a-Stripper vibe. Wish they had an image that showed as much soul as skin, to get that nice tension between high and low art simmering, because the star brings all the physicality and all the soufulness at once.

[ edited by Pointy on 2009-01-11 04:06 ]
"Is nudity ever classy, hitnrun017? "

Yes.

Personally, I don't see the big issue. It's not like Joss has ever shied away from using sex to sell his shows (Buffy's low cut tops in season 1; choosing David Boreanaz because the women melted when they saw him; trying to make Alyson Hannigan a sex symbol). In fact, he's often said he tries to make his shows sexy. I mean, why are we worried by this? Eliza is a beautiful woman and some great photos of her have been taken. No doubt she's flattered; not many people get to be sex symbols and when they do it's only for a brief window.

And if the issue is that it might make the show look dumber - so what? It's not changing the actual show and it'll probably attract more viewers which is what we all want.
The group shot looks too stylized for my taste. Clouds don't look like that. I keep hoping for someone to take Fox Marketing by the hand and show them how it's done.
Yeah, I don't love any of the pics (except the ones of Eliza at some event in a REALLY PRETTY dress! But those aren't promo shots for Dollhouse). I haven't actually seen or read anything that would make me tune into Dollhouse if I wasn't going to already. But that's me, I almost never tune into anything until ten or more people yell at me that I HAVE to.

No doubt she's flattered; not many people get to be sex symbols and when they do it's only for a brief window.

I wouldn't assume that about anyone, but it's true that Eliza generally seems pretty comfortable with being a Sex Symbol. (That's such a funny term). But I totally agree that Joss has never seemed "above" trying to sell his shows with the sexiness of his stars. It was all those cleavage-y shots of SMG that made me think, way back when, (fool that I was!), that Buffy was probably really hokey.
Well, I think it's more likely that she's flattered than that she's horrified. Of course, if she were pressured into doing naked photos that's a different story.

I don't see it is a matter of Joss not being 'above' selling sex (and you probably don't either, Catherine, given the quotation marks you used). Sex and attraction is a hugely important part of life and as such should be in drama. Can you represent the life of 16 year olds without a fairly heavy emphasis on sexiness? Besides, storytellers wants people to have all sorts of reactions (sadness, joy, fright, revulsion) and I've never seen why attraction isn't exactly the same. The other view seems rather puritanical to me. In other words, I'd say a show that doesn't deliberately shy away from sex is 'above' one that does (obvious exceptions eg. childrens' shows etc)
I love the difference between US and Aussie TV nudity standards. Ads featuring this level of 'cover the nips with hands' nudity are fairly standard for your daytime sport and entertainment channels. Plus were allowed full boobage after 8.30pm i think it is. Yep... full boobage.
Can you represent the life of 16 year olds without a fairly heavy emphasis on sexiness?

Eeeewwww.
I'm with you on all that, Let Down. I guess I'd be more interested to see sexiness portrayed in more alive and exciting and individual ways, instead of these very generic poses that have become so boring and feel so stilted and lifeless (to me). I find it kind of a turn-off. Not these shots specifically, though they don't really do anything for me either, but the kinds of shots you often see in magazines and on posters and such. But I'm probably in a minority, and if most people like this kind of stuff, that would explain it's prevalence.

As for all the places between flattered and horrified that a gorgeous young feminist might to and fro between when considering posing for shots like these... well, it's complicated territory and late at night for me, so no delving into it for now! I hope she's living large and loving it.
"As for all the places between flattered and horrified that a gorgeous young feminist might to and fro between when considering posing for shots like these"

My lazy use of language kinda set up a false dichotomy there. Hopefully you get what I mean

"Eeeewwww. "

I meant that teenagers are all hormony and very interested in sex. Maybe you took what I said the wrong way ...
Does anyone know catherine's husband? Cos I think I know what dress she wants for her birthday. :)

Also:
too much of a There's-No-Promo-Budget-So-I-Became-a-Stripper vibe. Hee.
I want to object to high-res versions of these photos. So please someone, find high-res versions for me to object to!
Ah well, for now this so-so 1280wide upscale will have to do: http://tinyurl.com/6tw43u

[ edited by willbueche on 2009-01-11 10:40 ]
I'm fine with these, promo pics or not. It's nothing I haven't seen before (I'm nearing 30 years on this earth). I've also seen way worse. To me, this is nothing to get into a tizzy over ("Tizzy"? Yep, looking it over again, I really DID just say that).

I remember being slightly surprised the first time I saw that sex scene early on in the Firefly pilot, complete with out of focus "true happiness". :)

This could be worse. It could be True Blood. I watched four or five episodes and I couldn't take the show's extreme obsession with sex anymore. I mean, I'm not a prude by any stretch, but COME ON! Whenever people weren't talking about having sex, they were thinking about having sex (all the mind-reading made sure I knew it, too), and when they weren't doing any of that, they were actually having sex!

But, I digress. I rather like the image of Eliza on her stomach, except that I find it a bit too bright. I would have preferred the more defined, contrast look of the Terminator series promo images. Maybe that's just me.
I wonder what this show would be like if it was on HBO, like True Blood. Would Joss throw in as much sex in the show as they did? What I liked about Joss' shows (mostly Buffy) is his potrayal of innocence and how people talk about sex. (They talk about it all the time, but they never really talk about it very openly)
I dig these, for the most part, especially the one of the cast.
Does anyone know catherine's husband? Cos I think I know what dress she wants for her birthday. :)

Ha ha! Well, I know my husband, but I'm pretty sure I'm not getting that dress for my birthday :).

I have no problem with sex on TV or in ads, it's just this very cheesy idea of what is sexy is occasionally oh-so-slightly depressing. I've always liked the sexy within Joss's shows (which is actually sexy, IMO), but less in the advertising for them (which is kind of soulless and bland, again and obviously IMO).
I don't have a problem with the images themselves but if they are promo shots for Dollhouse it does seem slightly ironic (very possibly deliberately of course) that a show at least partly about how we objectify people promotes itself by objectifying people.

At the same time, it's depressing to me that folk can see nude bodies as somehow always being shameful or something to be hidden away. And Joss has indeed used sex to sell his shows before, particularly Buffy, and why not ? People like sex after all ;).

Can you represent the life of 16 year olds without a fairly heavy emphasis on sexiness?

Eeeewwww.


Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I'm seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

QED ;).
I think the double Eliza (naked nip gun pic) is very artful.
Nudy pics turn into art when they convey a thought or emotion, and at least that picture really does that. Of course it is always up to the viewer what art really is, since nudity conveys thoughts and emotions in me no matter the context.

I only tire of sexy when it is all you give the audience. An example of this might be the new Knight Rider. But I have faith (heh heh, I said faith) that Joss will back up his sexy and not turn his new show into a weekly hour long car commercial. But hey, I still watch Knight Rider so I think sexy does work and I think Deanna Russo should be the new Wonder Woman. She was the real new mommy in the Little Boys episode of of HIMYM.

[ edited by Jaynes Hat on 2009-01-11 17:35 ]
Can you represent the life of 16 year olds without a fairly heavy emphasis on sexiness?


Eeeewwww.


I meant that teenagers are all hormony and very interested in sex. Maybe you took what I said the wrong way ...


I don't disagree that teenagers tend to be very interested in sex, and therefore sexual. But use of the word "sexiness" goes a step further in suggesting an intent by the writer/director to exploit said 16 year old in order to sexually arouse the viewer. I'll give you teen "sex" in the National Geographic/Discovery Channel sense of the word, but if you can't watch a 16 year old on screen without feeling titillated, then I repeat, "eeeewww."

Unless you're 16 yourself. In which case, have fun. Just don't get somebody knocked up.
but if you can't watch a 16 year old on screen without feeling titillated, then I repeat, "eeeewww."

Ohh, I'm not Let Down (heh) but I'd quote Oz there and say that's probably a radical interpretation of the text! ;)
Yeah, quite catherine.

Besides, if we're honest and remove political correctness or what we want to be the case in a nice, simple world from the equation then I think we have to admit that it's not age necessarily but appearance that matters most. Certainly on TV you have 16-17 year olds being played by 24-25 year olds and sometimes (more rarely) vice versa. And it's apparently only OK to find them attractive if you're the same age as them but is that the same as their apparent age or the same as their real age ? And then exactly the same or is it OK if there're 2 years between you, or what about 4 ?

In the real world things are, as usual, a bit murkier and who we find attractive doesn't usually begin and end at some specific, clearly defined line - attraction doesn't suddenly arrive like a flicked switch at midnight on his or her 18th birthday (or 21st or whatever other arbitrary cut-off point you might choose), that's just not how our biology sees things (as reflected in the variety of ages of consent around the world and even between states within the USA).
Yeah I was going to wander into that whole issue too but then a student arrived and I had to teach him stuff instead. I don't think there's anything wrong with finding a 16-year-old sexy... in fact, at the risk of being icky (oh, it's a tightrope I walk every day, I tell you!) I'd venture to say that teenagers have a particular kind of sexiness about them that comes with the new and thrilling discovery of their own sexuality... the point is knowing what appropriate behaviour is when dealing with somebody much younger who may or may not have a full grasp on their desires and the consequences of acting on them.

Age of consent is a topic I find fascinating, but I guess I've wandered far enough OT for one day. Did I mention how much I like the dress Eliza's wearing, from file 26 on into eternity? Do you think that my husband secretly reads whedonesque, has way more money than I think, and remembers when my birthday is? (My thumb hurts from clicking...).
I think most Jews would argue that people become adults a bit younger than 16.

By artificially making adulthood 18, our society has created a lot of problems for itself. Sure they set out to solve problems like teen pregnancy, but it has caused a lot of people to go to jail as well, even consenting 16 year olds.

Some people develop sexually by the age of 14 and others take until they are 22. Finding a sexually developed person attractive is just normal though, not sick.

One could argue that our society is sick for saying that we should limit out attraction to within a few years of our own age and that anyone under 18 is off limits and biology be damned.
Some might find this to be a useful tool: Miley Cyrus Countdown Clock. ;-)

Her friends are so jealous
You know how bad girls get
Sometimes its not so easy
To be the teachers pet
Temptation, frustration
So bad it makes him cry
Wet bus stop, shes waiting
His car is warm and dry

Dont stand, dont stand so
Dont stand so close to me

Loose talk in the classroom
To hurt they try and try
Strong words in the staffroom
The accusations fly
Its no use, he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabakov

A few years ago I dated a 16 year old for a while. She was smart and sexy. Perfectly fine in the UK.
Yeah, well, whaddya expect from a bunch of socialists ?
And for an alternative perspective, Equality Now on the subject of adolescent sexuality:

The emergence of girls’ sexuality during puberty generates damaging responses – societies feel free to disinvest in their schooling and personal development while appropriating their labor, sexuality, and fertility. Despite nominal legal recourse, young girls have no socially protected means to protest abuses imposed by family, partners, teachers, or strangers. The leverage and urgency of undertaking their cases, however, is clear. The Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund was created to support and publicize strategically selected legal cases, diversified to represent the most common and consequential human rights abuses of adolescent girls in eastern and southern Africa.

I'm curious, in what way do you feel that link is relevant to the discussion BrewBunny ?
Lemme break it down, Saje,. We started off with a pretty categorical statement that you can't represent the life of a 16 year old "without a heavy emphasis on sexiness." Interpreting the word "sexiness" in accordance with its common definition, i.e., arousing sexual desire, I expressed disapproval with the notion that adolescents should necessarily be viewed by adults as objects of adults' sexual desire. Others responded with legitimate observations about alternative views of the the appropriate age of consent arguing that kids 16 and younger can in fact be appropriate objects of adult sexual objectification. I provided two alternate viewpoints, one snarky to give the crowd a giggle (the pervy Miley Cyrus countdown and the classic Police song about a pervy high school teacher), and one serious to give the crowd an example of where the slippery slope of teen sexualization can slide.
By the way, a bonus giggle for the peanut gallery: Best Matthew McConaughey Movie Ever.

That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.

I provided two alternate viewpoints, one snarky to give the crowd a giggle (the pervy Miley Cyrus countdown and the classic Police song about a pervy high school teacher), and one serious to give the crowd an example of where the slippery slope of teen sexualization can slide.

Hmm, you know that in that Police song it's actually the girl that has a crush on the teacher right BrewBunny ? He's worried by his own biological response (hence "Don't stand so close to me" - again, just to be clear, that's the teacher saying that) precisely because it's seen by many as "pervy". I.e. the teen in that instance isn't being sexualised, she already is sexualised (since she has sexual feelings towards her teacher).

Ultimately, I guess i'm talking about whether people feel a sexual attraction towards (e.g.) 16 year olds and why I don't think it's clear cut, you're talking about whether they should and, by your language, have already decided that it is (clear cut I mean ;). Teens are sexualised of course, since even you seem OK with eighteen and nineteen year olds being objects of adult desire (presumably because you consider them adults) and my own feelings are that the slippery slope is probably the most widely encountered logical fallacy and that rape and forced marriage isn't so much a consequence of teen sexualisation as it is of treating girls/women as commodities or second class citizens. But then I would say that since, as gossi points out, where I live the age of consent is 16 and I don't think we have a significantly worse problem with adolescent rape or forced marriages than the US does (or those parts of it where the age of consent isn't 16 anyway) - presumably we're immune to slippery slopes in the UK ;).

(I specifically asked about the link BTW because I always like to know in any discussion if the other side is so blind to nuance that they're lumping me in with men that rape 13 year olds or kidnap them for forced marriages. I'm assuming in this instance you're not doing that but feel free to correct me if i'm wrong ;)
Actually Saje, I'm not blind to nuance. This entire discussion started with me taking exception to the statement that a 16 year old is something that necessarily should be sexualized. Although 16 is legal in the UK, just as it is in many parts of the USA, I would hope that you would not be blind to the nuance that even though a 16 year old girl might be sexually mature from a physical perspective, she might not appreciate the idea that she must be sexually exploited for the benefit of adults.

And the reference to the 13 year old who had to take legal action to deal with the teacher who claimed that she was his "girlfriend"? That wasn't about you. That was for the benefit of the person who cavalierly introduced the Jewish age of adulthood -- 12 or 13 years old -- into a discussion about teen sexuality. Again I say, "eeeewww."
Not that I'm not enjoying the discussion and finding it interesting, but I do want to add, since Let Down has disappeared, that this:

This entire discussion started with me taking exception to the statement that a 16 year old is something that necessarily should be sexualized.

is not quite what anybody said.

I think we can all (or most?) agree on the sleazy... the Miley Cyrus countdown clock made me go eeewww, as did Mathew McConaughey... who knew he could be that icky? And I'm even more certain we can all agree on the horrific, as in the Equality Now link.

I think where there's debate, it's the difficulty of identifying exactly when it's appropriate or OK , as an adult, to be attracted to a teenager, and at what point it's OK to be involved with a teenager who is physically mature and into you and all that. Throughout my teens I had a much older boyfriend, so it's a topic of interest to me, since I've often pondered the weird power dynamics in that relationship (not always what you'd expect). I lived in Canada, where the age of consent is 14. I think whoever pointed out above that obviously different teens are emotionally ready for adult relationships at very different points was right on. And that's why it's complicated. Because while some teenagers may not be able to give you a clear idea of how "ready" they are, there are plenty of emotionally stunted adults who are just as unready. Obviously we do need laws to cover these things, and the lines have to be drawn somewhere, since no legal system can make a case-by-case analysis of teen sex. But it's not a simple question with a simple answer by any stretch.

the person who cavalierly introduced the Jewish age of adulthood -- 12 or 13 years old -- into a discussion about teen sexuality

I don't know what the intent behind that statement was obviously, but I just took it as pointing out that the ages we slap on "official adulthood" are arbitrary and cultural. I bet many of us have slightly different ideas of what an appropriate / sensible age of consent would be, probably based on our own experience or the experiences of those we know or general experience of the world, but of course those experiences differ and it's impossible to be right.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm vociferously arguing with your perspective on this, though, Brewbunny. I suspect our points of view are largely in line on these kinds of issues, but it seems like maybe you're interpreting some statements others have made a little harshly. Or maybe I'm clueless, which is always a strong possibility ;).
Brewbunny, I just think that we should protect all people from things like rape and molestation no matter the age.
At least in the US, there are way too many “Save the Children” laws. All laws should apply to all citizens in a free and equal society, not that I am under the illusion that anyone lives in a free or equal society on this planet.

In a large city just south of me in Ohio, a man or a woman can get put on the sex offender list for life for just taking your shirt off in public view. I hate stupid laws like that.

The only good reason I can see for outlawing sex under 18 is control of teenage pregnancy (to promote completion of rudimentary education) and just general control of young people. If the children are forced to do something they are not willing to do, then it is still illegal and they will be protected by the law.

I guess I just don't buy the argument that allowing sexual freedom of post pubescent teens leads to rape or other forced sexual situations. It just leads to them doing what they want and lessens the parents powers of having their daughter's boyfriends arrested and put on a sex offender list for life.

That being said, if I ever have a daughter she will not date until age 17, I just don't think I need a law to help me control her.
if I ever have a daughter she will not date until age 17, I just don't think I need a law to help me control her.

Good luck with that!! I was with you 'til there ;).
the person who cavalierly introduced the Jewish age of adulthood -- 12 or 13 years old -- into a discussion about teen sexuality


Yes, I was just trying to point out that in some cultures and religions it is perfectly fine for a 15 or 16 year old to be a sexual object for people of far greater age and that you cannot judge everyone by just one cultural standard.

I don't think I was being cavalier about it though, I was just stating a fact about the Jewish age of adulthood.
"if I ever have a daughter she will not date until age 17, I just don't think I need a law to help me control her."

Good luck with that!! I was with you 'til there ;).


Yeah, that was a joke. I should have stuck an smiley face there to indicate my attempted humor. :)
At least in the US, there are way too many “Save the Children” laws.


Can you have too many laws protecting children?
Sure, if you don't give your consent then it is rape. However, if you are under 18 then it is not possible for you to give your consent since you are not an adult. That is why there are laws that protect under age children, since they are under age. See definition.
Can you have too many laws protecting children?


When the laws do not actually protect the children, and instead are just a way of getting fundamentalist morality laws past congress by saying "This law is to save to children", then yes, I believe you can have too many.

Just like laws made to "protect" adults, there are good ones and bad ones. When laws are created, one side will always lose. Hopefully the losing side is a small minority of detestable people and not the majority of adults.

Just look at how some groups have tried to ban sexually explicit and violent video games from even existing to "save the children" yet are also trying to ban it for adults at the same time because they want to control everybody. This was the point of the Serenity movie.

RIVER: "We meddle…People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run don't walk we're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome."
It is the various definitions (age limits) for "Consent" that we are discussing here spacegirl.
Jaynes Hat, I understand the point you are making, but sadly we live in a world in which children are rarely genuinely offered enough protection from the less savoury aspects of the adult world. Laws might not always be perfect, but I would feel uneasy about starting to try to take away laws that are designed to protect children. There are times when meddling is the only way.
I think there are definitely laws that need to be re-examined. There have been several cases of teenagers facing serious child porn felony charges because they took and shared nude pictures of themselves. Protecting children by throwing them in jail as sex offenders seems pretty wrongheaded to me. With so many youngsters having webcams and cellphone cameras, this is a growing problem. Fairly recent article here.
..., they wouldn't be fan manips?


Man Nips? Simon, you've absolutely ruined it for me! (I trashed the '004.jpg' file - and emptied.) And I suppose it's not as if that isn't what you had intended.
I hope it doesn't sound like I'm vociferously arguing with your perspective on this, though, Brewbunny. I suspect our points of view are largely in line on these kinds of issues, but it seems like maybe you're interpreting some statements others have made a little harshly. Or maybe I'm clueless, which is always a strong possibility ;).

Catherine, I didn't take your comments that way, but I appreciate you're saying so. I think that part of the disconnect here is that I was initially commenting on one very narrow point (Can you represent the life of 16 year olds without a fairly heavy emphasis on sexiness?), and we've all kind of spun off on different tangents (Is it normal for teenagers to have sex? Is it immoral to be turned on by a teenager? Is it OK for teenagers to have sex with people a little older than them? Is it OK for teenagers to have sex with people a lot older than them? Is it OK for a 13 year old to have sex if they are Jewish?).

But going back to the initial (rhetorical?) question posed, I don't think it's harsh to say that it is possible to represent the life of a 16 year old without any reference to their sexuality whatsoever. As the mother of a young girl, it strikes me as kind of harsh and, frankly, icky, to argue the contrary, namely that once my daughter hits 16 (or whatever other magic age of consent suits you), her availability as a sexual object of adults' desire is to be taken for granted. Hence, the "eeeewwww."

As for all the rest of the issues raised, I'll let the others hash those out. I'll be off in the corner cringing as said young daughter begs me to buy her a princess Barbie doll. Urgh.

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2009-01-12 03:18 ]
I liked the pictures, I'm just saying...

Seriously I hate to sound like an ass but I looked at the pics before the comments, and I just knew going into the comments section people would be commenting on the "explicitness" of the promos. Does anyone else feel like as a fan base we're getting a reputation for being a bit to precious?
but I would feel uneasy about starting to try to take away laws that are designed to protect children. There are times when meddling is the only way.


Ok, lets leave the laws we got on the books, even the bad ones that put innocent people in jail, but do we really need to keep adding more and more when the children are already about as safe as we can make them.

The phrase I hate most on the news is when a reporter asks "How can we stop this from ever happening again?" When I hear that I just know that some opressive legislation is on the way that will in no way stop whatever it is from happening again. Meanwhile a little more of our freedom is lost because of fear for the children.

Would you rather have your children safe or free?
I would choose free, but many prefer safe.

I am going to go watch Serenity and V for Vendetta again now. :)
I get where you're coming from, Brewbunny. Good luck with the Barbie thing. (If it's any consolation, I begged my parents for a barbie once upon a time, then pulled her head off and forgot about her). (Maybe that's not consolation at all, come to think of it...).

Seriously I hate to sound like an ass but I looked at the pics before the comments, and I just knew going into the comments section people would be commenting on the "explicitness" of the promos. Does anyone else feel like as a fan base we're getting a reputation for being a bit to precious?

Ha, well, I did think that some people were probably looking at this thread and thinking "oh for god's sakes, lighten up, people!" But part of what I love about whedonesque is knowing that a link like this is going to provoke a more interesting conversation than "check out her nipples!" (Not that that isn't a totally relevant and somewhat more OT comment, of course ;)). There are definitely threads on here that go off into detailed tangents about things I have no interest in, and I just don't bother to read them. I've no idea what the reputation of the fan base is (!) ... but I know when I first started reading whedonesque I was just thrilled to find a website that had so many witty and thoughtful contributors with good spelling.

So while I'm sure there are many who'd agree with the "precious" assessment, I'm having a nice time here, so I don't care :).
I think these promo pics were done amazingly (though the whole cast one was a bit weird looking) but i was driving from LA to Riverside today and on I think it was the 91 I saw a Dollhouse billboard with Eliza with some Mannequins just really excited about seeing actual promos. I scared my friend by yelling in the car and made her pull over so i could get a picture of it :)
"This entire discussion started with me taking exception to the statement that a 16 year old is something that necessarily should be sexualized."

Haha Brewbunny, that bears virtually no resemblance to what I actually said. Anyway, Catherine and Saje have done a great job of defending my while I was away (thanks guys).

"Sure, if you don't give your consent then it is rape. However, if you are under 18 then it is not possible for you to give your consent since you are not an adult. That is why there are laws that protect under age children, since they are under age. See definition."

Well I think that's a circular argument, Spacegirl3200. The age of consent is a (useful) legal fiction; it has very little to do with whether the person agreed to have sex or whether they fully understood and had autonomy in the decision (ie. consent). Some people under the age of consent might fully and readily agree to(and enjoy) sex while others well over the 'age of consent' might not be able to do the same (eg. some who hit puberty late; some retarded people). That much should be obvious from the various ages of consent around the world; you single out those below 18 as unable to give consent but here in Australia it's 16 (is it immoral for an adult to sleep with a 17 year-old in America but moral in Australia and England?). So when the law says that someone under a certain age cannot give consent that's not a statement of what is happening in reality; it's a fiction designed to fit reality into the legal definition of rape (ie. sex without consent).

When you say that sex with an underage person is rape because there is no consent that amounts to saying that it's illegal because the law deems it illegal. That's not very illuminating and can't tell us anything at all about the morality of the action

(Before anyone distorts what I'm saying again, I'm not attacking ages of consent. Legislators have to do their best at setting a (fairly arbitrary) date at which people can legally have sex. It's inevitably going to lead to unfairness in some cases but I think that's a fair trade-off for the protection young people - especially girls - get from predatory adults pressuring them into sex.)

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-01-12 08:47 ]
Would you rather have your children safe or free?
I would choose free, but many prefer safe.


I think all people should be safe and free. However, if I have to choose between one and the other I would prefer my daughters to be safe. That might not be the right answer and perhaps it does erode a bit more of our freedom, but where do we draw the line?

I appreciate that bad thing happen, no matter what we do, and clearly simply making laws is not the answer. However, in this very imperfect world of ours we do need to make sure we protect the vulnerable (and it’s not just about protection), although that doesn't mean wrapping them in cotton wool and I don't believe they should be used as an excuse to create laws that have an entirely different ulterior motive. Equally, though, I don’t believe, “the children are already about as safe as we can make them,” but maybe that’s more of an emotional response, rather than an intellectual one.
Yeah, best will in the world, I think that's more an (entirely understandable) emotional response alien lanes and there's clearly nothing wrong with being emotionally invested in your kids unless it makes it difficult to rationally weigh costs and benefits when making (or as a voter, endorsing) policy. And that's precisely my issue with the "Won't somebody think about the children ?" line of argument because it's kind of like terrorism these days in as much as it's (sometimes) used as a way to short-circuit rational thought on a subject. It's such an emotive issue that it's difficult to even talk about without demonising opposing viewpoints ("Oh so you want children to be molested do you ?" or "Oh so you're against freedom are you ?").

People are terrible at weighing risks in general (we mentally overemphasise spectacular but rare events e.g. terrorist attack and underemphasise unspectacular, frequent events e.g. heart disease) and we're especially bad at weighing risks to our kids. Freedom infringed affects everyone but reduces comparatively small risks to only a few and though we'd never, for instance, volunteer our own children to be attacked, I think most people accept in the abstract that some freedoms are more important than safety (especially since 100% safety is impossible).

(I don't have kids myself but I remember an old friend having his eldest and saying when he first looked at her it was almost literally like a switch was thrown and he just suddenly knew that she was the most important thing in his world. He also jokingly maintains she's not going out with anyone until she's 32 but when you look at his face as he says it you can tell he's half jesting, whole earnest ;)

Although 16 is legal in the UK, just as it is in many parts of the USA, I would hope that you would not be blind to the nuance that even though a 16 year old girl might be sexually mature from a physical perspective, she might not appreciate the idea that she must be sexually exploited for the benefit of adults.

Well, my position all along has been that it's a lot more complicated than is reflected in arbitrary ages of consent (necessary though they are) so yep, i'm happy with that nuance BrewBunny, in fact my feeling is that it's the central point i.e. some 16 year olds are ready for sexual relationships and some 20+ year olds aren't. Still, it might be worth pointing out that no-one here has advanced the viewpoint you're arguing against (i.e. that 16 year olds "must be sexually exploited for the benefit of adults").

My other point is that, much as we might not want it to be the case, once a person has obvious secondary sexual characteristics then people are going to start finding them sexually attractive i.e. evolution hasn't "designed" men to only find 18 year olds and upwards attractive (or 17 year olds or 16 year olds or whatever) it's "designed" them to be attracted to certain physical characteristics (i'd imagine the same thing applies to women with teenage males too but maybe less so since in some ways they'd make poorer mates than an older, more well established male ?). Feelings in accordance with your biology don't make you "pervy" IMO (though acting on them might well) precisely because organisms are all about the grey areas, whereas laws or cultural mores are, by necessity, about clearly defined lines in the sand.
I agree with what you you say, Saje. Also, I appreciate what Jayne’s Hat says, although we are not in agreement. Trying to achieve the happy medium between being safe and being free is essential, as is ensuring that decisions are made for the right reasons and freedoms are not unnecessarily eroded.

Any discussion about children is a very emotive issue and I am aware that I have a responsibility not just to protect , but to also not to overprotect – and to both allow and encourage freedom of expression and deed. Bottom line, though, if there are ways to provide protection to children that they genuinely need, but it takes away from my freedom, I would be happy for that to happen – but I am not talking about demonising people or looking for scapegoats when something goes wrong. Equally, I hope I am not demonising opposing viewpoints or losing all rationality when called on to make informed decisions/choices.
Well, I haven't examined many of your decisions in detail but FWIW, you don't seem the "losing all rationality" type to me alien lanes ;).

That said:

... though, if there are ways to provide protection to children that they genuinely need, but it takes away from my freedom, I would be happy for that to happen

is sort of my point made because i'm genuinely curious as to how prevalent (or maybe not prevalent but how strongly held) that view would be among those with kids compared to those without. My own speculation is that those with would, effectively see it as providing protection to their children and what parent wouldn't sacrifice, if necessary, everything for their kids ? That's an instance where I think you'd be more interested in the safety of your kids than in other people's freedom but of course, in a democracy that's not how it works - freedoms removed affect us all.

(course, it also depends on what's meant by "genuinely need" since you can make a case based on specific single or relatively rare cases that most needs are genuine)

To use an example close to home for me, i've carried a penknife pretty much every day of my adult life. Now, because knife crime is on the rise amongst teenagers (nevermind that a lot of the crimes aren't actually carried out with knives but with stuff like screwdrivers etc.) there's a real possibility (IMO) that carrying all knives will become criminalised and so i'll either have to stop carrying one of my most useful possessions or run the risk of being arrested or at least cautioned because i'm breaking the law. And the inability to consider the actual risks of allowing people to carry small, non-locking folding knives around is being swamped in what sometimes borders on mass hysteria about how dangerous knives are to "the children".
...is sort of my point made because i'm genuinely curious as to how prevalent (or maybe not prevalent but how strongly held) that view would be among those with kids compared to those without. My own speculation is that those with would, effectively see it as providing protection to their children and what parent wouldn't sacrifice, if necessary, everything for their kids ? That's an instance where I think you'd be more interested in the safety of your kids than in other people's freedom but of course, in a democracy that's not how it works - freedoms removed affect us all.


I very much suspect you are right, although I hope I am concerned about the protection and rights* of all children (and, in fact, people in general), not just my own, and that I would be able to make an informed choice taking into account the wider picture, given a specific instance, rather than the very generalised statement I made on the subject.

Once again, I agree with the point you make in your final paragraph. You made a good point previously about reaction to "terrorist attack" - I am horrified at some of the legislation that has been proposed in this country, supposedly (and very dubiously, I think) in response to the perceived threat we are told faces us.

I have been talking in very specific and rather isolated terms in this particular discussion and I am aware that my emotions are leading my thinking to some degree. Hopefully, my thinking on such subjects goes beyond a simplistic Daily Mail-like approach to these things, although I cannot pretend it is always coherent and I am certainly capable of being very contradictory on occasions.

(*I use the word “rights”, or, if you like, “human rights”, but I think it is a very flawed concept. I cannot help but believe that rights are only afforded to those with power or a voice, meaning of course that those in most need of protection are those who do not get it – again, clearly, I am simplifying a very complex issue in an attempt to state a position on the subject.)
"And the inability to consider the actual risks of allowing people to carry small, non-locking folding knives around is being swamped in what sometimes borders on mass hysteria about how dangerous knives are to "the children"."

Yeah, knife crime actually went down in England last year but you sure wouldn't know it from the newspapers.
I'm genuinely curious as to how prevalent (or maybe not prevalent but how strongly held) that view would be among those with kids compared to those without.


Apologies, I know I'm flogging a dead horse, but I just wanted to add that this can also be turned around the other way.
Do you mean that people without kids might be more inclined to look after their own freedoms at the expense of children's safety alien lanes ? If so then yeah, I think that's probably true but given how badly we deal with risk, I think it's actually better by and large to err in that direction (within reason) i.e. the actual danger children face is closer to the estimates made by "selfish" non-parents than it is to that made by "unselfish", emotionally invested parents (quotes because being selfish about your own freedom benefits that of others and unselfish behaviour towards your own children is, biologically, actually fairly selfish).

(I hope you don't think i'm saying people with kids are hopelessly biased and only the rest of us are clear-headed cos i'm certainly not - everyone has a bias of some description IMO)

If that's not what you mean then apologies but I don't understand what you're saying ;).
Since this discussion is still continuing, I will add that I do agree with Alien Lanes that we do need a balance between freedoms and safety. Of course I think we disagree on the level of that balance.

Safety is great, but laws are oppressive by nature so we must stick to our set freedoms (The Constitution in US.) and try not to erode them too much while seeking safety for our children.
I am an American libertarian, so I love my guns, knives, free speech, and freedom of expression (aka. nudy pics). While some people might use those things for bad purposes, I will only try to use them for good. If you take them away from me then only those willing to break the law will have the power.

I would rather more law abiding citizens had the power, wouldn't you?

BTW, I feel really bad for you Brits, they have already taken away your guns, next is your knives, and pretty soon they will outlaw pointy sticks and rocks. I guess they are also taking away your free speech on the Internet and maybe your porn from a report I read last week. You guys need a "V"! :)
Saje, in answer to your question, basically, yes.

If the argument is put forward that people with children are more likely to argue for protection over freedom (simplistic terms) because they are driven by an emotional desire to protect their own children, then it could be argued that people without children would be driven by a desire to maintain their own individual freedom, without concern for anything or anyone else. I am not actually saying it is as black and white as that, but the one argument is counteracted by the other.

Jayne’s Hat , once again you make some interesting points, although I suspect it is unlikely we would ever find ourselves in total agreement, but as is probably obvious, I am not a libertarian.
Yeah, what a nightmare it is living in the UK with gun related deaths being under a hundred a year. In 2008, there were only 42 out of a population of 61 million. In the US about twice that number of people die in gun related incidents every single day.

To be fair about half are suicides (they could arguably find another method), which leaves 14,000 murders a year. Do you really think that it's the US that has the correct balance between safety and freedom on this issue?
Haven't read the thread yet, but if they didn't have guns it would be knives. Its worth noting that the U.S. has 5x+ the population of the UK and more pockets of densely populated urban centers. Its also worth noting how many of gun-related homicides are committed with illegally obtained weapons. Accounting for all of that, the numbers tell a different story. Also the numbers are actually about 17,500 for suicide and 12,000 for assault/homicide.

Interesting peripheral statistics: (not limited to guns), homicides per 1,000 people is .042 in the US vs .014 in the UK, or 42 vs 14 per 100,000 people. 12.2% of population of UK are victims of property crime as opposed to 10% in the US. 0.9% of the population have been victims of rape in the UK vs. 0.4% in the US, although there are 7x as many in the US. Along the same lines, while there are far more actual robberies committed in the US per year, you are more likely to be the victim of one as a percentage of population in the UK.

ETA - wasn't sure of the definition of one of the stats so I went back to be sure.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-01-12 19:52 ]
zeitgeist, may I ask where your figures are from?
Nationmaster.com which pulls from sources like the CIA World Factbook, the UN, and OECD.
Titties, teen sex and now guns. Throw in a Mexican cockfight and this thread will be as exciting as a Quentin Tarantino movie!
zeitgeist: The 14,000 is from 2005 - if yours is newer then fair enough. I was really assuming that we all understand there's a population difference between the UK and US and that saying 42 x 5 = 210 wasn't necessary or all that significant. Of course there are other differences between the two countries and the issue is complex, but the story for me remains the same.

BrewBunny: LOL, guess we need to do drugs and samurai swords next then.
Thanks for supplying the source zeitgeist.
Titties, teen sex and now guns. Throw in a Mexican cockfight and this thread will be as exciting as a Quentin Tarantino movie!


Or a Firefly episode! :)


Thanks for making my point for me zeitgeist. As you inferred, bringing up illegal gun use numbers(murder etc...)in an argument about legal gun ownership is kind of cheating.

To determine if the gun laws are working you have to ask:

- How many shootings were in self defense?
(This is what guns should be used for besides culling sick herds)
- Were the shootings done by registered owners?
(almost all registered owners only use their guns for self defense hunting)
- How many were from illegally obtained (stolen) weapons?
(keeping a gun from good citizens will do nothing about this number)
- How many people actually died versus just getting shot?
(you must specify gun deaths versus just getting shot)
- How many deaths were from police shooting suspects?
(in the US cops shoot for center body mass and usually kill anyone they shoot)
- How many were suicides?
(if they want to kill themselves they will find a way)
- How many were from accidental firing?
(most accidental stabbings do not get reported to the police)
- etc...

I think the bigger problem in US cities in the urban gang banger thug life culture. I taught at an inner city school and lost several students to murder. They were fairly evenly shot, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death. So while guns kill, those kids are going to kill each other whether they have guns or not.

I am sure I will never convince some people that owning a gun is a good thing. In my mind it is just a tool for a specific job, and I like to have a full toolbox.
- How many were from illegally obtained (stolen) weapons?
(keeping a gun from good citizens will do nothing about this number)


Well, that's not really true; the more guns in the community at large, the more easy it is to obtain one illegally. That simply stands to reason.

- How many were suicides?
(if they want to kill themselves they will find a way)


Actually, there is now an overwhelming amount of evidence against this claim. People who commit suicide usually do so as the result of a singular crisis--the easier the means to hand, the more likely they are to act on that crisis. The two most famous pieces of evidence cited on this point are that of all the people who have been physically prevented from throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge, a negligible number have gone on to commit suicide by any means whatsoever. More strikingly: the change from coal gas (lethal) to natural gas (not) in British homes led to an immediate and permanent drop in the suicide rate in Britain (the same effect was also found in Japan). In other words, taking away a handy "suicide chamber" from almost every single home in Britain did not simply lead to the suicidal seeking new avenues of self-murder, it meant that those who were going through a crisis of suicidal intent were easily discouraged (and saved) by the relatively trivial barrier of having to do something more active than sticking their heads in the oven.

Houses with guns in the US have much higher suicide rates than houses without. Take away the guns and the national suicide rate (one of the leading causes of death among the young) would, unquestionably, drop.

I don't say that either point settles the pro or anti gun question, but I do think it is as well to know what it is one is arguing for, and not accept comforting myths just because they support your side.
My oh my this IS an exciting thread! As a Canadian, I'm not appalled by the idea of guns being illegal... it just seemed natural when I was growing up that such a dangerous item was not something you could just have, and I remain baffled by a country that will send you to jail for marijuana possession but not gun possession. But that said, I'm open to the argument that people have a right to own guns. It's not a right I personally hold dear or ever thought about much until fairly recently. But I've heard convincing and intelligent arguments from both sides, and am left floundering in the middle, shrugging my shoulders.

But one thing I can say, as a Canadian now living in the US, who also lived for an extended period in both Japan and China, is that the US feels dangerous in a way other countries I've lived in don't. (Not my quiet little corner of the US, mind you). And I don't think that has to do with guns. There's an anger and a violence here that I think is sort of... ingrained in the culture, almost. And if guns were suddenly legally obtainable in Japan, I think suicides might jump, but I'm not sure murder rates would.

The thing that frightens ME about guns is when people treat them cavalierly, rather than as an incredibly dangerous "tool." When the kids know where the gun is stashed and think it would be cool to show their friends, or when the angry young teen decides to tote it to school. I am, as I said, open to the idea that gun ownership is a right, but then how dangerous does a weapon have to be before it's out of bounds? Obviously we aren't allowed to have bombs, or rocket launchers. Maybe that sounds facetious, but it feels like a tricky question to me. A lot of this thread has been about the drawing of arbitrary lines, where we as a society conclude that something is OK or not OK, and there isn't much agreement on where the lines belong. Which says something, right?
Yeah, the key here is that they need to be treated with respect and used under proper training and kept out of the hands of those who would do neither. The right to bear arms, as stated by the wacky young revolutionaries who brought you such hits as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of these United States was pretty clearly a safeguard as a defense against the tyranny of an unjust state (a monarch or a federal government in this case). As TJ once said "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." That we've limited arms ownership at all would probably freak ol' TJ out, but someone who lived through a revolution tends to have extreme ideas about what we should and should not tolerate as far as restrictions from our elected/unelected officials. Do more guns lead to more illegally obtained guns? Absolutely. Do they lead to higher suicide rates? Probably, since gun suicide attempts are effective and many others are not.

zeitgeist: The 14,000 is from 2005 - if yours is newer then fair enough. I was really assuming that we all understand there's a population difference between the UK and US and that saying 42 x 5 = 210 wasn't necessary or all that significant. Of course there are other differences between the two countries and the issue is complex, but the story for me remains the same.


And, yes, my numbers on suicide by gun being nearly 17,500 is a 2007 statistic. For the record, the CDC and the Brady Campaign consider the 2005 number to be 17,002. Unfortunately with issues like this it is important to spell things out more plainly as someone might see "Oh, X number in X country and Y number in Y country," and make assumptions that are easily proven false. Once an idea takes hold, its actually harder to sway people, and especially if the opinion that they hold is wrong. Kinda depressing, isn't it? I find numbers are safer compared on a per capita basis or explicitly stating the population differences. I also find that facts in a vacuum can sometimes be less useful than no facts at all.
I think i'll avoid the gun control one (cos it's late, not cos i'm chickenshit - honest ;-).

LOL, guess we need to do drugs and samurai swords next then.

OK, we're not allowed Samurai swords either (not in the street anyway) - does that count ? ;)

Comparing crime statistics even within the same country but, for instance, at different times is pretty dodgy so comparing them between countries is even dodgier IMO. How are they gathered ? What questions are asked ? What are the margins of error for each study used ? Do they include just reported crime or also unreported crimes (taken in non-police related surveys, in the UK this is done by the BCS) ? What constitutes a gun crime in each country (in the UK crimes involving imitation weapons are now counted as gun crimes) ? And so on...

Its worth noting that the U.S. has 5x+ the population of the UK and more pockets of densely populated urban centers.

Hmm, and yet we have a higher percentage of the population in urban areas (89% vs 80%) and - obviously ;) - a vastly higher average population density (244.69 people per sq. km vs - wait for it - 29.77 people per sq. km. Big country ;).

0.9% of the population have been victims of rape in the UK vs. 0.4% in the US, although there are 7x as many in the US.

This didn't seem to make sense to me at first (it's definitely what it says though) since your population is (approx) 5 times ours (288 vs 59 million in 2002) and yet you have (approx) 7 times more rapes in absolute terms (95k vs 13k) i.e. more proportionately than your population is bigger than ours, you also have (approx) twice the incidence of rape per capita (.30 vs .14 per 1000, though this is from earlier years) so how could a higher percentage of the UK population have been raped ?

I'm still not sure but it turns out the percentage of the population that have been victims of rape is only counting the female population and, using figures from 2005 (when the most recent gender split dates to) you have more women in your population than we do (as of 2005, 50.86% of the US population were women compared to 50.53 for the UK). The stats are also ambiguous since it says "Rape Victims" at the top but talks about "sexual assault" in the definition and different offences qualify as sexual assault in different countries. It could also just mean that more rapes are reported in the UK too.

(or have I missed something obvious ?)

Which just demonstrates that direct comparisons are difficult at this level, whether it's crime or other stats.
Yay! Saje beat me to my next point :), which is that it gets even murkier when you consider some other very important things. The trust one has in their police and the availability/ubiquity of those police influence whether crime happens and, perhaps more importantly, whether its reported. That leaves aside any form of corruption/bribery/what-have-you that might prevent legitimately reported crimes from making it up the chain. In short, its a vastly more complex statistical model than most people would have you believe. I know, now you have to go back and look at the "believe in police force efficiency" stat (and police per capita), right? :) Found it interesting. The UK trusts their coppers way less.
Here's a good quotation from Jefferson re the right to bear arms: "None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important." Thomas Jefferson to -----, 1803. ME 10:365.

I note two interesting things about this. No contemporary supporter of the 2nd Amendment in the USA seems remotely interested in the "and disciplined" part of this equation, just as they have no interest in the "well-regulated militia" part of the 2nd Amendment itself (the NRA adorns its headquarters with the second half of the Amendment--carefully excising the first half).

I also note that the US now maintains a "standing army" even in times of peace. The founders would have regarded that as a far more profound and dangerous betrayal of their ideals than gun-control.
Found it interesting. The UK trusts their coppers way less.

Well, we're a bunch of cynical bastards over here ;).

(or maybe there'd recently been some high profile police corruption case in the news when the survey was taken ? Given the big gap in trust, it's curious that we feel comfortable reporting crimes to the police - marginally - more than you guys. Presumably we're happy to report it, we just don't think they'll do anything about it ;)

Interesting too, especially in light of what catherine says about her perceptions of danger, that people in the US feel much safer walking in the dark than we do (82% vs 70%) even though it's arguably more (or at least not much less) dangerous for you guys. Maybe it's cos you're all packing heat ;).
Quoting Thomas Jefferson on the importance of armed resistance against a tyrannical government is one sure fire way to land Whedonesque on the FBI's terrorist watchlist. Next thing you know, we'll have Blackwater contractors hauling Caroline off in handcuffs and the "No Fly" list will include names like "NotaViking."
LOL, BrewBunny, I think you just won at the internet ;) Though I'm not sure BlackWater can get ahold of Caroline unless she leaves the Netherlands for a vacation in Sunny Iraq. Its one of my dreams to simultaneously be on the terrorist watchlist and the EW 100 Websites That Matter or whatever its called. Yes, I'm joking :).

ETA - and by that, I of course mean that we should send out a search party to find the original topic of this thread. Eliza in wet clothing, right?

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-01-13 00:39 ]
Wow, it's a statistics party! I have no statistics, but was going to say that another place where I've had that sense of a kind of simmering aggression in the streets in the evening is the UK. Though I suspect the fact that Canada's major cities feel much safer does have a lot to do with population size.

OK, I guess my "sense" of how dangerous a place is doesn't really amount to a scientific study. Too bad.

Um, yes, back on topic... someone get Eliza a towel!
Eliza's floating in blackwater, we're so on topic it's actually scary ;).
On the off-topic of Blackwater, file this one under WTF???: Blackwater Gifts. For only $10, you can give your sweetheart a Blackwater teddy bear for Valentine's Day. Presumably to go along with her brand new AK-47 that you wrapped up with a big red bow.
Nothing says love like a shiny new AK. Ah, 7.62 mm, it's easily one of the most romantic calibres.

... another place where I've had that sense of a kind of simmering aggression in the streets in the evening is the UK.

Moi err ... Nous, aggressive ? ;)

(in any urban area in the UK, particularly at kicking out time - i.e. when the pubs empty - I can understand perceiving a bad vibe, especially if you're not 100% certain of "the rules". It very much depends where you are of course, some sleepy village in the Cotswolds probably won't feel as simmeringly aggressive as e.g. Hackney in London, no matter what time you're abroad ;)
in any urban area in the UK, particularly at kicking out time - i.e. when the pubs empty - I can understand perceiving a bad vibe

Yeah, I'm definitely thinking of bigger cities and lots of drunk people when I say that! But I don't mean to sound like in the US or the UK I walk around thinking holy crap is somebody about to shiv me? or anything ;). And yes indeedy I've been to lovely peaceful parts of both countries as well. So really I should just stop yapping. I think my consciousness was sort of heightened by years in Japan, where even the seediest parts of Tokyo are remarkably safe at 2 a.m. and I never wondered if it was a good idea to be on my own.

Alas, BrewBunny, that link is just a little too late for Christmas. Yikes!
As someone who has lived in the UK, Canada, and the US, I'll say that my utterly unscientific "which place gave me the wiggins most often when out and about on the streets" was hands down the UK--well, London, to be specific. I've never had so much as a cross word spoken to me in all the times I've stayed in New York, for example (well, hardly)--but in the six months I lived in London I frequently felt that the situation would take just the wrong look or the wrong word to become very ugly indeed (not that it often, in fact, did; but sitting in the tube with hoards of drunken football fans shouting insults and/or sexual propositions at all and sundry and clearly spoiling for a fight is a situation low on Old World charm, and likely to bring out your inner Bernhard Goetz).

Utterly unscientific, I know
I agree that what feels "safe" is such a relative thing. I felt perfectly safe frequently navigating the few blocks around Grand Central Station/Rockefeller Center in New York at 3 in the morning. But shiny-clean Downtown Dallas after all the daytime business folks went home was menacing enough that the security guards advised me to take a cab to my hotel just two blocks away. And curiously, the one place I can remember being actively afraid of seeing my husband walk a block through at night was in Vancouver. Go figure.
East Hastings?

(Which makes me think that familiarity plays a big part, or, kind of what Saje said about the "rules" that you either know or don't.)
Catherine, I think that may actually be the neighborhood! It was a backpacking hostel we were staying at more than 10 years ago, and I can't remember the name, but do recall that it was next door to some kind of strip club.
I think it's very much down to what you're used to, danger signs are partly culture specific I reckon. For instance, i've been up to Scotland with English friends and they seemed quite bothered a couple of times by guys that were just being friendly but in a "blokeish" sort of way - y'know, sort of sizing them up a wee bit, pushing slightly to see if/when they'll push back (it's all "alpha male" bullshit of course but there y'are, that's the male pecking order for you ;). Doesn't help when you're more likely to misunderstand the local dialect/accent either.

(drink, of course, is the unknown that can change things for the worse pretty quickly and we've got a big drinking culture in the UK)

I think my consciousness was sort of heightened by years in Japan ...

Yeah Tokyo is easily the safest feeling urban area i've ever been in, it was actually kinda wonderful to see women walking by themselves at 2 or 3 am seemingly without a worry (even down alleys or whatever - as a guy in the UK I make an effort to not walk behind women by themselves at night and so on but in Japan people seemed totally at ease).
East Hastings is kind of the seedy street in downtown Vancouver, where the strip clubs are and the heroin addicts hang out. But I have friends who live in the area and have never felt threatened there. I guess just knowing exactly where you are and what you're up against makes all the difference.

as a guy in the UK I make an effort to not walk behind women by themselves at night

That's nice of you. I hate feeling paranoid about people who are probably perfectly lovely.
Well, Eliza is holding a gun and was recently lambasted by the anti gun/hunting crowd for going hunting, so we are sort of on topic there. :)

Ah, to go hunting with Eliza....happy thoughts

As for all the statistics, I maintain that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Common sense and reason will win out every time.

I am a Jeffersonian and a historian BTW, so I agree that he would be upset by our standing army in the US. He would also be upset about the taxes that we have to pay to maintain that army. But I would argue that there is no such thing as a “militia” in the US anymore since the reserves are now the national guard and they are all sent to war oversees.

The NRA is all for gun training though, so whoever said they are not is not on the NRA mailing list. I get training seminar pamphlets all the time from them. I am sure they would also support a citizen militia if our government wasn't afraid of such organizations.

I have to go wattch some good fun gun violence on 24 now. :)
And as a sidenote, if anyone hasn't seen the John Adams miniseries, you are totally missing out on some badass historical drama.
I'm sorry, but if they haven't promoted him using a young woman's nipples, I'm simply not interested in John Adams.
Meh. For a truly amazing portrayal of John Adams, you can't top William Daniels' in 1776. As if Giamatti could pull off singing "Piddle Twiddle."

And for the benefit of Dirty Old b!X, there is plenty of sex. Or "romping in Cupid's garden," as they put it back then.
I don't think I need to see anything about Jeremy Piven's "garden".
I'm sorry, but if they haven't promoted him using a young woman's nipples, I'm simply not interested in John Adams.

Ha! And with that, I am signing off for the evening :).
Speaking about John Adams: he had a rather less "Turner Diaries" approach to the "right to bear arms":

It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws. To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.

From his "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States" (1787).
Interesting quote there, SMFOS. Given the year you cite, it's likely that his opinion is informed in large part by Shays' Rebellion. Nothing takes the romance out of armed rebellion like having an actual armed rebellion of poor farmers going on in your own backyard.
I loved John Adams the series. I even showed it to my HS history class. Of course I liked the Jefferson and the Franklin moments the best since they are my personal heroes.

I still would have prefered if NPH had won the golden globe though. The guy that played Franklin did a decent job but it was a really small role even if it was an important one.

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