31 DBBB: Day Two (on day four but who’s counting): the upside of the nanny state

I live in what we might call a nanny state.  In many instances there are limits on internet access, there are very strict rules governing alcohol consumption because it’s a Muslim country, there are signs outside the mall entrances that list the codes of conduct. I don’t have to wear hijab and while it is suggested that you dress respectfully, no one polices the streets measuring hemlines or tells you to cover up your tattoos.


So I know, I know, what about the loss of personal freedom, what about individual choice, what about all that good stuff?

Look. I am totally a big fan of personal freedom, big fan of choice, never met an institution that I didn’t eventual come to dislike, including every school I’ve ever attended. I think Wendy Davis pretty much rocks it. She–and a few other women in Texas (Wendi Aarons, The Bloggess, the fabulous Erica M)–are the only reasons I can think to move to Texas.

But I digress. I want to point out that if a person were to have a pre-teen, or a teen-ager, raising that child isn’t all bad.  Consider:

1. Limited internet access: thus no porn (although hypothetically if a person had an internet connection and a VPN at a person’s office….well… never mind).

2.  No “inappropriate” youtube videos.

3.  No underage drinking.  And even above-age drinking gets handled differently: because the liquor laws are so serious here, any adult who goes to anywhere and plans to have even one glass of wine doesn’t then get behind the wheel of a car. People drive like lunatics here, but at least they’re sober lunatics.

4.  No drugs. I mean, I suppose there are drugs somewhere, but among the teenagers and college kids I know? Not a thing. Why? Because if you’re caught with drugs you’re deported or thrown in prison. Simple as that. Now, don’t get me wrong: if a responsible adult would like to unwind with recreational pharmaceuticals, hypothetically speaking? Well, then, that person is a grownup and make his own choices. Do I want my almost-thirteen year old to “unwind” in the same way? Nope, no way, no, nada.

5.  The streets are safe and the crime rate is low, so if a kid were to be walking home from somewhere at night, I wouldn’t worry…

6.  Plus taxis are easily available and cheap. Darling Husband, who grew up in Manhattan in the dark years of the 1970s, remembers that when he was a teen-ager, he spent almost his entire allowance on cabfare back from friends’ houses at night, because to walk the streets of New York alone was to take your life in your hands.

7. Malls. Okay, malls aren’t entirely the “nanny state,”and mostly I hate malls because they make me feel like an overstimulated rat in a maze. But consider this fact: when it’s 120F in the shade (as it was today), where are your kids going to go when they need to get out of the house?  The malls are huge and kids can roam at will, leaving you free to spy on them do your errands. It’s a win-win!

So there you have it. The nanny state ain’t all bad.

And now, by virtue of this list, I’ve accomplished Day Two of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Granted, it’s Day Four of the challenge, but at least it’s done.  It’s Independence Day in the States and we’re celebrating a version of that here, too: today was (finally) the last day of school for my kids. Which means that, yes, their British school set them free on Independence Day. I love irony, don’t you?



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7 Responses to 31 DBBB: Day Two (on day four but who’s counting): the upside of the nanny state

  1. that cynking feeling July 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Day 2 on Day 4? Better than never, I say.
    I can get behind that code of conduct list for the mall.
    that cynking feeling recently posted..Celebrating IndependenceMy Profile

  2. Arnebya July 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    7. We usually go to the movie theatre (where they now attempt to check your bags to make sure you aren’t smuggling already popped corn and Caprisun). I prefer it to the mall because it’s a designated amount being spent whereas in the mall, we’re enjoying the cool air and then someone has to muck it all up asking for Coach flip flops.
    Arnebya recently posted..The Pills In My PurseMy Profile

  3. Deborah Quinn July 5, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Well…the whole list was supposed to be fairly tongue-in-cheek but I just didn’t quite get it right. Except for the part where the slight censorship (is there such a thing as a “little” bit of censorship, or is that like being a little bit pregnant? hmm) does make life a bit easier when you’ve got an utterly computer adept 12 year old whizzing around the internet. We watch him, check the viewing history, have him on the computer in the kitchen or something, not in his room w/door shut, but still… In that one particular instance, the nanny state is kind of useful.

  4. Jamie@SouthMainMuse July 6, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    That was funny, kind of scary — and very interesting. Please wear decent clothing — I find that goes through my head sometimes these days when I’m out. Maybe I’m a bit middle-eastern or just getting old.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted..Peachtree Road Race. A Fourth of July tradition with 60,000 of your closest friends.My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn July 6, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      Exactly, yes. When I’m back in NYC in the summer, I find myself looking at people on the street and thinking “dear god, please cover up some of that flesh!!” WHich I think has more to do with being old & crabby than with conservatism…

  5. Alexis July 6, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    Because you live there this sign is probably meaningful to you. Where I would probably inadvertently break every rule. Like what is an overt display of affection? Does hand holding count? (Sidenote: I would love to not see 14 year olds making out at the mall because honestly, they’re gross. It’s like they’re competing for an award based on depth of tongue penetration. *shudder*)

    Also what is decent clothing? Probably not the Gap t-shirt I’m wearing today.

    But if I think about it yes, it wouldn’t be so horrible to give up my Gap t-shirt in exchange for safety and a mall that prevented my children (many years from now) from grossing out other people with their enthusiastic kissing.
    Alexis recently posted..Is Your Crib as Safe as You Think?My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn July 6, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      Actually “decent” is sort of an empty threat: it’s not like Saudi, where there really is a dress code that gets enforced. Here a t-shirt and jeans is fine, and there are plenty of women wearing skimpy tops & tight pants. But it’s funny, maybe I’m just getting old (well, yes) but I’m actually okay with people having to wear a bit more clothing…especially, yes, teeny-boppers. So there aren’t any boys walking around with their pants around their mid-thighs & there aren’t girls in teensy weensy whatevers… And yes, it’s also nice to walk through the mall & not see teen-agers tongue wrestling. Interestingly, men walk around arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand, but men & women rarely.

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