The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Keep back, nannies
Oh the busybodies...
The nannies are all around us now, attempting to ban smoking in outdoor areas, including New York's vast Central Park, working to eliminate one schoolyard game after another, including dodge ball (too violent), tag (hurts feelings by turning kids into targets), and just about any game with winners and losers (competition douses the cooperative ethic, and losers can be traumatized for life).
California has banned genetically modified fish from home aquariums, and San Francisco set strict rules for doghouse construction. Alabama banned sex toys. A California legislator introduced a state bill to prohibit use of tanning machines by those under age 18, unless they have a doctor's prescription. A New York assemblyman sponsored a bill to require every car in the state to come with a device that would allow driving only if the motorist blew into a tube and passed a Breathalyzer test. The test would have to be repeated every 30 to 40 minutes, or the car would stop. In North Dakota, a state bill would make it illegal for people who are just turning 21 to drink before 8 a.m. on their birthdays. The goal is to keep the young from rushing out at midnight on their birthday to get drunk.
It's a good idea to stop glamorizing smoking in movies, but the nannies want more. Stanton Glantz, a researcher opposed to tobacco, wants smoking to earn a bad rating for films, maybe an R for explicit inhalation.
Nannyism is a progressive affliction. When the nannies get something from the public, they always want more helmets for tots riding tricycles, for example. Now that the sensible rules against drivers use of hand-held phones have caught on, the campaign against hands-free phones has begun. "Inattention blindness," we are told, is the real villain, and a recent study says that all drivers who use phones-hand-held or not-are four times as likely as other drivers to have serious crash injuries. The logic of this is to ban radios and smoking in cars, and perhaps babies, dogs, and talking passengers, all of which can be distracting. Drive-through fast-food windows would have to close, too.
Or we could all just grow up.