Whatever works, I guess. Photo via Flickr user Pro Juventute
“Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television,” Gore Vidal once famously advised. While some may argue that the democratizing force of the internet has diminished the power of television, it hasn't diminished the power of screens: Thanks to webcams and smartphones, we can all appear on our own personal TVs, and we can even have sex through them.
No one has absorbed this lesson more than teens, who just can’t seem to stop sending nude photos to one another. This Wednesday, on her NPR show Fresh Air, national treasure Terry Gross spoke to Hanna Rosin about the phenomenon, which Rosin addresses in a new Atlantic article, “Why Kids Sext.” The interview touches on some important points, like the fact that minors sending naked pictures to other minors is something that is both completely commonplace and sometimes a felony (as teenagers in Detroit may soon learn). It's a conversation between adults who don’t want to judge young people but at the same time don’t completely understand them.
After all, there’s no way for someone who hasn’t been a teen for 30 years to truly understand what today’s adolescents are doing. At one point, Rosin tells Terry that girls say sexts are like “the guys are collecting baseball cards or Pokémon cards,” adding that, because so much porn is available to teens, sexts are more “like a prank.” Do teens really treat their sexuality so casually? I don’t want to question Rosin’s sources, but I have a slight feeling they may have been grunge-speaking her. And where did she even find a teenager who remembers people collecting Pokémon cards?
–Teens aren’t just not passing up chances to have sex. They’re making new opportunities, sometimes in radical and wildly inappropriate ways. It’s not every day that the tabloidists at the New York Daily News start an article with “Whoa!,” so when they do, you’d better pay attention. In Florida, where so many crazy things happen that making jokes about it is now gauche, a 19-year-old boy was charged with indecent exposure and criminal mischief after having sex with a stuffed horse inside a Walmart. Security cameras caught the teen grabbing the animal from a clearance bin, taking his penis out of his pants, and “[proceeding] to hump the stuffed horse utilizing short fast movements.”
After finishing on the horse’s chest, he put the toy back on a shelf. According to his arrest statement, the boy hadn’t actually considered that someone else might pick it up afterward. This statement, combined with his handwriting and the fact that he had sex with a stuffed horse inside a Walmart, makes me wonder if maybe the boy is operating below standard mental capacity. Initially I had just assumed that this was a weird Brony thing, but the Smoking Gun has now released a photo of the “victim,” which appears to be a fairly ordinary stuffed brown horse. Whoa!
–Of course, Vidal’s mantra about never passing up an opportunity to have sex is absolutely terrible advice. There are plenty of situations in which you should refrain from intercourse—chief among them being if you’re an adult with a minor, and even more so if you’re an authority figure. (Vidal, we should note, might disagree with us about that whole sex-with-kids-is-bad thing.)
As we previously noted, two female teachers in Louisiana were arrested for having “simultaneous sex” with a male student late last month. Now the Daily Mail is reporting that it was the boy’s boasts that ultimately led to the triad's demise. The boy says he regrets that his sharing of the secret may have ended his teachers’ careers. Possibly he also regrets that he is no longer having threesomes with his teachers. According to his grandfather, “He is really down about it right now. All boys that age want to brag about what they are doing. He didn't expect it would come to this.”
–It seems like we go through this every month, but there’s something we need to make absolutely clear: Teens, please don’t try to join the Islamic State. It won’t go well. Reports have now been trickling out about disillusioned IS recruits who want to return to their old lives. The latest and highest-profile news of this sort is that at least one of those teenage Austrian girls who ran away to Syria to be with IS wants to go back home. The girl, who is widely believed to be pregnant, fears the consequences of jumping ship, which could include both punishment from IS and arrest in Austria. All of which is more proof that, no matter how appealing joining a marauding religious terror gang may sound now, you’ll grow sick of it pretty quick. The caliphate probably isn’t going to happen, you might die, and it just won’t be all that much fun.
–Not all of this week’s big teen stories involved sex or terrorism. On Monday, Time released its list of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014.This year's batch includes Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Obama girls, Kardashian reboots Kendall/Kylie Jenner, and a bunch of interchangeable basic cable stars. The only real question that the article raises is: When did kids start having such weird names? Thirteen to 19 years ago, apparently. Kiernan, Nash, Flynn, Lorde, Troye, and Tavi? White parents are crazy.
–In Seattle, four guys approached a 16-year-old student while he waited for the bus, punched him in the face, stole his cell phone, and then texted his mother, “I’m gay you know that.” According to local news station KATU, the boy, who received a cut on his face and “was planning to see a dentist following the attack,” recognized one of his attackers as a former schoolmate and fellow teen. Whether the attack was because of the victim’s perceived sexual orientation or if the text was simply an impressively idiotic attempt to add insult to injury remains unclear.
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