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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


keep it off my wave

the Los Angeles area Boy Scouts of America council is offering an activity patch - not an official merit badge, fortunately - on respecting copyright. much has been said on the topic; i would simply add these thoughts:

if you're the RIAA and you want to start a grassroots movement to increase awareness of your point of view, starting with scouts is quite possibly the most foolish path you could take. a group of middle-school-aged and high-school-aged teenagers that are probably socially disconnected, and as a result more active on the 'net, and as a result download more music - doubt they're going to be your most outspoken advocates. my guess is they are laughing their faces off at the prospect. this is a doomed venture by the recording industry that will backfire and be added to their overflowing graveyard of dumbest ideas to fight piracy ever.

as for the BSA council in question: you guys are struggling with every year that passes to keep scouting relevant. like department stores and rotary phones and 802.11b, boy scouts is quickly going the way of the dinosaur. simple tradition is all that has kept it alive for decades - fathers bringing their sons in because they were in scouts (which is why my sons will be in scouts - at least as long as they want to be in it). there's little to no appeal to kids to be in it anymore - the life skills you can learn and the experiences you can have aren't that interesting to that generation. you won't gain much by alienating them or aligning with a clueless industry group that's only using you.

that's right - you're the nerdy girl that the rich kid is taking to the prom because he can't get a date on his own. he's hoping that he'll score at the end of the night because, hey, you're desperate.

do yourself a favor. dump him - you have a lot more to offer and you deserve better.


for this post

Anonymous Quentin Says:

My stepson is in the scouts. His uncle is his den leader. I don't know exactly how relevant the scouts are in this day and age, but I wouldn't readily agree with labeling them "socially disconnected". As a matter of fact, I'd lean in the opposite direction, considering that they perform community work, meet on a weekly basis and are often classmates.

Also, these kids aren't quite yet in middle school (do scouts even *go* that high??), so it's not like they've got a computer in their room with P2P software yet. No, I'm not playing the "blind-parent" card, hear me out on this. If a parent is detached enough from their child in *this* day and age to let them have a PC in their room and the kid (no older than 10) can use P2P programs secretly, it's doubtful that the kid is in scouts. Having a kid in scouts is a *commitment* from both the scout and his parents. This strategy is aimed directly at the children most likely to have supervised computer access.

I can't stand the MPAA/RIAA, but I gotta say that sponsoring an intiative to get their propoganda into children at early (during the elementary school age) is an excellent strategy. With a good enough media blitz and youth-oriented tactics, anything can be made taboo. Look what's happened to tobacco. Hell, look what happened to hemp.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

there are probably kids on both sides of the social divide in scouts. i'm basing my comments mostly on my own experience. a great deal of the kids in scouts with me were outcast socially because we were in scouts. not that we didn't have our own group of friends that was solid or that we were all necessarily socially awkward... but in the larger context, being in scouts wasn't cool and it pretty much did you in there.

my brother and his friends are scouts right now. he's about ten seconds from getting his eagle. he and all of his friends are experts at locating media with P2P apps. so possibly there are kids on both sides...

Blogger Bragg Says:

I must agree quentin, but unfortunately there are still way too many parents who do just drop their kids off because it's a free two hours of babysitting on a tuesday night. And while it should be a joint venture between parent(s) and son(s), the fact is it isn't always that way. Maybe dads are well intentioned but I think Scouting is just as much for the parent as it is for the kids. I've seen many adult men grow in their life skills abilities as well as social abilities just by watching the adults in my boy scout troop growing up.

And, yeah, scouting goes through high school and 18 is the cap for achievement, so there are kids who have a computer in their bedroom with p2p capability.

Don't get me wrong, I also hate the MPAA/RIAA. And I will also advocate for my son (should that day come) to be involved in the Scouting organization.

But JW, I'm not the rich nerdy guy. I'm just the nerdy guy. And I'm just as desperate for a date, so if there are any rich nerdy girls out there who want to ask me out...wink wink.

Anonymous Quentin Says:

I'm also in CJ's Lego club (Lego Technics are the coolest damned things ever) and I'm fully a member - I'm there building with CJ and all the other kids because (at least for 4th graders) adult participation is key. You can't expect many of these kids to pick up and understand the programming languages or the subtleties of lego robot building without some supervision - it was said even in the application that parents are needed...

And yet at each meeting it's me and one other guy helping the kids. There are two other adults who sit outside in the other room and read magazines the whole time. So, four adults are within 20 feet, the rest of the 14 kids are just dropped off.

I share this class on Thursdays with CJ's real Dad - I'm glad I'm there during those meets, I get the feeling that he'd be just as hands-off as the guys in the next room.

I, of course, plan to be uber parent, participant in the PTA and city council, assistant to the coach in sports teams and all around cool parent... and in so doing, will earn my child's scorn and resentment for all of his/her teens. Such is life. :-D


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