The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 June 2005

Parental guidance suggested

Back in the Nineties there was a brief vogue for Web-page ratings using the recommendations of the Recreational Software Advisory Council, which I, contrarian so-and-so that I am, declined to implement:

The short answer is that writing a few lines of PICS code is not going to protect anybody's children. If I thought for a minute that I could summon the forces of the universe by means of the <META> tag, surely I would have accomplished far greater things, or at least far more interesting things, by now.

But that's not really the issue either. While display of the RSACi logo does not officially imply anything, there are people who will take its presence as some sort of moral imprimatur, and its absence as an admission of shame. These people are obviously deeply confused, and I have no great urge to add further to their confusion.

Today, RSACi no longer exists, and if we're concerned about such things, we have to take matters into our own hands. Julie Neidlinger has done so:

Regarding the safety of this site for youngsters (ages 0-18, or those children firmly in the grip of public education or tied to apron strings), no. This blog is NOT SAFE. Parents should not let their children read this blog, despite letting them watch any old crap on TV or on DVD, or despite having children who could curse me into a corner with words I didn't know existed. This is not hypocritical. This is parenting! No. This blog is NOT SAFE!

For one thing, it requires the ability to read, and understand basic English grammar and usage. Getting beyond that tricky catch, sarcasm, contradiction, stating the obvious, hidden meanings, avoidance of bad grammar and spelling, and other written feats of magic are used to convey both simple and complex ideas. Some of these ideas include things that aren't happy thoughts and fuzzy bunnies, such as anger, depression, sadness, psychotic episodes, shame, suicide, movies, stupid people and broccoli. Joy and happiness make an occasional appearance. Every so often a link to a site with similar tough themes is used. USE CAUTION! BE CAREFUL!

Of course, if you introduce broccoli to the fuzzy bunnies ... but I digress.

Anyway, this is a model for the way these things should be done. And, as Frank Zappa once proclaimed on a warning label:

The language and concepts contained therein are GUARANTEED NOT TO CAUSE ETERNAL TORMENT IN THE PLACE WHERE THE GUY WITH THE HORNS AND POINTED STICK CONDUCTS HIS BUSINESS.

Unless, of course, you believe they will.

Posted at 6:27 AM to Blogorrhea


So. Ya think Julie would be flattered or p.o.'d if I lifted that disclaimer?

Maybe I'll stick with Zappa's -- he's not here anymore.

Posted by: Margi at 1:53 AM on 3 June 2005

If it's properly credited, I think she'd approve, though it would be polite to ask first.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:29 AM on 3 June 2005