Althouse | category: privacy



a blog by Ann Althouse

"It’s politically weird to be a very liberal Democrat and find yourself shoved in bed with, like, the governor of Texas. Am I supposed to listen to Tucker Carlson?"

Said one parent, quoted in "When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know/Educators are facing wrenching new tensions over whether they should tell parents when students socially transition at school" (NYT).
[D]ozens of parents whose children have socially transitioned at school told The Times they felt villainized by educators who seemed to think that they — not the parents — knew what was best for their children.... Although some didn’t want their children to transition at all, others said they were open to it, but felt schools forced the process to move too quickly, and that they couldn’t raise concerns without being cut out completely or having their home labeled “unsafe.”... 
One mother in California shared messages that her teenager’s teacher had sent through the school’s web portal encouraging the student to obtain medical care, housing and legal advice without the parents’ knowledge. A lawsuit filed against a school district in Wisconsin included a photo of a teacher’s flyer posted at school that stated: “If your parents aren’t accepting of your identity, I’m your mom now.”

The top-rated comment over there — from someone called "It’s Wrong" — is:

I teach at a middle school in Bergen County, NJ. This year, the teachers in my school were specifically instructed not to tell parents if their kids start using a new name or ask to be referred to with non-sex-based pronouns or use the opposite-sex bathroom. After 15 years of never having a trans-identified kid in my classroom, I’ve had several just in the last couple of years. All were girls and all had serious mental health issues. 
I have a background in psychology. I can read and understand scientific literature. So my opinions on this issue are informed by data, not politics. I am certain that these girls’ mental health issues are the cause of their trans identities, not the effect. The number of trans-identifying kids has exploded. If trans people were simply coming out in greater numbers now because it’s now safer, we’d see kids of both sexes coming out, not mainly girls. And we’d see people of all ages coming out, not mainly teens and pre-teens. Social contagion of psychological symptoms among adolescent girls is a real phenomenon — DID and Tourette’s on TikTok today, bulimia and anorexia in the 80s and 90s, Beatlemania-style fainting in the 1960s, “hysterical” disorders of the early 20th century— all the way back to the supposed possession of the Salem witch trials.

We teachers are hiding important information about kids’ mental health from their parents. That’s wrong. Parents have a right to know. 

Second highest rated, from "Reasonable Person":

I’ve been a teacher for quite a while. Teaching has always been loosely aligned with liberal values, but I never felt like I was part of an explicit political organization until the last few years. The zeal with which school systems have pursued and advocated for left-wing identity politics no longer feels like being “supportive,” it feels like we’re being persuasive: join us, children, as we dismantle the evil systems (systemic racism! the patriarchy! the gender binary!) that your parents have wrought.

It’s frankly a little bit creepy and cultish at times, and it needs to stop.

"Meta suffered a major defeat on Wednesday... after European Union regulators found it had illegally forced users to effectively accept personalized ads...."

"The ruling is one of the most consequential judgments since the 27-nation bloc, home to roughly 450 million people, enacted a landmark data-privacy law aimed at restricting the ability of Facebook and other companies from collecting information about users without their prior consent.... The company includes language in its terms of service agreement, the very lengthy statement that users must accept before accessing services like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, that effectively means users must allow their data to be used for personalized ads or stop using Meta’s social media services altogether."

From "Meta’s Ad Practices Ruled Illegal Under E.U. Law/The decision is one of the most consequential issued under the E.U.’s landmark data-protection law and creates a new business headwind for the social media giant" (NYT).

"In 1964, Gloria Szymanski, a recently divorced mother struggling with the sexual and behavioral strictures of her new status, was filmed as a patient of three renowned therapists..."

"... Carl Rogers, Frederick Perls, and Albert Ellis. The film was produced and narrated by the psychologist Everett L. Shostrum, who was Szymanski’s personal therapist and who recruited her for this starring role.... 'He told Gloria that the films would only be used in schools and colleges to teach psychology students so imagine her surprise then when making her breakfast pancakes a year or so later to see her interview with Dr. Perls on TV and then she found out that the films were going to be shown in full in movie theatres all over the country.'... She talks, with frankness and charm, about her daddy issues and her pinings for smart, authoritative men. If not for the clinical setting and the disapproving gaze of the therapists, her desires would seem normal—which, of course, they are...."

From "Gender Critique Meets Lewd Spectacle in 'The Patient Gloria'/Gina Moxley’s play examines the sexual and behavioral strictures on women through the lens of psychotherapy circa 1964" (The New Yorker).

Even as disease could be perceived as health — see the first post of today — health could be perceived as disease.

ADDED: I believe it is a terrible invasion of privacy, but nevertheless, I found the original film on YouTube, so I present it here: 

"The pre-TikTok era of social media was a genuine, full-spectrum privacy disaster. It was, however..."

"... a disaster constructed by domestic companies and exported to the rest of the world (although notably not to China). Digital privacy is a notoriously difficult concept around which to mobilize politically. Nationalism, less so. With TikTok at the center of the discourse, we can expect to encounter the former through the distorting lens of the latter with the help of politicians who, despite a prior blindness to matters of privacy, will have a point.... TikTok is a platform of targeted content and loose ties — a post-social social network that doesn’t rely on your friends to keep you engaged and entertained but rather on 'recommendation,' which is the flip side of surveillance.... Compared to Facebook’s rise, TikTok’s was dazzling but impersonal, the product of a supreme emphasis on content over connections, on breaking out of networks rather than formalizing them. Users’ sense of obligation to one another, though, is what bought Facebook more time at the top. To quit Facebook, however little one uses it, is to sever some sort of contact, and to leave Instagram, however dull it has become, is to know a little less about your friends. A bored or restless TikTok user, however, can simply watch less — only TikTok will notice they’re gone."

"We have full access to everything. We can go everywhere."

That was the repeated statement of the 3 DOJ lawyers — who were described as displaying an "arrogant" demeanor — who were present during the Mar-a-Lago raid, according to an eyewitness quoted in "FBI searched Melania’s wardrobe, spent hours in Trump’s private office during Mar-a-Lago raid" (NY Post).

I'm not surprised that a search extends into a woman's most intimate space — how could searches be effective if the woman's closet were off limits? — but I recognize that this is something that hits onlookers hard. It makes the government seem more brutal if you picture its agents rooting around in the lady's underwear drawer. 

This is the kind of image that can have a powerfully persuasive effect that transcends reason. I will never forget how — back in the 1980s — Joe Biden conquered the pridefully intellectual Robert Bork by talking about police in the bedroom. Bork pedantically explained his view of the nonexistence of the right to privacy, and Biden just kept making us think about Those cops! In the bedroom!

Bork kept talking about originalist jurisprudence, neutral principles of Constitutional Reasoning, the bankruptcy of the theory of penumbral emanations... while Biden talked about cops in our bedrooms!

And now it's FBI agents! In Melania's wardrobe!  

The picture in our head was already vivid, but there will also be pictures:
The feds instructed Trump’s representatives to switch off the security cameras but they refused.

Unlike Biden's cops in the bedroom, it's not just a vivid mental image of something we're made to fear could happen. It really happened, and there will be video. Perhaps the video will make the FBI agents seem respectful and professional and it will calm us. Maybe our imagination makes it worse.  FBI agents! In Melania's wardrobe!  

But, what were they looking for? Why was this deemed necessary or even appropriate?

A legal source said that the boxes had been packed up by the General Services Administration and shipped to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left office in January 2020. Trump’s attorneys, led by Evan Corcoran, had been cooperating fully with federal authorities on the return of the documents to the National Archives and Records Administration, according to sources. In May, Corcoran granted access into Mar-a-Lago’s windowless storage room to FBI agents who spent several hours searching through the boxes. Trump stopped by the basement to say hello at one point, says someone who was there.

What was the sense of the raid? Has anyone in power come forward to explain to us, the People? I don't think so. We are left to accept the arrogant We have full access to everything. We can go everywhere.

"Understandably, not everyone can live at home. They’ve moved away for a job, or the home situation is too toxic or overcrowded. But space and sanity willing..."

"... consider the savings young adults could amass if they continued to live in the family home. With inflation at a 40-year-high, it just makes economic sense for adult children to live at home for several years.... I feel for the men who are ridiculed for still living at home — and for the daughters who feel pressured to leave. My husband and I have taken a different tack with our children. We have begged them to live at home. We want them here at least until their 30s.... My husband and I agreed not to charge any of our children rent as long as they are saving, so that when they finally launch they will have a substantial cushion that should keep them from boomeranging back home.... A decade at home starting in their 20s, and saving most of their income rather than paying rent for all those years, could put young adults on the path to homeownership that could end with a smaller mortgage or no mortgage at all. That would be a financial game changer."

From "With higher inflation, living with your parents makes economic sense/Let’s stop joking about young adults living in their parents’ basement/Financial independence doesn’t have to come with a monthly rent payment" by Michelle Singletary (WaPo).

Singletary is a personal finance columnist. She has virtually nothing to say about the social development of young adults, and her son and daughter — in their 20s — seems to be diligently working and squirreling away money. Presumably, they behave within a range that fits the parents' conventions, and the financial boom would be lowered if they did not. But, she says, her son is "lovely" and he walks the dog. There's no adjective like "lovely" attached to the daughter, perhaps because it's presumed that daughters will be docile, perhaps because mom wanted to elbow her toward increased loveliness.

Singletary assures us that kids in this phase are not suffering from "arrested development," but who knows how they'd develop if they lived outside of the surveillance of their parents? But, sure, privacy and independence may pale in comparison to painful economic need. And now I'm picturing devious politicians swarming in the backroom, celebrating these economic hard times.

"In 1964, Gloria Szymanski, a recently divorced mother struggling with the sexual and behavioral strictures of her new status, was filmed as a patient of three renowned therapists..."I find myself in The Wall Street Journal.

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