Sunday, August 9, 2009

In The Name Of The Children

Shame on me update below

You really have to hand it to some folks. When they find something that offends their religious sensibilities, they often complain on the behalf of their children thereby hoping that society won't catch on to their stupidity.  After all it is for the benefit of the children right?

The latest case in point involves a large sculpture at UC Berkeley of a DNA double helix which also just so happens to be somewhat close to an elementary school. That proximity to the school is just the opening the wingnuts needed.
Although DNA Sculpture has been on display in various public parks and playgrounds, Jenny Garrotte, Claremont Park PTA president, said she found it distasteful and verging on obscene, and e-mailed parents Wednesday morning, asking them to file complaints with Pegro and with Alameda County Code Enforcement.

“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion regarding what art is,” said Garrotte. “If this piece weren’t visible to passersby and available for children to play on, I would not have a problem with it.”

And (emphasis added)
“My daughter suggested that it was funny,” said John Copeland, whose 7-year-old daughter attends summer camp there. “She shouldn’t be talking to me about this. Now I’m forced to explain genetics to her, and why the Bible doesn’t say anything about it.”

Ok so the children must be having a problem with this unholy work of science mixed with art and generating a lot of questions/complaints for the faculty at the school right?
Still, Terence Lythma, a teacher in the school’s summer program, said he has not heard any of the children talking about the piece.

“It’s the parents who have been talking about it,” he said. “The children don’t really make an issue of it.”

Oh so it's actually the parents that think DNA is offensive and not the children? Knock me over with a feather!

I think that maybe these parents should be attending elementary school alongside their children, they might learn something as I hear they have this new thing called science. Apparently schools now have a class teaching this science phenomenon and it covers that twisty looking thing called DNA which is not some unholy monstrosity that should be kept away from children.

Are we sure this story isn't really from Texas?

UPDATE: Actually as Kristen so nicely mentions in the comments (nicer than she could have been by the way), this story is apparently satire based on this story about nude statues not in California or Texas, but in Florida. I've been punked by my own failure to pay enough attention to the source...Feel free to chastise me in the comments.


  1. Procrustes, I usually pick up on the satire and would have continued it on further with some other satirical example but for some reason, probably as you say the number of real occurrences of similar stories made this one easier to miss.

  2. So, what do you think of the underlying issue of abstract nude sculptures? The elements regarding children vs parents vs pta are pretty much the same (i.e., the children aren't making a big deal of it, the parents are). Do you agree with me that the fundamental issue is exactly the same as the DNA issue (despite the social issue, the "ick" factor)? Basically, I want to know why so many so-called rational thinkers support the notion that people have the right not to be offended with regard to nudity. What's the fundamental difference between nudity and dna?

  3. I think the issue is the same as I wrote about above. Be it nude statues, dna art, or even religious art on private grounds. The parents usually are the ones with the problem and the children are just convenient tools used to promote their ignorance or intolerance.

    The children don't usually develop these attitudes until spending much of their childhoods living with their parents...

  4. You rock. You just totally made up for anything negative you think you've done.

  5. THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE IS A STRAWMAN ARGUMENT. That’s considered an invalid method of inquiry, rationality, or debate.

    If you want to discuss whether nudity is bad or not, then focus on that. Although the naked body does not offend me, I can easily see why some people would be offended. For example the sight of DNA doesn’t make male penises become erect, or horny girls wet their panties. Someone who is against nudity could reasonably make that argument that DNA sculptures are okay, but not naked bodies, based upon the preceding point.

    Please refrain from using strawman arguments.

    The people who don’t want to see nudity are not mindless strawmen.


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