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For the last four nights, I’ve had the same dream: I’m sitting alone in my car, driving on a darkened, deserted 128 (or is it Hwy 95?), texting away to my heart’s content.  First, I text my husband, asleep at home, to let him know I went out for a drive and that I’ll be back.  Next, I text my best friend/roomie; I’d forgotten to tell her I already fed the dog.  Then, I text the dog, just in case my best friend doesn’t get her text.  Lastly, I send out a group text to everyone I’ve ever known, wishing them a happy “Text As Much as You Want” day, also known as the eve before the “Safe Driving” Law.  Before I’m ready, the dashboard clock ticks over to 11:59 PM; a thousand emails from my students–whose papers are due before midnight–clog my Palm Pre, and I shut the phone off in disgust.  Procrastinators. They’ve ruined my ludic, penultimate moment of texting-while-driving.  12 AM.  I curse, grab my noir phone, which causes me to veer off the road clinging to it and…then, I awaken.  Hazy feeling.  There’s something I know I should know, but I can’t remember what, like that actor’s name that always escapes me.  “You’re scowling,” says my husband.  Yeah, I know. “Can’t read the clock,” I mumble, realizing he’s actually concerned.


We should all be concerned.  One by one, our freedoms are being taken from us.  Our behavior is being censored, our thoughts silenced.  Without {text} there is nothing.


Am I a libertarian because I don’t want the government regulating when I can LMAO?  I don’t think so.  I’d befriend John Stuart Mill before I would John Stossel.  MOF, this country could use a little commonsensical utilitarianism, in place of its feigned altruism.  4COL, even my 9 AM Comp I students, who are harder to invigorate than an 83-year-old without viagra, are in protest over this law, particularly its over-priced fines ($100, $300, and $500 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fines, respectively).    “What about people who read when they drive?” they want to know.  “And women who put on make-up?”

“All of that is okay,” I tell them.  “You can still be a bad driver, you just can’t text at the same time.”

(doesn't get much clearer than that)
(doesn’t get much clearer than that)

According to Eric Moskowitz, a Boston Globe reporter who makes his living explaining the jargon of lawmakers, city officials and other pompous bastards, there are already laws that monitor “unsafe” and “negligent” non-technology related behaviors of drivers, including “anything from wearing headphones while driving to operating a truck with an unsecured child in the truck bed.”  Guess what the fine associated with the “unsafe operation” law is?  A whopping Thirty-Five Bucks.  Whoooowhee.  I’d say my eyeyliner-applying-while-driving days are over. And that kid that keeps hopping in the back of my truck?  He’s going to have to GTFO.


In his essay, “Fatwa City,” author Cullen Murphy refers to the sort of behavior modification the Safe Driving law falls under as governmental regulation of “the nanobehavior of everyday life.”  Likening current U.S. legislation to both the unbelievably strict fatwas in Iraq and the ridiculously archaic blue laws in the Commonwealth–some of which are still believed in, at least by the locals–Murphy cites myriad laws, proposed and enacted, that attempt to control society’s values through their behavior–something he terms “creeping moralism.”  He then points out that, ironically, the legislation of morality doesn’t “require actual legislation.”  It just takes a few popular loudmouths to broadcast their pseudo-beliefs and inspire others to do the same.  Still, lawmakers persist in debating whether or not people should be able to let their underwear hang out in public, or whether stupid teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to drive.


Today, in the honors seminar I teach, we discussed, among other things, the reason why anyone would try and thwart the freedoms protected under the Constitution.   Concerns for safety of others? Fear/insecurity? Intolerance, also known as Ignorance?  A belief in the inherent evil of man?  Worse: if censorship is actually squelching constitutional rights, how can it even exist in a Democracy?  (We couldn’t come up with a good enough reason, btw.)  Of course, we were talking about the banning of books, but the condemnation of technology isn’t really that much of a stretch.  The person who wants to shelter their child from violence and sexual explictness rather than show them how to deal with unwanted realities is the same person who thinks that all teens should be punished because one kid made the terrible mistake of taking his eyes off the road.  Control under the auspices of caretaking.  If only it were true that “He who controls the present controls the past.”

Do I really want to balk about a law that, in all likelihood, is a good thing, something that could even save my life and will undoubtedly save the lives of others? It’s just text-messaging, right?

Actually, taking away my right to be distracted–nay, dangerous–behind the wheel is nothing more than a 21st century upgrade of the Salem Witch Trials.  {The safety of the public is at stake! Burn those witches!} Farcical government at its best.  Hypocritical government at its worst.  At least I can understand why a Puritan would be afraid of women who do something other than birth children.  I have no idea what loony tunes character lives inside the head of the lawmaker responsible for this.

srsly, DBD.

Some people are irresponsible; some people aren’t.  Some people make good decisions; some people don’t. Sometimes good people even make bad decisions.  Likewise, some people text with one hand; some only text while at a stop light; and some don’t text while driving at all. The point is not which one of these should or shouldn’t be legal, nor which is right and which is wrong.  We’re talking about a basic freedom that’s been taken away: namely, the power to make that choice for ourselves.  To quote Thomas Jefferson, as fine a libertarian as there ever was, “Taste cannot be controlled by the law.”  By which he cleary meant: Step off my morality, Bitches. (Sorry, I don’t know the shorthand for that.)

11 responses to “N/T”

  1. llxt llxt says:

    Totally agree. Thank you for summing up in one sentence what my entire post {was meant} to be about.

  2. llxt llxt says:

    But see…you're making the point for me (!); it's a value issue, not a legal one! 🙂

  3. Avatar stacyparkeraab says:

    Must add: love this month's cover image!

  4. Avatar Wow says:

    p.s. this post isn't ACTUALLY about texting and driving.

  5. llxt llxt says:

    Thank GAWD, I'm safe. We only have missionary {text}.

  6. Avatar disperse says:

    I agree with Kail; however, there is no way he could fit all of that in a 160 character text message.

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On My Honor
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If, Then.
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Small Crimes
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"It's Complicated"
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