WTF!?
July 27, 2005 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Kiss your son's belly button Spend six months in jail.
posted by delmoi (68 comments total)

 
(This is just a guess, but if they couldn't afford a digital camera, I doubt they could afford a quality lawyer, either)
posted by delmoi at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2005


Rerouted through fark, no less!
posted by trey at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2005


admin, please hope this post and un-fark-ify it!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 AM on July 27, 2005


jinx! argh!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 AM on July 27, 2005


Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, the pervert.
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2005


I am sure this six month separation really benefited the child.

[WTF - Fark?]
posted by caddis at 7:29 AM on July 27, 2005


[obvious]

But really, t's not quite as cut and dry as the FPP or the linked article make it sound. This story says the pictures showed both him and his 6 year old step-daughter kissing the infant's penis.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 7:30 AM on July 27, 2005


Hmm, I'm confused. Was it the crime that pictures were taken of a naked baby or of the dad kissing the baby's belly button?

The former I can understand as the pics could be considered child pron. But the latter is just pathetically bizarre. This family should sue the belly buttons off of Raleigh for false imprisonment.

Unless the dad was using tongue.
posted by fenriq at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2005


Nice additional link, Espy. Does it actually say penis or groin area? I only saw groin area but read it quickly.

Kissing your child's penis is not typical considered just love and affection, that's a little wierd.
posted by fenriq at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2005


Jail is too kind for these perverts. Bring on the fustuarium!
posted by Kwantsar at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2005


Did the dad swallow the bellybutton lint, or did he spit it out -- how much does he love his son?
posted by highsignal at 7:39 AM on July 27, 2005


Actually, Espy Gillespie's posted article mentions a different case where an Afghan father kissed his son's penis (apparently part of a "kissing every part of the new child" ritual).

They list this case (a Lebanese family) as "Groin area", which could still mean belly button.

Dunno for sure, just sayin'.
posted by numlok at 7:39 AM on July 27, 2005


There was a similar case in Portland, Maine a few years ago about a Muslim man who was photographed kissing his infant son's penis. IIRC, his claim was that in his culture (don't recall for sure which -- Afghan? Iranian? something Central Asian), it was not uncommon to kiss a baby boy's penis in "thanks" for the blessing of being given a son.

He, too, was removed from his family and did some jail time.
posted by briank at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2005


Farcical but also sad. 6 months!! Oy.
posted by peacay at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2005


Jail is too kind for these perverts

Agreed, jail is too kind for the Eckard employee and police officials.
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2005


(oops, beaten by numlok AND Espy...)
posted by briank at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2005


"'If you're going to do something illegal, you would use a digital camera and put them on the Internet,' Franklin said."

(From Espy's linked article, taken completely out of context.)
posted by voltairemodern at 7:42 AM on July 27, 2005


Glad they didn't see the many, many pictures of me biting my daughter on the ass. 'Cause that's what daddys do.
posted by ColdChef at 7:45 AM on July 27, 2005


Don't wanna derail this, but after our stop-guessing-about-the-source discussion, it's pretty freakin' funny for delmoi to grab this from fark and post it without saying "via fark" but with the fark redirect in the URL itself. Busted!
posted by soyjoy at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2005


Ah yes, the article I linked only says "groin area" regarding this specific case. Thanks for catching that numlok.

Regardless, the issue of cultural relativism remains, and questions like these come up:

Is it OK for a man to kiss his infant son's penis in a non-sexual way?

Is it OK for a man to have his 6 year-old daughter do the same?
posted by Espy Gillespie at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2005


Ah but they're Arabs, they deserve being jailed for their weird manifestations of affection for their babies. Who knows what it could lead to. That father could be traumatising his son into becoming a terrorist. Or worse, gay. And then when he's two years old and still crying like, well, a baby, he'd have to beat him for not being manly enough and go to jail and use the gay panic defense so this is only preventing further madness.
posted by funambulist at 7:55 AM on July 27, 2005


And if we learn nothing else: don't get your pictures developed at Eckerd's.

(Side note: I was once detained by "security" at WalMart when I went to pick up some black and white nekkid pictures my brother took of his son. Nothing sexual about them, just, you know, nekkid little boy chewing on his fist. I got into a twenty minute debate with the photoidiot over the "artistic" nature of the photos and whether they violated WalMart policy. Finally, I suggested that we stop 20 shoppers at random and ask them if they find the pics sexually explicit. When I started waving people down, the security guy just handed me the pictures and told me to have a nice day. It wasn't until I gave them to my brother that I realized I had never paid for them. Heh. F-you, WalMart!)
posted by ColdChef at 8:00 AM on July 27, 2005


ya, don't use us to increase your fark count, please.
posted by cleverusername at 8:01 AM on July 27, 2005


Regardless, the issue of cultural relativism remains, and questions like these come up
"Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities make sense in terms of his or her own culture."

"Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture."

To answer your questions in a culturally relevant way, some cultures believe this is normal behavior while others believe it is deviant. In America, however, when an adult does something to a child that may be perceived as sexual, the adult is breaking a formal norm as evidenced by the several times stories like this have appeared on Metafilter.
posted by sequential at 8:11 AM on July 27, 2005


This is a deeply troubled country.
posted by Slagman at 8:12 AM on July 27, 2005


Eww, ColdChef went to WalMart.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2005


If you have problems with the way your browser is accessing the data, take it up in meta. Yes, it redirects through farks server, since I did "copy link" rather then copying it out of the address bar. What diffrence does that make?

Also, Espy's article says he kissed the "groin area" and mentions another case that involved an Afgan kissing his son's penis, not Hamaty.
posted by delmoi at 8:16 AM on July 27, 2005


Wow, the second relativism sub-string of the day. That wiki entry doesn't quite do it justice. People often mean several different things when they use the term "relativism" in a moral context.

The strongest claim made by proponents of relativism is that the moral practices of a particular culture are "right" for that culture, and that no absolute moral standard for evaluating competing moral claims exists.

Now, one can observe the practices of a culture, and say that they "make sense" in that context insofar as one can see the motivations for said practice, et c., but to say that the practice is "right" is another thing entirely - and in doing so, one runs into the naturalist fallacy.
posted by Tullius at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2005


Espy's article is much more interesting. I love this quote, supporting the innocence of the accused: "police found no child pornography in the couple's home and no Internet access". No Internet? They must not be pr0n0graf3rz!
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2005


I knew this story sounded really familiar! Almost like a double post, but not quite. Here's the story I recalled.

Both at an Eckerd, both of overreacting employees and overzealous cops.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2005


MeTa
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2005


NP why was there a fark reroute in that link? I made it go straight to the MeTa post you linked to.
posted by jessamyn at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2005


MeTa? This wasn't a guess; it was a link to Fark.
posted by caddis at 8:56 AM on July 27, 2005


I thought NinjaPirate's link was a pretty funny joke, before it got changed.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 8:58 AM on July 27, 2005


Sounds like a debacle and an wrongful imprisonment. However, I can't share in the anger towards the Eckerd photo clerk. He merely brought the photos to the attention of the authorities -- it's up to the police and prosecutors to decide whether to file charges. If you read Espy's link, it sounds like there is some reason to believe that the pictures were questionable. The photo clerk would have had no knowledge that the family was Lebanese, or that this may have been a cultural ritual. That was for the police and the prosecutor to sort out.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:59 AM on July 27, 2005


I think pardonyou?'s right about the Eckard employee not being to blame. You can't really fault someone like that for not being aware of that particular cultural norm, and for wanting to be safe rather than sorry.

The real tragedy is that it took 6 months instead of 6 hours for the "authorities" to clear up the mess.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 9:07 AM on July 27, 2005


jess, it was me apeing delmoi's post.
He linked to NBC via Fark, I linked to a related MeTa thread via Fark.

I was being a techie smart-ass taking the piss out of someone who wasn't acutely aware of what's on the web. Glad someone got the joke, but you may as well delete the post - it was fairly pointless and a bit redundant now.
posted by NinjaPirate at 9:09 AM on July 27, 2005


My former (Kyrgyz) wife freaked me out the first time I saw her do this... but of course it was non-sexual, and in the end I never even asked her about it... people love their kids and kissing and biting and patting them is part of that expression of love... The context should make this absolutely clear, shouldn't it?

Like, what I mean is, the dad wasn't groaning and getting turned on? He wasn't trying to give his kid a boner? Maybe different from Western ways of loving your kids, but seems to me that too many Americans are too ready to sexualize everything... Little baby boys have pee-pees, not cocks.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:16 AM on July 27, 2005


The purpose of witch-hunts is to reinforce the rulers' power and divert the populace from real issues. The tragedy is that it so often works, as shown by the story behind this thread. (The Valerie Plame "controversy" ain't a real issue either, unless you think that preventing the CIA from staging coups in poorer countries so the US can install a puppet who'll help US corporations rip its citizens off is a BAD thing.)

The real issue facing our society is the continued and worsening exploitation of the poor by the rich and the techniques and strategies they use to do it. The lack of health insurance for Wal-Mart employees is a case in point, especially in towns that are so bad off that the Wal-Mart Supercenter has become a major employer.
posted by davy at 9:22 AM on July 27, 2005


davy: uhm, what?
posted by xmutex at 9:27 AM on July 27, 2005


They should have let him go as soon as they found out he wasn't a Start Trek Fan
posted by bitdamaged at 9:36 AM on July 27, 2005


It wasn't a link to fark, it was a link through fark. In any event, it's fixed now.
posted by delmoi at 9:38 AM on July 27, 2005


The purpose of davy's comments is to reinforce the rulers' power and divert the populace from the thread at hand.
posted by fenriq at 9:42 AM on July 27, 2005


As a white middle class American girl of Irish extraction I see nothing sexual or deviant about kissing a baby on his penis or belly button. That's just rediculous.

As Meatbomb says, too many Americans are too ready to sexualize everything.
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:45 AM on July 27, 2005


It wasn't a link to fark, it was a link through fark.

Right. Or to put it another way: via fark.
posted by soyjoy at 9:48 AM on July 27, 2005


I hope the famiily sues Eckerd and the police and anyone else involved in this stupid episode. The father is owed lost wages, if nothing else, but this sort of brainless invasion of the state into private lives should not be allowed to happen again.

Only people who don't have children or who don't take joy in them could mistake something like this for a sexual act.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:56 AM on July 27, 2005


America needs to grow up.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2005


Only people who don't have children or who don't take joy in them could mistake something like this for a sexual act.

Or hysterical, media-frenzied, middle-class, superstitious, child-having people who evidence no critical thinking skills.

George W. Bush was re-elected largely because of fear. Millions of people voted against their best interests because of fear. The Eckard Drug employee reported the photos because of fear. ("*gasp* What is that brown person doing to that BABY?")

Fear is power. Fear rules.

/misanthrope
posted by gramschmidt at 10:54 AM on July 27, 2005


What am I saying? That tag will never be closed.
posted by gramschmidt at 10:54 AM on July 27, 2005


Middle class people wouldn't be working the photo-mat at an Eckerd.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:57 AM on July 27, 2005


But disregarding culture, you know that disgust we share for couples making out in public, like 'get a room'? The over-indulgence of affection is not limited to couples, recently I was grossed out by a father kept kissing his pre-teen girl on the head while waiting in line. I noticed they had come from a soccer game (clothes) so he was probably just proud of her... and mom and brother were there. But I kept saying to myself -- control yourself! Like a person who just keeps pushing the pleasure button again and again and again. Isn't there a limit like 10 kisses is way too many or something? Eventually she said this family is too loving, jokingly, hinting at discomfort, and of course they didn't get it.
/Rant
posted by uni verse at 11:27 AM on July 27, 2005


The Eckard Drug employee reported the photos because of fear.

That's a bit of a leap. He saw something that admittedly looks suspicious to somebody without the cultural context and decided that it'd be better for somebody to look into it than to risk allowng childhood sexual abuse to go idly by. I'm sure that if he were aware of the cultural context it wouldn't have been an issue, but that's not fear as much as a lack of knowledge. I suspect that if he saw two white, black, hispanic, or asian parents kissing the genitals of their children he might also have reported it just to be safe.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:35 AM on July 27, 2005


George W. Bush was re-elected largely because of fear. Millions of people voted against their best interests because of fear. The Eckard Drug employee reported the photos because of fear. ...

Fear is power. Fear rules.


Also, aren't you busily doing fearmongering? "Be afraid of Bush, the boogeyman! Bush and Rooooove are going to get you and destroy your civilization! Be afraid! Even this local story about a bumbling clerk and clueless cops comes back to the evil machinations of Bush and Rooooove!"

Just saying.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:37 AM on July 27, 2005


"Middle class people wouldn't be working the photo-mat at an Eckerd."

Tell them they're not "middle class". They know they're not "upper class", and so the alternative must be "lower class" like the 40-ounce guzzlers in the alley. (Public education in the US is wonderful, huh?) So, in common speech, this begs the question "If everybody with a job is middle-class, where's the working class?"
posted by davy at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2005


tddl, nope. Contemporary politics and the hasty and judgmental nature of the populace are symptoms of the same culture of fear. I merely compared two things. I never said one caused the other.

Is confusing comparison with an implication-of-causation another symptom of this same culture?
posted by gramschmidt at 11:54 AM on July 27, 2005


fighting in Iraq?
posted by matteo at 11:55 AM on July 27, 2005


I meant to respond to davy's comment of course
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2005


In all fairness to the Eckard employee, in many places I believe they have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse and kiddie porn found in the photos they develop. They are usually trained to look for this sort of stuff. This does not mean that the Eckard employee exercised good judgement, though. The real tragedy is how the authorities handled this.
posted by caddis at 12:30 PM on July 27, 2005


this country has much conflict about sex, and it's deep rooted. WTF, just brilliant!
posted by brandz at 3:00 PM on July 27, 2005


The Eckard employee reported something suspicious. I don't think you can really hold that person responsible for trying to bring his/her concern to the supposed "experts". The issue here is why does it take so long for the authorities to determine that there was no wrongdoing?

What a shame that this had to endure that. How could you get over sufering such a huge injustice (being wrongfully jailed and separated from your children)? I'd be very very pissed off for a very long time. Do you suppose that was good for the children?
posted by raedyn at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2005


This made me think of a similiar cultural misunderstanding that arose in the Elian Gonzalez case.
posted by marsha56 at 6:34 PM on July 27, 2005


From the story that PolloMacho linked to:

"I think the police department and the DA's office select people to prosecute who have the least ability to defend themselves," says Chatham, who says he took the case on principle. "If these pictures were on their way back to some big home in Highland Park, they would have turned around and left. They were going after easy marks."

I'm not certain that they're targeting the poor, but I'm sure that they would never overreact like this to a family who had the resources not just to defend themselves, but to seek legal and financial compensation.

And yes, I agree with Slagman that this is a deeply troubled country.

The fear-mongering mass media and our insatiable appetite for their swill have brought this on.

A few years ago, we were boosting ratings, and selling newprint and hypeing book sales with weird perverted stories of satanic-ritualistic-sex-abusing day care centers.

Now it's dark-skinned nuslim terrorists, and abductors of pretty adolescent blonde middle-class white girls.

While we eat this stuff up, we are allowing our natural sense of normalcy and trust to be eroded. We are afraid of our cities, of our neighbors, of anyone who isn't just like us. I think Michael Moore got in right in Bowling for Columbine when he suggested that America's high rates of violence compared to other nations, stems from allowing ourselves to be kept in a constant state of fear.
posted by marsha56 at 7:09 PM on July 27, 2005


"Eventually she said this family is too loving, jokingly, hinting at discomfort, and of course they didn't get it."

Someone loves his daughter so much that someone else becomes uncomfortable? Who has the problem in that scenario, the man who loves his daughter, or the observer?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:18 PM on July 27, 2005


recently I was grossed out by a father kept kissing his pre-teen girl on the head while waiting in line.

Wow. That's one of the saddest things I've ever read. I kiss both of my daughters daily... on the top of the head, on the mouth, wherever there happens to be exposed skin, and that does include belly buttons, on occasion. They are 18 and 21 years of age. I kiss my mother-in-law on the mouth when we are parting, and my father. I assure you, in none of these cases, is there any remotely sexual intention.

Does that gross you out?
posted by Chasuk at 8:18 PM on July 27, 2005


That's one of the saddest things I've ever read.
Indeed. So a dad's supposed to stop hugging and kissing his daughter as soon as she sprouts boobs? That doesn't seem right.
posted by jrossi4r at 8:54 PM on July 27, 2005


seems to me that too many Americans are too ready to sexualize everything

I couldn't agree more. Let's redo the breastfeeding-in-public debate. That should shed some light on modern western mores. (and morans)
posted by dreamsign at 11:51 PM on July 27, 2005


I am puzzled. Don't WASP Americans kiss their baby's bellybuttons any more? Actually, not exactly 'kiss' so much as tickle with their mouths? This was normal when I was a child. A friend called this buzzing (like blowing a trumpet) a "smyrp".

Some of the more beautiful art photography I've seen has been naked men holding babies. Is that kiddie pr0n?

As for kissing baby's pee-pee: I suppose its just a thing they do. But making photographs of this act is reasonably questionable, from a USian view. We do lots of things we consider wrong to talk about, much less photograph. Anything genital falls squarely in that category, except pr0n.

The 6 months it took to decide this guy wasn't a criminal is far more obscene than any photograph. If they were so worried about what was good for the children, why don't they take into account the effect of separating the children from their parents? Talk about trauma! And what would this do to parent/child bonding that is so important?
posted by Goofyy at 7:07 AM on July 28, 2005


That's it then. I'm giving up on film. I doubt I'll ever wish to use a film camera again, unless I set up my own darkroom. The last thing I need is some minimum-wage 1 hour photo clerk at the local chain drugstore/supermarket second-guessing my sexual intentions in every photo I have developed there.

I mean, hell... I know they are supposed to report anything suspicious, but come on. I have photos of myself as a young child that were taken by my parents, and if I were to take the negatives into WalMart (or wherever) to get copies made they'd probably be flagged as suspicious, or worse. My mother-in-law once showed me some old home movies, one featuring my then-2-year-old wife in the bathtub, which I found funny - but again, you take that 8 mm film in to get it transferred to video and suddenly my 50 year old housewife mother-in-law is a raving deviant kiddie porn queen.

I feel really sorry for this guy, and he probably should be contacting a lawyer. Not just for the wrongful incarceration (which he should by all means have expunged from his record!) but for the defamation of character he and his wife suffered - there are going to be people who see him as a pervert thanks to the negative press, no matter that charges have been dropped.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:51 AM on July 28, 2005


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