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Putting a 14-year-old in a "lie detector" - what did you expect would happen?
July 29, 2009 2:54 AM   Subscribe

Sydney radio station 2dayFM earned the ire and backlash of the Australian public - rape counsellors, Australian media, and Community Services ministers - after an on-air stunt by morning crew Kyle and Jackie O went horribly wrong. During their regular "lie detector" segment, a 14-year-old girl was interrogated by the hosts and her mother over her sexual history, against her will, and revealed that she had been raped at 12 on air (warning: possibly triggering audio clip embedded in news article).

The hosts immediately offered to pay for counselling services, but questions such as "And did you have any other experiences?" led to widespread on Twitter, calls for sackings and shutdowns, and a major PR crisis for radio group Austereo. While the station and its hosts have released an official statement and Kyle Sandilands has stated he was "stunned" by the revelation, authorities are now seeking out the girl's mother for investigation.

This is not the first time Kyle and Jackie O (mostly Kyle) have courted controversy.
posted by divabat (131 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder what zany sound effect accompanied that revelation?
posted by ryanrs at 3:00 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's so much blame to go around here. Kyle and Jackie O have long been known as vacuous attention-seekers, the mother sounds like she's got no damn idea of how to be a good parent, and why the hell were the producers allowing a minor to be 'interrogated' on air in the first place? Two consenting adults having it out with each other using a radio show as an excuse: fine. But a parent having a go at their kid?

Yeah yeah, controversy generates ratings, yawn. But don't they have any standards?
posted by harriet vane at 3:04 AM on July 29, 2009


Kyle is one person I don't think I'd think twice about tripping over if he ever walked past me. This event just makes me want to cry inside. Everything about it is not just a train wreck, it's an absolute tragedy. The set-up itself, the parenting, the heartbreaking admission, Kyle's mind-boggling mindless insensitivity, the studio response. I can only blink rapidly in response to all of this.
posted by chronic sublime at 3:08 AM on July 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Right, is that the only experience you have had?"

No, she's also had the experience of being strapped into a lie-detector and quizzed on live radio by her mother and a couple of shock jocks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 AM on July 29, 2009 [14 favorites]


To be fair to them, once it was out it was handled reasonably well (initial question from Kyle notwithstanding, and probably stemming from a mixture of panic and shock ("oh shit, this is radio, silence is the ultimate sin, what the fuck do I do, just say something quick")). The real culprit here is the mother, for bringing the kid to the show and then asking that question. What the fuck was she thinking?
posted by Dysk at 3:20 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Kyle handled it terribly, though Jackie O seemed to have her head on straight. The real issue is that a mother forced her 14 year old child to have a lie detector test about her sexual history, already knowing that she'd been raped two years ago. And she forced her to do this on live radio.

Kyle's ham-fisted reaction's got nothing on the mother's level of ineptitude.
posted by twirlypen at 3:21 AM on July 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


Mind you, the whole concept of the show (or segment, whatever) irks me a little, and I'm sure Kyle and Jackie O are the horrible people you say they are, but a bigger shitstorm is being kicked up about this than needs be (or the shitstorm is misdirected, at least).
posted by Dysk at 3:22 AM on July 29, 2009


Sandilands has responded to the controversy here. Memorable lines include:

I’ve certainly pissed off a lot of journos over the years but I’m sad that they’re using the rape of a 12-year-old girl to have a go at me.

and

I know a few people that have been raped. My first experience of it was when I was a teenager – I knew a girl who had been raped by a family member.

Well, gee, I'm convinced. Some of Karl's best friends have been raped. That totally makes him less of a douche.

Aside from that, discussing the sexual experience -- consensual or otherwise -- of a 14-year-old girl, live on air, is a monumentally bad idea. Much as I'd like to see Sandilands fired for his boneheadedly offensive comment, I'd also like to know what the hell was going through the producer's head when they set up the segment in the first place.

Australia has strict laws preventing the media from identifying victims of sexual assault and minors who are victims of crime. Even if the girl hadn't been raped, but had had consensual sex as her mother suspected, discussing that live on air would have been wrong, because 'consensual' sex with a 14-year-old is a crime. As it is, they've both humiliated and identified a minor victim of sexual assault. I hope the girl sues the station for all it's worth.
posted by embrangled at 3:25 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even without the revelations of rape, this is sick. What kind of person would subject their child to this, or help subject someone else's child to this? It's obviously not consensual. From the beginning of the interview:

Jackie: [laughing] alright, we have her hooked up to the lie detector; she's not happy, I just saw her listening to that replay [more laughter]
Girl: I'm scared, it's not fair
Jackie: It wouldn't be fair on any kid, I tell you, no... [indistinct]
Kyle: [interrupting] Is that true, is that true Carl, is that true?
Carl: [presumably checking lie detector] That... that is true
Kyle: She is scared everyone, yeah!
Jackie: Well, mum you have a series of questions that you're going to ask your daughter and, [girls name], you reply either yes or no and it will be picked up on the lie detector whether you are telling the truth or lying. Ok mum, what do you want to start with?

I know it's quite common for radio shows to hire actors to pretend to be callers. Can anyone familiar with the show give a guess about how real the participants are? I really hope that they were just pretending to help parents coerce chldren into taking polygraph tests in public.
posted by metaBugs at 3:33 AM on July 29, 2009


To be fair to them, once it was out it was handled reasonably well

Yep, Jackie O did handle it very well, and sounded genuinely concerned. But that doesn't really absolve her, since she presumably agreed beforehand that submitting a 14 year old girl to a barrage of intrusive questions about her private life live on radio was a good plan.

But the mother, knowing that her daughter was raped at 12, and then deciding that taking part in a comedy radio segment was the best way to find out just why her daughter was having problems... I'm completely gobsmacked.
posted by jack_mo at 3:37 AM on July 29, 2009


All I can think right now is that it would be vaguely in line with justice if the mother was hooked up to some sort of machine with electrodes. Not necessarily a lie detector per se...
posted by Scattercat at 3:39 AM on July 29, 2009


It's true that the whole segment was a clusterfuck, but the monumental fuck-up that overshadows all the others is the mother, as a parent and a person. And embrangled, if she's going to be suing anyone, it should be her parents, for emancipation.
posted by Dysk at 3:43 AM on July 29, 2009


None of you actually listen to this sort of "morning crew" crap, do you?
posted by pracowity at 3:44 AM on July 29, 2009


I heard a morning prank DJ have a man phone his wife and convince her that he had got fired over something ridiculous. The rising panic from the wife was actually extremely uncomfortable to listen to.
posted by mippy at 3:47 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seems to me something on this level has to have happened on Jerry Springer or the like, but this is still horrifying.
posted by vaghjar at 3:52 AM on July 29, 2009


Brother Dysk. Yeah, the mother sounds like a mess. But the producer is paid to exercise editorial judgement about what who and what should not go on air. There are plenty of grey areas where judgement varies from show to show, but this situation has big, red, flashing, DO NOT PUT THIS LIVE TO AIR lights all over it. The mother needs help, but she would never have been able to cause quite such catastrophic harm to her daughter if she hadn't been enabled by a radio producer who ought to have known better. The girl is a minor. Rape or no rape, you do not discuss the sexual histories of clearly identified minors on live radio, period.
posted by embrangled at 3:53 AM on July 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


At least the station did the right thing once they knew she was raped. Which leads me to ask...

What the hell was her mother thinking?!

Seems to me that this is an indictment of every show out there -- most of which are on TV -- that puts minors on the air about their eeevil ways... invariably in a context that puts almost all the blame on the kids, and virtually none of it on the actual parents.

So, this is wrong... but Jerry Springer?!
posted by markkraft at 4:00 AM on July 29, 2009


I can't wait for MediaWatch next week.
posted by evil_esto at 4:02 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


embrangled, you are, of course, absolutely and utterly correct. I still think the mother's worse, but the producers weren't being anything even remotely resembling ethical or sensible.

vaghjar, as well as Jerry Springer, there's Ricki Lake, Trisha, and probably a whole host of others I don't know about. (Is Dr. Phil relevant here?)

pracowity, I know I don't.
posted by Dysk at 4:07 AM on July 29, 2009


Shock Jocks Shock!
My 2 cents - How about ignoring shock jocks and instead linking to affirmative radio broadcats - Bastardy.
posted by tellurian at 4:21 AM on July 29, 2009


[not wide pussyist] broadcats broadcasts.
posted by tellurian at 4:37 AM on July 29, 2009


Can we call for the sacking of *all* morning DJs everywhere? Just play music and traffic reports, if I want to listen to people talk I'll listen to NPR. (Which is what I default to anyway.)
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:55 AM on July 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


These types of abusive shock jocks are the media's equivalent of the school yard bully, creating humiliation, pain, and fear... all to entertain the insecure lackeys who follow them around.

If you find this crap offensive, how about letting the radio station and the companies that advertise with them know how you feel, stop purchasing the products advertised, and then stop listening. That's really the only power you have in a situation like this.
posted by HuronBob at 5:00 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


let me throw in one more question here... Is it at all possible that this WASN'T on tape delay? I don't know of any radio station that broadcasts in real time when they are interviewing citizens...don't they ALWAYS tape delay this kind of stuff?

If that's the case, and the idiot DJs and the producers knew this was going over the air...wtf...
posted by HuronBob at 5:04 AM on July 29, 2009


I think the mother needs her head examined for simply letting her child in the same room as Kyle and Jackie O. Handing them a 14-year-old with a troubled past is like chumming the waters for a couple of great white sharks. Poor girl must have been terrified when she saw those dead eyes and gleaming teeth.
posted by Ritchie at 5:09 AM on July 29, 2009


Um, when I was a teenager I loved me one or two teenage girls... but a 14 year old girl should not yet have a sexual history, beyond maybe some necking and an awkward grope that was icky. So for me, crime #1 is any portrayal of a 14 year-old's sexual history as something that's normal or expected.

I knew one girl whose sexual history did start at 14, and the initiation was, essentially, date-rape.

Smokin' bod or not, 14 year-olds are children, and have a right to be children. Damn anyone - radio, MTV, A&F, whoever - who insist on stealing that from them.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:12 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, a 7-second delay is good practice in live radio, but unfortunately it's not mandatory in Australia. The girl's pause was quite long, but seven seconds would have been time to lunge for the dump button as soon as she mentioned the rape. Still, commercial radio sound ops have a lot to think about at once - with all those wacky sound effects, I can't really blame them for not catching this one in time.
posted by embrangled at 5:16 AM on July 29, 2009


I think the mother needs her head examined

No, she needs to lose custody of this child.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:19 AM on July 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


You know, Art Linkletter at least had the sense not to do stuff like this live. Although I'm sure Kids Say the Darndest Things would have been even more of a hoot with the lie detector and sex questions.
posted by localroger at 5:28 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


From embrangled's link:

I’ve certainly pissed off a lot of journos over the years but I’m sad that they’re using the rape of a 12-year-old girl to have a go at me.

...

As for what I said, it wasn’t intended to hurt. If people have found it appalling or offensive I’m sorry for them that feel that way, but I would ask people to put themselves into the situation where someone says to you during a live radio show that they have been raped.

Why is it that aggressive assholes always have to play the victim when one of their tawdry stunts goes wrong? (See also: Sarah Palin.)
posted by MegoSteve at 5:32 AM on July 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


The DJs and the producer should have been fired as soon as they went off the air, and the mother should have been arrested.

And thank you MegoSteve: aggressive, arrogant assholes always play the victim when their stunts go wrong because they see themselves as having a God-given right to hurt others, viciously and cruelly, without having to suffer retributions. They have the right to hurt anyone they want, but nobody has the right to hurt them in return. Typical arrogant narcissistic shock jock garbage.
posted by watsondog at 5:40 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's a Mr Show sketch EXACTLY like this. They put Paul F Tompkins on a lie detector and in an effort to prove that the lie detector is broken and that he's LYING he announces, "I'm a controlling asshole because I was raped when I was a boy" and the lie detector goes "True!" at which point he breaks down and realizes he's been repressing the memory.

That was funny! This is not! What pair of adult guys think, "Boy, it's great to be an adult. Let's go ask a 14 year old girl about sex!". Gross gross gross gross gross. And what's with the Mom who goes, "I can't wait to have my 14 year old girl in the same room as two shock jocks! She'll treasre this moment forever".

More public radio, please.
posted by GilloD at 5:43 AM on July 29, 2009


"I would ask people to put themselves into the situation where someone says to you during a live radio show that they have been raped."

Sure. Fine. Okay. I ran a campus/community radio station for a few years, and even the 16-year-old Youth Center DJs we had on once a week would have had the common sense to say "we'll going to break for a moment, be right back", cut the mics, slap on some music, and take three minutes to get their heads straight.

"Right ... And is that the only experience you have had?" would not have been the response of anybody at the station, from 70-year-old Tom who liked to spin his classical LP collection on Sunday mornings from 8-10, through Metalhead Bren playing monster riffs from 1-3 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Geoff as Folk would have cut to some Stan Rogers; the Full-Clout Truck-Cat Show would have tossed on some Beastie Boys or Kid606. I might have opted for Mingus or Coltrane; "Delicate" Dave would have gone straight for the New Order. Billy Smart would have put on some Blur, and Gavin Butter would have thrown on a 45 by some punk band I'd never heard of.

I'd love to say none of them would have done anything this monumentally stupid in the first place, but these were a lot of 18-to-21-year-olds and a smattering of adults. They did a lot of stupid shit that falls into the "seems like a good idea at the time" category.

But Rule One was always, always, if something goes pear-shaped, cut the mic and go to music. Take a minute and come back to it. Kick people out, invite people in, call the station manager, leave the booth, do whatever you need to in order to avoid a total flaming meltdown.

This isn't a moral response; it's got nothing in particular to do with the situation at hand. This is just basic good radio.

So yes, I can put myself in the situation, and I can put about 180 other people in the situation quite handily, all of them with about two hours of formal training tops. And I can guarantee you that just blathering on like an idiot is something none of them would do.

They would cut to music, with the chilling certainty that I was about to shitcan them with the fury of a thousand blazing suns. But in the interim, they would cut to music rather than say any imbecile thing that scampered across a mind poisoned by hair gel and a modicum of fame.
posted by Shepherd at 5:56 AM on July 29, 2009 [34 favorites]


(and, incidentally, we didn't have "producers" -- like most volunteer-driven stations, DJs went on the air without any immediate oversight. As embrangled says above, this lies on the shoulders of the producer first, before it works its way down the line.)
posted by Shepherd at 6:00 AM on July 29, 2009


Brother Dysk: vaghjar, as well as Jerry Springer, there's Ricki Lake, Trisha, and probably a whole host of others I don't know about. (Is Dr. Phil relevant here?)

Pfft. All of them have some small capacity for this thing that could be called cruelty for entertainment's sake, but not a one has the innate ability and subtle artistry at it that Jeremy Kyle brings to the table. As usual, the English are capable of a much more incisive and calculated form of any given cultural phenomenon, good or bad: reality shows, rock music, political interviews, and tabloids, to name a few good examples.

Kyle is a flaming idiot, but he's only stupid; in the same situation, Jeremy Kyle would have come up with something to say which would have simultaneously destroyed the life of the mother and convinced the daughter to commit suicide, something like ‘Hold on a moment—you're on my show, and you'll listen to what I have to say! You: your mother asked you a question, now have you had sex or haven't you? If you can't answer that, then I don't know what to do with you. In fact, you both disgust me.’
posted by koeselitz at 6:03 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I get why the mom resorted to a lie detector. She's got a hurting, out of control adolecent and the mother has no idea how to parent or deal with the situation.

What I don't get is why her idea is to drag her child to a radio station morning zoo, rather than to a counsellor. Really? THAT never occured to her?

I feel sorry for the little-girl. The people she should be able to count on to take care of her are completely unequal to the task.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:09 AM on July 29, 2009


I cannot visit any of the links here from work but I am curious. Is there any sense that this is real or that she is making it up?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:12 AM on July 29, 2009


Good lord, I can't see any reason why the girl shouldn't sue both parties responsible, and win. Some ridiculously bad examples of mothering and hosting.
posted by graventy at 6:12 AM on July 29, 2009


…and Jeremy Kyle loves this whole ‘lie detector’ bunk, as well.
posted by koeselitz at 6:28 AM on July 29, 2009


There are three kinds of people: Assholes, Sheep, and Outliers. Assholes don't care what anyone else thinks, they just care about themselves with bonus points if they have followers, e.g. sheep. Sheep are insecure and just want to be associated with an asshole who might protect them, with bonus points if there are lots of like-minded sheep. Outliers are somewhat between Sheep and Asshole but off to the side, in that they're aware not only of their own vulnerabilities but their own capabilities and the effect they have on others.

Sheep are fickle and will abandon an asshole easily, so assholes clearly cannot run rampant. Indeed, assholes must cater to their sheep or risk losing them. Outliers regulate the power of assholes through incantations of propoganda, truth and lies. The dynamic is fascinating and complex. One can even translate it to the world of physics in this fashion: An asshole is a vector. Sheep are force. Outliers are delta.

In this realm, your shock jock is clearly an asshole, a vector, heading down a morning radio path. Lots of sheep follow him because he's funny and arrogant and risque, and gives them something to talk about over lunch. The outliers are okay with this because the asshole is annoying but not too annoying; he is keeping the sheep occupied and happy.

But now the asshole has gone too far down his path and stumbled, and the sheep have looked up and said "baa?" So now the outliers are applying propaganda to decrease the power of the asshole; to alter his vector into a more acceptable direction. Or, the shock-jock may be sacrificed (vector terminated) so that the radio station virtual-asshole will not lose too many sheep. This probably won't happen because orphan sheep can wander away quickly, whereas a corrected vector, even if severely corrected, generally retains more sheep than a transition to a new vector.

Anyway, I guess I like MeFi because most folks are more Outlier than Asshole or Sheep.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:36 AM on July 29, 2009 [12 favorites]


koeselitz, yeah Jeremy Kyle is worthy of a mention here as well. On a slightly related note, I've always found it disturbing that Trisha Goddard seems quite intelligent and sensible on the whole, so long as she's not on her own show. She managed a better performance that a lot of panellists at Question Time, for example.

Then again, there's practically always a Tory party panellist, so that's much like saying that she can form coherent arguments.
posted by Dysk at 6:37 AM on July 29, 2009


I just need to say, and Kyle, no offense mate, but you are as dumb as dogshit. There, we both feel better.
posted by mattoxic at 6:41 AM on July 29, 2009


The only person who didn't come off as a total ass is the young girl. I don't know whether the prize goes to Kyle for his shockingly stupid "So aside from the rape..." or the mother for deciding to grill her on-air about her sexual history, knowing full well that she was raped.

OK, the prize goes to the mother, but Kyle gets a special jury prize for outstanding achievement in ass-holery.
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on July 29, 2009


Seems to me something on this level has to have happened on Jerry Springer or the like, but this is still horrifying.

1. Not live.
2. They have counselors on staff, ready, waiting and most of all prepared.
3. Not live.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:53 AM on July 29, 2009


Previously on the Lie Detector:
JACKIE O: I, I apologise to anybody out there who has been offended with this segment that we’ve done all week, I know it’s probably gone too far and I do apologise about that.

KYLE SANDILANDS: What sort of a dork have you turned into overnight?
posted by divabat at 6:59 AM on July 29, 2009


So eerie how both the mother and the male DJ have the same -- I guess I'll call it -- blind spot. Mother knew about the rape but still wanted to know if her daughter was having sex; DJ's first response to the girl's admission was, "And is that the only experience you have had?" Just sliding past acknowledgement of the girl's pain, just like how they ignored her initial fear and distress... We didn't ask what was done to you. What did you initiate or actively engage in? Because what I'm really interested in is telling you how you screwed up. This rape thing -- well, clearly that's the guy's fault, but he ain't here. So, c'mon, we didn't hook you up to this lie detector for nothing...
posted by vaghjar at 6:59 AM on July 29, 2009


Also, I get a real blame-the-victim sense from the mother in this exchange:
"Have you had sex?" the mother asked.
"I've already told you the story of this," the clearly uncomfortable child eventually responded.
"And don't smile about this because it's not funny.
"I was raped when I was twelve years old!"
[...]
The mother then mentioned she only became aware of the incident a few months ago, despite stating earlier she wasn't completely sure if her daughter engaged in intercourse.

"And yet you still asked me the question," the girl continued.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:08 AM on July 29, 2009


1. Not live.
2. They have counselors on staff, ready, waiting and most of all prepared.
3. Not live.


Er, so does that mean there actually were revelations like, "I was raped when I was 12," and the only way JS is different is that the thing was taped? Or does that mean that the advantage of taping as opposed to live is that the viewers at home wouldn't even see moments like that at all?

...Or could it possibly mean that when they did tape such a revelation, it was only after the subject and people reacting had sufficient mental preparation to do so..?
posted by vaghjar at 7:14 AM on July 29, 2009


Well, at least the girl isn't the only person now who knows what a crappy mother she has. Maybe both of them can get the counseling they need, and yes, the station should pay for every last penny.

I don't know if Australia is as sue-happy as the US, but that station is sure gonna look like ripe pickings to any attorney willing to represent that girl.
posted by emjaybee at 7:21 AM on July 29, 2009


People do a lot of stupid things. This is not news, and it's not new.

What is relatively new is the speed with which a person sitting in Florida, USA can hear about the stupidity of two professional idiots and one amateur in Australia.

I've often wondered if there is actually more stupidity in the world, or if I just hear about more of it; this seems to confirm the second premise.
posted by Pragmatica at 7:22 AM on July 29, 2009


MICHELLE: I only found out about that a couple of months ago. Yes, I knew about that.

RACHEL: And yet you still asked me the question.

MICHELLE: The question was, have you had sex, other than that?


Other than that?? What the hell is wrong with you, woman? You don't think that's a big enough deal? Kyle may be a fuckhead, but there is clearly something seriously wrong with the mother if she thinks that her daughter having consensual sex is somehow worse that her daughter being raped at age 12.
posted by Jilder at 7:23 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


HuronBob: "If you find this crap offensive, how about letting the radio station and the companies that advertise with them know how you feel, stop purchasing the products advertised, and then stop listening. That's really the only power you have in a situation like this."

"Vote with your dollars." This infuriating little idea has left me sputtering with rage more than once lately. It implies that, if you are not in the position to directly financially aid some entity that is causing harm to the world, then you have no say in what they do. Propagating this loathsome little meme effectively gives a pass to a wide swath of horrifying behaviour.

The fact is, this kind of power can only be brought to bear upon a tiny segment of the evil-causing corporate world. And even among those groups that it -can- conceivably effect, it's often of vanishingly little good. I've voted "no" with my dollars in all cases involving spam, for instance, and it hasn't helped my inbox nearly as much as Gmail's spam filter has.
posted by JHarris at 7:59 AM on July 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


MICHELLE: I only found out about that a couple of months ago. Yes, I knew about that.

RACHEL: And yet you still asked me the question.

MICHELLE: The question was, have you had sex, other than that?


And the twelve year old hasn't had counselling? But then again I suppose any idiot shit for brains who is willing to submit their child to this public abuse and humiliation is not going to seek counselling when their twelve year old child is raped.
posted by mattoxic at 8:19 AM on July 29, 2009


I love this girl.

Seriously, how awesome is she? She's owning her truth, stating that it's not fair, that she's scared, and that her mother is pulling a ridiculous mindfuck on her, while all around her the supposed "adults" are acting like complete assclams.

I would never have had that much courage at age 14. She is my new hero.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:20 AM on July 29, 2009 [37 favorites]


But the mother, knowing that her daughter was raped at 12, and then deciding that taking part in a comedy radio segment was the best way to find out just why her daughter was having problems... I'm completely gobsmacked.

This makes more sense when you realize that Australia is the Alabama of Earth.
posted by Aquaman at 8:20 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aquaman: Offensive on two levels. How ould you like it if I claimed the sea is the toilet of the earth, you filthy merman. Mean to seas, mean to very useful lavatories.
posted by Jilder at 8:26 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sidhedevil is right. I can almost guarantee you that at some level, even if just for a moment, this girl experienced a sense of righteous payback for the punishment she was being subjected to.
posted by jokeefe at 8:33 AM on July 29, 2009


The station should have to start (with a few grand, at least) and manage a fund for listeners to pay into for this child's counseling, and perhaps later college.

Also, about 10% of the money should be diverted to paying Mike Tyson to punch the DJs, Mom, and pretty much every other grownup involved, especially the rapist. Mike might do it for free.

Can we get someone at MakeZine to engrave "Bad Radio Show Idea" onto a pair of brass knuckles?
posted by adipocere at 8:47 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just rescinded a post, since it could have been construed as making terrorist threats, despite the fact that it clearly would have been simply an extremely sarcastic joke, and one in extremely poor taste.

Suffice it to say I have little love for people who torment others simply for the purpose of amusement.
posted by Xoebe at 8:48 AM on July 29, 2009


Having listened to the segment after reading about it, I was surprised most of all by the pretension during the segment that this was all, somehow, a helpful intervention, allowing a troubled mother to get some answers from her problem child.

The segment started with wild music and snazzy sound effects, then they quickly began to act all serious and helpful. Very dissonant. But not too unfamiliar. Many talk shows (Maury, Springer, etc) have that same "we're here to help troubled people/we're here to exploit freaks for gawking value" double vibe going on.

BTW....

The mother started by stating she was worried about her 14 year old having sex with "older boys." Unless they weren't very much older than her, wouldn't that be statutory rape in the *first place* that they were knowingly asking about?

Whole thing was sick from the get-go.
posted by edheil at 8:49 AM on July 29, 2009


posted by seanmpuckett There are three kinds of people: Assholes, Sheep, and Outliers. Assholes don't care what anyone else thinks, they just care about themselves with bonus points if they have followers, e.g. sheep. Sheep are insecure and just want to be associated with an asshole who might protect them, with bonus points if there are lots of like-minded sheep. Outliers are somewhat between Sheep and Asshole but off to the side, in that they're aware not only of their own vulnerabilities but their own capabilities and the effect they have on others. Sheep are fickle and will abandon an asshole easily, so assholes clearly cannot run rampant. Indeed, assholes must cater to their sheep or risk losing them. Outliers regulate the power of assholes through incantations of propoganda, truth and lies.

Which one are you?
posted by mattdidthat at 8:52 AM on July 29, 2009


This is another sterling example of why children should always, whenever remotely possible, be kept with their birth parents. Because no one cares like your family, right?
posted by QIbHom at 9:02 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


God shitty morning radio sounds the same all over the world. I loathe this stuff.
posted by pianomover at 9:06 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, about 10% of the money should be diverted to paying Mike Tyson to punch the DJs, Mom, and pretty much every other grownup involved, especially the rapist. Mike might do it for free.

Might want to reconsider that - Mike Tyson isn't exactly the best person to offer any kind of positive guidance on the subject of rape.
posted by daveje at 9:21 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Trisha Goddard seems quite intelligent and sensible on the whole, so long as she's not on her own show.

She started her TV career as a reporter on the ABC's 7.30 Report, high-cred serious journalism, so it's no surprise she'd do well on Question Time.

Kyle has always been a tool, and I hope this poor girl gets the counselling she deserves and closely examines her relationship with her idiot mother.
posted by goo at 9:32 AM on July 29, 2009


Every 6-8 months some morning DJ mouth breather does something beyond the pale and everyone gets outraged, and yet the medium continues and number of morning geek fests doesn't decrease by even one. So here we are again.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:10 AM on July 29, 2009


and then stop listening

Been doing that for over ten years. The response from radio so far has been to do even more 'wacky, edgy, in-your-face' crap.

It can't die fast enough, but it's not.
posted by sageleaf at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2009


Gods, that poor girl. I wish I could just scoop her up and take her to a safe place to heal. Her mother on the other hand; I could see myself stuffing her in a barrel full of honey and rolling it out to a fire ant mound.
posted by dejah420 at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the failure to cut to music has much to do with the fact that music costs money and talk is free. (I tried to listen to the clip and realized it was just too awful, so maybe I'm ill informed)
posted by poe at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2009


Hmm. People talk about this kind of thing all the time on Dr. Drew's Love Line. I once heard a 12 or 13 year old girl call up and tell Dr. Drew and whoever it was that replaced Adam Carolla about how her father was molesting her and guilt tripping her for not wanting to do it. Pretty fucked up situation but I don't think calling Love Line was a bad idea for her.

Obviously that's light-years from what happened here but simply talking about these issues on the radio isn't de facto a bad thing.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2009


This is another sterling example of why children should always, whenever remotely possible, be kept with their birth parents. Because no one cares like your family, right?

Well where else are they supposed to go? Do you think growing up in foster care is a party? putting a child in foster care is a very bad thing for the child and you really have to balance how bad it would be to live the kid with the parent vs. putting them in child care. You can also force the parent to take parenting classes, etc.
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on July 29, 2009


a 14 year old girl should not yet have a sexual history, beyond maybe some necking and an awkward grope that was icky. So for me, crime #1 is any portrayal of a 14 year-old's sexual history as something that's normal or expected.

This is a bit of a derail, but 14 year old girls can have enjoyable, consensual sexual encounters and if they do, there is nothing wrong with that.
posted by kathrineg at 11:51 AM on July 29, 2009


Yeah, the "a 14 year old girl should not yet have a sexual history" attitude strikes me as the kind that leads to "therefore it's good and right of me to interrogate/spy on/hypnotize my daughter to ensure she stays virginal and pure". Not that there's a 1:1 correlation of healthy sexual attitudes and privacy/respect, but they sure do seem to go together in parent/child scenarios.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:57 AM on July 29, 2009


This is a bit of a derail, but 14 year old girls can have enjoyable, consensual sexual encounters and if they do, there is nothing wrong with that

Uh, yes there is. No teenager's brain is fully formed. Young teens in particular do not have the ability to accurately judge the consequences of their actions. As adult as most fourteen-year olds appear, they are not adults and are not capable of making adult decisions, particularly regarding sex.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, sex is fun.
posted by kathrineg at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh, yes there is. No teenager's brain is fully formed. Young teens in particular do not have the ability to accurately judge the consequences of their actions. As adult as most fourteen-year olds appear, they are not adults and are not capable of making adult decisions, particularly regarding sex.

Oh, come on. Don't you remember being a teenager? Laughing your head off at the "think of the children" stuff adults said? 14-year-olds know all about pregnancy and STDs; they're plenty capable of having sex responsibly if they want to. (Well, except maybe for those in abstinence-only areas. But then again, older teenagers aren't going to know anything either in those places.)

The poor girl in this story sounds more well-adjusted than any of the adults. May her remaining years with her crazy mother pass swiftly.
posted by equalpants at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on. Don't you remember being a teenager?

Vividly, which is why I'm so emphatically against teenagers doing much of anything. I once read something that said, "I wouldn't want to be bound to any decision I made when I was 18." That goes double for 14.

If you think that teenagers are being responsible, especially with their reproductive health.

--Each year, almost 750,000 women aged 15-19 become pregnant.

--Eighty-two percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned; they account for about one in five of all unintended pregnancies annually

--Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries-twice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and eight times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.

--Eleven percent of all U.S. births are to teens

--The rate of AIDS diagnoses in young men (15-19 years old) is on the rise, nearly doubling from 1.3 cases per 100,000 population in 1997 to 2.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2006.

-- In 2006, about 1 million teens and young adults had chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis. And the rates of syphillis, for men and women, are on the rise.

--- The humanpapillomavirus, or HPV, is widespread. Between 2003 and 2006, nearly a quarter of girls 15-19 years old had an HPV infection. That figure was 45 percent for young women ages 20-24.



I don't like them odds.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:10 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, it seems like we need more sex ed, better reproductive health treatment (including the HPV vaccine) and better access to birth control and abortion.
posted by kathrineg at 1:16 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you think that teenagers are being responsible, especially with their reproductive health. [...]

I think we're talking past each other. Neither I, nor kathrineg in her original comment that you objected to, said that all teenagers are mature enough to handle sex. Only that many are, and therefore statements like "a 14 year old girl should not yet have a sexual history" are needlessly dire.

There are at least two factors behind teen pregnancy and STDs: lack of education, and immaturity (i.e. knowing about the consequences, but stupidly thinking they don't apply to you). I could be wrong, but I think lack of education is much more significant; I think a high percentage of teens are mature enough to take precautions if they know about them. Certainly that was the case where I grew up--everybody knew the dangers, and virtually everybody used protection.

I also think it's bizarre to believe that teenagers will become capable of making adult decisions once they get a little older. I think that making decisions and learning from them is how you become an adult; it won't happen any other way. Obviously some potential mistakes are worse than others (drunk driving, drug addiction), and we should try to keep teens away from the worst of them. Safe sex is not one of those things. It is nowhere near dangerous enough to be categorically frowned-upon. (Unsafe sex, sure.)
posted by equalpants at 1:34 PM on July 29, 2009


I normally love seeing Kyle and Jackie O publicly humiliated but I can't get any joy out of this one, given that it took the humiliation of an already traumatised young woman to make it happen.

As my partner said when I told her of the incident, the mum deserves as much flack as Kyle and Jackie O for allowing this situation to happen, if not more. She knew her daughter didn't want to do something, and made her do it anyway... not at all unlike the two year old incident the daughter confessed to live on air.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:01 PM on July 29, 2009


Also; Sandilands hits back over stunt furore.

"To tell you the truth I was floundering around, signalling to the producers and Jackie - down the camera - indicating that we had to get it off air," he said.

"I didn't realise I had said 'Have you had any other experiences?'

"At the same time I was speaking I was signalling to Jackie that we had to terminate the segment. I went into a slight panic as how to get the thing off the air and I was more focused on making that happen than on what I said. "


Aaaw, well that changes everything! Let's all forgive the prick!
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2009


Further proof that Kyle and Jackie are cunts: Jason Whalley of Frenzal Rhomb calling them out for their fucktardery.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:36 PM on July 29, 2009


See, now this is proof that sometimes, violence really is an answer. Cricket bats to the kneecaps, chaps!
posted by rodgerd at 4:49 PM on July 29, 2009


"To tell you the truth I was floundering around, signalling to the producers and Jackie - down the camera - indicating that we had to get it off air," he said.

"I didn't realise I had said 'Have you had any other experiences?'


But don’t you understand, Kyle? that’s exactly the problem!

You combine seriously mind-fucking technology which was created specifically for highly trained law enforcement professionals in the privacy of an interrogation situation and combine it with the potentially life-wrecking power of the mass media for a few laughs –all without the slightest bit of mental preparation on your own part as to how you’ll react if it all goes pear-shaped.

Saying that you were so gob-smacked that you didn’t know what you were saying isn’t an excuse –it’s just another Epic Fail to be added to a very long list.
posted by jadayne at 4:55 PM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't like them odds

Regardless of how you feel about it, kids are going to keep having sex because it feels good and they have all sorts of hormones raging through their systems impelling them to do so. Educate teens about safe sex, provide them with free contraception, teach them to love themselves so they don't turn to sex as a way to prove their self-worth, but don't expect it to go away.
posted by goo at 5:17 PM on July 29, 2009


14-year-olds know all about pregnancy and STDs; they're plenty capable of having sex responsibly if they want to.

This is completely untrue. I've taught STD seminars for college students (and not in an abstinence-only area) and been thoroughly shocked by how incomplete their knowledge was. I'd say that most 14-year-olds know that pregnancy and STDs are potential consequences of having sex, but many would have trouble defining what qualifies as "having sex" or know how to adequately protect themselves. Misinformation about sex and risk is rampant in schools, and a lot of young people don't know where to look for real and reliable info.

I know that there are some 14-year-olds who are fabulously well-informed about sex, but I don't think those 14-year-olds are in the majority. There are also many 14-year-olds who are responsible and mature and can handle the risks and deal with the emotional aspects of sex, but again, I think many people that age are not there yet. 14 is a tough age, and the barbaric social landscape of middle-school doesn't help a person gain confidence, self-respect or self-awareness. There's a real concern that a 14-year-old who is sexually involved with other people is in a situation where they are not fully aware of the risks they are taking, or that they are being pressured and feel unable to assert themselves.

If you think a 14-year-old girl who you know and care about is having sex, particularly with "older boys" as this girl's mother claims, and particularly if she has been a victim of sexual violence in the past, it's not a bad idea to investigate further and make sure that she knows what she's doing and is really comfortable with it. If your reaction is to vilify and interrogate her, you may be not only taking a truly fucked-up attitude toward sexuality in general, but also ignoring the very real possibility that the girl is not fully in control of her sex life. If your reaction is not only to vilify and interrogate, but to do it live on-air with a couple of shock-jocks, then, well, you should probably be shot in the head.
posted by bookish at 5:39 PM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Adipocere: Just remember that the words are to be engraved facing right-to-left.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:41 PM on July 29, 2009


So 14 year olds are children with adult bodies? Nope. They are ready for sex with other young people, yes. The denial of this simple physical fact is creating suffering on a scale that can be enjoyed by joykilling assholes of all ages.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:10 PM on July 29, 2009


One of these days a shock jock is going to be murdered by someone they abused. And the only emotion I might feel about that will be schadenfreude.

The fewer of those assholes there are in our society, the better off we are.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:25 PM on July 29, 2009


And Australians call Americans "Seppos"...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:43 PM on July 29, 2009


Something wrong Yank?
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:55 PM on July 29, 2009


Oh great, now even Americans are making jokes at our expense. SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE, KYLE?

I used to have some lingering sympathy for Kyle, because he and I apparently share an affliction: migraines. But the truth is, every time I see him these days, the hairs of the back of my neck stand up. I wasn't joking upthread with my mention of 'dead eyes'. I used to think he was simply on some kind of medication, but his behavior has actually come to suggest a complete lack of empathy, and a love of confrontation. Maybe he's different in private, but his public demeanor is devoid of human warmth. The man is a reptile.
posted by Ritchie at 8:09 PM on July 29, 2009


Kyle has been trying to justify his immediate reaction to the rape revelation, but I think it is more important that all three adults explain why they continued with the stunt at all after the child they were bullying said: "I'm scared, it's not fair."
posted by stammer at 9:45 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Something wrong Yank?
posted by turgid dahlia


Well, if anyone is being "septic tank"-like, it's the Australian DJ. Let's call him a Seppo. It fits.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:23 PM on July 29, 2009


One of these days "shock jocks" will fade away and everyone will scratch their heads and say "What was that all about y'all?" And we will rock in our chairs and say "I guess things were different then" as if that explains it. And they will think we are stupid.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:26 PM on July 29, 2009


The most grotesque media exploitation imaginable
posted by divabat at 10:39 PM on July 29, 2009


None of you actually listen to this sort of "morning crew" crap, do you?

John Humphreys, James Naughtie and co. are my morning crew. When you get subjected to John Humphreys' lie detector, you'd better be pretty damn scared.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:22 PM on July 29, 2009


Seppo is a leftover rhyming slang - Septic Tank=Yank.

Just to clear that up for you Usanians.
posted by Jilder at 11:22 PM on July 29, 2009


Not the first time Kyle's been caught in an on-air controversy
Yesterday’s controversial radio segment was not the first time Kyle Sandilands broadcast a family’s painful sexual history.

While Sandilands said he and co-host Jackie O were "stunned" yesterday when a 14-year-old revealed on-air that she had been raped, the pair were reportedly embroiled in similar controversy in 2001, when they worked for B105 FM in Brisbane.

Sandilands had arranged an on-air confrontation between a schoolgirl, Natasha, and her mother, Angela, who said she had sex with her daughter’s boyfriend, News Ltd said.

On that occasion co-host Jackie O expressed concerns about the segment, labelling it "tacky", but Sandilands dismissed her concerns and the segment was broadcast.

During the exchange, Sandilands asked the mother: "Have you slept with your daughter’s boyfriend?"

She replied: "Yes, but there was alc ... we were drunk, it was, you know, it was ..."

While crying, her daughter Natasha said: "Yeah, that makes it all okay, doesn’t it?".

Later in the segment, after Natasha said she did not wish to speak with her mother again, Jackie O said: "I think we should leave them and not broadcast this ..."

Sandilands replied: "You’ve got to be kidding me."

Sandilands later told News Ltd he had overruled Jackie O "because I have more experience".

The radio station reportedly received hundreds of complaints about the segment.
posted by divabat at 12:13 AM on July 30, 2009


It's hard for me to understand why the girl revealed the rape on live radio. She could have refused to answer the question and dealt with it more privately. She probably answered truthfully because of the pressure of being put on the spot. But I also wonder if she brought it into the open to, in a way, strike back at her mother for resorting to such an insensitive tactic. Maybe it was her own way of opening an honest dialogue with her mum.

Anyway, what kind of mum doesn't seek out counseling or some sort of professional help once she's discovered her daughter has been targeted with rape?
posted by quosimosaur at 1:20 AM on July 30, 2009


Yes, and did she pass the lie detector test?
posted by magic curl at 1:58 AM on July 30, 2009


I really think Jackie O is gettting off lightly in this - she likes to play good cop to Kyle's bad cop, but she's just as much of a morally-bankrupt arsehole as he is, right there supporting and defending him every time he starts bullying people on air.

The whole "vote with your dollars" thing won't work. They'll just get more frantically "controversial" in an effort to get attention. However, you can lodge a complaint with the radio station, and if they don't give a satisfactory response (as if they would), you can take it to the ACMA (details at the end of this blog post at Larvatus Prodeo).

Meanwhile, the Chaser is pushed off air amid complaints they made fun of Make a Wish programs, and had a sketch about guide dogs for the drunk. No-one was actually hurt by their show, compared to the poor kid who's mum dragged her onto breakfast radio.
posted by harriet vane at 4:41 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just another reason to ensure that FBi Radio stays on the air.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:01 AM on July 30, 2009


--Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries-twice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and eight times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.

Yet these Dutch and Japanese teens are the same age as ours! Perhaps there is something else amiss than age here?
posted by 999 at 5:13 AM on July 30, 2009


--Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries-twice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and eight times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.

Yet these Dutch and Japanese teens are the same age as ours! Perhaps there is something else amiss than age here?


I'd like to think that the rates are lower because the kids in other countries aren't as sexually active at such young ages.

It's not opinion, it's science. The brain isn't fully developed until kids hit 18 or so.

Teens are NOT thinking the way adults think because they absolutely, positively can't do that yet. Adolescent brains just aren't ''hard wired'' like adult brains.

Researchers recently discovered that adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain; teens process information with the amygdala, the instinctual, emotional part of the brain. Teens don't think, ''Binge drinking is very dangerous and stupid.'' Rather, it's ''Oh, boy, a chugging contest! Wouldn't it be cool if I won?''

What the Experts Say
Up until 1997, conventional thinking, heralded during the White House Conference on Early Learning and Childhood Development, held that the greatest time of brain growth occurred before the age of 18 months, and was set forever by the age of three. But scientists spent the following years scanning teens' brains in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and discovered that the prefrontal cortex, which makes people ''act like an adult,'' is not fully developed in a teenager until after the age of 18.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:03 AM on July 30, 2009


Ruthless Bunny: What would you say to a teenager who regularly has safe sex with his/her boyfriend/girlfriend (and not with anyone else)? Would you say that he/she shouldn't be doing it? What reason would you give?

(I'm not snarking; this is a serious question.)
posted by equalpants at 6:30 AM on July 30, 2009


katherineg: This is a bit of a derail, but 14 year old girls can have enjoyable, consensual sexual encounters and if they do, there is nothing wrong with that.

First, thanks for being the first to respond to that, and for prompting others to follow up on this point.

Of course SOME teenagers are capable of enjoyable consensual sex at age 14. Not all though, and capable or not, they should still have the right to decide for themselves, free of pressure for or against.

I think you missed my point, though. Main point is that there's strong social pressure on young teens to race into sexual activity, else they're missing out, and this pressure causes some girls to give in early, against their own wishes or doubts. Or young boys feel compelled or justified in being aggressive, to the point of date-rape. And it's now OK to put a lie detector on a 14-year-old girl in the name of entertainment.

Too many people equate "ready to" with "should be". As per this sage commentary:

So 14 year olds are children with adult bodies? Nope. They are ready for sex with other young people, yes. The denial of this simple physical fact is creating suffering on a scale that can be enjoyed by joykilling assholes of all ages.

What's the message there - "You're 15 and a virgin? What's wrong with you?"

Finally, let's be real - it's not 14 yr old boys boffing 14 yr old girls that's the problem, it's older boys and predatory men on 14 yr olds, looking for the easy conquest.

Childhood's already too short. For those of us who had happy fun sex from an early age... yay us. But young teenagers are vulnerable and hormonal and confused. Educate - hell yes - but we have to make sure we're not pushing them into the game as soon as there's grass on the field.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:35 AM on July 30, 2009


Does the research say that people are incapable of acting responsibly before they are 18? Or incapable of acting irresponsibly after they're 18?
posted by Ritchie at 6:38 AM on July 30, 2009


(responding to Ruthless Bunny)
posted by Ritchie at 6:39 AM on July 30, 2009


Main point is that there's strong social pressure on young teens to race into sexual activity, else they're missing out, and this pressure causes some girls to give in early, against their own wishes or doubts. Or young boys feel compelled or justified in being aggressive, to the point of date-rape. And it's now OK to put a lie detector on a 14-year-old girl in the name of entertainment.

That was the shock jock motivation, but the mother's motivation seems to be the classic "I know what's best, so it's best I know everything". This parent is so concerned about consensual sex that the rape her daughter experienced is now a big whatever.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:43 AM on July 30, 2009


Ruthless Bunny: What would you say to a teenager who regularly has safe sex with his/her boyfriend/girlfriend (and not with anyone else)? Would you say that he/she shouldn't be doing it? What reason would you give?

It really depends on the age. If the teenager is closer to that magical 18 mark, chances are that they're in a healthy relationship, taking adult precautions and in all likelihood not harming their mental or physical health.

I get concerned with very young teens (up until around 16) being sexually active. What does a 14-year old know about anything? Is their judgement good enough to drive a car? To vote? To stay home alone? I don't think so.

As a person who taught this age group, I've seen first hand the lack of impulse control associated with the still-developing amygdala. I also saw 11 of my students become pregnant. At 14. These same kids couldn't sit still long enough to complete an in-class assignment.

In these pregnancies, the fathers were MUCH older than the 14-year old. I worry about the girls. They're more likely to think that they're in love and are more hurt when the man they are involved with moves on, often after the one time they had sex with him, and have become pregnant. It's anecdotal, I admit, but it's also heartbreaking.

I'd be interested in knowing how most girls who became sexually active at 14 really feel about their experiences, when they become adults.

Also, I absolutely HATE the idea that young women are expected to have lots of meaningless sex, that they base their worth on how much sex they can have and what kinds of guys they can attract. I'm not fond of how guys pride themselves on how many girls they can have sex with.

Sex is fun. And for some people the nameless hookup is fun. But I'd feel a whole lot more comfortable about it, if the participants were adults, with fully functioning brains (not drunk or high or too young or too stupid.) Ah, but that's utopia.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:32 AM on July 30, 2009


I'd like to think that the rates are lower because the kids in other countries aren't as sexually active at such young ages.

To be honest, your thinking is probably wrong there, at least as far the UK is concerned.

Comparing my experiences growing up and living in Stevenage and Hackney with what I saw/heard as an adult when I lived in the US, there was only really one major difference I could ever pin down.

That was that whilst teenage boys seemed equally pig-headed, stupid and cavalier about consequences in both countries, and whilst girls seemed to consent to (or be peer-pressured into) sex at pretty much the same levels, there was a slightly higher chance that one party or other would have just about enough common sense or appreciation of the risk to pull out a condom.

More often-than-not it was the girl, for whom the risks were obviously considerably higher - and when faced with the option of sticking the little guy somewhere wet and warm, or having to make up another "yeah I'm totally not a virgin" story to use on his mates, the boy would cave and agree.

I guess what I'm saying is that whilst abstinence may well be the ideal (and growing up as a Catholic you can rest assured I heard plenty about that option), it tries to impose a black and white solution onto a world that is pretty darn greyscale. A world that frankly, when you're a teenager, is actually pretty much in full MGM 1960s technicolour.

Sometimes that works out fine - maybe a kid is strong enough or smart enough to resist the strange and unususal cocktail of hormones now powering through their veins. Maybe their parents or even their friends are on the ball enough to spot the signs and help them understand the risks, or maybe the opportunity to get jiggy simply doesn't manifest until later on in life.

Sometimes, however, and in fact scarily often in lower income communities, none of the above happens, and suddenly (and indeed frighteningly quickly) the situation changes to one where sex is incredibly likely - whether both sides are 100% okay with that prospect or not.

In those situations education becomes a powerful armour, because - done right - it can both bolster a girl's (and I say "girl's" because that is almost always the party for which this is relevant) confidence in her absolute right to say no, and also because it provides the option of a third way. A third way that - whether taken as a compromise between two youngsters who genuinely (but perhaps incorrectly) feel that they are ready to take their first sexual steps, or taken as a way to mitigate a rushed decision, massively reduces the chances of a moment of misjudgement becoming a life-changing event.

I mean, Jesus, I can think of at least three or four occasions where the seemingly-confident insistences (I say seemingly because who knows how they felt inside) of certain young ladies that protection be used, may well have prevented the stupendously stupid entity that was my pre-16 self from making an early entry into the world of parenthood.

Abstinence is liking having 19 WILL. That's great, but one day some fucker is going to step up and roll a natural 20, and when they do, you wanna make damn sure your adventurer is wearing the Grieves of Education that carry a +3 resistance to protection-free lurve. Yeah, I'm constantly amazed that I ever got laid as well.
posted by garius at 7:38 AM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Does the research say that people are incapable of acting responsibly before they are 18? Or incapable of acting irresponsibly after they're 18?

I know you were trying to be a smart-ass, but it's a good question.

The research says that people are incapable of acting responsibly until their amygdala is fully formed and functioning.

NOW...I wonder if there are activities that may stunt this growth, such as drinking, taking drugs, etc. I suspect that there are. The amygdala is the place in the brain that helps us identify and understand the emotions that others feel. So amygdala damage results in a person's inability to accurately determine someones motives or emotions. For example, someone can be shown a picture of a person exhibiting fear and a person with an immature or damaged amygdala will not be able to identify that.

This lack of development allows teens to be lured into unsafe situations, such as letting a stranger buy and bring you a drink (laced with GHB perhaps?)

Also, an immature amygdala means that the ability to accurately judge the danger in a situation is absent. So you've got people drag racing in residential neighborhoods, leading police in high speed persuits or jumping from a roof into a swimming pool. They are unable to weigh the pros and cons of a situation.

There are adults, you see them all the time on Springer and Maury, who seem to have stopped growing intellectually at the age of 15. They perpetually act like idiot teenagers. It completely freaks me out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:43 AM on July 30, 2009


Abstinence is liking having 19 WILL. That's great, but one day some fucker is going to step up and roll a natural 20, and when they do, you wanna make damn sure your adventurer is wearing the Grieves of Education that carry a +3 resistance to protection-free lurve.

I think I love you.

They interviewed a young sex ed educator on UK radio earlier this week, and the presenter said 'But surely all schools now teach contraception?' My Catholic school, in the '90s, did not. We got all our information from teen magazines - the same magazines which would get confiscated. I went to school in an area with few jobs and prospects, and the amount of girls who got pregnant, engaged or both before 20 was depressing. Sure, there are people who want a family more than a career and there's nothing wrong with that, but it serves no-one when this is the default option.
posted by mippy at 9:17 AM on July 30, 2009


I know you were trying to be a smart-ass, but it's a good question.

I sometimes ask pointed questions, but not smartass ones.

The research says that people are incapable of acting responsibly until their amygdala is fully formed and functioning.

Then this fails the common sense test. You claim the research says the amygdala isn't fully-formed until a person reaches 18. You claim the research says people cannot act responsibly until the amygdala is fully-formed. You are therefore claiming that people cannot act responsibly until they turn 18. You are therefore claiming that no-one has ever acted responsibly until they turned 18. At this stage, my skeptic light starts flashing and I say "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". It would help if you linked to this research. I'd like to read the evidence myself.

Because frankly I would be amazed if there were any brain structure that had more than the most indirect relationship with a fraught moral or ethical concept like 'responsibility'. Assessment and/or avoidance of physical peril, yes, that would be plausible. But pregnancy is always perilous, and teen sex is only perilous in particular because of the taboos we have raised around it. This is like saying there's a brain structure that makes you believe in God, and only the mentally handicapped are atheists.
posted by Ritchie at 3:24 PM on July 30, 2009


Hey Australians - did anything about this come up on today's show?
posted by roll truck roll at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2009


I have a few other things to say, but before everything else, I want to say something that ought to have been said before but apparently hasn't been:

Lie detectors are the most extreme form of bunkum. They do not detect lies. They do not say anything about the character of the people to whom they are administered. Under very, very tightly controlled circumstances, they sometimes yield useful information, but it's widely disputed whether they should be admissable in court, and I believe they frankly shouldn't.
posted by koeselitz at 3:52 PM on July 30, 2009


Ruthless Bunny: No teenager's brain is fully formed. Young teens in particular do not have the ability to accurately judge the consequences of their actions.

No. You're absolutely wrong on this. (You seem to be quoting from this somewhat vague, uninformative, and unscientific article. It'd be nice if you'd linked to it or provided a citation.) Please read this peer-reviewed article. In particular, I don't think your understanding of the amygdala makes any sense; the amygdala appears to be responsible for strong emotional reactions and in particular fear and fear conditioning. Given this fact, an underdeveloped amygdala will impair your teenager's ability to think about sex only if you explain sex to them by whacking them with a baseball bat every time they do it wrong.

It would make much more sense to leave behind any discussion of cognitive development (since cognitive development is hardly something we humans have started to understand yet) and make the argument on the basis of the development of the ethical sense, which I would agree takes some time. I don't think that's because teenagers have underdeveloped brains; I think that's because ethics is difficult.

For what it's worth, understanding ethical principles in general and sexual matters in particular is not about simply understanding the consequences of one's actions. If it were, then you would be even more wrong, since teenagers are clearly able to comprehend the consequences of their own actions; they do not put their hands on stoves, they do not jump off of cliffs, they do not eat poisonous materials, et cetera. What teenagers lack is the mental habit of ethical sense. While it is easy for them to see that, for example, if I steal this bicycle, someone else won't have a bicycle any more, it's not yet second nature to them to immediately be reminded that by stealing bicycles they are creating a society where it's seen as acceptable to steal anything and everything, and that such a society would hardly be worth living in. For them to have that second nature, human beings have to have a long habit of contemplating ethical things and trying to act ethically; young people can't possibly have that.

Older people, however, often have that habit so well-set that they have difficulty seeing beyond the moral and ethical habits they've taken up; that's why older people like us often look at teenagers and say that “they sure aren't thinking about the consequences of their actions.” In a world of possibilities, a pregnancy can be aborted or an unplanned-for child can be put up for adoption; the fact that neither of these things is simple, easy, or desireable isn't a lesson to be taught by experience or foresight—thank God I didn't have to help a girlfriend get an abortion or help her put a child up for adoption to learn these things myself—but by a well-developed ethical sense of the well-being of others.

However, finally, as adults, it's worth remembering two things.

First, our own habits can just as often be an obstacle as a foundation for ethical behavior. What is habitual is certainly not the same as what is good, and it's easy to forget that when we have a habit of identifying the two. Many people still believe that homosexuality is wrong, or that marriage between races is wrong, or that letting someone who is black be in charge of anything (much less an entire country) is wrong; the fact that these beliefs have been habituated in people does not make them any less wrong. Young people haven't yet been subjected to the ‘benefit’ of our potentially small-minded prejudices. In fact, it might be worthwhile for us to try to maintain younger minds, in the sense that we should try remain ready and willing to consider whether anything we believe to be wrong is actually wrong.

Second, if we're going to try to talk to young people in any kind of real way without offending them, repelling them, or simply earning their distrust or dislike, we'd do well to leave behind even the implication their their brains are less developed than ours. One can discuss ethical matters with someone who is hoping to develop a habit or a sense about them; but if someone lacks even the ability to develop that sense, then we only insult them by bringing it up. Teenagers are nothing if not perceptive, at least in my experience, and they know in a heartbeat what you're on about if you tell them that there are certain things they can't understand because their brains aren't as good as yours yet. Much better to be willing to admit that many adults don't understand ethical matters because ethical matters are inherently difficult, and that they require a long habit and much careful contemplation; that way, we can still talk respectfully with them and teach them some of the few things we might have managed to learn.

It makes sense for us to leave the 'amygdala development' theory behind, anyway. If this were true, and if moral and ethical sense regarding sexual matters were dependent upon the amygdala, then the best young people would be those raised in total isolation, in a pure environment, without the impairment of social contact; they would be the ones with the purest, least-impacted amygdalas. Whereas it seems to me that the primary component of sexual and ethical maturity is something more like healthy and structured interaction with other human beings. I don't think it has anything directly to do with brain development.
posted by koeselitz at 5:27 PM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and one more thing:

I'm thirty, and most of the people I know who are my age are significantly less prepared to deal with casual sex than they were when they were 17 or 18. I don't think it's odd to think that a part of the ‘healthy and structured interaction with other human beings’ which I claimed above was essential to gaining a moral sense might include having actual sex.

I don't think it makes sense to make the common argument often made by contraception advocates that they're going to do it anyhow, so we may as well help. I agree that, as adults, we're being dishonest and even disrespectful when we do something so duplicitous as helping young people do something we believe is destructive. But neither do I believe that sex at a young age is necessarily destructive. Sex can be destructive at any age; but when it is, it's almost always because it's associated at some level with shame. We do best by settling this kind of issue in an individual and private way, by encouraging young people not to view this particular act with derision, anger, or self-loathing.
posted by koeselitz at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And that, my friends, is how to deliver a smackdown present your ideas intelligently.
posted by asok at 1:54 AM on July 31, 2009


Kyle and Jackie O Show suspended indefinitely; Sandilands unable to work

There's some preparation happening on Twitter for a protest outside the studios to bring them back on air.
posted by divabat at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


There should be some preparation happening for a protest to keep them the fuck off the air, then.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2009


There's some preparation happening on Twitter for a protest outside the studios to bring them back on air.

I think this calls for one of those two-clashing-protest-routes, massive-bloodshed, indefinite-martial-law kind of situations.
posted by stammer at 7:03 PM on August 2, 2009


Kyle Sandilands sacked as Idol judge.

Sandilands was one of the judges on Australian Idol, a new season of which is starting this weekend. He'll be shown on the first three episodes (audition shows, already taped) but will not be appearing after that.

Even though Sandilands was paid less for Idol than for his radio show, Idol's far more high profile. He's going to feel this loss. Good.
posted by Georgina at 3:07 AM on August 3, 2009


Followup: Kyle Sandilands' show is in indefinite "recess". That link has an account of another of his precious pranks which is stunning in its premeditated callousness.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2009


I just Joe in Australia's link and I would say 'Christ what an asshole' but I think that would be insulting to assholes which do, after all, serve a useful and necessary purpose.
posted by jokeefe at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just *read* that link. It's so vile I forgot how to phrase a sentence.
posted by jokeefe at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2009


It's so vile I forgot how to phrase a sentence.

I'm astonished myself. And this prick was earning AUD$3.8 mill/year.

But hey, funny stuff!
posted by Wolof at 5:10 AM on August 7, 2009


Being nice just does not pay off.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 AM on August 7, 2009


Normal service has been resumed
posted by Wolof at 12:24 AM on August 18, 2009


"I was sitting at home like a toad on the couch."
Now, that's the way to spend your honeymoon. Let me kiss you nascent prince.
The drop from Idol has got to hurt though, two thirds of his income.
posted by tellurian at 5:15 AM on August 18, 2009


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