Join 3,554 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


FedEx Kinkos Won’t Print Our Christmas Card
December 17, 2009 9:33 AM   Subscribe

FedEx Kinkos Won’t Print Our Christmas Card [nsfw]
posted by ColdChef (313 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nude Christmas cards. What will they think of next?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:35 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Those poor kids.
posted by billysumday at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2009 [32 favorites]


To be fair, some might find that photo to be cringeworthy!
posted by ericb at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's called freedom of the press - their press, their rules - someone else took your business, please stop clamoring for attention
posted by pyramid termite at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


Please don't send me pictures of your nude boys.
posted by found missing at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2009 [24 favorites]


I wouldn't print that card. BECAUSE IT'S FUCKING CREEPY.
posted by mathowie at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2009 [132 favorites]


The mom's forced, fake smile says it all.
posted by whiskeyspider at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Zoinks. We're crazy, we are!
posted by rhymer at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's be clear, Mr. Cringely wanted Kinko's to refuse to print those cards, because it makes his clever and precious little story about his clever and precious little family all the more clever and precious. Win-win.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2009 [51 favorites]


perhaps they should consider ballooning as a hobby
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2009 [57 favorites]


I’ll be calling Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, in the morning. If enough of you tell your friends about this column before then, maybe Fred will be expecting my call.

BAWWWWWWWWWW THE BAD MAN DIDN'T PRINT MY SHITTY PHOTOS
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess I appreciate the concept and I understand why the parents think it's a cute card even if I find it pretty creepy, but I second billysumday's sentiment. You'd have a hard time convincing me that the kids were really gung-ho about stripping naked and being 'tastefully' photographed to send out to tons of people.
posted by pziemba at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009


It's not obscene, it's just creepy.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. What a bunch of idiots.
posted by The World Famous at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009


Freedom to have poor taste. It's right there in The Constitution (tm).
posted by GuyZero at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009


i just imagine how weird it must be doing the set up for that photo. "mom, that's too much sideboob, hold the pan a little lower, sons ball sack is showing"
posted by fuzzypantalones at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009 [19 favorites]


It's not the best idea. Child pornography laws aren't the kind you should be actively exploring the limits and grey areas of.
posted by naju at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


Eh, I can see how people would be uncomfortable printing that. And it's not like photo printers are that expensive, why didn't he just buy one?
posted by delmoi at 9:42 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm European and you know we're all about the nudity. Love it, no shame, should be more of it etc. And if the picture had just the adult couple in it it would be (kinda, sorta, not-really) cute. But throw in 3 young boys who have to be bribed to pose in it - and I can see why - and all of a sudden I'm uncomfortable. It's not pornographic, and I don't think Kinko's should refuse to print it - but why oh why are you forcing your kids to pose nude for your Xmas cards?? And every year? This picture just screams 'therapy bills coming soon' to me.
posted by widdershins at 9:42 AM on December 17, 2009 [42 favorites]


I think the photo is funny and I don't see why Kinko's should refuse to print it.
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


... Yeah, I'm apparently socially maladjusted. I see nothing either sexual or creepy about that photo, children or not.
posted by strixus at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


BTW -- for those not familiar with the blog's author, Robert X. Cringely (pen name for Mark Stevens) is an author, has written for InfoWorld and was the host of a number of PBS television shows.

FWIW -- this is how he describes himself at his i,Cringley blog at PBS: "The sex symbol, airplane enthusiast and adventurer continues to write about personal computers and has an active consulting business in Silicon Valley, selling his cybersoul to the highest bidder."

Some appreciate his humor, others not so much.
posted by ericb at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2009


His next column: Our Friends Won't Display Our Christmas Card. Or Return Our Calls.
posted by notmydesk at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's not even called "Kinko's" anymore. It's FedEx Office now.

I know that that's a ridiculous quibble but Jeez Louise if you're going to be all GRAR about a business it would help to use the business's actual name.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


And here I've been getting photographed naked for only 50¢ worth of lemonheads. Those kids are smart holding out for $2 gummy worms.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ugh. Might want to slap a warning on the post about what you'll see if you scroll down to far. I'm glad my boss wasn't wandering by at the wrong moment.

Not obscene but creepy for sure.
posted by Babblesort at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personally, I have no problem with the pic. Weird? To be sure. That said...

No shit Kinkos refused to print that. I'm amazed the manager didn't turn-around and report him for kiddy porn. If he had brought that into any Kinkos here in gawdalmitey Indiana, I can assure you Bob X. would have quickly found himself being frog-marched out the door by the sheriff.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, that's a creepy fucking card. Also, FedEx Kinkos gets to set their own policies about what they will or won't print. For instance, steering well clear of anything which could be considered kiddie-porn. Not that I think this fits that bill at all, but Kinkos employees shouldn't be having to make that call either.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009


You'd have a hard time convincing me that the kids were really gung-ho about stripping naked and being 'tastefully' photographed to send out to tons of people.

I know parents of little boys who can attest to the difficulty of keeping them fully clothed once they know they can get attention for being naked. It all depends on the attitudes towards nudity that you grew up with.
posted by nomisxid at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh Jesus Christ.

People, it's the human body. There's nothing creepy about the human body! It's perfectly natural to stand around for hours posing your entire family so that acquaintances, friends and family can wince away from your card and wonder what the hell is wrong with you. It's all this American prudery that makes this jolly card (which is completely appropriate) seem like a tasteless joke at the expense of children who aren't old enough to object! I blame the puritans. If you all were just a little more free-spirited and body-positive you would love this card and rush out to make your own.

In case it wasn't clear: hamburger hamburger hamburger hamburger hamburger hamburger hamburger
posted by winna at 9:46 AM on December 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


I want to hear the story about how "The tradition began by accident." How do you accidentally send naked pictures of yourself to your Christmas card list?
posted by not that girl at 9:46 AM on December 17, 2009 [37 favorites]


Mom and Dad naked with some babies and toddlers? Cute.
Staging an elaborate austin powers style genital covering for your 11 year olds? Creepy.
posted by fontophilic at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [25 favorites]


Whatever he thinks these photos prove, they don't.
posted by graventy at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh 3 minute edit where are you? TOO.
posted by Babblesort at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009


Gah! Someone walked into my office just as I scrolled down to the photo!

Luckily, I work at an art school.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


They cook nude like that? I don't want pubes in my Xmas turkey, tyvm.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I found the picture hilarious, but with child pornography laws being ill defined and overzealous, the Cringely family is possibly trying to make a point as much as they are attempting to inject some humor in with the holiday cheer.
posted by mikeh at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I don't think those parents are abusive. I don't think the card is pornographic or obscene.

But seriously, I'm creeped out by it. If I had a printer, I'd reserve the right to keep that out, too. I'd do the same thing to someone wanting to print an aborted fetus for a pro-life rally. It's not that I disagree with you politically or hate your freedom of speech, I don't want to print gross stuff.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:48 AM on December 17, 2009


Pretty funny card, cute family, do not care that Kinko's refused to print it. Their machines, their rules. There are a million better print shops with better quality out there, and without weird corporate policies; go there instead.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2009


How do you start a tradition like that by accident?

Easily.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's a good thing that you people aren't on my Christmas Card list. I think this is hilarious.
posted by ColdChef at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Another issue that he ought consider: In California, people who process photographs are mandated reporters. There's a liability for any Kinko's employee/manager who prints these photos if it turns out that there are allegations of abuse or neglect.

I'm not saying that the act of taking these photos constitutes abuse (though I think it almost guarantees huge therapy bills for those kids later in life). But, not only did Kinko's have no obligation to print the photos -- if it had gone one hair further on the creep-o-meter, they would have been legally obligated to call Child Protective Services.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2009


They were trying to expose the nipple on Fedex Kinkos soul.
posted by drezdn at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


To be fair, Jesus himself was naked on the first Christmas.
posted by jeremias at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


The aristocrats!
posted by geoff. at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2009 [47 favorites]


This picture just screams 'therapy bills coming soon' to me.

Well the way people prescribe therapy for anything and everything in ask me the bills will probably be coming no matter what.
posted by delmoi at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


The illumination is totally unnatural, too... it comes from the side with a webwork of shadows, giving it an interesting element of creepiness.

Holy cow, these people are in South Carolina. Given the tendency for the legal system to go for dubious prosecutions in the south and the branded-for-life nature of sex offender status, I'm incredulous anyone is attempting something like this, as artistic as it may be.
posted by crapmatic at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2009


How do you accidentally send naked pictures of yourself to your Christmas card list?

See Seinfeld episode re: The Nip Slip.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


This Salon article is disturbing and should serve as a cautionary tale for this couple.

"I took some photos of my kids naked on a camping trip. A drugstore employee called the police -- and my family's life became a living hell."
posted by naju at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


I was trying to get a script, owned by a friend, photocopied. The clerk wouldn't let me copy it because "it's copyright". I tried explaining to her that pretty much everything is under copyright and that I had permission from the copyright holder, but she wasn't satisfied. Finally, I removed the page with the copyright notice on it and she agreed to make my copies.
posted by ODiV at 9:52 AM on December 17, 2009 [15 favorites]


Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!

Ug, I can't wait until the backlash occurs and it's cool to not be seen by everyone in the world.
posted by milarepa at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only thing that's offensive to me about this picture is that the poor kid in the back is out of focus. Check your depth of field, people!
posted by ColdChef at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I worked at Kinkos for a few years in the 90s, and while I cringe thinking about how cruel we were to customers, I would relish the opportunity to deny a pretentious creepster like this guy.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:54 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


but why oh why are you forcing your kids to pose nude for your Xmas cards?? And every year?

This. It's one thing when your kids are "hey-we're-home-and-now-we're-naked-and-running-around-even-though-you-have-company-because-we're-little-and-don't-care-whee", but if you have to bribe them to work through the sense of privacy they're developing, then you're perhaps suffering a little tunnel vision.

Now, having said that, if you say "hey, you don't have to be naked, put on your favorite clothes and be in the photo" and they still say no, then I can see where a bribe could be appropriate -- but then, I personally would let my kids skip the picture, as they're people who can decide for themselves what they want to be a part of.
posted by davejay at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Blog comments by volume:
"You are horrible" : 72%
"Your wife is hot and I would hit that like the fist of an angry god": 20%
"Living up to the 'cringe' in 'Cringely', I see": 7%
Rat hair and droppings: 1%
posted by boo_radley at 9:56 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's a terrible photo. I'd refuse to print it on aesthetic grounds alone, never mind the inherent creepiness of naked tweens.

Also, what fontophiliac said. Look, kids under six love getting naked and they'll do it at the drop of a santa hat. Older kids? I've never known one who'd get naked in front of anyone at any time for any reason, and I am speaking, here, in my capacity as hippie mom who took her kids to the naked beach at Lake Willoughby in Vermont every summer. Not getting naked is their prerogative and their choice. Even speaking in my capacity as avid photographer, I can't imagine bribing my children so I could take naked photos of them - I mean, ewwww. Sorry, but ewwwww.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:56 AM on December 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


Still better than the dog-hunting-pig slaughter cards -- as seasonly colorful as they were.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:57 AM on December 17, 2009


Fed Ex Office is one of my competitors, and I totally do not blame them for not printing this.
I would not print it, either.
Maybe if they were all adults, probably not even then.
I wouldn't want other clients to be freaked out or to call the police over child nudity.
posted by defragmeout at 9:57 AM on December 17, 2009


geoff. wins.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2009


If you print the photos and they're okay, FedEx pockets the ~$100 or less you pay them to do it. That's the upside.

If they're not, and any legal authority decides to come down on them, they're looking at maybe having the store shut down, the parent company facing a lawsuit, or the clerk being jailed and having his face on the sex offender registry for all time. That's the downside.

Upside vs. Downside . . . downside wins out.

In sum, Mr. Cringely, u mad?
posted by meadowlark lime at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote 'creepy.'

I wonder what they wore for the cover shoot for Balboa Bay Window and Motherboy*.

*not the band
posted by bondcliff at 9:59 AM on December 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's a bad photograph and they're bad people for having made it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:00 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


This Salon article is disturbing and should serve as a cautionary tale for this couple.

This is why I give my wife a hard time whenever she tries to share videos on youtube or pictures on our personal website gallery that include our children's nudity (bath photos and whatnot) -- too many risks like this in the US. We're really, really good at imposing our morality on other people (heck, witness my previous comment wherein I impose my morality re: bribes!) and when there are laws supporting that imposition, I steer clear.
posted by davejay at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2009


I'm sorry, but I don't see the big deal beyond the fact that they're too stubborn to buy a fricken printer for themselves. It's one thing to show your friends and family that you don't care for certain socially imposed boundaries, but quite another to complain when the print shop refuses to be a part of it.
posted by sunshinesky at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2009


Also: Do not bake in the nude. That's a great way to get burns where you really, really don't want any burns.
posted by sunshinesky at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Holy cow, these people are in South Carolina. Given the tendency for the legal system to go for dubious prosecutions in the south and the branded-for-life nature of sex offender status, I'm incredulous anyone is attempting something like this, as artistic as it may be.

Tis true. You know everyone is naked for at least part of their morning routine and it's not fair at all that the officer was so angry about my being naked and standing on top of my car in the morning commute. Plus he gave me a ticket for obstructing traffic just because I was flying my banner that said "Look At Me!" in 3 foot tall fluorescent pink letters with golden sparkles. These repressive southern states really need to get over themselves.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cringely, what an asshole.
posted by The Bellman at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Look, baking in the nude will not in well, trust me on that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe something like this would have been more tasteful.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


With kids that age, you have to bribe them to sit still through almost anything. The only difference here is that they might grow up to be creeped out by it BECAUSE EVERYONE KEEPS TELLING THEM IT'S CREEPY.
posted by scrowdid at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2009


It's a weird picture, but all I can think about is that poor boy in the back carrying that hot pan of cookies, when he's naked! Baking and cooking are not things to be done in the nude. Serious injuries could follow. Also, the dad got to wear shorts -- if I was a kid who had to be conned with jelly worms to be naked, I would say that's not fair.
posted by bluefly at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote "creepy" too. Oddly, this picture reminds me of my all-time favorite 70s rock band photograph.
posted by JanetLand at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2009


Creepy, though his wife is hot. Hot because she's standing in front of a fucking open oven wearing nothing but an apron.
posted by fixedgear at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, lulz at the commentators from wherever-the-hell, Europe writing "you Americans are too uptight about nudity! Nudity is not sex!"

You're right, there is a great difference between a photo of a child having sex and a child merely naked. Luckily for pedophiles, they can just as well masturbate furiously to either photo.
posted by meadowlark lime at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2009


. . . hippie mom who took her kids to the naked beach at Lake Willoughby in Vermont . . .

Naked beach in VERMONT? Oh God. . . I'm not sure the shrinkage will ever go away.
posted by The Bellman at 10:12 AM on December 17, 2009


Reality TV show in the making?
posted by Xoebe at 10:13 AM on December 17, 2009


oh how I hate "quirky" people.
posted by pinky at 10:14 AM on December 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Imagine for a moment that you're the manager of that particular FedEx Kinkos (or whatever it's actually called now). You know that people sometimes bring in problematic photos to be printed. So you've got to set a policy on this, and train all the employees on it, and feel confident they can apply it correctly.

Do you tell them:

a) "Well, as long as there's some artistic merit, and it's not being presented in an eroticized manner, tasteful nudity of minors is OK."

b) "No naked kids."

If it was me, I'd go with version B and I'd certainly back my staff on it rather than making an exception when someone asks for the manager.
posted by FishBike at 10:16 AM on December 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


This will make Christmas with my parents more bearable, because every time I am fed up to the back teeth of them I can think "Well, at least they didn't make me pose naked at age eleven, then use said naked picture of me to try and whip up an internet response".
posted by Coobeastie at 10:16 AM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


The creepy thing about the picture is that everyone has a Stepford grin on and they're posed as though they're all in the middle of some activity, so it looks like you just blundered into their kitchen at a weirdly low angle and accidentally discovered them in the dress that they, as a family, prefer, which even ignoring the nudity is creepy because it all matches and is Santa-themed and why the hell would they all dress like that just to hang out and the fact that you just wandered in off the street only seems to illicit dead-eyed glazed-over cult smiles from the naked Santa family is a very big red flag that you should leave without having any of their 'special' cookies.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:17 AM on December 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


Yeah, this is just article fodder. Har har, we're nude, and some big company wouldn't print out our photos! Say, no shit? This is leaving aside the fact that it's a terrible photo.

PS: For a mercifully brief period of time in the early seventies, my mother and my aunt tried out the "Hey, it's empowering to go topless" thing. It always made me feel absolutely terrible.
posted by Skot at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2009


What bothers me most is that in his attempt to garner attention because oh the humanity!, his sons are going to get hell from their peers if they aren't homeschooled. It isn't about what's sexual or tasteful, it's about taking a "tradition" too far because you don't care about your old-enough-to-have-a-choice children's well-being.

Funny that he's the most clothed out of all of them. Disgusting.
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:20 AM on December 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Eh, it gets a raised eyebrow- not because I'm outraged or creeped out or anything, but because an otherwise intelligent intelligent person thought to themselves 'hey, it's time to get the nude pics of the family down to Kinko's to be copied for Christmas cards.'

I'm mostly just amazed at how truly different people's thought processes can be.
posted by Pragmatica at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fedex Kinko's whatever have every right to choose what they do and don't print.

I wouldn't have printed it for him either.
posted by unSane at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2009


I don't want any of you people getting ideas for next year's Secret Quonsar.
posted by usonian at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Making naked Christmas cards that are tasteful isn’t easy, either, but we do it.

No. You don't.
posted by paddysat at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


Wow, this is so much better than the Tesco that got busted for selling Christmas cards that disparaged redheads...

I'm new to this site so I don't know the tenor of the natives, but I'm still amazed at the number of people who find this creepy or gross. I laughed out loud when I saw the photo. I thought it was funny and clever--great mitt and cookie sheet positioning.

These kids have been doing it every year for a long time so it's not like it's suddenly exploitative. Anyone who has sent out a photo of their infant buck nekkid on a bearskin rug has sent out a photo that's more revealing. It just seems like the photo is a real Rorschach test, revealing more about the viewers than the creators. It's all about the difference between a naked infant and a naked tween, I guess. At least the tweens get to exercise free will.

That being said, I'm not surprised the copy place shut them down. I mean, not everyone is Sally Mann and can get away with this kind of thing. And in Charleston, no less--hoo-hoo!
posted by klg19 at 10:25 AM on December 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Good for Kinkos. What a creepy guy.
posted by cell divide at 10:26 AM on December 17, 2009


oh how I hate "quirky" people.

You sound like a lot of fun.
posted by delmoi at 10:26 AM on December 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


june made him a gemini: What bothers me most is that in his attempt to garner attention because oh the humanity!, his sons are going to get hell from their peers if they aren't homeschooled in the nude
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


It just seems like the photo is a real Rorschach test, revealing more about the viewers than the creators.

That's right. Everyone who thinks that it's a stupid photo and this guy is making a stupid fuss because a business didn't want to print it is a GIANT PRUDE WHO IS TERRIFIED OF NUDITY! AND PROBABLY A SECRET PEDOPHILE THEMSELVES!

It's like you see into my soul.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:28 AM on December 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


I'm sure glad I don't sit on kitchen floors with a naked ass.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:29 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


'Someone told me that these photos had questionable content, so I decided to POST THEM ON THE INTERNET'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:29 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


oh how I hate "quirky" people.

You sound like a lot of fun.


I may be reading into this, but " "quirky" " suggests that the eccentricity is really a desperate affect, which is, I am sure you'll agree, pathetic and annoying. People who are truly different because they can't be bothered to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks are strange and awesome. And rare.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:30 AM on December 17, 2009 [22 favorites]


Yes, I'm definitely in the "how I hate self-consciously 'quirky' people" camp as well. They're so boring and predictable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:31 AM on December 17, 2009


No shit Kinkos refused to print that. I'm amazed the manager didn't turn-around and report him for kiddy porn.

Really? Wow. That's just so opposite of how I grew up. It's sad people are so scared of nudity.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:31 AM on December 17, 2009


I, too, am surprised by all of the "ew" reactions.

Baking and cooking are not things to be done in the nude.

Bears repeating.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2009


People who are truly different because they can't be bothered to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks are strange and awesome. And rare.

Maybe so, but take it for what it's worth and don't worry about other people's motivations, because you're probably off the mark where that's concerned.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2009


This seems as good a place as any to again link the Awkward Family Photos blog. Although frankly, nothing in their Christmas series is gonna come anywhere close to this.
posted by Nelson at 10:36 AM on December 17, 2009


It's sad people are so scared of nudity.

Yeah, it's "sad" that people are scared of Federal prosecution. FedEx Office didn't invent the level of scrutiny on this stuff, and those of us who understand that they may need policies for their own protection aren't crazy nude-o-phobes.

I'm not "scared of nudity" at all, especially as someone who worked as a life model for art classes and an exam model for medical students back in the day. I'm not "scared of karaoke" either, but I don't particularly think sending either your nekkid pictures or a recording of you mangling "Highway to Hell" makes for a good Christmas card.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:36 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apparently there is no room in this thread for people who have no problem with nudity but still think this is, well... cheesy! It is just tasteless.

As Sidhedevil points out, if you remark on how lame this this then, of course, its because you are repressed and twisted and probably shower in your underwear - because thats how afraid of nudity you are!
posted by vacapinta at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2009


I took photos of my kid's naked butt. Because the doctor told me to. Seriously. He said "I love the naked bottom photos of infants!" and I agree. Little baby bottoms are cute. When they get to the age that you aren't regularly exposing their little butts to wipe for them? Less cute, and probably not a good idea to have them more public.

HOWEVER. I would not put the naked kid butt on the Christmas card. Nor would I put myself or my wife naked on said card. Without trying to sound all narcissistic, the wife and I are fairly good-looking people (so we have been told), and we try to keep in fairly good shape, but we are not young Hollywood stars with teams of personal trainers and makeup artists and airbrush specialists on call, and nobody needs to see that because it would not do anything good for anyone. I don't think that my pasty white ass is the kind of "White Christmas" that Bing Crosby was singing about.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm going to say "creepy." What doesn't help is that he and his wife are actually pretty much clothed. And, yeah, the "quirky" preciousness is pretty irritating.

Seriously: fuck Juno.
posted by brundlefly at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's not the photo that offends me; it's Cringely's "lookatme" attitude. Big corporations have policies that let them avoid any gray area when it comes to offensive material. Build a bridge and get over it.
posted by moviehawk at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2009


Consensus of my office: Creepy.
posted by Skorgu at 10:41 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's "sad" that people are scared of Federal prosecution. FedEx Office didn't invent the level of scrutiny on this stuff, and those of us who understand that they may need policies for their own protection aren't crazy nude-o-phobes.

I suppose, but what does that say about our society? We're all just trying to CYA, so to speak, but we're all acting like idiots as a result. Where does that get us?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 AM on December 17, 2009


It's like you see into my soul.

OMG, there's my car keys!!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


The real winner here is the guy who, by offering to print Cringely's cards, got a ton of free advertising.
posted by box at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I suppose, but what does that say about our society? We're all just trying to CYA, so to speak, but we're all acting like idiots as a result. Where does that get us?

Wow, you were so close to typing "sheeple" here, but somehow you refrained. I admire your restraint, I guess.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2009


I take naked babies, sit them on a gigantic ink pad, and then press their cute little butts to a plain white canvas.

For my next series, I'm gonna roll them around on the ink pad, and then take a full-body imprint. It's Art!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


People who are truly different because they can't be bothered to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks are strange and awesome. And rare.

The problem is that this guy isn't different and does give a fuck. He likely knew full-well that they wouldn't process his request. He likely knew he had the means to make this viral. He's trying to publicly validate his sense of humor and bring shame to a company that has all the right in the world to refuse whatever they want. It'd be one thing if it were just him and his wife, it's a completely different ballgame with kids involved. Kids that aren't babies and toddlers anymore.

Of all the years people have tried too hard for attention and in the process exploited their children, 2009 has thus far been the pinnacle, and sadly it probably won't end here. How is that "rare?"
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


krinklyfig: I suppose, but what does that say about our society?

While that is an interesting conversation to have, it doesn't really have much relevance in a thread about some creepy-ass guy bribing his prepubescent children into posing for nude photos so he can post them on the internet in a complaint about customer service from a woman who makes minimum wage.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


"The tradition began by accident and now our cards are so popular friends remind us to send them."

Wondering how this "began by accident".
posted by iconomy at 10:48 AM on December 17, 2009


Some notice of it being potentially NSFW would've helped here. I should've realized based on the title, but... yeeeeee.
posted by troika at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


All other considerations aside: way to publish naked pictures of your kids on the internet, guy. I hope you're also teaching them kung fu, because they're really going to need it in junior high.
posted by darksasami at 10:50 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aside from being creepy its an AWFUL photo in every technical sense.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:52 AM on December 17, 2009


I worked at kinko's for 5 years. You just have to pick the right shift. Go in around 11pm. I'd copy anything except currency for you.
posted by xjudson at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


People who are truly different because they can't be bothered to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks are strange and awesome. And rare.

The problem is that this guy isn't different and does give a fuck.


June made him a gemini: To be clear, I think Cringely is (or at least this stunt is) "pathetic and annoying" as lumped in with the "quirky" people.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2009


Why would you get cards printed at Fed Ex Office? You'd surely be paying entirely too much. This question can't be asked enough.
posted by raysmj at 10:59 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're right, there is a great difference between a photo of a child having sex and a child merely naked. Luckily for pedophiles, they can just as well masturbate furiously to either photo.

Do you think this photo will cause that sort of thing? Or do you think this photo might create pedophiles?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2009


Go in around 11pm. I'd copy anything except currency for you.

Fascist!
posted by ODiV at 11:02 AM on December 17, 2009


Can someone please explain to me why nudity is "creepy"?
posted by shii at 11:03 AM on December 17, 2009


Sure! Where do you live?
posted by ODiV at 11:03 AM on December 17, 2009 [31 favorites]


Dear Santa,

Underwear.
posted by archibald barisol at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't particularly think sending [...] a recording of you mangling "Highway to Hell" makes for a good Christmas card.

That actually sounds like a really awesome Christmas card. One of those talking ones. A big picture of infant Jesus and the wisemen and the manger or whatever on the front, and you open it, and it's all, "Hey Mama, look at me, I'm on my way to the promised land... I'm on the Hiiiiiiway to Hell!"
posted by uncleozzy at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone please explain to me why nudity is "creepy"?

That's kind of disingenuous in this context. Nudity is nudity. Sending people Xmas cards with your naked children in your kitchen is squarely in the tacky-creepy quadrant of the grid. If you don't grok that instinctively, then there's not much in the way of dialectic that can go down here that will help shed light for you.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'd bet he went to like eight different Kinkos before he found one to reject it so he would have an excuse to write about it and publish this creepy picture. Dude can obviously afford a printer to do it himself, and the quality of the picture (is there some kiss-me-deadly-strength nuclear device in that oven, or what? the lighting is shit) would not exactly be compromised using any budget-level inkjet.
posted by troybob at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Geez, I think Cringlely needs some defenders in this thread. Not because it's a good card, it's cheezy (as noted above), and in questionable taste (as noted above), though I personally wouldn't call it creepy. And yes, the article is self-promoting, though to be clear, that's what he's done for a living for the past couple of decades.

I think the point is that there's this creeping corporatism that blandifies life. There's clearly nothing sexual or sexually suggestive about the card, and especially in the context of a "family tradition". Though clearly that's what the company is responding to. I'll lay odds that if he'd brought a picture were each member of the family (including the youngest) was holding a bottle of Anchor Steeam Christmas Ale, there would have been no problem from FedEx, and lots of people would think it was "cute," despite a more questionable legal issue.

The company is claiming to offer a service, and they're not meeting their claim. There's no legal reason for them to not print the card, they should print it.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd bet he went to like eight different Kinkos before he found one to reject it

He actually just went back to the Kinkos that rejected him the year before (as noted in article). Much less effort.
posted by mikepop at 11:10 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, what a great example of how easily speech can be chilled. I don't see anyone making the argument that this is actually child pornography, but the specter of a child porn prosecution efficiently restricts the expression anyway.

You're right, there is a great difference between a photo of a child having sex and a child merely naked. Luckily for pedophiles, they can just as well masturbate furiously to either photo.


Interestingly, this is exactly what American law does: it looks from the perspective of the pedophile viewer of an image and asks whether he would be aroused. Child pornography in the US is literally a thought crime.
posted by prefpara at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]



The company is claiming to offer a service, and they're not meeting their claim. There's no legal reason for them to not print the card, they should print it.


I imagine that they also stipulate that they can turn down business for any reason that's not discriminatory.
posted by josher71 at 11:12 AM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


While that is an interesting conversation to have, it doesn't really have much relevance in a thread about some creepy-ass guy bribing his prepubescent children into posing for nude photos so he can post them on the internet in a complaint about customer service from a woman who makes minimum wage.

Right. Bribing the kids with gummy worms. Well, it certainly is something to become outraged about. I can see how having a conversation about something less outrageous might be difficult, considering the circumstances.

Good work. Carry on!
posted by krinklyfig at 11:12 AM on December 17, 2009


Child pornography in the US is literally a thought crime.

If by "literally a thought crime" you mean actually possessing materials, then yes. I admit, the law needs scrutiny, but we also don't need hyperbole.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:13 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


CheeseDigestsAll: "There's no legal reason for them to not print the card, they should print it."

There's no legal reason for them to print something they don't feel comfortable with.
posted by brundlefly at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2009


Burhanistan, I was being quite sincere.
posted by prefpara at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2009


Conspiracy is also literally a thought crime.
posted by found missing at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2009


If by "literally a thought crime" you mean actually possessing materials, then yes. I admit, the law needs scrutiny, but we also don't need hyperbole.

The crime is such that someone doesn't need to actually be a pedophile to be charged with a crime. The idea is that anyone possessing images of nude children has something dangerous, which is really stupid, don't you think? I mean, my parents took pictures of me running through the sprinklers and in the bathtub nude, and I don't think we had any trouble getting them developed, but this was the '70s. Does the possession of those photographs make anyone a pedophile, or do you think there might be a problem with the distinction?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2009


It's not just the nudity I (and apparently others, or at least Christopher Muther) find distasteful: Please keep your kids off of my Christmas cards.
posted by yhbc at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The sex symbol, airplane enthusiast and adventurer continues to write about personal computers and has an active consulting business in Silicon Valley, selling his cybersoul to the highest bidder."

I'm a little concerned that he's about to stage "Balloon Boy II: Christmas Boogaloo"
posted by zarq at 11:22 AM on December 17, 2009


Conspiracy is also literally a thought crime.

Not so. You have to agree with another person to conspire together. Agreeing is an action, and it's not a solitary one (by definition).
posted by prefpara at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the point is that there's this creeping corporatism that blandifies life.

I think that's a valid point, but it is not the point here. While I don't think the card here is offensive, I also do not think there is harm done when a company errs on the side of caution with something like this, for the possible legal implications alone. Any everyone here likely has a point at which a picture like this becomes offensive (and those points vary from one person to the next), particularly if the photographer were Uncle Otis or Father Frank, rather than some attention-seeking yuppie geek. I don't blame the company for staying on the conservative side rather than navigating that territory.
posted by troybob at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think if he wanted a nude card fine, just keep the kids out of it.
posted by stormpooper at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't blame the company for staying on the conservative side rather than navigating that territory.

I don't either, but I think it's pretty sad.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:27 AM on December 17, 2009


Who says thought crimes have to be solitary?
posted by found missing at 11:27 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"There's no legal reason for them to not print the card, they should print it."

You probably have an interesting life. You must if you decide that you should do something based solely on a determination of whether there is a legal reason for you not to do it. I mean, I assume that you do things like hit yourself in the hand with a hammer every morning and eat a bowl of broken glass for dinner every evening, given that there's no legal reason for you not to do those things.

The crime is such that someone doesn't need to actually be a pedophile to be charged with a crime.

Indeed. And the Iran-Contra thing was a big deal in spite of the fact that Oliver North and Ronald Reagan didn't actually fire any of the weapons that they sold.

News flash: You don't actually have to use contraband to be convicted of the crime of selling or distributing contraband. Handing out guns to homeless people in DC is a crime even if you don't actually fire any of the guns yourself.
posted by The World Famous at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2009


This is the second year in a row we’ve been rejected by Kinkos. “I remember you,” said Ms. Johnson, handing back my USB drive with a look of disdain. It was hard for me to tell whether this was a different look of disdain from the one I got when Ms. Johnson had to put down her cellphone to serve me in the first place.

yeah bitch it's me robert x. cringly.coming at you with the force of a thousand hurricanes. last year you saw my wiener this year your getting a little taste of "teh sideboob" from my lovely wife

better prtint those photos.i'm on the internet.big news cringley is what they call me.shove a usb stick up your heiney. minimum wage sheeple out of my way.

oh who has a column in a little something called a magazine? you guess right it's me the cringe-dog.three boys all with massive weiners. put down your cell and check em out booyah
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2009 [45 favorites]


Does the possession of those photographs make anyone a pedophile
Yes. It does. Thus there are viruses that will put child pornography on your machine and boys going to court because some girl sent him nudes via cell phone.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2009


Maybe he was going for this effect?
posted by stormpooper at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2009


There's no legal reason for them to print something they don't feel comfortable with.

brundlefly: Kinko's is a corporation. Corporations don't feel.

If you are happy with this, do you also support pharmacists who don't "feel comfortable" giving out birth control pills, or RU-486 or anything else that goes against their personal beliefs? What about apartment managers who refuse to rent to inter-racial couples?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:30 AM on December 17, 2009


Conspiracy is also literally a thought crime.

Not so. You have to agree with another person to conspire together. Agreeing is an action, and it's not a solitary one (by definition).


Depends on the jurisdiction and the specific charge. Here in MA, there is a flavor of conspiracy based on being knowingly present while a crime is afoot and being willing and able to help, even if you don't actually do anything.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:32 AM on December 17, 2009


Conspiracy is also literally a thought crime.

Not so. You have to agree with another person to conspire together.


An overt act in furtherance of the agreement is also required in federal and many state statutes.
posted by naju at 11:34 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cheese those are ridiculously unrelated and you know it. He deliberately went to the same Kinko's that didn't print his cards last year knowing that they wouldn't print them again and he'd have some boo-hoo bullshit to tell.

No shirt, no shoes, no reprints of your attention-whore family nudes.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:34 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait, so now we're calling any crime that has a scienter element or that is an inchoate crime a "thought crime?"
posted by The World Famous at 11:35 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


CheeseDigestsAll: "If you are happy with this, do you also support pharmacists who don't "feel comfortable" giving out birth control pills, or RU-486 or anything else that goes against their personal beliefs? What about apartment managers who refuse to rent to inter-racial couples?"

Are you really comparing those things? This wasn't discriminatory and did not affect the health and well being of anyone. He couldn't print his fucking Christmas cards so he got them printed elsewhere. Big deal.
posted by brundlefly at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


It seems to me this is the kind of thing that is cute when your kid is a cute little baby.

Cute Intention - Cute Reality = Creepy.
posted by cell divide at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you are happy with this, do you also support pharmacists who don't "feel comfortable" giving out birth control pills, or RU-486 or anything else that goes against their personal beliefs? What about apartment managers who refuse to rent to inter-racial couples?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:30 AM on December 17 [+] [!]


Oh yea, because a refusing to print a Christmas card, refusing to sell medicine and obvious racism are all in the same ballpark.
posted by basicchannel at 11:40 AM on December 17, 2009


CheeseDigestsAll: "Kinko's is a corporation. Corporations don't feel."

Also: this was the decision of one employee, not some bizarre corporate borganism. Hell, last year he got them printed at another Kinkos.
posted by brundlefly at 11:40 AM on December 17, 2009


I'm not creeped out by the nudity, or by the photograph in and of itself. I'm more creeped out that a dad would send out a card like this in a world where it is pretty much a given that at least one recipient is going to look at it while he is whacking off.
posted by troybob at 11:40 AM on December 17, 2009


Yes. It does. Thus there are viruses that will put child pornography on your machine and boys going to court because some girl sent him nudes via cell phone.

That's right. And that's insane.

I don't know why we continue down this path. It's extraordinarily repressive and unhealthy.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:40 AM on December 17, 2009


that was very creepy. The nude people I saw in the photos were the kids, Mom has a apron and dad is wearing shorts, stop paying attention to these people.
posted by fatbaq at 11:40 AM on December 17, 2009


I'm not creeped out by the nudity, or by the photograph in and of itself. I'm more creeped out that a dad would send out a card like this in a world where it is pretty much a given that at least one recipient is going to look at it while he is whacking off.

Really? Is the US full of pedophiles?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:41 AM on December 17, 2009


shii: "Can someone please explain to me why nudity is "creepy"?"

Y'know, you send one nude Christmas card and everyone is like "Oh, those crazy Cringleys!" But then by the fourth or fifth people don't appreciate the 'creativity' and 'hilarity' involved. It's just not fair!
posted by graventy at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2009


I looked at the card--ok, mildly cute, "edgy," whatever--and then scrolled through the gaspy comments on this thread and all can say is Jesus Christ, y'all sound undersexed. No side hugs for you!
posted by applemeat at 11:45 AM on December 17, 2009


A more apt comparison would be refusing to print his Christmas card if it had them decked out in blackface, minstrel style. I don't think anyone would really be questioning that the Kinko's was out of line for refusing to dupe such a card--and that's without the dubious legality of reproducing child porn (which I don't think this is, but that's for someone else to determine as a legal matter).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:45 AM on December 17, 2009


Hmm, I didn't mean to drop a controversy bomb into the thread. Let me explain myself better.

Under current federal case law, by which I mean Ferber, Osborne, Dost, and Knox, the following could result in a successful child porn prosecution: I take the Gap catalog and give it to you, saying, "here are some really sexy kiddie pics for you, enjoy." You take it from me and proceed to enjoy what are, to you, arousing photographs but are, to the non-pedophiles of the world, clothing ads featuring child models. If we put you in jail, what are we punishing? It's not the act of photographing and producing the catalog. No child was harmed (in a way relevant to child porn law) in the making of the catalog. We're punishing you for thinking that the pictures were sexy. That's a thought in your head. That's why I think that right now, it's not hyperbole to describe child porn as a thought crime.
posted by prefpara at 11:47 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, so now we're calling any crime that has a scienter element or that is an inchoate crime a "thought crime?"

I think the argument was that when determining whether or not a naked image of a child is "child pornography" or not, the arbiters must take into account whether or not that image would arouse a pedophile, a seemingly ridiculous exercise.

Which is an interesting observation, but probably a poor analogy to "thought crime." To me, "thought crime" implies a crime based on thinking, with no action. A pedophile cannot be arrested just for having illegal thoughts (I don't think).
posted by mrgrimm at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2009


Oh yeah, thank you for today's outrage filter, it really hit the spot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the US full of pedophiles?

No, but the article is apparently written by someone so attention-whorish that his xmas-card mailing likely qualifies for a bulk rate, so, you know, do the numbers. Plus the fact that it is now online as the focus of controversy pretty much makes it an instant classic on the pervert hit parade.
posted by troybob at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, brundlefly, if it's simply arbitrary and no one is harmed, there's no problem? If I give bad service to every 13th customer, or only on Wednesdays then it's OK?

Of course it is, and such an inherently stupid organization will be properly punished by the marketplace. I posit that is exactly what Cringely is attempting here: (in addition to the blatant page-hit whoring). He thinks FedEx is being stupid and wants them punished for their stupidity. Feel free to join his crusade or not.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2009


Who are the people that are just aching to see these cards every holiday? Year after year, I'm just dying to see when those Cringely boys.. just wait till they have a daughter, jolly good family fun!
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2009


Kinko's is a corporation. Corporations don't feel.

Corporations just want to think that while they're in the bathroom sobbing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I have nephews that come over and they play in the sprinkler naked with their little red dicks, and, I just don't like - their little penises bother me! I don't know, I just get this weird feeling like they're gonna come over and fuck my nose or something. I know it's an irrational fear but it's very real to me. Like I'm gonna fall asleep in the lawn chair and wake up "Sss..Stop! What are you doing?! Kid's fucking my nose!"" - Louis CK

I'm a non-parent with no nieces or nephews. That pretty much sums up my feelings.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


mrgrimm, I was responding to the poster above who was saying that conspiracy is a "thought crime" because "knowingly" is an element.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2009


.. not going to edit my above post, you decide when this guy decides to include pop-ups in the centerfold.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:52 AM on December 17, 2009


No, but the article is apparently written by someone so attention-whorish that his xmas-card mailing likely qualifies for a bulk rate, so, you know, do the numbers.

Uh ... So, semi-nude photographs are the catalyst to arousing a pedophile, so we must all be careful not to do anything to arouse pedophiles, even if it's entirely innocent and doesn't actually cause any social damage (though these laws might). I hear the Sears catalog is a favorite of dirty old men. You might want to watch out for that!

Plus the fact that it is now online as the focus of controversy pretty much makes it an instant classic on the pervert hit parade.

Really? How is it that you know that? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:53 AM on December 17, 2009


"It's sad people are so scared of nudity."


Nudity I'm not scared of.

My kids' naked photos being used as currency by pedos? Yeah, that scares me.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:55 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Oh, Hi! I didn't see you come in. My family and I are baking! In the nude! We're making cookies! We call them snickernudels, ha, ha! Wait! Come back! Where are you going? We're going to play nude piano and nude jenga later!"

If you like this I, Cringely post, you may also like:
posted by boo_radley at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2009


That explains why that store wouldn't print my Christmas card that had a closeup of my ball sack on the front.
posted by zzazazz at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, my family happens to own a store that provides basically the same sort of services that Kinko's does. This guy was a jerk to not print the cards, but well within his rights. There's no law saying that he had to take their business, and he's not obligated to. Of course, by not doing so, he's earned himself a lot of bad publicity and it would have been easier to just print them, but he didn't do anything wrong by refusing their business. We've told people never to come back just because they were jerks and we didn't want them around. If someone wanted to print a thousand NAMBLA flyers, we'd tell them to piss off. This guy didn't do any worse. The expectation that retail establishments have been commanded by God to cater to your every fucking whim is why rich, privileged shitheels treat my employees like servants so much.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The idea is that anyone possessing images of nude children has something dangerous, which is really stupid, don't you think? I mean, my parents took pictures of me running through the sprinklers and in the bathtub nude, and I don't think we had any trouble getting them developed, but this was the '70s."


When your parents walked into the local film shop to get your naked photos deveoped, did they also announce their intention to distribute those photos en masse? Because I think even in the '70s, that might have raised a few eyebrows.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:59 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It takes a lot to make me side with Kinkos. Good job, shitty moron blogger!
posted by Damn That Television at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


When your parents walked into the local film shop to get your naked photos deveoped, did they also announce their intention to distribute those photos en masse? Because I think even in the '70s, that might have raised a few eyebrows.

I am really taken aback at the idea that photographs like these are dangerous because they might arouse a pedophile. I mean, we really did not used to see things like this 30 or 40 years ago, and many other countries are not this paranoid and don't have major issues with child abuse. What happened in that time which made us so scared of our own shadows? There's nothing even remotely sexual about these images. They're not even fully naked. There is nothing wrong with this photograph. What is wrong is the idea that it's dangerous.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:06 PM on December 17, 2009


CheeseDigestsAll: "So, brundlefly, if it's simply arbitrary and no one is harmed, there's no problem? If I give bad service to every 13th customer, or only on Wednesdays then it's OK?"

What? It isn't arbitrary. An employee of the company made a judgment call regarding the content of what this guy wanted duplicated. Disagree with it if you want, but nobody was harmed.

"Of course it is, and such an inherently stupid organization will be properly punished by the marketplace."

You're absolutely right. I'm sure this guy's blog post about his annoying Christmas cards will have a huge effect on the company's bottom line.

"He thinks FedEx is being stupid and wants them punished for their stupidity. Feel free to join his crusade or not."

See, isn't that great? Cringely is free to send Christmas cards with naked kids on it, Kinko's is free to decide not to print them, Cringely is free to get huffy about it and I'm free to think he's being a prick.

What a country!
posted by brundlefly at 12:07 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


krinklyfig, if you're interested in how we came to this pass, you might enjoy this article which discusses the evolution of child porn law and explains how radically it departs from traditional free speech principles. Let me know if you can't access it, I can email it to you as a pdf.
posted by prefpara at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2009


Plus the fact that it is now online as the focus of controversy pretty much makes it an instant classic on the pervert hit parade.

Really? How is it that you know that? I'm genuinely curious.


Because I figure it's reasonable to assume that the arousal of someone sexually attracted to children is at least as strong as my own arousal at seeing pictures of big naked hairy bearded men (or Paul Krugman). Plus, the impression I get when hearing about pedophile-ring busts is that there are online networks of guys who are into it; and a popular online story about child-porn controversy, with the photo in question, would seem likely to place it into that slipstream.

I'm pretty much on the same page with this as I am with child beauty pageants, i think. I don't think it's necessary creepy, within the confines of your own home, to dress your 10-year-old daughter up as a 40-year-old lounge whore; but I think there are legitimate questions of child welfare involved when you parade her in front of strangers who like to take pictures of 10-year-old girls who look like 40-year-old lounge whores.
posted by troybob at 12:13 PM on December 17, 2009


I am aroused by all of your photos. But, you know, not in a creepy way.
posted by everichon at 12:13 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with this photograph. What is wrong is the idea that it's dangerous.

HOLY FUCKING STRAWMAN will you shut up with this nonsense? Nobody here thinks that this stupid photograph is "dangerous." FedEx Office chooses, on what seem to me to be some quite reasonable grounds, to make a corporate policy against printing photos of naked children, which does not make such photos "dangerous" and it does not make this guy some kind of heroic crusader against the prudish sheeple.

YES AMERICA IS FULL OF PEDOPHILES. YOU'VE CRACKED THE CODE. WE'RE ALL FRANTICALLY WANKING TO THE SEARS CATALOGUE AND TERRIFIED OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO ARE EXPOSING OUR DEEP HYPOCRISY.

Obviously that's what's going on here, not people who think this guy is a jerk for his attention-whoring. It's just our deep, deep American body-shame and upset about sex, because we're all fucked up Americans who are American in our American craziness.

American.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


I don't think it's necessary creepy, within the confines of your own home, to dress your 10-year-old daughter up as a 40-year-old lounge whore

Weirdly, that seems even creepier than a beauty pageant to me.

But a little girl might choose to dress/make herself up like a showgirl as part of experimenting with different self-presentations, and that wouldn't be creepy at all unless some adult exploited it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:18 PM on December 17, 2009


prefpara, I don't have access to jstor. Could you send it to me? Just sent you a message ...
posted by krinklyfig at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2009


HOLY FUCKING STRAWMAN will you shut up with this nonsense? Nobody here thinks that this stupid photograph is "dangerous."

I believe several people did say that, for instance that sending out the image would just mean pedophiles would be aroused by it.

No need to shout.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2009


YES AMERICA IS FULL OF PEDOPHILES. YOU'VE CRACKED THE CODE. WE'RE ALL FRANTICALLY WANKING TO THE SEARS CATALOGUE AND TERRIFIED OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO ARE EXPOSING OUR DEEP HYPOCRISY.

Why does this piss you off so much? I'm not screaming at you.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2009


I don't think it's "creepy," particularly, but I think these kids are old enough that they should not be pressured (or bribed) to appear in naked pictures that will be mailed to everyone in the address book if they don't want to. I can't understand what about the kids being naked in the family Christmas cards is so important that it outweighs the idea of respecting the fact that if the kids aren't comfortable with it, they shouldn't really be pushed. I know that's a no-fun answer, but teaching kids that they get to set boundaries is pretty important. How do you teach kids that age that it's hilarious for Dad to pressure or bribe you to let him take your picture naked, but it's really bad if anybody else does it?

I know, I know. Like I said, it's a no-fun answer.

I also think it's unfair to classify this as an example of "Why are people afraid of nudity?" If you're talking about artistic or incidental nudity -- the parent who takes the bathtub photo or the vacation photo where somebody happens to be naked because of the circumstances -- then that's one thing. But the only reason this family does this is that the parents think nudity is hilarious. These people are naked for attention, the same way they only went to Kinko's so they could be rejected. I really get sick of the "Why is everyone paying so much attention to my attention-seeking behavior?" argument. I'm not freaked out by nudity, but yes, I'm uncomfortable with parents using the nudity of their increasingly reluctant kids as a running joke. These kids might be perfectly fine with it deep down, but I'm not sure the parents' attitude would prepare them to notice if they weren't.

As for FedEx/Kinko's, it's a private business. They don't have to print anything they don't want to print, unless they're refusing it to print it for a discriminatory reason. Retail establishments are not the Army. If you don't like that one, you can pick another one. They are free to choose to do business with other customers; you are free to choose to do business with another company.
posted by FrozenTundra at 12:29 PM on December 17, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm stuck on the "bribed with candy to get naked" part. Something about that ... maybe it's because I've got little kids who might not yet be able to distinguish between mom and dad giving them candy to get naked and let us take pictures of them and some other completely inappropriate person doing the same thing. Bad example all around, I think.

Add that to the FUCKING CREEPY (tm Mathowie) final photo, and I'm just all creeped out.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 12:30 PM on December 17, 2009


Why does this piss you off so much? I'm not screaming at you.

People don't have to shout to be really, really annoying. Disingenuous rhetorical questions and strawmanning do an awfully good job.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:41 PM on December 17, 2009


What bothers me the most about this whole thing -- other than the "quirky" aspect that folks got right on earlier in the comments -- is that while some might find it "cute and wacky and harmless" and some might find it "fucking creepy" -- I'm assuming that this guy doesn't knowingly have any pedophiles on his Christmas card mailing list, so he's, for the most part, within control of the audience that sees his card if he just gets it printed and STFU.

But by placing it online, the audience is now possibly..nay probably,.. going to expland and the picture is certainly going to make the rounds to someone -- or a large group of picture sharing someones -- who are going to enjoy turning his "cute and wacky and harmless" picture into something obscene. So good job that.

But I suppose it's not a complete loss. At least they've taught their kids that getting naked for candy is a good thing. That'll end well. (On preview, I've been beat to this observation.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2009


I respect but don't partake in the whole nudism/naturalism thing, but I would think that given the problem that it's likely to trigger a variety of reactions ranging from support, to unwanted and creepy leering, to prudish shock and horror, to reminders of childhood sexual abuse, that it would be better to be a bit more circumspect than to post photos on your weblog as part of a complaint about bad customer service.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:59 PM on December 17, 2009


Next time go to FedEx Kinky's.

Problem solved.

I think the pic could have been better (and is dad wearing an apron or shorts? I think the kids are getting a lot more exposure than the parents - patently unfair!). But if they've gone this many years, meh.

Liability being what it is, I'm not surprised a big chain has ironclad rules. It's not about morality, it's about money.
posted by lysdexic at 1:06 PM on December 17, 2009


I don't care about the attention-whoring (eh), or the confronting the repressive corporate norms business (someone has to do it I guess), or the oh no pedophiles aspect.

It's more like, your kids are going to hit puberty and not only are you sending hundreds of pieces of blackmail material to everyone you know, you're now going to be very lucky if your little holiday card doesn't go viral, and THANKS DAD.
posted by furiousthought at 1:06 PM on December 17, 2009


You're right, there is a great difference between a photo of a child having sex and a child merely naked. Luckily for pedophiles, they can just as well masturbate furiously to either photo.

Lucky for pedophiles, they can also masturbate furiously to fully clothed children. That doesn't make photos of fully clothed children sexual, though.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:30 PM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me during this photo shoot at least one of the kids must have said, "Dad, I don't wanna." If that wasn't enough to call the whole thing off, I can't help but assume that this Robert Cringely guy is a selfish and somewhat despicable little man.
posted by chrillsicka at 1:31 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


would anyone have a different opinion if these were three young girls posing nude?

and can I also just echo the 'why was this not tagged NSFW in some way' complaints? I had a great time explaining to my boss what in the world I was looking at.
posted by morganannie at 1:34 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I am really taken aback at the idea that photographs like these are dangerous because they might arouse a pedophile."


I was really taken aback when the local YMCAs started banning cell phones with cameras in their locker rooms. Turned out the Y's HQ had discovered the hard way that pedos apparently consider cell phone cameras the greatest invention since the wheel. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

When you distribute naked or mostly naked photos of your children--especially online--eventually those photos are going to attract attention you'd prefer they didn't have, no matter how innocent your photos or your reasons.

That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your photos, or that your photos are dangerous. What's wrong is your lack of respect for technology's ability to put those same photos into the hands of people who are dangerous.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:40 PM on December 17, 2009


and by tagged...i guess i meant IN THE TITLE.
posted by morganannie at 1:40 PM on December 17, 2009


This would be a perfect submission for Smile Like You're Dead Inside.
posted by Plinko at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2009


People don't have to shout to be really, really annoying. Disingenuous rhetorical questions and strawmanning do an awfully good job.

I'm sorry you feel my questions were disingenuous. I'm a bit surprised how upset people get at this, however. It's not really affecting anyone here, and people are spinning in circles over it. As far a straw man arguments, well, I'd have to go back and review, but I also didn't realize how upset it might make someone. I'm just trying to have a conversation. I'm afraid people are taking this way too personally.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2009


Why does this piss you off so much? I'm not screaming at you.

People don't have to shout to be really, really annoying. Disingenuous rhetorical questions and strawmanning do an awfully good job.


So what is this, if not strawmanning?

It just seems like the photo is a real Rorschach test, revealing more about the viewers than the creators.

That's right. Everyone who thinks that it's a stupid photo and this guy is making a stupid fuss because a business didn't want to print it is a GIANT PRUDE WHO IS TERRIFIED OF NUDITY! AND PROBABLY A SECRET PEDOPHILE THEMSELVES!


I didn't see kig19 saying that anyone who objected was a prude or a secret pedophile, those are your words. And that's the definition of strawmanning.

I understand your point of view, but I don't understand why you're yelling at people about things they haven't actually said.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:45 PM on December 17, 2009


That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your photos, or that your photos are dangerous. What's wrong is your lack of respect for technology's ability to put those same photos into the hands of people who are dangerous.

But, really, we approach this differently than other countries. Those other countries don't seem to have serious problems with pedophiles. Why is it necessary, then, to encourage this level of paranoia, when clearly it's not healthy and may be more damaging? Encouraging repressive behaviors may be exacerbating the problem. You create deviants when you draw lines where there didn't used to be. Not to say that pedophiles don't exist, but we're trying to mold our entire society around them, and it's absurd.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:48 PM on December 17, 2009


It's not the nudity per se, it's the idea that its a continuing tradition. Look at this long term, say 15 years from now; is it a christmas card with naked grandpa and grandma and all the daughter-in-laws and the grandkids? I'll give you that's it's OK to take a picture of your 1 year old daughter naked on a rug. That doesn't mean it's good idea as a birthday tradition for the next 13 years.
posted by DaddyNewt at 1:48 PM on December 17, 2009


What a bunch of ninnies. Lighten up already. Elaine Benes started this loooooooong ago with the errant nipple shot. It's funny to me because you don't like it.
posted by HyperBlue at 1:51 PM on December 17, 2009


Those other countries don't seem to have serious problems with pedophiles.

What countries are you referring to, and what is the basis for your assertion that they do not seem to have serious problems with pedophiles?
posted by The World Famous at 1:51 PM on December 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm struck by the fact that Sally Mann, who became briefly notorious in the 1990s for photographing her nude children, carefully considered audience reactions and the health and well-being of her children when she did her series. It didn't prevent her from being accused of child pornography.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:52 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh. Guess I better delete my GG Allin themed Christmas card photos then.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:55 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


june made him a gemini wrote: "He likely knew full-well that they wouldn't process his request."

Unless he's flat out lying about this being a yearly thing, you're probably wrong. But hey, he's either a pedophile or a pedophile-enabler, so why not pile on?
posted by wierdo at 1:58 PM on December 17, 2009


On the one hand, I do not think Sally Mann should be prosecuted as a child pornographer. On the other hand, her images make me acutely uncomfortable. I guess this is where I say that, you know, I think at present child porn law over-reaches and chills legitimate expression but, you know, people who make their children pose nude for photos should consider whether or not they are exercising good judgment, as a matter of prudence.
posted by prefpara at 1:58 PM on December 17, 2009


wierdo: "Unless he's flat out lying about this being a yearly thing, you're probably wrong. But hey, he's either a pedophile or a pedophile-enabler, so why not pile on?"

Except that he had the same experience the previous year. I don't think it's unreasonable to think he expected this response.
posted by brundlefly at 2:09 PM on December 17, 2009


Can someone please explain to me why nudity is "creepy"?

I don't think nudity is creepy. I have no problems with nudity. I've been to nude beaches. I've skinny dipped, whatever.

I also have kids. Now, when my kids were little, they wanted to run around nude, because that's natural. When kids reach puberty, they want privacy. This is also a natural development. Their bodies change, and they are acutely aware of this.

Parents don't spend a lot of time nude around their own kids either, because a healthy, natural response from a child, upon seeing his/her parents nude, is "EWww!" This is because the idea of parents as sexual beings is not something kids want to dwell on.

Again, nudity is not creepy. I think it's outrageous that nude statues are sometimes strategically "draped" or declared not appropriate for children. The nude figure is beautiful and awe-inspiring in its complexity.

In the abstract. Objectively. When it isn't, say, your neighbor or your brother or your aunt. You know they have every right to be nude, you support them absolutely if they want to live their lives as nudists, but you aren't particularly keen to go and visit them in all their nude spendor, you know?

And it does seem a bit off to me that the kids are nude while the parents are less so. Why is that? I have no desire to see my teen sons naked. It just wouldn't occur to me. And it's kinda hypocritical to make them nude and then cover up with apron and shorts yourselves.

Also, someone else had to take the photo. I just can't imagine my kids, bribed or not, wanting a complete stranger to see them this way, because, again, they value their personal privacy.

And when you add to that all the aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, babysitters and what have you seeing the card (and now all the internet), I think it is exploitative to involve the kids, who are already feeling reluctant and having to be bribed to go along with Mom and Dad, in this family "tradition."

And yeah, the whole, "look at me, look at me, look at me" attention-whoring part is definitely creepy.
posted by misha at 2:12 PM on December 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


magstheaxe wrote: "When you distribute naked or mostly naked photos of your children--especially online--eventually those photos are going to attract attention you'd prefer they didn't have, no matter how innocent your photos or your reasons. "

This is probably one of the reasons I should never be a parent, but: So what? Why should I care if some dude in Hong Kong is beating off furiously to an innocent picture of my child? Should I also be concerned that aliens may abduct my child? I guess what I'm asking is "How does this affect me?"
posted by wierdo at 2:13 PM on December 17, 2009


brundlefly wrote: "Except that he had the same experience the previous year."

I thought I read that he had the photos printed at Kinko's last year. I was just scanning the article, though.
posted by wierdo at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2009


MetaFilter: "How does this affect me?"
posted by fixedgear at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2009


Why should I care if some dude in Hong Kong is beating off furiously to an innocent picture of my child? Should I also be concerned that aliens may abduct my child? I guess what I'm asking is "How does this affect me?"

What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?
posted by The World Famous at 2:19 PM on December 17, 2009


prefpa: Yeah. I don't think that Cringely should be charged with anything. But I do think that if you take your family's tradition of nudism/naturalism into the public sphere in this way you should be prepared for some strong reactions.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:20 PM on December 17, 2009


wierdo: "I thought I read that he had the photos printed at Kinko's last year. I was just scanning the article, though."

His blog isn't loading for me now, so I can't check, but as I recall he was working two days a week in San Francisco at the time, so he went to a Kinko's location there, which had a pierced and tattooed guy behind the counter who was, like, all totally down with printing them.
posted by brundlefly at 2:21 PM on December 17, 2009


What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

What if it's coming from inside the house?!!
posted by found missing at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

So, what is the likelihood of this? Isn't it usually someone the child knows who is most likely to be an abuser?

Isn't this really the problem, though, that we see an emotionally wrenching situation and overreact to it, even though the reaction is way out of proportion to the need? Sort of like our reaction to 9/11?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am writing a blog called FEDEX KINKO'S DIDN'T BRAIN THIS CREEPY SEXUAL-BOUNDARY-LACKING FAMILY WITH A COPIER.

Buy your own color printer assholes.

I, Hate You.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:26 PM on December 17, 2009


What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

So, what is the likelihood of this? Isn't it usually someone the child knows who is most likely to be an abuser?


The likelihood of a sex offender in your area seeing something you post on the internet that features your name, location, and a photo of your naked kids? If you live in any major metropolitan area in the U.S., it is almost inevitable.

Isn't this really the problem, though, that we see an emotionally wrenching situation and overreact to it, even though the reaction is way out of proportion to the need? Sort of like our reaction to 9/11?

I do see some overreaction in this thread. I don't think, though that it's overreacting to think that it's dumb to post a naked picture of your kids, along with information sufficient to figure out who they are and where they live, on the internet.

Isn't it usually someone the child knows who is most likely to be an abuser?

Yes. So would it have been better, then, if this family just sent the naked pictures of their kids to family and friends?
posted by The World Famous at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2009


Time to call in the Paedofinder General.
posted by benzenedream at 2:45 PM on December 17, 2009


In other news: Robert X. Cringely still around, increasingly desperate for attention; children's calls to Child Protection Services still unanswered.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:47 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I understand from your comments that the guy is kind of a semi-famous self-absorbed tool, but luckily we have enough of those here to pay attention to, so I don't have the faintest idea about who he hell this Cringely guy is. The picture itself is not a particularly good photograph, it's a bit banal but I appreciate it's lighthearted and possibly (or possibly not) made in earnest. Creepy? No.

I would not like to pass as a contrarian voice on this, but I think it's a sorry state of things you're living in, if all this fuss rises from such an innocuous thing and, frankly, it reeks of moral panic from quite a distance.
posted by _dario at 3:08 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The dialectic in here is probably impossible to bridge. Either you see the implicit shittiness in the card or you are a horribly blinded and morally blighted wretch who doesn't. Simple!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:10 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much harder the parents are going to have to work at keeping this 'tradition' alive for much longer. I thought the card was funny, personally (I have a weakness for strategically concealed nudity) but having my parents encourage me every year to strip down for the Christmas picture and resorting to bribery would be strange, to say the least. Did they have someone come in to take the picture or just set the camera's timer and hope that everyone's bits were covered? "No, son, let's try it again. Keep your dick more to the right this time".

And good lord, I also hope they're homeschooled.
posted by amicamentis at 3:11 PM on December 17, 2009


The photo is making me suspicious. There is something off, to me, about the color, lighting, expression, and general appearance of everyone standing behind the oven door compared to the two children in front. I also wonder who took the picture.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:20 PM on December 17, 2009


I do see some overreaction in this thread. I don't think, though that it's overreacting to think that it's dumb to post a naked picture of your kids, along with information sufficient to figure out who they are and where they live, on the internet.

OK, but is the threat you feel from this realistic? Do child abusers find their targets like this? If so, how often? Is this more or less likely than being struck by lightning?

I'm not saying you shouldn't be worried. Live in fear all you want. I'm just saying you may not have a realistic idea of how much of a threat this is.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:25 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Um, now there is an mp3 on the page so you can Listen to this post in Bob's sexy, sexy voice.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:30 PM on December 17, 2009


Child pornography laws aren't the kind you should be actively exploring the limits and grey areas of.

Your 6 favorites notwithstanding, you win best unintentional invocation of the chilling effect.
posted by oncogenesis at 3:33 PM on December 17, 2009


I find the photo refreshing. I did a holiday rush stint at minted.com for a few weeks and I never want to look at another badly framed, poorly light, out-of-focus camera photo pic of an adorable child again.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:34 PM on December 17, 2009


Definitely casting my vote for this being both creepy and attention-whoring.

Say all you like about American prudeness (prudity? pruditute? whatever), but I really don't think taking nude pictures of your kids (especially when they're on the cusp of puberty) is a thing that normal people do in any country.
posted by Target Practice at 3:36 PM on December 17, 2009


It's the look on the face of the kid with his bare ass on the hardwood that really seals my "creepy" vote.
posted by emilyd22222 at 3:37 PM on December 17, 2009


prudishness?
posted by fixedgear at 3:51 PM on December 17, 2009


Holy cow, these people are in South Carolina.

Well, as long as none of the Cringelys are gay or in favor of Social Security, they have nothing to worry about. If they were posed in front of the Confederate flag, you couldn't tell them from half the family reunions in the state.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:53 PM on December 17, 2009


Prudery.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:57 PM on December 17, 2009


200 + comments. Metafilter has decided: these beans all need little pant-suits.
posted by Bageena at 4:03 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


And the franks, too.
posted by fixedgear at 4:06 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


As horrible offenses against humanity go, it's no hitler-cake.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not a prude, I think it's sick when people sexualize small children, and yet I still found that picture FUCKING CREEPY
posted by autoclavicle at 4:22 PM on December 17, 2009


The World Famous wrote: What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

What if my wife falls into a deep depression and drives my kids into a lake?
posted by wierdo at 4:28 PM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


The World Famous wrote: What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

What if my wife falls into a deep depression and drives my kids into a lake?


Which of the two scenarios is more likely if you post naked pictures of your non-infant children on the internet and include identifying information?

A. A sex offender in your geographic area sees the pictures that you posted.

B. Your wife falls into a deep depression and drives my kids into a lake.
posted by The World Famous at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2009


I'm thinking!
posted by found missing at 4:37 PM on December 17, 2009


C. BEAR ATTACK.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Age, people, age. That's the thing here. If it were just the parents, fine, no problem. If it's young babies and toddlers who don't really know what the hell is going on, fine, no problem. It's when kids hit that age--maybe around 6, 7, 8--when they start to understand more about social norms and, frankly, why human beings actually wear clothes in the first place. Kids at that age should be given their due privacy, and you can make the coercion sound cute by buying gummy worms or whatever, but it's not at all fair when the kid can't really refuse.

Fast forward about 10 years, when the kid is 18, 19--an adult. If he/she wants to pose nude with Mom and Dad, fine, no problem. But in that 15 or so year window, parents should respect their kids enough not to force them into this "fun" picture.

I used to work at a Kinko's and we got stuff a lot racier than this. If this guy came in to print this I probably would've done it.
posted by zardoz at 4:39 PM on December 17, 2009


"With kids that age, you have to bribe them to sit still through almost anything. The only difference here is that they might grow up to be creeped out by it BECAUSE EVERYONE KEEPS TELLING THEM IT'S CREEPY."

I knew I wouldn't have to read very far before finding that sentiment. The implicit assertion is that some behavior attains a designation of "wrongness" only because everyone has previously agreed to pretend a specific behavior is wrong -- there is no awareness that any inherent wrongness can exist, ever. So any scorn radiating from a group can only be interpreted as a socially constructed pretense.

"Those other countries don't seem to have serious problems with pedophiles. Why is it necessary, then, to encourage this level of paranoia, when clearly it's not healthy and may be more damaging? Encouraging repressive behaviors may be exacerbating the problem. You create deviants when you draw lines where there didn't used to be."

The implicit assertion is that society encourages various belief systems, and every one of them must be invalid for some mysterious reason never identified. Personally, I believe anything is damaging when taken to absurd lengths, but being concerned that an adult is forcing a child to surrender privacy and bodily autonomy against that child's will, is not an extreme view.

Adults forget what it is like, to be a child utterly dependent upon the benevolence of a parent's good-will. Complying with the adult's desire is really the only option a young child has. A dynamic like that shown here does not usually restrict itself to just one instance, you know. Hell yes these kids are going to have issues later, and their parent's friends and relatives know about it right fucking now, and LAUGH. Curse them straight to hell.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 4:45 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


How long before Cringely shows up here, or is he already a member? Heh, I said member.
posted by fixedgear at 4:48 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Adults forget what it is like, to be a child utterly dependent upon the benevolence of a parent's good-will.

Why do you think kids want to grow up so fast? They want to be treated as human beings, not some asshole's goddamned property.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 4:49 PM on December 17, 2009


I have a feeling this for sure will decide whether or not my internet activity at work will get me fired.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:49 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


That card is creepy. It's not the nudity, it's the fact that they have to get the WHOLE FAMILY in on it, to the point of bribing the kids.

Somehow I bet the Cringely family all wears those stupid, stupid lobster hats when they vacation in Maine every year, and even as the kids get too old for it Pa Cringely makes them wear one.
Hey guys, let's be Wacky!
posted by dunkadunc at 4:53 PM on December 17, 2009


The World Famous wrote: The World Famous wrote: What if it's a guy a mile or so away who just got out of prison where he did time for sexual assault?

What if my wife falls into a deep depression and drives my kids into a lake?


Which of the two scenarios is more likely if you post naked pictures of your non-infant children on the internet and include identifying information?

A. A sex offender in your geographic area sees the pictures that you posted.

B. Your wife falls into a deep depression and drives my kids into a lake.


Nice loaded question there. Neither is likely to happen. Both are incredibly remote possibilities. Your entire postulation is like asking how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

(And I don't think my wife will be driving your kids into a lake, thanks)
posted by wierdo at 4:55 PM on December 17, 2009


I didn't see kig19 saying that anyone who objected was a prude or a secret pedophile, those are your words. And that's the definition of strawmanning.

What I was trying to do there was not create a strawman. What I was trying to do was exaggerate for comic effect. And given the lack of a sarcasm mark in English, I was using one of the usual Internet conventions for Colbert-style bellowing of ridiculous hyperbole--typing in all caps.

Obviously that didn't come off, so I fail dismally at attempting to be funny.

Just like Cringely's picture.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:56 PM on December 17, 2009


Sidhedevil: "And given the lack of a sarcasm mark in English"

HAMBURGER
posted by brundlefly at 5:13 PM on December 17, 2009


The likelihood of a sex offender in your area seeing something you post on the internet that features your name, location, and a photo of your naked kids? If you live in any major metropolitan area in the U.S., it is almost inevitable.
I'm not sure if I understand this fear. It's as if people think that if a pedophile sees a picture of a kid somehow they turn into a like a pedophile terminator who subsequently must hunt down said kid till the ends of the earth. It's really odd.

Plus "Sex Offender" could mean someone who had consensual sex with a fellow teenager, like in this recent case.

Obviously, since there are a lot of "sex offenders" probably some of the people seeing the picture will qualify. But unlike the wife driving the kids into the lake, it won't actually affect your life. The question is "what if a pedophile sees this, then hunts my kids down terminator style" And I think the chances are pretty low.
Say all you like about American prudeness (prudity? pruditute? whatever)
Prudishness.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on December 17, 2009


The implicit assertion is that some behavior attains a designation of "wrongness" only because everyone has previously agreed to pretend a specific behavior is wrong -- there is no awareness that any inherent wrongness can exist, ever. So any scorn radiating from a group can only be interpreted as a socially constructed pretense.

No, the implicit assertion is that many behaviors which have attained a designation of "wrongness" are only that way because of societal mores. History is full of the long, drawn-out battles that can happen when people are so convinced of something's inherent "wrongness" they can't see differently. Interracial relationships, gay marriage, toilets on television, boys with long hair, Jews... which of these have inherent wrongness, and which were merely believed to have?
posted by scrowdid at 5:29 PM on December 17, 2009


delmoi, it was a response to wierdo above asking why he/she should care about some pedophile in Hong Kong, and was offered in that context simply with regard to geographic proximity. That's all.
posted by The World Famous at 5:31 PM on December 17, 2009


I couldn't tell. Which one is the balloon boy?
posted by cjets at 5:39 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


The argument that something is inadvisable only if it has a likelihood of negative effects to your personal family or neighborhood seems a bit odd to me. It's something we generally reject when it comes to political speech for example.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:44 PM on December 17, 2009


"Can someone please explain to me why nudity is "creepy"?"

I can answer that, but first I need to get out my penis.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:45 PM on December 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Christmas cards are creepy. I get them from my insurance agent and people I haven't spoken to in years. Creepier still those "What we did this past year" reports, printed on colored paper. Reports on your promotion her hysterectomy juniors graduation and coming out the passing of the dog and it's subsequent replacement

What to do with such things?
posted by pianomover at 6:15 PM on December 17, 2009


The only difference here is that they might grow up to be creeped out by it BECAUSE EVERYONE KEEPS TELLING THEM IT'S CREEPY.

No.

Sexuality, nudity, and boundaries can be very, very personal things -- what is perfectly fine to one person may be creepy to another person. There's no good or bad about that, so long as everyone's individual rights are being respected.

And children as young as seven may already be forming opinions about what is and is not "creepy" to them personally, without outside influence.

I got teased once in second grade by a couple other girls asking me questions "about a vagina" because they were getting their giggles watching me get flustered. I hadn't ever had anyone tell me that talking about a vagina in general conversation was creepy -- all I know is that, to me, talking about it with them FELT creepy and I didn't like it one bit. And I sure as HELL didn't like it when one of them capped off her teasing by asking, "you know where your vagina is, right? It's right THERE!" and poking me directly in the groin.

No one, NO ONE, had to tell me that that was creepy. I KNEW it felt creepy.

Mind you, I am not comparing this guy posing his kids to me being poked in the crotch by a classmate. What I AM responding to, though, is the implication that "oh, these kids are only going to get creeped out because we're making a big deal out of it". Maybe they're not. Maybe some of them already organically are creeped out. And thus, if, as some people are implying, they were persuaded to overcome that being-creeped-out, then...yes, I think there's something a little wrong here. Not because of the "omg nekkid kids automatically is creepy ick" -- but because, IF one of the kids didn't want to do it and his parents had to talk him into it, there's....something not right about that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 PM on December 17, 2009


Creepier still those "What we did this past year" reports, printed on colored paper.

I hear that some peole call those 'Christmas letters.'
posted by fixedgear at 6:24 PM on December 17, 2009


Lots of up-tight mother fuckers out there. Yet some how the vile South Park Christmas Poo is allowed to live on year after year. Go figure.
posted by tkchrist at 6:49 PM on December 17, 2009


So is it a coincidence that the family name is "Cringley?"
posted by biochemist at 6:54 PM on December 17, 2009


Oh look: Another pretentious clod seeking attention on teh intarwebz.
posted by Doohickie at 7:09 PM on December 17, 2009


What creeped me out the most was that the only ones actually naked and vulnerable were the boys--mom and dad weren't showing anymore skin than they might at the family BBQ, while boys who looked old enough to feel embarrassed by nakedness (heaven forbid classmates start finding these) were cringing behind oven mitts and spatulas. There is no equality of vulnerability here--the kids are being exploited for some grown-up joke.
posted by availablelight at 8:13 PM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


mom and dad weren't showing anymore skin than they might at the family BBQ

[alright, mom has quite the sideboob going on, but you get my point--it's limited, eroticized spot-nakedness, not Eve in the garden right after the fall and before the fig leaf.]
posted by availablelight at 8:16 PM on December 17, 2009


I agree, availablelight. Someone said that there is no harm in the pics because the kids are used to it because it is a family tradition. But at 10, 11, 12, 13, somewhere in there, a kid enters puberty and shouldn't be forced to bare all. It might have been cute when he was six, but come on...
posted by Doohickie at 8:18 PM on December 17, 2009


It's a shame it's too late for me to send that picture out on my Christmas cards.
posted by mazola at 8:32 PM on December 17, 2009


Oh look: Another pretentious clod seeking attention on teh intarwebz.

er.. you'd have to include about 98% of everyone on "teh interwebz" in that statement.

.
.
.
I see everyone has their hate on, so I think that's it for me.
posted by edgeways at 8:35 PM on December 17, 2009


Christmas cards are creepy. I get them from my insurance agent and people I haven't spoken to in years. Creepier still those "What we did this past year" reports, printed on colored paper. Reports on your promotion her hysterectomy juniors graduation and coming out the passing of the dog and it's subsequent replacement

What to do with such things?


Get a Facebook account.
posted by ericb at 8:59 PM on December 17, 2009


So is it a coincidence that the family name is "Cringley?"

It's been a pen name (for author/host Mark Stevens) for his articles, books and television shows since 1987.
posted by ericb at 9:04 PM on December 17, 2009


Did they really think this premise was ok to carry on past the age of 10? It seems like once kids are at an age where they need to be bribed to strip down and pose for pictures, something that comes pretty darn natural at least from what I remember, then it just should not be done and is no longer cute. Coercing your own kids into keeping up some retarded "merry christmas from the quirksters!" charade is dispicable. But no, they add insult to injury with lighting that is shitty and blown out, an unfocused background, and side boob isn't even hot! The kid on the floor's expression says it all, really, someone adopt him.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 9:27 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also lol "kink"os
posted by Juicy Avenger at 9:31 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's as if people think that if a pedophile sees a picture of a kid somehow they turn into a like a pedophile terminator who subsequently must hunt down said kid till the ends of the earth.

Yeah, like some kind of roboplegic wrongcock.
posted by Tenuki at 9:34 PM on December 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Re: the whole bribery thing, when I read this it doesn't sound like he was bribing his gets to kids to get naked, it sounds like he was bribing his kids to stay covered up.
Making naked Christmas cards that are tasteful isn’t easy, either, but we do it. With three little boys you can only go so long until they begin to realize they are, well, naked. That leads in our family not so much to protestations of modesty as to demands for bribes. The price of this year’s photo session was $2 worth of sour gummy worms per kid. Yum.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:04 PM on December 17, 2009


The World Famous wrote: delmoi, it was a response to wierdo above asking why he/she should care about some pedophile in Hong Kong, and was offered in that context simply with regard to geographic proximity. That's all.

And my point was that what some people do on the internetz is not important to me, nor should my life revolve around it. If I think strategically placed obscuring of nudity makes for an entertaining christmas card, it should be my right to send it out. I should not be hunted down by child services because of what the OMFGPAEDOPHILES!!!@#$ are going to do with it.

Your position sounds like hysterics to me. (Unless you can pull out some studies that show a stastistically significant number of abductions happen after someone sees a child's picture on the Internet, in which case, I'll be having crow for breakfast in the morning)
posted by wierdo at 10:13 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, it's "sad" that people are scared of Federal prosecution."

Yeah, actually. I mean, I know that you were all Sarcastro dictator for life, but it is sad that something that's so obviously not child porn has people freaked out and worried about prosecution—or using that as a pretense to hide their own prudery, which, frankly, can't be dismissed.

Maybe my perspective is a little bit weird here, as my mom is a fine-art photographer, and as kids both my brother and I were "bribed" into posing, including nudes that still hang in the house. Bribes were necessary, especially for projects that involved us naked in the snow, waiting for the light to be right in cloudy Michigan. Even in photos with sexualized content, as in the work of Mann and—arguably more salient—Sturges, those aren't pornography and the federal Sword of Damacles you're endorsing here is sad and chilling. I'm not saying because of that, that you are a prude, though frankly it's one of those things where your reasoning seems thin, your presentation shrill and defensive, and since even prudes don't want to be seen as prudes, it's hard to tell. However, good faith and all, yes, it is sad to argue for constraining someone else's art—and this is art, even if it's bad art—production simply because you disagree with the aesthetics is silliness. I think Thomas Kincade's art is crap, but I'd never say he shouldn't be allowed to paint and I'd defend him vociferously if he was going to face penalties anything like those for sex crimes in America. I like Voltaire, even if he is a funny furriner.

I might also venture that I'm the only person in the room who has been a nude child model, worked at Kinko's and worked in real pornography (ironically charged in part with keeping minors out of our pages, and seeing how arbitrary and stupid those laws are). I would have gladly run the photos, because our only policy was to ask about copyright—aside from that we were not to look at the content at all. When I worked for Kinko's, we did a lot of printing for firms that required us to keep things confidential, either for legal reasons or for trade secrets, so a strict policy of disinterest was required. I'd like to believe that the same policy still exists, but since I left before FedEx bought 'em and they were already in the throes of corporate meltdown, God only knows what the poor copy monkeys have to deal with these days.

To the responses that say that it's within Kinko's rights, well, yes, of course. However, not only does getting employees involved in making those spot decisions leave you open to all sorts of difficulties down the road, but the question of whether it's within Kinko's rights ignores the question of whether that decision is a just or fair or desirable one. I don't think it is. And for the folks who think it's just tacky, well, I don't want Kinko's making the decision not to print things just because they're tacky—and neither do you—because our tastes differ. If I had adhered to that policy while I worked at Kinko's, we would have printed only a tenth of what was brought in, because I think your kittens are trite, your family ugly, and your zines insipid, and your band flyers derivative. Also, the spiral binder is the only binding machine that's fun to use, so that's what you're all getting. Fuck your comb binding. That machine always fucks up.
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 PM on December 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


ericb, according to that link he lives/lived near me... glad the family didn't end up working with him. Talk about a Christmas present!
posted by biochemist at 11:33 PM on December 17, 2009


klangklangston: Maybe my perspective is a little bit weird here

"Maybe"?

I appreciate your viewpoints on this topic, klang, and I don't think having a weird opinion makes you wrong whether your opinion is the 0.01% minority or the 49.9% minority. But there's no small irony in deconstructing the arbitrary standards and morals of society in the same comment that you try to figure out whether someone is a "prude" -- itself a completely arbitrary and judgmental standard.

I'd argue that you can't avoid arbitrary standards when you're using human subjects. This situation is not even comparable to something like Kinko's working with trade secrets, because a trade secret doesn't need to be bribed to be recorded and can't experience any of the effects (real or internalized) of its publication.

How clearly or how many times would these kids have to say "no" in order for you to find this unacceptable? Does it matter to you at all that they would have to say it to the most powerful authority figures in their lives? Does it matter that they're too young to necessarily understand the implications of a nude photo of themselves being sent to family and friends (and apparently the entire internet)? Does it matter that this is a kitschy Christmas card instead of hanging in a gallery somewhere or changing the public perception of a war?

Again, I don't think you're totally wrong, but I do think you're entirely too willing to discount the right to self-determination of boundaries such as nudity, in favor of an academic argument about art and censorship.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:48 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


If my parents forced me to do this I would have murdered them in their sleep. No joke. What a shitty dad.
posted by tehloki at 1:19 AM on December 18, 2009


Last year's photo
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:41 AM on December 18, 2009


Bad picture. Cute kids. Hot mom. Scary dad.
posted by humannaire at 5:36 AM on December 18, 2009


Here's the thing, though, Klang -- you say you had to be bribed to model. Were you unwilling because "Mom, I'd rather play baseball" or "Mom, I don't want to lie down in the cold snow", or because "mom, I'm really feeling a little freaked out by everyone seeing me naked"?

I think that's the part that's making all the difference for several of us -- there's a difference between being "bribed" because you'd rather be playing video games, and between being persuaded to participate in an act that makes you feel uncomfortable in an intimate fashion. The blogger doesn't state why he has to bribe his kids -- and not knowing the reason for their reluctance is making a lot of us uneasy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think EmpressCallipygos is spot on. It's like a parent saying "I know you don't want to talk to Gramma but if you do I'll buy you a Happy Meal" versus "Why don't you like it when Uncle Bob makes you sit on his lap? Come on, here's five bucks, he's your uncle, go see him". It's not really clear why they were reluctant to pose.

I am curious about FedEx/Kinko's rules regarding nudity, child nudity, and who has the final decision on what they will not print. Is it up to the sole discretion of the desk person that day? Are there corporate rules that are inflexible (i.e. no naked pictures of girls over two, no naked pictures of boys over six, and no pubic hair/female nipple)? Is it up to the copy person to make the final decision over what is 'art' and what is 'porn' or 'inappropriate'? Does anyone currently work at Kinko's who knows the policy? Or is it all just a gray area and sometimes things will fly and sometimes you'll get a hardass who won't print your beach pictures.
posted by amicamentis at 6:23 AM on December 18, 2009


I just can't get past the fact that in both this year's and last year's photos, Mom and Dad are so much more covered up than the kids. In both, the only "you can ALMOST see that, but you can't quite, by a millimeter, ha ha ha!" jokes are at the expense of the kids. If Dad thinks this is so great and so funny, why is he so covered up? Why does Mom get to cover her entire front, aside from the tease of side boob in the apron, in both photos? Aside from that little bit, you really see nothing of Mom in either photo. You see nothing of Dad in last year's and only dad's chest in this year's.

It just doesn't sit right. It's one thing for the joke to be that the whole family is nude; it's another if you tease your kids' nudity as closely as you possibly can (as you can see in last year's photo, the confusion over the navigation light on the boat looking like an exposed body part -- the confusion that Dad pretended was so absurd -- is completely intentional) but you give yourself a wide berth of modesty. There may be absolutely nothing to it except that it's something they didn't think about, but that's part of what makes it seem unkind to the kids. If the parents and kids were presented similarly, I think it would still be unwise, but it would feel less like the parents were using the kids for a punch line. Like I said before, I don't think it's sexual or offensive, particularly, but I think it's an inconsiderate way to treat your kids.
posted by FrozenTundra at 6:30 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think the real "american" problem with nudity is what's been going on in this thread - for some people, nudity automatically jumps to sexuality and perversity. For many people, it may not be such a strong correlation - and obviously it has everything to do with what's going on in our mushy heads.

For me, I find the Christmas cards pretty inappropriate, but not because it may be used as pornography fodder - with all the kinks out there, whose to say what is and isn't used as pornography anymore? As others have said, I just think back to my own feelings on nudity - REPRESS REPRESS REPRESS - and think of how uncomfortable I would have been if my parents had made me participate. Just the mom and the dad would make it an awesome card though.
posted by Think_Long at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2009


Bribes were necessary, especially for projects that involved us naked in the snow, waiting for the light to be right in cloudy Michigan.


...the fuck?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:44 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Again, I don't think you're totally wrong, but I do think you're entirely too willing to discount the right to self-determination of boundaries such as nudity, in favor of an academic argument about art and censorship."

Well, except that I think in this case those concerns of self-determination of boundaries are fairly thinly supported. My brother and I had to be bribed because getting your picture taken is incredibly boring, especially for a kid. And if you're wet or cold, well, knowing that you're getting some GI Joes out of it makes it tolerable in a way that an appeal to art doesn't. Or hey, gummi worms, if that works. We weren't allowed to have them, and only barely got GI Joes, which according to my mother promoted violence and unhealthy gender roles (which I generally agree with now, though at the time we wanted GI Joes because the neighbors had GI Joes). Having been through it, I tend to think that the red flag people are seeing is because they want to see red flags, though I do concede that there's ambiguity there.

"I'd argue that you can't avoid arbitrary standards when you're using human subjects. This situation is not even comparable to something like Kinko's working with trade secrets, because a trade secret doesn't need to be bribed to be recorded and can't experience any of the effects (real or internalized) of its publication."

But our policy was simply that we did not judge nor regard the content outside of asking for copyright clearance, and even that was a fig leaf that we were forced into because we lost a lawsuit over course packs (yup, everyone who's been hassled over copyright, that's because we used to run off course packs without paying rights holders). If you wanted to run a thousand copies of your ass, and more than a few people did, the person working could refuse to copy it if they really felt strongly about it, but then a coworker was supposed to step in and do the job, and that policy was mostly to keep creepy guys from harassing female workers by having them run off amateur porn. Otherwise, if someone wanted 60 color copies of their Penthouse collage, our concern was "Do the skin tones have too much yellow?"
posted by klangklangston at 8:10 AM on December 18, 2009


Nobody here thinks that this stupid photograph is "dangerous."

I do, but only because I find eventual psychological trauma and social stigma dangerous to children.
posted by chrillsicka at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2009


klangklangston: Well, except that I think in this case those concerns of self-determination of boundaries are fairly thinly supported.

Exactly as unsupported as your assertions to the contrary, actually. So let me ask you again: how clearly do these kids have to say "no" to satisfy you that their self-determined boundaries take priority over the greater artistic merits of this card? Do they have to explicitly say "no, Mom and Dad, I find this card to be a violation of my nascent standards of personal privacy and I am concerned about both the real and the personal/emotional consequences of you sending it to our friends and family"?

You're right that the bribery may have been innocently intentioned, because the kids were getting bored rather than because they were scared or ashamed. On the other hand, "Dad, I don't wanna do this, I'm bored" may have been code for "I don't want to do this but I'm embarrassed to say I'm embarrassed". We don't know, and the parents don't know, and the kid may not know because he's a kid and arguably couldn't even consent to this family activity if he wanted to.

If you actually believe in self-determination on this issue, then the need for bribery should have been a dealbreaker for the photo, because "no means no" doesn't just apply to sex. And yeah, I'm happy you're okay with it in retrospect but I would have applied exactly the same standard to your mother.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:17 AM on December 18, 2009


Hell, even if those kids had only the slightest objections now ("I don't wanna...what, candy? Oh, ok, cool!"), what about when they're 16, 17, 18...how easy it will be for some vengeful classmate to find those online, print them out poster-sized, and hang them on the kids' lockers? THAT is what I'd worry about, not someone in another state wanking to the photos or the tastefulness of them or seeing mom and dad naked. Because you KNOW that's what's going to happen.

Oh, and people make a big deal about kids posting photos of themselves drinking on Facebook! Is some future employer going to find these photos?

And is this the same Robert X. Cringely who wrote (among other pieces on privacy) the article "Internet Anonymity: Why It Really Does Matter"? For someone who apparently spends time thinking about these matters, he sure does seem to have forgotten that once online, forever online. Poor kids.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 9:39 AM on December 18, 2009


Those other countries don't seem to have serious problems with pedophiles.

I'm still waiting to hear which countries you were referencing. I'm guessing it's not Belgium.
posted by cell divide at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2009


Thread still going like Last of the Summer Wine.

I'll chip in once more and say that I think this Christmas card is most insulting to the people who receive it. Can you imagine having hired this guy for website design once and receiving these ghastly cards every year?

For the record, I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REJECT PRINTED MATERIALS THAT FEATURE CHILDREN IN NUDE OR NEAR-NUDE POSES. I DO NOT WANT THEM IN MY HOUSE, IN MY BROWSER CACHE, ON MY HARD DRIVES OR ON ANY OTHER FORM OF REMOVABLE MEDIA. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION, MR. CRINGELY, AND PLEASE UNSUBSCRIBE ME FROM YOUR NEWSLETTER.
posted by meadowlark lime at 10:15 AM on December 18, 2009


...with all the kinks out there...

Kinks not welcome at Kinkos!
posted by ericb at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2009


So, based on all of the reference to "American" prudishness in this thread, am I to understand that, outside the U.S., people routinely send nude photos as Christmas cards and that the recipients generally think nothing of it?

For those of you who are apparently knowledgeable regarding the contrast between American puritanism regarding nudity and attitudes in other countries, can you give me any sort of ball park estimate as to how many nude photo Christmas cards, on average, a middle class christian family in, say, Western Europe receives in a typical year?

Or do they receive none because, not being prudish about nudity, they therefore don't think the idea is funny or clever, either?

I ask because, in my experience outside the U.S., I never noticed any nude family photos on Christmas cards or anything to lead me to believe that people in the non-U.S. countries in which I have traveled and lived would find it anything other than creepy.
posted by The World Famous at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I honestly think both photos are fake. Where is the Dad's right arm, for example? It appears to be missing.
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:11 PM on December 18, 2009


What a sad thread.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, those kids are going to be mercilessly teased when school starts. That picture will turn up everywhere in the 11 year old's school, I can almost guarantee it. Kids are feral at that age...I hope the oldest one knows how to fight or has the thick skin of the Nile crocodile, because it's going to be horrible for him. WTF, Cringley...was the 15 minutes really worth what is going to happen to your kids for years because of this stunt?

That's the thing I find "wrong" about this picture. Well, that and it's poorly done, the front seated child looks miserable, there are no cookies on the trays and the whole thing was just badly staged. But mostly, he seems to have forgotten that the internet is forever, and it seems like a horrible thing to inflict on those kids.
posted by dejah420 at 7:17 PM on December 18, 2009


"There's nothing even remotely sexual about these images. They're not even fully naked. There is nothing wrong with this photograph."

Wearing just a Santa hat or a Santa hat and oven mitts would seem to meet most laypersons definition of naked. Just because one can't see any gentials doesn't mean the kids aren't naked.
posted by Mitheral at 8:42 PM on December 18, 2009


"Exactly as unsupported as your assertions to the contrary, actually. So let me ask you again: how clearly do these kids have to say "no" to satisfy you that their self-determined boundaries take priority over the greater artistic merits of this card? Do they have to explicitly say "no, Mom and Dad, I find this card to be a violation of my nascent standards of personal privacy and I am concerned about both the real and the personal/emotional consequences of you sending it to our friends and family"?"

This is nonsense, the sort of palaver best saved for Nancy Grace. Given that there is a perfectly plausible explanation—kids are "bribed" to be in pretty much all photos if they think they can be—concluding that it's a perfectly normal, even cliché phrase is not just supported by the text, but also by the experience of myself and other posters here. If you have to invent facts to support your loaded question, you ought not even bother asking it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting that you've ignored my question yet again, klang. I already acknowledged that bribery is not itself unprecedented or inherently malicious, so I have to feel you're willfully misrepresenting my argument. Bribery is sometimes a way to get kids to do things that they don't want to, but should or must do. Bribing them with dessert in order to get them to eat their vegetables, for instance, is a perfectly acceptable form of child bribery.

Since I already made that point, I must be arguing that being nude in a photograph is not something that kids should or must do, and in fact is something that they may be entirely justified in being uncomfortable or reluctant about.

SO.

Once again, for the cheap seats: how explicitly must they say "no" in order for you to consider this a violation of their right to self-determination of nudity/privacy boundaries?
posted by Riki tiki at 12:12 PM on December 19, 2009


Simply being in a photograph is not something that children should or must do.

But I do accept that there is some sort of misuse of the children's bribed consent going on here, since the mom and dad are not getting naked with them. They're not being treated as equals and probably not aware that their dad is writing smug blog posts about them.
posted by shii at 12:50 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Interesting that you've ignored my question yet again, klang."

"If you have to invent facts to support your loaded question, you ought not even bother asking it."
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on December 19, 2009


And since I esablished that I've invented no facts but have simply asserted that making your kids pose nude for a photo is not the same thing as making them eat their veggies, my question stands... even if you'd rather not address it directly.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:06 PM on December 19, 2009


Waitress: Excuse me, sir, could you please keep your voices down? This is a family restaurant.

Walter: Oh please, dear? For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint!

Dude: Walter, this is not a First Amendment thing.

Waitress: Sir, if you don't calm down, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.

Walter: Lady, I got buddies who died face down in the muck so that you and I could enjoy this family restaurant!

Dude: All right, I'm out of here.

Walter: Hey, Dude, don't go away, man! C'mon, this affects all of us, man! Our basic freedoms!
posted by Snyder at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2009


>: They're not being treated as equals and probably not aware that their dad is writing smug blog posts about them.

I think that's the core element of what feels creepy here.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:44 PM on December 19, 2009


Hey, a little followup from my earlier comment; tonight we took our kids to the local train museum to get their first pictures with santa (a little late, since they're four, but eh) and my son really didn't want to get his picture taken. He was tired and cranky. So I didn't bribe him, I didn't force him, I just said "'k, what do you want to do" and ended up carrying him around on my shoulders for a while as he looked around. Then he saw his sister about to get on Santa's lap, and said "I'm ready to face my fear and sit with Santa" and so we have an excellent photo now (although I would have been perfectly content if he'd just stayed on my shoulders.)

So yeah, if you're bribing, you're doing it wrong. If I had tried to force or cajole him, I'd just have a fine bit of picture evidence of how I forced him to do stuff he didn't like when he was young.
posted by davejay at 11:37 PM on December 20, 2009


« Older Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones....  |  On January 1st, the U.S. estat... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments