Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

I went to sleep last night thinking about this small comment about SEB from Justin McLachlan over at his blog fifteen minutes:

Not a family-friendly site, by the way—so kids stay away.

I came across it through a trackback link to my entry the other day on the latest cosmology theories. It made me pause to think for a moment just how Stupid Evil Bastard isn’t a family friendly site. The truth is I’ve been very pro-family in a number of entries I’ve written as well as very vocal about parents being more aware of what their kids are up to. I can’t think of a single entry I’ve ever written that could be considered anti-family.

Being a family man myself I tried to consider if there was anything I’d ever written that I’d be worried about my own 13 year old daughter reading and I can’t think of a single thing. In fact she often takes the time to read my blog and then engage me in conversations over something I’ve written that she wants to explore further such as the different concepts of God that various religions promote or whatever has caught her attention. If anything allowing Courtney to read my blog has in many ways resulted in the two of us having more conversations about some fairly serious subjects than we might have had otherwise. I like to think that I promote a lot of positive ideas such as a sense of personal responsibility and the utility of critical thinking skills. Two things I think most kids would do well for themselves if they developed further than most do these days. I’m also a big promoter of people developing a good set of personal morals and then sticking to them as best they can.

The only real way I can see Stupid Evil Bastard as not being family friendly is the fact that we use naughty language including the “F-word.” If you’re concerned about your kids reading naughty language then, yes, SEB could be considered not family friendly. Though there isn’t any language here that can’t be heard in your average PG-13 movie these days, let alone pouring fourth from the mouths of most kids. I don’t encourage others to use the same language I do even if to me it’s no big deal and I admit it’s one of my few vices. I don’t condone or encourage drinking or drug use, though I do occasionally joke about both which is funny because I rarely drink and have never done illegal drugs. My language is probably the worst complaint most folks could make about SEB even though most families probably make use of it themselves.

OK, on further reflection I suppose the fact that I am critical of religious belief in general could be considered non-family friendly if you consider religious belief a big part of your family life. Even then I’ve never encouraged anyone to stop being religious, just to think about their beliefs and the reasons they hold them. Which is a good thing to do for all issues of belief and not just religious issues.

So is Stupid Evil Bastard really not a family friendly site? I can see how some folks might think so at first glance, but much like a lot of things in life initial appearances can be deceiving. I get emails all the time from folks who suddenly realize that SEB really has a very positive message cloaked in what appears to be a negative attitude and they’re always amazed at that realization. My whole point in running SEB is to get people to think more so when I get those sort of “Aha!” emails it shows that I’m accomplishing that goal.

So if you’re the sort that expects family friendly websites to be all pastel colors and feel-good platitudes then Stupid Evil Bastard is likely to disappoint. If you think a family friendly website is one that gives your family something to think and talk about and encourages positive development by exposing you to a wide range of ideas and beliefs then SEB is probably just what you’re looking for.

22 thoughts on “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

  1. Really Les, you shouldn’t have used that black background. It scares the young ‘uns!

    Yes, your site is ‘rough’. But rough as in rough-edged, not as in ‘rude’.

  2. Les, my guess is it’s the language thing. Your logo, even, has the “f” word in the tagline. I find myself scrambling to scroll down when I read your site at my office, just because of that. And between you and the commenters (myself included!) the language can get a bit coarse. I can’t see any other reason to suggest kids stay away from your site though.

  3. Yeah, that’s probably it.  And, of course, there will be some who consider some of your messages “un-family friendly,” simply because they disagree.

    Which is a shame, because you provide one of the saner voices out there, and present your ideas in a clear and reasonable fashion.  Which, perhaps, is what some folks are scared of.

  4. Les, you missed the obvious:  anyone on the religious right who uses the loaded catchphrase “family values” (as if anyone who didn’t agree with them were AGAINST family) will obviously label a site as “not family friendly” if it contravenes their ideas about God.  Remember, we people who don’t believe in gods don’t have morals, so how can we possibly be good for families?

    Gag.

    This guy McLachlan interns at the White House and gets a woody if the Prez looks at him.  I think that’s all the explanation you need.

  5. Not family friendly?  Au Contraire!  If you’re trying to raise kids who can think, this is a great site and you shouldn’t change a thing.

    I just discovered SEB a couple weeks ago and it’s like digging the mother lode.  I would definitely recommend kids read SEB and whatever they don’t understand, their parents should have balls enough to discuss with them.  Kids too young to understand anything at all would be bored with it, which is fine.  But kids old enough to find it interesting should be allowed to stay.

    My kids were raised on The Simpsons, which Dan Quayle said was anti-family.  But anyone who has watched more than a handful of episodes knows how deeply pro-family that series is.  I think the thing that bothered conservatives is that there were no sacred cows - none - and no characters who were purely good or purely evil.  Even Mr. Burns occasionally did some good by accident.

    SEB is in that vein. 

    People who worry about “bad language” on the whole confuse refinement with virtue.  Some of the most virtuous people I know have the most colorful language - there isn’t any correlation. 

    “I have found solace in profanity unexcelled even by prayer”-Mark Twain

    I repeated George Carlin’s “7 Deadly Words” for my kids and described them as “problem words;” that is, words that will cause problems for you if you use them around other people who are bothered by them.  It’s just a practical matter, not a sign of moral perfidy.

    Atheism is only a problem if you accept that kids should grow up believing in God.  Apparently God can’t take care of Himself and needs constant censorship to keep people from asking too many inconvenient questions.  (Translation: the God-promoting parents don’t know how to answer those questions!)  I think kids should grow up to be able to believe in God if the evidence warrants it.

    Keep the black background; it’s easier on the eyes.  And I scroll down quickly at work, too, but mostly because I’m supposed to be working, not reading SEB!  (j/k)  I think it’s that scary guy in the corner - he gives other people the heebie-jeebies.

  6. Keep the site the same, Les. Do not change a thing. I agree with decrepitoldfool above - this site is literally jam-packed with information that I would have no problem with having my kids read, and actually have encouraged them to do so.

    Folks who are disturbed about “foul” language, don’t get it. Language is language. It is not “foul”, “good”, “bad”, etc. It is a collection of tool-symbols we use to communicate. The words deemed “foul” by the majority religion in this country have become more powerful communication tools because of the added layer of meaning attached to them. An intelligent person recognizes this and uses it to their advantage.

    You are masterful at it, Les. Keep it that way. As you already know, there will always be a “Justin” in the world who doesn’t get it.

  7. It’s tragic that no one ever documented Mark Twain’s ACTUAL profanities.  As a huge fan of profanity myself, I’d love to see the work of a master.

    I’ve recommended this site to everyone in my family—including my 12 year old daughter.  Nothing she reads here could possibly be any worse than she’s heard coming out of her Dad’s or my mouth at one time or another, or the mouths of her little friends.

    GeekMom hit the nail on the head; even if there were no cursing whatsoever on SEB, the fact that Les and the rest of us dare to proclaim our derision for the antics of the religious and our opinion that the last thing America needs is more people looking to an invisible guy-in-the-sky, makes SEB decidedly “not family friendly” to people who believe the only TRUE families are those with God at the head, above all the actual living human beings in the group.

    BTW, they updated the entry to say that SEB contains language that’s not “appropriate” for children.

    Me, I’d rather my child engage in profanity than prayer; as long as she spells everything correctly and pays attention to the rules of grammar, it’s fine by me!

  8. Folks who are disturbed about “foul” language, don’t get it. Language is language. It is not “foul”, “good”, “bad”, etc. It is a collection of tool-symbols we use to communicate. The words deemed “foul” by the majority religion in this country have become more powerful communication tools because of the added layer of meaning attached to them. An intelligent person recognizes this and uses it to their advantage.

    I couldn’t agree more, Brent!!!

  9. I think anyone who sees the title “Stupid Evil Bastard” and still wants to read the blog, ought to read it!

  10. Yep, they just don’t like them dirty words. I got them to make a little update to be specific about what they thought was against being “family friendly”…

    UPDATE FROM BEN (in charge guy): this site has language that may not be *appropriate* for children.

    Of course, I disagree. The Bible has language that is not *appropriate* for children. People offended by “dirty words” but not by obvious lies are fools. Fuck ‘em!

  11. I feel like I should clarify myself a little: I wasn’t considering changing anything about SEB as a result of that comment and I wasn’t fishing for praise with my write-up so I hope nobody thinks I was trying to stir up trouble or incite angry emails to the folks at Fifteen Minutes as that honestly wasn’t my intent.

    In fact I don’t think the statement was meant as a criticism of SEB per se as much as a warning that could be appropriate considering the likely differences in their audience. If anything it’s flattering that they felt my entry was worth mentioning at all. If I gave the impression of being insulted I apologize as that wasn’t the case.

    Rather the phrase “not family friendly” caught my attention simply because it hadn’t ever occurred to me that SEB might be considered as such. It caused me to experience a bit of a paradigm shift and made me pause to consider if it might actually be a fair statement to make. I’m not against criticism of myself or my blog and there’s certainly plenty of aspects of both that are ripe for valid criticism. If you dig through my archives you’ll find that this sort of pause for self-reflection is something I do every so often when I suddenly see myself from a new perspective. I think it’s healthy and it helps me to know myself better by looking at things from a different perspective and by trying to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I just thought writing about it would be interesting and insightful for folks who stop by SEB regularly. That’s all.

  12. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, or try to read into it, Les. There is always someone out there who could make a case on this regard about any blog out there. My own blog probably wouldn’t be considered “Family Friendly”, due to the fact that I’m an admitted lesbian and write about my life as one. [ooh—scary!]

    Your site is just as it should be. Just the fact that your own daughter is able to carry on intelligent discussions with you due to this blog—well that speaks volumes in itself.

    Congratulations on being a great dad… and having a great blog.

  13. The only things I consider not to be “family friendly” are either ones which I think will upset my daughter (too violent, people yelling at each other), or things I’m just not ready to explain to her yet (“Mommy, we don’t put things like that into our butts, do we?”).  I know I’ll have to address them sometime, but I’d like a little breathing space to work out what the party line is going to be.  Especially if I plan to be truthful and I suspect the answers might upset her anyway.

    Interestingly enough, given these criteria, even most of the Disney movies aren’t “family friendly.”  Sheesh, I don’t want to have to explain to her why Bambi’s mother died …

  14. Well, I don’t know how many people would read what Justin wrote if you hadn’t mentioned it, or how many would find themselves in agreement with Ben and Justin once they did read it, but I would rather a site challenge and focus my perceptions of the world than give me a daily dose of politically and familial-ly correct peace of mind. I don’t have a family of my own, so I might have no right to speak, but if I did, I would be proud of a kid of mine who found this site on his or her own.

    I can only read so many sites that have a “Look at me! Notice me!” feel, before I burn out and say “What about the people around you? How do the people who read you see the world?”

    Children usually have a narrow focus of the world and any site that encourages them to peer beyond their narrow confines has to be good for them.

  15. Hi Les, don’t worry - I don’t think any of us were rude to Justin (at least on his site). I just asked, thru comments, why he considered the site not “family friendly” and they added that update.

    GeekMom: LOLROTF

  16. GeekMom, I consider myself somewhat of an authority on what we should put in our butts, so if your daughter has any questions, feel free to refer her to me. The answers I might give her might surprise you. For example, my answer to the butt mystery might be: “Of course that doesn’t belong in your butt. If God wanted you to have one of those there, He would have put it there for you!”

    Then I would laugh to myself at the insincerity and callousness of my reply. That’s what being a member of a non-family friendly site calls for!

  17. I think this is the biggest reason right here…

    OK, on further reflection I suppose the fact that I am critical of religious belief in general could be considered non-family friendly if you consider religious belief a big part of your family life. Even then I’ve never encouraged anyone to stop being religious, just to think about their beliefs and the reasons they hold them. Which is a good thing to do for all issues of belief and not just religious issues.

    From my experience, religions make sure their flock “don’t” think about what they are teaching. They want blind faith. Now I wouldn’t say that about all religions, but I have heard a few that pretty much put blindfolds on and follow their leaders…

  18. Brock, my darling hubby has actually USED the (in)famous Dave Barry line on our daughter:

    “NEVER put your finger in that part of the doggie!”

    (Okay, now I’ve really blown the family-friendly quotient of the site, haven’t I?  My bad.)

  19. Dave is right. That’s exactly how the Christians want it. Anyway. I posed the thought to them through comments that they shouldn’t take their children to any of those museums to learn about art because of all the porn they will see.

  20. Just what the hell is a ‘family friendly’ site anyway?  I went over to Family Friendly Sites to find out.  Imagine my surprise that there were no sites selected from Atheists nor Freethinkers.  I did stumble across Avoiding Evil which is similiar to the SEB Religion Forum without all that distracting discussion. In whole it seems that a ‘family friendly’ site must not invoke thought above a third grade education and leave the user with that warm just puked on feeling.

    As shown in numerous postings to this site, kids that pass through are more apt to receive help and useful advice than they are elsewhere.  Truth is, kids don’t go to ‘family friendly’ sites to get straightforward advice.

  21. i think it’s a matter of personal preference or sensibilities.  I really like your blog, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t let my kids see. They don’t swear, and if they catch me swearing, they correct me.
    We’re a bunch of godless heathens, anyway. 

    …and I’ve got me a brand spanking new IPU hat that I’ve been wearing proudly about town. 
    That’s got to be in someone’s face.

    Keep up the good work.

  22. I gotta say this.  You guys keep missing the point here.  If you would of read Les’s comment you would of seen that he doesnt’ care that it was labeled as “nonfamily friendly” he was caught off guard by it.  Ppl catch us offguard all the time!  Then it really makes you stop and think weather it be right or wrong.  And that’s all he did.  He’s not pissed off about it.  Blantly who cares.  Just about everybody has such a warning somewhere!  And doesn’t that usually just skyrocket how many ppl check out there sight?

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