Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More Than A Prank?

It was done on a dare by a classmate, supposed to be a simple prank, a harmless bit of silliness. When the football team posed for its yearbook picture, one student dropped his pants.

It wasn't caught right away. The picture got into the yearbook. I expect it was one of those things where those who knew about it slyly and gleefully pointed it out to those not yet in the know. How much detail can there really be in a picture limited to a partial page with a hundred or so students in it, after all?

Even in the news blow-ups that followed, full screen and high def, there was little definition to be found in any of the students' pictures. You were pointed out where to look because the student was circled, his jersey number singled out. The news outlets proudly patted themselves on the back for blurring the relevant bit, of course, after doing everything they possible could to stir imaginations to run rampant.

Yes, the kid was stupid. Stupid in the jockiest way possible, the logical way he would be with all the worship this country has for his sport, its emphasis on its sex appeal and the sex appeal of its best performing athletes.

Naturally somebody complained. Charges were filed. There was a single felony count and a bushelful of misdemeanor counts on behalf of all the fellow team members who were supposedly corrupted by his action of exposing himself. An ankle bracelet was required. It was to go on his permanent record that he was a sex offender, with all that implies these days.

OK, guys, yes it was stupid. But really? A felony? Sex offender status?

Whom did he hurt? The students around him with a couple of exceptions had to be completly unaware of his actions. All were facing the camera. The ones on either side likely knew, but the rows of teammates in front, behind, and off to his side had no angle from which to view the offense. They were too densely packed.

If offense to them if even was. I wager that every one of them had at some time seen him in the shower, and vice versa. It's a part of gym class and school sports for both genders. The exposure was not done to threaten, intimidate, attack or seduce a fellow student. Had it been all that flagrant, the photographer would have noticed, as would the yearbook editing staff. It would never have made it into print.

But printed it was. And folks reacted. Woweee, did they!

His fellow students and a number of adults spoke up for him. The punishment was way too harsh. After two days of salacious reporting, it was finally announced tonight on the news that the felony charge has been dropped. The county will review whether it wishes to pursue all the misdemeanor charges. If they do, I hope they choose me for the jury. I'd have no problem letting them know just how foolish they are being.

Yes, pranks have consequences. Nearly all of them should. I figure an appropriate one in this case would be a fine to cover reprinting charges for the school system to reissue the yearbook with a suitable fig leaf. Of course, collecting those already in distribution could be a problem: they might very well be a collector's item. Way too much attention has been paid to the picture.

Let me conclude with a parting thought for you to mull over. When are we as a society going to decide to change the idea that while female nudity is beautiful, a tradition going back thousands of years, that male nudity, specifically a penis, is a dangerous thing?

No comments: