TV and internet to blame for “daisy-chaining”

The Royal College of Nursing talks about a new teenage activity called “daisy-chaining” aka, group sex. (It’s actually just a new term for a very old activity). This coincides with a rise in sexually transmitted diseases amongst teens.

Unsurprisingly, John Beyer jumps at the chance to grind his axe, blaming it all on the media. “Speaking today”, he says:

With news yesterday that millions of youngsters are viewing pornography on the Internet it is hardly surprising that so many youngsters are sexually active and engaging in the sort of practices commonly portrayed. Something must be done by Parliament to strengthen the law against pornography otherwise this tragic state of affairs will simply get worse. It is not good enough for politicians to ignore this problem nor is it good enough for the TV regulators to benevolently turn a blind eye to the growth of the pornography in the media.

He then finishes up with an uncharacteristic burst of eloquence:

One pornographer’s “freedom of expression” is another child’s sexual infection!

Thus cleverly linking two dubiously-related phenomena with a neat little rhyme – the effect only slightly spoiled by the self-congratulatory exclamation mark!


70 Responses to “TV and internet to blame for “daisy-chaining””

  1. Christopher Shell says:

    Tom-
    I think that I would never have become a Jew. It’s not the Old Testament Im into, it’s the New Testament. I still think it’s better than anything else on offer (or more precisely that Jesus is better than anyone else on offer).

    Hi Monitor-
    Dont take this the wrong way, but Im curious. The best Christians I know (unlike me – at times) are not dismissive. If you are dismissive, how can you claim that your worldview or lifestyle is superior to the Christian one? On that evidence, it looks inferior.
    Again, they concede points, becasue they are less interested in being right than in communally discovering the truth. If you concede no points, am I to assume you are superior to people who do?
    But nevertheless Id be interested to hear about what you have studied, how you have studied it, and what you have found out.

    I didnt get the answer to (3) – albeit I understand what you have written. If ‘not causally’, then what other word would you substitute for ‘causally’ to express your meaning? I take it that you are saying that there is indeed a connection (as opposed to no connection) between the ‘old’ and the ‘bad’ – so what kind of connection is it? The remainder I understand and agree with.

  2. Monitor says:

    Relieved though I am that you finally “understand and agree”, I’m not about to let you go off on a tangent about Christianity unless you
    1) acknowledge you were wrong about the meaning of primitive and your alleged uncovering of unexamined presuppositions, namely that I think Christianity is bad because it is old.
    2) Apologise for being so slow to recognise this fact, in spite of the fact that it has been repeated to you numerous times from the time you first made the mistake.
    A “thank you” to everyone here who joined in their attempts to decrease the sum total of your ignorance and, it seems, finally succeeded would also be nice.
    The relationship between old and bad, as much as it is relevant to the discussion in hand, is conjunctional.

  3. Christopher Shell says:

    I dont ‘understand and agree’ in toto, only with everything else apart from the key point.
    Nor do I even remember that Christianity was what you were talking about at the time. I remember that you were saying that JB’s beliefs about something or other were primitive, and as I have always thought this word contains an internal contradiction when used colloqially, I mentioned this.
    ‘Conjunctional’ (old and bad?) I dont call a relationship. Someone may be both thin and late – but there is no connection between these two properties/qualities. And the giveaway is that 2 words are therefore used (‘thin’, ‘late’), rather than one (‘primitive’).
    Almost always (well, I cant think of any counter-examples, but doubtless you can) words have unified senses as I mentioned. So if 8 senses are listed for primitive (or for any other word), each sense would be unified. None would be of the form ‘both a and b’. The fact that ‘primitive’ is a single word rather than 2 words is testimony to its having some unified, connected meaning (not always the same meaning) each time it is used, rather than any meaning involving two components with no particular connection to one another.

  4. Andrew Nixon says:

    I get the feeling that the odds of Dr Shell actually admitting he made a mistake is about the same as the odds of Stephen Green saying “This Christianity thing. It’s all bullshit isn’t it?”

  5. Monitor says:

    Yes, Andrew. I know. I was just goading him into making an even bigger twat of himself than he already has.
    He’s a fine advertisement for the damage that mindless adherence to these primitive belief systems can do to the mind.

  6. Christopher Shell says:

    Answer the question, mon! :o

  7. Andrew Nixon says:

    I’m sure the Monitor would be happy to answer a question, if you’d actually admit to making a mistake.

    We might even think a little more of you if you had the decency to admit it.

  8. Monitor says:

    I did answer the question. Demonstrating that it was “not causal” was all that was necessary to demolish his argument. What the relationship between old and bad actually is is a tangential point. Why doesn’t he have a go at answering his own question?

  9. Christopher Shell says:

    ‘Ang on a minnit, when have you ever admitted you were wrong? Not to me, for sure?
    I regularly (a) concede that I have misunderstood; (b) am self-deprecating. But you? Gadzooks! :o (PS that is the trouble with presuming to be simulteneously both debate-partner and overall judge.)
    Im sure youre not avoiding the question (?!!) but the question is: For me to believe that it’s ‘not causal’, I need a viable alternative. ‘Conjunctive’ is not a viable alternative for reasons listed in #53.

    Cue various murmurings ‘This Shell never admits he’s wrong: mutter, mumble.’ And cue failure to address the question? Hopefully not, this time.
    (Aren’t I ruthless?)

  10. Andrew Nixon says:

    Can you give one instance of having admitted to being wrong in this particular list of comments….. I can’t find one, maybe there’s something wrong with my computer.

  11. Monitor says:

    Not ruthless. Just incredibly obtuse.
    I did not avoid your irrelevant question. I made an honest attempt to answer it. A lexicographer might give you a better answer, but I believe mine was adequate. Re-read the “bleeding” post to see how bad and old are held in conjuction.
    Your refutation in post 53 was typically idiotic. You took two distinct adjectives, thin and late, for which no single word exists that ecompasses both, and concluded that therefore no single word can emcompass any two adjectives. Amazing that a trained logician should make such an elementary error.
    And your ridiculous “rule of unification” (which you obviously made up on the spot in an attempt to wriggle off the hook of an argument you were clearly losing). This, your contribution to the field of lexicography, has the effect of denying the existence of nuance and connotation. What a blow to the English language. When you publish your paper in the Journal of Linguistics, the English speaking world will be rocked to its foundations. We’ll all have to learn French. Or does this rule apply across all languages?
    But that’s all irrelevant anyway. All you need to know in order to realise your argument is wrong is that the relationship is “not causal”. Why do you need a viable alternative? Are you insane? Look back at the “bleeding” example. Is this primitive medical practice “bad because it is old”? No, of course not. QED.
    Stick to the point. In your reply to this you must either
    a) Prove that the relationship bad and old is causal in the word primitive (and “I think” or “in my experience” answers aren’t good enough – assertions aren’t arguments)
    or
    b) Apologise.

  12. Christopher Shell says:

    Hi Andrew –
    Youve got enough lists to choose from on this site alone.

    Hi Monitor:
    So you agree that the word ‘primitive’ can encompass both ‘bad’ and ‘old’? Where would one find a definition that held the ‘bad’ and the ‘old’ in disjunction or even conjunction / adjacency, as opposed to actual unitary conceptual connection?

    Re: the bleeding example: ‘primitive’ is either being used in a technical way or being used in a colloquial way. If in a technical way, then the sense ‘bad’ is not present in this particular word. If in a colloquial way (e.g. in the context of scorning it, as in the Beyer case), then the ‘badness’ is taken to be partly attributable to the ‘oldness’.

  13. Monitor says:

    a) Prove that the relationship bad and old is causal in the word primitive (and “I think” or “in my experience” answers aren’t good enough – assertions aren’t arguments)
    or
    b) Apologise.
    addendum
    And more to the point, once your done with a), you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that I was not being truthful when I told you I do not think Christianity is “bad because it is old”.
    Or apologise.

  14. Christopher Shell says:

    Im sure you were being truthful. Because you had probably not – before I pointed it out – noted the internal incoherence in the term ‘primitive’.
    It’s a process of elimination. No other relationship has yet been proposed that allows for a unitary meaning within the single word ‘primitive’ in this context.

  15. Monitor says:

    Odd. I told you that I did not think Christianity was “bad because old” after you imagine you had pointed out the “internal incoherence” of the word. And I did it more than once. So when you say “I’m sure you were being truthful because…” you must be lying. (And you’ve always been such a honest chap – to yourself and everyone else.)
    Your “Rule of Unification” has been thoroughly debunked as the made-up-on-the-fly crap it is, so you have not “eliminated” the conjunctional relationship. You need to prove the necessity of “unitary meaning” within a single word before you do that.
    So go ahead. I am looking forward to it. (If you could include references to some linguistic authorities that would be a bonus.)
    But even as you dig yourself further into this semantic hole of your own making, let me remind you of one thing: you asked a question at the start of this whole debate: “Have I uncovered an unexamined presupposition: new/fashionable is always best?”
    To which the reply,
    “No, you haven’t.”
    remains as true now as it did then. If you still deny this, then please – once you have done your lexicographical assignment – explain the process by which you have gained access to my inner thoughts.
    Or, of course, apologise.

  16. Christopher Shell says:

    I do vaguely remember that you related the discussion to Christianity. I was not focussing at all on the factual issue of whether Christianity is primitive (and generally it was absent from my mind that Christianity had been what you were talking about). I was just focussing on the semantic issue re ‘primitive’, more particularly in its more colloquial usages.
    I suppose the singleness of the word is what shows the unitariness of its meaning. Otherwise it wouldnt be one word at all.
    But it would be interesting to see if anyone can come up with any word which can be used in a sense which combines two unrelated ideas. Even if they can, my point is that such senses would be so rare that the presupposition of unitary meaning would always be a reasonable presupposition. For that reason there’s no necessity to prove any rule concerning this (after all, one can always invent counter-examples): merely to point out that the very fact that a word is one word (and not two or three) will almost always imply unitary meaning on any occasion the word is used, so that unitary meaning is something that one can safely assume.
    Pls note that the ‘rule of unification’ (or unitariness, if there is such a word) is not debunked by showing that a given word can have several dictionary senses. Everyone already knew that. What we are looking for is a single sense that includes disparate, independent, uncombined ideas.
    What sometimes happens when ppl buy into worldviews which are less than 100% coherent (which happnes all the time, since people follow fashionable currents and the type of thought to which they are accustomed in their own nation, historical period, and circles) is that they utter terms, phrsaes or sentences which on further thought they may realise are incoherent. For example, someone might develop all sorts of ideas about dating etiquette only to read a book and discover that their deepest convictions had never allowed them to approve the practice of dating in the first place: this had just never occurred to them before. Because obviously our views about things are pieced together stage-by-stage, not all at once, and we sometimes, without realising it, contradict our own thinking as exemplified elsewhere. (Maybe if we had a fully coherent set of beliefs we would know everything. But none of us does. My belief is that, because of this, it follows that each of our thinking is to some degree incoherent. It must be, unless and until we know everything. Whcih we never will in our own lifetimes.)

    So yes, I am and always have been sure that you dont think Christianity is ‘bad because old’. But ‘primitive’ is a word often used in what one might call slagging-off contexts by less-than-thoughtful people; while adopting their style you may have simultaneously adopted their terminology without doing a full coherence-check. Had you done one, you might have realised you were saying something you didnt actually believe.
    Which in fact is what I endeavour to show in many of my rejoinders, and why I emphasise presuppositions. On this occasion the presuppositions were not yours but (on my hypothesis) those of a rather less thinking group of people whose terminology (and, thereby, whose presuppositions as well) you were adopting in a less-than-100%-critical way.
    If we admit (as we must) that all worldviews but one must be at least partly false, and we further admit (as we must) that all worldviews engender and/or espouse particular pet slogans/words, then it follows that there must be an awful lot of incoherent pet slogans/words around. We should therefore expect to find them all over the place, and it is not in the least surprising when they crop up.

  17. Monitor says:

    I suppose the singleness of the word is what shows the unitariness of its meaning. Otherwise it wouldnt be one word at all.

    If you actually believe this (and I don’t think you do – you’re just flailing) then you fail to grasp the complexities of language, with its rich lexicon of nuance and connotation. You do not “assume unitary meaning”, even if you claim to. Few if any words have a single meaning, and each time a word is used it carries with it all possible meanings in that context. That’s why some words are more apt than others. To try to sift through all those meanings to find the “one” that you imagine the author meant is a preposterous idea. No wonder you ducked out of trying to prove your rule of unification. 1 word = 1 meaning is an incredibly facile concept.
    But you weren’t just arguing that “primitive” could only contain one meaning at a time. You were actually trying to claim that this adjective constituted an incoherent argument (it is old, therefore it is bad) – which is even more preposterous. Dictionaries also list colloq meanings – find a dictionary which defines the word (any word in fact) as an incoherent argument please, or just admit you are talking bollocks.
    I am glad that you finally acknowledge that I do not think “new/fashionable is always best”, and note the lack of apology (no matter – it’s too late now anyway). However, I must point out that I was not adopting the presuppositions of “other less thinking people”.
    I used the word “primitive” fully aware of its meanings and its connotations, and I stand by my description of the world views of Reid, Beyer, and Green as such.

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    (1) There are words that are incoherent in themselves. If arguments can be incoherent, so can meanings, and so can words. Words can express worldviews, and where the worldview is incoherent, so will some of the relevant vocab be. You are saying that no incoherent words exist?
    My two examples were ‘primitive’ (colloq.) and ‘reactionary’.
    (2) You are agreeing with me that ‘primitive’can contain onlyu one meaning at a time. You believe that this one meaning is the sum of all its possible meanings in that context (assuming they dont contradict each other, that is). This sum is its meaning in that context, assuming that this ‘sum’ theory is correct (which personally I doubt it is, since I lay more store by the original author’s/speaker’s intention). That meaning is still single, and still unified. There are things included in it; there are things excluded from it; whatever is included in it is internally related.
    When you say ‘few, if any, words have a single meaning’, then I wonder how one enumerates these things anyway – given all that nuance, all that connotation, all that interrelationship with the other words in the sentence. That’s why the only number that springs to mind is ‘one’: one nexus of meaning. And nexuses of course are a mass of interrelationship. Even words in the same sentence are highly interrelated to one another, so how can a single word be unrelated within itself?
    Re: ‘new/fashionable is always best’, this is precisely my point: It’s precisely because you dont think new/fashionable is always best that you have no option but to forswear :o the colloquial use of ‘primitive’, which carries with it that presupposition, which we both recognise to be faulty.

  19. Monitor says:

    You have yet to prove that the colloq use of primitive means that. You can’t, because it doesn’t.
    “If arguments can be incoherent so can words” is a non sequitur. A word in itself cannot constitute and argument. Unless you invent a definition which is an argument. And if it happens to be an incoherent one, then you’ve got yourself a nice little straw man to debunk.
    Which is exactly what you did.
    When I called Christianity primitive you could have quite legitimately asked me to justify my use of the word. Then you could have examined my argument and taken it apart if you were able. There may well be unexamined presuppositions behind my chosen language, but as it stood you were in no position to know what they were.
    Instead of asking, you hot headedly jumped in with your straw man and, being you, were unable to back out gracefully. That’s why you find yourself drowning in this semantic soup, making up nonsense rules and generally talking shit.
    Instead of finding out why I think Christianity is a primitive world view you wasted your and everyone else’s time.

  20. Christopher Shell says:

    I guess the primitivity or otherwise of Christianity isnt what interested me. I dont hold to the idea of steady human progress in spiritual matters (unlike in some other matters) – so it’s not relevant to me whether Xtianity is primitive or not, only how far it is true or not.

    I think you are correct to say that a word cannot constitute an argument. This wasnt what I meant: rather, I meant that words can have presuppositions behind them, and the presuppositions can be what is incoherent. Dispose of the presupposition and you dispose of the word too (or at any rate that particular sense of the word).

    I certainly have no cast-iron knowledge of your own presuppositions. Nor any statistical evidence that colloquial non-technical use of ‘primitive’ always means bad-because-old/bad-in-derogatory-context. The truth is, I am unable to envisage any second meaning for the word colloquially: this is the one and only meaning I have heard assigned to it colloquially. Note that I’m talking about colloquial contexts here, and that those colloquial contexts tend invariably to be derogatory (again: I cant prove this latter point).
    Ppl can suggest alternative colloquial meanings – but the alternatives tend to be indistinguishable from bad-because-old, given that they include words like ‘crude’, which itself combines the ideas of ‘bad’ and ‘old’. So – once again – it’s a process of elimination.