In the novel 1984, George Orwell introduced the world to the idea of government as Big Brother, constantly scrutinizing the people’s actions. While I agree that we as citizens should be vigilant in watching out for Big Brother actions by government, I worry more about the insidious effects of Big Mommy government.

If government passes a law for our own good, it’s acting as Big Mommy. Wearing seat belts when driving is a good idea, but Big Mommy makes wearing them a law. The same is true for putting on a helmet when cruising around the block on a bike or motorcycle. Every time the government levies some “sin tax” on goods, they are putting themselves in the role of Big Mommy instructing what we, the children, may or may not do.

So, are you a child? Do you need Big Mommy to intrude in every aspect of your life and tell you what to do? You may be a child, or you may be old enough to actually be an adult, but you still prefer being treated as a child. Whatever floats your boat. But I am an adult who resents that treatment. And being treated as a child is exactly what our government is doing, specifically Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.

Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.”

The Energy Department issued a clarification of Secretary Chu’s statement since people are too childish to understand what he said:

An update: Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow added: “Secretary Chu was not comparing the public to teenagers. He was saying that we need to educate teenagers about ways to save energy. He also recognized the need to educate the broader public about how important clean energy industries are to our competitive position in the global economy. He believes public officials do have an obligation to make their case to the American people on major legislation, and that’s what he’s doing.”

I don’t envy Leistikow his job. I couldn’t go out before the American people and say something that is so obviously untrue. He said, “Secretary Chu was not comparing the public to teenagers.”

But Chu’s own words are clear: “The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” That silly word “like” is comparing the American public with our teenage kids. And Big Mommy government is here to tell the American public, just like America’s teenage kids, what we all need to do.

So sit up straight. Stop wasting water. Recycle your trash. Shut up, and do what you’re told. Big Mommy government is telling you what to do. And you had better obey.

I’m reminded about an off-color joke about a tourist travelling along the coast of Greece. At a picturesque cafe overlooking the Aegean Sea, he talks with an old man and asks him his name. The old man responds, “See that bridge? I built that bridge with my own two hands, but am I known in the village as Ioannes the bridge builder? No. See that house? I have lived there and raised crops there my whole life, but am I known in the village as Ioannes the farmer? No. I have given much of my money away to the poor and needy, but am I known in the village as Ioannes the philanthropist? No. But get drunk one night and be caught screwing a goat…”

No, he didn’t screw a goat, but can anyone deny that Roman Polanski raped Samantha Gailey (now Geimer) when she was only 13 years old? I can’t, and yet Whoopi Goldberg lives in a world where it wasn’t “rape-rape,” whatever that is. Even Polanski himself confessed to plying her with alcohol and drugs before raping her.

As part of his plea bargain, Polanski pled guilty to a reduced charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor rather than the original harsher charges. The court ordered him to complete a 90-day psychiatric evaluation in prison, but he was granted time to finish his current project. I’m guessing that was the 1979 film Tess. He eventually served 42 days in prison before being released. Then in February of 1978, Polanski fled the U.S. for London after having heard that the judge over his case was considering more prison time and deportation for him.

Since his flight, Polanski has lived in Europe and directed nine more films. His case has not been dismissed, even though both his lawyer and Samantha Geimer filed motions to dismiss it early in 2009. Then on September 26, 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland by the Swiss police on the outstanding 1978 arrest warrant from the United States. The U.S. must now make a formal appeal for extradition from Switzerland to bring him back to the United States for trial.

I haven’t seen any of Polanski’s movies, and I don’t find Polanski’s arrest or even Polanski himself to be all that interesting. But I do find the response to Polanski’s arrest to be very interesting, particularly those people who are trying to dismiss the rape, either because it happened so long ago, or because Polanski’s work is so good. Jon Henley, writing in The Guardian, does a good job of summing up the attitudes of people, particularly the French, who support Polanski:

Meanwhile, a large group of French actors and cinematographers including Fanny Ardant, Pierre Jolivet, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Bertrand Tavernier have signed an angry petition calling for Polanski’s “immediate liberation”, considering it “inadmissible” that “an international cultural event paying homage to one of the greatest of contemporary cineastes” should be turned into “a police trap”. Polanski, said their petition – organised by Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes film festival – is “a French citizen, an artist of international renown, and is now threatened with extradition. That extradition . . . would deprive him of his liberty. We demand that he be freed immediately.”

France, acknowledges Edouard Waintrop, a veteran French critic who now programmes the Fribourg film festival, certainly has a longstanding tradition, dating back to the 19th century, of treating artists differently. “There’s the notion of art for art’s sake,” he says, “a certain leeway that’s always allowed to the creative artist. In the 19th century it was elevated into an ideology. It’s true we have a rather different vision of artistic licence – and, come to that, of licence in love.” Agnès Poirier, a London-based French film critic and writer, agrees that “we are prepared to forgive artists a lot more than we are prepared to forgive ordinary mortals”. Cocteau’s celebrated 1943 testimony at the trial of Genet and the writer’s subsequent presidential pardon, Poirier says, are a perfect demonstration of the notion that “in France, creative genius can usually get away with a great deal”.

Maybe that’s the way it is in France, but it’s not the way it ever should be in a nation dedicated to the notion that we are all equal under the law. Neither his critically-acclaimed films nor his many Oscars can, or should, confer to Polanski absolution for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. But I’m just a simple American without the sophistication of the French.

Then there’s another thing. My niece–a girl my wife and I have parented for the better part of two years–just turned 13 years old. If any man tried to do to her what Polanski did to Geimer, I’d probably be serving time in prison for his murder. If you believe Roman Polanski deserves leniency, take a long look at the beloved young teens in your life, and ask yourself, “What if it were my child?” To me the man isn’t Roman Polanski, the acclaimed film director. Instead he will always be Roman Polanski, the child rapist who tried to get away with it.

One of the sub-groups of SciFi and Fantasy fandom is known as “Furries” who focus on anthropomorphic animal characters. Some furries just like human-like animals, but there are those who wish they could be human-like animals. At various conventions, costumed furries prowl. The costumes could be as simple as a pair of cat ears and a tail to a full-body costume like the picture to the side.

For many furries, getting dressed up is just plain fun. But for some, it has become something more than just a fun thing to do at a convention. Some furries have identified themselves as being “other than human,”and almost 5% of one furry survey responded that they didn’t consider themselves human at all.

Whatever. I don’t have a problem with people dressing up as a fox for some convention. It’s no weirder than other costumes people wear to cons. I don’t have a problem with furries barking and meowing at each other. I don’t have a problem with someone legally changing his name to “Macavity Greymouser,” or undergoing surgery to make himself look more like his totemic tiger. But I do have a problem when people want me to enter into their fantasy and treat them as the foxes, cats, or whatever they are pretending to be. Their fantasy does not trump the reality that they were both born human and remain human to this day.

And speaking of flights of fantasy, two news stories broke from the U.K. last week. First came news about a 12-year-old boy.

A BOY aged 12 turned up at school as a GIRL – after changing sex during the summer holidays.

Teachers called an emergency assembly to order fellow pupils to treat him as female.

The lad, whose parents have changed his name to a girl’s by deed poll, arrived in a dress with long hair in ribboned pigtails. He is preparing for sex-swap surgery.

Angry parents told yesterday how their kids were left tearful and confused after school staff announced the boy pupil was now a girl.

Teachers stepped in with the emergency assembly, at which pupils were threatened with tough disciplinary action if they failed to treat him as a girl or use his new name. Some bewildered youngsters burst into tears.

The very next day, another story was published in the The Sun newspaper.

ANOTHER boy has turned up at school as a girl, it emerged yesterday – this time aged NINE.

Classmates of the nine-year-old sex-change boy were told he had left and been replaced by a girl.

The pupil returned to school the next day – in female uniform, with long hair in a ponytail, tied in pink ribbon.

The pupil missed the first day at the school on the outskirts of a city in southern England but returned on the second in a blouse and female-cut hipster trousers. It is understood the headteacher had personally masterminded the situation and was keen to help the family ease the child back into school as smoothly as possible.

It is not known whether their name has been changed by deed poll. The pupil is too young to have undergone sex change ops or hormone therapy. Patients must be 18.

Both of these boys have changed into a costume, but a costume does not make them girls anymore than dressing like a dog makes a furry a canine. We know that one of the boys has legally changed his name, but a name-change doesn’t make him a girl. Both boys can even undergo surgery to look more like their totemic sex, but they will remain what they were born — males.

When the school administrators told the students that they would treat the two boys as girls from now on, they demanded that the boys’ fantasy be indulged. But no fantasy trumps reality. The boys and their parents may fantasize that they are girls now, but when they demand that others engage in their fantasy, then they have crossed the line.

Eight years ago, the actions of 19 terrorist fanatics led to the deaths of 2,974 people. 246 people died when their planes crashed. 2,603 people died in New York, both in the towers and on the ground. 125 people died at the Pentagon, 55 of which were military personnel. And eight years later, there are still 24 people who remain missing.

It’s been eight years since that fateful day. Thousands died at the hands of a few hateful men, and families still mourn the loss of their loved ones. We cannot forget nor allow this to happen again.

Desolation