Moral panics

May 30, 2009

Searching Google News for “Satanist,” I came across an opinion piece, Hugs! The Lamest Teen Moral Panic Ever by Pareene, Gawker, Thu May 28 2009, which begins with the following sarcastic reference to the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare of the 1980’s and early 1990’s:

In the good old days of the culture wars, your teenagers, after years of being raped by Satanist daycare workers, were all organizing “Rainbow Parties” and smoking weed three times more powerful than the stuff you smoked all the time in high school. Now they are just hugging?

The Gawker piece is a commentary on the New York Times story For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?’ by Sarah Kershaw, May 28, 2009. The Gawker piece exaggerates a bit. What is presented in the New York Times story is hardly a full-fledged “moral panic” about hugging.

Other commentaries on the New York Times story include the following:

On a more serious note, some of the articles referenced another teen fad, about which, apparently, there is indeed a full-fledged moral panic today: “sexting,” which has been punished rather harshly, according to ‘Sexting’: Harmless Fun Or Child Pornography?, January 20, 2009.

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