The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Modern Love Story

Posted on | February 18, 2017 | 2 Comments

On Valentine’s Day, Lenore Skenazy at Reason told the story of Zachary, who was 17 years old when he met a girl who was 13, who had a friend, also a 13-year-old girl, who “shared Zachary’s love of dragons and videogames.” An online romance flourished via Skype between Zachary and the dragon-loving girl and — this being the 21st century — she sent him five images of herself posing in her underwear. Meanwhile, Zachary had turned 18, and this made him a felon:

Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and “child porn reproduce/transmit/sell,” even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone. All this, from five underwear pictures. If convicted, Zachary’s father told me, he faced a theoretically possible maximum sentence of 350 years.

Zachary accepted a plea bargain, and is now a registered sex offender, even though he never met this girl in person, and what can we say?


Kids growing up with social media — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. — generally fail to understand the inherent perils of using these technologies in pursuit of romantic activity. This blindness to the dangers of online romance is not limited to teenagers, of course. Anthony Weiner destroyed his career and his marriage through “sexting,” and may himself face federal charges for his conversations with teenage girls. Some people have even been raped or murdered as a result of connections they made through online dating, e.g., “aspiring serial killer” Amy Brown.

Consider, for example, the fate of Sunil Patel, an author and editor in the field of science fiction and fantasy. Patel is also, evidently, something of a womanizer, and was allegedly exploiting his publishing connections to score with the ladies. According to one feminist author, Patel was a “serial gaslighter who hides behind his name to prey on the women within his community.” Feminists use the term “gaslighting” to refer to various tactics of emotional manipulation, and to “prey” on women as a “serial gaslight,” we may suppose, means that Patel was doing what used to be called “talking his way into their panties.” Well, this is Standard Operating Procedure for a lot of young bachelors, and Patel’s seductions (or attempted seductions) might have continued indefinitely.

Yes, women talk to each other, and online communications enable this kind of gossip in the same way online communications enabled Patel to posture as a “male feminist” and SJW opponent of #GamerGate.

When I encounter stories like these, my first thought is to thank God we didn’t have the Internet and smartphones circa 1979. How the heck could a guy get away with having three girlfriends — two in Georgia, one in Alabama — in the age of Facebook and Instagram? But I ask this question as a mere hypothetical, you understand. Anyone inquiring as to what or who I was doing in 1979 will require me to invoke my Miranda warning rights, and my friend Bert the Samoan Lawyer has advised me not to comment further on the matter at this time. However, what was (hypothetically) possible in 1979 would be foolish for a young man to attempt in 2017, because his girlfriend in Cobb County, Georgia, would be posting photos of them as a couple and tagging him, as would his girlfriend in Alabama, and when his girlfriend in Clayton County, Georgia, found out . . . Well, this could cause trouble, hypothetically.

All this text-messaging and online dating and so forth that goes on between young people nowadays is fraught with risk, because this activity creates an archive of digital evidence. A young guy has to think about what could happen if a girlfriend ever decided she wants to destroy him. What kind of foolish things has he said in emails or texts or DMs that she could screencap and publish as proof of what a selfish jerk he is?

Think like the CIA. Maintain plausible deniability at all times, so that if your girlfriend accuses you of running around on her, there is no evidence — no texts or emails or photos or videos — that can be used against you.

And, of course, you should never actually do any such thing. As a responsible citizen and a Christian, I am dismayed by the disgusting prevalence of fornication among Our Nation’s Youth. Nothing like that ever happened when I was a teenager, or at least you can’t prove it.



2 Responses to “A Modern Love Story”

  1. To Milo or Not to Milo? : The Other McCain
    February 21st, 2017 @ 11:09 pm

    […] overboard in terms of public fear producing draconian punishments. For example, last week I noted the case of an 18-year-old boy who was required to register as a sex offender because of an online r… (a) he never met in person, but who (b) sent him pictures of herself in her underwear, and (c) did […]

  2. FMJRA 2.0: And Now A Word From The Evolution Control Committee : The Other McCain
    February 27th, 2017 @ 12:02 am

    […] A Modern Love Story EBL […]