One of the biggest weaknesses society faces is that, as individuals, people can be pretty stupid. In a group our powers combine to create some sort of stupid tsunami, which rampages up the coast, destroying all logic and good judgment in its wake.
Moral panics arise when a particular problem or fear is widespread. These are usually the result of urban legends, false media reports or other such nonsense. The past decade has seen more than its fair share, the greatest of which are outlined below.
Problem: you want to tell someone the horrible things you would do to their vagina but you're at a place or event where speaking out loud may be considered rather rude (e.g. business meetings, waiting rooms, funerals, etc.). Why not send the object of your desire an erotic text message?
“Sexting” is a term that was made popular back in 2005 to describe sending sexually explicit material via a text message. It became a big issue in middle and high-schools across America because kids are getting cellphones at younger ages… right around the time they're getting awkward boners in gym class. It was deemed a big enough issue that those in possession of such photos (and in some cases, texts) have been charged with possession of child pornography.
Why It's Dumb: Fun fact: teenagers think about sex a whole lot and you would know this if you've read any MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter profile in existence. However, if you did that, you're probably on an FBI watch list somewhere. Before cell phones there was email and IM, before that there was hand written notes, and before that there's was whispering in study hall. Every conceivable form of communication in the history of man has been used to express one's desire to do the nasty.
Sexting does take an incredibly creepy turn when adults get involved, however, as at least one teacher has plead guilty to sending racy photos of herself to a student, not that he was complaining.
For those of you who have a fondness for blowies and rainbows, rainbow parties are right up your brightly colored and sexually bankrupt alley. Guys at a party receive oral sex from several different girls (or other dudes if that's their thing) in a specific sequence. These girls or guys are each wearing different colored lipstick so that their efforts leave their partners with a much more festive penis than before.
Rainbow parties were first mentioned in the early 2000s, bringing forth a shit-storm of media speculation. What had happened to the youth of America? Where were these parties taking place? Was that preacher from Footloose right about the dancing thing?
Why It's Dumb: The moral outrage over rainbow parties reached such heights that Oprah herself decided to speak her piece. Surprisingly, she was opposed to the notion of such events occurring at all. One of her guests claimed to be an expert on teen sexual activity and said that these rainbow parties were very common. He also asserted that teenage girls were in a competition to see who could parent the most children with black men to somehow upset parents in foster homes. You know kids, always trying to stick it to foster homes.
However, no police report of rainbow parties is known to exist. The earliest reference to rainbow parties in any media is a novel of the same name, wherein teenagers plan a rainbow party only to have every terrible consequence of having unprotected sex with strangers happen to them. Suffice to say, it isn't exactly the feel good story of the year, but it isn't based in absolute fact, either. To further confuse and arouse the youth of America, the book was adopted as a text book for sexual health education classes in several school districts.
Vodka Soaked Tampons
Teenagers love boozahol almost as much as they love multi-colored fellatio. But with all the laws and whatnot in the way it's damn near impossible for a teen to get totally sloshed in public. How does someone fight this injustice? With tampons.
The story goes that tampons soaked in vodka can provide the buzz of reckless drinking without the obvious signs that you're drunk. This is achieved by inserting said tampon into the vagina or anus if you happen to be a guy. So how bad do you want it?
Why It's Dumb: For a multitude of reasons, but let's take it slowly.
First, there's no solid evidence saying that this isn't happening. It's well within the range of possibility that teens are walking about with tampons shoved all willy-nilly into their bodies in search of the ever elusive feel-good high. Having said that, anyone who tries it more than once should be deemed criminally retarded. While it's true that the uh, “lower membranes” can absorb liquid, the average tampon holds around fifteen to twenty milliliters of liquid. To put that in perspective, fifty milliliters is the amount of raw alcohol present in about a pint of beer. Short of inserting four or five tampons into your various parts, this simply won't get you drunk even if you used the highest proof you could find.
What's more, it would burn like holy hell. Theoretically this is the point at which the experimenting stops and no one ever speaks of it again. However, if that's not enough to deter you, continued attempts could lead to unpleasant dryness. We'll… we’ll just leave it at that.
Gel bracelets as a fad are older than most people reading this, reaching as far back as the seventies. Their popularity and longevity are easily explained because they're cheap to manufacture and can be sold in just about any store without much trouble with taking up space. They're accessible to just about everyone and as a fashion statement they're subtle and non-offensive.
Then came sex bracelets. According to experts on the subject of covert sexual activity, the different colors of the sex bracelets relate to a game. Whoever can remove or break the bracelet is entitled to receive a sex act associated with the specific color of the band. Depending on where you are the colors have different meanings, though it's commonly accepted that black is intercourse and green is the vaunted Fran Drescher special.
Why It's Dumb: Think back to when you were a teenager: when you were in a group of your peers did you ever feel the need to keep your sexual activities a secret? Of all the people willing to jump through ridiculous hoops to get some hanky-panky teenagers are at the bottom of that list.
The story is an update of a much older urban legend involving pull tabs and beer bottle caps. The brand of the cap told which act was to be received, serving as a sort of sex coupon. However, if this were ever true than drunks would be far less depressed due to all that sweet tail they're getting.