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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lie to your children, please!

Please tell your kids that if they grow up and break the law and get caught they actually will be punished for it and won't be given preferential treatment in the administration of that punishment.

Tell them that jails will not be too overcrowded to hold them.

Tell them that if they get a rash in jail they will not be released early. They'll just be sent to the jail clinic, given ointment and returned to their cell.

Tell them that crying jags and fits of hysteria will not get them released early from jail either. Tell them that those things will get them molested by their fellow inmates...but not released early.

Tell them that being rich and famous will not matter if you're caught breaking the law.

Tell them that if they do break the law and get caught that you will not disrespect the system by loudly ridiculing the prosecutor who takes them to task or the judge who metes out their punishment.

Tell them you can not repeatedly drink and drive and get caught and get away with it.

Tell them that even if they move to Los Angeles they will not be able to murder their ex-wife and get away with it (had to slip this one in).

Tell them that being born into money will not get them status - that if they want status they'll have to work hard and perform socially benevolent acts.

Tell them that making fun of poor people and ethnic minorities on tape will not make them popular. Tell them such acts will demonstrate that they're mean-spirited bad people.

Tell them that using racial slurs will not get supposedly hardcore rappers to be their friends. Tell them those rappers will stand on principle and reject their friendly overtures.

Tell them that making a sex tape with an ex-flame and pretending to have no knowledge of the tape prior to its release will not make them popular. Tell them it will get them scorned and pitied.

Tell them that if they do all of the above and later launch their own perfume line and write a couple of books that otherwise good moms will not take their impressionable little girls to public appearances to buy the perfume and books and get autographs.

Tell them that there are even karmic and cosmic consequences to being a self-centered, racist, condescending person who contributes little to greater society in the way of responsible behavior.

Tell them that it pays to do the right thing.

And hope and pray that they're old and have kids of their own before they realize sadly that some of what you told them may not have been true.



  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 12:17 AM  

  • Excellent post! You covered everything perfectly. You should have this made into mini-posters & sell them on your site via I bet you'd make a cool mil.

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 12:18 AM  

  • Dayngr, don't tempt me. I could always use a cool mil!

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:27 AM  

  • OMG! "They" was just released to house arrest for "medical reasons ..." and another judge wants to contest the decision. "They" also tax the justice system with their stupidity. So freakin' lame!

    It is amazing how "they" is the anti-thesis of a role model in every aspect!

    By Blogger latinbombshell, at 1:09 AM  

  • Face it, the real reason Paris didn't have to serve a legitimate sentence is "'cause she's just so darned purty."

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 8:23 AM  

  • I wonder if it was a coincidence that South Park last night was the Paris Hilton 'Stupid Whore' episode.

    By Blogger SWF41, at 8:55 AM  

  • But - but James, she was SAD!


    By Blogger Freddie, at 10:03 AM  

  • Sigh. If only all that were true.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 10:06 AM  

  • JB,

    I wish I could agree with you, but you know as well as I do that the type of justice you receive is in direct proportion to your net worth. Not all famous people get special treatment, but most do. Judges are as much to plame for star f*cking and jock sniffing as the next groupie, but you need to blame our culture.

    I'll say it again--our culture roots for the outlaw. Not to be confused with the sicko or the madman. When someone thumbs their nose at authority or challenges convention, we all secretly enjoy the show it, even if we feel compelled to speak against their bad actions. I think the chief reason is this: we all want to see a charismatic outlaw do bad stuff and get away with so that the possiblity that we could do it too remains an option. That's why people love Tony Soprano; it's why corruption is so rampant in South Florida political and economic circles; it's why the "Old West" and "Roaring Twenties", and "Summer of Love" Eras are glorified. No one want's to be the "fuddy duddy" who follows the rules--besides, most of us are all too aware of the arbitrariness and outright bigotry or bias behind most of society's "rules".

    So while I think Paris Hilton is a detestable skank and think she should spend at least as much time in jail as Martha Stewart, I welcom the notion that if I get as rich as either one of them hoes, I can buy my way out of the crapper too. It worked for Foxy, Hallie, Eve, Courtney, and Brandy--the shit should work for me too.

    That's why most people are so energetic to make more money--it actually is the only thing that you can use to buy more freedom than you currently enjoy (if any).

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 12:14 PM  

  • The saddest part of this entry is the title — everything we learn about the justice system in this country is contrary to everything we were taught in high school civics class.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 12:24 PM  

  • (nevertheless, a powerful post)

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 12:25 PM  

  • teach your children well

    part of me says...never, never, ever read anything that says "paris hilton" if we all stopped..would she ggo away? how did this cult of the celbrity become such a part of our daily lives? why do people care about people who's job is to entertain?

    outstanding post..even if you had to mention "her" ;)

    By Blogger savannah, at 1:20 PM  

  • That was, bar none, the best, most perfectly worded post EVER!
    Now, if only parents would follow through and do as you outlined there, it won't stop all this celebrity crapola but it might just put a bit of a crimp in their style. Getting sentences that are upheld wouldn't hurt anything either though, would it.
    And sad to say, you know, I know, we all know, what Big Daddy said has a big ring of truth to it, doesn't it?

    By Blogger Jeni, at 2:26 PM  

  • In light of today's events, I must amend my previous comments. Miss Hilton still got celebrity justice, but the judiciary was not involved in the leniency shown by the Sheriff's office.

    So I hope you all enjoyed seeing her crying all the way to the pokey as much I did. I'm not a sadist--I just think some people deserve what happens to them and it pleases me to witness it occur. Anyone whose family has ever been treated unjustly feels the same way--and their brother didn't cry like a Hilton when he got carted off to the bing.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 4:22 PM  

  • ah, sweet justice after all.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 5:05 PM  

  • "And hope and pray that they're old and have kids of their own before they realize sadly that some of what you told them may not have been true."

    I just knew something like this was coming at the end. Well said.

    By Blogger Dave, at 6:52 PM  

  • I tell my kids that if they break the law a giant snake will fly out of the sky and eat them pice-by-piece toes first.

    It has resulted in a lot of therapy but at least they don't shoplift, vandalize, or even look at strangers sideways.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 7:31 PM  

  • Alright, in all seriousness. Was this written before or after today's court appearance?

    ...because when I heard about what happened to the spoiled brat today I kind of smiled to myself and laughed a little.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 7:33 PM  

  • Hey you! here i am - life has been kinda crazy for me as of late... BUT i have been working on some new stuff...are you and the missus coming? i could probably get you into some choice clubs down here...get a taste of the desert night life! i love this post, by the way. have a good weekend! i will post soon

    By Blogger cucuclaire, at 9:55 PM  

  • She's going back!

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 11:20 PM  

  • I work in a juvenile prison. Today when we talked about it, none of the boys were surprised that she got out. They assume, not a big leap here, that she paid her way out. They didn't think it was fair, but admitted they would try to get out if they were rich too.

    By Blogger David, at 1:22 AM  

  • Think this was a great blog.

    Think Big Daddy had a good take on it all too. It maybe 'they' who do these things, but it's 'we' who read the stories, watch the TV, get the other media. Responsibility goes all ways.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 8:51 AM  

  • I'm going to do the lazy thing here, and first thank you all who complimented the post. When Dayngr commented on it I had just posted and it was before this inmate was released.

    LatinBombShell, it seems like common sense, but it doesn't help when parents set their kids up to want to be like this inmate.

    Sarc, from what I've seen (during visits and interview sessions) and heard, they love purty people in jail. That's why I make a concerted effort to stay out.

    SWF41, I was wondering the same thing. I love that episode.

    Freddie, I hear ya. It's crazy that that could be a reason to let someone out. Jail would make me sad too and make me wail and nash my teeth and squeeze my butt cheeks really tightly. But it's supposed to make people feel badly about whatever it is they were convicted of.

    Grizzbabe, if only.

    BD, you made sense. But if you strip the semantics, we've said the same thing. All those things I said were wishes, and the post ended with the acknowledgement that they probably aren't true. One thing I'll admit though, as a result of your post, I agree that if I ever get ungodly rich and then, God forbid, later get in trouble with the law, I'll probably try to buy my way out too. Money and power do strange things to people.

    ThirdWorst, you are correct. It's a major contradiction. You know, I'm not fully mad at this inmate. I'd try to get out early too if I were her. The sheriff is the idiot who traumatized her by overstepping his bounds here.

    Savannah, technically I didn't mention her name in the post. I mentioned it in the tag after the post ;-) But you're right. We need to get over our "need" to discuss people like this inmate.

    Jeni, thank you! And you are right about BD. If we could afford it, we'd all probably try to buy our way out of trouble. I'm pretty sure I'd try it.

    BD, I'm no sadist either. But I admit I felt a slight pang of sympathy and then I got a kick out of it...the first 50 times they showed the video. After that it got old.

    Claudia, maybe there's some hope for the system after.

    Dave, thank you. I was having fun till that last sentence. When I wrote that I realized this was more a sad story than a funny one.

    Queen, I like the snake story. When I have kids I'm gonna use that one.

    Claire, I don't think Mrs. B is coming. She doesn't like biz trips 'cause it's usually a bunch of journalists griping about how miserable their lives are. And who, but another miserable journalist, wants to hear that all day and night?

    Evil Spock, the stars aligned for a moment.

    David, that speaks volumes about the criminal justice system that even kids think its rigged. Now, if only we can get those kids some role models who infuse them with good sense so they'll stop finding themselves in that shady system.

    Bronchitikat, thank you. And again, I agree with you about BD. The public and some (OK, maybe a lot) of the media perpetuate the legend surrounding people like this inmate.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:47 AM  

  • I think she had ddts

    By Blogger Pamela, at 3:01 AM  

  • James, this is the absolute best post I have read on this subject. I cannot think of a single detail you missed, and I agree wholeheartedly with all of it.

    I have nothing to add that wouldn't just be a rephrasing of something you've already said better.

    You rule.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 6:42 PM  

  • An outstanding post! Thank you.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:28 PM  

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