Candy is Dandy, but the Internet is Quicker
By James Ottavio Castagnera
(Jim Castagnera is the Associate Provost and Associate Counsel at Rider University, and the author of a weekly newspaper column, “Attorney at Large.”)
American humorist Ogden Nash (1902-1971) is best remembered for his poem “Reflections on Ice Breaking.” Even I, who never mastered a single Latin conjugation in Catholic High, memorized it forever: “Candy is Dandy, but Liquor is Quicker.” I’ve always assumed old Ogden had more in mind that mere ice breaking.
If so, he was right. The “Wine Lover’s Calendar,” which my kids gave me for Christmas, informed me on October 30th that, “Yes. Women are more susceptible to the effects of wine — and all other types of alcohol.” You might wonder why that is. This same highly authoritative source continued, “Women have less of the enzyme in the lining of the stomach that begins to break down and metabolize alcohol. As a result, when a man and a woman drink the same amount of wine, more alcohol winds up in the bloodstream of the woman.”
For one 33-year-old Philadelphian, this apparently wasn’t fast enough. This guy stands accused of raping six Philly women between 2003 and 2005. Back in January he was tried and acquitted of raping three other women. He’s also accused of committing a similar crime in Sun Valley, Idaho, back in October 2005, when he was working at a resort out there.
The MO of all the alleged Philly crimes is the same. The accused perp met his victims through an online dating service, then took them out for drinks and dinner. The women all report feeling disoriented after dinner. The next thing they knew, they woke up next morning in the guy’s bed.
Ogden Nash was one of those naughty-but-nice guys. He’d probably despise this Internet creep as much as we all do. Still, some of his poetry is weirdly evocative of the perverse power provided by the ‘net to predators. For instance, he once rhythmically inquired, “Why did the Lord give us agility, If not to evade responsibility?” This might be the motto of the Philly date-rapist.
The problem, Dear Ogden, is that in the 21st century what was once only naughty is now dangerous, even deadly. Some examples that come to my mind:
• Kids used to settle arguments with their fists. Now they bring assault weapons to school.
• The drug of choice when I was a teen was Schlitz. Now it’s heroin or crack cocaine or ecstasy… or whatever is the hot new chemical compound of the month.
• The Playboy centerfold was once as good as it got. “Dirty movies” came from Sweden and involved long, micro-photo sequences of sperms fertilizing eggs. Now an outfit called “Men against Pornography” claims that 75% of web content is porno.
Yes, Oggy, 35 years following your demise, America is a much meaner place than the Naughty-Norman-Rockwell world of your poetry. I can’t help wondering what you might write, were you still around to read about that Internet predator and his date-rape tactics. You might take your lead from the Internet “hook-up” service where, if you like someone’s on-line profile, you give her or him an electronic wink.
In my day, if a girl got a wink,
It might make her stop and think.
A wink on the net may also be fun,
But if you get one, you might want to run.