I went to sleep last night thinking about this small comment about SEB from Justin McLachlan over at his blog fifteen minutes:
Not a family-friendly site, by the way—so kids stay away.
I came across it through a trackback link to my entry the other day on the latest cosmology theories. It made me pause to think for a moment just how Stupid Evil Bastard isn’t a family friendly site. The truth is I’ve been very pro-family in a number of entries I’ve written as well as very vocal about parents being more aware of what their kids are up to. I can’t think of a single entry I’ve ever written that could be considered anti-family.
Being a family man myself I tried to consider if there was anything I’d ever written that I’d be worried about my own 13 year old daughter reading and I can’t think of a single thing. In fact she often takes the time to read my blog and then engage me in conversations over something I’ve written that she wants to explore further such as the different concepts of God that various religions promote or whatever has caught her attention. If anything allowing Courtney to read my blog has in many ways resulted in the two of us having more conversations about some fairly serious subjects than we might have had otherwise. I like to think that I promote a lot of positive ideas such as a sense of personal responsibility and the utility of critical thinking skills. Two things I think most kids would do well for themselves if they developed further than most do these days. I’m also a big promoter of people developing a good set of personal morals and then sticking to them as best they can.
The only real way I can see Stupid Evil Bastard as not being family friendly is the fact that we use naughty language including the “F-word.” If you’re concerned about your kids reading naughty language then, yes, SEB could be considered not family friendly. Though there isn’t any language here that can’t be heard in your average PG-13 movie these days, let alone pouring fourth from the mouths of most kids. I don’t encourage others to use the same language I do even if to me it’s no big deal and I admit it’s one of my few vices. I don’t condone or encourage drinking or drug use, though I do occasionally joke about both which is funny because I rarely drink and have never done illegal drugs. My language is probably the worst complaint most folks could make about SEB even though most families probably make use of it themselves.
OK, on further reflection I suppose the fact that I am critical of religious belief in general could be considered non-family friendly if you consider religious belief a big part of your family life. Even then I’ve never encouraged anyone to stop being religious, just to think about their beliefs and the reasons they hold them. Which is a good thing to do for all issues of belief and not just religious issues.
So is Stupid Evil Bastard really not a family friendly site? I can see how some folks might think so at first glance, but much like a lot of things in life initial appearances can be deceiving. I get emails all the time from folks who suddenly realize that SEB really has a very positive message cloaked in what appears to be a negative attitude and they’re always amazed at that realization. My whole point in running SEB is to get people to think more so when I get those sort of “Aha!” emails it shows that I’m accomplishing that goal.
So if you’re the sort that expects family friendly websites to be all pastel colors and feel-good platitudes then Stupid Evil Bastard is likely to disappoint. If you think a family friendly website is one that gives your family something to think and talk about and encourages positive development by exposing you to a wide range of ideas and beliefs then SEB is probably just what you’re looking for.