March 2010 Archives

Fuddy Duddy

Vote 0 Votes

I used to write more about myself on this blog. It's probably good that I don't always focus on myself, but here's some self-musings I've been mulling over recently.

I can begin to see the roots of myself as a Fuddy-duddy. I'm no longer as technically in tune with things as I used to be. I still don't have an iPhone, and probably won't get one as long as I work at my job. But, the iPhone is the killer app technology of this decade, and I'm missing the boat. As a result, I haven't participated in the App writing gold rush, nor do I understand the world through the lens of the iPhone. Kids 10 years younger than me certainly do... and that's one of the first steps to being... old.

Another indicator of my fuddy-duddiness was my misunderstanding of Twitter. I'd been hearing about Twitter for a long time prior to it becoming such a mainstream thing, but I didn't understand the implications of the communication forum. Five years ago, I would have been proselytizing about the thing, but being old, I completely missed the point. And what's worse yet, I let the same old media that missed the point for two years influence me. Oops. I always prided myself on being an early adopter, especially for free things. I was on when you could only friend people from your own university who shared a class with you... but Twitter, I ignored for two years because I missed the bigger picture!

Another technical fuddy-duddiness indicator is my refusal to learn web programming beyond the basic html that I know. I can already foresee the conversation I'll have one day with Byron Jr. "But Dad, why would you stop at basic html... all you can write with that is static web pages!"

In the non-technical arena, I'm paying less attention to sports than I used to. Some might argue this is healthy, but I know the contempt I held/hold older men in when they "pretended" to be sports fans, but didn't know the Cubs starting rotation. This doesn't mean I'm willing to forgive my Father for not knowing who Willie Stargell was, but I am starting to sympathize.

Is all this fuddy-duddiness bad? Not necessarily, it just means I need to allow my own definition of myself to evolve. I'm not the tech-savvy kid I once was (nor am I claiming to be ignorant of such things). While I know less about iPhones and web programming than I would like to, I did spend some time this morning learning how to train a scent hound (although I already had the basic principals from re-reading Where the Red Fern Grows last summer).

For some, including myself, I guess, this well-roundedness is an improvement, but the sixteen year-old inside of myself still gets upset at myself for being a bit of a phony when it comes to the things I used to care about more than I do now. (And no, I didn't particularly enjoy Holden Caulfield.) On the other hand, I enjoy a dinner party (and am enjoyed at one) more than when I was sixteen. I guess this is called growing up.

Alright, enough introspective angst. Onto the extrospective angst (did I just invent a word, I think I might have.)

I went with Adam and some friends to watch The Hurt Locker on Saturday. I neither liked it, nor disliked it. I can tell you that I didn't enjoy watching the movie, but I'm better for having seen it. It dealt with a lot of things, but for me, the takeaway was poverty. (Perhaps that's because I've been listening to Greg Boyd's poverty series for the last few months.)

There was so much garbage and the streets and everything were unkempt. Iraq, in the movie, was unsanitary and uncared for. It was the contrast between the streets of the movie, and the streets of the supposedly 'tough' Logan Square neighborhood where I watched the movie that really struck a chord with me. So today, walking through downtown at lunch time, I'm watching people and everyone's wardrobe runs to the hundreds of dollars. (For instance, I was probably wearing $270 of clothes and carrying $300 of electronics as I made this observation, and I was dressed fairly casual in comparison to a lot of the other pedestrians.)

Conclusion: We are insular in our culture, and it's good to see other expected norms... even if it's just a film, even if it's just for a few hours.

Second Conclusion: Best Picture of 2009, Really???

Lesbians at Prom

Vote 0 Votes

I found a couple of interesting articles regarding personal liberties and the rights and obligations of the government, specifically a school. As I went off on some school officials a few weeks back for suspending a student for exercising her first amendment right of free speech, I'll comment on the school in Jackson Mississippi that canceled their prom, rather than allow a Lesbian couple to attend.


Basically, a Lesbian wanted to bring her girlfriend to prom and wear a Tuxedo. The school said it violated their rules, and when pressed with the fact that they were discriminating against the girl because of her sexual orientation, the school decided to cancel the prom rather than allow two Lesbians to attend as a couple.

There is, of course, some analog to this virtually every year. Last year, I believe there was a school in Georgia that canceled Prom rather than having a mixed-race dance. It gets national news play, as it should, and the local school board is shamed nationally for being 40-50 years behind the times, and life goes on.

In this instance, however, the young girl is suing and asking the courts to set a dangerous precedent. She's asking the court to order the school to host the dance, and allow her to attend. The problem is, (IMHO) the school is no longer discriminating against the girl. They've been backed into a corner, either do something they don't want to do, or do something illegal. In this instance, they canceled the prom to avoid allowing a Lesbian to attend, but they've treated all students equally.

The school administration should (IMHO) be ashamed of themselves for being backward... but school administrators are in the business of educating children, not hosting proms. If the school had simply decided (for some other reason, e.g. budget) not to host a prom in the first place, no court would intervene and force them to do so, because proms aren't necessary to running a school correctly.

If the court does intervene and force the school to host the prom, they will have crossed the line from prohibiting unlawful behavior to dictating the requirements of running a school. Can't afford a music program? All it takes is for some aspiring diva to sue and reinstate the program. After all, the administration was discriminating against me because I was (fill in the blank). That's really why they canceled the program. Budgets be damned, school administrator's judgment be damned, the courts, unelected, will legislate as they please!

And now, to put an exclamation point on my flights of slippery-slope hysteria, we'll examine the link where Dutch nurses have to campaign against a push to require them to provide sexual services for their patients. I kid you not. I checked the date, it's not April 1st. Maybe April 1st is pushed up a few weeks in Holland.

Could you imagine, some disabled guy suing a nurse because she wouldn't provide him with sexual services? Could you imagine a country with a legal precedent in support of forcing the nurse to provide those services, because after all, some other nurses do. It's the same concept as the prom question. An auxiliary service was being offered by some nurses, while other nurses didn't want to offer that service. If a court crosses the line from prohibiting behavior to requiring behavior, you've turned the courts from a judicial body into an unelected legislative body.

And finally, back to the Jackson school district. I'll note that some appropriate responses are mentioned in the article. A New Orleans hotel owner is planning to host a prom (at which the Lesbian couple would presumably be welcomed) and some of the townsfolk are also talking about hosting another prom (at which the townsfolk could enforce their sense of proper comportment). As in a great many things, the private market offers a sensible solution.

Handsome Men's Club

Vote 0 Votes