Monday, July 28, 2014

Because Will Smith Said So

"Grades are getting low, the teens are getting high. That 12 year old is pregnant and her parents wonder why. A 1st grader is swearing, a 3rd grader has been raped. Just take a look around you, isn’t the system great? Who isn’t faded these days, teens are sending nudes, kids are getting beaten, the teachers see the bruises. No calls for help are spoken, teens are smoking weed, young girls are cutting, this isn’t what we need. The marks of taunt and yelling, parents are divorced. That 14 year old is drinking beer, this can’t get any worse. A little girl has killed herself, nobody seems to care. Another kid has been expelled for a stupid dare. But it needs to change. Our world is officially broken. It’s time to take a stand, your thoughts need to be spoken"
-Will Smith

Let's worry less about whether or not teenagers have enough rules and restrictions placed on them and look at environments that lead them to  make poor choices in the first place.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I'd Rather Be Seventy

I'm dreading college, those early adults years sound like a drag, and the idea of middle age frankly disgusts me. The only thing that compels me to continue aging? The reward of old age. After I wade through all the crap I'll finally get somewhere worthwhile.
Of course I'm aware that old age comes with diabetes and heart disease and arthiritis and Alzheimer's as your body conspires against you. Of course I'm aware that dressing the way I did in my youth will make me "look like an old lady" while keeping up with trends means I'm "trying too hard". But old age has its perks. And I'm not talking about the discounted movie tickets.
You can look down. When those young whippersnappers whine about how awful life is nowadays, you can remind them that you grew to maturity during The War. It doesn't matter which war, really. We have enough of them and you'll live through one eventually. You can brag about the accomplishments of your generation-never mind that the upcoming ones are making the same progress you did. I don't believe wisdom is a direct product of age-it comes from experience-but I won't deny that old age gives you an air of dignity.
You know what? I think I'll keep aging. I've got something to look forward to.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kidding Around

A kid holding a kid
My Grandma Penny doesn't like kids. She's a sweet, loving woman who babysits my little cousins several times a week. But she'll only refer to them as 'children'. Born and raised on a farm, she has a hard time referring to humans as kids. Kids are goats. When did we decide a baby goat was another name for a young person?
kid (n.) Look up kid at
c.1200, "the young of a goat," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse kið "young goat," from Proto-Germanic *kiðjom (cognates: Old High German kizzi German kitze, Danish and Swedish kid). Extended meaning of "child" first recorded as slang 1590s, established in informal usage by 1840s. Applied to skillful young thieves and pugilists since at least 1812. Kid stuff "something easy" is from 1913 (The phrase was in use about that time in reference to vaudeville acts or advertisements featuring children, and to children-oriented features in newspapers). Kid glove "a glove made of kidskin leather" is from 1680s; sense of "characterized by wearing kid gloves," therefore "dainty, delicate" is from 1856.
kid (v.) Look up kid at
"tease playfully," 1839, earlier, in thieves' cant, "to coax, wheedle, hoax" (1811), probably from kid (n.), via notion of "treat as a child, make a kid of." Related: Kiddedkidding.
As you can see from the etymology, kid's earliest meanings were "delicate and easy" and "mischievous and manipulative". We still use them that way today. Kidding around is obnoxious, pointless, and a waste of time, like anything a child might do. If you treat someone "like a kid", it means to be delicate and not take them seriously. Much in the same way that "like a girl" means "like a wimp". Although the #likeagirl campaign might change that soon. I don't see how "like a kid" is any different.
Words fascinate me and I wish I knew more about the story behind this. Why are we kids and not colts, calves, piglets? Did it start out as a term of endearment? I've heard people refer to loved one as "little lamb" or "sweet kitten", but it's not used to the extent of kid.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Does Willa Have Rights?

I've always squirmed when I see mothers blog about potty training their children or post nude pictures of infants. The internet is forever. What happens when they hit elementary school and their friends track those down? Then I found out that kiddie porn sites sometimes lift content from unsuspecting parents' pages. Now things like this just make me mad.
Facebook/Jill White

This is the censored version of photographer Jill White's tribute to the old Coppertone ad. The girl with the smiley butt is Willa, her two year old daughter. She posted it on Coppertone's facebook page, where it was blocked within three hours. She later reposted the photo as you see it here. In an interview with TODAY, White says she chose a smoochy lip face as a way of saying "Kiss my butt."
Naturally, the facebook community has once again decided to care more about their rights than responsibilities, and they're up in arms about it. Not because a young girl's butt is now out in the wild for every pedophile to see. But because it's the mother's right to put a young girl's butt out in the wild for every pedophile to see.
Is it harmless compared to a lot of the crap on facebook? Yes. But not for all viewers. Pornography is in the eye of the beholder. Willa might be White's child in real life, but as a sex symbol, she now belongs to everybody.
This isn't an issue of a mother deciding how to raise her child. This isn't a matter of a photographer choosing a subject. This isn't a case of a girl taking a provocative selfie and posting it on her own facebook page. It's a case of a child too young to even know how the internet works leaving a digital footprint. A two year old doesn't know what facebook is and can barely grasp the concept of a camera. She can't send an email. She can't leave a comment. She can't upload a photo. But somewhere in the world right now, a middle aged man with a touch phone can swipe her butt with his sweaty thumb as he scrolls down to view more.
Let's get more concerned about Willa's rights to privacy than her mother's rights of personal expression.

Friday, July 4, 2014