Thoughts on the Utah Social Media Bill

Twenty years ago, when social media was only starting, no one could have predicted that it would become part and parcel of our everyday lives.

A little more than a week ago, the Governor of Utah Spencer Cox signed a bill that requires minors to get permission from a parent or guardian to create an account on a social media platform. In addition, these sites are off-limits from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am and the adult has access to the child’s account.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this piece of legislation. The first is that is necessary. Given the power that it has over our lives, it provides some peace of mind in regard to the medium’s influence on the young generation. The second is that it takes away the rights of these kids in favor of safety which could be perceived as misguided. If a child is being abused or is LGBTQ in a home that is homophobic, the internet may be their only form of free expression.

I admire the Governor for trying to tackle this problem It is not black and white, and therefore, not easy to resolve. However, there has to be a balance between protecting the next generation and ensuring that their rights are not trampled on.

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Sanditon Character Review: Charles Lockhart

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There is only so much that can be done in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The image of an artist is often a romantic one. Though they are lauded for their work, they live on the edge of polite society. Unshackled by the rules of what is or is not “proper”, they are free to live as they see fit. In Sanditon, Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) introduced to the city and its residents an artist on the rise. His charm comes from giving no f*cks and has no problem flaunting the rules.

The first reaction came from Arthur Parker (Turlough Convery). He is the one to initiate Lockhart’s introduction to the larger Parker family circle and to Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). Immediately taken by the man, he becomes the man’s friend and muse. But Georgiana is not as quick as Arthur to open up. When they are seated next to one another, her walls start to come down. Eventually, they fall in love and he proposes that they run away and get married.

But then the big reveal (dun dun dun) causes it all to come crashing down. Charles is a very good actor. He believes that he is the rightful heir to Georgiana’s late father and pretended to fall for her so he could get his hands on her inheritance. When the plan to marry backfired, his true character as a con artist was revealed. He leaves the city, promising to come back and take what he believes to be his.

When we last see him, Charles has given notice that he is suing Georgiana in order to get his hands on her money.

To sum it up: Charles makes his own luck. He ignores the rules and in doing so, makes himself even more admirable and attractive than previously thought to be. He is also a cad and not unwilling to lie to get what he wants.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Florida Republican Fuckery XII: The “Pornographic” David Statue and Book Banning, Part 2

A parent has every right to control the media that their child consumes. What they do not have the right to, is to dictate the same for another young person who is not theirs to parent.

In Florida, a Principal was forced to resign because sixth-grade students were shown an image of the centuries-old statue of David by the classical artist Michelangelo. The complaint was that the image was “pornographic”.

I hope that I am not the only one who finds this ridiculous. David has existed for centuries as a universally admired and respected work of art. Human subjects that were either partially or fully nude are part and parcel of the art of the Renaissance era. And in case these adults forgot, every male has the same genitalia. I understand that these kids are young. But it is still incumbent to give the statue both historical and artistic context, nullifying the “pornographic” argument.

Also in the state, the book banning continues. Earlier this week, author Jodi Picoult was a guest on WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show. Twenty of her books have been pulled from one school district’s shelves. What bothers me is not just the actions of the parents of the children in the district, it is that a random grownup who has nothing to do with the school system can complain and the district will capitulate.

I am an adult who has no children. My only connection to our public schools is paying taxes. I have no business in dictating what the youngsters learn and will not stick my nose where it does not belong. We are all obviously entitled to our opinion, but that does not mean that we can tell the experts what to do. And in case anyone forgot, when something is forbidden, it makes it all the more tempting.

What gets me is that with only the vaguest of information (meaning that the particular book in question was not read), there was enough fuss that it was taken out of circulation by the school.

Something has to change. Somehow, someway, we have to get past this madness. If we don’t our children will receive an incomplete education and our future as a nation will be in jeopardy.

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