Why Young People Are Grouchy!

bored

After years of research, I’ve discovered why young people are grouchy all the time.  It’s pretty simple, really.  They’re bored out of their skulls.  The problem is, despite the entire 21st century lying at their feet like a cornucopia of earthly delights, they have so many politically correct rules of engagement that they’re scared to touch it.  Let me explain.

They can’t play games or even watch them.  There is a myth that young people like board games, but I think this is just spin (“lie” is such a hard word.)  Think about it!  Games are, by definition, competition, and when you have competition you have winners and – OMG – losers.  This is the Anti-Christ of the 21st century.  If an activity isn’t win/win, it just doesn’t happen.

They can’t watch television — except The Handmaid’s Tale.  The trigger warnings in Game of Thrones alone would fill an encyclopedia (that’s Google for old people.)  Even the blandest of the bland, the antique sitcom, Friends — a program so inoffensive it can’t even be called vanilla (that suggests way too much flavour) is a minefield of politically incorrect thought.  Nope, TV is out!

They can’t go to the zoo.  Animals in captivity?  That’s just crazy talk.

They can’t go to a museum.  If the single statue of some dead guy is offensive, a whole building full of history could cause apoplectic shock.

They can’t read books published before 1980.  In a time when To Kill a Mockingbird has been censored, Huck Finn rewritten and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Screw banned, we’re not many days away from politically correct mobs ransacking libraries and burning the books in the streets.  Sad as it may seem, Fahrenheit 451 isn’t fiction anymore; it’s a training manual.  So reading is a no-no!

They can’t go to the movies.  Here is an industry that has, on several occasions, confessed that it is a whitewashing, cultural appropriating, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim monopoly, controlled by misogynistic old white men.  What’s left?  Michael Moore’s “Ain’t It Awful?” documentaries — and even the politically correct are fed up with that guy.

They can’t dine out unless the restaurant grows its own organic food in a hydroponic biosphere in the back garden.  Even quinoa and avocados, the meat and potatoes of contemporary life, are suspect.  The carbon footprint that brings ancient grains and Aztec fruit to the modern table is just too deep to be tolerated.

And, of course, the super biggie:

They can’t flirt.  Don’t even go there!

And that, boys and girls, is why young people are so 24/7 bitchy!

Earl Beatty Has No Balls

(Sorry for the title.  I know it’s cheap but I couldn’t resist.)

For the 6,994,000,000 or so people in the world who are blissfully unaware that Toronto, Canada is the centre of the universe, a public school there, one Earl Beatty Junior and Senior, has banned balls.  You can read about it here.  This has caused some controversy and an immediate reaction from conservative parents in the district.  At a time when there is increasing pressure from activist groups to derail progressive policies, we need to set the record straight with a few facts.

First of all, the school did not ban all balls.  They merely directed parents to be aware that all “hard” balls (up to and including but not limited to) footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, basketballs, volleyballs and probably bowling balls would be confiscated if students brought them to school.    Balls made out of sponge, or nerf material would still be perfectly acceptable and students would be encouraged to enjoy them during supervised recreation.

Secondly, although an outright ban on balls might seem heavy-headed, the school’s reaction was the direct result of a ball-related injury which required hospitalization.  Luckily, it was a parent coming to pick up her child who was injured, not a student.  However, in light of this single event, the school immediately took a proactive approach to prevent any innocent child from getting a noggin floggin’ in the future.

Thirdly, we need to remember that a ball in the hands (or feet) of a child can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.  They may kick or throw it!  Young people have not yet developed the cognitive, judgemental or motor skills to properly handle a ball.  Make no mistake: without the proper skills, balls are missiles, capable of causing great harm – a quick review of America’s Funniest Home Videos is documented proof of this.

Fourthly, overwhelming medical evidence proves a direct link between the use of balls by children and injury.  A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1994 (this is real, by the way) found that between 2 and 8% of all children who play Little League Baseball suffer some kind of injury.  Although there are no hard statistics to show the severity of these injuries, or whether or not they occurred as an immediate result of contact with a ball, they all happened in a ball environment.  We cannot dismiss these findings as natural or “part of growing up.”  It’s obvious that if these children had not been playing Little League Baseball, they would not have come to grievous bodily harm.

Let’s be clear: the banning of balls at Earl Beatty Junior and Senior is a progressive step which could lead to a number of positive outcomes.   It’s a known fact that children left unattended with a ball will attempt to play a game.  Group games, as we know, are detrimental to a child’s emotional growth.  They create “winners” and “losers” a concept which can irreparably damage a child’s self esteem.  It is far better to engage young people in activities that focus on individual skill development and provide positive reinforcement than rank their performance on an artificial scale.

Furthermore, we know that most games played with a ball in North America are Eurocentric (soccer, baseball, basketball etc.) forced on the rest of the world during the colonial and neocolonial periods.   By eliminating the symbol of oppression, the ball, we allow our children to experience the true diversity of our society at the most primal level — play.  Our children are free to explore, without being constrained by a narrow European model.  In our changing society, stressing our diversity is very important.

In a much wider sense, the Earl Beatty ban on balls — if viewed in an open, unbiased manner — could result in a district-wide ban, or even a city-wide ban.  This would encourage our entire nation to open a dialogue on the role of balls in our society.  Perhaps, this could eventually lead to a national “hard” ball registry.  We could then control the indiscriminate use of balls and limit their impact to those who would play with them responsibly.

The future is bright, my friends.  We can change our world and make it a safer place for our children.

However, there are some in our society who don’t want change.  They wish to turn the clock back to a darker time when balls created fear in the youngest and most vulnerable among us.  Against those people, we must stand firm.  We must send a strong message that hope is better than fear.  We must tell them that when any child is put at risk, that is not acceptable.  When it is within our power to spare any child needless pain and suffering, we are morally obligated to do it.  Children are our future.  They are our most precious natural resource.

Trapped in the 80s with Privacy and the Politically Correct

There must be a Time Portal around here somewhere because, for the last couple of days I’ve been trapped in the 80s.  It’s not so bad, really.  The music is brilliant: Deborah Harry is still hot and David Bowie will always be cool.  Fashions suck, though, and TV is terrible, but I never watched that much the first time around, so que voulez-vous?  However, like Dorothy and Toto, I’ve had enough now, and I want to go home.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how I got here.

What happened was I was sitting around in 2011, minding my own business when I noticed that Politically Correct was having a hissy-fit a la 1985.  Apparently, some Social Science professor in a class called “Self, Culture and Society” at York University was explaining to his students something in the neighbourhood of “Without documented evidence mere opinion is useless.”  He went on to suggest that, despite the local mythology, everyone is not entitled to their own opinion.  (I knew that!)  He even went so far as to give an example.  Here’s where the time warp kicked in.  A student, who was either dozing or Smart phoning her BFF, regained consciousness long enough to hear “… all Jews should be sterilized…”  Instantly offended, she stormed from the room and set the media on fire with tales of rampant anti-Semitism.  The media typically goose-stepped into line, and the witch hunt was on.  Within hours, the social media had tarred and feathered the professor — and were within moments of driving him off campus with pitchforks and torches — when he finally got a chance to explain.  Actually he had only used the phrase as an example of a reprehensible opinion.  Luckily, he had over 300 witnesses — all the other students in the room at the time, so he was off the PC hook, so to speak.  Not so.  The offended student maintains “The words, ‘all Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context, I still think that’s pretty serious.”  She also issued a statement to the effect that it’s the prof’s fault she misunderstood, and he should apologize.  Logic has left the building!

You can see my problem, though.  This kind of PC/BS is strictly confined to the last quarter of the last century when Politically Correct’s reign of terror, one of our more medieval social tyrannies, stalked the land.  These days, we all know the drill: watch what you say and when (not if) somebody takes offence, apologize, say it was an error in judgement and go about your business.  In 2011, anybody who isn’t still undergraduate fodder gives Politically Correct the respect it deserves – none.

But the time/space continuum had already been broken, and the next thing I knew, the Rideau Institute issued a report on the coming Canada/US Trade and Security Agreement.  It stated, among other things, that the privacy of Canadians was about to be breached by the American bogeyman.  The Institute’s concern is that, in the hope of easing cross-border trade, our Canadian government will be sharing inappropriate personal information with those damn Yankees.  The outrage was incredible, but talk about a blast from the past!  The last time anybody in this country was truly a private person was probably around 1983 — when Parliament enacted The Privacy Act.  Let’s just stop and take a sanity pill, shall we?  I don’t think we need be worried that the FBI wants some passport numbers, considering Amazon and eBay already have our name, address, phone number, birthday and buying habits.  Honestly, if the CIA wants to know anything about me or 16 million other Canadians, all they have to do is go on Facebook.  In the last five years, Canadians have put thousands of hours of personal videos on YouTube.  This may come as a shock, but those hilarious shots of you dancing at the wedding are instantly available to anybody on this planet with a cell phone.  I think it’s a little late in the day to start worrying about whether or not Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security can find out if you’ve booked a Caribbean vacation – don’t you?  Frankly, I think that cruise ship has sailed!

Privacy, like politically correctness is something we used to be concerned about.  However, it’s a little silly to worry about Government intrusions into our private lives when we’re freely giving the same information to anybody having a Big Mac under McDonald’s Wi-Fi umbrella.   In the 21st century, private people are the ones who live in caves in the Himalayas.  The rest of us have sacrificed privacy on the altar of the Internet.  The Rideau Institute’s heart might be in the right place, but its head is at least a generation in the past, fighting a war that was lost before Google was even born.

None of this helps me, though, because if I don’t get out of the 80s soon, the next thing I’m probably going to hear is that Air Canada employees have decided to strike, and Ed Broadbent is calling the shots over at NDP headquarters.  No, wait a minute!  There’s Barack Obama, mouthing off to the Europeans about how to handle their debt crisis.  Thank you, Barack: you’ve done it again!  I’m saved!