by Conor Friedersdorf
Jim's pet peeve:
I have three kids in elementary school wasting countless hours learning cursive. Why? I can't remember the last time I wrote anything longer than a grocery list by hand. With technological development, they'll do that even less frequently than I do. Sure, everyone needs a signature, but why not teach a signature alone? Kids in countries that are our largest competitors worldwide are learning advanced math while America's kids have to struggle to make a proper freaking Q. Moronic.
Circa 1986 I began taking cursive at Our Lady Queen of Angeles, the K through 8 Catholic school where I earned straight As almost every semester, except for my perennial C minus in handwriting. I hated that damned subject, and it's been useless to me ever since. It actually surprises me that they're still teaching it. The capital "S" and "G" were what got me.
A couple of examples, before I get to the item:
1) On a friend's Facebook page, I, reminiscing about old football days, drop a "shit" and a "fuck", and am gently chided for my use of the words.
2) The other day, at the grocery store with my 1 1/2 year old, I misplace the grocery list. I look around for it for a minute, and am mildly annoyed. My son, tuned in and empathetic as he is, looks at me and says: "Daddy, fuck it."
Now in both of these cases, I felt as though I was supposed to feel bad, or ashamed, or like I need to correct my behavior (my son definitely picked that word up from yours truly).
But here's the thing: I don't give a fuck! Really, what the fuck is this taboo with certain words? It fucking bothers the shit out of me. Now, I understand the importance of certain taboo words, and mind them without resentment, but really, who the fuck is really bothered by fuck? Someone who needs to chill the fuck out, that's who.
The taboo on female toplessness.
While guys sporting giant hairy man-boobs go around shirtless without remark, women and even little girls cannot bare their chests in any public context. This taboo alone has supported what may be a preponderance of "adult entertainment" (topless bars, "girlie" magazines), at least prior to web-porn.
The bikini top is the Western version of the hajib. It is an irrational, sexist clothing disparity with nothing to support it save the dubious pedigree of "tradition." It has led to the persecution and embarrassment of countless nursing mothers. It should be tossed in the same ashcan as male-restricted jury duty and suffrage.
Unwinding our female-breast taboo might reduce the pathological fixations in this society that have led to dangerous and harmful augmentation surgeries.
The chance to join this year's protest just passed.