Friday Five: the news

Happy Friday! I hope that you’re able to celebrate the Fourth of July in some way today, or at least appreciate the start of the holiday weekend. Even though it’s a federal holiday, this blog brakes for nothing during a challenge, so I have a new Friday Five for you.

newsToday’s theme is controversial articles/commercials/stories. I am a voracious reader, and I love to take in new information nearly constantly, largely through news channels but also plenty of other sources. Most of it I sort through and process on my own, but some things really stick with me, which I take home for discussion with Evan. This week was apparently a very healthy week for controversy, because Evan and I spent an irregular amount of time discussing, debating, arguing and considering the stories below. It’s funny- we tend to have very different politics and, just when I think that we’ll be on the same side about something, one of us unpredictably switches, leaving us with opposing views as ever. This is sometimes a struggle, but I think that we occasionally situate ourselves this way purposefully- it’s not that we prefer to disagree, but listening to someone you respect rationally explaining the opposing viewpoint has a tendency make you step back from your perspective, and try on a different viewpoint.

Anyway, end novel. Here what we’ve been delving into around our dinner table (coffee table. Like every other twenty something, we eat at the coffee table. No shame in our game!).

  1. “Girl-positive” ad campaigns. First it was this ‘not sorry’ ad by Pantene. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzL-vdQ3ObA Then, Always released a ‘like a girl’ ad. If you haven’t watched either, please check them out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
    Both ads have a pretty strong girl power message, and it’s hard to oppose that. On the other hand, some of the uses of ‘I’m sorry’ in the Pantene add just seem like having manners- I know plenty of men who will interrupt with an apology. Also, beyond the actual verbiage of these messages, some concern has been raised about whether these companies are just using a trendy topic (can you call feminism trendy?) to create a viral campaign- what do these commercials have to do with the products that they’re pushing? All perspectives here have provided food for thought, and plenty of debate.
  1. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. I am not kidding when I say that, in one night, we had a lively dinner conversation regarding the commercials, then segued into bed-time preparation while we discussed the Hobby Lobby verdict. It was an intense evening. For the sake of self-education, check out the actual text of the opinion here, written by Judge Alito.
    The argument is being made that the owner of Hobby Lobby is having his religious freedom quashed by being forced to pay for certain contraceptives (two types of plan B, and two types of IUDs). The counter argument is that Hobby Lobby is imposing its own religious views on the women it employs, by not providing coverage for birth control. Supports of the first argument contend that women are a) still able to purchase these items, but they won’t be subsidized, and b) not being forced to work for HL, and can get another job. They would suggest that the women have choices, but the owner does not. The opposing argument is that coverage is coverage, and there are no drugs that are specifically formulated for men that are exempted, and that this is yet another case where women are ruled second class citizens. Also, what will prevent this from additional companies making additional religious claims about things like transfusions, and vaccinations? There’s plenty more up for discussion, but this is where Evan and I focused. Stay tuned, I guess.
  1. And then….there’s the Texas Tech cheerleader who is also a big game hunter. There are a few levels of controversy here- first, society seems really into latching on to one person and attacking them viciously for a few days. Is this a new trend? Second, refocussing to this girl- however anyone feels about her hobby, it’s hard to get over to gruesome photos of a person holding up the head of an animal they killed. It’s disconcerting to me when classmates do it to deer they’ve hunted and will eat, and it’s disconcerting to me when this girl holds up a leopard. So…that’s also happening.
  2. This was actually last week’s news, but Evan and I are still talking about Egypt’s conviction of three journalists, without evidence, for at least seven years in prison. This was, obviously, stunning, and the US clearly expressed its negative reaction, but Egypt basically said, sorry not sorry. Media freedom is so, so important, especially during revolutions, protests and elections, and Egypt is sending a clear message that this freedom will not be honored, with its own journalists of foreign press. The reality of the situation is that some places are dangerous for everyone, including journalists. When their journalistic integrity leads them to reporting in these locations, it’s simultaneously stunning and not very surprising when there are negative consequences. This isn’t ideal, obviously, but this seems to be the reality.
  3. We’re very interested in the stores that are requesting that patrons keep them ‘gun free’. Starbucks and Chipotle have asked that consumers refrain from carrying guns on their premises, and now Target has, as well. From a policy standpoint, this is a pretty interesting development- the government wasn’t having much success in developing official gun control policy, so the movement has flowed into the private sector. A lot of this, though, seems to be coming from open carry movements, where gun owners are visibly carrying their weapons around town and into these establishments. This is legal (and sometimes surprisingly so) in many communities, but can usually be shut down, with accusations of public menacing, or inciting a panic. What is still a bit unclear, to Evan and I at least, is whether these are really just stated preferences, or whether people or legally prohibited from carrying guns into these facilities, even when they are concealed legally.

    So, this is what we’ve been talking about. What news has been feeding the conversations in your life?