I appreciate this article from Education Week, titled "We're teaching consent all wrong,"
The key idea from the article is this:
Instead, researchers and educators offer an alternative: Teach consent as a life skill—not just a sex skill—beginning in early childhood, and begin discussing consent and communication in the context of relationships by 5th or 6th grades, before kids start seriously thinking about sex.
I like this because I see it both as a parent and as a teacher. As a parent, I often see my children test one another's boundaries and do things to one another without the other's consent: one might arbitrarily take control of a video game, or dump leftovers onto someone else's plate at dinner, or drop something in the other's room that they don't want anymore. At school, students take one another's books, or write on one another's pages, or talk to another student when they clearly want some peace and quiet. None of these issues are sexual, but nonetheless they're matters of consent. If someone doesn't want that food, or someone doesn't want you writing on their page, the perpetrator is breaking trust and consent.
One of the issues I've seen in the consent conversation, however, is crossover with other terms: "Bullying," for example, often gets used in situations where no bullying is taking place. Perhaps people are doing things you don't want them to, but they're not inherently bullying the other person. Conflating "nonconsensual" and "bullying" muddies the water too much to be useful. The Venn Diagram crosses over—bullying cannot take place consensually—but they're far from one and the same.
Does a parent bully when they need to get their child to attend a family gathering for example? The child may not want to do it, and the parent may need to coerce them, but it's not quite bullying, not quite a matter of non-consent.
Just as we often conflate non-consensual actions with bullying, we also conflate it with coercion. I think we need to be a little careful about that. Somebody can do something without consent, but also not necessarily participate in coercion. Many non-consent stories, it seems, don't involve coercion as much as they involve terrible communication.
Consent is always complicated. We'd like to think that there are little cues we can take to make it simple, but it's always complex. It's a continual process. It demands good communication. It gets messy as we reiterate it in our memories. Whether in parenting or education or in sexuality, there's always more nuance than any maxim can handle.
So I support the idea of teaching consent as a general life skill. Even when it makes life harder.
It appears the Canada Food Guide has finally come of age and is basing its ideas on science, not lobbyists.
I don't have the expertise to add much to the conversation. I'm not a nutritionist or scientist. But I do my best to eat well, or at least know what I should do to eat well. And I'm glad to see a more scientific approach to a topic that often seems so nebulous.
Although I've always been interested in food an nutrition, since the old Canada Food Guide was drilled into me in my school days, I've enjoyed hearing the skeptical approach to food research. For example, this article from Neurologica describes some of the ways nutrition research often doesn't make the cut.
Part of this general interest in nutrition, or my more focused approach to it, stems from how much nutritional misinformation my ex-wife had to navigate when she had her own medical emergency. We had numerous people telling us conflicting advice about how to manage the sickness through nutrition, but their advice constantly contradicted what the agency's nutritionist told us. All the mixed messaging highlighted just how contentious food nutrition is as a field.
There's also the matter of opportunism. Food nutrition is one thing, but people's desire to capitalize on the market for diet fads and whatnot. I get suspicious of anything with corporate backing, anything where somebody can capitalize on those who are seeking a solution.
If the Globe and Mail summary is to be believed, the new Canada Food Guide breaks from the recommendations of the meat an milk lobbies and instead tries to focus on science. Leslie Beck, the author of the article embedded above, writes,
Health Canada has committed to stay on top of the evidence to ensure that our food guidance is continually relevant. We shouldn’t have to wait another 12 years for an update.
So far, this ain't really true:
Dating after 30 is easy
As much as my freewheeling artsy side likes the drama in this epigram, I just don't see it. Why? Because by the time you've reached 30 or so, hopefully you generally know who you are. Your values are set; your boundaries are clear.
The only way to be riding around on a firey bike in a firey world is to be dating firey people who are on fire. And most post-30-on-the-market-people aren't on fire. Or else they might not have made it to 30. Or they've given up on dating in the first place.
And again, from another source,
I don't think there's much to say about it. All I can say is that these reports completely back up the conclusions I've made for myself. Analytics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even my own web hosting platform Weebly, mean next to nothing. You sign up, you get a bunch of numbers, but does that mean real people have engaged? Nuh-uh.
Just because the Internet gives you a number about you doesn't mean that number means anything.
Just becaue you've seen it on the Internet doesn't mean it's true, even if it's a number about you.
This article annoys me.
The article is an obscenely easy and predictable read. In response to Rashida Tlaib's and subsequently Kim Campbell's use of the word "motherf**ker" on Twitter in reference to Donald Trump, Ambrosino calls for decency and civility on the grounds that we will be more "kind" as a result. And to a point, I agree.
But the article hinges on a false equivalency that makes the premise irrelevant.
I think it's clearest when Ambrosino flippantly writes,
Others have thrown their support behind using the foul language, on the grounds that the President himself has destroyed any sense of decorum in U.S. politics – and therefore anything goes, linguistically speaking.
The general thrust of his argument is in that "therefore anything goes" phrase. This simply isn't the case. Just because Trump has called Mexican immigrants "rapists" doesn't mean others have taken it up; we don't hear politicians use words like "motherfucker" and "pussy" on a regular basis; we don't see politicians creating pithy, abusive nick-names for their opponents. Clearly, linguistic decency still stands tall in politics; Trump is still very much the exception to the rule.
When Ambrosino equates the use of "motherfucker" to "Trumpian," he misidentifies the problem with Trump's language use in general: its vagueness. Trump's language is consistently unclear. Frustratingly unclear. Obscenely unclear. Trumpian language, crude or not, hinges on its casual, childish, mushiness. If he can choose a more simple word, he will. If that word is a crude or rude word, he'll choose that.
This video does a good job of explaining "Trumpian" language.
Some people use crude language with precision. Trump does not. In this context, the word "motherfucker" is not the problem. Don't give Trump that much credit.
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