By John Matonich
A number of years ago I was reading an editorial in the Detroit News that really made me think. The editorial was about a Michigan lawmaker who had gone to the movies with her husband. Evidently, she was very unhappy with the theater when the posted starting time for the movie was actually the starting time for the upcoming movie previews and some general commercials. The actual movie they wanted to see didn’t start for another 20 minutes.
When she got back to Lansing shortly thereafter, she introduced a bill that would require a movie theater to post the actual starting time of the movie and not simply when the other hoopla was to start. As I was reading the account of the problem the state lawmaker faced, I had to wonder if this was the first movie this person ever saw in their lives at a theater. Anyone who has ever shelled out the necessary ton of bucks to get a ticket could have told her that any movie was far from starting when the screen lit up.
The editorial went on to say that there must not be enough things of substance happening in our state Capitol and perhaps it was time for a part-time legislature. I am sure they were being far more facetious than serious, but it probably made some folks think. I know this idea was floated earlier this year and didn’t go over very well but I am not sure it isn’t time to really look at it once again.
I saw a post someone shared on social media from the Fox News channel that more than a dozen Michigan legislators introduced a bill in November that would prohibit fast-food restaurants from passing out gender-specific toys such as action figures or stuffed animals. These legislators claimed it limited kid’s imaginations and interests. I had to listen to the report several times to be sure it wasn’t coming from outer space.
First of all, the reality used to be when my kids were small that if you didn’t like the toy your Happy Meal contained, you could swap it for something else whether for a boy or a girl. Second of all, what exactly is a “gender-neutral” toy? I mean seriously… is it a doll in khakis, a golf shirt and medium length hair that is named “Pat”? Good grief!
Given that our state legislative term is up or soon to be up, I suspect this bill didn’t make it very far. Even with that being said, if there is so much time in Lansing to start building a case for gender-neutral free toys, I am not so sure we shouldn’t re-visit this part-time legislature idea.
An old biblical saying pointed out that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” I am not sure that is totally true, but I would hate to have to start buying Levis without a zipper in the front because it causes gender profiling or some other belief that a less than busy lawmaker cared to think up.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …