The PB&J Ban, Kate Middleton Topless Photos, And The End Of Respect

Opinion

 
on September 14 2012 10:29 PM

Few would say we're living in a time when people have much respect for each other. The Internet that was supposed to have ushered in an "information superhighway" has morphed into a snarky battleground and the presidential race reeks of angry versus angrier instead of being suffused by what voters need. Now, though, we're arguing about banning PB&J sandwiches and the Kate Middleton topless-photo scandal.

It's time for us all to just chill out.

Yahoo! reported a debate in Arkansas is heating up over a young student having his peanut butter and jelly sandwich confiscated because of a peanut ban in his Viola school. A teacher helped the little boy get a new lunch and wrote a note to his parents explaining that peanuts were banned in the school because of widespread nut allergies. Parents on both sides of the issue took their complaints to the "School Nut Ban Discussion" page on Facebook.

Some adults felt their kids shouldn't be denied PB&J sandwiches just because someone else could get sick because of them. One mother recommended students figure out "how to manage the problem" instead of living in a "bubble." Another wrote, "There are some autistic children that will only eat a PB&J sandwich or nothing at all."

Most of the Facebook comments have been constructive, but in grappling with what initially appears to be a black-and-white issue, both of the aforementioned moms just seem like they're missing the point. Wouldn't it be better to consider what's best for everyone?

There are other kids in the school beyond one's own child. Isn't there a more reasonable way to figure out the answer instead of sniping at each other online like a couple petulant children? Instead of focusing so much on children's safety online, more parents seem to need a lesson regarding their own maturity.

Is it really that important for little Johnny to have a peanut butter sandwich if his friend has to go to the hospital because of it?

We are talking about people -- not everyone is the idiot we so often dismiss with a stereotype after seeing a story on the news. John May, the superintendent of the school district in question, told Area Wide News the school will stick to its policy.

"The policy is in place to protect those with a severe, life-threatening problem," May said. "Until we figure out something else, it would be foolish to drop the policy."

The intense self-centeredness isn't limited to an Arkansas elementary school, believe it or not.

The story that dominated Friday's headlines was about the French magazine Closer's publication of topless photographs of Kate Middleton, aka the U.K.'s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The editor of Closer, Laurence Pieau, said she didn't see what was so controversial about her decision to run the pictures of a sunbathing Middleton. She even implied that she had done Middleton and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, a favor by not publishing even more scandalous shots of the royal couple.

What a saint Pieau is for embarrassing a young couple simply because they're famous.

"They are a young couple in love," Pieau said in a video hosted by the Guardian. "She's a woman who is topless just like the ones seen on all the beaches of France and the world. They are full of joy and not degrading."

The problem with the editor's reasoning is that Middleton is not just another girl. If she was, Closer wouldn't have published the photos -- or sent paparazzi after Kate and William to get them. Now that someone is going through mental anguish because the entire world has seen her topless, would it have killed Pieau to have a little bit of compassion?

It's hard to imagine that the money Pieau probably made off those pictures will make up for the awkward conversation her children might have in the future about what their mom did to get it.

If someone's famous, do they deserve less privacy? Some would say, "Yes, they're rich and popular so they deserve whatever happens," but that explanation probably says less about people like Middleton and more about the person trying to justify it.  

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