British actor Benedict Cumberbatch rightly detests cellphones and cameras being punched and flashed while he is acting. The Digital Age has long since become the Insensitive and Discourteous Age.
During his recent performance of “Hamlet” at the Barbican in London, Cumberbatch was about to deliver the “To be or not to be” soliloquy when a red light flashed from the third row.
“It’s mortifying,” he said. “There is nothing less supportable or enjoyable.”
The Barbican promptly installed devices that can detect phones and cameras during performances. Offenders will be evicted immediately.
The theater should go even further, barring cellphones and cameras. If insensitive people can’t exist for a couple of hours without the evils of modernity, they shouldn’t be allowed to spoil play going for those who can.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Democratic candidate for president, would make tuition free for all undergraduates at public universities and colleges. Righto!
The federal government could easily pay for it just by slashing military funding. Let’s have fewer wars and more social benefits.
Students and their families are going deeper into debt. The average debt after four years is $25,600. The interest rate is so exorbitant they will spend half their lives paying it off.
Larry Schwartz, in an AlterNet op-ed, wrote: “Most developed countries are appalled at the idea of burdening young people with debt for a college education and strengthening the nation. In countries like Germany, Brazil, Norway, Iceland and even Panama, public university tuition is free.”
Bogus voter fraud
The New York Times reports that “many people, including the Supreme Court, have bought into the fallacious line about voter fraud. It does not exist. The real voter fraud is the Texas ID law.
Such laws are racially discriminatory and anti-voter schemes. A federal appeals court panel recently ruled unanimously that the Texas ID law had a harmful effect on black and Latino voters and therefore violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Another example of how federal courts so often make sure everyone is granted liberty.
Climate change gains
President Obama’s clean-power plan took a bold step recently against people who reject the notion of climate change, imposing nationwide limits on carbon-dioxide pollution from power plants. These plants are the source of 31 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“It will shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and give momentum to carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar power,” the Times editorialized. “Having already set fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, Obama now has leverage with other nations heading into the United Nations climate-change conference in December in Paris.”
Opposition to clean power comes, as expected, from the industry, Congress and the states.
Pot backing grows
Obama has the “slows” when it comes to urging marijuana prohibition. Pot is classified as a Schedule I drug like heroin and LSD under the Controlled Substances Act.
The absurdity is manifest. Pot is an important medical necessity for some people. Moreover, it is no more harmful than too much alcohol. It should be removed from the prohibited list.
Four states and the District of Columbia have already made recreational use of pot legal: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Nevadans and Ohioans are expected to vote on legalization next year and Californians in 2017.
While Obama and Congress balk, a handful of states are leading the so-called leader.
Jake Highton is emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)