Guest Column

On May 19, country singer Jason Aldean released “Try This in a Small Town,” a song from his upcoming album. The song contrasts big city violence with small town law and order: “If you’re looking for a fight, try that in a small town.” The video was even more graphic, contrasting a performance clip of Aldean singing and playing in front of the Maury County courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee with news footage of city slickers rioting, looting, and burning the American flag.

Watching politicians like Ron DeSantis ignore climate change while the nation cooks is like being trapped in the backseat of a car - windows up and locked - with a crazed driver who won’t stop smoking. Coughing falls on deaf ears. Complaining makes him chain-smoke. Explaining the science of carcinogens and lungs makes him twitch and light cigars - simultaneously.

Recently my friend Fred Fejes, professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University and an authority on Florida’s LGBTQ History (“Gay Rights and Moral Panic”), delivered a lecture titled “Queer by the Beach: The History of the Fort Lauderdale LGBT Community.”

Aging can be great fun if we’re kind to ourselves and have a good sense of humor. Frustration solves nothing. Like worry, it’s a waste of time. Also, it’s silly to compare ourselves to people who are older, younger, or the same age.

The Elon Musk-Mark Zuckerberg rivalry, entertaining as it is, dances around a crucial question: How do we reign in extremism on social media?  If it can’t be done without offending the First Amendment, how do we bracket and tag misinformation so that people are at least aware that they are being manipulated, not informed?


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