I can be a junk reader at times. Oh sure, I toss around novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago like they’re constantly in my hands (because they usually are), and I subscribe to more than one research database for a reason. But sometimes when I’m sitting around the house I crack open my latest edition of Fast Company or Wired magazines. This month the two magazines present two perspectives of young people today.
The first features “Teen Pleads Guilty in Rare Theater Filming Case” as the blaring title of an article posted August 21st to Wired magazine’s website. The story tells how a teen was arrested last month for filming 20 seconds of Transformers in a Virginia theater, and how he has pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully recording a motion picture in violation of state law. This 19-year-old is a college sophomore, and was arrested in Annandale, Virginia, a well-off suburb of Washington, D.C.
As the Motion Picture Academy of America continues its assault on new media and tries to avoid its death vis-a-vis the Recording Industry Association of America, it shows just how theaters target young people. Recent studies have shown the profile of the average movie pirate to be a 21-24 year-old male; yet the target of this bust was a 17-year-old female. While it appears to show an anomaly, this actually reiterates the assertions of many young people who regularly report that they are targeted by movie theaters, stores, and other businesses for their age. It also supports research that shows how laws are disproportionately enforced against youth.
The second article is simply titled “Girl Power“. Its the story of Ashley Qualls, a 17-year-old in Detroit whose young woman-focused website is making millions of dollars from advertising. It talks about the stupification of a marketer named Ian Moray, and his complete dumbfoundedness after discovering one of his leading sales websites was run by a youth. “I assumed she was a seasoned Internet professional. She knows so much about what her site does, more than people three times her age.” Its a redeeming story for these Internet-based times, and shows the particular power of programs like Generation YES, where students learn the ins-and-outs of technology by teaching it to other people. The article relates this story to the New Yorker cartoon on the below; its sad, but the only analogy that came to a seasoned jounalist was to relate Ashley to a dog.
- U.S. federal law is almost mum on discriminating against youth because of their age; there may be one important exception.
- In the UK seven-year-olds can open bank accounts and employers cannot impose a lower age limit on jobs without objective reasoning or federal law.
- WhosTheGrownUp.com is the blog of a mother and her 17-year-old daughter exploring their differing opinions about life.