A high school, Planned Parenthood, and anti-intellectualism: how students taught some grown-ups about censorship

A few years ago, some students at Ponte Vedra High School had an idea. Let’s host a beauty pageant for guys, they thought. Sort of a spoof, but just for fun. And we’ll charge people to come see it, and we’ll give the money to charity. The annual Mr. FINtastic contest was born (Go Sharks!), and it has been a smashing success. This year’s winner is PV High senior Matt Gibson, an affable guy with a mop of curly brown hair and anRead more

MLK Day, and keeping our eyes wide open

My teen girl, Scout, is reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for school. At first, she moaned every time she had to read a new chapter. “I hate this book,” she said repeatedly. “It’s so, so bad.” So I held an intervention. A Long Way Gone is the memoir of a young boy in the Sierra Leone who was driven from his home and forcibly conscripted into a rebel army, where he witnessed –Read more

Feminist. Should you be one? It’s so hard to decide.

The decision about whether to be a feminist is a hard one. Young women today have it tough. Lots of them are happily dating men, and are understandably nervous about becoming a feminist because it automatically requires being a lesbian. I’m a problem-solver by nature, and I hate to think of these hot young things struggling with this decision. So I, a proud feminist who wears Birkenstocks, have written a guide to help women process their feelings. Here are someRead more

Trump, Putin, and the fake ADOPTION news

If I had never seen a photo of Don Trump, Jr. posing with a South African buffalo he had just shot, I might feel a tiny bit sorry for him. There he was, just going about his life as the father of five and a billionaire, when he was thrown into his father’s bombastic presidential campaign. And in an effort to make his dad proud, he agreed last July to meet with a Russian government lawyer and several other pro-RussianRead more

Worms and workouts. Memorial Day redux, again.

The day before the last day of school last week brought a terrible thunderstorm to Northeast Florida. The rain poured down in sheets and wind ripped through the trees like a buzz saw. But the next morning was clear and cool as the Tyrant and I walked to the bus stop for her last few hours as a fourth-grader. We had our eyes down because she likes to look for doodlebugs. Or roly polys, or the latin word armadillidiidae, whatever you callRead more

Dear Savvy Sister: What to do about Post-Traumatic Election Disorder?

Dear Savvy Sister, What the hell do I do with my sense of anger and despair? This is unprecedented. Sincerely, Bereft Dear Bereft and scores of other generous readers, What to do, what to do. On occasion, the Savvy Sister feels as despondent as her readers, and this is one of those occasions. The idea of a President Trump defies believability; we have elected a leader who has no experience, no knowledge of government, and a devolved moral code. AndRead more

A high school fails its own civics lesson, and free speech takes a hit.

Last week, my daughter’s high school hosted a “Club Fair” at lunch so students could see a display of all the school’s clubs and decide which ones to join. The Diva saw a Young Republicans Club, so BECAUSE BOOM, SHE’S MY KID, she looked around for a Young Democrats club. There wasn’t one. She came home and told me, and I was all, for the love of Harry S. Truman, how typical of a high school located in this corner of St. JohnsRead more

#BlackLivesMatter to me. Here’s why.

This is hard. I’ve told you before that growing up in the 1970s, I attended an all-girls private Catholic school in uptown New Orleans. There were 52 girls in our class; three of them were black. No one was outwardly mean to the black girls, but neither were they our friends outside of school. The majority of these classmates were a bastion of privilege and exclusivity; I desperately wanted to be like them. I was privileged, for sure – but I didn’tRead more

Dear Savvy Sister: How do I deal with transgender-phobics?

Dear Savvy Sister, I’m totally with you on the transgender bathroom thing – ridiculous. My cousin’s wife and another cousin’s fiancee (both conservative and religious) have been very vocal on social media against Target and I was getting more and more pissed about it – especially since the fiancee’s future sister-in-law is in a 30-year lesbian relationship (now finally, a legal marriage) and is so masculine that some people might think she’s transgender. SOOOO irritating!!!! Anyway, the other one, the wife, reallyRead more

Me, in trouble with Homeland Security. REALLY.

I am in so much trouble. I have an actual case number with the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY and could be disqualified from the TSA PreChecked Screening program for committing an actual crime. I’m serious. I’m more badass than I ever imagined. For true. Here’s what happened: last summer – on June 26, 2015, according to official Transportation Security Administration records – the Tricia Booker family went to the airport to catch a flight to Boston. You may remember this tripRead more