Keep your dogs off the ledge

falling dog

Dog owners should have pets on leash in urban areas

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 26, 2014

Off-leash dogs in urban areas are not only dangerous to the animal, but also to commuters and pedestrians.

Will the third canine death as a result of jumping over a three-foot-high ledge overlooking Expo Boulevard at BC Place Stadium teach dog owners to keep their pet restrained? I sincerely doubt it. As long as there are dogs, there will be defiant dog owners who believe their “well-trained” animal will never do anything stupid like run into traffic, jump on a child, or—God forbid ever again—leap over a barrier and fall 25 feet.

Now, some can blame the infrastructure for being dangerous, but the area around BC Place Stadium is not an off-leash area and the barrier clearly states that there is a steep drop below. Granted, the dog probably couldn’t read the sign. Now it’s not my intention to sound insensitive, but there is nobody to blame except the owner. Sorry. Learn from the mistake and keep your dog on its leash, especially in urban areas.

Dogs are naturally curious, energetic animals. They are also unpredictable. Dogs have jumped in front of my vehicle more than once while I was driving, causing me to brake hard, narrowly avoiding killing it. The owners run out onto the road, grab the dog, and yank it back onto the sidewalk. They wave, smile apologetically, and I drive off with a sinking feeling in my stomach. When I get upset at pet owners for not keeping their dog on leash, they regard me as someone who hates animals. I don’t hate animals; I’m not a pet person, but I don’t hate animals.

Should an off-leash animal get injured or killed in a public area, it’s not the infrastructure’s fault and it’s not an unfortunate bystander’s fault. It’s the pet owner’s fault. I would hate to kill someone’s pet. Nobody wakes up in the morning and anticipates killing someone’s best friend, but that is what happens when stubborn, lazy owners are negligent. In the States, cars kill approximately one million dogs every year.

Refusing to keep your dog on a leash in public areas is as bad as feeding the animal chocolate. And even though BC Place has agreed to take actions to prevent future incidents involving the dangerous ledge, the real change in thinking needs to be communicated to pet owners. It doesn’t matter how much your dog deserves freedom. For its own safety it should be restrained.

Stop your dog from running into traffic, stop your dog from attacking other dogs, stop your dog from bugging pedestrians—not everybody likes dogs—and finally, stop your dog from running rampant and endangering itself and other people.

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Off the Depp end

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Why sobriety and award shows suck

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 26, 2014

The viral video of Johnny Depp slurring his words and swaying on stage at the Hollywood Film Awards reminded me that the only reason we care for award shows—i.e., other people’s success—is when in the process of acknowledging their success they embarrass themselves.

When I was younger, I would admire the prestige of award shows. Now that I’m old enough to live vicariously, I barely have time to acknowledge my friends’ successes through Facebook, let alone watch an award show for people I haven’t even heard of. Most often I hear about these events afterward when something controversial happens like Miley Cyrus dancing or John Travolta reading poorly. Depp’s intoxicated spiel reminded me that award shows are the perfect environment, not to celebrate the accomplishments of those who are “better” than us, but to ridicule them openly.

The culture of raising someone high and then throwing them down is one that Hollywood does best; it’s tradition and it’s sacred. Award shows of all calibers are jokes. True, once in a while someone deserving wins and it’s super inspiring, but those moments are rare. There is nothing inspiring about watching some actors read the teleprompter or some show-biz folk read a list of names to thank. That’s not impressive. Watching Depp flub his way through an introduction isn’t impressive either, but it is entertaining.

I propose a change: we should stop treating award shows as these hoity-toity variety shows, but instead make it an all-round party—a Big Brother-style show that follows the nominees, presenters, honourees, and attendees throughout the night as they mingle, drink, win, and/or lose. They can dress up if they want to in fancy who-you-wearing garments or they can wear whatever they wore while rolling out of their limo-bed. I don’t want to see celebrities sitting and smiling politely. I want to see them getting into arguments, I want them trying to impress others, I want to see them sweat during awkward silences. Yes, I pretty much want them to go through the social experience we all have when we attend parties and networking events, but I want it televised. Get them drunk and get them talking; let the viewers join the party. Fuck the ceremony!

Wouldn’t it be great to see Depp drinking and chatting up Matt Damon or Cuba Gooding Jr. before walking on stage to embarrass himself? Think of the 100 other things that happen in an award show that go unnoticed just because they didn’t happen on stage. There are so many opportunities to acknowledge that celebrities and rich successful people are just like us: one drink away from doing something stupid.

Winners get their trophies and viewers get what they want: celebrities in a glass box. We are going to do it anyways, so instead of focussing in on just one troubled actor, why not focus on them all. If we are going to laugh at one, why not laugh at all of them? What’s the worst that could happen—we empathize with entertainers a little bit more?

Pizza Hut’s avant garde menu will top it off

Construct your own meal is the future of dining

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By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published The Other Press. November 17, 2014

There was a time when I was rewarded for my minor accomplishments with a trip to Pizza Hut. My parents would gather my good company together to enjoy an evening at a restaurant that served primarily pizza. Today, the dine-in culture of pizza is gone. Cheap and convenient pizza joints such as Fresh Slice, Megabite Pizza, and Pizza Garden have multiplied over the years, lowering the margin for big-name pizza franchises.

On November 19, Pizza Hut will do what their low-key counterparts have been doing since their inception by offering a diverse new menu. One appealing factor of the smaller pizza places is their ability to improvise. A customer can look through the sneeze guard and see the variety—that’s the demand. And with a declining market of dine-in customers, Pizza Hut will have to do more than pepperoni and meat lover.

Pizza Hut’s new menu will offer innovative flavours including Sweet Sriracha Dynamite, Buffalo State of Mind, Old-Fashioned Meat Brawl, and more. Offering specialty dishes is nothing new in the restaurant industry and many culinary innovators are using traditional food as a blank canvas, creating what some are calling “frankenfood.”

Sushi restaurants, especially in Vancouver, have been some of the most adventurous eateries in the world. Almost every sushi menu has a page dedicated to specialty sushi, some exclusive to the restaurant. Having unique dishes allows the company to drive up the price, and if the dish attracts a cult following, then in a way, the business will never die.

Pizza, like sushi, comes with a plethora of flavours, and customers now have an acquired taste within the food genre. It’s more than being daring. Anybody who had tasted the poutine pizza could tell you that; it’s about giving the market what they want. People are sick of the pepperoni pizzas and the California rolls. Competition in the food and beverage industry is a battle, and more menu options is the key to victory.

Pizza Hut was once a “high class” pizza restaurant, but it can no longer survive with that persona. The public has become acclimatized to the quick-serve pizza joints and place customer service at the bottom of their pizza experience needs. They can eat pizza off a plate or they can eat it while sitting on the curb, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the taste.

Premium dishes with unique ingredient combinations make eating fun. And with so many dining choices around the block, executives need to find ways to separate their menu from others’. When people consider ordering pizza they often don’t have a preference; whichever delivers fastest, whichever is closest, and whichever has the best recipes will win the pizza war in the end.

Pizza Hut’s new initiative is far from revolutionary, but it’s necessary. And for other failing food chains in the red, Pizza Hut’s renaissance should act as an inspiration.

Top players should not have ‘Jackass’ injuries

Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Prospect Connor McDavid’s injury proves that some players shouldn’t fight

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 17, 2014

Emotions run high in a game of hockey, but when a valuable player goes down for an asinine play such as a meaningless fight, the team pays the price.

In the wake of Erie Otters’ star player, Connor McDavid’s hand injury—received in a fight against Bryson Cianfrone of the Mississauga Steelheads—the hockey community is once against putting the topic of fighting on the discussion table. The debate is not whether fighting is good or bad for the sport, but why do star players continue to risk injuries fighting? In McDavid’s defence, he is 17 years old and probably felt invincible. How could he not? He is touted as the most promising prospect since Sidney Crosby.

No doubt missing five to six weeks out of such a defining year in his career will leave him regretting his decision, perhaps leading him to think twice before dropping his gloves again.

It seems as though every year a top player gets injured. Last year, Steven Stamkos went out with a freak leg injury after crashing into the opposition’s net, and this year Taylor Hall is missing games due to a similar incident. John Tavares missed a portion of last season as well after a hit during the Sochi Olympics. And this year we already saw the absence of top forwards, including Zach Parise, Mike Cammalleri, T.J. Oshie, and Radim Vrbata. Injuries happen all the time and rarely does skill level factor in. Many would say that injuries in hockey are unavoidable.

Nevertheless, fights are always avoidable, especially if it involves an elite player like McDavid. The cause of the fight was because Cianfrone had allegedly slashed McDavid numerous times during the game, and out of frustration, the top prospect took matters into his own hands—thus injuring it. Hockey teams need to protect their star players. It doesn’t matter which league they’re in. If they want to win, they’ll need their best players.

Remember the overall effect of losing Crosby to a concussion? Fans want to see the grittiness of the game, but they also want to see the skills of the elite players. And any player that suffered an initial injury would tell you that the game never feels the same afterward; there is an instinctual need to be careful and stay safe.

For McDavid to injure himself in junior may not impact his draft standing, but in a sport where high impact is part of the game, he probably doesn’t want the label of damaged goods before his is selected either.

There will always be a target on the backs of the best players, and it’s up to the rest of the team to protect their top assets. There was a reason why Wayne Gretzky avoided fisticuffs at all cost. He didn’t need to fight; he had a big guy like Marty McSorley to protect him. The reason why there is still a place for enforcers in the game is because top players shouldn’t get injured fighting. As long as fighting remains, which in my opinion it should, then enforcers need to defend their goal scorers.

Sure, it was McDavid’s fault for getting into the fight and hurting himself, but the player who should feel the worst is the guy on the team assigned to protect him.

BC Ferries strong arm commuters with sea-leg proposals

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Why empty threats will not save money

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 17, 2014

The problem BC Ferries faces is a common one: many transportation enterprises have been known to lose money. But the way they are handling it is classless, knowing that they have a monopoly. Commuters traveling to and from the island do not have another alternative, and to act as though keeping the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo route, one of the most popular routes for BC Ferries, is doing the public a great favour, well that is as if BC Hydro decided to turn off the power in the middle of the night to save money, since well, nobody needs electricity while they sleep, right?

BC Ferries’ clever tactic was to present a whole bunch of despicable proposals. Then, when everybody got pissed enough, they gave us an indisputable alternative: fare increase. Wow, didn’t see that coming. Thanks.

In a viral open letter to BC Ferries posted on Facebook, Campbell River resident Sean Smith explains his frustration claiming that he doesn’t understand why BC Ferries is presenting itself as some sort of luxury cruise ship, embarking on an exotic destination. BC Ferries at its best is a vessel for a weekend getaway, and for most people who use it, it’s an overpriced Sea Bus. Smith goes on to say that the vessel does not need a fancy restaurant, it does not need a marketing department, and it does not need bold advertisements in Rogers Arena. We don’t see ads in public areas telling us to ride the bus do we? What BC Ferries needs to do is get off its high horse and act accordingly.

The government doesn’t want to pay for the ferries anymore and for many who live on the island that is just ridiculous since many of the island taxpayers support infrastructure in the Lower Mainland, and the demand to cross the strait is as high as ever. Someone at some point in the office of BC’s Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry messed up. But it doesn’t seem as though the government is trying to fix the problem; rather, they are subtly adjusting it, turning our attention in another direction. Maybe this whole business is just to distract us while Enbridge takes over. Conspiracy alert!

What we need now is a private organization to stand up and see the opportunity. There is a lot of growth on Vancouver Island, a region in our province larger than many island nations in the world, and connecting it with the rest of the country can only be seen as a benefit. After all, there is a bridge linking Prince Edward Island, a landmass less than half the size of Vancouver Island with approximately six times fewer people, to the mainland.

The solution is right in front of our eyes but for many who make the choices, it’s too big of a commitment. By having the BC Ferries as a scapegoat, the public will have something consistent to complain about. There will always be problems for the government; why not centralize it? Why not foreshadow the worst and act as though they have saved the day by doing nothing except raising the price? Nice trick. Now do your job.

Anti-Theft Devices: Are They Worth the Money?

Posted by  | October 09, 2014 |
Originally Published on Unhaggle.com 
Anti-Theft Devices: Are They Worth the Money?

Anti-theft devices exist in many forms to combat the variety of car thieves out there. From high-tech GPS-based tracking systems to low-tech steering-wheel locking mechanisms, anti-theft devices are car owner’s last line of defence in unfamiliar parkades and dimly-lit streets.

Here are some good news and bad news. Bad news: according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Canadians spend approximately $1 billion each year due to stolen automobiles. Good news: from 2011 to 2012, 4,500 fewer vehicles were stolen, which adds up to a vehicle theft decrease of 57% in the past decade.

What does this all mean for car owners? It seems that although there is a clear decline in car theft, there is still a lucrative market out there that thrives on stolen car parts, which is why anti-theft devices are still needed. But, are they worth the price and inconvenience?

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide whether your vehicle requires any anti-theft devices:

Pro: Technology Has Improved

Car alarms used to have this spastic siren that both alerts and annoys the user. A gentle bump can be misconstrued as a code-red breach and everyone in the neighbourhood would know about it. That is no longer the case. The latest car alarm innovations include multistage electronics that work with shock sensors to gage whether the nudge was accidental or intentional.

In addition, new inaudible alert applications can be downloaded to car owners’ smartphones. If someone is breaking into your vehicle or a shopping cart crashed into it at the store, you’ll know right away via Push Notification.

Con: Thieves Have Improved As Well

Hoodlums are afraid of car alarms, professional thieves aren’t. Many anti-theft devices are built to stump the amateur, but present little resistance against the experienced.

Alarms alert and immobilizers slow down the thief, but other than that, they really don’t do much. It goes to show that devices are just the most basic form of prevention.

Pro: It Only Needs To Work Once

Although anti-theft devices can cost thousands of dollars, they only need to work once to pay off. If you only have liability coverage with your insurance company, the most you can get is the vehicle’s reimbursed market value if it is not found or cost of repairs if the vehicle is found, but in poor condition and under a certain amount of days.

In a quick comparison, you’ll see that a security device is a cheaper solution than a long-term comprehensive auto insurance plan.

Con: Nothing Beats Common Sense

Often you don’t need security at all, because common sense might do just fine. Some car owners can’t even tell you what anti-theft features are out on the market, because they don’t need to. Instead, they use their best judgement when they park their car.

Car theft is most common in urban areas, and older vehicles are much easier to be broken into and disassembled for parts. By being aware of your surroundings and concealing valuable items within, you are already doing a part in preventing theft.

Pro: Security Features May Lower Your Premium

That said, having additional anti-theft features may qualify your vehicle for a discount when purchasing insurance. Statistically speaking, cars with security features are less likely to be broken into and stolen, so many insurance companies will offer a lower premium for that very reason.

Most Common Anti-Theft Devices

Additional devices for your vehicle may be a costly endeavor, but in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons, and I believe that it is better to have one than not. What is that old childhood adage? Better safe than sorry.

Here are a few common security features you should consider:

Steering-wheel lock ($25 – $100): Commonly known as clubs, steering-wheel locks are very common and do a decent job immobilizing the vehicle, while also limiting its manoeuvrability. However, it is not foolproof, and professional car thieves will not be foiled by it.

Alarm system ($40 – $1,400): Always useful in getting attention, but not always useful in getting help. If a car alarm doesn’t scare away the thieves immediately, there is little struggle presented after.

Kill switch ($10 – $125): Although some cars don’t allow for a kill switch, it is still an effective system for shutting down the engine, which leaves thieves stranded in a stolen vehicle. In order for the kill switch to work, it must be concealed or the thief might disable it.

GPS-based vehicle tracking system ($500-$1000): Tracking systems don’t exactly stop criminals from stealing your vehicle, but they do offer a 90-per-cent return rate by working with your local law enforcers.

Productivity beats positive thinking

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Relaxing and stressing won’t get the job done

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 11, 2014

When you’re stressed, you relax. Although it’s good to wind down after a long day, relaxing when a job or assignment is unfinished may actually cause more long-term stress.

The thin line between rewarding yourself and procrastinating is a harmful illusion we create for ourselves that may be stalling our overall progress in our professions and academics.

If you have a project due next week, you’d probably wait until the last possible moment to finish it like a normal person. Because of this, the project will remain in the back of your head throughout the week, occupying a stressful part of your brain. Then, after a given day of procrastination and concerning yourself with other activities, you’d want to relax; however, to do that you’d have to consciously avoid the idea of that very project. In doing so, you’ll end up thinking of it, hence the paradox of stress.

By avoiding the work assigned to you, you create unnecessary stress virtually out of thin air. If you were to finish the work as soon as possible, you’d instantly feel a relief incomparable to the “relaxation” you would have while procrastinating. Although you’d have the instant gratification of doing something enjoyable, your mind will be restless, knowing that there is something left unaccomplished.

Anxiety and stress cannot be tamed; they must be conquered. You’ll never be more ready to face your challenge than this moment right now, no matter how daunting it seems. If you have a big project, start it now—little steps will act as encouragement and motivation going forward. If you applied for a job, don’t simply sit back and play the waiting game: apply for another. By having more eggs in more baskets, your anxiety and stress will dampen should disappointment arise. If you have someone you want to ask out on a date, don’t strategize and stress over “what if” questions; just go, ask, and see what happens.

Stress is the natural response to the dangers of the world. It’s our animal instinct warning us that there are elements out there that will kill us. But that is not true in this day and age, where the things that stress us out are trivial rather than life threatening. Yet, we still feel that if we fail to do something we’ll be ripped apart, eaten alive. Once we are able to recognize that the threats are all in our head, we can sit down, work, or relax without the intrusion of stress.

People with frequent anxiety attacks hate the fact that people like me belittle their impairment, but I’m disappointed in the way they magnify the task at hand. They believe that by relaxing, avoiding the work, and sitting back, they will be better off in the end. That’s not true. Stress must be eliminated like rotting food. You clean the kitchen if it stinks wouldn’t you? The same goes with stress.

All you need is love?

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There will never be a good McDonald’s slogan

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 11, 2014

Dear McDonald’s advertising team: no word combination or phrase will ever make your company more appealing. You can use the word “love” over and over again, but you don’t need to convince us that you love anything. Just keep churning out your delicious mutated meals and you’ll be just fine.

In 2003, McDonald’s unveiled its “I’m lovin’ it” campaign with vocals by Justin Timberlake. Over a decade later the jingle still resonates—it’s brilliant; it’s so incredibly stupid. I have not met a person who genuinely “loves” the slogan. It just existed to cause us to cringe a little bit, more so than tasting the watered-down 7-Up from a malfunctioning soda fountain.

Then in 2008, McDonald’s dared to change people’s opinion of their food by introducing a new slogan: “What we’re made of.” With no cameo from any boy band members, the lacklustre campaign fizzled out and appeared only on packaging and promotional items.

Now, 11 years since we heard the “ba-da-ba-ba-da!” brain-branding tune, rumours heard through the Internet grapevine suggest that the behemoth fast-food chain will be introducing its new slogan for 2015. At this moment, the possible slogan appears to be rather “lovin’ beats hatin’” or “lovin’ is greater than hatin’.” And a synchronized groan can be heard from the 99-billion customers served.

I hope dearly that both those options are in fact just jokes, because the last thing I want McDonald’s to do is remind me of what I hate and what I love while eating shitty food. Like an unhealthy relationship, McDonald’s is lying to me. Please, McDonald’s advertising team, if you are throwing the slogan online to gauge the public’s reaction, note that it sucks. Don’t put us through 10-plus years of “lovin’ beats hatin’”—it’s not even clever.

Will I stop going to McDonald’s because of its crappy slogan? No, but it upsets me that there is a department of people up in the Micky D’s ivory tower, making such a dumb decision and that this is what McDonald’s is focussed on at the moment to earn customers’ love and loyalty.

A slogan means nothing, and there will never be one that will inspire me to go and eat McDonald’s. However, McDonald’s does many things well: the Monopoly promotion is one of the most successful “golden ticket” marketing campaigns of all time and the kid toys are another brilliant payoff for feeding our youths unwholesome food.

It upsets me when I see McDonald’s try to appeal to an audience that will never be converted. Stop trying to prove yourself to the health freaks and the haters. There is a devoted and large demographic out there that will never stop going to McDonald’s or other fast-food chains. For many, we have committed to this lifestyle of heart attacks, obesity, and diabetes and we are no more or less unhappy for it. We are fine, we are living our lives, we are just trying to find contentment, and we are the people you should care about.

So, if the advertising team is reading this, understand that whatever slogan you end up agreeing on, we’ll always hate it. Don’t waste your time and money with such a pointless initiative. Instead, do what you are already doing, treat us better, and stop lying to us. Because to me, McDonald’s beats nothin‘. It’s the Taylor Swift of nourishment—shake it off.

The right to die

Opinions_Assisted Suicide Brittany Maynard

An ovation for those who bow out with grace and dignity

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 11, 2014

Brittany Maynard—a 29-year-old who was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour—decided to travel from California to Oregon where assisted suicide was legal, so she could “die with dignity.” After the events, we were all left wondering about the ethical repercussion of such actions.

We must understand that Maynard did not wish to die in this manner. She did not want such a disease, none of us do. Once the likelihood of a cure is dismissed, the only thing left is for the cancer to take over, which would then be followed by a long, lingering death because of Maynard’s youth. None of us want a long torturous death either. To make such an irreversible decision is not something we can take lightly, but that choice should nevertheless be offered.

Sometimes life is worse than death—at least some of us living think it is—and although there are optimists out there that believe in miracles, what would have likely happened if Maynard stayed alive is that her pain would have been extended, she would become a burden to her family, and she would have withered away slowly. She did not take the cowardly way out. She was brave enough to understand that her vessel on this world had failed her.

Assisted suicide, unlike euthanasia, is a last resort that should not be withheld from those wishing to die with grace—although I am not necessarily convinced that there is ever grace in dying. Natural death, incidental death, or spontaneous death all lead to the same conclusion. For most of us, we cannot predict how we are going to pass.

We get greedy with life the older and sicker we get. We want one more sunrise, one more adventure, and one more story to tell. Maynard got that last day. She knew exactly when it was, on November 1.

What would you do with your last week on Earth? Maynard went out into nature, celebrated her husband’s birthday, and spent her last weeks and days with the people she loved. We can only be so lucky to have that experience ourselves, assisted suicide or not.

I both love and hate thinking of death. I love where my imagination goes, the curiosity that fuels me, that tempts me. But I hate knowing that my whimsy isn’t something fabricated, it’s the inevitable. I contemplate my ideal death, and I cannot imagine one. As someone who is healthy and happy, I cannot consider my own death without thinking of those around me. It’s unfair for me to think about my demise; it’s selfish. For those of use who are healthy and living, we cannot judge someone for the way they want to go, we can only offer them assistance, guidance, love, and options.

Not that kind of role model

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Lena Dunham’s questionable childhood shines a light on dark area of parenting

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 11, 2014

The awkward years of adolescence—we’ve all been there. For many of us it’s an aspect of our life we don’t revisit often. We tend to bottle up our past, repress memories, and avoid conversations where we open up about those “innocent” isolated incidents. We do this because as an adult it’s hard to say that those behaviours were in fact innocent. The fine line between curious sexual discovery and negligent abuse is a problem that recently surfaced in social media discourse.

I’m of course drawing connection to the events described in Lena Dunham’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl where she confessed to bribing her sister Grace with candy for kisses, in addition to having her sister expose herself. In one incident, Lena was a seven-year-old; Grace was one-year-old. Lena jokingly described herself as a sexual predator, and that statement ultimately caused a backlash. Judgment rained down from Twitter, and the Dunham sisters’ parents took the brunt of it.

Although Lena’s behaviour may seem repulsive to some, the Dunham sisters stood by each other, instead turning their story of incestuous behaviour to awareness for parents.

Policing young children’s sexually driven activities is not a simple task, and for many parents, they bypass the optional birds-and-the-bees lecture all together. Without guidance, children may find themselves in situations that might leave permanent scars. One could argue that the Dunham sisters have turned out fine, but because it’s such a taboo subject, there are probably countless cases out in the world that go unspoken, and many more occurrences go unseen.

A child’s actions will always be a reflection of the parents. The relationship between siblings, especially those with a significant age-gap like Lena and Grace, has been shown to be one where the older child has dominance over the younger. This case requires the parents to be in constant conversation with their children. Parents need to educate the elder and assess the younger. They need to encourage curiosity, yet set strict boundaries. Still, another element causes unease: how young should children be educated about sex?

Once children start interacting with other kids in a physical manner, be it violent or sexual, then a conversation needs to take place. Few parents will have the resources to supervise a child for long periods of time, and a lack of trust can become detrimental for both parents and children. When children are forced to interact, parents must explain what is appropriate and what is not. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sibling or if it’s a schoolmate, violating personal space through coercive or manipulative means is never appropriate.

It’s incredibly bold of the Dunham sisters to be open about such a sensitive experience in their personal lives. It was a shame to see so many people approach them and their parents with scorn. Who of us can say that we didn’t perform a questionable act in our youth, regrettable or not? And can a parent out in the world really say that they know exactly what to do in such a situation? There is no clear procedure to parenting; it’s trial and error. But with so many educational resources out in the world, there is no reason for any aspect to be brushed off.