The day before yesterday I stopped by a bookstore to pick something up for work (and was pleasantly surprised to be reminded that they still exist) and was somewhat surprised to see a display of shrinky-dinks by the front entrance.
For those unfamiliar - Shrinky-Dinks are sheets of plastic that you can draw on, cut into whatever shape you want and color - and then bake in the oven, wherein the plastic shrinks, thickens, and fails to become usable jewelery.
Back in my day the sheets of plastic were blank and one could draw/color anything they damn well wanted on them, rules be damned. These days they are all pre-printed with officially licensed picture from one franchise or another because we've decided as a culture that we would hate for kids to ever be encouraged to be creative.
One of the several franchise brands available at the display was 'My Little Pony: Friendship is magic' which (as previous readers will be aware) is a subject of enjoyment by a group called 'The Bronies'- who are adult males who band together based on their mutual love of a cartoon intended for pre-teen girls.
I tried to imagine, for a moment, the kind of sack that it would require to pick up one of the My Little Pony Shrinky Dinks and - holding your head high - walk up to the register and purchase it for yourself.
And the thing is, I kind of respect that. I still think it's creepy and a little weird to be into, but I wouldn't ever stop someone for doing it. I respect the willingness to be who you are and like what you like, even if I don't, per-se, respect what you like. If that makes sense.
Which brings me to Arizona.
For those who are not among the 50% of my Facebook friends who've been discussing this non-stop, Arizona just passed a new law that allows anyone - Individual, business or government entity (yes, it specifies this) - to refuse to do business with anyone they choose if it conflicts with their 'deeply held religious beliefs'.
This is all obviously code for 'I don't want to bake a cake for gay weddings', because republicans have never been overly fond of anti-discrimination laws because at the end of the day most republicans still really, really want to be able to discriminate against anyone who's different from them.
And here's the point. There is a profound difference between not really approving of how someone else lives their lives and actively preventing them from doing so. I think that being a brony is, at the end of the day, a silly thing to do. But I wouldn't stop them from buying their shrinky-dinks (even if I thought that at the end of the day they'd be better off buying blank sheets and drawing things themselves.)
So for what it's worth - Boo Arizona. Yay Bronies. Mixed feelings on Shrinky-Dinks.