It says something about Utah and its wonky liquor laws that even followers of radio station X96 believed the absurd. X96’s Corey O’Brien did a bit of, ahem, satire that went like this: “In a bold move, after stating Snowbird’s Oktoberfest celebration may not receive a permit to serve beer or wine, USLA or Utah State Liquor Authority representative, Mr. Behr Mehbrow, said the state may begin … looking into issuing permits for people who plan on having more than one person as a guest in their private residence while serving alcohol.” A few of the comments illustrated just how people will believe almost anything these days.
And speaking of absurdity, O’Brien added this: “It is a serious problem when ordinary citizens can’t celebrate in their own homes without the government stepping in. What’s next? Photoshopping slacks and sleeves onto the Jazz Bear?” That referred to the now-explosive decision by Wasatch High School to Photoshop over “inappropriate” attire on certain girls. Not so for the boys, although we know their appropriate attire would be a white shirt and tie. On Facebook, Holly Mullen of the Rape Recovery Center has been giving Wasatch hell for promoting rape culture in Utah, and Photoshopped images of high-school girls in burkas have been making the rounds. The controversy has gone viral, making news in Cosmopolitan, The Guardian and more. It’s a racket, says Amanda Marcotte of RH Reality Check, in which “women are kept insecure and afraid, making them easier to control and dominate.”
If you’re in a positive mood, there may be a bright side to all of these issues, and the Davis County school board is a good place to start. Board member David Lovato filed a federal civil-rights complaint alleging discrimination in hiring and opportunities for minority, non-LDS, female and disabled employees. The district, in a response to the Standard-Examiner, said they’re just looking for the best teachers they can find. This is doubtless what they think. But the LDS culture is so pervasive in Utah that it’s often difficult to separate bias from the comfort of conformity. LDS values permeate the liquor laws and high school dress codes, as well. Maybe Lovato’s complaint will bring some recognition of this systemic bias.