You're right. Trevor Dougherty, the UNC-Chapel Hill student who is protesting a local bar's policy of letting women in for a lower price than men could indeed find something more important against which to rally the troops.
Here's a question, though: Why should he?
Dougherty - a deejay, journalist, activist and producer - is carrying on the tradition of young people getting upset over things we oldheads consider trivial.
Dougherty, a 22-year-old senior, recently led a silent protest outside the Deep End bar over its policy of letting women in for a reduced cover charge on "Country Night."
When I ran for student government president in college, my campaign pledges consisted of promising to find out what was in that mystery meat they served in the cafeteria on Wednesdays and having open visitation - meaning guys could visit girls in their dorm rooms until midnight.
In the midst of my fiery, Huey Long-like rant on the Quad demanding the right to visit girls in their dorm rooms, several dudes shouted, "We already do that."
Oh. Turned out I was the only one on campus who wasn't visiting a girl in her dorm room.
'Commodified and objectified'
Explaining his opposition and the silent protest on the Huffington Post website, Dougherty said, "Men pay more, women pay less and in that way, women are commodified and objectified and this whole culture of mistreatment continues. ... So we were standing up against this policy of reduced cover, reduced admission because it gives economic incentive to women to go, and it puts economic pressure on men to pay for everything. It just continues this patriarchal culture, and it's unacceptable."
Dougherty calls it discrimination. Some people call it good marketing.
Dougherty argues that such inducements use women as "bait. ... It just becomes clear that young women are the incentive."
No one can argue that point, or his contention that "the culture needs to shift" in the way women are treated on campus. President Obama recently named a federal task force to come up with proposals for ending the increasingly reported number of sexual assaults against women on college campuses.
Howard McDonald, owner of Deep End, said he doesn't necessarily charge women less - he just charges men who are under age 21 more.
That's because under-21 men are those that he tends to have the most trouble with, McDonald said. And it figures if they have a financial stake in their admittance, they're more likely to behave.
'Hold onto 16'
Regardless of how one feels about Ladies Night or Dougherty's objections to it, we ought to at least laud his desire to fight a popular policy and to articulately state his reasons for doing so.
In the song "Jack & Diane," John Cougar sang "Hold onto 16 as long as you can/ Changes come along real soon to make us women and men."
Right on. Hold onto 22 as long as you can, too. Is Dougherty's campaign to end Ladies Night at bars frivolous, what one person facetiously dismissed as "a first-world problem"?
You betcha. But you know what? Dougherty and other young people will have plenty of time to confront the major problems that await them. It's a right - nay, a prerogative - for young people to become exercised over relatively trivial matters. Reality, a harsher reality, awaits each of them when they leave the leafy environs of campus.
Even those who think Dougherty's protest signifies nothing substantial will have to concede one point, though: Without a ladies night at clubs and bars, there would've been no "Ladies Night," and Kool & the Gang would have been deprived of their best song since "Funky Stuff."