Guest post: Very Naturopathy


A guest post by SpokesGay.

Socializing as a liberal in Vermont is sometimes difficult, and for non-obvious reasons. Last night was a potluck at Neighbor’s house. About 20 people. The kitchen was, as usual, filled with people eating and drinking, the table overflowing with food. Crowded and convivial.

“Mommy” is one of the social circle. She has two children and a third on the way in about a month. She believes the physical travails of pregnancy—including her difficulty having an orgasm with Daddy in her third trimester—make up the most compelling cocktail chatter. “Maybe that’s the secret to not having another late baby,” she mused in a recliner with a can of sparkling water infused with 100% all-natural essential berry-ness. “If I can orgasm enough in the last few months maybe that will get things moving.”

Most of her maladies, you see, are due to how long it took her to figure out Western Medicine didn’t Know Everything. Here are some excerpts from her conversation with neighbor’s housemate:

Mommy: “I can’t believe I just tried coconut oil—it’s so much better for my rash. Sure, the hydrocortisone makes it go away, but it also makes it come back—it’s treating the symptom, not the problem. Although I am having a hard time determining the dosage of coconut oil.”

Housemate: “You should probably dilute it. The body works better when it absorbs trace amounts of ingredients. Your system is just overwhelmed. I’ve been doing this with tea tree oil. . blah. blah. . blah.”

Mommy: “Oh, my doctor is a naturopathic doctor and she recommended the same thing. She’s so great, so non-judgmental.”

Mommy’s second-most-scintillating topic is Her Children. “Higgins” and “Agatha” (not their names, but so that type of name) come to every party, every event. They are 7 and 8. The family travels with a portable toy store to keep them busy. Reasonable enough, sure. But these children are indulged.

They are sullen unless they know you. They’re not shy, or awkward. They have no vocabulary deficiencies. They’re voluble with all the “aunts and uncles” that make up our circle. But they will stare straight at me with a Village of the Damned look and walk away if I try to talk to them. No response. Nothing. Joking, praising their toys. . nothing works.

Back to the potluck. As I said,  the kitchen was super crowded, and there was an abundance of food; fried tofu, pasta salad, chips, salsa, guacamole, fresh bread and oil, green salad, spring rolls. Anything one could want from bland to spicy.

Mommy nudged her way into the corner near the sink (no mean feat considering the size of her belly, and you’d better be considering the size of her belly) and started opening cabinets. Neighbor asked her what she needed. “Oh, a pot; Higgins wants me to make him macaroni and cheese.” I had to turn away because I couldn’t control the look on my face. With that bounty of food, and an entire table taken over by crayons and Jenga, and toy cars. . . Higgins needs boxed macaroni and cheese made for him at someone else’s house in a too-crowded kitchen.

It was, of course, Annie’s mac and cheese. Because a box with a hippy-dippy fun font and rustic cartoon bunnies makes it Wholesome, not “boxed macaroni and cheese.” Because if you make Kraft Dinner you’re not being very naturopathy.

Comments

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I think you’ll find that bumping into pratts like ‘Mommy’ is not restricted to Vermont’s liberal social-circle; it’s damn near Universal.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    That’s correct, Ace, as you well know. There is a difference between being invested in your children and acting the way Mommy does. I think reasonable people see that.

  3. says

    True what Acolyte says. Still…there are always extra layers that can be added, that are special to Vermont or Seattle or Taos or whatever.

    And there is nothing I love more than satire on it. Nothing.

  4. says

    Every single expert worth anything at all recommends the following with regard to childhood eating habits.

    1. Provide the child with a wide variety of healthy choices from which the entire family dines.

    2. Do not prepare special foods just for the child. This is a power play, pure and simple.

    3. If the child won’t eat — let the child “not eat”. The child will eat when he/she gets hungry. No child has ever starved to death from missing a single meal.

    4. When the child is hungry, offer them healthy choices from which the entire family dines.

    5. Do not prepare special foods for the child. This is a power play, pure and simple.

    ___

    Remember, that in Japan, the child’s favorite dish is likely to be fish-roe soup or something else that your kid would throw up in a second. In primitive places in Africa, raw termites are considered quite a delicacy. Your child will eat what it is acculturated to eat. If you give the child macaroni and cheese and pepperoni pizza every night — guess what? That’s what it’s going to grow up liking to eat.

    Here endeth my rant.

  5. says

    My point is that it’s really easy for non-parents to say that parents should be able to make kids do such-and-such. It’s a kind of argument from privilege. Libby Anne has written a good deal about this. I don’t have kids, but I my girlfriend does and I have significantly younger siblings, so I know that a lot of seven-year-olds are afraid to try to unfamiliar foods.

    What do you suggest? If the kids don’t want to eat it, you are stuck with forcing or cajoling them into something they don’t want to and finding some way to contain any scene they might be inclined to make as a result, leaving your kids at home for anything social or just never socializing, at least not with people who don’t have kids your age.

  6. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    What I suggest, Ace, is that you chill out and understand that a snarky post about an excessively self-absorbed mother does not place upon me an obligation to consider her routine in detail. And that it does not obligate me to contemplate offering her different parenting methods.

    Are you this dour and humorless on every topic?

  7. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    My point is that it’s really easy for non-parents to say that parents should be able to make kids do such-and-such. It’s a kind of argument from privilege

    Don’t even. Do not. Don’t. This is exactly what people point to when they criticize parents for being self-centered and expecting the entire world to revolve around them. Argument from privilege? Oh, shut up. Honestly.

    Your children do not constitute a get-out-of-social-behavior free card. The point of this essay (aside from humor, ya know) is that. .oh, never mind.

  8. says

    Dude, I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying a separate of macaroni this doesn’t affect you in any significant way. What great sacrifices are you having to make for this pan of macaroni?

    I’m saying you are complaining about a solution that doesn’t affect you to a problem that it’s easy for you to dismiss because it’s not yours. I don’t see why this becomes OK when the issue is raising kids.

  9. says

    When did “I take it you have no children” become a reasoned response to commenting on spoiled children and obnoxious parenting? (Not to mention the “pregnant women are smug” act, which one would hope could be sorted out by the third child.)

    FWIW, I have a picky, strong-willed six-year-old who gets this choice: you eat what we eat, or you can have some cheddar cheese.

    Amazingly, she usually eats what we’re eating, including sushi (with the notable exception of the Great Chili Debacle, which did away with the household “No, Thank You” bite rule).

  10. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No, Ace. I’m commenting on a presumptuous woman who imposes her needs on lots of other people because she can’t be bothered to act even a little bit differently at a party than she does at home. OTHER PARENTS MANAGE TO DO THIS.

    Seriously-piss off.

  11. zibble says

    @6 Kevin

    Are you sure the issue is as settled as you’ve implied? I could swear I read that forcing foods onto kids they don’t like can develop food aversions.

    I have to say, in defense of picky eaters (having been one) I wasn’t being picky just to be a dick to my parents, it was because the majority of foods out there made me nauseated. I’ve hugely expanded my palate since then, but that was with the help of booze and cannabis.

    I don’t really think parents should be encouraged to ignore or dismiss the feelings of their children. You can see the separate meal thing as a power play, but when you’re wholly dependent on another being for your survival, it’s sort of important to know that being listens to you and cares about your needs as you understand them.

  12. says

    Annie’s, aside from being a brand local to New England, tastes better than Kraft. Unless I’m making a horrible comfort food batch of chili mac’n’cheese casserole, Annie’s is what I’d choose, too, and I don’t have any kids or notable naturopath-y leanings. It’s not Wholesome; it’s just Better Than Kraft. I’m not eating it for my health.

  13. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I get it. I need to preface every snarky or humorous essay with the following:

    “Of course, there are several caveats. My perception may be wrong because X’s motivations may have been this. Also, I can see that others won’t necessarily agree with my personal point of view, and it’s totally valid that X may have been meaning to do Y thing instead of Z thing, as I characterized her.”

    That’ll be fun reading!

  14. FloraPoste says

    Oh noes, mommy wars at B&W! (ducks)

    Though seriously, if the picky eater is already 8, that’s old enough for him or her to prepare and bring his or her own snack to an event that is not likely to cater to 8 year old picky eaters.

  15. says

    @Josh your snark is based on a lot of assumptions about what her options are and what she’s already tried and what her situation is, which you can’t know. You wouldn’t snark about how an unemployed person is inconveniencing the rest of us and lots of people manage to get jobs. Saying your just joking isn’t really a justification for being judgmental about people who have problems you don’t.

  16. says

    Eh. “Horrible person is horrible” is snarky, sure, but I guess I’m just missing the humor, unless “horrible people exist” is inherently funny and my sense of humor needs recalibrating. No disclaimer needed, it’s just that this anecdote falls squarely in “cool story, bro” territory for me. Annie’s vs Kraft, at least I have an opinion about.

  17. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Annie’s and Kraft are both gross (now I’m going to lose my Honorary Canadian badge for dissing Kraft Dinner). Homemade or Velveeta or bust!

  18. says

    Yeah, but it’s a comfort food kind of gross. Plus, the way that white powder turns neon yellow when moistened? Magic!

  19. says

    You know what looks like privilege to me? Having more than one choice for your spoiled little shit-child. When I was growing up, part of WHY my mother said “eat or go hungry” is because there simply wasn’t that much extra in the fridge/pantry most of the time. Cooking a box of mac & cheese for me would mean no side dish for tomorrow, and because we didn’t have food to waste it meant my parents would have the leftover mac & cheese for lunch whether they liked it or not.

  20. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    So you don’t like my brand of snark. You don’t find it funny.

    That’s all totally fine. You don’t have to.

    And I don’t have to consider any of those things when I write an essay. What possible harm comes to Mommy, Ace of Sevens, from my totally anonymous snark? Why is it that you think I have a moral obligation to treat this as an exercise in the sociology of parenting? Honestly?

  21. Hertta (Herttainen) says

    Really, Ace of Sevens? A mother starts to make someone else’s mac and cheese in someone else’s kitchen (with an abundance of other foods on offer) for an 8 year old. Do you seriously think she had exhausted all reasonable options?

  22. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And you know what? If you can’t see why a woman who talks about her trimester orgasms in the middle of the living room might just rub people as a little self-centered, then I don’t know what to say. It’s kind of boggling that you’ve missed that.

  23. Hertta (Herttainen) says

    What if the kid was 15? “I take it you’ve never had to deal with teenagers of your own.”

  24. Hertta (Herttainen) says

    “I know you think he’s spoiled, but he’s never eaten anything but mac and cheese. It’s unreasonable to expect him to start now, with all the stress of college and everything. You don’t mind if I make him a bowl?”

  25. says

    Joe:

    My mother had an answer to the age-old conundrum of picky eaters: go hungry, you little shit

    I think your mom and my mom went to the same parenting school.

    Seriously, I hate self-indulgent parents. I’ve got one in my family– not only are her kids OMG INDULGED but she has to be the center of attention at all times. Because she’s speshul.

  26. Kevin Schelley says

    I’m not surprised at all that this took place in Vermont. As a fellow Vermonter I hear stuff like this far too often. At a cookout I went to on Saturday a woman with a child was talking about how all the acupuncture she gets helped with her pregnancy, including some acupuncture she got while in labor.

  27. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I liked the post, Josh.

    And really, someone who goes on about her orgasms and how pregnancy is affecting them and then her rash at a dinner party sounds rude as hell and like someone who not so much disrespects boundaries, but believes they’re a conspiracy cooked up by Big Pharma. And this is confirmed when she started rummaging through the kitchen to make sure her precious brat has every whim catered to.

    You don’t need to have kids to be able to tell when someone’s clearly an unpleasant, ridiculous person.

  28. says

    Fun story: Annie’s use to be owned by a Vermonter but got bought out in 2006 by Giant Food Conglomerate. I forget the exact name of the company doing the buying, but I remember the date because I was working as a hotel receptionist in Vermont at the time and I met the representative of Giant Food Conglomerate while he was in VT to finalize the deal. Guess what! He was a total sleazoid who tried to get me to “ride his convertible” with him. You know what I mean.

    Hah. I had forgotten about that one.

  29. Skeptical Atheist says

    “But they will stare straight at me with a Village of the Damned look and walk away if I try to talk to them. No response. Nothing. Joking, praising their toys. . nothing works.”

    Does this have anything to do with your negative opinion about the mother and children?

  30. says

    My general philosophy is that picky eating is none of anyone else’s business and seeing it as an actual problem that other people have different preferences than you is the sort of thing I normally expect from Republicans.

    I didn’t comment on her public discussion of her orgasms. Defending that is hardly a defense of the whole article.

    She’s not insisting that you have to let her kids scream behind you in the movie theater or throw their ice cream on you in a restaurant or saying you shouldn’t be allowed to get married because she doesn’t want to explain it to her kids. She’s just trying to deal with her problems that you aren’t in a position to understand in a way that doesn’t hurt you.

    Your anonymous snark still promotes attitudes that can be hurtful to parents and children and you don’t seem to have considered that picky eaters and parents dealing with picky eaters catch this bullshit all the time and seeing you legitimizing it is going to be upsetting to them. I know you understand this because I’ve seen you explain this exact point on several other issues.

  31. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ah, I knew someone would. It’s a reasonable question. No, I don’t think it does, because I really take care not to give could shoulders to people in situations like that. It’s noteworthy to me because, surprisingly, kids usually like me because I have fun with them. I’m an uncle to a couple boys across the way and I just adore them. They’re funny and smart, and extremely boisterous. The difference is mom and dad put an end to the screaming when it starts to carry down the neighborhood.

  32. says

    Also, how much parenting does one have to do in order to have a valid opinion about what constitutes bad parenting? I have none of my own, but I have been allo-mothering children of various ages for over two decades now. My earliest charges are entering college and remember me very fondly. So I have rather a lot of experience with what types of parenting results in which types of behavior, and in my opinion, Josh’s assessment is spot on. But hey. I’ve never spawned myself, so apparently my opinion is worthless.

  33. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh shut up, Ace. You don’t know the ins and outs of this situation half as well as you think you do. You’re a bore.

  34. says

    Oh come on. If the kid has a huge picky-eating problem then surely the rational get-around would be to pack a sandwich in with the tabletop-full of toys. Or pack a tub of already made mac&cheese. It’s not to cook a fresh batch of package mac&cheese in someone else’s kitchen in the middle of a party.

  35. says

    My reminiscences about picky eating…There were a few things I think my mother shouldn’t have pushed.

    1. Pulpy overcooked yellow squash, which made me gag, literally.

    2. Kale. I love it now, but I wouldn’t expect a kid to.

    I hated olives, but I don’t think anyone pushed those. But the gaggy squash and the kale…For heaven’s sake, people!

  36. says

    My toddler niece has a host of food allergies. As a result, when going to restaurants or houses of people who don’t know the ins and outs of her dietary requirements, my siblings-in-law bring food for her.

    I was a picky eater as a kid, and fairly whiny about it, though I never had any food allergies or dietary restrictions unless someone were to use penicillin as a seasoning. My parents worked mostly from the suck it up or we’ll get you something on the way home schools of dealing with it. I can’t imagine one of them rummaging around in someone else’s cabinets to find something to make me to eat. Maybe if the house were a family member’s, but the number of ham and turkey dinners I remember eating suggests that even that wasn’t exactly common.

    At the very least, it seems like the polite thing to do would be to ask the host about other options first, not to just start in with the rummaging. Or if you know your children are picky, you could ask what the food options are ahead of time, or (since it’s a potluck) bring something you know your kids will eat, which seems like it’s the obvious option. How hard would it have been to cook up a big casserole dish full of mac & cheese to bring over?

    Re: the Annie’s vs. Kraft discussion: all macaroni and cheese is disgusting, and an affront to every sense except perhaps proprioception. I’ve grown out of a lot of my childhood pickiness, but hating mac & cheese was one thing I got right from the start.

  37. says

    Sally:

    Also, how much parenting does one have to do in order to have a valid opinion about what constitutes bad parenting?

    You have to squeeze at least 3 of the little goobers out, but you only get to voice your opinion if you gave birth by squatting over a pile of leaves in the woods while chewing on willow bark and ate the placenta afterward. Otherwise you haven’t passed the Mommy Test™.

  38. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    As for assumptions, there are some interesting ones being made that need clearing up:

    1. No, I am not ignorant of Higgins and Agatha’s “food needs.” I’ve been going to parties with these people for three years. There is *no one*, anywhere, who can be ignorant of these children’s desires. Mommy makes sure of that.

    2. No, little Higgins doesn’t have a food allergy. Yes, I am aware that food allergies are a legitimate thing. No, that is not relevant here.

    3. No, Mommy is not bereft of options for child care or anything remotely like that. Mommy has a husband and enugh disposable income, believe me. Yet Mommy has never, ever, not once, not even on New Year’s eve, come to a party without Higgins and Agatha. There is no place or time, in her mind, that children are not appropriate company.

    I know this is hard, but: Some people really are entitled and self-absorbed, and sometimes they (not the critics) really are the ones acting badly.

  39. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Won’t someone think of the Picky Eaters and Beleaguered upper middle class parents?

  40. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Better not tell me who it is, Sally. I’ll probably shame him on the blogs and cause a regression in their behavior.

  41. Skeptical Atheist says

    Improbable Joe:
    “When I was growing up,………”

    When I was growing up, I had to walk 5 miles to school every day in -40 blizzards through 6 ft of snow. (and it was up-hill both ways)

    I was just grateful I didn’t live 6 miles from school.

  42. says

    Not that it’s particularly relevant, but the Annie’s that was bought out by Giant Food Conglomerate in 2006 was “Annie’s Naturals”, Vermont-based makers of salad dressings and condiments. “Annie’s Homegrown” is the one that makes the macaroni and cheese, and I think they were based in Connecticut initially. Of course, by 2006, Annie’s Homegrown was majority owned by Solera Capital, the investment firm which controls “Homegrown Naturals”, the holding company that acquired Annie’s Naturals in 2006. So in a way, Annie’s of Vermont was being bought by Annie’s of California, late of Connecticut, controlled from New York, at that time. Which is to say, the sleaze from the food conglomerate was actually from Annie’s; just a different Annie’s than the one you thought. That’s not confusing in the slightest.

  43. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I’ve met many ‘Mommy and Daddy’-type parents and their kids are almost without fail spoiled, ill-disciplined little shits, and no matter what bullshit the parents come out with to justify their brats’ behaviour – usually some version of not wishing to stifle their little darlings’ self-expression – the truth is more likely that the parents found this parenting lark to be easier if they just gave in to their kids demands.

  44. HappyNat says

    Great post, Josh.

    As a parent of a 4 year old picky eater I appreciate the snark. When we go to gatherings we encourage him to eat something new, if that fails we give him a piece of fruit and cheese stick that we brought. This is what we did with out older daughter who at 6 will try everything we put in front of her, she may not like it but she will try it. It’s not about staving or forcing food on the kid. It’s also not about forcing the host of a party to make sure cheese pizza or hot dogs is on the menu.

    All I can say is Ace must be a blast at parties.

  45. says

    Thanks for the clarification, Josh L. That whole encounter left me with a cynical taste in my mouth about the whole Annie’s thing. So I when I want boxed mac & cheese, I just go for whatever’s cheapest.

  46. Maureen Brian says

    Josh is right and I look forward to the day when Ace invites both Josh and me to dinner and puts on a lavish spread which we refuse to have anything to do with it. We will then root and rummage through all of his kitchen cupboards, go down to the basement to see if anything else is stored there, open jars of canned fruit and vegetables with gay abandon so that the whole winter store of produce must be eaten in the next 24 hours or thrown out! No way!

    Ace, would you still not recognise that behaviour as extraordinarily rude?

    I am so, so glad that I grew up while food was still rationed. What there was to eat was what appeared on the table – always enough but little or no choice – and what was on the table was determined by the ration, by what was in the shops and by what we and neighbours grew in kitchen gardens and sometimes swapped.

    And, behold! I have no food allergies, no pickiness ever. The only time I remember being upset about food was when production of National Margarine ended and I was obliged to get used to butter, of which until then I had seen very little.

  47. says

    My former baby-sitee (is that a word) is a young woman, now an engineer, who grew up eating raw/organic/vegetarian Indian influenced food. I’m sure any regression you caused would be to healthier eating patterns; I know few mothers who’ve consistently cooked as maddeningly Healthy-with-a-capital-H foods as her mother did.

  48. says

    Oh! It is storytime!

    Picture it: Sicily 1922… no, that’s Sophia on “Golden Girls”

    This one time, at band camp? Wait, that’s not right either.

    This one time, in the Marine Corps! It was Boot Camp, Parris Island, 1994. The MREs still had M&Ms in them marked “1992 Olympic Sponsor”. Those MREs came in a thick brown plastic bag, with smaller bags with various barely-edible foodstuffs sealed in them. One day, randomly, one of the drill instructors ordered us to open our MREs, pass up all the candy, and then empty everything else into the brown plastic bag. Everything included the meal, crackers, peanut butter or cheese spread, Tabasco sauce, cocoa powder, instant coffee, nondairy creamer…EVERYTHING. Then stir it up and eat it. Oh the horror!

    And at that moment, I thanked my mother for not raising me to be a picky eater. :)

  49. Pen says

    Josh is right

    Myeah partly. I found the post funny because I’m prepared to concede that Mommy might have been over the top. But check your non-parent privilege was a thought that passed through my mind when I started reading the comments. Some of what’s coming out in the wash is a lot worse than the post itself.

    What with having been through ten years of struggling for a social and cultural life that suited me, being essentially forced to socialise with other parents regardless of whether I had anything in common with them*, and 5+ where neither I, nor any woman in my social circle were ever able to complete a sentence without (justified) interruption from a little one. And OK, it is true that given child-raising was our 24/7 pre-occupation it made up a fair part of our conversations such as they were, and I can understand that the rest of you might find us boring, but it contributes to the isolation. And non parents explaining what parenting skills would enable us to be fit to appear in public with our offspring isn’t great either. Not much of this conversation bodes well for inclusivity of parents at all those atheist conferences although I have to say that my strength of feeling on the subject is 3/10 because I wouldn’t be able to make it anyway.

    *That’s so we could collectively feed the kids the equivalent of macaroni cheese before sending them off to play in the hope that we would then be able to socialise.

  50. Pen says

    @57 Maureen Brian

    Would you believe that every adult American who’s ever visited my house has behaved in exactly that way?

  51. machintelligence says

    Some foods suffer from their names. Squash is something you do to bugs, not something you eat. And don’t get me started on mushrooms — imagine a whole room full of mush!
    I actually like both of those, and can also remember how we city kids irritated our farmer relatives when we said butter “tasted funny” since we always ate margarine at home.

  52. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Would you believe that every adult American who’s ever visited my house has behaved in exactly that way?

    Then they’re appallingly rude. That is not an argument for leniency on Mommy’s part.

  53. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You know, I’m in full support of the need for more atheist spaces/work spaces to be kid-friendly. That’s also parent friendly. It’s a real problem.

    Why are some of you having such a hard time distinguishing between being intolerant and awful of families in general, and of being put out by a rude, self-absorbed parents who shit on everyone else?

    Because you are having a very hard time, and it’s silly. If you recognize yourself in Mommy, you have a problem. She’s not a nice person. She’s not mean, but she’s a primadonna. The other parents don’t like her. If you think I’m the mean one and she’s just put upon, then I daresay you’re probably not someone a lot of us would like to socialize with either.

    Not because you’re a parent. Because you’re an asshole.

  54. MrFancyPants says

    This is kind of on topic… the discussion about being a picky-eater kid reminded me of the fact that my mother used to boil okra, which gave it the consistency of limp bean pods oozing with snot, and a comparable flavor. When Okra Night would roll around, I would have killed to swap it out with chips & salsa or even kale!

  55. says

    I keep forgetting… which side of the Deep Rift is it that denies the concept of “privilege”, again? Or, wait. Privilege is real, but not situational or relative privilege? Is intersectionality a thing? It’s so hard to keep up.

  56. w00dview says

    /cue somebody whining about how if you don’t like your night at a restaurant that you spent good money on ruined by Chuck E. Cheese antics “you’re suppressing children’s PERSONHOOD!!”

    Or if you were Brendan O’Neill, how you are an awful liberal elitist who oppresses the working classes. Or some other wanky, boring “contrarian” bollocks.

  57. John Phillips, FCD says

    Usually the 0ne jaqing off. And I say that from my pivileged position as a father and a grandfather.

  58. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Well, Josh, as a father and grandfather I think I’ve lost my non-parent privilege (whatever the feck that’s supposed to mean; until now I thought it was the privilege of a full-nights sleep), yet strangely I found myself giggling as I agreed with everything in your post.

    As for those having a hard time understanding the point of the post: there are always people who read what they want to read, rather than reading what’s actually written. They’re the sort of people who could start a fight in an empty room.

  59. says

    Yes, I can’t comment on her actual behavior, only what you said. If your gripe was that she saw a pot and just announced her intentions to use it instead of asking, I’m with you.

    My issue is that the idea that picky eaters should shut up and just eat the same stuff everyone else does and that it’s OK to make critical judgments about people’s parenting from brief exposure to their kids are both very much things. You may not have intended to promote these ideas, but intent isn’t magic. You’re the guy who taught me that.

    I grew up watching my little brothers get bullied by older relatives at family things because they didn’t want to eat the things that other parties decided they should eat without any input from them. The same thing happened to me, to a lesser degree. These same relatives would also gripe at my parents for not having us trained to eat what we were told without a fuss. (Granted, my parents weren’t much better, but family gatherings were worse because there were more people pressuring us plus being blamed for embarrassing our parents.) Even purchasing one’s own food and cooking it after everyone else is treated like being a big stuck-up, ungrateful drag. This is a very sore subject for me.

    When I feed people, I make sure to confirm what they are OK with eating ahead of time and make accommodations. I thought this was considered the usual courtesy of being a host. If I got in the situation you described, I would consider it a result of improper on my part and try to find whatever that they would eat. (Unless they show up with unannounced guests or change their minds. That’s their problem.)

  60. says

    Ace, I know you’re capable of reading the comments about preparing mac and cheese ahead of time. I know you’re capable of reading the rest of the post. I know you’re capable of reading the comments in which Josh pointed out that this was a pattern of behavior as represented by the totality of the post.

    Why are you acting as though you haven’t read or internalized any of them?

  61. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Ace of Sevens, I think you’re missing the point Josh made; he’s talking about those parents whose kids are not only the centre of their own Universe, but have to be the centre of everybody else’s:those parents who condescend to their kids every desire because it’s easier than saying no and having yet another screaming tantrum to deal with on the pretext of some high-fallutin’ (as I believe the American vernacular would have it) principles; those parents who will sit and describe how they sautee’d Tarquin’s afterbirth – just as the rest of the table are tucking into the liver and bacon; and eventually the sort of parents who start to wonder why they never get invited anywhere anymore; the sort of parents whose kids grow up to lash out at anybody who has the temerity to do what their parents never did – say ‘No!’

  62. screechymonkey says

    Ace of Sevens @72:

    Yes, I can’t comment on her actual behavior, only what you said.

    A pity you didn’t read Josh’s post very carefully before jumping on your high horse, then.

    Because if you had, you would have known that

    If your gripe was that she saw a pot and just announced her intentions to use it instead of asking, I’m with you

    was exactly what Josh described. From the OP: “Last night was a potluck at Neighbor’s house. . . . Mommy nudged her way into the corner near the sink (no mean feat considering the size of her belly, and you’d better be considering the size of her belly) and started opening cabinets. Neighbor asked her what she needed. “Oh, a pot; Higgins wants me to make him macaroni and cheese.””

    My issue is that the idea that picky eaters should shut up and just eat the same stuff everyone else does and that it’s OK to make critical judgments about people’s parenting from brief exposure to their kids are both very much things.

    You would also have noticed that (1) Josh said he’s had more than brief exposure to Mommy; he’s encountered them enough times to note (and for it to be noteworthy) that the children are brought to every event; and (2) that he provided other reasons to believe that these children are overindulged.

    And if you still insist that, without detailed 24-hour surveillance of these people’s lives, it’s still totally unacceptable for Josh to discuss them anonymously in a humorous way… then I give up. I guess I can’t complain about the guy who cut me off in traffic the other day while talking on his cell phone — I mean, it’s possible that he was talking to a doctor and rushing to the hospital!

  63. says

    My issue is that the idea that picky eaters should shut up and just eat the same stuff everyone else does and that it’s OK to make critical judgments about people’s parenting from brief exposure to their kids are both very much things. You may not have intended to promote these ideas, but intent isn’t magic. You’re the guy who taught me that.

    So far I haven’t seen him promote those ideas, implicitly or explicitly.

    What I read was a criticism that the mother felt justified in taking over a busy kitchen area because she didn’t have the foresight to bring something her child could eat.

    When I feed people, I make sure to confirm what they are OK with eating ahead of time and make accommodations. I thought this was considered the usual courtesy of being a host. If I got in the situation you described, I would consider it a result of improper on my part and try to find whatever that they would eat. (Unless they show up with unannounced guests or change their minds. That’s their problem.)

    This is a nice suggestion…if you were preparing all the dishes yourself. This, however, was a potluck. Which means that the mother could have easily brought food with her that she knew her child would eat.

  64. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Ophelia, I’m so sorry,, I have no idea what happened there; please delete that post if possible, not only because it makes me look like an attention seeker.

  65. Al Dente says

    If Higgins had behaved like that at my house, I would tell his mother than the brat was not welcome in my house again until he and his mother learned some manners. If I lose a “friend” then that’s the price I pay for the enjoyment of my own home;

  66. says

    If Higgins had behaved like that at my house, I would tell his mother than the brat was not welcome in my house again until he and his mother learned some manners. If I lose a “friend” then that’s the price I pay for the enjoyment of my own home;

    It’s not Higgins’ behavior I mind that much. If a kid wants to be sullen, I don’t really care. If I know that by inviting a certain friend, I’m also inviting their children, then I’ll be sure to have a space for them to throw toys around (and I’ll probably have a few of my own toys for them to play with).

    My issue is entirely with the presumptive behavior of the mother. The specifics of the conversation don’t necessarily bother me (I grew up in a sailor’s household, among military couples. The frank talk you heard among friends — servicemen and spouses together — was…well, lets just say I could barter it for cool points among my civilian friends at school). The problem is that they obviously violated the group dynamic. The fact that she would presumptive take over the occupied kitchen in that manner is appalling to me…my kitchen is my kitchen. I don’t mind rummaging through my larder, but my cooking tools are mine. I paid for them. I treat them how I feel they should be treated.

  67. says

    Would you believe that every adult American who’s ever visited my house has behaved in exactly that way?

    Pen, if you give your friends and relatives permission to rummage through your kitchen, your basement, etc. in your house, that’s one thing. For someone to just start doing that without even asking is unbelievably presumptuous and rude. It’s called boundaries. A host would be justified in asking that guest to leave.

  68. says

    Here’s the thing: The mother did bring food that she knew her children would eat. Granted, she didn’t prep it ahead of time, which is a bad move at a potluck where one traditionally preps everything ahead of time unless special arrangements are made, but the snark for making macaroni and cheese when other foods are available and about it being Amy’s sure imply a criticism that they should have been eating something other than Amy’s macaroni and cheese. If you aren’t used to dealing with these situations, it may not jump out at you, but I’m not imagining the idea that Mommy should have made them eat “fried tofu, pasta salad, chips, salsa, guacamole, fresh bread and oil, green salad, spring rolls.” Otherwise, what’s the point of that section?

    I get that her behavior was unreasonable. I never disputed that as an overall conclusion. I was saying that this particular complaint wasn’t reasonable, or at least I couldn’t know this from the OP and since this sort of complaint is frequently made baselessly, one should use caution when making it. It’s basic privilege checking.

  69. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Thank you, Ophelia, very much appreciated.
    Now, all I wanted to say was (and from now on, I will use the preview function);

    77.
    Nathaniel Frein
    August 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm (UTC -7)
    This is a nice suggestion…if you were preparing all the dishes yourself. This, however, was a potluck. Which means that the mother could have easily brought food with her that she knew her child would eat.

    That’s what I call Checkmate, mate.
    Oh, and thank you too, for teaching me what a ‘potluck’ is; I’d never heard that particular expression before in that context, although when I was but a wee lad, to stave off boredom my friends and I did play a game called ‘pot luck’ which involved taking the labels off a variety of canned goods (including pet foods). I’m sure you can guess the rest :-)

  70. Al Dente says

    You’re right, Ace, it is privilege checking. The mother thought it was her privilege to talk about her orgasms. She thought it was her privilege to bring her brats (sorry, that’s what they are) to an adult. And she thought it was her privilege to invade someone else’s kitchen to make a special meal for her brat. You won’t get any argument from me about the woman’s assumed privilege.

  71. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Is anybody else getting a little bored with the current trend of playing the ‘privilege card’ everytime somebody disagrees with somebody else?
    I said it in a post above, and I’ll say it again: being a father and grandfather (and erstwhile foster-carer) the only ‘non-parent privilege’ I’m aware of is a good nights sleep.

  72. says

    Oh lordy. At this rate I’ll be giving a surprise talk on my objections to the word “privilege” the next time I say something at a conference.

  73. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Al Dente (being of a certain age, I can empathise with that moniker), that post #87 of mine wasn’t aimed at you, we cross-posted our responses to Ace.

  74. says

    Also, how much parenting does one have to do in order to have a valid opinion about what constitutes bad parenting?

    Yes, because as we all know, society is SO BRUTALLY HARD on upper middle-class white mommies. *eye roll* Give me a break, then look up “privilege”.

    Should Josh have put a “trigger warning” on the post too, so picky eaters like you would know to avoid it?

  75. Skeptical Atheist says

    Josh, If the woman’s behavior bothers you so much, why don’t you talk to her about it?

  76. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Also, how much parenting does one have to do in order to have a valid opinion about what constitutes bad parenting?

    None at all; one just needs to observe the behaviour of the children to assess quite accurately the abilities of the parents to be..well…parents.
    It could be worse; how about lobbying for prospective parents to study the art of parenting, maybe even have to sit an exam (or at the very least sign a pledge of some kind promising not to be a ‘Mommy’ parent), before they’re allowed to have children? And that’s not as daft as even I thought it was as I was typing it as a bit of sarky nonsense; after all, one has to go through the hoops in order to become a foster- or adoptive parent.

  77. Acolyte of Sagan says

    93.
    Skeptical Atheist
    August 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    Josh, If the woman’s behavior bothers you so much, why don’t you talk to her about it?

    Without wishing to speak for Josh, do you really believe that ‘Mommy’ doesn’t know that she’s a gargantuan pain in the arse?

  78. says

    Josh, If the woman’s behavior bothers you so much, why don’t you talk to her about it?

    Instead of writing this hilarious piece? No thank you! She’s obviously not a friend, so what would he say? “God you’re affected and high maintenance and self-absorbed, could you please do better”?

    Besides, he wrote this piece. I don’t want something else in its place.

  79. Skeptical Atheist says

    “Without wishing to speak for Josh, do you really believe that ‘Mommy’ doesn’t know that she’s a gargantuan pain in the arse?”

    Not knowing the woman, I can’t say. What if she’s not aware how she’s coming across? My point is, if the woman’s behavior bothers Josh that much, wouldn’t it be best to speak to her about it?

  80. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Picky eater here, or, was more of a picky eater once upon a time, and no one had to tell me to eat it or no food tonight. I just assumed that was the case, because the available food was the food that was available. I also couldn’t understand children who would make a scene, at any age. Freaked me right out.

    Parents who like to play the “I’m a parent, you’re not a parent” card: Get stuffed. We are all equally capable human beings. You pull that crap with expecting partners right up to the moment a child is produced in some manner? Or are they just assumed to be inna fambly way automagically? Or how long do you have to be a parent before you can have a valid opinion on these matters?

    As to everything else: Mommy is an Irritant. The story as told was amusing. Thank you, Josh.

  81. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Oh, food. I’m currently engaged in being single mum to my lovely little 16 month old guy.
    Babies don’t like stuff first time, generally. Almost ever. Getting them to eat anything isn’t easy, and the easiest way I’ve found is to first, eat it yourself, say yum, offer to baby. Baby will mimic, and if they don’t hate it too much, try it again. If they do spit it out and go yuck, they can be persuaded to try things again if mixed with food they already like, then will notice the difference in taste and texxture and often reach for the previously unpalatable food to try it again.
    I just did this with snow peas. Now he doesn’t mind munching on them, same with carrot sticks.

    His favourite food ever is my chili con carne. Admittedly it’s lacking in the actual chilli part (for my benefit, I’m a heat wuss), I only put in half a red chilli at the beginning and by the end of the cooking process it’s all but lost its heat. Very tasty though, and he loves the strong flavours. Anyone who says kids need bland food is talking out of their arse, unless the child actually has gastro-intestinal issues exacerbated by certain foods.

    Basically we eat the same thing, and I spend a lot of time cooking. If he refuses to eat something and hasn’t eaten enough all day, he might get a piece of bread with the food spread on it, but I don’t make him special dinners, even at his age. Food is food, and unless he tells me one day he really detests something I’ve been feeding him and isn’t just trying to get sugar, then I’ll keep on giving him good, healthy adult food.

  82. Nepenthe says

    “I know you think he’s spoiled, but he’s never eaten anything but mac and cheese. It’s unreasonable to expect him to start now, with all the stress of college and everything. You don’t mind if I make him a bowl?”

    You laugh, but I have relatives who raised their children this way. They are absurdly wealthy and have travelled all around the world, but the children will only eat plain hot dogs, steak with no seasoning, french fries, chicken fingers, and Coca Cola; I’m not sure where they found hot dogs in rural Japan. They are each made a separate meal and eat at a separate time from each other and their parents, according to their schedules. I’m frankly unsure how their son hasn’t started exhibiting beri-beri or scurvy symptoms; as far as I can tell he’s never eaten a vegetable in his life. And yes, they’re in college and high school.

  83. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Skeptical Atheist is trolling. Don’t take the bait.

    Higgins is not the problem; his mother is.

    Ace of Sevens-you’re so kawaii! Guardin’ that bone in case it gits away. Cutey patootey!

  84. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Besides, he wrote this piece. I don’t want something else in its place.

    I heart you for saying that. Not because you said it about me (really) but because so few people get that. Oh, the prose that would be lost to us had the writer been a ‘nice’ person.

  85. A. Noyd says

    Personally, I love the taste of the Annie’s mac and cheese way more than the Kraft stuff. I wouldn’t choose to eat it at a potluck though. But if that’s what Mommy’s kid insists on and she’s going to indulge him with a fresh, hot meal of it, she should at least invest in packets of the instant version which just require a couple minutes in the microwave without getting two pots, a strainer and a whisk dirty. And the kid can easily make it his own damn self.

    ….
    *It takes 2 pots and a whisk because, thanks to being “natural,” Annie’s doesn’t have anti-caking agent in the cheese and thus you have to whisk the cheese powder into the milk separately or you’ll get giant powder-filled lumps everywhere.

  86. A. Noyd says

    Ophelia (#43)

    We were lucky though. We never found ourselves at any parties or pot lucks where the only foods were overcooked yellow squash and kale.

    Oh god. The part of my life when my mother was into going to New Age retreat centers made me averse to potlucks for the longest time. I swear, every fucking meal at those places—and they were all potluck-style—was a salad made out of nasturtiums, soynuts and kale, and an entree that was some variation on stale tofu drowned in tahini with a side of mushy squash. Or maybe mushy squash drowned in tahini with a side of stale tofu. A decent cook could maybe make something tasty with those ingredients, but the adults at the retreat centers were more interested in the idea of healthy food than doing anything clever with it. I mean, a meal or two like that every so often would be one thing, but this was two meals a day for weeks.

    And I was trapped there. By the end of our stays, the smell of the kitchen alone would make me nauseated.

  87. A. Noyd says

    Ace of Sevens (#84)

    but the snark…about it being Amy’s sure imply a criticism that they should have been eating something other than Amy’s macaroni and cheese.

    The snark there is because it’s silly to pretend that boxed mac and cheese is somehow consistent with eating “natural” or healthy foods. It’s like the Lucky Charms knockoff in the “health food” aisle at the grocery near my house which advertises having “natural marshmallows.” The only thing different about the marshmallows is that they’re made with vegetable dyes rather than ones that say Red #8 or whatever. And why the fuck would someone supposedly concerned with eating healthy feed their child marshmallows for breakfast in the first place? It’s not like being “natural” makes them not a type of candy. The snark is there because the “natural” label is a fucking lie that makes people like Mommy feel superior without actually being better for their kids.

  88. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    If you’re going to dirty pots and a whisk, you might as well make it properly. Never understood the boxed stuff myself, particularly if the speed of making it is lost when you have to use multiple pots and utensils anyway. Might as well make it the proper way, tastier anyway, and you can add bacon and fresh tomato! Weird.

    Uh, yes. To be more on-topic, self-centredness sucks. I can’t even bring myself to ask for a drink in someone else’s house unless I know them quite well or I can’t speak from parchedness. Opening their cupboards and making food would be unthinkably stupid. If your kid doesn’t like the food somewhere, bring something with you! It’s not hard. Thankfully, my little guy isn’t picky as I feed him all sorts of stuff. Lucky me, I guess. Or just non-stupid me. I have very little frame of reference.

  89. says

    Mommy is an Irritant. The story as told was amusing. Thank you, Josh.

    That.

    Except that she was such an irritant, I’m still cringing slightly. But still: that. Thanks.

    I actually do tend to ask my kids what they want to eat for dinner, fairly frequently. Mostly just because I get sick of trying to come up with an idea myself, though. So the framing isn’t that that decision is so much their privilege as it is sporadically their problem and their responsibility; I’ll call it when I feel like it or they’re not around to ask; it just really helps me out when they can come up with something, as my decision bits do seem just to get tired. And sometimes we argue it out a bit if they don’t agree on what they’d go for or I’ve had or made enough of that recently or whatever. But once it’s settled, that’s what’s for dinner, so it’s eat it or go hungry, and let’s move on. We can generally come up with something we can agree on, and okay maybe it’s not someone’s favourite, but they get it’s not their turn, and we try to swap that around. And both my kids have done some cooking classes (can’t claim credit for that; that was their mother’s doing), and both now pitch in a bit, do some of the cooking, figure that’s fair enough, too… And all that really helps, I think. They get food doesn’t just come from nowhere; there’s work involved, and making it actually good may even require some thought and effort and craftsmanship, so you have to appreciate it.

    And seriously, showing up at someone else’s place, turning up your nose, saying I want something that wasn’t even on offer? What? Really? Very not on. And you figure someone’s gonna charge into someone else’s kitchen now and make it happen just ‘cos what, none of these twenty damned dishes work for you enough you can get ‘em down and get it over with? Are you kidding me? That’s not just rude, that’s off the map of rude and into Richter scale obnoxious. My kids even generally get the whole social smile and try it and say thank you–and just don’t ask for seconds if it’s not so much working for you, but that’s what they’re putting out here, thing, when visiting. They get that someone made this. Maybe whoever made this is actually proud of this dish, maybe like also happens at home some days it’s not so much a culinary artistry thing, exactly, not today, but someone did squeeze in getting it ready for you, and it crosses a few of the food groups and was made with possibly somewhat hurried love, all that with life being damn busy, so be grateful it’s here and you get to eat now.

    It’s probably all foody and privileged to say it, too, but honestly, I do think one thing that helps is: we do kinda celebrate good cooking, just a bit, around here. Sometimes it has to happen in a hurry and the area for finesse is going to be mostly in efficiency, but it’s never just some menial thing; it’s a thing which, if you’ve got time, you try to get it right, even excel, show off with a bit, come up with something new, even. And because it’s an art thing, and whoever cooked it is bringing it to you as a thing they created, you don’t just get to blurt out you just want some bland pasta anymore than you tell someone showing you their painting you just wanted something beige. But that wasn’t some conscious manipulation or nothin'; that’s just listen, I actually do like to cook if there’s a bit of avenue there for doing something a little interesting, a little latitude for skill. Gotta do it anyway, and we live in this crazy world where every ingredient you’ve never heard of is for sale just down the street and any recipe in the world is on the wire somewhere, so I figure you might as well do something with it.

    I dunno tho’… as honestly, I also suspect a critical part of my formula isn’t so much instilling respect for artistry as their developing inevitable respect for the unforgiving practical limits of life and their having the perhaps mature beyond their years understanding that look, given Daddy’s talent for organization, you should probably be grateful you’re eating at all. As it’s not always a particularly smooth delivery, not always exactly waiting hot when they get home; scattered Daddy might just say, umm, gotta run get groceries, now; got an idea what I should bring back to turn into dinner? Oh, and by the way, you figure out if I’m asking you now just when this actually happening; tonight it ain’t gonna be anything involving long oven times or anything real delicately julienned if you’d like to eat, say, much before midnight. So they get it: there is no kitchen genie, there are no house elves; there may be stress and some chaos involved. The meal will be good, damn right, one way or another, or there will certainly be a solid effort to make it so. But I may have to throw them the potatoes and say ‘peel, please’, I may still just be tossing the salad as I hand it to them. Or as likely telling them, listen, it’s all in there; you deal with mixing it; everyone’s hungry.

  90. screechymonkey says

    Josh:

    I heart you for saying that. Not because you said it about me (really) but because so few people get that. Oh, the prose that would be lost to us had the writer been a ‘nice’ person.

    “If you can’t say something nice… come sit next to me.” (attributed to Dorothy Parker)

  91. says

    Alexandra:

    Should Josh have put a “trigger warning” on the post too, so picky eaters like you would know to avoid it?

    Also, am I the only one who noted Josh L. up at #68 who’s deliberately comparing those of us who agree with Josh OSG…. with the Slymepit? That’s special.

    Screechymonkey:

    “If you can’t say something nice… come sit next to me.” (attributed to Dorothy Parker)

    Wrongly so. It was Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

  92. Josh L. says

    am I the only one who noted Josh L. up at #68

    I was wondering that myself. While you’re noting that comment [which I thought was only poking at JoshOSG, but if you want to make it about you, too… ok, I guess?], though, maybe also note that I fixed B&W’s RSS feed this morning. Call it a wash?

  93. screechymonkey says

    Daisy Cutter:

    Also, am I the only one who noted Josh L. up at #68 who’s deliberately comparing those of us who agree with Josh OSG…. with the Slymepit? That’s special.

    Nah, I noticed, too. It’s so cute when the Slymers try to use concepts like privilege. They’re like cargo cultists.

    Wrongly so. It was Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

    Thanks. I figured it was 50/50 at best that Parker ever said it; she and Oscar Wilde get credit for all the good ones!

  94. says

    It’s so cute when the Slymers try to use concepts like privilege.

    It’s also cute when people jump from disagreement straight to membership in the Opposition. Want to ask Ophelia what the likelihood I’m a denizen of the pit is?

  95. screechymonkey says

    Ok, Josh L, you’re not a member of the Pit, you only sound like the kind of bad parody they would come up with when you toss around accusations that Josh OSG was “den[ying] the concept of “privilege”” with this post. Is that better?

  96. says

    No, because there’s nothing about privilege in the post proper. I’m talking about “Argument from privilege? Oh, shut up. Honestly.” and “Non-parent privilege. The yucks just keep rolling in!”. But I guess those don’t sound anything like the privilege-denying that the slymepitters do, because … they’re … said by someone we agree with, mostly? *shrug*

  97. Cam says

    I didn’t think the original post was all that sharp — sorry, SpokesGay Josh — but this is hilarious. Please keep going.

  98. says

    That was largely my problem, too. Privilege is situational. Middle-class white mommies may not not go to prison or get shot for minor traffic violations usually, but everyone knows exactly what they are doing wrong (a problem that applies to lots of groups, but in different ways), they get blamed for today’s callow, spoiled youth and they have greatly diminished social opportunities outside of playdate stuff.

  99. Nepenthe says

    You are so right Ace. Parenthood, especially white middle class parenthood, is definitely like race, gender, class, ethnicity and other axes of oppression in that people have no control over whether they become parents or not and then, when they do decide to be parents, they have no control over whether they become terrible, self-centered, shits-of-parents or not.

  100. screechymonkey says

    No, because there’s nothing about privilege in the post proper. I’m talking about “Argument from privilege? Oh, shut up. Honestly.” and “Non-parent privilege. The yucks just keep rolling in!”. But I guess those don’t sound anything like the privilege-denying that the slymepitters do, because … they’re … said by someone we agree with, mostly? *shrug*

    And we’re back to the cargo cult application of “privilege.”

    Did it ever occur to you that OSG might have been saying those things not to deny that privilege exists*, but to point out that crying “privilege!” isn’t some magic spell that wins you every argument?

    And yes, that’s pretty much what Ace of Sevens tried to do to this thread. Ace’s very first post in this thread was “I take it you have no children?” and the second was to claim “privilege!” When Ace finally got around to actually trying to defend “Mommy,” it was clear that he or she hadn’t read the post very carefully.

    *-Though I’m dubious of the claim that “non-parent privilege” is a thing. Except in the sense that “black privilege” or “gay privilege” exist. Or that the kids in the OP have “non-adult privilege.”

  101. says

    Whoa. That was a Mombie. Specifically, a cross between an Earth Mother and a Sanctmommy with a side of “My Kids Are Special Snowflakes”. (Seriously? Unless little Snotlynne is on a medically-necessary restricted diet, xe can eat what the grown-ups are eating, and going hungry now and again won’t kill hir.)

    Tony, I extend you an invitation to STFU Parents.

  102. says

    Ok, so let me explain what my thinking is, and then you can point out exactly which part you think is the most stupid and wrong and bad.

    “Non-parent privilege”. Yes, this sounds stupid on its face, but hear me out. When I see a parent with a screaming child at the mall, I am able to say things like “well, if only they enforced some discipline at home, their kid wouldn’t be such a brat in public [insert anecdote about how I was raised]”. I am speaking from a position of privilege in that there is absolutely no risk to me in pontificating about how they should raise their kids. I don’t have to deal with their kids, and I don’t have to deal with the blowback from whatever parenting technique I’m espousing. I’m insulated. This is a position the parent can’t take, except with respect to other people’s children. This isn’t “cops give me a free pass for smoking weed in public” privilege. It’s not “I make 130% the salary of my equally-capable female coworkers” privilege. It’s not even “cashiers serve me faster so they can get me and my screaming kid out of their store” privilege. But it is speaking from a position that the parent of the bratty kid can’t speak from, no matter how awful the parent himself or herself is.

    I don’t have kids. I recognize that it’s probably not a great idea for me to give parenting advice to people who are themselves parents — it’s not likely to be well-received, because chances are good that whatever I’m telling them is nothing new, and something they’d already be doing if it worked for them. Talking amongst my other child-free friends is fine, because we’re just griping to each other about how awful kids today are and how lax and smug their parents are, and blah blah blah. It’s tedious, but sometimes you just need to vent.

    Please note, I’m not saying here that by waving the “privilege” flag, I automatically win any argument. I don’t think it’s a magic incantation. But I do think that “oh, shut up” is … a less than ideal response to being told that you’re speaking from a privileged standpoint that you might not have considered. Dismissing the very concept out of hand as “the yucks just keep rolling in” is pretty much a textbook example of privilege denying, isn’t it? Not denying the concept of privilege as a whole; denying that there is any relationship in which privilege is involved _in this case_. Is it less bad than the “the whole idea of privilege is some pomo bafflegab bullshit that doesn’t exist; there is no such thing as male privilege or whatever” that the slymepitters spout? Sure. But that’s a pretty low bar, you have to admit.

    Maybe you disagree with the idea that there can be any kind of situational or relative privilege; I’m not an expert here, so maybe that’s a discredited theory and I’m just not up to date. But it does make sense to me that someone who is marginalized in society as a whole — a gay man, say — can nevertheless be in a privileged position with respect to someone else, such as a black woman. Or, in the context of making judgments about someone’s parenting techniques (or lack thereof), with respect to a parent based on his non-parent status. In another context, the parent can certainly be privileged with respect to the non-parent.

    If that’s cargo cult thinking, I’m really curious what you think the original cargo was. If you want to argue A7s’ comments, you’ll have to argue them with him or her, but you’ve called me out on “cargo cult application of ‘privilege'”, so those are my thoughts on that. I’m also curious to hear from JoshOSG what he meant by the comments I read as privilege-denying, since unless there’s some sockpuppetry going on, you telling me what he meant by them makes as much sense as me telling you what A7s meant.

    I’m not trying to defend “Mommy”, either; she sounds annoying, I guess. Not really annoying enough to merit a post, in my opinion, but whatever, I’m not the arbiter of what’s postworthy. I guess maybe I just don’t see the humor; it reads to me as about as hilarious as a “what’s the deal with airplane food? It’s terrible, right?” routine. I admit I am somewhat amused by Nepenthe’s comment just now, though. He’s absolutely right — if there’s something you’ve chosen to do or be, or something you could be doing better but aren’t, you’re absolutely fair game for any kind of abuse people want to give you because of that choice; you can always just choose to change! Nothing problematic about _that_ attitude.

  103. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    But I guess those don’t sound anything like the privilege-denying that the slymepitters do, because … they’re … said by someone we agree with, mostly? *shrug*

    Oh do can it, Josh. Unless you’re actually going to come right out and accuse me of being on an ethical par with Slyme.

    I didn’t think the original post was all that sharp — sorry, SpokesGay Josh — but this is hilarious. Please keep going.

    That’s fine. You’re not to my taste all the time either. Didn’t we settle this on Twitter darlin?

  104. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m not trying to defend “Mommy”, either; she sounds annoying, I guess. Not really annoying enough to merit a post, in my opinion, but whatever, I’m not the arbiter of what’s postworthy

    You see, but you do think you’re the arbiter, Josh. That’s the very reason you saw fit to drop in and lay some passive aggressive, “I don’t like this post but I don’t really wanna own it” shit.

    I’m also curious to hear from JoshOSG what he meant by the comments I read as privilege-denying, since unless there’s some sockpuppetry going on, you telling me what he meant by them makes as much sense as me telling you what A7s meant.

    What are you even trying to say?

    Let’s be upfront here, Josh Larios: You don’t like my style. You think I’m nasty. You don’t want me to have anything reasonable to say about Mommy cuz you think I’m Mean (TM). But you don’t want to have to really commit to that, so you affect to be “just observing” or just saying you don’t find it that amusing, but it’s ” hilarious as a “what’s the deal with airplane food? It’s terrible, right?””.

    If you actually thought that you wouldn’t be moved to comment. Dude, own your insults. You’re lobbing them left and right (and I get it, really! I love me some insults) while you pretend to be all “aw shucks.”

    I’m not too fond of you, either, JL. I just prefer to tell it to you straight.

  105. says

    Ok, I’ll come right out and say that my perception of the way you’re acting here (in the comments, not the original post) is, while definitely not on an ethical par with the slymepitters, unpleasant and dismissive. You are, of course, free to act however you feel best. If that includes telling people to shut up rather than considering whether there might be anything to think about in what they said, well, you certainly don’t have to defend yourself to me.

    (Oh noes! Tone argument! 100 point penalty to me; I lose!)

  106. says

    I don’t notice your style enough to have an opinion on it, SpokesJosh. I don’t pay attention to twitter, and I mainly read posts here via RSS, so I don’t see the comments. The only reason I saw this post was that I was fixing B&W’s RSS feed this morning. I don’t care if you have anything reasonable to say about Mommy or not. I own not understanding what the point of the original post is. The post about Mommy is, as far as I’m concerned, forgettable — not because it’s bad or mommy-shaming or whatever, but because it’s boring. I don’t know if you’re Mean(TM) or not, and I don’t particularly care. I own these opinions, and lack of opinions.

    I came to comment about Kraft vs Annie’s, because I do have an opinion about that. And it turns out I do have an opinion about your dismissiveness, and about being called a Slymepit troll for pointing it out. I just regret that I wasn’t able to derail the conversation into a thread where people posted their favorite macaroni and cheese recipes. I’m a fan of this one, myself.

  107. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You could have said that at the get go, and then we wouldn’t have to go around the mulberry bush beating through your dour fake pretend sniffiness because you didn’t want to come out and say it. That’s not being politic, that’s being disingenuous.

    You’re absolutely right that I’m being unpleasant and dismissive. I mean to be. I think you and Ace of Sevens are up on a ridiculous high horse in oxygen so rarefied your heads are addled. You’re exercised about my not wanting to engage in sociological analysis and human-services-worker deference to the totally anonymous, totally unharmed subject of a little piece I tossed off for fun. Not because I’ve actually trampled on anyone’s humanity, but because you’ve got a big bug up your ass about something.

    You’ve got brass balls to think you’ve a legitimate complaint about my unpleasant attitude. What gave you the idea I was obliged to put up with this kind of bullshit with a smile on my face? For a goddamned satirical blog post?

    Fuck you Josh.

  108. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And it turns out I do have an opinion about your dismissiveness,

    Piss up a rope. You don’t get to be all judgmental about how I didn’t respond to bullshit, irrelevant baiting the way you thought I ought.

    and about being called a Slymepit troll for pointing it out.

    And that’s relevant to me because? You do realize, don’t you, that I never said any such thing?

  109. says

    So, instead of opening with “I like Annie’s more than Kraft” I should have gone with “fuck you”? I’ll keep that in mind for next time. On second thought, fuck next time. Engaging was a bad idea, and I regret it; I don’t know why I thought it might be a good way to spend my time. Sorry, all.

  110. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You should have gone with “don’t be a total asshole for no good reason and then try to disown it while insulting and blaming the person.” It isn’t much to ask.

  111. Nepenthe says

    Parents who cry and moan about their feelings being hurt when other people don’t wish to cater to their screaming offspring in every situation are about as sympathetic as double bass players who whine if fellow commuters give them the stink eye for hitting people with their instrument as they shove it into a crowded subway car. This is not oppression; this is consequences.

  112. Maureen Brian says

    Guys, what the fuck is cheese powder?

    And will you please keep that aspect of your “civilisation” to yourselves. Thank you.

  113. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    The sheer number of “Oh you don’t have kids, you don’t get this womans problems” responses is just ridiculous.

    If someone brings their children to my house, along with a shit load of toys, and then proceeds to dump said toys in the middle of my living room before plonking themself down with a G and T (or sparkling water, whatever) and proceeding to ignore their little brats while they run riot and irritate the rest of my guests, they are being fucking rude. If they then finally deign to pay attention to said lawless, amoral little brats only to muscle their way into a crowded kitchen and demand everyone make room for them so they can cook their spoiled little darling a special meal for no other reason than they want one, ignoring the table full of food provided for them in the process, then they are being fucking rude. Having kids does not give people an excuse to be fucking rude, and my mind genuinely boggles at the number of people who seem to think it does.

  114. latsot says

    My nephew was (and still is to some extent) a *really* picky eater. Very seriously so. Worryingly so. And his parents tried everything, including seeing several specialists and trying – very conscientiously – several different routines. He gradually improved over time especially – oddly – after his tonsils were removed. Recently he has been diagnosed with dyspraxia, which is very likely the source of his picky eating. Apparently some sufferers have a hypersensitivity to texture in their mouths which makes them not want to eat.

    Anyway, the point is this: despite this very serious (and at the time, undiagnosed) problem, his parents never once turned up at someone else’s house and started cooking stuff – apparently without asking – because the kid demanded it. They made sure they were prepared. They brought food with them that they knew he’d eat. They didn’t make a nuisance of themselves or assume it was OK to inconvenience others because they hadn’t prepared for a problem they knew about.

    And anyway, ‘pot luck’ isn’t a term I’m used to, but am I right in thinking it means that everyone brings some food with them? Surely Mommy would have brought some food she was confident that her kids would eat? It doesn’t sound like Higgins is necessarily a picky eater. Rather a demanding little brat who knows exactly what he can get away with when he wants attention. It’s not hard to speculate how he might have got that way.

  115. latsot says

    Parents who cry and moan about their feelings being hurt when other people don’t wish to cater to their screaming offspring in every situation are about as sympathetic as double bass players who whine if fellow commuters give them the stink eye for hitting people with their instrument as they shove it into a crowded subway car. This is not oppression; this is consequences.

    Yeah. Personally, I don’t mind when kids create havoc in public. They’re kids, they have poor impulse control. But it really pisses me off when the parents just ignore it. They’re used to the screaming and mayhem and can tune it out, so they don’t bother to stop them annoying everyone else. I’ve nothing against parents bringing babies to restaurants but I do object when they hand them a spoon or something to bash on the table to keep them less annoying to them, but considerably more so for everyone else.

    We have some ‘friends’ who used to bring their kids to our house and then basically just sit around, more or less forcing us to look after the kids if we didn’t want them to wreck the place/injure themselves. On one memorable occasion, we went on holiday with them and a bunch of other people. They slept very late every day, but of course, the kids got up and needed feeding and entertaining. So we felt – perhaps wrongly – obliged to stay in and look after them until the parents got up. One day, the father went apeshit at us because an upstairs window was open and his brats could have fallen out. He was heard on the phone complaining about his “so-called friends”.

  116. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @WMDKitty

    I followed your link, and read the “sanctimommy” page. I am now irate. Those genuienly are the irritating people. But at least now I have a name for them :) thanks for that.

  117. says

    >Non-parent privilege

    Has any of you jackasses seen the shit said to women who choose not to have children before spouting off on this? Or how gays are less than complete in their relationships because no children? But yeah, non-parent privilege is totes a thing, especially that applies to all non-breeding humans. Just like when dudes insist ladies’ night is Female PRivilege.

  118. says

    Latsot:
    My baby goes everywhere with me– even restaurants*. I’ve shocked friends and family because at the slightest hint of fussiness and I’m out of there.

    I can’t stand other kids throwing a boredom fit, so I would never do that to someone else.

    *And the local beer garden, but they have high chairs, so I figure it’s okay.

  119. yahweh says

    One thing is for certain. Adults are privileged over children by any definition of the term privileged.

    Of course, one difference is that, with sad exceptions, most children live to enjoy the privilege of adulthood. And most of those get to enjoy the privilege of being in charge of children in their turn. (I’m the daddy now)

    What is it our mummies and daddies used to say and do? That we now say and do?

    – Unless little Snotlynne is on a medically-necessary restricted diet, xe can eat what the grown-ups are eating, and going hungry now and again won’t kill hir.

    – … their screaming offspring ….

    – go hungry, you little shit.

    – Do not prepare special foods just for the child. This is a power play, pure and simple.

    – If the child won’t eat — let the child “not eat”. The child will eat when he/she gets hungry. No child has ever starved to death from missing a single meal.

    – … spoiled children …

    -… you eat what we eat, or you can have some cheddar cheese.

    – put an end to the screaming when it starts to carry down the neighborhood.

    Everyone in this correspondence survived their upbringing. Most with Stockholm Syndrome.

    Hands up if you can see nothing wrong at all in talking about people this way or treating people this way, as long as they are children?

  120. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Josh L.
    August 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    “Non-parent privilege”. [………….]is speaking from a position that the parent of the bratty kid can’t speak from, no matter how awful the parent himself or herself is.

    No, it isn’t, because the parent was once a non-parent themself; having kids rarely erases ones memory of what it was like NOT to have kids.

    “what’s the deal with airplane food?

    Simple rule of thumb with airline food;
    If it’s brown, it’s meat
    If it’s white, it’s sweet
    If it’s grey, don’t eat!

    133.
    Maureen Brian
    August 6, 2013 at 1:42 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    Guys, what the fuck is cheese powder?

    And will you please keep that aspect of your “civilisation” to yourselves. Thank you

    :-) :-)
    And don’t get me started on that other cheesy wonder from across the pond, the cheese in a can. Yep, Kraft make a fucking aerosol cheese!

    136.
    Rutee Katreya
    August 6, 2013 at 4:11 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    >Non-parent privilege

    Has any of you jackasses seen the shit said to women who choose not to have children before spouting off on this? Or how gays are less than complete in their relationships because no children? But yeah, non-parent privilege is totes a thing, especially that applies to all non-breeding humans.[….]

    Not to mention people like my older brother and his wife, who tried with increasing desperation for years to have a child with no success. Strangely I never thought to ask how they enjoyed their ‘non-parent privilege’.

  121. says

    You had parents who made you meals?
    And there was food IN THE HOUSE?

    Lucky.

    When I was a kid the idea of turning up your nose at the one food you were lucky enough to be offered was not even something that entered your mind.

    No, you don’t have to raise your kids that way. It was fucked up.
    But at a party, you can tell your spoiled, self-centered non-toddler that they can 1. try whats there, or b. be polite at the party and have a snack when he gets home.

    Or you can just skip the party, stay home and do some parenting.

    Of course, it sounds to me like this kind of behavior might have been welcomed at this party, in which case I guess overindulging overindulged kids is part of the vibe. If that’s your scene, cool. (apart from the “turning your kids into assholes” thing, I mean)

    Don’t invite me though.

  122. says

    Middle-class white mommies may not not go to prison or get shot for minor traffic violations usually, but everyone knows exactly what they are doing wrong

    yeah, because while non-white moms do have to worry about violence and prison, THEIR parenting is NEVER brought into question.

    On national TV.
    Regularly.
    By political pundits.

    In an attempt to base punitive Federal legislation on these claims.
    In order to help disenfranchise an group of people.

    Jesus fuck.

  123. says

    You know, yahweh, if an adult came to my house for a party and then demanded to cook something for themselves because they didn’t like what I had to offer, then yeah. I’d have a few choice words for them, then I’d show that entitled jerk the door.

    My tolerance for people’s absurd behavior has been at an all time low lately.

  124. latsot says

    My baby goes everywhere with me– even restaurants*. I’ve shocked friends and family because at the slightest hint of fussiness and I’m out of there.

    I’ve taken my nieces and nephews out of restaurants because they were getting bored. We just went and did something stupid together outside for a bit. It was fun for me too, definitely worth a ten minute break from dull conversation. OK, maybe I was the one getting bored and making a fuss. But either way, I’d take talking to and playing with children above most things, certainly above annoying people who just want a quiet meal. I understand that parents are likely to be more jaded and exhausted than uncles, but for me, that glass is completely full. Taking my nephew out of a restaurant because he was – understandably – bored and talking to him about acorns and squirrels and dinosaurs and evolution and transformers instead of talking to my friends about about their new kitchens? No competition at all.

  125. says

    We’ve all been kids; most of us have been raised by parents with some idea of manners and the expectation that will we not cause undue trouble by demanding that we get what we want when there are others’ wants to be considered.

    And very often we may not have kids ourselves, but we’ve helped raise younger siblings, have done extensive babysitting with the very Indulged Child about whom we are told we know nothing, or we have worked with kids as teachers or social service workers or whatever. Just because we don’t have kids does NOT mean that we know nothing ABOUT kids.

    So why is it non-parent privilege when we, who have been kids, who know kids who do interact well in groups, who have supervised kids, voice our opinion that children who misbehave or are selfish or who don’t try to fall in with the plan are a pain? Note that the story didn’t involve a non-parent admonishing the child.

    If a guest started to rummage in my cupboards without asking, then that guest is RUDE. If when I ask them what they’re looking for, they tell me that they were planning to cook my food and eat it without asking me, then they are RUDE.

    A scene from my experience:

    Me, making breakfast for visitors: Who wants scrambled eggs?
    Various guests: I do; Count me in; No thanks; etc.
    Visiting Mommy, to Indulged Child of 5, who was just fine before Mommy said this: You don’t like scrambled eggs, do you? You only like boiled or fried eggs.
    Indulged Child: (runs around and around the kitchen table, screaming) I won’t eat scrambled eggs! You can’t make me!! (Repeat many times at loud volume)
    Me (when I caught the kid and got through to him): Nobody’s going to make you eat scrambled eggs. In this house, nobody makes you eat anything. And we don’t scream in this house. If you want to tell me something, just tell me, and I’ll listen, okay?
    Indulged kid, in a state of shock: Nods head.
    Visiting Mommy, to Indulged Child: See? She’ll fry you an egg.
    Me: No, I won’t. I only asked who wanted scrambled eggs, and I’m making a big pan of scrambled eggs. There’s plenty of food — there’s bacon, there’s toast and cereal. He won’t go hungry.
    Visiting Mommy to me: (Extremely shocked expression, turning into extremely hurt expression)
    Visiting Mommy to Indulged Child: That’s okay. I’ll fry you an egg.
    Breakfast cooked–and fried egg forgotten–all sit down, and the kid asks for scrambled eggs — *because you don’t have to have kids to know that kids very often want to do what the grownups are doing* or (as it could have gone but didn’t on that particular occasion) that a kid who loves bacon, as I knew this one did, with a plate of bacon and toast and stuff will probably not flip out because they don’t have a cooked-to-order egg.

    There would not have been the slightest problem if Visiting Mommy hadn’t *suggested* to the kid that he didn’t like what was going on the table.

    Sometimes, those of us without kids are the ones outside the dynamic, who have more perspective on the situation.

  126. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @latsot

    That right there is why I think I’d make a great uncle, but not (currently, at least) a great parent.

  127. Blondin says

    Good story, Josh. I also thought of ‘Storm’ as I was reading it. And this bit: “…they will stare straight at me with a Village of the Damned look…” made me snort.

  128. Robert B. says

    Neighbor asked her what she needed.

    Hah, this New Englander knows exactly what that means. That was the nonplussed “… Do you need something?” that is social code for “You have, I hope obliviously, crossed a social boundary. Whatever you need, it should have been addressed by talking to me rather than doing what you are doing.” It is exactly what I would have said if a party guest went into my pots and pans, or any other set of my tools, without permission.

    Now I want to go back and see if there’s any more secret code hidden in the narration.

  129. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Leading on from MEFoley’s comment:

    My little sister turned 21 this past Sunday, and has just finished a three year BA in Early Years Child Development. She is now going on to do something which (if I remember correctly) is called an NVQ, which means she can legally work in a nursery and teach preschool; that kind of thing. As part of her degree she has done extensive work in nurseries, playschools and preschools; her job during the Summer and Easter breaks was at a Child’s day-camp thing called Barracudas (she’s there right now, actually), and she regularly babysits.

    So in short, she fully and completely understands physical, emotional and psychological development in a child and indeed understands it a lot better than any parent I’ve ever spoken to, and has extensive experience in actualy caring for children; but has no children of her own. I wonder if those slapping the label of “non-parent privilege” on the childless among us would be of the opinion that my sister is unqualified to offer an opinion on parenting? Because I can tell you right now what her opinion of “mommy” would be.

  130. latsot says

    You sound like an awesome uncle!

    No, it’s the nibblings who are awesome. I don’t make the fun, they do. All I do is enjoy what they say and laugh with them. And maybe teach them some stuff sometimes when they ask.

  131. Nepenthe says

    @yahweh

    Indeed, noticing and saying out loud that many children are, in fact, loud, obnoxious, and spoiled–often through no fault of their own–is tantamount to mistreating all children. It certainly is abuse for a child to not eat for a few hours after refusing to eat the food offered. It really is amazing we all survived.

    And when I complain about the loud, obnoxious, spoiled college students who are my neighbors, I’m abusing them, not annoyed that they play music at all hours, smoke outside my window, and treat my first floor apartment like a zoo exhibit.

  132. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    That family sounds like a nightmare to have at a social gathering.

    I have four kids and often have an extra in tow. I’m used to making concessions and understanding children have limitations. They can get board or over stimulated easily. They want attention and the little ones love to loudly proclaim their farts in public (and other people’s too.). That said, the stuff Josh wrote about would have me snickering at “Mommy”, behind her back, if not rolling my eyes right in front of her. Then again, my husband and I saw a kid screaming and begging for some stupid toy at the grocery store a few days ago. I was tempted to walk up to the screaming kid, drop kick the toy across the store and walk away. I didn’t, but wanting to is enough to make me a curmudgeon. So, there’s that. However, I’m a curmudgeon who can go shopping with her kids without being treated like a walking ATM.
    Now if only I could keep the neighbor kids off my lawn……

  133. yahweh says

    Nepenthe, you say (ironically or sarcastically) that it’s “amazing we all survived”.

    I’m saying that children survive by becoming the ‘enemy’, eradicating traits in themselves which they have been taught to despise, ‘noticing’ these traits is other types of person, and perpetuating the cycle of contempt, of which this entry with its responses is an exemplar.

  134. says

    latsot:

    All I do is enjoy what they say and laugh with them. And maybe teach them some stuff sometimes when they ask.

    That’s what makes you awesome!

    One of my older sisters is child free and (to be bluntly honest) she’s not the most patient or understanding person. But when she spends time with her nieces/god children, she just has a blast hanging out with them. She’s the favorite aunt without even trying. :)

  135. says

    Privilege is situational. Parent and non-parent privilege both exist.

    When I said parents have to deal with this, I should have said just mothers. The stereotype that middle-class white mothers are overprotective neurotics who overindulge their kids while screwing them up by sheltering them from real-world problem is part of the standard misogynistic tool kit. Just look at any media from middle class white men having to do with mothers. Maybe that’s not what Josh meant, but it sure sounded like he was playing off that narrative. (There are other stereotypes about other classes and races of parents, too.)

  136. says

    Privilege is situational. Parent and non-parent privilege both exist.

    Privilege may be situational, but it still has to be real. Kyriarchy is not an excuse to just make shit up.

    When I said parents have to deal with this, I should have said just mothers. The stereotype that middle-class white mothers are overprotective neurotics who overindulge their kids while screwing them up by sheltering them from real-world problem is part of the standard misogynistic tool kit.

    It only took you 150 posts to tacitly admit that non-parent privilege isn’t a thing, just misogyny. Now you’re approaching reality, good job.

  137. says

    Saying it’s kind of misogyny doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There’s an idea that women exist to produce children to further society. If they don’t have children, then they are supposed to. If they do have children, they are raising them wrong and that’s where all of society’s problems come from. How they are raising them wrong depends on class and race.

  138. says

    Hands up if you can see nothing wrong at all in talking about people this way or treating people this way, as long as they are children?

    About the only questionable thing in there is the ‘you little shit’, and that only vaguely. It is incredibly rude to demand other people cook especially for your tastes (Rather than actual physical needs – such as preparing gluten-free food for someone who can’t eat food with gluten, such as my step-mother).

  139. says

    yahweh@138, 152

    Well said, and you expressed what I had intended to post.

    Alexandra (née Audley)@142

    There was nothing in yahweh’s post that I saw which could be reasonably construed as a defense of the mother in the original post.

    I think it’s perfectly possible to help your children understand the importance of being polite without interpreting these events as combatative (I only have 5, two with mild autism spectrum disorders, though, so perhaps my experience is lacking). I don’t have a problem with making a separate dish my kids like occasionally in my own kitchen; but certainly agree that at someone else’s house, it’s my job to cater to my picky eater without rummaging through the owner’s cabinets.

    Frankly, as a group supposedly devoted to the ideas of skepticism, forming your own opinions, and coming to your own understanding of reality free from “because I say so” dogma, it seems odd that so many people advocate a “my way or the highway” attitude toward children, at least in their comments here. To be clear, you can say some of these comments opposing the mother’s actions express views that are wrong, yet also say that what the mother did was not defensible.

  140. says

    Saying it’s kind of misogyny doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    True; the part where neither parents or non-parents aren’t actually marginalized in society at large based on that status is what means it doesn’t exist.

    How they are raising them wrong depends on class and race.

    None of this means there’s ‘non-parent privilege’, you fucking jackass. What this means is that perceived parenting flaws and family organization (Including ‘none’) are one of the rivers from which actual fucking oppression flows, not that non-parents or parents are fucking oppressed.

  141. says

    Rutee Katreya@158,

    Where did yahweh suggest that it was not “incredibly rude to demand other people cook especially for your tastes”? If they have addressed that, I certainly missed it.

    Also, if you really think 8-year-olds understand power dynamics to the points of engaging in something as abstract as a “power play” (a point you implied you had no problem with), as opposed to just trying to get what they want, that really sounds like a serious case of projection.

  142. says

    Where did yahweh suggest that it was not “incredibly rude to demand other people cook especially for your tastes”? If they have addressed that, I certainly missed it.

    If the only acceptable response for the host is to let the mother do what she will, then there aren’t many options, or If the mother must accede to the child’s pickiness regardless of circumstance (See prior regarding poor children), there aren’t really a lot of options left.

    Also, if you really think 8-year-olds understand power dynamics to the points of engaging in something as abstract as a “power play” (a point you implied you had no problem with), as opposed to just trying to get what they want, that really sounds like a serious case of projection.

    I’d say it sounds more like I was paying attention in psychology class. I don’t really know or care whether the child is actually conscious of power dynamics, but if the child thinks behaving in a certain way is likely to reward it, it’s going to do it. Whether it consciously understands the meaning of a power play is immaterial. Cats are basically the same way, and a child is certainly more capable of understanding the meaning of power than a cat.

  143. yahweh says

    “I don’t really know or care whether the child is actually conscious of power dynamics, but if the child thinks behaving in a certain way is likely to reward it, it’s going to do it.”

    Rutee Katreya, This is objectification. Firstly in the use of the pronoun ‘it’ and secondly in the reduction of a person to mechanism. As a thought experiment, use Jew or Black in place of child and see how it sounds.

    Or is the comparison is invalid because it’s children we are talking about?

  144. says

    Hey, what Josh L said above about fixing B&W’s RSS feed yesterday morning – it’s the truth. Josh L rescued the original B&W from oblivion by taking over as webmaster (and doing a beautiful redesign) totally pro bono more than three years ago; he ain’t no slime pitter.

  145. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Slow clap, y’all. Important, reasonable stuff. Completely appropriate and topical. Not at all about your own personal hobbyhorses that grind a rut in the floor.

    Again, slow clap.

  146. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    He’s also acting like an ass, and his background isn’t apparent to all and sundry, just what he wrote here.

    No, he’s no slime pitter for sure.

  147. says

    @Ace — so how it is misogynistic to eyeroll at this particular woman and the way she was handling her particular children at this particular event. Do you think it’s reasonable to go rootling around in somebody else’s cupboards with the intention of finding and cooking their food and serving it to your offspring, without permission, when the kitchen is stuffed full of people doing the thing that they’d all come there to do, and you will be a bother?

    *Everything* is situational. And in this particular situation, one particular woman seems to have been over-indulged this particular child. I don’t see how you can think that\s misogynistic unless you think any criticism of any female is misogyny.

    Yes, I’m sure there is misogyny in the world and that it is sometimes expressed via hostility against mothers with kids, but I don’t see it in this situation. Where’s the misogyny? Are your sympathies *really* with that particular mother, and how she behaved in that kitchen during that party???

  148. says

    Josh, no, I know, but I think some people know he’s the totally as a favor webmaster. Anyway I wasn’t around yesterday evening to confirm that he is so I’m confirming it now. He’s, like, the negation of a slime pitter.

  149. says

    Rutee Katreya, This is objectification. Firstly in the use of the pronoun ‘it’ and secondly in the reduction of a person to mechanism. As a thought experiment, use Jew or Black in place of child and see how it sounds.

    Children are not oppressed like PoC or Jews. It is, in fact, not identical, nor is it a valid comparison, but your appropriation is noted, you jackass. I also note you still haven’t actually responded to anything I said.

  150. yahweh says

    Rutee Katreya,

    I know it’s rude not to argue, but I’m happy to let people’s responses stand as a rule :-)

  151. Acolyte of Sagan says

    161.
    Ace of Sevens
    August 6, 2013 at 8:10 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    [……..]. How they are raising them wrong depends on class and race

    Absolute hogwash! A bad parent is a bad parent irrespective of class or race.

    168.
    yahweh
    August 6, 2013 at 8:50 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    Rutee Katreya, This is objectification. Firstly in the use of the pronoun ‘it’ and secondly in the reduction of a person to mechanism. As a thought experiment, use Jew or Black in place of child and see how it sounds.

    As a thought experiment, this sounds like you are suggesting that the average Jew or Black has the cognitive abilities of an eight year-old child. Don’t you think it’s just a little disingenuous to try playing the racist and anti-Semetic cards to accompany Ace’s non-parent privilege card?

  152. HappyNat says

    Well this thread turned into . . . something

    yahweh

    I’m saying that children survive by becoming the ‘enemy’, eradicating traits in themselves which they have been taught to despise, ‘noticing’ these traits is other types of person, and perpetuating the cycle of contempt, of which this entry with its responses is an exemplar.

    Despite your over the top rhetoric eradicating annoying traits is also called “growing up”. Pooping your pants, throwing a fit over the TV being turned off, ripping objects out of people’s hands, tossing food on the floor on in your hair, yelling in the car, damn straight these are traits I want to eradicate because they need to be eradicated for a child to be an adult. Kids are selfish little shits sometimes and they are supposed to be selfish little shits. Parents and adults are supposed to help them see that behavior is annoying.

    Children are not equal to adults because they are fucking children and not adults. I love kids (most of the time I even like my own) this does not mean they have the full rights of adults. Saying kids are annoying sometimes is not discrimination it’s the truth. As you mature and grow up you get more rights and responsibilities, that’s kinda how life works.

  153. Acolyte of Sagan says

    .179.
    HappyNat
    August 6, 2013 at 10:17 am (UTC -7)
    […..] I love kids (most of the time I even like my own )[…….]

    Spoken like a true parent ;-)

  154. yahweh says

    AoS,

    I was inviting the reader to reconsider the phrase “I don’t really know or care whether the child is actually conscious of power dynamics, but if the child thinks behaving in a certain way is likely to reward it, it’s going to do it”.

    It is objectification but it passes unnoticed (partly) because we are all so familiar with it, both as subject and object.

    I do not believe it is a coincidence that so many people harbour these attitudes towards what we all once were, and that the Abrahamic religions’ central myths are of powerful fathers and willful children getting their just deserts unless they do as the are bloody well told.

    Hope this clarifies.

  155. A. Noyd says

    One Brow (#165)

    Also, if you really think 8-year-olds understand power dynamics to the points of engaging in something as abstract as a “power play” (a point you implied you had no problem with), as opposed to just trying to get what they want, that really sounds like a serious case of projection.

    First off, as Rutee said, the kid doesn’t necessarily have to be aware that he’s engaging in a power play to engage in one. Second, power dynamics are something most kids are actually pretty good at understanding because they’re always trying to get what they want.

    Third, because I was the sort of child to try to manipulate everything to my liking, I read your comment to my mum to see what her reaction would be and she laughed like I was repeating complete idiocy to her. She said that from the age of three I would argue with everything, so much so that she resorted to telling me, “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” And she said while she doesn’t think a child’s power plays are as sophisticated as, say, corporate takeovers, they definitely are a thing some children, especially by the age of eight, are adept at.

    (Hell, even when we didn’t want anything, my sister and I would indulge in power plays with no actual goal other than trolling my mother. Like recording a fake fight, complete with slapping and screaming, while she was out on a walk and then playing it back when she returned. She’d charge up the stairs ready to break up the fight only to find us playing together sweetly. Kids are assholes.)

  156. says

    Rutee Katreya@166
    If the only acceptable response for the host is to let the mother do what she will,

    Once more, and for the last time because if you don’t understand this point after reading it twice, repetition is unlikely to improve your understanding, yahweh did not defend the mother in the original post, and responding as if they had is inappropriate and poor behavior.

    I’d say it sounds more like I was paying attention in psychology class. I don’t really know or care whether the child is actually conscious of power dynamics, but if the child thinks behaving in a certain way is likely to reward it, it’s going to do it.

    Thank you for agreeing with me, even while starting off with a sentence I would more typically used to indicate disagreement. The child just wants, it’s the adult that interprets it into a power play.

    Cats are basically the same way, and a child is certainly more capable of understanding the meaning of power than a cat.

    I hear cats are certainly more capable of understand the meaning than fish, for that matter. None of that means children understand well enough to engage in a power play, an abstract concept of human dynamics.

  157. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Yaweh @ #182, I think you (and a few others) are making too much of this. Nobody as far as I can see is advocating a return to the Victorian ‘seen and not heard’ or the biblical ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ methods of raising children, just that since nobody is born with innate good manners and acceptable social behavioural traits, they have to be learned.
    It is, in my opinion, a massive failing on the part of the parents if children are not taught the basics of how to behave, but are instead allowed to grow up with the sense of entitlement that giving them their own way all of the time will give them. Let a child think it’s perfectly fine to go around hitting people and that child will likely be hurting people for the rest of its life, and we’ve all seen adults having childish tantrums when things don’t go their way (hence the oft-heard ‘so-and-so’s throwing the toys out of the pram again’); why do you think that is?

  158. Acolyte of Sagan says

    One Brow, adult ‘power play’ is exactly the same as a child trying to get its own way; whether it’s a ‘power play’ or ‘temper tantrum’, the goal is the same.

  159. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m taking suggestions for which defenseless middle class white mom I can attack and which children I should abuse and condemn to a life of deprivation today.

  160. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I should add to my last post: the next time you see a child throwing a full-on tantrum complete with tears and screaming and foot-stamping and so-on, just watch how quickly the tears dry up and behaviour changes as soon as the parent or carer gives them their own way, then tell me again that children don’t ‘do’ power-plays.

  161. says

    A Noyd@183,

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/power+play

    Children don’t have power, and don’t even really understand the concept of having power. Of course they understand influencing, persuading, pushing buttons, getting reactions, etc. Perhaps you could say schoolyard bullies engage in power plays with other students without understanding what power plays are, but regarding adults, they don’t have the power to begin with.

    I’m not surprised your mum laughed. The notion that parent are in a power struggle with kids is well-entrenched in many cultures. I don’t find her laughter as indicating anything of particular significance, but I’m glad you could find a trusted person to back your opinion. I’d hate for you to think that no one agreed with you, as that seems important to you.

    So far, one poster seems to have addressed yahweh’s actual point about the posted attitudes towards children, and that was with a one-sentence dismissal. No big deal there, but it’s unfortunate that so many are choosing to address points he did not make instead.

  162. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@185
    Yaweh @ #182, I think you (and a few others) are making too much of this. Nobody as far as I can see is advocating a return to the Victorian ‘seen and not heard’ …

    No one said you were. Most Pitters don’t advocate for a return tot he time women couldn’t vote. Neither comment is relevant to what yahweh actually said.

  163. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@188
    I should add to my last post: the next time you see a child throwing a full-on tantrum complete with tears and screaming and foot-stamping and so-on, just watch how quickly the tears dry up and behaviour changes as soon as the parent or carer gives them their own way, then tell me again that children don’t ‘do’ power-plays.

    If the child had the power to begin with, it would not needed to use a tantrum to gain what it wanted.

  164. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Come on, surely there’s some undeserving Volvo-wagon-driving parent you’d like to see brought low (I mean, even lower, on accounta it’s hard to be them anyway right?).

  165. yahweh says

    AoS,

    I understand what your saying but respectfully (and completely) disagree.

    I think that it is our relationships with ourselves as children which is the fons et origo of the evils – non-thinking acquiescence to authority, anger displaced onto outgroups – which this kind of forum is against.

    You say “Let a child think it’s perfectly fine to go around hitting people and that child will likely be hurting people for the rest of its life”. This is entirely true but you probably were thinking of not correcting a child for hitting someone. Yet in practice it is nearly always an adult demonstrating to the child that hitting is OK.

    This is an everyday evil and any suggestion that it comes from the child is far too close to original sin for my liking. Too close to blaming the victim, for that matter.

    And if anyone finds themselves wanting to scream that children aren’t perfect, let me just say that God also loves his children (apparently) yet finds them disappointing and infuriating. He also deploys carrot and stick. And always for the best of reasons. Do you really want to be like Him?

    I will now shut the fuck up. (Cheers)

  166. carlie says

    Holy cow, I am late to this party!

    If nothing else, surely people can agree that Mommy severely transgressed social boundaries by rooting around in someone’s cupboards as Robert metioned in #151, yes? Seriously, you don’t do that. There is no wieldable privilege or lack thereof that excuses opening drawers and cabinets in someone else’s house. And assuming you can use someone’s stove? What if it was broken, and that’s why it was a potluck? What about the fact that in a potluck situation, all available surfaces are being used so having a hot cooktop will be a melting/fire/injury hazard? Holy shit no, it does not matter the reason, you do not go over to someone’s house for a party assuming you can cook in their kitchen.

    As for privileges, I have a kid who is a very picky eater due to being autistic, and is ALSO allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts. Potlucks are the biggest freaking pain in the world, laden with all kinds of culinary minefields. So what I do is feed him beforehand, bring a few small snacks to slip to him if needed, carefully monitor everything he tries, and then feed him when we get home if he’s still hungry. What I don’t do is inconvenience the host, who has graciously offered their space and organizational skills in having the event in the first place.

    Seriously, every person who is complaining about this, go back and read it again. The offense isn’t in her having a kid who will only eat mac and cheese. The offense isn’t in her rejecting the food present. The offense isn’t in any of the parenting choices or situations that have happened to help cause this situation to come about. This is about a party. A completely optional party, that she could have turned down attending, that she could have decided not to bring her kids to, that she could have opted to feed them before for, that she could have opted to bring her own dish that was something her kids would eat (it was a potluck, right? So she should have brought something palatable to at least her own family, right?), that she could have promised the child food after, that she could have *gasp* left early if the kids were acting up and hungry. But instead, she chose to try and cook her kid some food in the kitchen of someone else’s house during a party, and poke into their cabinets, and do it without asking the person who owned the kitchen. There is nothing defensible about that.

  167. says

    Once more, and for the last time because if you don’t understand this point after reading it twice, repetition is unlikely to improve your understanding, yahweh did not defend the mother in the original post, and responding as if they had is inappropriate and poor behavior.

    Okay, lets pretend that’s actually true, rather than this jackass just playing zir faux socratic game for a second. Did you not notice me saying

    or If the mother must accede to the child’s pickiness regardless of circumstance

    Because the jackass has not offered an acceptable response – only compared letting a kid go hungry for a meal because they refuse to eat what they’re given to the treatment a kidnapper gives a hostage. And don’t dance around this – Stockholm Syndrome is a rather specific choice.

    Thank you for agreeing with me, even while starting off with a sentence I would more typically used to indicate disagreement. The child just wants, it’s the adult that interprets it into a power play.

    Noooope. I’m saying that regardless of whether the child understands it as such, the child is engaging in one. Children also don’t have to understand the finer points of gravity to do a cannon ball, nor do they need to understand Shakespearean literature critique to watch a parody of a Shakespearean play in a cartoon.

    I hear cats are certainly more capable of understand the meaning than fish, for that matter. None of that means children understand well enough to engage in a power play, an abstract concept of human dynamics.

    No, the fact that children *DO IT* means that they can engage in a power play. Whether they understand it on an intellectual level is immaterial. Hence the comparison to *cats*. Who *also* engage in power plays with their owners.

    @Acolyte of Sagan

    Absolute hogwash! A bad parent is a bad parent irrespective of class or race.

    No, see, that part is actually true. The narrative of how parents (or just mothers, if we’re talking about middle class white people) raise kids wrong does actually vary by race or class (regardless of the facts of an individual case). It just doesn’t mean that parents or non-parents are substantively privileged over one another. The jackass doesn’t seem to realize that what he’s delineating is regular old racism, sexism, classism or the like.

  168. says

    Things I have learned over the past 24 hours:
    Due to my status as a Mommy™, I am allowed to behave however I wish, whenever and wherever I happen to be as long as it is In Service™ of My Special Picky Snowflake™. Regular rules of etiquette to not apply to me or My Special Picky Snowflake™ because we are Very Important™ and all of you simply Do Not Understand™ how Difficult™ it is to be a Mommy™†.

    Please do not criticize me again, as I have been Severely Oppressed™ by my choice to have a child.

    †Irrespective of whether or not you have children; if you’re child free or childless then you have no idea what it’s like to be a Parent™ and therefore are not allowed to judge. If you have kids of you’re own, criticizing me or My Special Picky Snowflake™ simply demonstrates that you’re Doing It Wrong™.

  169. carlie says

    Cam – severe if you happen to be the kind of person who might hide things in the cupboards when cleaning for the upcoming party. ;)

  170. A. Noyd says

    @One Brow
    Hey, let me know if you plan to go beyond bald assertions and ad hominems and I might pay attention to you again.

  171. Dan L. says

    yahweh and One Brow need to get over themselves.

    One Brow — you obviously know what “power play” means in context and now you’re engaged in ridiculous semantic hair-splitting to avoid admitting you’re wrong.

    yahweh — using “it” as a gender neutral third person pronoun could be objectification — but it probably isn’t. Describing spoiled children as “spoiled” isn’t abusive — it’s descriptive. Describing them as “spoiled little shits” (not to their faces but in the context of commentary on a snarky blog-post) is just more colorfully descriptive.

    Why don’t you guys save some of your ire for people who, ya know, actually abuse their children instead of people who point out the correct way to deal with kids who are picky eaters.*

    *Giving into the child’s pickiness only reinforces the pickiness and makes it worse while making them eat what’s available or wait is more likely to put them in a situation of trying new things and finding out they like them. I wish my mother had been a little less of a pushover in this regard — my pickiness about food is one of my least favorite things about me.

  172. says

    Rutee Katreya@198
    Okay, lets pretend that’s actually true,

    You mean, lie pretending creationism is false? I don’t need to pretend something didn’t happen when you fail to offer evidence it did. Just because you seem to have bought into a dichotomous mind-set does not require that I do so.

    Because the jackass has not offered an acceptable response – only compared letting a kid go hungry for a meal because they refuse to eat what they’re given to the treatment a kidnapper gives a hostage. And don’t dance around this – Stockholm Syndrome is a rather specific choice.

    I agree that Stockholm Syndrome is a very specific choice, and one that fit well as an illustration to his point, from what I understood. Why would I dance around it? It fits generally with the construct of parenting as a struggle for control, a construct that I oppose and interpret yahweh as having opposed in his posts.

    Noooope. I’m saying that regardless of whether the child understands it as such, the child is engaging in one. Children also don’t have to understand the finer points of gravity to do a cannon ball, nor do they need to understand Shakespearean literature critique to watch a parody of a Shakespearean play in a cartoon.

    You can’t perform a cannonball where there is no gravity, and you can’t watch a parody of literature that does not exist. You can’t perform in a power play without 1) having power, and 2) recognizing that you have power.

    No, the fact that children *DO IT* means that they can engage in a power play.

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”. That might be a power play, if the adult in question was intimidated by such things. Reactions, even temper tantrums, are not power plays, and to treat them as such engages in wrong-headed thinking.

    A. Noyd@203
    @One Brow
    Hey, let me know if you plan to go beyond bald assertions and ad hominems and I might pay attention to you again.

    I have no reason to think you paying attention to my posts is a net benefit to me. So far, you’ve offered a bald assertion with no discernible attempt to even ascertain what I meant, an appeal to your mother, a story that in no way resembled you trying to use any sort of power to accomplish anything, and an abrupt dismissal. If you bring more to the party in the future, your threatened withdrawal might then merit a change in behavior.

    Dan L.@204
    yahweh and One Brow need to get over themselves.

    One Brow — you obviously know what “power play” means in context and now you’re engaged in ridiculous semantic hair-splitting to avoid admitting you’re wrong.

    yahweh — using “it” as a gender neutral third person pronoun could be objectification — but it probably isn’t. Describing spoiled children as “spoiled” isn’t abusive — it’s descriptive. Describing them as “spoiled little shits” (not to their faces but in the context of commentary on a snarky blog-post) is just more colorfully descriptive.

    Why don’t you guys save some of your ire for people who, ya know, actually abuse their children instead of people who point out the correct way to deal with kids who are picky eaters.*

    *Giving into the child’s pickiness only reinforces the pickiness and makes it worse while making them eat what’s available or wait is more likely to put them in a situation of trying new things and finding out they like them. I wish my mother had been a little less of a pushover in this regard — my pickiness about food is one of my least favorite things about me.

    Gosh, I guess I should be more of a “chill adult”, stop treating the cultural notion of “parents and children are engaged in a power struggle” as being more than semantics, buy into the philosophy that the right way to deal with children’s eccentricities is to force their compliance with normative behavior, accept that I lost an argument because of a distinction that I pointed out back in #165 (before there was an argument), focus on the issues you say are important instead of the issues I choose, and accept that if only your mother had been more demanding of you, that the result would have been you having a wider food preference as opposed to even greater maternal resentment. Instead, I’ll point out that all of your points resemble arguments that, when coming from the anti-feminists, are routinely derided on this site.

  173. says

    Surprise! This wasn’t a guest post at all – it was an excerpt from a future episode of Modern Family.

    Now maybe you can read it in the spirit in which it was intended – amused exasperation at a self-centered guest and her pretensions.

  174. Acolyte of Sagan says

    That’s how I saw it all along; one of those ‘it’s funny because it’s true’ things (as Homer would say). And I still agree with every word.

  175. says

    Josh, stop by upstate NY sometime and you can oppress my sister! She’s a doctor, so she’s on her way to being upper middle class. And my niece is utterly adorable. See, see how much I hate children and wish to eradicate their horrible traits! I express my hatred by spending time with my niece regularly and riding the carousel with her.

  176. says

    You mean, lie pretending creationism is false? I don’t need to pretend something didn’t happen when you fail to offer evidence it did. Just because you seem to have bought into a dichotomous mind-set does not require that I do so.

    You have a problem with reading complete sentences, don’t you? “Rather than playing zir faux-socratic game”. For evidence, I point to the jackass’ own words.

    I know it’s rude not to argue, but I’m happy to let people’s responses stand as a rule :-)

    For instance.

    I agree that Stockholm Syndrome is a very specific choice, and one that fit well as an illustration to his point, from what I understood. Why would I dance around it? It fits generally with the construct of parenting as a struggle for control, a construct that I oppose and interpret yahweh as having opposed in his posts.

    Still not answering the question of what an actually acceptable response is supposed to be. It’s getting rather conspicuous, actually, you should probably shut up, rather than continue your jackassery.

    You can’t perform a cannonball where there is no gravity, and you can’t watch a parody of literature that does not exist. You can’t perform in a power play without 1) having power, and 2) recognizing that you have power.

    For someone trying to pull the creationist card that’s ever so popular amongst terrible skeptics, you’re being hilariously ignorant of basic facts. Children do have some power within their family (Getting your family to do what you want is power on a very small scale), and they often damn well recognize that on an overt level (Which isn’t necessary for a power play at any rate). Fuck, entirely seperate with this damn conversation I was listetning to my girlfriend tell me about how her sister has been attempting to exercise power over the entire family since toddlerhood, and you’re going to sit here and tell me kids aren’t smart enough to understand the most basic level of power; “How can I make people do what I want?”

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”.

    Your ignorance is not my problem. You think kids don’t know when their actions will embarrass their parents, ever? Because I was damn well coached on how embarrassing I was being, and it’s not that hard to tell. I didn’t exercise that because I wasn’t in a rush to make my parents feel bad, but it didn’t change that I knew it was possible.

    That might be a power play, if the adult in question was intimidated by such things.

    A failed power play is still a power play. You’re going way above and beyond the call of duty to be ignorant, I see.

    Reactions, even temper tantrums, are not power plays, and to treat them as such engages in wrong-headed thinking.

    Demonstrate this with something besides stamping your feet and insisting it isn’t possible, and is bad.

  177. A. Noyd says

    Rutee (#211)

    You think kids don’t know when their actions will embarrass their parents, ever? Because I was damn well coached on how embarrassing I was being, and it’s not that hard to tell.

    I see so many little kids do that thing where they act out in public and then pause mid-tantrum to gauge what kind of reaction their antics are getting from the strangers around them. Being little kids, though, they suck at keeping up pretenses while doing their check, so the tears momentarily stop and their screwed up little faces relax in the most obvious way. And then, if they’ve determined they’re not getting the results they were aiming for, they instantaneously switch to doing something else.

    I mean, it’s amusing that people are denying kids don’t understand power dynamics when what kids are actually bad at, at least when they’re very young, is a level of subterfuge that might convincingly conceal that they understand power all too well.

  178. latsot says

    I had this whole spiel worked up in my head about rich-get-richer semantics and self-organisation and so on, but this says it better:

    I’d say it sounds more like I was paying attention in psychology class. I don’t really know or care whether the child is actually conscious of power dynamics, but if the child thinks behaving in a certain way is likely to reward it, it’s going to do it. Whether it consciously understands the meaning of a power play is immaterial. Cats are basically the same way, and a child is certainly more capable of understanding the meaning of power than a cat.

    Sometimes I hate being a computer scientist.

  179. latsot says

    If the child had the power to begin with, it would not needed to use a tantrum to gain what it wanted.

    Nonsense. To maintain power you have to wield it.

  180. Acolyte of Sagan says

    One Brow:

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”.

    So you’ve never been in a shop and heard “IwannachocolateIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATE” at a steadily increasing volume until parent gives in?

    You can’t perform in a power play without 1) having power, and 2) recognizing that you have power.

    The tantrum, and the effect it has, is the power; the first time a child throws a fit and gets its own way it recognises that it has the power to influence proceedings in its own favour. OK, in its brain it may not actually think “I have power” but it does very quickly learn that x=y, where x is throwing a tantrum and y is what it wants to acheive, and this is done from a very early age, which is why all the experts tell parents not to rush to pick up a baby every time it whimpers; the child very quickly gets used to the idea that crying is the quickest way to get what it wants, which very quickly escalates to it being that child screaming for chocolate.

    That might be a power play, if the adult in question was intimidated by such things

    As soon as a parent or carer gives in to a tantrum, that parent has been intimidated into giving way just as much as an over-bearing managing director can intimidate a board into acquiescence. A power play is a power play regardless of whether the person doing it can articulate what they are doing or not.

    Rutee:

    Because I was damn well coached on how embarrassing I was being, and it’s not that hard to tell.

    OK, I wasn’t going to tell this story because I’m sure that the privilege-obsessed posters would accuse me of abusing my ‘parent-privilege’, but…..
    I was once shopping with my wife and three of our children; the middle child, who was about 6 at the time, had been going on and on about wanting a certain toy, and her demands escalated into a full-on tantrum, so I decided to show her there and then just how silly she was being. I JOINED IN WITH HER! I started ranting and raving with much wailing and gnashing of teeth before throwing myself to the floor, kicking and slapping it in what was, though I say it myself, quite an impressive tantrum. It took seconds for my daughter to join her siblings, my wife, and the shop staff and customers in staring at me in horror. I then jumped to my feet and, with a cheery smile carried on with the shopping.
    Not one of my kids ever threw a tantrum in public again.

  181. says

    SallyStrange@209
    That was particularly pathetic.

    So pathetic, that its being true (outside of the typo) is immaterial, apparently. Thank you for your opinion. It’s appropriately noted.

  182. says

    SallyStrange@208
    Jebus. “Power play” is standard operating procedure for any social mammal, for fuck’s sake.

    For any social mammal, power plays require the possession of power.

  183. says

    Rutee Katreya@211

    You have a problem with reading complete sentences, don’t you? “Rather than playing zir faux-socratic game”. For evidence, I point to the jackass’ own words.

    So, yahweh’s refusal to acknowledge/rebut your attempt to tie them to an opinion on the on the original post is evidence of their opinion? It’s not hyper-skeptical to say that a post about how we talk about kids is some veiled support for some particular rude mother.

    Still not answering the question of what an actually acceptable response is supposed to be. It’s getting rather conspicuous, actually, you should probably shut up, rather than continue your jackassery.

    You mean, an acceptable response to a picky eater? That varies from situation to situation, of course. If you’re referring to this particular example, I already replied on what I thought was appropriate above. Of course, perhaps people who have trouble reading complete sentences would not have understood it. Just in case repetition will help:

    I don’t have a problem with making a separate dish my kids like occasionally in my own kitchen; but certainly agree that at someone else’s house, it’s my job to cater to my picky eater without rummaging through the owner’s cabinets.

    … and you’re going to sit here and tell me kids aren’t smart enough to understand the most basic level of power; “How can I make people do what I want?”

    No, I’m not going to tell you that. I’m one of those “terrible skeptics” that recognize power comes in a wide variety of forms, and can be sought in a variety of ways. A power play is the use of existing power to achieve a goal. When people talk of power plays by kids, they attribute actual power to the kids before the power play happens. Kids don’t have power over adults.

    Your ignorance is not my problem. You think kids don’t know when their actions will embarrass their parents, ever? Because I was damn well coached on how embarrassing I was being, and it’s not that hard to tell. I didn’t exercise that because I wasn’t in a rush to make my parents feel bad, but it didn’t change that I knew it was possible.

    Knowing something after the fact is not planning on using it before the fact.

    By the definition you are using, the use of non-violence in civil rights struggles facing violent reprisals is a power play, because it is an attempt to embarrass the oppressors.

    A failed power play is still a power play. You’re going way above and beyond the call of duty to be ignorant, I see.

    I see you as going above and beyond to defend your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

    Demonstrate this with something besides stamping your feet and insisting it isn’t possible, and is bad.

    Demonstrate that adults have all the power in the parent-child dynamic? If you don’t mean that, I don’t understand what you would expect to be demonstrated.

  184. says

    latsot@214

    If the child had the power to begin with, it would not needed to use a tantrum to gain what it wanted.

    Nonsense. To maintain power you have to wield it.

    My bosses don’t throw tantrums at me because they have power, relative to me in the workspace. If they did, it would be at least borderline to abuse. That’s also why an adult throwing a tantrum at a kid is borderline to abuse; kids don’t have power. Tantrums are not power, but an expression of the lack thereof.

  185. says

    I see you as going above and beyond to defend your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

    Nonsense. The job of a parent is to teach a child where and how to exercise power in social situations. The criticism of the mother here isn’t that she “allows her child to be a picky eater” but that she is teaching her child that “I get what I want, when I want it and how I want it, regardless of the impositions that places on everyone around me”.

    The child has power because the mother has given him power, and has enforced the use of that power on other people.

  186. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@215

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”.
    So you’ve never been in a shop and heard “IwannachocolateIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATE” at a steadily increasing volume until parent gives in?

    Of course. Why would I think those are the same thing?

    The tantrum, and the effect it has, is the power; the first time a child throws a fit and gets its own way it recognises that it has the power to influence proceedings in its own favour. OK, in its brain it may not actually think “I have power” but it does very quickly learn that x=y, where x is throwing a tantrum and y is what it wants to acheive, and this is done from a very early age, which is why all the experts tell parents not to rush to pick up a baby every time it whimpers; the child very quickly gets used to the idea that crying is the quickest way to get what it wants, which very quickly escalates to it being that child screaming for chocolate.

    Gosh, if *all* the experts say that, it must be so. Or, you could be using superlatives to hide that there’s actually a lot of disagreement over the timing of such things.

    Of course, that’s just a tangent from your integration of the general notion of “power”, which I have not denied exists to the degree that parent grant it to their children, with the specific notion of “power play”.

    As soon as a parent or carer gives in to a tantrum, that parent has been intimidated into giving way just as much as an over-bearing managing director can intimidate a board into acquiescence. A power play is a power play regardless of whether the person doing it can articulate what they are doing or not.

    Let me ask you this: as you are using the term, what sort of influence do you see as not constituting a power play? It seems to be you have set the boundaries for the latter so broadly that there is no room to distinguish them.

    I JOINED IN WITH HER!

    That was a useful tactic for me, as well.

  187. says

    Nathaniel Frein@219

    One Brow, if you think that children do not have any measure of power, I have a bridge to sell you.

    If you think children have any measure of power not ceded by the caretaker, I have hordes of abused and neglected children to show you. Power ceded to you is not your power.

  188. says

    Nathaniel Frein@222
    August 7, 2013 at 7:28 am (UTC -7)

    Nonsense. The job of a parent is to teach a child where and how to exercise power in social situations. The criticism of the mother here isn’t that she “allows her child to be a picky eater” but that she is teaching her child that “I get what I want, when I want it and how I want it, regardless of the impositions that places on everyone around me”.

    That’s certainly one of the criticisms. Did you think I was in disagreement with it?

    The child has power because the mother has given him power, and has enforced the use of that power on other people.

    Of course. The power belongs to the mother, who allows the child to wield it. Again, did you think I would be in disagreement with that?

  189. says

    Of course. The power belongs to the mother, who allows the child to wield it. Again, did you think I would be in disagreement with that?

    Your continued misrepresentation of that very argument as

    defend[ing] your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

  190. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Nathaniel Frein @ #216; I blush, sir!

    One Brow:

    My bosses don’t throw tantrums at me because they have power, relative to me in the workspace. If they did, it would be at least borderline to abuse.

    But if you refuse to do what your bosses tell you (as a parent might refuse a child’s request) your bosses would then have to resort to stamping their authority (as a child might resort to stamping its feet) to get you to do as you’re told (to get the parent to give way).Things very quickly reach a point where bosses say, employee does, before the bosses need to overtly assert their authority (or a parent learns to give in to offspring’s demands before child resorts to tantrum). Can you really not see the similarity?
    I made one mistake in an earlier post where I said that the tantrum is the power; what I should have said is that the tantrum is the childs means of acheiving the power.The tantrum is the childs’ way of training the parent; once parent is trained (like ‘Mommy’) the child no longer needs to resort to tantrums to get what it wants; the threat of one is enough to get what it wants.

  191. says

    So, yahweh’s refusal to acknowledge/rebut your attempt to tie them to an opinion on the on the original post is evidence of their opinion? It’s not hyper-skeptical to say that a post about how we talk about kids is some veiled support for some particular rude mother.

    No, the evidence of that is that zie’s have done nothing but attempt to shoot down criticism of the mother, without offering any criticism themselves. That’s ‘defending’. I don’t care what zir super secret opinion of the mother is, when zie won’t leave any reasonable responses except to accede tot he child’s tantrum.

    I don’t have a problem with making a separate dish my kids like occasionally in my own kitchen; but certainly agree that at someone else’s house, it’s my job to cater to my picky eater without rummaging through the owner’s cabinets.

    So the only acceptable response is to accede to the child’s pickiness? Not necessarily a problem at a potluck, but elsewhere, that strikes me as very rude.

    No, I’m not going to tell you that. I’m one of those “terrible skeptics” that recognize power comes in a wide variety of forms, and can be sought in a variety of ways. A power play is the use of existing power to achieve a goal. When people talk of power plays by kids, they attribute actual power to the kids before the power play happens. Kids don’t have power over adults.

    Hold up, you’re claiming to hold a nuanced view of power? That’s hilarious! Pull the other one, it plays A Favor House Atlantic.

    Spoiler Alert: Interpersonal power doesn’t necessarily rely on or require institutional power (which kids lack entirely, yes). If you want to argue that to the extent children have power, it’s very limited, I would certainly agree with you. To claim they have none? Because there are abused children? Not even slightly accurate. I mean ffs, I could just as easily claim that men have absolutely no power, because there are abused men.

    Knowing something after the fact is not planning on using it before the fact.

    Oh, I’ll concede that the first time a child probably doesn’t know they’ll embarrass their parents. I learned it when I was like, 4. Do you think I had no opportunities to exercise that power since learning it or some shit?

    By the definition you are using, the use of non-violence in civil rights struggles facing violent reprisals is a power play, because it is an attempt to embarrass the oppressors.

    Yes. Yes it was. Can you possibly be this ignorant? Do you think all the demonstrations were done merely to embarrass white people? The entire stated goal was to gain the institutional power that non-white people were owed. This isn’t some well-kept secret. The leaders of the civil rights movement, of the Rainbow Coalition, and other groups were incredibly up front about this. Not all power plays are bad.

    I see you as going above and beyond to defend your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

    Noooope. Nice to see you’re ready with the straw.

    Demonstrate that adults have all the power in the parent-child dynamic? If you don’t mean that, I don’t understand what you would expect to be demonstrated.

    Yes. Demonstrate that adults possess all possible interpersonal power in all parent-child relationships. They are never manipulated or forced into things they don’t want to do by children. That is the bar you have to reach to support your claims. Good luck.

  192. says

    Nathaniel Frein@226

    Of course. The power belongs to the mother, who allows the child to wield it. Again, did you think I would be in disagreement with that?

    Your continued misrepresentation of that very argument as

    defend[ing] your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

    Are you saying I’m misrepresenting my own position? Are you saying that the others, with whom I have been disagreeing, have the position that children do not have any power besides what is granted to them by the mother? Where do you see that in the posts of Rutee Katreya/A Noyd/Acolyte of Sagan/etc.? So far, I only have read it in your posts.

  193. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@227

    One Brow:
    My bosses don’t throw tantrums at me because they have power, relative to me in the workspace. If they did, it would be at least borderline to abuse.
    But if you refuse to do what your bosses tell you (as a parent might refuse a child’s request) your bosses would then have to resort to stamping their authority (as a child might resort to stamping its feet) to get you to do as you’re told (to get the parent to give way).Things very quickly reach a point where bosses say, employee does, before the bosses need to overtly assert their authority (or a parent learns to give in to offspring’s demands before child resorts to tantrum). Can you really not see the similarity?

    I feel like I’m reading satire. My bosses, when my work is not up to snuff, can do things that range from a quick word in the office to firing me. Yelling, screaming, and stamping their feet would be disapproved of.

    Are there similarities? Sure. There are also differences. My boss can effectively use his superior power against me in a power play. My child can’t, because my child only has the power I grant him in the first place.

    I made one mistake in an earlier post where I said that the tantrum is the power; what I should have said is that the tantrum is the childs means of acheiving the power.The tantrum is the childs’ way of training the parent; once parent is trained (like ‘Mommy’) the child no longer needs to resort to tantrums to get what it wants; the threat of one is enough to get what it wants.

    This only works to the degree that the parent attaches power to the child/tantrum. Did you just give an example of that?

    I asked you last time: using the standard you are setting out, is there any sort of influence or manipulation that could be classified as a power play? I’m reserving the term for manipulation by those who possess the actual power (bosses, parents, whites, men, etc.).

  194. says

    Basically, One Brow, it seems you have classified “power play” as a thing only eeeeeeevil people do, and therefore by claiming that children routinely engage in power plays with their parents, we are claiming that children are eeeeeeevil.

    That’s the only way I can make sense of your comments.

  195. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Josh! Oppress meeeee!

    I’m a coffee guzzling, mini-van driving, kid tote’n menace to society.

  196. says

    My child can’t, because my child only has the power I grant him in the first place.

    Your child has power over you because you love him and want him to be happy rather than sad. This means that you are highly motivated to do things that will make him happy and less motivated to do things that will make him unhappy. This is one form of power. Unless you are claiming that you are capable of consciously choosing to revoke that desire to keep your child happy rather than sad, you didn’t “grant” your child that power at all. It is a natural consequence of all love relationship, that the object of your love holds some degree of power over you.

  197. shari says

    Josh @187 – PICK ME!! (i’m trying for the queen of your unofficial fanclub! ya GOTTA pick me!)

    having 2 kids, and the privilege of being able to afford to stay at home with the little rugrats, first off, I LOVED this article.

    I try so dang hard to be a good parent, and damned if I don’t have 6-12 friends who try a HELL of a lot harder than I do. They cook everything from scratch, mend their own clothes, assign chores, teach frugality, manners, and, very possibly, have their kids rewrite morality plays on US History. And, they homeschool the kids during the summer

    I am by default such a crap mommy. Therefore, there’s a wee bit of schadenfreude in my enjoyment.

    I also have a formerly picky eater (grew out of it mostly, as his dr. predicted, bless her wise words) and a HEINOUSLY picky eater – his sister. She eats such a limited diet i can’t see words like, hmm, ‘Surly’ without seeing Scurvy. We offer new things, she refuses. If it looks like it could be crunchy, she’ll try it (we can now offer properly cooked pork milanese and she’ll eat 5 pieces. She’s 5, so I am good with that.) I am pretty sure it’s a texture issue based on the number of soft foods she has thrown up after eating. So, yeah, hell yeah, i have to plan ahead. If it’s a pot luck, I feed her whatever healthy snacks I can ahead of time, and promise to bring carrots/apples/grapes/a cereal bar as a back-up. When her gramma asks ‘can i make anything for her’ I say No.

    If I was going to take all the humor out of this post, I’d say that mama is a dedicated mama who may know every new ‘natureopathic’ trend, but has not had the discussion of ‘boundaries’ with a doula/midwife/pediatrician/worried best friend EVER. Pre-kids, I wondered Why people take their kids everywhere. I now have some answers.

    1. If you’ve been kidless for a long time, kids are a lot of fun. Until they learn to say ‘mama’ every 4 minutes. Then, WOW the craving for a babysitter strikes hard!

    2. If you are really invested in attachment parenting, like as your avocation, those kids go where you go. At age 8…..well, you either DO NOT TRUST babysitters, or the local babysitting pool is ‘on to’ your kids and just says no.

    Overall, though, the picture painted here is of a woman who is dedicated to her family, and has lost perspective while gaining tunnel vision. Children can become your whole world, but it’s better for kids and parents….if they don’t.

  198. says

    Rutee Katreya@228

    No, the evidence of that is that zie’s have done nothing but attempt to shoot down criticism of the mother,

    Not one of yahweh’s comments addressed one statement regarding criticism of the mother. He did address clauses/phrases within those comments generally critical of the mother, but the clauses/phrases pulled out were not criticisms of the mother. I can tell the difference between objecting to a particular mindset exhibited, tangential to the point of a comment, and objecting to the main focus of a comment. Perhaps the “problem with reading complete sentences” is not mine after all.

    without offering any criticism themselves. That’s ‘defending’. I don’t care what zir super secret opinion of the mother is, when zie won’t leave any reasonable responses except to accede tot he child’s tantrum.

    There is no tantrum in the post. The notion of “tantrum” was first brought in by Acolyte of Sagan. Nor did yahweh ever comment on other reasonable responses (bring your own food, etc.), much less object to them.

    I don’t have a problem with making a separate dish my kids like occasionally in my own kitchen; but certainly agree that at someone else’s house, it’s my job to cater to my picky eater without rummaging through the owner’s cabinets.

    So the only acceptable response is to accede to the child’s pickiness? Not necessarily a problem at a potluck, but elsewhere, that strikes me as very rude.

    I appreciate your announcing that, in a post where I specifically say “You mean, an acceptable response to a picky eater? That varies from situation to situation, of course.”, your take-away is that I think there is only one acceptable response. It’s always nice to know what sort of argument you’re involved in.

    Hold up, you’re claiming to hold a nuanced view of power? That’s hilarious! Pull the other one, it plays A Favor House Atlantic.

    I have no doubt that you are every bit as surprised and unbelieving as your sarcasm expresses. If fits in well with your continued conflation of “quest for power” with “power play”.

    Spoiler Alert: Interpersonal power doesn’t necessarily rely on or require institutional power (which kids lack entirely, yes). If you want to argue that to the extent children have power, it’s very limited, I would certainly agree with you. To claim they have none? Because there are abused children? Not even slightly accurate. I mean ffs, I could just as easily claim that men have absolutely no power, because there are abused men.

    As I have said for several posts, any power possessed by the kid is power ceded by the adult, which can be withdrawn at any time. Yes, I’m well aware not all power is institutional.

    Oh, I’ll concede that the first time a child probably doesn’t know they’ll embarrass their parents. I learned it when I was like, 4. Do you think I had no opportunities to exercise that power since learning it or some shit?

    Since you asked, I think you are using your adult understanding and memory to interpret your experiences as a child, and that this process always results in a distorted view of what you, the child, experienced. Had you been an adult in a child’s body, you might have seen yourself as having power over your parent.

    By the definition you are using, the use of non-violence in civil rights struggles facing violent reprisals is a power play, because it is an attempt to embarrass the oppressors.

    Yes. Yes it was. Can you possibly be this ignorant?

    I am so ignorant that when a power play is defined as the use of power for manipulation, I think that you must have power to conduct a power play. I’m not nearly smart enough to think that the powerless can not only manipulate in other ways, but can use power plays despite the lack of power they possess. That sort of intelligence seems to be reserved for you.

    Not every hockey goal comes from a power play. Not every manipulation of a person is a power play. The attempt to get others to apply pressure via social embarrassment is not a power play, it’s a play that only works when you lack power. That’s true in either a civil rights movement or for a child.

    Do you think all the demonstrations were done merely to embarrass white people? The entire stated goal was to gain the institutional power that non-white people were owed.

    The embarrassment of white people was the means to that goal. The whole point is to show the public the lengths that institutions go to in order to keep people oppressed. Being beaten doesn’t grant you power. Being beaten, but having that beating reported widely to people with power who disapprove of the beating, and will then use their power to make the beatings stop, can grant you power. However, that’s not a power play.

    I see you as going above and beyond to defend your notion that children are foes, with power, who must be battled.

    Noooope. Nice to see you’re ready with the straw.

    Then your objections have been pointless, because the original point of the comment to which you objected was to note how certain phrases/clauses had that notion built into them. Nice to see you agree with me after all.

    Demonstrate that adults have all the power in the parent-child dynamic? If you don’t mean that, I don’t understand what you would expect to be demonstrated.

    Yes. Demonstrate that adults possess all possible interpersonal power in all parent-child relationships.

    Just like any old MRA can ask you to demonstrate that men possessed all possible interpersonal power in all male-female relationships back in 1900, and failing that you’ll acknowledge that women had enough power then to force men to do what they want. I’m sure you’d jump at that request.

    They are never manipulated or forced into things they don’t want to do by children. That is the bar you have to reach to support your claims. Good luck.

    Please list the post number where I claimed that children can never manipulate parents.

    As for “forced into”, please give an example of what you mean by a child forcing a parent into something.

  199. says

    SallyStrange @232

    Basically, One Brow, it seems you have classified “power play” as a thing only eeeeeeevil people do, and therefore by claiming that children routinely engage in power plays with their parents, we are claiming that children are eeeeeeevil.

    That’s the only way I can make sense of your comments.

    When my boss says, “As a group, we decided that the best solution is X, and I expect you to support X in your role as an IT person.” that’s a power play. They are using power they already possess to achieve an end they desire. I don’t see that as inherently evil. In fact, not airing such divisions outside of IT can be good from my perspective, overall, even if I don’t like X.

  200. says

    SallyStrange@234

    Your child has power over you because you love him and want him to be happy rather than sad. This means that you are highly motivated to do things that will make him happy and less motivated to do things that will make him unhappy. This is one form of power. Unless you are claiming that you are capable of consciously choosing to revoke that desire to keep your child happy rather than sad, you didn’t “grant” your child that power at all. It is a natural consequence of all love relationship, that the object of your love holds some degree of power over you.

    Firstly, I think I have to own up that my desire to please my child is nonetheless my desire. Secondly, as children aren’t very good at figuring out what will make them happy, as opposed to temporarily pleased, it’s again up to me to find the best way to maximize that happiness, and evaluate my child’s input in light of many other things. I have in the past chosen to keep my children temporarily disappointed in the pursuit of enhancing their long-term happiness. That I allow them input, and often grant their request, does not give them power; it’s my use of my power in my interests.

  201. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Shari,
    I did a modified-for-my-sanity version of attachment parenting with my eldest. I took her everywhere because I wanted her to learn how to be anywhere. It worked. She learned very quickly how to behave in ways that got you invited back to cool places. Kids want to be liked. They want to belong. They like to be around fun people and if you explain to them that other people also like to be around fun people and that throwing tantrums isn’t being “fun” at all, they tend to take note.

    Boundaries! Wow, you just said the magic word. Kids have to learn that people (including themselves) have healthy boundaries. I think that goes along with teaching them that we all have feelings.

  202. says

    One Brow, your statement strongly implies that your desire to keep your kids happy is entirely voluntary and you could turn it off anytime. I find that preposterous, unless you are a clinical sociopath.

    I said nothing about how you go about ensuring their happiness, and whether that may contradict what they believe will make them happy in the short term or the long term. I simply noted that if you have a desire to please someone because you love them, this grants them a measure of power over you, even if it is rather passive in nature.

    Why you are invested in disputing this obvious truth is beyond me.

  203. Acolyte of Sagan says

    At the risk of severe concussion from banging my head against a brick wall…..

    223.
    One Brow
    August 7, 2013 at 7:33 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    Acolyte of Sagan@215
    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”
    .

    So you’ve never been in a shop and heard “IwannachocolateIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATE” at a steadily increasing volume until parent gives in?

    Of course. Why would I think those are the same thing?

    WHAT? Do you think the kid’s screaming its nut off for the sake of its health? No, it’s screaming its nut off because it knows from experience that it will embarrass its parent into giving in. OK, the child may not announce its intentions in your exact words, but listen very carefully next time you witness the start of such a scene. The child will usually ask in the normal fashion once or twice, but when it becomes clear that no chocolate or whatever is forthcoming, it will ask again in a slightly different tone of voice; what I call the ‘you know what’s coming next’ voice. It’s the same slight change in tone that adults use in power plays when things don’t seem to be going their way. You’ve seen the original Godfather? Think of the scene where Brando switches from pleasant negotiation to that calmly-spoken but non-the-less chilling ‘There’s no reasoning with these people’. It’s only a subtle change, but once it’s said, you know there’s going to be trouble. Well, that’s the child’s ‘you know what’s coming next’ voice.

    231.
    One Brow
    August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am (UTC -7

    I feel like I’m reading satire. My bosses, when my work is not up to snuff, can do things that range from a quick word in the office to firing me. Yelling, screaming, and stamping their feet would be disapproved of.

    Now I’m sure you’e just arguing for the fun of it. Stamping one’s authority is not the same as stamping one’s feet as you well know, so if you’re just going to be silly, there’s no point in continuing, is there?

  204. Acolyte of Sagan says

    All right, just one more thing (as Columbo said);

    237.
    One Brow
    August 7, 2013 at 11:35 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    [……….]
    When my boss says, “As a group, we decided that the best solution is X, and I expect you to support X in your role as an IT person.” that’s a power play. They are using power they already possess to achieve an end they desire.

    A quick re-write: When a child says “As your daughter, I have decided that I want the latest toy, and I expect you to provide it in your role as my mother’ that’s a power play if the child is using the power it has learned it possesses by throwing – or threatening to throw – a massive and very public wobbly to achieve the end it desires.
    I’m not saying it’s all children that get away with this; all children constantly tesy boundaries,sure, but not all children have parents either unwilling or unable to enforce those boundaries, and the kind of nature to take advantage of that. But some do, and those are the children and parents we’re talking about.

  205. says

    I appreciate your announcing that, in a post where I specifically say “You mean, an acceptable response to a picky eater? That varies from situation to situation, of course.”, your take-away is that I think there is only one acceptable response. It’s always nice to know what sort of argument you’re involved in.

    Again, if the only thing you can actually bring yourself to approve of is to allow the child’s hunger dictate your actions, I don’t have a lot of options left

    Not one of yahweh’s comments addressed one statement regarding criticism of the mother. He did address clauses/phrases within those comments generally critical of the mother, but the clauses/phrases pulled out were not criticisms of the mother. I can tell the difference between objecting to a particular mindset exhibited, tangential to the point of a comment, and objecting to the main focus of a comment.

    Actually, most of those were indeed a large part of the posts they were pulled from, sometimes the main thrust. “The correct response to a child refusing to eat is to let them not eat” is in fact a criticism of the mother, also. And that was the bulk of what he responded to. It is saying “The Mother did this wrong”. FFS.

    Perhaps the “problem with reading complete sentences” is not mine after all.

    Oh, it’s still yours. It’s just also Yahweh’s.

    I have no doubt that you are every bit as surprised and unbelieving as your sarcasm expresses

    That one actually did surprise me. I don’t usually expect people to undermine their own proud claims so readily.

    As I have said for several posts, any power possessed by the kid is power ceded by the adult, which can be withdrawn at any time. Yes, I’m well aware not all power is institutional.

    Only if all adults are robots who can shut off their ability to care for their children, or who lack that caring entirely. Some really are, and their kids are generally screwed.

    I am so ignorant that when a power play is defined as the use of power for manipulation, I think that you must have power to conduct a power play. I’m not nearly smart enough to think that the powerless can not only manipulate in other ways, but can use power plays despite the lack of power they possess. That sort of intelligence seems to be reserved for you.

    Look, you’re the one denying all interpersonal power held by kids, not me. I don’t agree with your premises, because your premises are wrong. You’re the one who’s denying reality to stick to your guns.

    Since you asked, I think you are using your adult understanding and memory to interpret your experiences as a child, and that this process always results in a distorted view of what you, the child, experienced. Had you been an adult in a child’s body, you might have seen yourself as having power over your parent.

    Okay, then you’re not even going to stick to your own premises if they threaten your conclusion. Your exact words were

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”. That might be a power play, if the adult in question was intimidated by such things.

    I knew. Period, end of discussion. There’s no wiggle room here: I knew my mother could be embarrassed, and would act to avoid it. Did I *act on that*? No, generally not (I’m probably forgetting an incident where I did). But I most certainly knew, and could have acted on that information, as early as the tender age of 4. Your conclusion is apparently sacrosanct. Yet you wield ‘creationist’ as an insult… amusing.

    Not every hockey goal comes from a power play. Not every manipulation of a person is a power play. The attempt to get others to apply pressure via social embarrassment is not a power play, it’s a play that only works when you lack power. That’s true in either a civil rights movement or for a child.

    No, it works when you have power too. PoC are not as poorly off as we once were, in that we have non-zero amounts of institutional power. Embarrassment will still affect the kind of racist who is far more racist than their society. That’s why they try to dress up their racism as being anything but. The tool doesn’t go away just because you have power -ffs, attempts to shame whistleblowers into silence ALSO work through embarrassment, and they are definitionally used by the people who have power.

    However, that’s not a power play.

    Maybe by the hockey definition of the term, since that apparently exists.

    Then your objections have been pointless, because the original point of the comment to which you objected was to note how certain phrases/clauses had that notion built into them. Nice to see you agree with me after all.

    Third option: They didn’t have that notion built into them, and you invented them as readily as you have invented my posts carrying them. I’mma take that one, as it follows the evidence better Cheese and crackers you are a douchebag.

    Just like any old MRA can ask you to demonstrate that men possessed all possible interpersonal power in all male-female relationships back in 1900, and failing that you’ll acknowledge that women had enough power then to force men to do what they want. I’m sure you’d jump at that request.

    Men didn’t possess all interpersonal power at the turn of the 20th century – or any other. They possessed the overwhelming majority of interpersonal power, as well as all institutional power. Your example belies your point. You’re trying for an extraordinarily high standard, and you can’t reach it, because it isn’t true. I’ve already said, I would readily concede that children are limited in their power, and that adults possess the overwhelming majority of the interpersonal power, even.

    But you know, good job again invoking the spectre of shit that isn’t your fucking problem. Again. You like, the previous jackass, need to learn to stop appropriating other people’s problems when it suits white dudes, then ignore them the rest of the time. Not that MRAs are anything but meaningless extremists who lack any institutional power, but it’s clear what you’re trying to do, and you need to keep your fucking mitts off. We don’t need more stupid jackasses who only care about sexism or racism to wield them as a cudgel against women or PoC. I’mma keep telling you jackasses to fuck off as long as you keep doing it, too.

    Please list the post number where I claimed that children can never manipulate parents.

    Yo, skippy, you’re the one saying they have no interpersonal power. Feel free to walk back that claim any time now. I mean, I can cite your main argument, if you want to look like an even bigger jackass, but do you really want me to do that? Manipulation is a way to take advantage of interpersonal power, which I shouldn’t have to tell anyone who actually possesses a nuanced view of power.

  206. says

    SallyStrange@240,

    One Brow, your statement strongly implies that your desire to keep your kids happy is entirely voluntary and you could turn it off anytime. I find that preposterous, unless you are a clinical sociopath.

    Taking ownership of my feelings and my goals does not imply any ability to ‘turn them off’, in my mind. It simply reminds me not to project them into other people.

    I said nothing about how you go about ensuring their happiness, and whether that may contradict what they believe will make them happy in the short term or the long term. I simply noted that if you have a desire to please someone because you love them, this grants them a measure of power over you, even if it is rather passive in nature.

    Why you are invested in disputing this obvious truth is beyond me.

    Scenario A: Your a parent of a child with a peanut allergy. Your walking through the grocery store, and they want some small toy that costs a dollar. You decide it’s not worth whatever effort might be required by saying no, so you buy the toy. This is what people have been arguing is a “power play”. Supposedly, the kid is forcing the adult to buy the toy.

    Scenario B: Same, except now the kid wants a Snickers bar. This time, it doesn’t really matter how big a fuss the kid will make; you are not getting him that candy bar. Period.

    So, what happened ot all that power the kid supposedly had, between Scenario A and Scenario B, where the kid can’t force you to do something after all? Which was involves turning off your emotions like a psychopath?

    My answers would be that the kid didn’t have any power in A or B, but it takes something like B to clarify that to some people. In A, you make the choice that works best for you, just like in B. The kid can try to manipulate, but doesn’t have the power to actually do what they want on their own. The power is with the parent.

    Why you are invested in disputing this obvious truth is beyond me.

  207. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@241,242

    At the risk of severe concussion from banging my head against a brick wall…..

    Reality can indeed be as stubborn as a brick wall.

    Acolyte of Sagan@215
    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”.

    So you’ve never been in a shop and heard “IwannachocolateIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATE” at a steadily increasing volume until parent gives in?

    Of course. Why would I think those are the same thing?

    WHAT? Do you think the kid’s screaming its nut off for the sake of its health? No, it’s screaming its nut off because it knows from experience that it will embarrass its parent into giving in.

    Exactly. The kid is manipulating the parent. Why is this a power play?

    Twice now, I’ve asked you if there is any sort of manipulation you don’t consider to be a power play, and twice now, you have declined to answer. If you can’t take the time to formulate an answer to this in some form and …

    if you’re just going to be silly, there’s no point in continuing, is there?

    I agree. Let me know when you take the discussion seriously.

  208. shari says

    @239 – – Jackie – I tip my hat to you, because I was on the spectrum of ‘attachment parenting sounds great’, and then quickly realized there has to be intentional boundaries and some major consistency – which I am Not good at. I clearly ended up at some version of it anyway, because I think I had almost 4 years of zero bathroom visits BY MY SELF. Tellingly, that was when I took a parenting class through our church that was HUGE on BOUNDARIES. And how kids without boundaries lose out on that whole empathy/self control/healthy relationship practice that keeps down that ‘entitled’ nonsense to manageable levels.

    Nice to hear an attachment story with what sounds like a pretty successful outcome!!

  209. says

    Rutee Katreya@243

    Again, if the only thing you can actually bring yourself to approve of is to allow the child’s hunger dictate your actions, I don’t have a lot of options left

    Again, if your only take from the many things I’ve said on what I do and have done is that my kids should or do dictate my actions, you’ve said much more about the type of discussions you have than about me. I am comfortable with what I’ve said previously about what I do and recommend, I feel no need to defend your mischaracterizations.

    Actually, most of those were indeed a large part of the posts they were pulled from, sometimes the main thrust. “The correct response to a child refusing to eat is to let them not eat” is in fact a criticism of the mother, also. And that was the bulk of what he responded to. It is saying “The Mother did this wrong”. FFS.

    As I mentioned before, I’m not buying into your dichotomous mindset.
    1) If the mother had brought along her own mac and cheese from home instead of rummaging through cabinets for a pot, no one would have been talking about making her kids go hungry. The criticism for the mother is about her rudeness and self-centeredeness. So, “let the kids go hungry” isn’t really a criticism of the mother. It’s just callous.
    2) yahweh’s point is that was a socially acceptable callousness, one that would not have been tolerated in other groups, as far as I can tell.

    Perhaps the “problem with reading complete sentences” is not mine after all.

    Oh, it’s still yours. It’s just also Yahweh’s.

    Spoken with all the surety and derision of a True Skeptic. It’s amazing I can fail to be impressed by it.

    That one actually did surprise me. I don’t usually expect people to undermine their own proud claims so readily.

    Perhaps if you took the time to understand claims better, you would be surprised less often.

    Only if all adults are robots who can shut off their ability to care for their children, or who lack that caring entirely. Some really are, and their kids are generally screwed.

    Sorry, but I disagree that caring takes away your power and gives others power. As far as I’m concerned, the parent who are constantly giving into kids are the ones who don’t care enough.

    Look, you’re the one denying all interpersonal power held by kids, not me. I don’t agree with your premises, because your premises are wrong. You’re the one who’s denying reality to stick to your guns.

    Like Acolyte of Sagan, I’m waiting to hear from you if there is any sort of manipulation that is not a power play, as you describe them. The ability to manipulate is not power.

    Okay, then you’re not even going to stick to your own premises if they threaten your conclusion. Your exact words were

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”. That might be a power play, if the adult in question was intimidated by such things.

    I knew. Period, end of discussion. There’s no wiggle room here: I knew my mother could be embarrassed, and would act to avoid it. Did I *act on that*? No, generally not (I’m probably forgetting an incident where I did).

    Why not? Because when you were a small kid, you wanted to please your parents, who you saw as great (hopefully positive) influence in your life that you didn’t really understand? That’s exactly my point. Adults play games with subtle threats and implications. Kids want to please their parents, and they want stuff, and while these things sometimes conflict, whichever they make will result in action, not threats of action.

    But I most certainly knew, and could have acted on that information, as early as the tender age of 4. Your conclusion is apparently sacrosanct. Yet you wield ‘creationist’ as an insult… amusing.

    Not sacrosanct, but the result of understanding who kids are and how they think (I’m sure there are occasional exceptions by the age of 8). Applying adult motivations and maneuvers to the actions of children is as much an error as applying the principles of physics to support young-earth creationism.

    No, it works when you have power too. PoC are not as poorly off as we once were, in that we have non-zero amounts of institutional power. Embarrassment will still affect the kind of racist who is far more racist than their society. That’s why they try to dress up their racism as being anything but. The tool doesn’t go away just because you have power -ffs, attempts to shame whistleblowers into silence ALSO work through embarrassment, and they are definitionally used by the people who have power.

    1) When white people try to use the same tactics of embarrassment on the actions of groups for PoC, does that work? Of course not, because even though PoC have some power, there is still a sizable power differential. Similarly, as a child ages into pre-teen, teen, and young adult, they gradually acquire more power (if the parent does their job in what I would consider a responsible fashion), they become more prone to the tactic of embarrassment from the adult. Embarrassment is a manipulation the less-powered can use on the more-powered, but not vice-versa.
    2) Maybe it’s just my bubble, but I don’t see many people around me accepting the shaming of, e.g., Snowden that is spewed out by the media. It seems to be an ineffective tactic in persuading people. The real threats to Snowden are the examples of what happened to, for example, Manning. That’s a power play, no question.

    Maybe by the hockey definition of the term, since that apparently exists.

    The hockey term is a specific instance of the general meaning: the use of superior power to manipulate another. That’s what a power play is.

    Third option: They didn’t have that notion built into them, and you invented them as readily as you have invented my posts carrying them.

    Even an understanding of what kyriarchy is is no guarantee that you aren’t occasionally blinded.

    Cheese and crackers you are a douchebag.

    Opinion noted.

    Men didn’t possess all interpersonal power at the turn of the 20th century – or any other. They possessed the overwhelming majority of interpersonal power, as well as all institutional power.

    Exactly.

    I’ve already said, I would readily concede that children are limited in their power, and that adults possess the overwhelming majority of the interpersonal power, even

    To which I responded that such power is ceded by the adult, to which you said that the adult is bound by love/caring/etc. to cede power, and you seem to think the last point makes sense for some bizarre reason. It doesn’t.

    But you know, good job again invoking the spectre of shit that isn’t your fucking problem. Again. You like, the previous jackass, need to learn to stop appropriating other people’s problems when it suits white dudes,

    While I’ve been pretty clear that I’m a “dude”, what makes you think I’m white?

    then ignore them the rest of the time.

    What makes you think I ignore them the rest of the time? On another message board, they call me “Racist Brow” because I’m constantly pointing out how much racism/sexism/etc. is playing into their discussions. No need for a cookie, I’m just pointing out your ignorant assumptions.

    Not that MRAs are anything but meaningless extremists who lack any institutional power, but it’s clear what you’re trying to do, and you need to keep your fucking mitts off.

    No. I feel free to make any appropriate analogy I need to in order to get help you drop your blinders, and you have made it clear that, for you, the analogies have to with the most repugnant people possible to get you to look at them and think about things. MRAs are every bit as much my enemy as they are yours, and their idea of masculinity/femininity is just as repugnant. That’s what makes them useful in this discussion.

    I’mma keep telling you jackasses to fuck off as long as you keep doing it, too.

    I will continue to give your opinion all the merit you have earned for them.

    Yo, skippy, you’re the one saying they have no interpersonal power. Feel free to walk back that claim any time now. I mean, I can cite your main argument, if you want to look like an even bigger jackass, but do you really want me to do that?

    You can cite my main argument, but you can’t do so accurately and use that cite to make me look like a jackass, particularly since what I have said is that any power that kids have is power ceded by the parents.

    Tell you what, flipper, why don’t you look at post 244, and you tell me about all the power the kid has in scenario A, and why it vanishes in scenario B.

    Manipulation is a way to take advantage of interpersonal power, which I shouldn’t have to tell anyone who actually possesses a nuanced view of power.

    Your statement is accurate, but incomplete. Manipulation can also be used to acquire power or persuade someone with power, even when you have none, which I shouldn’t have to tell anyone who actually possesses a nuanced view of power.

  210. says

    Again, if your only take from the many things I’ve said on what I do and have done is that my kids should or do dictate my actions, you’ve said much more about the type of discussions you have than about me. I am comfortable with what I’ve said previously about what I do and recommend, I feel no need to defend your mischaracterizations.

    Sure thing, pal. Keep telling yourself what you need to.

    1) If the mother had brought along her own mac and cheese from home instead of rummaging through cabinets for a pot, no one would have been talking about making her kids go hungry. The criticism for the mother is about her rudeness and self-centeredeness. So, “let the kids go hungry” isn’t really a criticism of the mother. It’s just callous.

    As it’s a pot luck, if the mother brought an actual dish of it, there would not be (Although I imagine she’d have to confab with the other adults momentarily). But this kind of thing might arise where the host, yanno, prepared a bunch of food, and it’s still kind of a slap in the face if it’s not a potluck (Or otherwise has people bring food from home as a matter of course).

    Spoken with all the surety and derision of a True Skeptic. It’s amazing I can fail to be impressed by it.

    I ain’t got nothin’ to do with that crowd. I prefer it when harrassers have to at least try to keep fitting in.

    Perhaps if you took the time to understand claims better, you would be surprised less often.

    This entire line of conversation is going to be you being unintentionally hilarious, isn’t it? I certainly prefer it to you being an appropriative little shit.

    Sorry, but I disagree that caring takes away your power and gives others power. As far as I’m concerned, the parent who are constantly giving into kids are the ones who don’t care enough.

    You can disagree all you want. People you love have power over you regardless. Nothing wrong with that.

    Like Acolyte of Sagan, I’m waiting to hear from you if there is any sort of manipulation that is not a power play, as you describe them. The ability to manipulate is not power.

    I’d say a story I never knew about prior since I didn’t go to grad school qualifies – apparently some women have to manipulate dudes into acting as chaperones when they’re with some big name who is also a harrasser, else be harrassed. I could plausibly see it being a power play over the other student, but not over the harrasser.

    Why not? Because when you were a small kid, you wanted to please your parents, who you saw as great (hopefully positive) influence in your life that you didn’t really understand? That’s exactly my point. Adults play games with subtle threats and implications. Kids want to please their parents, and they want stuff, and while these things sometimes conflict, whichever they make will result in action, not threats of action.

    The fuck makes you think that’s why I didn’t do it? Jesus, you are seriously pushing an early 20th century notion of unspoiled babes here.

    Not sacrosanct, but the result of understanding who kids are and how they think (I’m sure there are occasional exceptions by the age of 8). Applying adult motivations and maneuvers to the actions of children is as much an error as applying the principles of physics to support young-earth creationism.

    Okay, before I get to the main point, let me just say that these little bullshit comparisons aren’t working. See below for the more vitriolic part, because you know, I don’t really care that much about creationists. I’m sure you’re used to this bullshit winning arguments, but you should probably take note of the fact that it’s just making you look like an ass, even without you outright admitting you’re doing this as a cheap attempt at rhetoric. If this shit were going to work, invocations of creationists would absolutely not work for the person who’s ignoring modern understandings of psychology and biology to make his points. You are the creationists (Except still no, because this isn’t really a particularly harmful form of bullshit as far as I know, it’s just hilariously ironic that you try to invoke their spectre)

    That said, not only is your understanding shallow, this is the first you’ve actually granted that exceptions to your paradigm might exist. And seeing as your claims are absolute, admitting exceptions exist means you’re actually done. You’re still not really dealing with kids as they actually are and all, but at least you’ve been forced to walk back your claim on some level.

    1) When white people try to use the same tactics of embarrassment on the actions of groups for PoC, does that work? Of course not, because even though PoC have some power, there is still a sizable power differential.

    Uh, yes, it does work. Fuck, shame is a big fucking component in white people’s strategies to silence PoC. What the fuck do you think that whole dialog on ‘the race card’ is? It’s there to embarrass us for ‘bringing race into everything’ and get us to be quiet. FFS, what do you think ‘Slut-shaming’ is? An uplifting experience and the polar opposite of embarrassment?

    2) Maybe it’s just my bubble, but I don’t see many people around me accepting the shaming of, e.g., Snowden that is spewed out by the media. It seems to be an ineffective tactic in persuading people. The real threats to Snowden are the examples of what happened to, for example, Manning. That’s a power play, no question.

    Not snowden, et al. Those are government whistle blowers, and they prefer prison for that. I’m talking about, in particular, people who come forward to try to report sexual harrassment in the work place, or report their own – bosses or HR reps use embarrassment all the time. Unless you’re an ignoramus, then it doesn’t happen at all.

    Even an understanding of what kyriarchy is is no guarantee that you aren’t occasionally blinded.

    You know, I went to a lot of trouble to seperate out your jackassery from that of the jackass white people trying to pretend children are oppressed in recounting this to my girlfriend. Guess she called it; I was too nice to.

    While I’ve been pretty clear that I’m a “dude”, what makes you think I’m white?

    Being this incredulous over the idea of embarrassment being weaponized by those with power pretty much precludes you belonging to a marginalized class that isn’t the poor, and then only because Meriken are extremely good at fooling themselves about their actual social class. I can’t fathom an actual PoC not being familiar with embarrassment being weaponized by white people. It’s part of national narratives that are almost certainly older than you. I guess you could just live under that big a rock, but the parsimonious explanation is you’re white, middle class (or ‘lower middle’), straight, able, cis, and NT.

    Exactly.

    ‘exactly’ nothing. Your whole claim is that children have no interpersonal power. You can’t claim that my unwillingness to defend the idea that women had no interpersonal power because it wasn’t true proves your point. Your point and mine are opposed, if not diametrically.

    To which I responded that such power is ceded by the adult, to which you said that the adult is bound by love/caring/etc. to cede power, and you seem to think the last point makes sense for some bizarre reason. It doesn’t.

    No, you’re the one who calls that ‘ceding power’. I call it power. This explains a lot of your straw; just because your conclusions and premises are both wrong doesn’t mean I can’t follow the underlying logic.

    What makes you think I ignore them the rest of the time? On another message board, they call me “Racist Brow” because I’m constantly pointing out how much racism/sexism/etc. is playing into their discussions. No need for a cookie, I’m just pointing out your ignorant assumptions.

    Assuming you do it, which I neither care about nor believe, I hope you do a better job than you are here, because you’re clearly fucking ignorant of a lot of the underlying issues.

    Plus, I can think of a few other reasons to call you ‘racist brow’.

    No. I feel free to make any appropriate analogy I need to in order to get help you drop your blinders, and you have made it clear that, for you, the analogies have to with the most repugnant people possible to get you to look at them and think about things.
    Translation: Whateva, Whateva, I do what I want. Your histories are here for me to rummage through and use, not yours. They matter only for my intellectual bullshit games, and I most certainly understand them better than you, in spite of you having studied them and living with the consequences of them.

    Fuck you, you appropriative little shit. Not only does your cheap rhetorical bullshit not work on me, (Thank all the other sexist, racist asshats who came before you), but it’s asshattery of the highest order. And you STILL are apparently a fucking fool.

    MRAs are every bit as much my enemy as they are yours, and their idea of masculinity/femininity is just as repugnant. That’s what makes them useful in this discussion.

    Oh I’ll fucking bet. NOM too, right? Fucking “Me, too”s. Fuck, MRAs should really only be on the radar of people specifically focusing on harrassment. The little shits have the power to do no more than harrass, which they are good at, but it’s all they can do. Besides, you two can crack open a fucking beer over the fact that you both will use PoC’s problems against women, at least.

    You can cite my main argument, but you can’t do so accurately and use that cite to make me look like a jackass, particularly since what I have said is that any power that kids have is power ceded by the parents.

    You have also said they don’t have power, pursuant to the line ‘power ceded isn’t’. Look, I don’t have to do more, you already look like a colossal jackass.

    Tell you what, flipper, why don’t you look at post 244, and you tell me about all the power the kid has in scenario A, and why it vanishes in scenario B.

    So a dude with a nuanced view of power can’t imagine power that doesn’t work in absolutely all circumstances? It vanishes in B because if you’re taking the path of least resistance, the kid is less than the emergency room. Not complicated.

  211. Nepenthe says

    @244

    So… if someone doesn’t have the power to force me to kill/seriously injure them, then they have no power over me.

    That’s a very, uh, special way of looking at power relations.

  212. Acolyte of Sagan says

    One Brow, I must say I’m impressed by your flip-flop debating technique.
    You said

    I have yet to hear a child (of 8 or younger) say, “If you don’t buy me that, I’ll scream so loud that you’ll be embarrassed”.

    I repliedSo you’ve never been in a shop and heard “IwannachocolateIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATEIWANNACHOCOLATE” at a steadily increasing volume until parent gives in?You came back with

    Of course. Why would I think those are the same thing?

    So I explained how they were the same when I said

    WHAT? Do you think the kid’s screaming its nut off for the sake of its health? No, it’s screaming its nut off because it knows from experience that it will embarrass its parent into giving in

    And you disagreed with me by agreeing with me thus

    Exactly. The kid is manipulating the parent. Why is this a power play?

    Or, to put it in a nutshell; You: I’ve never seen this happen. Me: (gives an example). You: Thy’re not the same. Me: of course they are (explains why). You: Yep, they’re the same. But you’re still wrong.

    Now, let’s get to your request for Rutee and I to provide you with an example to support your own argument, namely an example of manipulation that isn’t a power-play. Really? You want us to make your argument for you? If a child has the power to manipulate a parent, as you accept it may well have, then it has power.
    Just for the record, I have no problem with children trying to manipulate parents, elders, or even their peers, it’s all part of learning the politics of living in society, but like all things, moderation is the key; they also have to learn that things don’t always go their way, that ‘no’ means ‘no’. All parents have different boundaries or tolerances; the problem parents in this scenario are the ones that impose no boundaries, and some of these parents do so because their kids tantrums are stronger than the parents’ ability or willingness to deal with the tantrums.
    The truth is, all children engage in attempted power plays even when too young to understand that this is what they’re doing, so the baby whose parents come rushing to comfort it every time it whimpers has the power to get all the attention it wants; just as the pigeons in the famous Skinner Box repeated what they were doing the last time they received food, so a baby will do what it did the last time it got attention, and the more it works for the baby, the more it does it. However, unlike the pigeons, if the behaviour doesn’t work a second, third, or fourth time, the baby will stop that behaviour. The first few times may be accidental, but it doesn’t take a baby long for it to realise on some level that crying=cuddles; it has the power to summons its parents whenever it wishes.
    How is that hard to understand? In fact, your argument – that children don’t have power because they’re children and we’re adults – sounds uncannily like ‘might is right’.

    Let’s put it another way; would you agree that there are constant – and often quite complex – political machinations and power-plays (and the more I hear that phrase, the less I like it) within a group of chimpanzees? And that the average adult chimpanzee is less intelligent than an eight year-old child? Yet some baby chimps can manipulate some chimpanzee adults, either to get the adult to do something for it or to get an advantage over its peers. I watch and read a lot about primates, and have seen on many occasions instances where a juvenile chimp will start a fight with other youngsters, then run to an adult for ‘protection’. Once the adult has chased off or punished the others, the trouble-starter can then lord it over the over youngsters, who daren’t touch it because it’s protected. So, the youngster has manipulated events with the end result that it has come out in a position of power over its peers. This is no different from a human child starting a fight then running to a parent or older sibling, blame the other kids, then have the power to lord it over them once the adult / sibling has remonstrated with them. Fine, it’s power by proxy, but it’s still power; the power to boss around the other kids and the power to summon back-up if the kids won’t be bossed. This is no different from the child who has learned that its parents give in, initially to tantrums, then to the threat of a tantrum.

    Finally; your little ‘nya, nya, nyanya, nya’ at the end of your post #245 where you replied to my “if you’re just going to be silly, there’s no point in continuing, is there?” with

    I agree. Let me know when you take the discussion seriously.

    Since you were the one pretending that an adult stamping their authority meant literally a chldish foot-stamping temper tantrum, it’s pretty clear who’s not being serious.

    And I’m still chuckling over your requests for Rutee and myself to make your argument for you. Thank you for that.

  213. says

    So… if someone doesn’t have the power to force me to kill/seriously injure them, then they have no power over me.

    That’s a very, uh, special way of looking at power relations.

    Like I said, One Brow apparently thinks power plays are EEEEVIL and only EEEEVIL people do them, and clearly children are never EEEEVIL therefore whatever a kid is doing, it can’t be a power play.

  214. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Nooo, SallyStrange, One Brow thinks that children lack the capacity to involve themselves – however instinctively or unconsciously – in power struggles (I like that phrase far better than power plays) and that they lack the wit to take advantage of weak parents because only real grown-ups have power, and that although some parents do cede some of that power to children they only ever do it willingly and so the children don’t have real power because the parents can take that power back (carefully ignoring those parent who don’t, of course, because they can’t), and that a childs tantrum is not the same as threatening a tantrum except it is the same but it’s different because it’s not about power it’s about manipulation and manipulation isn’t about power it’s about the child getting its own way.
    Conversely, only adults that already have oodles of power can make power plays, but to impose their will on children is child abuse or something so they shouldn’t do it…….except when they have to to maintain boundaries…….but it’s bad when they do because its an abuse of their grown-up powers……and that a manager stamping their authority on their staff is totally not similar to a child having a tantrum because (s)he’s never had a manager that stamps it feet and screams like a child so it can’t be stamping its authority – it’s invoking a power play.
    S(he) lost me at that point…..

  215. says

    Rutee Katreya@248

    But this kind of thing might arise where the host, yanno, prepared a bunch of food, and it’s still kind of a slap in the face if it’s not a potluck (Or otherwise has people bring food from home as a matter of course).

    When I host, I feel it’s my job to make sure I consider the presence of kids (notoriously picky eaters), food allergies, etc. So, I don’t see that issue as necessarily being a straight-forward slap in the face. It can be.

    I ain’t got nothin’ to do with that crowd. I prefer it when harrassers have to at least try to keep fitting in.

    I didn’t realize True Skeptic referred to a specific group of people, and I’m not sure which group of people you mean. My apologies for that offense.

    This entire line of conversation is going to be you being unintentionally hilarious, isn’t it?

    For both sides, no doubt.

    I certainly prefer it to you being an appropriative little shit.

    Interesting term. Do I appropriate what I don’t claim for myself? I would have expected something more like diminishing little shit, trivializing little shit, disregarding little shit, etc.

    You can disagree all you want. People you love have power over you regardless. Nothing wrong with that.

    Nothing wrong expect for its inaccuracy. You want to please people you love, certainly.

    Like Acolyte of Sagan, I’m waiting to hear from you if there is any sort of manipulation that is not a power play, as you describe them. The ability to manipulate is not power.

    I’d say a story I never knew about prior since I didn’t go to grad school qualifies – apparently some women have to manipulate dudes into acting as chaperones when they’re with some big name who is also a harrasser, else be harrassed. I could plausibly see it being a power play over the other student, but not over the harrasser.

    The use of manipulation is a power play, but using the power conferred by the male student to counter the power of the harasser is not a power play? This is bizarre.

    A power play is, by definition, the use of existing power to influence and/or manipulate. You seem to have the identifications reversed.

    The fuck makes you think that’s why I didn’t do it? Jesus, you are seriously pushing an early 20th century notion of unspoiled babes here.

    I used question marks because I wanted to identify as guesses/hypotheses, not conclusions. If you say that you had some other motivations, I’ll accept that. If you choose not to say at, I accept that.

    While I haven’t studied early 20th-century culture regarding children in great detail, a lot of the early movies seem to push the notion that children are inherently selfish, and that the selfishness needs to be forcibly trained out of them, more than the notion of unspoiled babies (which seems closer to mid-20th century mass-media attitudes to me).

    If this shit were going to work, invocations of creationists would absolutely not work for the person who’s ignoring modern understandings of psychology and biology to make his points.

    What understandings do you think I’m ignoring?

    That said, not only is your understanding shallow, this is the first you’ve actually granted that exceptions to your paradigm might exist.

    Almost every rule of social interactions has exceptions. I just assume that’s understood. In this particular case, there may be the rare 8-year-old with the abstraction abilities of the typical teen. Families who primary income come from an 8-year-old child actor will have a different power dynamic. In the future, I’ll try to be more clear about including “for the most part”.

    And seeing as your claims are absolute, admitting exceptions exist means you’re actually done.

    Already. Such a shame.

    You’re still not really dealing with kids as they actually are and all, but at least you’ve been forced to walk back your claim on some level.

    Oddly, I don’t see that claim as changed at all. Perhaps your understanding of it has changed.

    …shame …

    While I could go into a some detail about this part of your response, the short version is that shame is not embarrassment, and saying embarrassment is not used as a tactic is not denying the presence of shame as a tactic.

    You know, I went to a lot of trouble to seperate out your jackassery from that of the jackass white people trying to pretend children are oppressed in recounting this to my girlfriend. Guess she called it; I was too nice to.

    Sorry if your effort was wasted, although you’re right that I don’t think children are oppressed.

    but the parsimonious explanation is you’re … NT.

    That’s a new one to me. What’s NT?

    ‘exactly’ nothing. Your whole claim is that children have no interpersonal power.

    Specifically in the caretaker/child relationship, absent highly unusual circumstances.

    You can’t claim that my unwillingness to defend the idea that women had no interpersonal power because it wasn’t true proves your point. Your point and mine are opposed, if not diametrically.

    At this point, I think the real opposition is that I don’t see power as the ability to manipulate. I see power as coming from social position (job, socialized gender/race/ability/etc. role) and/or assets (money, land, etc.). The person who makes the actual decision has power, the one who tries to influence the decision, but does not make it, does not. It seems for you, any ability to influence is power.

    No, you’re the one who calls that ‘ceding power’. I call it power.

    Perhaps it’s my reductionist tendencies, but I prefer not to call every possible influence power. I find distinctions handy.

    They matter only for my intellectual bullshit games, and I most certainly understand them better than you, in spite of you having studied them and living with the consequences of them.

    My use of the comparisons got us into a conversation, which was my goal. I haven’t claimed any superior understanding., and fully admit I’ve made no formal study beyond avid blog reading for a few years.

    You have also said they don’t have power, pursuant to the line ‘power ceded isn’t’.

    What is ceded can be taken back, and isn’t inherent to the child or the child’s position.

    It vanishes in B because if you’re taking the path of least resistance, the kid is less than the emergency room. Not complicated.

    Your answer depends on the assumption that the adult is weighing the options and making the decision. The adult has the power, the child only influence.

    Also, while I used an extreme scenario B, I could have used a less extreme version (e.g., you don’t buy the candy because you want your child to have poor dental health as an adult, because you don’t want them to get used to eating refined sugars, etc.) which do not involve the path of least resistance. It doesn’t change the basic point.

  216. says

    Nepenthe@249

    So… if someone doesn’t have the power to force me to kill/seriously injure them, then they have no power over me.

    That’s a very, uh, special way of looking at power relations.

    I find the notion that personal power appears and vanishes at the whims of another person to be a very special way of looking at power relations. As I just mentioned, there are many ways to make the scenario less extreme.

    SallyStrange@251

    Like I said, One Brow apparently thinks power plays are EEEEVIL and only EEEEVIL people do them, and clearly children are never EEEEVIL therefore whatever a kid is doing, it can’t be a power play.

    Is there some reason that @237 is some example of EEEEVIL in your mind? Did you just miss it? Otherwise, my limited imagination is having trouble finding an honest interpretation to your post.

  217. says

    Acolyte of Sagan@250

    One Brow, I must say I’m impressed by your flip-flop debating technique.

    Just as sincerely, I’m impressed by your ability to see non-existent flip-flops.

    I’m going to insert a quote from @252 here, the response to which I hope will clarify any further response to @250.

    Nooo, SallyStrange, One Brow thinks that children lack the capacity to involve themselves – however instinctively or unconsciously – in power struggles (I like that phrase far better than power plays)

    I’m sure you do like that phrase better, because only a fool would say that kids don’t engage in power struggles, and you are so very eager to cast me as a fool. However, that’s a rhetorical trick, not an argument. “Power play” is a specifically defined term for a sub-class of the more general term “power struggle”. I even linked to a definition back @191 to be clear about what I meant. Naturally, this means that when you come back with examples of a power struggle, I’m not going to see that as rebutting the notion that there is no power play.

    Or, to put it in a nutshell; You: I’ve never seen this happen. Me: (gives an example). You: Thy’re not the same. Me: of course they are (explains why). You: Yep, they’re the same. But you’re still wrong.

    Not, “Yep, they’re the same.” “Yep, this is manipulation, but you still haven’t provided any evidence that it is a power play”. Not every type of manipulation is a power play.

    Now, let’s get to your request for Rutee and I to provide you with an example to support your own argument, namely an example of manipulation that isn’t a power-play. Really? You want us to make your argument for you? If a child has the power to manipulate a parent, as you accept it may well have, then it has power.

    I’m not looking for evidence from you, just checking to see if you made a distinction. As far as I can tell, you make no distinction at all between influence/manipulation and power. However, I didn’t want to make some grand pronouncement that you obviously don’t make this distinction without checking first. Rutee made an honest attempt, and while I found it difficult to reconcile with her previous statements, I appreciate the effort. If you don’t recognize a difference, then explaining something based on the difference will probably be moot.

    The truth is, all children engage in attempted power plays…The first few times may be accidental, but it doesn’t take a baby long for it to realise on some level that crying=cuddles;…

    For you, is there any sort of power struggle which is not also a power play? Any sort of attempt influence others that is not a power struggle? Do you even have terms for a distinction between ability to change/decide based on influence or manipulation versus the ability to change/decide based on status/money/etc.?

    I think your examples/questions with the chimpanzees could be fruitful, but I think my answers would be prone to the same misinterpretations our discussing has engendered so far, in particular if you say that distinctions I recognize are fictional, while I think the lack of distinction on your part causes conflation.

  218. says

    Your loss, ildi. I make very popular chocolate-ship cookies from a whole-white-wheat grain, and back when I had picky eaters, I brought food for them to amke sure no one was inconvenienced.

  219. ildi says

    Your pedantic conversation would be a major funsuck. (Power play means what my dictionary says it means and you are causing Stockholm Syndrome in children by disagreeing!)

    At least the wee kiddies would get to bed early.

  220. says

    ildi,

    It seems odd to assume people are exactly the same on-line and in-person. For example, I would never think that at a party, you would do nothing but offer pointless insults, vapid speculations, simple-minded characterizations, and empty assertions. I’m sure there’s more to you than that in person.

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