Friday, June 16, 2006

Kids vs Society - Part 1

While I was thinking upon the subject of kids, there were 2 conversations I had with different friends.

I’ll start with society’s woes and teachers.  This will dovetail (I hate that word) into education and rearing later.

The email exchange started innocently enough with a dissatisfaction of the daycare gambit: in this case, the parents would palm off the Ritalin riddled little tyrants on the ski mountain.  In fact, some kids are so stoned that a bloody nose from taking a full-face snow sample is simply a normal occurrence for them. No fuss, no muss, no emotion.

In a word simply too smashed to realize how smashed they’d actually gotten in the snowboarding accident.

Pause for thought.

The obvious benefit was that the kid was sufficiently sedated for the accident.  One wonders if there would have been a serious crash at all if the kid wasn’t wiped-out in the first place.

The empirical evidence, or maybe just urban legend, tells us that there is many a child out there on mood-altering drugs.  I won’t quote the statistics from the NIDA link to Ritalin, you can draw your own conclusions on that.  And I won’t debate the validity of any singular case. As with any health problem, and particularly with the mind, ADHD is no joke.

This issue launches into million different directions: the one of interest to me being a question of judgment.  Judging of the parent, and judgement on the parent’s part, then, as usual, judgment of society and it’s own monstrous needs.

An excerpt from my own email: “To stand in judgement is potentially disingenuous, and besides, the question really is: is the parent is drugging the kid to keep him or her under control, or is it because there is a legitimate need?  Furthermore, is the so-called need dictated by the state?  For example overworked teachers who don't want to, or can't deal with, a non-homogenous overloaded classroom...”

A case can be made for children requiring a goodly amount of physical activity, to spend some of the pent-up hyper-energy: martial arts and sports being an obvious answer.  Liberal use of drugs, pushed by the pharmaceutical industry no less, is not so much a good answer.  Ritalin wasn’t around centuries ago, but kids were!  And parents managed to cope. Doesn’t that beat all?

Another case against drugs: social activities can be applied to depression as well.  This is really what society should be encouraging, not more drugging.  Point of fact, in the olden days, there was a much stronger sense of community, in tribes, in church, etc.  Critical issues were addressed quickly, usually within the community.  Nowadays many don’t even talk with neighbours or coworkers.

But I have my own misgivings about the so-called olden days:
  • Spankings were de rigueur.

  • Parents’ beating the shit out of their children was rampant.

  • Heavy drinking was commonplace – (now we have Prozac instead, woohoo.)

  • Fear has replaced the lack of privacy.

  • Big brother is now institutionalized, in lieu of the "town gossip".

The list goes on.  We’ve unfortunately not really improved on these specifics per se. For example: spankings may well be a bad-thing™, but verbal abuse is arguably more damaging in the long term.

I’m not saying that a restless child can be solved with a spanking, far from it.  But we are expecting the little bastards to fit into a still ill conceived but more modern mould!  So we start hammering away with drugs to fit this square peg?  This is the modern solution?

What does the future hold for the next generation of kids?  The same problems will still exist and drugs will be considered as barbaric as spankings were yesterday.  

During my bouts of depression, mood-altering drugs did help.  Some of them, however, messed me up much worse than the depression itself.  To address the other possibilities: physical activity would work for a few days then the depression would hit worse and getting up the onus to continue the activities would sap all remaining energy; socializing was hit and miss, sometimes making things better, sometimes worse.

I want to address the problem with social activities for a moment.  By itself managing our emotions is tiring at the best of times, but for someone with depression holding one’s run-amok emotions in public can be, and often is, nothing short of a nightmare.

If I extend this theorem towards ADHD and these kids’ behaviour, is it any wonder they lose it.  By and large children don’t have the finesse to manoeuvre the social reality around them.  So what if 3 or 4 out of every 100 stand out against the crowd? (I know, I know, I just quoted a stat, argh!)  

And so I point back to our olden times.  When classes were smaller, you’d have the one kid who gets on everyone’s nerves, robbing the attention away from his classmates.  It was a harsh life, but the teacher could handle it, and still feed some 20 kids with the requisite value-add.   It’s simple math.  4 kids in 100 makes for roughly one problem per class of 20, and sometimes not at all.  If your class is 40?  Holy shit… You are almost guaranteed 2 problems and twice the clamour for attention anyways!

Solutions?  We can’t be reducing the number of heads to teach down to a decent number… no business case there.  Pump the drugs, it’s definitely more cost effective.  Or if we can find enough basket cases within the school, fire up a subsidized special-ed class for the hyperactive (or deaf) morons!

And then it’s the parent that wonders what’s wrong with their child?!?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Excuse me it's for the children

This past week has seen a plethora of ideas for me to blog, unfortunately, I didn’t write them down straight away, so now I forget what they were.  Argh!  Nevertheless among those that I do remember, they can all be related to manipulation…

I’ve talked about kids being the free-pass to the world in the past.  Using kids is the ultimate weapon to subjugate others to one’s will.  It is the second most powerful vehicle to impose upon others.  What’s the first you ask?  Coercion.

Using kids is second only to blackmail or threat of death.  Pretty scary huh?   While coercion is immediately the most powerful, it is also quite clear and easily identifiable.  So the ultimate weapon remains kids.

On to the examples:

Porn:  this is one of my favourite round-about examples of government subjugation.  It starts innocently enough with terrorism.  

Prez. Bush, may the Lord have mercy on his soul, declares war on terrorism, and commands law that demands access to personal records.  This opens up the internet to scrutiny by the FBI and HS (Homeland Security).  Furthermore, the U.S. systematically applies pressure to other countries, read Canada, to release and make available private internet records.  

I’m not sure of the validity of such espionage upon the populace at large, but I’ll go along with it, for the sake of discussion.  I have seen no evidence that terrorism was quashed by anything other than excellent police investigative works.  Not much about internet use per se, but then do terrorists have internet access?  Do they have phones?  Cell-phones? Text messaging? Do they have mail?  Uh oh!  

The obvious conclusion becomes that all phone-calls and mail also need to be scrutinized as well.  If the movie Enemy of the State is to be believed the so-called NSA – National Security Agency already records phone calls.  (This is an excellent movie by the way, starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman, two of my favourite actors.)

So the internet vs. terror gambit doesn’t really take by itself, so the powers-that-be sprinkle some kids into the mix to legitimize trampling all over privacy.  Isn’t it a strange coincidence, the data monitoring can be used to track other criminals and low and behold, child molesters?  This is the angle being sold nowadays.  There really isn’t anything anyone can say against such argument.  Protesting, even on the basis of freedom and privacy will get you lynched, or worse, branded as a potential molester who is avarice of kiddie-porn, or at the very least aiding and abetting molesters!  WTF?

So the invasion of privacy law stays, instead of being used against terrorism, it is used to monitor all who use the net.  Nabbing terrorists becomes incidental.

Firearms: yeah, you knew that was coming.  

This is easily the worst case.  The debate for or against firearms will rage on forever, granted.  Yet the favourite ammunition used by the anti-gun lobby is: “oh my god, have you ever seen a dead child riddled with bullets.”   I really feel bad for Wendy.  Really, I do. No fooling.

It is disingenuous at best.  Utterly stupid at worse, and doesn’t hold any logical water whatsoever.  Her entire equation rests on the fact that children can get hurt or killed with firearms.  

So what?  This isn’t the issue, it has never been. The jackass pulling the trigger is the problem, but throw a dead child into the fray, and all of a sudden, her issue, while still false becomes totally unassailable.  

And I do mean totally:  Imagine for a minute if I was a newspaper reporter and brought to light that Wendy’s argument was asinine, in a column, right beside a picture of a bullet-riddled dead kid.  Can’t be done.

Back to Sex: public nudity

This is a completely subjective moral imperative.  For one, everybody is more or less naked in African tribes; of course the sheer heat might have something to do with it.

So why is it then that women in Ottawa aren’t allowed to go topless?  Social mores for sure, but the most common excuse: what could I tell my kids?  What example does it set for them?  They shouldn’t be subject to this.  Once again, this is an unbeatable position.


Not that I go out of my way to swear, but a few profanities escape my lips from time to time.  It is cyclical.  When I pay serious attention to my speech patterns, I will notice and try to diminish and even eliminate cussing from my vocabulary.  

I do admit that I often slip back into the bad habit, before focusing on fixing it again.  I am conscious of this, and try my best, but like I said, it is cyclical.   But I have gotten a mother’s ire on a few occasions when I let slip an unseemly word in presence of a child.

I such cases, I have a choice, either tell mom to fuck-off, or I can leave, or I can stop talking.  I will slip again within minutes if I do keep talking.  These are my only options, since it’ll take at least a few weeks to completely eradicate cussing - yet again.  

All for the sake of the kid… With mom’s few words, I have become mute, until the offended is out of earshot.  I’m not saying mom was wrong, I’m just saying the levelled weapon is very effective indeed.  Is it not?

I see examples of using kids to controlling individuals at large every single day.  I have noticed that it is so prevalent that whenever a child is present in a general situation or sentence, I immediately look for and find, the hammer wielding control freak alongside.  

Adding a child’s welfare into any conversation will not only tug at heartstrings, it’ll chain-block the mess with a 10-ton hydraulic winch.

So now you know...  If you want to control someone else’s actions unequivocally, simply find, or invent, the kid-angle and have at it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Closing TV Shows

The TV season has come to a close for the summer, but there were some casualties and some survivors.  

Fortunately for us, we will still have a steady flow of TV series for the summer.  I have subscribed to  This is an on-line DVD-rental store.   I could not find Charmed anywhere in town, so for my wife’s birthday, I subscibed to zip and ordered the back epsiodes.

We’ve been hooked ever since.  I added Angel and Buffy in the zip-list (that’s what they call it) and we started watching those as well.  Good stuff really.  Joss Whedon and his writers are amazing.  Smart quips and one-liners abound.  

And speaking of another Joss Whedon creation: Serenity (sci-fi movie) gave us a taste for the original Firefly too, so I added that to the zip-list as well.  An added bonus that I don’t have to wait 3 years to see how it turns out.

Watching Firefly would have driven me up the wall.  It orginially aired in spurts and starts over a two year period.  But never gathered a following despite being a fantastic sci-fi genre.  Geez, I wonder why?

So we have become addicted to renting DVD series, as if we really needed to watch more TV.   Fuck the networks and their ignorant and inconsistent scheduling practices!

I’ll probably add 24 to the zip-list next.

Anyway, the final update on this TV-year’s entries:

The officially R.I.P.ed first:
Commander in Chief
Hot Properties
Killer Instinct
Night Stalker
West Wing (The)

The Keepers:
Cold Case
Criminal Minds
CSI: Las Vegas
CSI: Miami
King of the Hill
Las Vegas
Prison Break
Simpsons (The)
Without a Trace
The Added:
Close to Home
Unit (The)
Stargate Atlantis

And the dumped and semi-dumped (we just no longer watch):
Ghost WhispererSG-1
Shield (The)