Pliny The Welder is Brent.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mama Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Radicals.

 It has come to my attention that our oldest daughter is quite radical.  This was to be expected I suppose.  Kelly and I bonded over our shared hatred and our love blossomed amidst many alcohol filled nights of venomous contempt for those who had more yet somehow felt besieged by the teeming grasping hordes of the powerless who passed by outside the tinted windows of their SL, floating along like skinny wraiths.
     This hatred ebbed and flowed but as we got older we met some of the people who drove the SL's and while they were, in fact, generally clueless about how their ignorance informed their worldview they did not, in fact, have horns.  I admit that this realization was painful.  It caused me to temper my fantasies that involved a catastrophic crumbling of society (Fun Hint.... clink on this link at the same time as the pipe bomb link!!  Good times.)  in which I would be able to wrest their mansions from them by force.  Drowning the man in his spa tub and starving his wife by locking her inside the stainless steel Sub Zero refrigerator that cost more than we made in half a year.  

Hey, I hate to take you out of the narrative flow here but:

            Still we maintained a radical political bent.  I'm quite obviously an extreme left winger.  The thing is though the more I've thought, and the more I've examined my own pre-conceptions the more I've been willing to acknowledge that The Left has its own issues.  I'm willing to PERHAPS acknowledge that new liberal economic policies may have some value, OR at least admit that I'm not certain of a system that could replace it without an extreme amount of pain and death.
            This brings us to a problem we've noticed.  Kids don’t do subtlety.  Regardless of how sophisticated your 9 year old seems they are terrible at holding two opposing viewpoints in their head.  They don't analyze the motives of those they disagree with in an effort to see it their way.  Kids see it one way.  Their fucking way.

These guys would actually all get along swimmingly if they couldn't see one another.

Basically,  kids are radical fundamentalists.  
It's very hard to make kids understand that some effects have causes so removed and nebulous that we can't trace them at all.  It's foreign to them.  They have trouble with the idea that a system can be causing tremendous harm without anyone actually having intended it to cause harm.  In fact the system was almost certainly put in place to MITIGATE harm.
So, having realized that my oldest daughter is a radical and that her radicalism is fueling contempt for others (and this being a blog) I've decided to submit for your consideration six helpful pointers and observations about raising your child liberal without putting a pipe bomb in her hand.

1)  The Israeli Palestinian Peace Process is more complex than the argument over whether it's bedtime or not:

This shouldn't take long to solve. It's so small, what could go wrong?

Do your best to make sure your kids understand that most social conflicts are complex and intractable problems.   Why is that when we come into a room and see one of our kids crying while the other one screams that it was the others fault most of us yell "It's no one's fault!!".  We naturally assume that no one is totally at fault in any situation right?  We operate under the assumption that most of the time there is no way to properly tease out victimhood.  But then we try to simplify political and social issues and give our kids the impression that there is one side in a debate that's totally fucked.  I mean basically this boils down to telling our kids an argument over a Bit O' Honey is too complex to tease out but the intricacies of global climate change as it relates to economies in different states of development and in conjunction with current applicable international treaties is really pretty simple.  Fail.  Accidental mindless fail, but still fail.

2)There are no bad guys:

Except this guy.  But still... Rule #1 don't compare anyone to Hitler.  It's totally disrespectful to Hitler.

  It's easy to demonize.  Fuck, it's one of my favorite past times dating back to drawing lewd caricatures of my elementary school teachers.  You get no help here from the television that has become like a treasured elder who gently lulls your children to sleep.  No.  Kids entertainment is rife with the idea that the forces of good fight a pretty straight forward battle against the forces of evil.  It's never really established what the forces of evil are after, aside from letting "DARKNESS REIGN OVER THE EARTH!!"  As a thirteen year old reading the Lord Of The Rings trilogy I suddenly found myself wondering what the orc's were in it for.  I mean were they fighting for valuable crop land?  An end to unfair taxation?  It's not really established.  We just know the orcs are bad and they are going to do bad things when they win.  I used to try to picture a group of orc's after their victory beating their swords into plowshares and heading back to the homesteads.  This is just about the furthest thing from reality as possible.  Aside from the flesh eating, serial killing outlier of human kind every bad act has as its genesis the kernel of justice somewhere.
The 9/11 bombers were assholes.  And their act was pointless, self defeating, and directed at a bunch of people who probably couldn't identify more than one middle eastern country on a map scrubbed of names but way back there was a real beef that demanded real action.

3)Mitt Romney probably doesn't want to personally watch your parents starve to death and would most likely not get any pleasure from doing so:

Mitt doesn't hate you...he doesn't think of you at all.

            Republican and conservative economic and social policy is stupid.  Most of its totally illogical and doesn't accomplish what conservatives say they are trying to accomplish.  That being said vanishingly few conservatives actually wish any of us harm.  At worst they just wish we'd shut up.  Explain to your kids that many conservatives are quite well meaning people who treat small animals well and don't hold ritual sacrifices. 

4)  No revolution in history has ever done anything but take the socio/economic pyramid and flip that bitch right on its ass:

I admit I'd rather be up top but, you know, I'm too tired to kill.
Yup, there has yet to be a utopian revolution to end all revolutions.  And people have been trying for at least 8 thousand years now.  They all end up being messy and bloody and the only thing ever accomplished is that the maids become the ladies of the house and the Baroness cleans toilets.  For a few generations.  Until the Baroness turned maid gets fucking pissed and away we go again.  Don't make your kid a revolutionary.  Shit don't work y'all.

5)  Children are fucking monsters, seriously:

I believe the Children Of The Corn Are Our Future
There is a school of thought popular particularly amongst the more granola of us that children are perfect little souls.  "We can learn so much from children" you'll hear or "Children are born pure it's our society that creates problems."  BULL FUCKINGSHIT.  Kids are monsters.
I've got three and 9 years of experience has taught me that kids are WORSE than we are.  Your average adult/institution/nation state generally responds to problems and frustration in a number of ways.  These usually escalate from talking, to politely addressing grievances to reasoning, to agitating, to mild threats, to severe threats, to proportional mild violence to complete violence.  Kids go from talking to yelling to violence.  Fast.   Kids cry and hit over the most asinine things.  They learn to lie fast.  The first time your kid lies to your face is almost a surreal moment.  Probably because they are SO bad at it.  There is one cookie left. Only you and your kid are in the house.  The cookie is eaten.  You say "Did you eat that cookie I told you not to?"  Your kid looks at you and says "nope."  Liar.  You ate that fucking cookie and we both know it.
Children are not any more pure than adults and they have nothing to teach us about modern economic policy aside from that fact that the biggest kid, in an unsupervised situation, gets the last cookie ten times in ten.  Don't put kids on a pedestal.  They'll turn into tyrants and have  you spending 12 hours a day spoon feeding them raw cake mix before you know it.

6) Never, ever, ever in history has a pipe bomb changed anyone's mind.  Even if the pipe bomb was also a bike:

This Pipe Bomb is a Pipe Bomb.
Ok,  Kelly and I both liked Crass.  We love Propaghandi and Less Talk More Rock is one of the greatest albums ever.  But revolutionary zeal and radicalism has accomplished a total of fucking nothing.  Did John Brown free the slaves?  Did the years of violent resistance oust the British from India?  When it comes to social change logic and persistently presenting PALATABLE PRACTICAL alternatives work way better than suicide bombings.  And angry internet snark has done very little to advance the goal of single payer healthcare.  Make sure your kids understand this.

We may be accidentally raising a generation of bitter, snarky angry little bastards without having explained to them that there's a reason none of these problems are solved.  It's not because the other guy is almost certainly possessed by demons.  It's because they are hard fucking problems and it's hard to hear the other guy out when he's yelling.  It gives you a headache.

Till next time,

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