Shit Flows Downhill

       Shit Flows Downhill

 

           . . . and payday’s Friday, the plumber’s knowledge base, as we boys mansplain it to each other. (Wow. Word had no comment for that word! Did Microsoft buy the Urban Dictionary?) Of course, I’m not here to discuss plumbing, which is a good thing: I suck at it. This for the metaphor.

 

          You know, the king wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and dumps on the court, the cabinet all growl at their staff and slash the budgets of their least favourite departments and ultimately the people don’t get their bread.

 

          Abuse flows downhill, is what I’m trying to say, along the lines of authority.

 

          The family version is, Dad lords it over Mom, Mom gets a little more disciplinary with number one son, this firstborn noogies his younger sibling more than usual and the lastborn kid winds up taking it out on the dog, who then puts the run on the cat, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Plus of course, Dad is upset because of something his boss did or said, who is simply passing on directives from above . . . not ad infinitum, technically though. In theory, the buck stops at the king or ‘the shareholders.’ I don’t think in this conversation that we need to credit Dad’s or the king’s claim that he represents and works for God; I’m not weighing in on God’s existence or not here, just saying I have yet to meet the man or the king who might be on God’s mailing list. Our default position for such claims must of course be skeptical, even if we think it’s possible. Certainly most such claims are false.

 

          Abuse follows lines of authority, it bears repeating. Just as hierarchical structures of authority make so many large cooperative efforts possible for humans, it’s this same structure makes punishment and abuse possible. Without authority, punishment is simply abuse – but without authority, abuse would simply be an unconnected bunch of fights. Winners win, losers lose, but that’s just violence. Abuse is an abuse of authority, and authority means something like ‘legitimate power,’ so abuse is violence in a more specific, organized context. Interestingly, disorganized violence we can view as natural and amoral, like what the bears do and we don’t judge harshly for it. Abuse is different.

 

          Abuse is a crime within some sort of social order. Along with all the new things human resource pooling has brought into the world like agriculture, industry, and community care of the sick and elderly comes things like oppression, war, and abuse - new crimes for new situations.

 

          Of course, shit flows downhill in a racial sense too.

 

          If, God forbid, Barkley was right as well as honest when he told us that whooping their kids is what black people do (paraphrase), meaning if there is any racial difference in America as to the use or amount of use of corporal punishment, then maybe this is why, because that’s how the stuff of plumbers’ efforts flows. Because life is a pyramid and bad stuff falls down from above like a champagne fountain where people are the glasses; the ones at the upper levels hold what they can and all the rest falls to the ones below, all the bad stuff winding up at the bottom. Do I have to say who is at the bottom of our society? The poor, obviously, among which group black and brown people are over-represented here in North America.

 

          So maybe Charles was right, maybe the stereotype, the cliché has some truth, maybe the under-classes really are rougher on their kids. I am not a racist, no “buts.” If that stereotype has any truth, and if it is in any way due to the fact that gravity operates on our waste, then that is on us, the folks at the top.

 

          I love all things in and around social issues, I love socially-directed comedy, and I really enjoy black comics preaching about racism (Chris Rock: a black man has to fly to get to where a white man can walk!). I do worry about my own racism, because that pleasure is very specific, almost fetishist if you consider that I live in the most black-deficient place in North America. But Chris Rock, Pryor, I love those guys. Know who I can’t stand? George Lopez. I don’t suppose it’s his whole act, but unfortunately for me and George, the only few times I’ve seen him, he was going on about how his parents whooped him, how it was good for him, and how if we don’t whoop our kids they’re all going to turn out badly. All I can see in it is a brown guy, a member of an oppressed group, talking about how the answer for people is more oppression, more roughness.

 

          I pity a person for that, knowing that their pain is too great to face – but these comics, Lopez is not the only one, many comics do that material, Eddie Murphy did - these comics are marketing their denial, and marketing corporal punishment. That is not helpful – plus it is easy to see it as a form of collaboration with the folks at the top.

 

          Shit flows downhill, but that sort of comedy is like installing a pump in the line too, really un-called for.

 

          Now for some really wild conjecture – in a discussion of racism! What could possibly go wrong? – regarding race, class, and corporal punishment: life is tough for the under-classes, and if the poorest folks really are rougher on their kids it isn’t from any sort of bad intention. We all think discipline is a good thing. Poorer kids are at higher risk levels for everything except being spoiled and feeling entitled, so maybe poor parents make a logical choice to be stricter, to do more of what they hope will keep their kids on the straight and narrow.

 

          As for why it’s not working, if that’s what’s happening, I will refer you to the rest of my blogs, but suffice it to say it isn’t champagne that is flowing down on the poor from above and it isn’t champagne that poor folks have too much of and have to pass down to their children.

 

Jeff

 

July 12, 2015

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Comments (46)

  1. 29A

    Slavery probably wasn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. Think about it: full-employment, food, lodging, medical, clothes…more than most companies provide their workers today – and they must beg from the government. Beatings were rare, because everyone knows that beatings won’t improve productivity.
    .
    But the real kicker, bad as it is to enslave your fellow man, it’s even worse to condemn your kids to that life. I can just imagine the parental speech, "I created you a slave, because I love you my child. "
    .
    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
    .
    So much for dreams affirmative action, college admission policies, black history months, black caucuses. Whiners often win. There’s no reason for any group qualifying as underclass to attempt to better themselves. The Confederacy legalized slavery; many modern laws legalize dependency.
    .
    I suppose we can all sit around and point fingers of blame, that way none need to take the responsibility in their own sphere to break the cycle. Shit flows downhill because too few are willing to mean, "the buck stops here. "
    .
    In the past, the white male was too successful, and so he is always fair game, blame.
    .
    But this world is bullshit and getting worse. I effectively made certain that for mine, that shit stopped.
    .
    “They were all in love with dyin’, they were drinkin’ from a fountain
    That was pourin’ like an avalanche comin’ down the mountain” – Butthole Surfers
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buttholesurfers/pepper.html

    July 12, 2015
    1. Neighsayer

      I can’t find much to respond to, 29, but I’ll try again later . . .

      July 12, 2015
  2. Munkyman

    Abuse is a violation of another’s rights. It needs no authority just power. Abuse often thrives in the face of authority by, impressing on the victim that the authorities can’t help even if they wanted to & they might not want to.
    .
    Poorer parents aren’t beating their kids to teach them right from wrong, hell the fact is poorer families often engage in very lax parenting because they spend too much time at work to actively engage their kids. The kids get too little attention at home & the cycle spins on down. Kids that have strict parents that are involved tend to rise up out of poverty because their family is running interference when the kids whose parents aren’t involved want them to go party. The poorer folk who do beat their kids are generally acting out their rage & frustration not engaging in honest discipline. Discipline is important, abuse isn’t discipline.
    .
    A do as I say not as I do generation hasn’t really done well with discipline because while a parent has the obligation to teach discipline to their kids “disciplining” them is only 1/2… parents that smack a kid for swearing can’t swear themselves in front of the kids & shouldn’t swear period if they expect their kids to learn the lesson don’t swear otherwise they teach the kid they can swear when they can assure themselves they won’t be slapped for it… don’t get caught.
    .
    “Years ago, Rock filmed a sketch for his “Chris Rock” show on HBO in which he detailed ways to avoid being beaten by police as a black man. Besides obeying the law, he suggested bringing a white friend along for the ride.

    He did just that last year in a segment of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld. The two chat as Seinfeld drives an orange Lamborghini.

    And what happened?

    They get pulled over after Seinfeld goes a bit heavy on the gas.

    “Here’s the crazy thing,” Rock tells Seinfeld as the police officer stops the duo. “If you weren’t here, I’d be scared.”" cnn.com
    I guess Seinfeld is guilty of driving while Jewish???
    It could just be that flashy cars attract cops just as they draw the eyes of most people & that the driver’s race rarely has much if anything to do with it. I got pulled a lot more in my Triumph Spitfire than I did when I bought a VW GTI, even fewer issues now that I have a pick-up truck. The day I got my concealed carry permit I was pulled for no good reason, the police didn’t ask for my license & registration, they wanted to know where my gun was & then they said I had a tail light out when I questioned the stop… it wasn’t. I certainly wasn’t guilty of driving while white.

    there’s a lot of reasons to stop this car & not one of them has anything to do with the driver’s race, you can’t see the driver due to the tint, which is probably illegally dark.

    July 12, 2015
    1. Neighsayer

      again, more later, but a few quickies: you’ve got the basic dynamic of punishing and discipline backwards. Everybody believes in discipline, and everybody defines it as what they do and not what the other does, which everybody defines as chaotic. You haven’t noticed that?

      .

      Even if I agreed that some perfect, pure version of discipline was good for us, what’s the difference when so few are able to approximate it? What’s the difference in the real, imperfect world?

      July 12, 2015
      1. Munkyman

        The difference is the people it creates. Abuse often creates monsters & artists while discipline often creates leaders & pioneers.

        July 13, 2015
        1. Neighsayer

          that’s the normal narrative, I’m aware of it, I just don’t buy it. What, sporadic punishments are harmful and damaging or just not good enough, but “discipline” – read “consistent, dependable punishments” are the ticket? Sporadic violence is bad, but relentless, inescapable violence is good?

          I’m serious. That is a serious question.

          July 13, 2015
          1. Munkyman

            See I think we have different views of what discipline is, discipline is structure & setting the example, punishment when a part of discipline is there to discourage behavior that is likely to get the person disciplined hurt. Let’s look at work, you get disciplined for not washing your hands before returning to the kitchen from the toilet, well not disciplining that behavior could wind up getting you sick as a dog & even dead. The punishment is what, a day with no pay to think about it… because next time it’s your job. If your kid beats up other kids, beating him up probably won’t provide the discipline they need but, smacking the hand of a child reaching for the stove is very effective.

            July 13, 2015
            1. Neighsayer

              I know the difference, I’m just telling you that everybody thinks they’re thinks that we are providing discipline and you are just chaotically punishing, but that’s a lie we all believe. Really nearly everybody is somewhere between, some from column A, some from column B.

              July 13, 2015
            2. Munkyman

              That’s an unquantifiable supposition. Your experience may cloud your judgement but, I believe some parents apply just the right amount of discipline with love & not anger. Most I’m certain punish their kids out of frustrations at some point & then there are the abusive who take their angst out on their families, co-workers… anyone who’ll take it. I’ve seen it & I’ve experienced otherwise, the parents who really wish you weren’t there & only stop ignoring you to punish you because you made them think about you.

              July 13, 2015
            3. Neighsayer

              which experience do think has clouded my judgement? Being raised by normal methods in a lower middle-class situation and not being a hermit and seeing people and families around me all my life and how they behave? Or raising my own two daughters to adulthood (OK – 17 and 20) without any punishment whatsoever and seeing how that has turned out?

              .

              The difference I see between us here is that I have judged the entire concept and system of punishment to be fundamentally flawed at its core, which I think explains a whole lot of troubles – while you seem to see a system that is good in theory, but that – not sure. The majority, do you think? – people just aren’t implementing correctly. Is that right?

              July 13, 2015
            4. Neighsayer

              Plus, I still accuse you of infection with Original Sin, that you think a certain amount of punishing is necessary to strike the perfect balance. Which means you consider punishing to be necessary (i.e., without some punishing, sin will surely result).

              July 13, 2015
            5. Munkyman

              I don’t think it’s necessary, I think it’s an option if it’s required & I accuse you of having preconceptions. Now I said your experience may have clouded your judgment, not that it has… but, your defensiveness about it makes me far more curious about what effect your experiences have had on your beliefs. I readily admit my mother ignored me & my step father beat me for sport. I also had friends from far better families. Punishment is only necessary when you do things that are harmful or extremely disrespectful (emotionally harmful) to themselves & others. My question is what do you suggest as the proper way of dealing with it when you find your two daughters pulling hair & throwing things ate each other? One started it & the other is defending herself, tell me how to you go about keeping them from killing each other.
              .
              You are hung up on Original Sin, you love to talk about it. Me not so much. I think there’s good kids & bad, those who need very little from their parents & those who need a great deal of attention as well as those who no matter how well they’re raised they’re just never going to be anything other than a serial killer. That’s the nature of life, variety & variety requires a tool bag not just a hammer & not just some soap…. a whole tool bag.

              July 13, 2015
            6. Neighsayer

              Munky, I’m throwing around theories about what I think you might think because of things like this:

              " . . . an option if it’s required . . . "

              - that’s oxymoronic, isn’t it? You wanna clarify that for me?

              .

              We had that situation, I’ve posted it before. We shrieked, we complained, we separated them, we talked and talked and talked and we gave the younger one (the attacker) the attention she was needing. What we did NOT do was get physical with her to teach her not to get physical with people. There were a few more fights while they were young, but all over and never again since they were around 10 and 12 . . . because we didn’t use it on them, we didn’t teach it while attempting to teach away from it.

              July 13, 2015
            7. Neighsayer

              Original Sin is in the culture, it’s everywhere. I’m not suggesting you’re dinosaur, it’s everywhere.

              July 13, 2015
            8. Neighsayer

              It just seems like if our society held the opposite belief from Original Sin, that we’re all born good and it requires intervention to make us bad, then things would be different, that idea doesn’t underwrite punishing. So the fact of our punishment-permeated society would seem to show that Original Sin underwrites it.

              July 13, 2015
            9. Munkyman

              If your child attacks another child they have to be punished, it need not be a beating it might be a lecture, or requiring them to do work, it might even be making them talk with the person they attacked until they understand the damage they did but, actions have repercussions & to not provide them does a child no good & may do harm.
              .
              You have to communicate with a child in the language they understand. That’s why slapping the hand of a kid about to burn themselves works, they don’t have the language skills to be talked to but, they understand reaching for THAT hurts.
              .
              Original Sin is not everywhere, I don’t subscribe to it at all. People are born people they’re born all sorts of people good to bad & they crave a variety of attention.
              .
              I am far more realistic than some imaginary sin being committed in the act of being born, you deal with what’s in front of you in the most humane way that works.
              .
              I’m saying that sometimes the only way a bully learns what they’re doing is by feeling it from the other side. Sometimes that’s what makes a bully. It’s just not a hard science, you can use the same tactics on 10 kids & get 10 unique results. You can hug & kiss a sociopath until you’re chapped & sore in the shoulders but, it won’t change who they are. You can beat a little Gandhi with a cane every day for no particular reason & it won’t make him Hitler. Then you have all the kids in between. Punishment is an effective way to discourage anti social or self destructive behavior, it sure beats bribery. It’s most effective when combined with rewards for good behavior. Lots of parents punish the bad & ignore the good creating a cycle where to get attention the kid engages in bad behavior because punishment is the only attention they get. Not most, just lots.
              .
              When your teen gets a DUI you punish them by taking away their license, grounding them & making them do volunteer work at the hospital where they can see what Drunk Drivers do to people. You certainly don’t help them get another car, drive them where they need to go until they get their license back & let them continue to go to their friend’s parties.

              July 13, 2015
            10. Neighsayer

              Man, are we bored or what? Do we really want to step through this all again, haven’t we done it before? You know that you’re on the conventional side of the argument, and surely you know I’ve heard it all before, I’m well over 50, but never mind me – EVERYBODY has heard it before, and yet, we have the world we have. If your theory is that not enough people understand it like you do, I can assure you you’tr wrong. You are somewhat more articulate than some, but your theory is the same as everybody else’s and it’s the theory that in the real world, with people apparently unable to do it right, that’s causing problems far more than solving them.

              .

              all your alternatives to a whooping above will, often as not, need to be forced, and that physical action often as not adds up to corporal punishment in the end, because sometimes the kid doesn’t feel like it. If you don’t have kids, you might theorize that way, but trust a parent: they don’t always do what you want and they quite often maintain that attitude during the ten seconds it takes us to go from the original request to the new request regarding the kids non-corporal punishment. There is no NICE way to force people into stuff. That is how your good idea about it becomes chaos and violence for most people.

              I know I sound like a rookie, theorizing and idealistic, but I’m a parent, and one who found a way to stay idealistic.

              .

              OK, so if you really don’t think that children need punishments to civilize them, I’ll try to quit throwing Original Sin up your face, until the next time you say something and that appears to lie behind it again, if I can’t make sense of it any other way. Again, I say to you, not about you, but about the concepts, punishment and Original Sin: it is hard to understand how someone could believe in punishment – well, more specifically, if someone could believe that all people need punishment – and also believe that people are not naturally bad or wild. That’s what I mean by OS, nothing religious, just the mindset that people and therefore children are naturally bad or wild.

              July 13, 2015
            11. Neighsayer

              if we’re still dishing out punishments when our kids are at driving age, then we’ve failed at raising them up to think properly. I’d say, if the punishments haven’t reached her yet and changed her ways, when will they?

              July 13, 2015
            12. Munkyman

              & yet many kids get DUI’s & need to be shown that’s not acceptable. I don’t suppose you’re suggesting that a teen with a DUI is a lost cause & isn’t worth trying to help become a productive member of society.
              .
              I do agree, punishments if applied reasonably should yield a child that doesn’t need correction by the age of 13 but, they’ve got friends & peer pressure encourages some mighty stupid behavior.
              .
              I hope your not suggesting that we’re born civilized, that’s just absurd. They’re just not all the same, some will be quick to change their behavior with a harsh word & others will test your resolve every way you can imagine & some you never would have until you saw it. Some won’t even need a harsh word, they’re just Good, it’s who they are, they wouldn’t know how to be bad if they tried.
              .
              I love this NPR interview with Tyson Degrasse
              “Also consider that if you a straight-A student in your class, that student has straight A’s not because of teachers, but in spite of teachers. That’s what having straight-A means. It means you do well, no matter the teaching talent of the teacher. That’s what straight A’s mean. So if you’re a teacher and you put forth your straight-A student as though you had something to do with it, you are deluding yourself.”
              http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=283443670

              July 14, 2015
            13. Neighsayer

              i don’t think we’re “born good” any more than we’re “born bad.” In fact, I’m not very interested in how we’re born, what our default ‘human nature’ is, because whatever it is, it is what it is. Nurturing is important regardless of what the Nature is, and talk of what our nature is should never trump what it is we’re trying to be.

              July 14, 2015
            14. Munkyman
              I don’t think we have a default human nature, we’re not that simple an animal. We respond differently to stimulus from the earliest of ages. We need different types of nurturing because we’re not clones we’re individuals.

              July 14, 2015
            15. Neighsayer

              " They’re just not all the same, some will be quick to change their behavior with a harsh word & others will test your resolve every way you can imagine & some you never would have until you saw it. Some won’t even need a harsh word, they’re just Good, it’s who they are, they wouldn’t know how to be bad if they tried."

              - all I’m saying is we don’t need a method that “works” every time. What is “working” in this sense anyway? You know what I think: it means the parents win each and every transaction, each and every conflict and the kid never does.

              If you’re going to respond, Munky, please, try to answer my questions. I’ve asked you a few in this thread. I’m sorry I walked away from you on that other thread a few weeks ago, I just didn’t have anything for it, but I’m sorry I never told you so.

              July 15, 2015
            16. This comment has been deleted
            17. Munkyman

              Do me a favor & consolidate your questions & I’ll do my best.
              Don’t worry about “walking away” my feelings aren’t fragile.
              When I say what works I mean what produces the best person out of that child. What gets the parents their way, isn’t always what works, parents aren’t always right & they need to consider that. A great example from my own life in which what happened didn’t work. I wanted to take up an instrument, piano specifically, the neighbors had one & while my best friend was taking violin lessons I played on it.
              My father is a guitarist, so he got me a guitar, one that was way too big for me at that age & when I couldn’t chord it properly he told me that was it & if I didn’t want to learn the guitar then I wasn’t going to learn an instrument. He took me out of team sports because he didn’t have the time to pick me up from practice. That didn’t work, it was just what he wanted. What works is often times something that requires a parent to grow a little & a child to think a lot. My father & I have almost no contact now & when my grandmother dies he & I will probably never see or speak again. That didn’t work. I have experienced bad parenting & seen good. What works is letting your kid choose an instrument & then seeing to it that they practice it for at least a year to help them get past the frustrating part of learning where it sounds bad & you’re constantly practicing scales. That’s discipline, showing your kid how to stick to it & helping them realize the rewards that come from pushing on in spite of setbacks or struggles

              July 15, 2015
            18. Neighsayer

              OK. Well, not you, I guess, but believe me, a lot of people get stuck on that, what “works” and they mostly mean what I said, they “win.”

              .

              I think I may be trying to identify something you’ve touched on here as a fallacy: the idea that because we were raised badly and we saw others in better homes (me too), that we think those better homes must be “good” or “good enough.” It would be nice, if it were really true, that those other families were actually healthy and sane, but “better off than me” doesn’t necessarily mean “all good.” Chaotic destruction can produce chaotically destroyed people – but tight, well organized destruction can produce tightly, well organized destroyed people. Maybe they don’t show symptoms, even, but they are living in the cycles of violence anyways, and passing it on. Many of our families were better organized several generation ago, and while ours may have descended into chaos, the basic idea – punishment – has survived the decadence and it’s common across all the generations.

              .

              I mean, that’s important, psychologically, for us to acknowledge the unfairness, that our life really may have been worse that someone from a less destructive home, that is required for us to realize our damage and heal. Of course it’s the psychologists who will also tell us that there aren’t perfect families, that everyone has problems.

              .

              (BTW – of course your dad thought he was teaching you lessons, he probably thought he was providing discipline. And that’s the thing: if we had to take everyone’s word for it, we’d think that everyone was providing a consistent form of discipline. Of course that’s not really true, but it means everyone gets to sit around and talk about the perfect ideal of discipline and not about the twisted, fucked up version of it most of us really get.)

              .

              OK, questions:

              Everybody believes in discipline, and everybody defines it as what they do and not what the other does, which everybody defines as chaotic. You haven’t noticed that?

              .

              This one you answered, but I think we misunderstood each other:

              Even if I agreed that some perfect, pure version of discipline was good for us, what’s the difference when so few are able to approximate it? What’s the difference in the real, imperfect world?

              What I meant was, what does it matter if there’s a good, ideal version of parental discipline if so few parents actually find it, if so many parents are employing a much worse version?

              .

              Same with this one, maybe:

              . . . you seem to see a system that is good in theory, but that – not sure. The majority, do you think? – people just aren’t implementing correctly. Is that right?

              I mean, “do you think MOST people are simply doing a bad job?” I know you think doing the proper job of discipline is good, I’m trying to ascertain where you think the problems are with parenting for most people. “do you think most people are raising their kids properly, or most are fucking it up?”

              .

              . . . an option if it’s required . . . "

              - that’s oxymoronic, isn’t it? You wanna clarify that for me?

              Its from one of your long comments about halfway up.

              July 15, 2015
            19. Munkyman

              In my opinion it falls to one thing, patience. A patient person can be a great parent but, someone who always feels they don’t have the time will cut corners & act out their stress.
              Option if required: I mean you can’t take corporal punishment off the table because your job as a parent is to prepare your kid for adulthood & their actions as an adult can have some very painful consequences. It goes back to slapping a toddlers hand as they reach for a lit stove. The slap stings but, it protected them from a burn which could scar them for life. Most kids aren’t that hard headed unless they’ve already been exposed to punishments that range into the abusive. When I was fighting, I liked to remind myself the guy in front of me was never going to hit me harder than my stepfather did. That kind of corporal punishment put me in the position where I didn’t care, he couldn’t hit any harder than he already had & I was getting old enough to consider taking a bat to him when I moved out. The idea is that your kid can’t think they’ve exhausted your “bag of tricks” you have to leave them with the idea that if they chose to escalate their behavior you can still escalate as well & that they just can’t get beyond your ability to respond. The idea is to never need to get violent with your kids but, they have to know that if they don’t respond to reason, rules & firm love there are other options… because in the world they could find themselves faced with those options quickly. it the parent’s job to get them ready for the world.
              .
              Seeing better parenting as good, actually I’m going by the friends I still have from my childhood & their kids are great, they’ve become great parents who’s kids are great. They’re also successful professionals who did well throughout school & have attained the respect of their peers, even the media. They’re happy, successful & still have close relations with their parents.
              .
              I was lucky, I’m made of strong fiber & developed a Nietzschean attitude about my youth. I didn’t break but, I also haven’t got good relations with either parent. I think the Boy Scouts really helped me avoid the wrong path, them & the exposure I had to the more functional families of my friends.
              .
              If I didn’t get to them all sorry, I’m headed out & will happily try to get to them later if you’d like.

              July 16, 2015
            20. Neighsayer

              all right, thx

              July 16, 2015
            21. Neighsayer

              I’ll have to take your word about your well brought-up friends. One question: what is your estimation of percentages? How many folks do you imagine were raised well and how many not?

              .

              as for your first answer, again, that’s the theory, the theory our society has, the one most folks go with. It’s crap, in my opinion. A perfect, theoretical version of something that mostly doesn’t work out in real life. A to D., Munky. I’ve heard your version everywhere, all my life, and I’ve gotten over it, seen through it. I’m not sure you understand my POV yet, but I’m not so sure you want to so . . .

              July 16, 2015
            22. Munkyman

              I’d say depending on a few cultural variables & economic factors it probably ranges from 1 in 10 to 1 in 50. That’s the other side, parents aren’t the only things that punish, the “world” does a pretty good job of punishing difference, excellence & insecurities. The physical world & laws of probability tend to punish stupidity & foolhardiness harshly.
              .
              Is 1 in 10 enough? No. It’d be nice if it were 9 out of 10 but, it’s better than 1 in 100. The Germans are renowned for their parentage so it might be 1 in 5 or better there, dunno. I’ve heard life as an Arab boy in some areas is a pretty indulgent upbringing.
              .
              I know you’ve heard it & I do get your point of view, it’s idealistic, it’s the direction to lean. It’s just not entirely attainable. “Shrieking” is punishing, children’s ears are sensitive, feelings can be hurt An angry look can devastate some particularly sensitive children & amuse a different kind of child. A hurt feeling can do more long term damage than a bruised behind. I’m saying that I think your idea is that people can be perfect parents if they just take punishments of the table & I see that when you take what you think is a punishment off the table you just turn something else into a punishment (denying it to yourself as you do it) more often than not, if your doing it under pressure. It’s a pressure valve, to lash out is a stress mismanagement mechanism, which is your issue that punishing is lashing out & more about enforcing the parent’s will than providing for the child’s education & safety.
              .
              In the end I’m saying the folk who can be the parents you suggest… already are, because it’s who they are & miraculously two of them found each other.

              July 16, 2015
            23. Neighsayer

              The world does not punish. Punishment is particular, it’s a conscious act. Having a feeling (shrieking) is also not punishing. Everything that is unpleasant is not a punishment, punishment is specific, again, a conscious act. If the religious folks of the world feel that every unpleasantness is a punishment from God or the Godhead, fine, but it doesn’t change my definition. No wonder I’m not convincing you of anything regarding punishment, because apparently you don’t understand what punishment is.

              .

              OK, so that proportion question, as I’m sure you know, is a trap, I might be playing Catch a Racist a little bit here, but here’s the follow up: how do you explain the failure rate if it’s not the system (of punishment)? 9 out of 10, 49 out of 50 – first of all that is a clear failure of the system by me. But for you, you think the idea of the system is good, so how do explain that horrendous failure rate?

              Of course you know what I think you think. If it’s not process, not what people think and do (again, everybody believes in your system), then I’m guessing you think it’s something about what people are instead. You said it in your last sentence.

              July 17, 2015
            24. Munkyman

              Shrieking at someone who’s cringing from it is punishing, it hurts their ears & if you don’t know that it doesn’t change the effect.
              1 in 10 because most of the world is a savage place where parents have a lot of stress & there are serious dangers to their child everywhere. The less stress a parent has the less anger they have & the less anger they have the more positive the things they do are for their child, even when it’s “Punishment.”
              & don’t try making me a part of your idea of religious.

              July 17, 2015
            25. Neighsayer

              you’re one of those folks who will argue any position just for fun, aren’t you?

              .

              We didn’t shriek AT her, and she wasn’t cringing from us, she was busy swinging from her sister’s hair. Again, you’re being obtuse, persisting in your lack of a definition for punishing. Look it up. People do say ‘punishing’ to mean tough or painful, but really obviously, that is not what we’re talking about. If you’re sticking with that deliberately obfuscating definition, then I’m out, it’s pointless and dull.

              .

              You really can’t believe that ONE SINGLE person you might meet in life could not punish their kids? You’re certain it’s impossible? We have some level of comfort, union jobs, parental leave, the wife worked half-time until the last kid was three or four. I admit, poverty would make it more difficult, less possible – which is kind of the entire point of this post.

              .

              " . . . because most of the world is a savage place where parents have a lot of stress . . . "

              - yeah, that’s what I said, that’s what this post says, and you gotta throw it up like it’s the opposite explanation and it was your idea.

              .

              I am not projecting ideas of religion on you. I am saying that if I thought there was a god, or Karma behind every unpleasantness I experience, then that might qualify as punishment, if I thought my suffering was placed there for me by some conscious entity. But I don’t so when the world puts a rock into my windshield that is not a punishment.

              .

              I see an old pattern here, Munky, this is going the way some of our previous talks have. I’m OK to just stop.

              July 17, 2015
            26. Munkyman

              All I’ve been saying is that you’re expecting perfection from people in an imperfect world, I know some children can be & are raised without punishment. I am saying that just because you don’t consider something you’re doing punishment, that doesn’t mean a kid doesn’t see it as a punishment. Your perception isn’t the important one here, it’s the kid in question. Let me repeat that because that’s a BIG point you seem to want to ignore, punishment is in the eye of the person experiencing it. My father was a singer with exceptional voice control & projection, I had sensitive ears. Where my step father hit he yelled & to be quite honest I’d have preferred the hitting.
              He will brag about not hitting me as if his yelling didn’t make me jump out of my skin as if his badgering & name calling didn’t make me cry as a younger kid. SO you can say that something isn’t punishment from your perspective but, your perspective isn’t the important one it’s the kid’s that matters when defining punishment. Do I need to repeat that last statement again or do you get it? That’s the fundamental point of our disconnect. You’re more worried about your perception than the kid’s.
              I am saying that most parents who agree with you will turn something into punishment without seeing they’ve done it & thinking they’re better parents avoiding the things their parents, care takers or guardians had done.
              I am saying that your suggestion that the majority will be able to raise their kids punishment free is only possible in a far more perfect world. I am saying that your suggestions are kind of useless because the people who will be able to raise their kid without punishment are going to do it anyway because it’s who they are & they got lucky enough to that two such people found each other.
              .
              I see punishment as a negative repercussion that was avoidable, in the natural sense.
              I see it as an overt act in the discipline sense.
              It should be used in the discipline sense to help reduce exposure to it in the natural sense.
              .
              Stepping on the wrong end of a rake is a punishing lesson, it has nothing to do with karma or any god, it has to do with paying attention. It can be accurately said that’s what you get for not paying attention to where you walk. No karma necessary & just a touch of Newton’s law.

              July 17, 2015
            27. Munkyman

              What I hear from you is that your “formula” will work on every kid in every family in every situation. I am trying to explain to you that that’s just not reasonable because people (kids) are just too varied to expect a single plan to be what everyone of them needs. The resources don’t exist for everyone to have that middle to upper middle class sense of security & ease you’ve enjoyed. Most don’t get to shelter their kids with a mom who’s home when they get out of school. Hell most parents should be parents & I’d guess that 1/2 of those who shouldn’t didn’t really want to be.
              .
              As I said way up above, your ideas are definitely the direction every parent should lean, they’re idealistic & I don’t think many parents could reach it & I bet if your kids were asked by someone other than you about how their parents punished them for misbehaving they’d have an answer.

              July 17, 2015
            28. Munkyman

              Let me put it another way. England abolished slavery in England but, a surf was still beholden to their land lord & children were snatched off the streets & sold out of orphanages to work in mills where they were chained to machines often enough, call it anything you want That’s Slavery. Many would argue the Dole is akin to slavery & I am one of them. You can change the name but, have you actually done away with the practice, you aren’t the one to ask… your kids are.

              July 17, 2015
            29. Munkyman

              Would you call “corrective behavior” punishment?
              Trust me I’m not debating this for the fun of it, it’s work & you’ve learned things about my childhood that I don’t discuss because I don’t like being the object of sympathy.

              July 17, 2015
            30. Neighsayer

              Not perfection, M., just one change, only one. I certainly wasn’t perfect, we certainly weren’t. We don’t know how to fight or be assertive, so we couldn’t teach that. We’re very disorganized, the house is a mess and we can hardly cook for ourselves. I’ve been a full time pothead most of my kids’ life.

              - and still, with all those failings and more, the kids are brilliant and very moral. Let’s turn that upside down:

              With all that shitty stuff going on, if we had worked to force our ways on them we would have done exactly what you describe as bad parenting, but we didn’t and the kids are probably no messier than we are – and we had a pretty stress-free life, the kids never stopped sharing and communication with us, even right through the teen years. (livelonger style: now tell me how all your well-raised friends’ teenagers were like that.)

              .

              Perceptions. I’d say you may have that issue, because you seem to think that every unpleasantness is “punishment,” but we don’t have that issue. Again, I understand your skepticism, lots of people say they don’t punish, but those are the folks who think they can punish “non-corporally” or non-physically – point is they still believe in punishing even though they don’t believe in spankings or beatings. They “throw the sharp looks” and shout to startle their kids and as long as they don’t plan to spank, they think they’ve made a qualitative change (and apparently you think so too). They mean to give the sharp look, which means they mean to punish. That is not me. If I were really punishing them like you say, with shouts and looks and insults (I think you said ‘insults’ last year), then I would have had normal results, distrust, lying, the kids wanting to be somewhere other than here in my house, and we didn’t.

              Admit it: you and I both just found out that your working definition for punishment is overly broad, that it meant any sort of unpleasantness, whether dished out by Dad or by the insensate natural world. So realize and face that this is where your idea of my confusion about it comes from, your (past now, I hope?) confusion. That is not a slight or an attack, simply the acknowledgement that you are still at this great age capable of learning. I’m hopeful that going forward we will both be speaking the same language when we use that word. Seriously: you don’t really think that when your father Stentorized (Stentor – you know it? Greek myth, a man or hero with a voice that could carry in a battle, a great advantage to his troops.) you, he wasn’t trying to punish, frighten or coerce you, of course he was. After all the intervening years you don’t still think he was trying to be nice, trying not to punish you? Not bloody likely. He was trying to punish you, just without beating you, and I imagine he would have said so.

              .

              But you example here about parents who think that is spot on, on that I agree. All we’re disagreeing about is whether I’m one of them – I’m not, that’s the whole point: the only way out of that trap is no punishing AT ALL, period, dirty looks, taking away toys, we did none of it.

              .

              For this:

              “What I hear from you is that your “formula” will work on every kid in every family in every situation. . . . "

              I still reject that idea that something has to “work” every time. So what your kid marks the wall? So what your kids pushes the neighbors’ kid? Every little misbehaviour doesn’t require that it be stopped. Are yours? Let them learn. I hear this all the time – I know this is long, but come back to this just for this point – many, many people who argue with me use dangerous situations to explain why punishing is the lesser evil, stove burns, as you mention too, cliffs, rivers, roads – and then they use the same idea just to put the kid to bed or to make him eat what they eat and when they eat it. Yes, these are your 9 out of 10, or 49 out of 50 people, and they’re fucking up, but they are the majority, they are the real system in action.

              .

              I’ll happily set you up to ask my kids, on some email of theirs that I don’t know or can’t access and you can ask them yourself, if you think you could trust that process. Seriously, we can do that. If you think I would fake that out on you, I’d have to ask why you even speak to someone who think is that shady. Seriously, at least the younger one would probably be happy to do it.

              .

              Finally:

              “corrective behavior” – don’t know what you mean – like restorative justice? Cleaning up the mess, making amends, paying for damages? That’s interesting. The definition I’m using for punishment is “an authorized person imposing something unpleasant on a person, something chosen because they won’t like it, in order to stop an unwanted behaviour or start a desired behaviour (or ‘lessen’ or ‘increase,’ I guess) . . .”

              The retribution bit is kind of fuzzy, I think retribution is part of most peoples’ definition, but I would say if it’s only retribution, if there’s no attempt to teach or deter, then it fails any positive aspect of punishing, maybe we should just say retribution in those cases so as not to be accidentally making retributive acts sound positive, as if they might change anything going forward.

              Restorative . . . it’s tough one you’ve posed here, took me a minute, but if the miscreant doesn’t like it, and we force him to do it, then I’d have to say it meets the criteria, it’s punishment.

              .

              Plus, although it sounds all positive, it’s the same as I’m always saying about ‘positive, non-violent (not “corporal”) punishment’ – it all sounds positive and non-violent, but if the kid doesn’t agree and doesn’t want to do it, it can wind up physical. We end up getting into fights to make our nice, non-violent punishments happen, and the parents win a disproportionate number of those fights.

              July 18, 2015
            31. Munkyman

              I don’t think you’d fake it. The you there is more a universal you than personal.

              July 18, 2015
            32. Neighsayer

              OK, cool. Give me a disposable email address and I’ll pass it along to my daughter and tell her the story.

              July 18, 2015
            33. Munkyman

              I also have no need to ask her. I was making a general point & I think you’d have to concede it because it’s just part of human nature. Reduce the stress & you reduce the problem.

              July 18, 2015
            34. Neighsayer

              but exactly not punishing reduces everybody’s stress. For many, most of the stress kids get they get at home. You were making a general point but you don’t want to test it, OK, it’s not exactly a scientific test anyway. But I really think you’d find it interesting. Not hard data, but something.

              July 18, 2015
    2. Neighsayer

      OK.

      For the first part, it’s a bit of a word game and I don’t really worry about the difference, but rights also require some sort of social structure, which is the distinction I was trying to make. Of course violence and abuse aren’t completely synonymous, there can be one without the other, and one person in a fight being more likely to win doesn’t make violence more complex. I stand by it.

      .

      For your “lax parenting,” I think you miss the point. When you postulate parents that don’t have or take time to engage with their kids, you don’t take the next step and that is that these parents simply offer harsher deterrents and punishments in the attempt to compensate. And again, they all call it “discipline.”

      July 13, 2015
  3. Neighsayer

    Wow, somebody’s lit a fire under the libertarians.

    More later, I’ll reply to you two individually, I’m doing some staining outside today . . .

    July 12, 2015
  4. gingernice

    You know instead of everyone writing and trying to fix the problem, why not go out and approach the problem. Yes, the cops look at black or brown before whites because this is who is doing the most crime. Girls have babies and live off the government because this is what they have been taught let your government support you. Boys and girls are having babies , stop going to school and NEVER even try and help their children. To me this is the abuse. We have to reach out and fix these problems first. Write about them sure but what about getting out of your comfort zone and but your back and money where your mouth is.

    July 13, 2015
    1. Neighsayer

      I walked the walk with my kids . . .

      July 13, 2015
  5. gingernice

    Does this mean you try and help fix the problem and show your children?

    July 14, 2015
    1. Neighsayer

      the problem in this post? Yes, the buck stopped at me, I didn’t pass much roughness along to my kids.

      July 14, 2015