Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Toddlers, Community, Overreactions, and Justice

 1. Considered taking a several month hiatus from this blog, because we found this awesome Harry Potter project on Facebook; and I thought it might take a lot of time to read it each day.  But I realized I love Harry Potter AND Australia.  I can find time for both.  I actually don't think the Harry Potter stuff will take that long, anyway.

2. Came up with idea for going to the lake house today.  Since we don't have Internet in the cabin (where we'll be hanging out) I'm leaving windows open with stuff I want to read. That way I can read without a connection.  Although I won't be able to look stuff up if I have questions.  It will be very old school.

3. Read article about young Australians not cleaning the lint filter from their dryer; and how this is a fire hazard. I didn't think Australians use their dryers that much....at least not as much as Americans do.

I clean out the lint filter every time I use the dryer.  The problem is some of it falls back past the filter, and it's really hard for me to get to it.   The other day I made a contraption with tape and a hanger.   I was able to get some of it, but not much.    I'm guessing there are special tools you can buy for the task.  I kind of remember seeing something somewhere. Maybe on the in-flight catalog? 

Here we go.  I found an example of  a tool kit.  I'll try to remember to look for one next time I'm at the store.  

4. Perplexed by story of child being locked into overhead bin on an airplane.  On a Virgin flight from Fiji to Sydney, parents were playing hide and seek with their toddler.  First, of all how do you play hide and seek on an airplane?

Okay, so a flight attendant decided to join in the fun.  She took the child and put him up into the bin.   Now the mother of the child is saying this has psychologically traumatized her child, and the flight attendant was fired.  

I guess I have questions.

A) How long was the child in the bin?
B) Did the child cry to get out, and when he cried, was he released?
C) Did the parents protest?

I personally do not like the feeling of being trapped, but I think some people are more okay with it.   I think a lot of toddlers would hate it, but others might think it's very silly.

As long as the child was immediately released when parents or the child protested, I don't think the flight attendant needed to be fired. 

It reminds me of an incident at our lake house pool.  We had my toddler nephew in the pool.   My sister was trying to get him used to the water.  Then one of my nieces came over and dumped a cup of water over his head.   I think most of the adults were horrified.  Some of us started to sternly scold my niece, and then we heard my nephew laughing hysterically.   He loved it.    If he hated it, and we let her continue.; THAT would be wrong.

One thing I've seen with adults and children is this. The adult will do something to a child, and the child obviously doesn't like it.  He'll look slightly scared or whimper a bit.  He may try to move away.  But since the child hasn't screamed or cried hysterically, the adult figures it's okay to keep doing it.   They continue to do it until the child is very upset.  Then finally they stop.  Why do they do that?   I don't get it.   Now I'm not talking about things you NEED to do with a child—like clean out the earwax in their ears, give them a bath, make them take their medicine, etc.  I'm talking more about playful/teasing stuff. 

5. Read another article about the locked up toddler.  This one says the mother did protest, and that the child was locked in there for ten seconds.   I'm reading some of the comments on the article, and I have to agree with many of them. Maybe the child was more traumatized by the fact that his parents made a big deal out of it.   I hate to minimize suffering, but I'm going to have to.   Much worse things have happened to children.  And scary things happen to children all the time.  What about shots?   I think it's terrifying for kids to be held down, and then stuck with a needle.

All children are going to endure little traumas throughout their childhood. If parents offer protection, sympathy, and comfort without overreacting, the child will probably be resilient.  

6. Had fun conversation with Tim and Jack.  Most of it was between the two of them.   Tim asked if we had won the lottery. We gave him the sad news.  Then Jack asked what we'd do with the money if we ever do win.  Tim made sure to put Australia as top priority.  Then he added we'd be flying business class, NOT coach.   Jack made an awesome allusion to The Social Network.   He said.   Business class isn't cool.  You know what's cool..... First class.   See. You don't need standardized tests to prove your child is clever.  You just watch for moments when they come up with witty stuff.

7. Learned something cool. If you don't have online access, you can still access some websites by going to your history page.

What happened is I accidentally closed the window I had open; the one with the articles I planned to read.  But I was able to get back to it with my history.  Well, some things work, and some don't.  

8.  Read touching article about Kylie Minogue.  When she was dealing with breast cancer, she went to visit kids in the children's hospital. One of the parents took time out of their own sorrow, and asked Minogue how she was doing.  It made her very emotional, and had to leave the room.

I realize that in my own life, I'm much more likely to cry when someone says something nice  to me than when someone says something mean.  Is that common?  And why is it?  Are we just so not used to people saying nice things? 

I don't want to get the idea that I cry overtime someone says How are you? or I like your shirt.  But if someone says something VERY nice and someone says something very mean, it's usually going to be the nice thing that makes me cry.

OR…if someone says something to anger me, that won't usually make me cry. It's their apology later that will bring the tears.  

9. Read article about TV host calling Mardi Gras parade disgusting.  I also watched most of the actual interview.  I think this is another case of overreaction.  The idea I got initially was this one some anti-gay person who thinks homosexuality is just plain wrong.

That wasn't it. At least I don't think so.  To me, he seemed totally fine with there being a gay parade.   He thought though that there were some aspects of the parade that went too far.  "Disgusting" might be too strong of a word.  I don't know what would be a good alternative.

I haven't seen the parade, so I don't know what qualifies as disgusting for this guy. If he's bothered by mild displays of affection, then I think he has some homophobic issues.  I don't think that's it though. I think he's against some aspects of the parade that are very overt and provocative in their sexuality.    What he was questioning is whether the purpose of the parade is to raise awareness and support for the gay community.  If that's so, do you try to mold yourself into something that's more socially acceptable?

I say yes.  Save the raunchy stuff for late night parties.

10. Thought of the unschooling conference we attended a few years ago. The main purpose of these conferences is for families to get together with other families who share a similar lifestyle.  When you're in mainstream society, you kind of feel like a freak for unschooling.  So this is a chance to feel like less a freak.

Now the conference also openly welcomed grandparents and other relatives.  The idea I got was that they wanted to open the minds of reluctant family members. Tim and I were appalled, because they had these VERY provocative statements posted all over the walls.  We're unschoolers ourselves, and some of the statements unnerved us. I can't remember many of them;  but one had a quote supporting drug use.   Then another downplayed the importance of literacy.  

I thought it was very inappropriate to invite reluctant supporters, and then bombard them with such wild ideas.  Instead they should have been giving grandparents the reassurance that their unschooled grandchildren WILL learn to read, and they won't waste most of their lives using drugs.

Now I think it's fine to have controversial beliefs presented at the conference—maybe in meetings, or something.   But they don't need to be pasted loud and proud on the wall.

So that's my feeling about the parade.  If it's just about gay people bonding with gay people, then no worries.  But if part of the purpose of the parade is to show people hey, we're mild-mannered boring folks like all of you.  We deserve the chance to get married too; then I think they should tone the parade to something that children and grandparents can enjoy.  Well, I mean children and grandparents that aren't homophobic. If they're homophobic they probably don't even want to see gay men holding hands.  

11. Thought about the news anchor's other controversial comment.  He said, There’s acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Why not let time take care of the gay marriage issue rather than pushing it?

I don't see that as homophobic at all.  I just see it as a naive way of looking at the world.  He wasn't saying there shouldn't be gay marriage.  He was just wondering if things could work out on their own....without a fight.   I don't think it's the smartest thing to ask.  If no one stood up against slavery would we still have it?  Probably yes.  If no one fought for women to have the right to vote, would women be voting these days?   Probably not.

People DO need to fight for change.  I'm not sure why the news anchor would believe differently.   The one thing I am sort of considering...Well, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.   MAYBE he was playing devil's advocate.   Maybe he was trying to give the gay man a chance to explain to the viewers why we need this fight. 

12. Decided to re-watch the Mardi Gras controversy—see if I missed something.   People seem very offended by this.  Why am I not getting it? 

At about 1:38, Ron Wilson remarks that it's nice that a grandmother is getting in on the action. The grandmother was speaking about homosexual rights.  To me, it sounded like Wilson was being supportive of this grandmother.  It didn't seem like he was bothered by the fact that she was defending homosexuals.  So.....well, so far he doesn't sound homophobic to me.  I mean he might have some subtle prejudices and misunderstandings of things.  I think we all do. That's not the same as bigotry.
Okay. I watched more.  He still doesn't sound like a bigot to me. He sounds like someone who supports the parade, and its message. But he feels SOME parts of it were disgusting.  Disgusting is a harsh word. He probably should have chosen a different one.  

I feel like I'm repeating myself here. Oh well.

I'm going to continue.   I re-watched the gay marriage question.  Now THAT is an embarrassment.   Wilson puts the question in context by talking about the history of the parade. He mentions how homosexuality was once illegal, and he talks about how things are much better now.  Does he think laws against homosexuality magically disappeared?

I'm REALLY hoping I was right about him playing devil's advocate.  Either way, I didn't like Peter Urmson's response.  He says, Because if we don’t push for it, no one’s going to.  Who is we?  And if they push for it, why wouldn't anyone else push for it?  I know A LOT of us are pushing for gay marriage right now.   

I wish he said something more substantial; maybe explain why important changes in the world don't just appear.  People have to fight for them.  

13.  Decided to read some comments on the Mardi Gras article.  I see many commenters have the same type of feelings that I have.  Someone named John says, I’m gay and I find some of the parade tacky and disgusting. There is no doubt that some of the floats spread an image of our community that is not the best. We should be more careful about how we present ourselves to the world. It’s just about being media-savy.

Tony says, Let’s be accurate, he didn’t call the parade ‘disgusting’. He was talking about specifically about the sexual imagery on display, not the entire parade. Yes.  Exactly.  I think what's happening probably, is that people are reading the headlines, getting angry; and I bet many have them haven't even watched the interview.   

Am Emu says: I tend to half agree with Wilson. This being my first mardi-gras I was embarassed at the fact that most women had their boobs out, lots of penises on floats everywhere, people dry-humping and such… If you were to do that on the same street any other day of the year, you’d get arrested.
I for one don’t think its good for our community to be seen like that, it makes us a JOKE and was cringe-worthy. It makes a mockery of the rights we believe and the bills we want passed and the important issues we want brought to light. 

Now for the other side of the argument.   Dave says: Ron Wilson might well go down to any beach and he will find more nudity then mardi-gras, and public displays of heterosexual people kissing or holding hands in a sexual way can be found on any city street.
I do not think our rights are “disgusting”. I do not think we should “wait and settle down” and have no further rights. Channel 10 needs to broadcast an apology on the same show they vilified us in.

How do you hold hands in a sexual way?  That's what I want to know.  And this is what I'd call taking things out of context. Wilson did NOT say that gay rights were disgusting.  

Belinda says, It’s not so much the disgusting comment that offends me – as I personally don’t think it looks very attractive to look at big fat guys wearing G-Strings either.. although he could have probably refrased it better – what annoys me the most is the he calls being gay a lifestyle choice – This in itself shows his ignorance and arrogance..

I don't remember him calling it a lifestyle choice.   Did I miss that?   

14. Decided to re-watch the video so I could see if Wilson said "lifestyle choice".  He does say "alternative lifestyle". Is that the same as saying homosexuality is a choice?  I guess alternatives CAN mean choices.  But I think it can also mean something is different from the mainstream.  Maybe?   I really don't know.  I guess I can see how it might be offensive.  My feeling is many people are bisexual, and they DO have a choice about which way they want to lean.  They can go the straight way; they can go the gay way; or they can play both teams.  Then there are some people who are very much one way or the other.   For them, there really is no choice.  Well, they have the option of living a lie, but I don't think that's fair at all. I wouldn't call it a choice. I'd call it psychological torture.