The controversial cover?
And, yes, the image is, with good reason, erotic. Once again, Sarah Hrdy:
The baby sucking on the receiving end of this let-down reflex brings with it pleasurable sensations, bordering on and blending into the erotic. Whether or not the earth moves, these are powerfully conditioning sensations. To classify maternal sensations as "sexual," and therefore in puritanical minds to condemn them, is to privilege sexuality in a very non-puritanical way, implying that sexual sensations are more important than the equally powerful sensations that reward women for caring for babies.This statement, like so many in Hrdy's papers and books, is simply profound. Please read it again, if you missed its substance. You need to impress its meaning on your mind. These are the kinds of insights that only talented sociobiologists can provide, and there aren't too many of those in the world.
But Northern Europe is the best place for such a person. This fact, however, should not be ignored: Belgium is in the top 8; DR Congo is in the bottom 8. Reflect on that for a moment.
As for the US? It's 25, between Belarus and the Czech Republic.
Just reading this book changed my child-brain forever.
The pastor who advised the dads of effeminate four-year-old boys to "man up" and crack their sons' limp wrists and punch those little pansies apologized yesterday and claimed that he was only joking. (His congregation did laugh at the thought of a four-year-old having his limp wrists broken by his dad.) Today Pastor Harris tweets...
Well, Pastor Harris, I'm having a similar problem with those who are supposed to turn the other cheek, love their enemies, forgive "not seven times, but seventy-seven times," etc. Maybe you and I should start a support group? (Via JoeMyGod.)
See it here!
I've been sitting in a Starbucks in West Seattle for much of the past hour, and I'm kinda stunned by the number of parents bringing their kids to Starbucks for breakfast before school. I'd noticed this before at a Starbucks on Mercer Island, and presumed it just an I'm-a-busy-wealthy-time-crunched Mercer Island thing. But no... Starbucks appears to be America's new breakfast nook.
On the one hand, there's something social and vaguely Parisian about the cafe breakfast thing. On the other hand, how hard is it to toast your kid a fucking bagel?
"You asshole," I wrote back. "We're all traumatized now."
Fnarf's rejoinder: "Too hard core for Slog? You posted a dildo. How traumatized do you think I am now?"
Get away from your parents! They have become dependent on you for some twisted escape. They are crazy and this is not healthy for anyone involved. Maybe you could "cut the cord" on that hot air balloon and then float it on over to Child Protective Services.
The creepiness commenced when Barry Hinckley, a Republican Senate candidate from Rhode Island, released a campaign ad featuring his five-year-old son explaining what's wrong with the economy and why people should vote for his dad.
This was creepy enough even FOX News was driven to question Hinckley on his motives, which brings us to the interview below, conducted and broadcast yesterday. As Mediaite's John Bershad writes,
"Look, I don’t even need to talk about the uncomfortable, Balloon Boy-esque moment where Cavuto asks Hudson if he actually cares about the economy, the boy replies “no,” and Hinckley looks furious. That’s weird enough. But the only thing I can see during this segment is the fact that, every time Hudson talks, Hinckley MOUTHS EVERY WORD HE IS SAYING SIMULTANEOUSLY."
It is really, really weird. Enjoy!
I have to share this passage from a book, Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species, by a sociobiologist, Sarah Hrdy, whose most recent book, Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding, provided a foundation for my own thoughts on human sociality....
It is profoundly incorrect to equate "genetic" with "biological," a term that covers far more than just genetic processes. It is also incorrect to treat nature and nurture as separable entities, as in saying "The genes interact with the environment," or "Nurture does not matter." This is why it is unfortunate to hear the label "biological mother" applied to a woman who has given birth to a child and given it up for adoption, or, worse, just provided the donor egg. Such a woman is more nearly the genetic or gestational mother. By contrast to a genetic donor, the biological mother nourishes, nurtures, and provides the environment in which the infant develops both physically and psychologically.In this intelligent picture of things, care of a child is more biological than giving birth to a child. Perfect sense can be made of this with only a moment of thought; yet how uncommon it is to see things in this practical way. If you see human sociality (care, friendship, concern, cooperation) as the actual biological process, you will see even better how empty and worthless the concept of "pro-life" is.
BEIJING / NANJING - A man calling himself "eagle dad" recently stirred up a public controversy after he uploaded a video of his 4-year-old son, whom he had forced to run naked in the snow, to the Internet.There is also a "wolf father" in Hong Kong. The "wolf father" supports the "eagle dad" in Nanjing. Next? A "grasshopper grandmother"? What kind of grandmother would that be?
The father He Liesheng, 44, considers himself a new Chinese parental archetype in the tradition of the so-called "tiger mom".
"When the old eagle teaches its young, it takes the young eagles to the cliff side, beats them and pushes them to teach them to use their wings, and I believe I am helping my son in this way - to force him to challenge limitations and exceed his own expectations," said He.
Overpraising children is under attack, which is interesting because almost exactly a year ago, one mother’s philosophy of withholding praise was receiving the same treatment.Wrong! This has nothing to do with "unearned praise" and teaching them a more meaningful reward system (market thinking is always contaminating American thinking). We do not want to overpraise children because they are uninteresting, and excessive praise may lead them to think they are what they are certainly not: interesting. Children don't know anything interesting and so they bore us to tears when they're much too talkative. It's fine for them to talk among themselves, but when in the presence of adults, they must know they are not in our league, that what comes out of their mouth is to us as tasteless as a carrot.
Yesterday, The Post’s Michael Alison Chandler wrote about a trend in which teachers refrain from showering kids with “Good try!” at every turn.
Studies show that easy, unearned praise interferes with students’ learning.
“A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are ‘persistence,’ ‘risk-taking’ and ‘resilience’ — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings,” Chandler writes.
There is, in short, no such thing as "earned praise" when it comes to a child. A child is a dry loss, which is why it's better to see the family as a form of communism. At the end of childhood, a person must rate his/her family not by how much praise or rewards they received but by the quality of the communism.
From the 2012 press release:
Monster Jam is heading back to the Tacoma Dome from January 13 – 15. The engagement in 2012 will mark a special celebration as the 30th Anniversary of the monster truck icon Grave Digger® ! That celebration kicks off in Tacoma as the first stop of the West Coast tour!
I don't even have kids, but wouldn't it seem a little spooky to take your little ones to the Monster Jam at the Tacoma Dome? I mean, this just happened a couple of years ago. I guess money talks and [terrified] parents walk?
Let's return to Sarah Hrdy's marvelous paper "The Past, Present, and Future
of the Human Family," and examine two passages. One:
Looked at comparatively, rates of teenage pregnancy (which happen to be higher in the United States than in any other developed nation) have less to do with moral decline than with changes in the nutritional status of human beings over the last tens of thousands and hundreds of years. Teenage pregnancy, then, is very much a human-made problem, a human-solvable public health issue, not a moral one.
What is this brilliant sociobiologist getting at?
As in all apes, human ovaries evolved to factor how much fat a woman’s body had stored. For a still partially dependent girl living among nomadic hunter-gatherers, this indicator of nutritional status would have been synonymous with how much social support she had. Among nomadic foragers, where youngsters depend on shared nutritional subsidies from other group members, a young girl’s fat reserves provided a fairly good indicator of how much social support she could expect from parents, grandparents, boyfriends, her mate perhaps, as well as other group members.
By and large, the plumper a girl is, the sooner she matures. Girls growing up in nomadic foraging society on the African savanna remained active, intermittently fed, and very lean, menstruating for the first time closer to sixteen than twelve, the average age of girls today in sedentary, hypernourished Western societies.
I will now leave you with another passage (this time by the primatologist Richard Wrangham—I highly recommend his book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human) that I think connects well with Hrdy's insights:
I was impressed to learn that raw-foodists are thin compared to those eating cooked diets, given that in most cases they are eating domesticated foods with lots of nutrients, are processing them in machines like electric blenders, and of course, living as most do in the developed world, never suffering through seasonal food shortage. Yet despite all these advantages over anyone who might try eating wild foods raw, the average woman on a 100% raw diet did not have a functioning menstrual cycle. About 50% of women entirely stopped menstruating! When a raw-foodist’s reproductive system does not allow her to have a baby even when her diet is composed of processed, high-quality, agricultural foods, the obvious explanation is that she is not getting enough calories.
Santorum was asked if he would be speak out for gay rights in the GOP. After the audience finished laughing, Santorum responded...
SANTORUM: I would be a voice in speaking out for making sure that every person in America, gay or straight, is treated with respect and dignity and has equality of opportunity. That does not mean that I would agree with certain things that the gay community would like to do to change laws, with respect to marriage or respect to adoption, and things like that.
Nothing says "respect and dignity" like comparing people in loving, consensual, same-sex relationships to dog fuckers and child rapists. If that's how Rick Santorum defines "respect," I'd rather be dissed, thanks. And contrary to efforts to tolerance-wash Santorum's position on gay rights and wish away his infamous 2003 interview with the AP, Rick Santorum hasn't changed his position on gay rights or the dignity of gay people in the eight years since that interview. Santorum has not gone soft (not even runny) on gay rights, says TPM: "Santorum’s famous 2003 'man on dog' comment, which still follows him to this day every time someone Googles his name, wasn’t made while just discussing gay marriage. He was also arguing that people of the same sex shouldn’t have the right to be physically intimate in their own homes....There’s nothing to suggest Santorum has changed his tune there. In fact, he’s still using anti-sodomy laws as a wedge issue, this time against his fellow Republican candidates instead of Democrats."
Rick Santorum respectfully suggests that states should be allowed to arrest, prosecute, and imprison gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Just in a dignified way. And if Rick Santorum had his way everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, would enjoy an equal opportunity to be arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned for engaging in homosexual acts. The completely heterosexual Ted Haggard would go to jail just the same as the completely homosexual Neil Patrick Harris. Equality under the law! God bless America!
As for who wants to change laws: Rick Santorum supports efforts to change the marriage laws as they currently exist in New Hampshire, where same-sex marriage is legal, and he wants to change marriage laws in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, and the District of Columbia. Santorum also wants to change adoption laws: it is currently legal in almost all US states for gays and lesbians to adopt children. Adoption laws vary from state to state, and there are unique legal hurdles in many that gay couples have to jump through, but adoptions by gay and lesbian individuals and couples is only illegal in four US states. Rick Santorum wants to change that—even if it means harming children. From a must-read post by Joel Mathis at the Philly Post:
Talk to adoption experts about gay parents, and you’ll hear a frequent refrain: While many—even most—prospective parents are looking for “healthy white babies” to adopt, it is gay couples who most often take the children no one else wants: Children with disabilities. Older children. Children with problems. “Overall,” one 2001 study found, “gay men and lesbians are more willing to consider and accept children with a broader range of difficulties.” More recent numbers affirm that observation. A 2007 study by the Urban Institute drew on Census numbers to suggest that 21 percent of children adopted by gay men have a physical disability—compared to 2 percent of children adopted by the population at large. That’s an astonishing gap. And an October report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute showed that more than 10 percent of children adopted by gays and lesbians are 6 years or older—”a population,” researchers noted, “generally perceived as more difficult to place.” Half the adoptees had spent time in foster care.
In other words: Gay and lesbian parents are doing damned hard work, providing loving homes to kids that few other people seem to want. They’re doing those kids—and society—a tremendous service. But you don’t hear even the tiniest acknowledgement of that from Rick Santorum.
Changing the law to ban adoptions by same-sex couples—despite a mountain of evidence proving that we are just as fit to parent as heterosexuals—would result in more kids languishing forever in the cruel limbo of foster care. Santorum's election would, writes Mathis, "[harm] tens of thousands of children hoping for a home of their own. But it would be quite a boon for orphanages."
SANTORUM: So you can be respectful. This is the beautiful thing about this country. James Madison called the First Amendment—he called it the perfect remedy. And that is, people of all different backgrounds—diversity, opinions, faith—can come into the public square and can be heard and can be heard in a way that’s respectful of everybody else.
R E S P E C T: You gay people are like dog fuckers and child rapists—but, hey, I say that with the utmost respect! It's not like I have anything against people who fuck dogs and rape kids!
SANTORUM:But just because you don’t agree with someone’s desire to change the law doesn’t mean you don’t like them or you hate them or you want to discriminate against them, but you’re trying to promote —excuse me, promote things that you think are best for society.
Again, Rick Santorum, is the one who wants to change laws.
From Sarah Hrdy's paper "The Past, Present, and Future of the Human Family":
When male mice encounter a strange pup, they either ignore it or eat it. When suffiently “primed,” however (that is, presented with pup after pup until the males become sensitive to pup signals), males finally quit cannibalizing and caretake: licking pups, gathering them in nests, hovering over them to warm them with their bodies. Primed males do just about everything mothers do, short of lactating. The hormonal basis of such maternal-seeming behavior in males—including humans—is only beginning to be studied.
"Minnesota for Marriage is now posting Google ads asking if marriage should be between one man and one woman," writes Slog tipper Emily. "But when you click the poll link it brings you to this survey."
The folks behind Minnesota for [Some Marriages, Not for Others] don't seem to think much of fathers:
By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage.
Straight women, who are usually nearby during birth, don't need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their children. Straight men, on the other hand, are assholes and cads who could give a shit about their children—but, hey, toss in a bachelor party, a wedding registry, and some cake and straight men are much likelier to stick around for the decade or two it takes to raise those kids. (And you thought they just hated gay people.)
Remember: marriage is about children... which is why marriage licenses are denied to the elderly, infertile, and childless-by-choice.
Michelle Hickman told the breast-feeding advocacy group Best for Babes that she had been Christmas shopping when her baby woke hungry. She found a remote area and tried to discreetly breast-feed, but several employees tried to discourage her, and when that didn’t work, embarrass her so that she’d stop.What's terribly upsetting is that this is still an issue.
Now the Facebook page where the nurse-in is being organized has more than 3,000 members. Hundreds of them signed up this week as media picked up the story.
Antoine LaFromboise, a Target spokesman, told me that Target had apologized to Hickman and was aware of the planned nurse-ins.
LaFromboise said that store employees will “feel proud to support” the women who join the protest. “Guests who choose to breast-feed in public places in our stores should feel welcome to do so.”
The culture has beaten me. My son will not listen to me. It seems he wants to learn how to drive a car. How many times have I told him that a true gentleman maintains a strict wall of ignorance between himself and that machine. A true gentleman uses public transportation. A true gentlemen walks to the store or park. Driving is so... middle class.
David Schmader: Here's that film. [Hands DVD screener to Charles Mudede]
Charles: Oh, what's it about?
Schmader: It's about a girl who becomes submissive when she's asleep. Then she becomes a prostitute.
Charles: Oh, that sounds wonderful!
Audio probably NSFW.
My daughter refused to accept this gift.
In a study Gershoff co-authored that examined 20,000 kindergartners and their parents, she found that 89% of black parents, 79% of white parents, 80% of Hispanic parents and 73% of Asian parents said they have spanked their children.Still, 79% of white parents! That's fucking high. Black Americans are hardly exceptional. This is the 21st century. How is this barbarism able to persist? Hitting a child in our day and age. There is no such cutesy thing as spanking, there is only hitting. Hitting another human being.
But why do so many black parents approve of disciplining their children that way? The answer is complicated, experts said.
Some researchers have suggested it's a legacy left by the brutality of slavery. Some say it's rooted in fear - that if parents don’t use force to demand obedience, someone else will. Others said African-American parents, in aggregate, are disproportionately lower-income, have less education and are more likely to follow a religion that implores them not to spare the rod for fear of spoiling the child - all factors that correlate with use of corporal punishment, regardless of race.
Charles Mudede, The Stranger's parenting-issues editor: "Very pleased that my son is doing very well in math and biology and sucking in the arts. This is a relief."
Hey, you know that guy who's accused of sexually abusing kids while employed as a coach at Penn State? Rick Santorum gave him a “Congressional Angels in Adoption” award!
Take it away, Thomas Fitzgerald at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Then Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum thought enough of Jerry Sandusky nine years ago to sponsor the former Penn State defense coordinator for a “Congressional Angels in Adoption” award, citing his work with a non-profit group he founded to provide care for foster children.
“Its philosophy is simple: it is easier to develop a child than to rehabilitate an adult,” read the citation from Santorum in the awards dinner program from Sept. 24, 2002.
Sandusky, of course, has been charged with sexual abuse of young boys and Penn State University is under fire for its handling of reports of the coach’s suspicious behavior. The burgeoning scandal reportedly is about to force legendary head coach Joe Paterno to retire.
Santorum, a 1980 PSU graduate, is one of the school’s most distinguished alumni – a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007. A social conservative and champion of adoption, Santorum is staking his candidacy on an appeal to family values.
CHESAPEAKE, Va — Creating a colourful pile of wrappers, the medical centre technician upends a basket of Skittles, Hershey bars, Twizzlers and other candy onto the bed of an x-ray machine.This person who poisons candy does not exist. Do not scan your children's candy. Do not disrupt this excellent circuit of sociality. We are humans. Our mode is to trust strangers. Without this mode, we would not be seven billion beings.
Suzanne Mailler is demonstrating a procedure that will be repeated scores of times on Monday evening at the Chesapeake, Virginia medical clinic Patient First.
Across America, paranoid or justifiably cautious parents will bring in their children's trick-or-treat goodies for screening. Their fear is that the candy given to their children by strangers will be laced with glass, metal or other foreign objects.
Patient First, an organization that's been x-raying candy for the past decade in "37 centers in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania," has yet to find this person who puts needles or bits of glass into candy. The reality? This is the reality:
"Children taking their candy to hospital on Halloween night risk involvement in traffic accidents," along with the additional drawbacks of overcrowding radiology departments and emergency rooms with excited children, the study concluded.
From Frans de Waal's Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are:
They [bonobos] simply have no shame, no modesty, no inhibitions other than the wish to avoid trouble with rivals. When two bonobos couple, the young sometimes jump on top of them to take a peek at the details. Or another adult may move in and press her swelling against one of them to take part in the fun. Sexuality is more often shared than contested. A female may lie on her back masturbating in the open, and no one will blink an eye. She moves her fingers rapidly up and down through her vulva, but can also assign a foot to the job, keeping her hands free to groom her infant. The bonobo is also the quadrumanual ape.