Monday, October 20, 2008

Links of the Awesome and a couple of question

-I am completely addicted to or at least the still photos on it because I never bother to watch the videos.

-An interesting column on Laws named after girls, though the column oddly omits mention of Megan's law, which I would think would be the most famous example.

-Things that make CC shake her head

-Ikea furniture mods

-A question for Moms. Is this as fucked up as I think it is? I mean, you know my feelings on parents who write things about their kids for publication when those things and the parent's willingness to have them published reveal the parent to be completely nuts. (Not even like Dooce-let-me-tell-you-about-my-husband's-prostate-problems-level crazy, more like Ann-Lamott-let-me-sound-creepily-oedipal-level crazy) So obviously I'm not a fan of the publication. But are the feelings themselves and this woman's weird little jihad to find the nine-year-old with a crush on her kid as weird as it sounds to me? I'm seriously thinking her kid is going to one day be one of those guys who can't have a normal relationship until his mom dies.

-Also, I was watching the 1982 BBC version of the Scarlet Pimpernel yesterday because it was apparently French Revolution movie day in my house. The executions in the moved are portrayed as huge public events, with hundreds of people coming to watch. My understanding is that this is historically accurate, and indeed, that public executions were entertainment for thousands of years, since at least the time of Christ.

I know every once in awhile somebody floats the idea of televising someone dying in the electric chair and the idea is soundly shouted down by society as a whole.

So why am I always hearing about how brutal modern society is and how violent video games are going to make us into crueler, nastier people?

Seems to me we're improving.



Joel Monka said...

That last conclussion is one I agree with wholeheartedly. People shouldn't let the evening news distort their view of humankind; things are, indeed, getting better every day.

PG said...

I thought the general idea was that human society, in the long run, has been getting less brutal. People who think violent video games are going to make us into crueler, nastier people are looking at a very short term history, pretty much post-WWII only. It's kind of nonsensical to compare the effect of violent video games on Today's Youth to the effect of something on people who didn't dream of photography, much less TV. In contrast, there's a great deal more comparability between the effect of 1950s culture on that generation and the effect of 21st century culture on today's.

As for the mom who loves Sarvis, I think it comes across as creepy because Western culture tends to focus SO much on romantic love, so anything that uses the tropes of romantic love to describe maternal love sounds weird. And that effect increases because the author posits a childish romantic love as a threat to her maternal love, so then readers wonder, "Why would it be a threat unless this woman also doesn't have her feelings for her son firmly in the 'maternal' category?"

However, I sympathize with the sentiment, if not the expression of it using real names in the NYTimes. I remember when my younger cousin was first getting girls' interest, and while we thought it was cute and teased him about it, his mom was much more suspicious of those girls. I don't think that's a sign that she had a problem with boundaries, and so far as "her kid is going to one day be one of those guys who can't have a normal relationship until his mom dies" goes, my aunt passed away this year so I guess that won't be a problem. It's just that she adored her son and wasn't quite ready for the day when he was going to prefer spending time with some girl, having some girl pick out his clothes, having some girl replace her as the most important female in his life.

I wouldn't worry until it turns into one of those mother-in-law horror flicks. (I took my mom to see "Hush" and she said, "It was just like an Indian movie, except for the sex.")

Chalicechick said...

IMHO, there's suspicious and then there's "Who among them could possibly fail to recognize that her third-grade infatuation was no match for my perfect, clear memory of Sarvis’s 3-year-old voice singing “Fuzzy and Blue” along with Grover?" and "They all acted innocent in their double braids tied with impossibly pink ribbons" and interrogating the girls.

But I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. I don't think every mother that's a little overprotective is going to make her kids weird, this lady just seemed so far over the top...


Jeanne Desy said...

Ikea and home-fixing-up and Things. I have known many people obsessed with working around the house, starting with my parents, upwardly mobile people who were always trying to pass for middle-class. Obsessively perfecting the house is one way this kind of animal (the human) deals with insecurity, which is worse for creatures that can imagine their own sickness and death.

Things. The obsession with arranging things in specific systems devised by the individual is typical of people in what we call the autistic spectrum. These folks often must even arrange time itself, their schedules. They may live in what looks to sane people like a dreadful mess, but no one better throw out one single empty cereal box. "It might come in handy" is the mantra, which refers to the uncertainty of the future, in which you might have need of a Thing, and you'd better have it right there. It can be seen that this is a form of denial/insanity that blocks out the realities of accident and vulnerability.

Somewhere on this spectrum we have the perhaps "functional" person who is obsessed with projects that perfect the house. The Ikea syndrome is based on the idea that perfection is efficient function. For others, it's cutting-edge Style. Those folks are more likely to max out their credit cards.

Lilylou said...

Yeah, the Sarvis thing is a little over the top, but I think she intends to make fun of herself a bit while she reveals her feelings. I know the feeling of loving my kid so much and being goofy about expressing it. I doubt Sarvis is going to slit his wrists as an adult; she doesn't seem to be involving him in her fantasy. Though, of course, the internet being what it is, it'll probably embarrass him thoroughly as a teenager. Then she'll have to do penance. And 9 might be a little young to be hearting boys, but 9 year olds are sprouting breast buds these days, too, which says something about their speeded-up development.

Lisa M. Orange said...

On the mother-love article: I thought maybe I was just grumpy & tired last night, so I ran it by two friends who are moms. All 3 of us thought the author was weird and obsessed. One friend said (to paraphrase): It makes me happy whenever someone loves my child; what's with the competition? For myself, I've never thought: Gee, what a terrible thing to have sons, when some girl (or boy) I won't like is going to steal them from me. 1) They're not my possessions; 2) I WANT them to find life partners; 3) It's a different sort of relationship entirely, parent-child and lover-lover, not mutually exclusive. End of rant.

Comrade Kevin said...

Yes, public hangings for a while were social gatherings.

If we had them now, I'd be interesting seeing how many hipster kids showed up and the wide variety of fashionable eyewear to be found among them all.