I often refer to young children as short people. Well, they are. And I confess that I am not always fond of them.
I've given the subject a fair amount of thought over the years, actually, and generally the antipathy comes down to two issues. One, they're often covered in unpleasant and sticky substances. This ick factor is, obviously, easily solved and not always the child's fault.
But two, they often add being ill-mannered to the sin of being a bit dull, and that is far less easily remedied and, frankly, far more annoying (and this from someone with quite a low tolerance for ick). Parents who allow their children to run wild, to utter shrill shrieks when there is no blood gushing, to interrupt adult conversations when there is no emergency and without politely attempting to gain attention first, and who otherwise abdicate any responsibility for instilling self-control and a sense of appropriate behavior, are not doing their children any favors. It's a harsh world; people who grow up without being able to exercise self-control and adapt to subtle social cues will likely suffer the consequences.
I quite like snuggly infants, and I don't mind teenagers (as a rule) and sometimes quite like them too. It's all that time in between that can be difficult.
Of course I don't endorse being mean to children, or humiliating them for amusement. Such tactics are ineffective--and morally reprehensible. I simply think that one should treat children more or less as one does a good dog: firmly, consistently, and with lots of love and baths. The difference is that one must explain situations to a child, so that the child can learn and apply such lessons. A dog's language and reasoning capacities don't seem to be quite up to that level.
Friends of mine were quoting Aristophanes this morning. (Don't I have wonderful friends?)
In Lysistrata, there's a moment of bitter truth:
I categorically decline to shush for some confounded woman, who wears--as a constant reminder of congenital inferiority, an injunction to public silence--a veil! Death before such dishonor!
The truth--it should go without saying--is that this is man's perception, willfully blind and self-interested. And I well recall, from my childhood, men who still thought this to be true.
We never did get along well.
When France passed the law banning full-face veils in public places, Boy asked me what I thought and was, I think, somewhat shocked when I said I was all in favor of the ban. This snippet of Aristophanes goes a long way toward explaining why. "A constant reminder of congenital inferiority, an injunction to public silence--a veil!" Indeed.
Moreover, France's culture is different from ours. (Some would say it is different in that they *have* it, but that's too easy a shot, no?) In France, historically a generally mono-religious country, fraternity has been among the highest values, at least since the revolution. It is also a far more secular culture. Here, a country that from the first was a shelter for those seeking religious freedom, liberty has historically been the highest value.
Can you be brothers with someone who willfully hides their face from you? Can you be free if you are prohibited from practicing an aspect of your religion?
Can we support interpretations of religion that denigrate half of society?
What would remain if we didn't? Who would decide? Would the efforts just backfire?
I don't know. But ever since I read those lines of Aristophanes, they ring through my head every time I see a veiled woman. The pain of old resentments can fade, but the determination they foster stays on, digging in its heels.
We went for a ride Saturday, up the Palisades and around West Point. The sky was clear, the air was crisp, the mountains were still green, football was happening, and there was no better place to be than on a motorcycle.
I love the fall.
In other news: I left work just after 9 pm tonight, people. Crazy early!!! I got to knit while I watched the Giants beat the Rams, even.
TFL and I were discussing my favorite news story about the news this morning (so meta!) and it quickly turned into a discussion of meaning of schadenfreude, which I said was the reaction of many to Murdoch's current situation, and sang froid, which TFL pointed out could also encompass a certain cold-blooded rejoicing in the downfall of one's enemy.
He's got a point. But I still think the word we're looking for here is schadenfreude. Which, I must point out, my iPhone spells for me.
That's right--I'm posting from my phone as I walk to work. I knew I got this toy (I mean important communication device) for a reason.
Think of Lord Byron, he who brought a bear to college because there was a rule against bringing dogs.
This article (warning: somewhat crude) has some pretty funny tales of revenge. Note the captions under the pictures. I had known about Arlington, of course, but most of the other stories were new to me.
Revenge: go big or go home.
(And no, I'm not feeling particularly vengeful, but I happened to see this story and it made me laugh.)
I turned around and it was the end of October. I have no idea how that happened except I have a vague impression of rarely leaving the office for months. But I know somewhere in there my parents came to visit and we had a lovely time.
I'm sitting in my chair at home, now, with my feet on the ottoman, surrounded with papers for a brief I'm rewriting overnight. I've gotten through an inch of case law and have another inch of papers to read and mess of a brief to correct, and a 10:30 meeting tomorrow morning (meaning sleeping in will not be an option).
Dogness is snoozing on the couch recovering from paw surgery. She ripped a claw back while playing frisbee with TFL and the vet had to cut it off. She got this cute rain cover for the bandaid--black, of course.
TFL got promoted to a position that entails a lot less fun, a lot more stress, and more hours. Weirdly, he did not get a pay raise. I am nagging him on a near-daily basis (those days I see him) to do something about that. Feel free to join in the fun. We have kids in college to pay for! And, apparently, vet bills.
And with that, you're pretty much up to speed on my life. But what's going on with your lives, dear readers? Just because I don't write doesn't mean I don't care! (Eww, triple negative. I'll avoid that in the brief.)
I'm nearly done with my friend's baby project. One thing about jury duty: you get a fair amount of knitting time (as long as you ignore your blackberry). I'm now on the border, for the third time. See, I try something, rip it out, try something else, rip it out. I think I'm almost there, but I'm a little worried about having enough yarn.
Another thing about jury duty: you're at the mercy of Unknown Persons and their schedules. Or maybe at the mercy of lawyers who can't get their acts together... Sometimes you think the schedule is set, but it turns out to be totally different. Sometimes not in a good way. And there's not a thing you can do to get everything in the courtroom over with so you can find out what everyone else thinks and make some decisions.
I'm sure I'm not nearly as impatient as the defendant, but still.
Life would be more efficient if I could jump over these stages of indecision and go right to the end game. But I sense there's also something to the theory that it's about the process, not just the end result.
At long last, I've been called for jury duty. I went for my first day today, spent most of the day working, didn't get called, and did hear the story about the lawyer who got in Big Trouble for not telling the Court she had a time conflict.
I'm a little annoyed with myself that I didn't get more knitting done, because I am way behind schedule.