Monday, February 07, 2005

To spank or not to spank

With the rising influence of the right wingers in the US,the bloggers I read regularly talk more and more about raising and educating children the Christian way, which concretely means: home schooling (with creationism and Bible study in the curriculum), undisputed predominance of fathers and husbands over the wives and children, no sex before marriage, sex for procreative purposes only after marriage, and plenty of physical discipline: hot chili sauce on tongue for verbal sins, spanking with rods and belts for others, etc.

I have my own definite opinions on these issues, but I must confess I'm not as unhesitant on the issue of spanking. I live in Quebec, where children's rights are protected in what I used to consider an excessively anti-parents way. Physical punishment on children is forbidden and parents can be arrested for spanking their kids. Now, any parent (read: mother) who has been embarrassed and frustrated by a screaming, squirming kid throwing a tantrum in public would understand the rage can be build up inside the parent's heart. She still has to pick up the dry cleaning, finish buying groceries for tonight's dinner and she's going to miss the metro and be caught in the rush hour throngs with this screaming monster and two armfuls of groceries. It would seem that a whack on the bottom of the child would speed his recovery. Or not.

I remember the first time I spanked my first born. I lost something that was kept in my closet and he was always playing in my closet so I accused him, he denied, and in anger, I spanked him. The next day, his nanny told me that she took that thing (I don't even remember what it was) and put it somewhere else. I can still see his teary face and the deep-cutting remorse I felt then, which I still feel now, once in a while. I keep that feeling, with a few other painful episodes, in a special directory called «Bad things I did». That spanking, and another time when he called me at three or four in the morning to ask me to come pick him up cause there were no buses and it was raining and I said no because I was too sleepy, those are my safeguards. Every time I feel anger or frustration towards him, those memories are what drag me back to sanity and equinamity.

Spank your child in love, not in anger? I defy anyone to purposely hurt another creature out of love. Punishment is never about the other person, it's all about you and your surrendering to anger and desire for revenge, about your trying to regain control.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I wanna be the man behind the curtain

Watching bits of President Bush's State of the Union speech, I had an epiphany: I know what I wanna be when I grow up! I wanna be the person organizing the Republicans' political shows.

I want to control the lighting and the cameras positioning to make sure that the main speaker's head is proprerly haloed, over an inspirationnal slogan background (Mission accomplished! Privatize Social security! This space for rent! etc.).

The choice of music is important: We are family, YMCA and Over the Rainbow = bad. The Eagle Soars (or anything with «freedom» and «flag») = good. Nothing too rhythmically complex though, we are dealing with a white audience here.

Crowd choreography is essential: the purple finger stunt was not a good idea, in my opinion. Too many dirty/sexual connotations of the booger/genitalia nature.

Clothing and accessories made with flags are too clichéed and carnavalesque. I'd like to see something more classy, like for example those glasses made with the number 2000 during that Y2K scare period. Oh, oh, how about a hat in the shape of an eagle nest, with an eagle in the middle, linked to a plastic tube and a bulb and when you squeeze the bulb, the eagle flaps its wings. On a signal, or whenever the speechmaker would pause for applause, you'll see a sea of little eagles flapping their wings, it'll be a magnificent sight!!!

Of course, there will be some pre-arranged drama, guaranteed to bring tears to the audience's eyes, like the hug between the two Iraqi-American mothers. I'm thinking something like: an amputee veteran, slowly climbing the stairs to the podium, then throwing away his crutches in slo-mo à la John Woo, so he can kneel down and hug a couple of orphans of various ethnicities, who are in turn holding a puppy or a kitten. Or may be the main speaker could shake his hand, no, no, he could bless the amputee, yeah that's it, and the amputee would then throw away his crutches and start walking on his own, stammering: «I can walk and each step is a vote for freedom», and then he proceeds to walk towards the orphans, or may be towards his old mother sitting in a wheelchair, holding an apple pie. And as he kneels down to thank the Lord, or eat the pie, or something, the puppy (wearing a US flag bandanna around its neck) would lick the tears streaming down his cheeks. Or something...

So many ideas, so little time.