Inhuman Swill : Children

Flat Stanley in Chicago

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Flat Stanley and I wait for the el train
Back in May as we were preparing to move back to New York, I realized that I had a visitor sitting on my desk. My nephew Mark in Utah had sent Flat Stanley my way, and for months I'd done nothing with him. The school year was soon to end, so Stanley and I headed out for a Chicago adventure. Here's the letter Stanley wrote to accompany him on his trip back home to Utah.


Dear Mark & everybody--

It's nice to see you again. How have you been?

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Edie-Nadelhaft-Cherry-Biter-12.jpg
Our good friend Edie Nadelhaft (one of whose paintings hangs on our dining room wall) is participating tonight in Changing the World Through Art, an auction and gala to benefit the Time In Children's Arts Initiative.

New Yorkers, please consider showing up and supporting the gala! It takes place at Haunch of Venison, 550 W. 21st St., from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. (Buy tickets here.)

Edie says:

TimeIn is a unique outreach program that introduces children from some of the most underserved and impoverished neighborhoods in NYC to the arts through activities such as hands on classes, sketching at museums and galleries and listening to opera.

Please make this the first of your 2012 tax deductible donations and enjoy hors d'oeuvres, bespoke cocktails and a live auction of works including my own Cherry Biter No. 12 as well as works by Takashi Murakami, William Wegman, Nick Cave and many more!
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Gay parents are better

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That nasty Rick Santorum is at it again. He likes to think of himself as a culture warrior, but I see him more as the kind of infectious culture that requires a good shot of penicillin. The poisonous idea he's spreading this time around is that children with fathers in prison are better off than children of gay parents.

This notion is so offensive and counter to all that is rational that it shouldn't require demolishing. But unfortunately, in our political landscape it's the kind of junk-scientific argument that people who don't know any better (and many who do) will seize on and spread. It a notion that needs inoculating against, and I can't think of any inoculation better than this video clip of Zach Wahls testifying before the Iowa House of Representatives in opposition to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage:

Yes, Zach is only one example of a child of gay parents, but he's a powerful example, and if Santorum can misuse scientific studies to jump to unwarranted conclusions, I can generalize from this one example through a simple thought experiment to prove that gay couples are, on average, better parents than straight couples.

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Quite a one-two punch for parents at Salon today. First, an interview with Richard Dawkins:

I would say that parents should teach their children anything that's known to be factually true -- like "that's a bluebird" or "that's a bald eagle." Or they could teach children that there are such things as religious beliefs. But to teach children that it is a fact that there is one god or that God created the world in six days, that is child abuse....

Children ask questions. And when a child says, "Why is it wrong to do so and so?" you can perfectly well answer that by saying, "Well, how would you like it if somebody else did that to you?" That's a way of imparting to a child the Golden Rule: "Do as you would be done by." The world would fall apart if everybody stole things from everybody else, so it's a bad thing to steal. If a child says, "Why can't I eat meat?" then you can say, "Your mother and I believe that it's wrong to eat meat for this, that and the other reason. We are vegetarians. You can decide when you're older whether you want to be a vegetarian or not. But for the moment, you're living in this house, so the food we give you is not meat." That I could see. I think it's child abuse not to let the child have the free choice of knowing there are other people who believe something quite different and the child could make its own choice.

Then Bill Maher:

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Lies we tell children #146

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When Laura and I are out walking Ella and a kid asks us what kind of dog she is, sometimes we say, "She's not a dog, she's a bear!"

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So there I was, just working on yet another redesign of the Sesame Workshop site, when I stumbled across this parenting article.

It describes me perfectly, and it was odd to hear myself described and potential explanations for why I am that way put forward. Of course, I haven't been paralyzed by shyness for a long time, but it does still get in the way of my social interactions sometimes, especially when I'm otherwise under a lot of stress. Weird.

Maybe some of the suggestions in the article for teaching kids to overcome shyness will work for me now.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn

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