Childish behavior

I’m a mom and on some online mommies groups, and the other day I got pretty upset at one commenter who called someone’s behavior “childish.” The person in question acting “childish” was an adult who had apparently broken up with her 8-month pregnant friend after ruining her baby shower, and the commenter was using “childish” as a synonym for “selfish.”

Children can be selfish, and I’ll be one of the first to admit that. My husband sometimes says all children are little dictators. I think it has to do with the development of the thought process, and how, at a young age, a child doesn’t understand that there are other people with different points of view. Literally. I remember my psychology professor explaining this to my class back when I was a psych major. He said if you’re watching tv with your kid under a certain age, and you ask him to move because you can’t see the tv, the kid might move closer to the tv or in a way so that he gets a better view. Because the kid really doesn’t understand that you are not a part of him. Children have to be taught to see things from different points of view. Even television sets.

Despite understanding how selfish children can be, seeing the other mother (or mom to be) call an adult “childish” for the selfish behavior made me pretty upset. Maybe it was a bit of my pregnancy hormones talking, but I thought, how dare this woman, who came to this board for mothers and about parenting and children, use “childish” as a pejorative? I likened it to hate speech, as it reminded me of things I’ve heard racists say about how ____ people act like this. Or the use of Gyp or Jew as a verb. As in, “you Jewed me out of $50.” But is it acceptable, on a moms’ forum or not, to use the term “childish” to describe adults who are selfish?

How do you feel about using “childish” as an adjective to describe a negative personality trait? Am I being too sensitive?

I’m so sick of racism!

Some of my Israeli in-laws are in town for a few days, which has been…interesting. And at the end of a long week, I almost lost my shit. Basically, they have spent the entire week shopping and when we propose to do something else, they go along with it at first. But then, when we’re half way towards our destination or whatever, they change their minds and say they want to go shopping instead. They also want to take a cab everywhere, insisting that it’s somehow cheaper than the bus. Apparently math works differently in Israel.

Anyway, so last night, they took a cab back to our place and apparently the cab driver got a little lost or didn’t know where we lived and then told them that his cab broke down and dropped them off at a street corner not too far from our place. My sister-in-law, in ending the story, said “He’s Arabic.”

Ok, first, no. He’s Arab. At least, that’s how I learned it, Arabic refers to the language. Arab refers to the people.

Second. How the fuck did you know? Are you really that good at telling a person’s cultural/linguistic identity just by looking at him (I know she didn’t ask)? Because I know a lot of people aren’t. A good friend of mine (Arab) told me a story of being in the subway and seeing a couple sit across the train from him. They started talking about him and making fun of him in Arabic. My friend was pretty goodnatured and smiled at them with a smile that tried to convey “yeah, I understand every word you’re saying!” But they just made fun of him more. So when he eventually reached his stop, he wished them a good day in Arabic. (I want this story to be true so bad!) But there’s actually a better chance, statistically, that the cab driver was Pakistani. I guess they all look the same.

My issue is, how do I deal with this? I just ended the conversation and walked out of the room. I don’t want to get into a discussion with someone who thinks that racist and Israeli are synonyms. And the more I would argue my point, the more it would come clear that racism is so intertwined with her politics (I know. I’ve been down that road before). It’s just so disheartening. And what I don’t get is how holding any stereotype about any group doesn’t justify another person holding a stereotype about another group. If you truly believe that all Arabs are ____, then you must also believe that there is some sort of trait inextricably linked to their faith or heritage. Which would mean there are traits inextricably linked to faith or heritage or skin color. And if you believe that, how can you be puzzled or upset when other people hate you for being Jewish?

Just change the fucking name already!

I’m from Baltimore, but for most of my childhood, we had no football team, so people I knew were Redskins fans. Since I wasn’t interested in football, I didn’t pay much attention to it. But for as long as I can remember, some have been advocating for changing the name of the team.

I still haven’t figured out to watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report online while in England. Not that I ever was much of a fan of The Colbert Report. I just find his satire frustrating. It seems like too many people seriously think the way he pretends to. Not his fans.

Enter #CancelColbert. As I understand it, Colbert or the show wanted to draw attention to how offensive the name Redskins is by offending another minority group. And he succeeded. Of course it was satire. I don’t think anyone is saying that it wasn’t. But I feel like the upset by the people promoting #CancelColbert kind of proves his point: it’s not cool to use offensive terms to describe people. By contrast, the backlash against #CancelColbert seems to miss not only #CancelColbert’s point but also Colbert’s. Example:

misuseofyodaNot only is the use of Yoda bizarre (I can’t imagine him defending racism or telling someone to fuck off), the point of Colbert’s satire was in no way to tell those offended by the name Redskins to fuck off. I see no difference between Colbert fans telling those offended by his joke to calm down, it was just a joke and Dan Snyder telling those offended by the team name to calm down, it’s only tradition.

Of course people were offended by Colbert. He intended to be offensive. If you didn’t take the offense from it, you missed the point.

 

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

A corollary to the Heraclitus quote is that no two men ever step into the same river. Or so I tell myself to explain why I feel like I constantly disagree with people over the things we both read. Today, I’ll talk about the minority opinion on Lupin in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Relatively early in the novel, Lupin comes to Harry, Ron, and Hermione when they are at Grimmauld Place and offers to help them. He doesn’t know what they are doing and says he doesn’t need to know, but he can still help. After all, he has 20+ years of experience on them. He was privy to a lot of the goings on within the Order that the trio wasn’t, so he also probably has some intel.

Harry rejects Lupin’s offer because Lupin’s new wife is pregnant. He tells Lupin “I’m pretty sure my father would have wanted to know why you weren’t sticking with your own kid,” and “My father died trying to protect my mother and me, and you reckon he’d tell you to abandon your kid to go on an adventure with us?”

I think Harry has a fair point, and Lupin doesn’t do himself any favors when he goes on and on about how he made a mistake in marrying Tonks. Charming fellow, Lupin. Ultimately, Harry calls Lupin a coward and Lupin walks out.

Reading this, I couldn’t separate Lupin’s desire to help Harry, Ron, and Hermione from what had been said earlier in the series that some things are worth dying for. I read Lupin wanting to help the trio as the best way for him to protect his family, even if it places him in danger.

Fast foward to the end of the novel. Lupin and Tonks’s kid is born, and the new parents join in at the Battle of Hogwarts. When Lupin joins, Fleur asks him about his new son, he shows her a picture and says, oh yeah, the kid’s fine. That’s it. There is no mention of him cowardly shirking his fatherhood duties to have an adventure.

Later, Tonks appears. Harry asks where the kid is, and she says offhandedly that her mom will watch him before going off to join her husband. There is no mention of her cowardly shirking her motherhood duties to have an adventure.

Spoiler alert: they both die. When Harry sees them, he thinks how peaceful they look. He doesn’t spare a thought for their orphaned kid. And this really grates me. Why was it cowardly for Lupin to want to help Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to weaken Voldemort but not cowardly for him to want to fight in the battle? The same result–Lupin abandoning his kid–occurred. If that was Harry’s argument of why Lupin shouldn’t be fighting Voldemort, what difference did the timing make? Granted, Lupin made crappy arguments for wanting to help early in the book, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have good reasons too–namely making the world a better place for his kid.

I just can’t shake the feeling of a “prolife” message in the book. That somehow, the baby was worth more to Harry unborn and that once actually born, he cared less about its fate.

Most of the people I’ve talked to about this side with Harry in the beginning, even if they think he was harsh to Lupin, and don’t see the contradiction in Lupin being cowardly when he actually could make a difference and heroic when he was just acting as cannon fodder.

Don’t buy a nook if you ever plan on leaving the US

As you can infer from the title, I’m a nook owner and a recent emigrant from the US. I moved to the UK about two and a half months ago. When our movers schleped in all my, my husband’s, and my kid’s boxes of books, they told us to get an ereader. But I just can’t resist a used bookstore.

Anyway, so I do own a nook and recently had an issue with it. For some unknown reason, one of the ebooks that I purchased through Barnes and Noble’s website relocked itself. I bought the book in December, read it, then wanted to reread it the other day but I couldn’t. To unlock an ebook, you have to enter in the number of the credit card used to buy the book. Unfortunately, the credit card I used to purchase that book had been stolen, so this task was not so easy. So I went to Barnes and Noble’s customer support. I was told that this would be an easy fix. Just delete the information from my stolen credit card, enter a new card, then reset my nook. Resetting my nook would delete all the books currently on it, but I could then download them again from the Barnes and Noble website (though I’d have to unlock them again).

Dutifully, I complied. Again, this deleted and relocked not just the problem book from my nook, but all the ebooks I had purchased from Barnes and Noble in the 2 1/2 that I had the nook. I went to re-download the books to my nook and unlock them, and it didn’t work. I tried again. Nothing. So I went back to Barnes and Nobles website to ask what was going on.

For the first time in my 2 1/2 years of owning a nook and “purchasing” ebooks, I learn that I can only do so with a US credit card with a US billing address. Not only can I not buy anymore books through Barnes and Noble, I can’t even access the ones I had “bought” before. I don’t think this is a licensing issue. I can still download my books from a foreign IP address. I just can’t read them.

I was not told this when I purchased the nook. I was not told this the first time my nook acted funky and customer service advised me to reset it (I was also abroad and chatting with tech support from a foreign IP address when that happened). I don’t remember reading this when I had “purchased” ebooks on the website. I was not told that, if I leave the country, the nook would be of little use to me and all the money that I had spent on reading material wouldn’t allow me to read those books ever again.

In which I respond to a troll, think better of it, then post my answer here

On facebook a friend of mine posted something about sexual assault in the animal rights community and how accusations were not believed. Since I’m not exactly active in the animal rights community, I can’t speak to it other than just saying generally, yeah, victims of sexual assault are often not believed.

A troll popped up stating that “Presuming someone’s guilt without any evidence or clear sense of the facts is its own injustice.” He asked what was wrong with that statement, assuming that nothing was. No one answered because troll.

I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and write an answer. If someone genuinely believes that and is asking why their thought process is flawed, maybe he wants to learn. So I wrote an answer. But then I read some of his other comments, comments by my friend, and realized, yeah, troll. He didn’t want to learn. He wanted to trip people up.

But so my time isn’t completely wasted, here is my answer as to why his statement is utter bullshit:

First, no one’s talking about “without any evidence.” An accusation is evidence. Unless you believe that a victim’s testimony isn’t worth anything or worth half that of the accused or something.

Next, justice is the administration of law. If I think you’re guilty just for my own amusement and I’m not on a jury or denying your civil rights, there’s no injustice there. Sure, you might have choice words for me, but injustice is only one of them if you’re ignorant. There’s no injustice in boycotting Woody Allen, for example.

Finally, does the inverse of the statement also apply? Is it wrong to presume someone is lying “without any evidence or a clear sense of the facts”? By your very question, you imply no. Yet this can’t be right. It can’t only be wrong if we believe one person over the other. In both scenarios, someone is looking at the same evidence and making a decision. You just don’t like the decision the other person reached. Victim blaming assumes that the victim is lying and the accuser is telling the truth, even though there is evidence in the form of an accusation and a denial to support both theories and even though false accusations of sexual assault are statistically much more rare than false claims of innocence. Victim blaming relies on “innocent until proven guilty” and conflates that with how people make evaluations of others in real life. Innocent until prove guilty is something to be celebrated in American law, but this isn’t something that we have to live by. Especially considering that our justice system is set up to allow and to want those who committed crimes to go free (see Blackstone’s ratio). Accepting that as part of America’s justice system (which though still flawed has some great ideals), how can we then say oh, because he wasn’t found guilty in a court of law, the victim must be lying?

In short, everything is wrong with your statement. In these cases, there usually is evidence to support both sides but statistically usually the victim is telling the truth. Your opinion has little to do with justice, and disagreement over evidence is not the same as injustice.

Did I miss anything?

Moral dilemma

As I continue to try to acclimate to life in England, I think my biggest adjustment is something like city living. I miss grass and trees and green space. Funny since the town I live in boasts that it has the greatest number of trees per person. But I live near the city center (or centre), so not so much here. I’m also trying to get used to small living spaces and no car.

Which brings me to troubles with grocery shopping. There are local stores near us where we can get some of the things we need at higher prices. Or we could take a bus to the bigger store, get more of what we need at better prices, and struggle on the bus home with all our crap. And of course, we can order things online.

My husband chose to do this and ordered food from Asda. I’m not in love with the idea of ordering my food online. I want to be able to pick out the apples that I think look the freshest and make sure my yogurt has the plastic seal in tact and make sure the cheese I get isn’t the one moldy package on the shelf (yes, I’ve seen this in grocery stores). But he tried this and seemed pleased with the results. I was less pleased when I saw this:

oranges

Ok, I know “chosen by kids” and “approved by mums” is supposed to mean that kids like them and mom’s are happy because they are healthy. Like “kid tested, mother approved!” on Kix. But I can’t shake the eerie feeling that these clementines were picked by child laborers. Because Asda. Because Wal-Mart.

To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Asda. But I do know they are owned by Wal-Mart, the company that every time they have to choose between two business practices, they choose the evil one. Even if the non-evil one is something easy like not making your employees work off the clock or not discriminating. So seeing “chosen by kids” on what is essentially a Wal-Mart product makes me uneasy. In the States, we didn’t shop at Wal-Mart. Is it ok now to shop at Asda?

A lot of my problems with Wal-Mart are rendered moot when applied to Asda simply because I’m living in a socialist country. Example: Wal-Mart employees are often on Medicaid because they don’t make enough to pay for health insurance. But apparently Asda won awards for being one of the best places to work for. Great, but there are still a host of others (including child labor) and Asda carries some of the same products as Wal-Mart (George clothes, for example). Not to mention that the money still goes in the Walton family’s pocket. But they know where their money comes from. If they get a better return per store from Asda than Wal-Mart, will that teach them that consumers respond when they treat their workers right and are less evil?

I don’t know if I can in good conscious shop there.