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robertogreco : manners   9

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magical Cures Hide a Cold Truth - The Atlantic
"As a child I found these books fascinating, suggesting as they did a conspiracy of adults manipulating children’s every move. Now, as a mother of four, I find them even more fascinating, because it turns out that the conspiracy is real. Parents do constantly conspire with a bevy of licensed and unlicensed advisors—relatives, friends, doctors, teachers, social-media strangers, even representatives of the state. What all these people promise is what Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle provides: conformity. It’s something so unnatural that it can only happen through magic, and yet it’s what’s expected of children, then and now.

Much of this conformity is just common courtesy; no one wants to live in a world in which people don’t pick up their toys. But the conformity parents sometimes crave goes deeper than that, and the desperation of these books’ 1950s parents hasn’t gone away. My 21st-century children laugh at Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s picket-fenced planet, where Mrs. Brown does the mending while Mr. Brown smokes his pipe, and little Christopher Brown putting his elbows on the table incurs an intervention involving a trained pig (don’t ask). But the reality is that today, amid a middle-class panic about their families’ and their country’s future, there is intense demand for children’s conformity. It can be hard to see just how much conformity is required until you have a child—or two, or four—who simply won’t comply.

For large numbers of children, for instance, sitting in a cinderblock box for six hours a day is an awful way to learn. But it’s hard to appreciate just how awful it is until your child gets expelled from preschool for being unable to remain in the room. You don’t think about how many questions your children ask when you read together until they get kicked out of the library story hour; you don’t realize how eagerly they explore nature until the arboretum ejects them for failing to stay in line on the trail. When your children achieve good grades, you are delighted, until you sit through the presentations where every child recites an identical list of facts about the country they “researched” on Wikipedia, and you realize what success is. You wonder why their assignments are so uninspired, until your answer arrives in the form of paperwork about multiday standardized tests. You wonder why your child who reads five novels weekly has been flagged for poor reading skills, until you discover that said child spends all assessment time reading under the desk.

You appreciate the need for children to develop patience, mastery, tolerance for boredom. But demand piles upon demand until it becomes a kind of daily war, as if this structure were specifically designed to destroy the very things that it purports to nourish. Your children soon meet other repeat offenders who frequent the principals’ and psychologists’ offices, children who sit on exercise balls and wear weighted vests in class to better constrain them, like characters from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” dystopia. You observe as your children uncover, like video-game Easter eggs, your state’s various statutes that trigger ejection from class; soon even your kindergartner discovers that all he needs to do to leave the room is announce an urge to kill himself, a fact he then exploits at will. You don’t blame the schools for these essential interventions, but you can hardly blame your child either for wanting out, because clearly something is wrong. Your children love learning, reading, exploring, creating; at home they write books, invent board games, make up languages, build gadgets out of old coffee makers. They appear to have the makings of successful adults—they’re resourceful, independent, and interested in contributing something to the world. But the markers of success in children are in many ways the opposite of these markers of success in adulthood, and in the meantime—a long, decade-plus meantime—children are trapped in a kind of juvenile detention where success is defined by how well adults can manage them, the chief adult being you, the parent.

Through all this, the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggles proliferate. Some are relatives or trusted friends; others are professionals, teachers, therapists, doctors, all offering their chests of cures. Some of these cures actually work. But even when they work, you begin to wonder what it means for them to work, to wonder what you are not seeing when all the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggles see is a tattletale or a truant or a child covered in dirt, an aberration to be evened out, fixed, cured. This harrowing question brings you to the farthest edge of your own limitations as a parent, which is also the nearest edge of your child’s freedom. And then you understand that control is a delusion—that all you can do is what Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle never does, which is to love the people your children actually are, instead of the people you want them to be."
conformity  children  parenting  books  culture  society  manners  2018  darahorn  unschooling  deschooling  difference  compliance  fear  punishment  discipline  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnnmy  sfsh  success  standardization  standardizedtesting  standards  assessment  creativity  acceptance  cures  curing  freedom 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Dr. Cornel West | Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela | Official Web Site
[previously on militant tenderness and subversive sweetness: https://twitter.com/search?q=rogre%20militant%20tenderness ]

"The natural death of Nelson Mandela is the end of not only a monumental life but also an historic era. Like any spectacular cultural icon, Mandela was many things to all of us. Yet if we are to be true to his complex life and precious legacy, we must pierce through the superficial surfaces and market-driven fanfares. Mandela was a child of his age and a man who transcended and transformed his times. He was a revolutionary South African nationalist who embraced communists even as he embodied his Christian faith and enacted his democratic temperament. He was a congenial statesman whose prudential style and message of reconciliation saved South Africa from an ugly and bloody civil war.

Mandela the man was rooted in a rich African tradition of soulcraft that put a premium on personal piety, cultural manners and social justice. Ancestor appreciation, gentle embrace of others and fair treatment of all was shot through the "soul-making" of the young Nelson Mandela. The fusion of his royal family background, high Victorian and Edwardian education and anti-imperialist formation yielded a person of immense self-respect, moral integrity and political courage. These life-enhancing qualities pit Mandela against the life-denying realities of the dark underside of European imperialism—realities of pervasive terror, chronic trauma and vicious stigma. Yet though deeply wounded and perennially scarred by these realities, Mandela emerged from such nightmarish circumstances with sterling character—a militant tenderness, subversive sweetness and radical gentleness even acknowledged by his foes. To put it bluntly, Mandela the man chose to live a life of wise remembrance, moral reverence and political resistance rather than a life of raw ambition, blind avarice and personal subservience. More pointedly, Mandela refused to be intimidated by the Goliath-like powers of an authoritarian regime.

Mandela the revolutionary movement leader was blessed with a rich South African progressive tradition unmatched anywhere on the globe. Where else can we find so many spiritual giants and political exemplars of courage—from Desmond Tutu, Walter Sisulu, Beyers Naudé, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Albertina Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, Billy Nair, Allen Boesak, Ronnie Kasrils, Rusty Bernstein, Oliver Tambo and so many others. Mandela the man was deeply shaped by the South African freedom movement. He began as a narrow black nationalist, shifted quickly to a United Front strategy, supported the armed struggle and called off the counter-violent stance only when the government renounced violence. Mandela was designated a dangerous enemy of the South African government—a terrorist, communist, traitor and hater—because he led a movement that saw South African laws as themselves criminal. He was imprisoned for over 27 years, permitted one visit and one letter every six months, forbidden to attend the funerals of his mother and oldest son, often relegated to solitary confinement, and sometimes permitted to read only his Bible because his courageous witness as part of the freedom movement constituted the major threat to the South African government. As international support for Mandela and the movement escalated (including many African leaders, the Soviet Union, and millions of people of all colors around the world) and international support for the South African regime was exposed (including America's Reagan and Britain's Thatcher), old-style apartheid began to crumble. The writing on the wall was clear as the Berlin Wall fell.

Mandela the statesman tried to hold together a fragile emerging multiracial democracy and heal a traumatized society against the backdrop of a possible civil war. This incredible balancing act highlighted the spiritual qualities and moral sentiments of Mandela the man—and made him the democratic saint of our time. Yet this gallant effort also downplayed Mandela the revolutionary movement leader who highlighted targeting wealth inequality, corporate power and sheer corruption and cronyism in high places. Mandela is the undisputed father of South African democracy because the freedom movement he led broke the back of old-style apartheid. Yet his neoliberal policies—much to the delight of corporate elites and new black middle-class beneficiaries—failed to address in a serious manner the massive unemployment, inadequate housing, poor medical facilities and decrepit education. The masses of precious poor people—disproportionately black—have been overlooked by the full-fledge integration of the South African economy into the global capitalist world.

I asked the great Nelson Mandela about this grave situation after I gave the Nelson Mandela lecture in Pretoria a few years ago. I lambasted the Santa-Clausification of Nelson Mandela that turned Mandela the man and the revolutionary leader into an unthreatening, huggable old man with a smile with bags full of toys—especially for cheering oligarchs like the Oppenheimers or newly rich elites like Cyril Ramaphosa. Even global neoliberal figures like Bill Clinton and Richard Stengel of Time Magazine become major caretakers of Mandela's legacy as his revolutionary comrades fade into the dustbin of history. As I approached him, he greeted me with a genuine smile of deep love and respect, expressed in the most elevating and encouraging language his appreciation of my righteous indignation in my speech and told me to be steadfast in my witness.

The most valuable lesson we can draw from the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela is to be neither afraid nor intimidated by the neoliberal powers that be. We must create our own deep democratic forms of soulcraft, social movements and statecraft—forms that resist the dominant forces of privatizing, financializing and militarizing that overlook poor and working people. Nelson Mandela met the most pressing challenges of his day with great dignity, decency and integrity. Let us confront the free-market fundamentalism, escalating militarism and insidious xenophobia in our day with his spirit of love, courage and humor.

-- Dr. Cornel West"

[via: "Showed kids 60 Minutes with Cornel West last night. ("I'm unimpressed by smartness.") http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-cornel-west-on-race-in-the-u-s/ "
https://twitter.com/ablerism/status/711908596540379136

"+ See also West on Mandela: "a militant tenderness, subversive sweetness and radical gentleness." http://www.cornelwest.com/nelson_mandela.html "
https://twitter.com/ablerism/status/711908847695368192 ]
cornelwest  tenderness  sweetness  care  caring  gentleness  radicalism  radicalgentleness  subversivesweetness  militanttenderness  militancy  nelsonmandela  soulcraft  piety  manners  culture  justice  socialjustice  ancestors  appreciation  fairness  imperialism  trauma  terror  stigma  character  democracy  freedom  society  fear  neoliberalism  legacy  statecraft  privatization  finance  militarization  poverty  dignity  decency  integrity  courage  love  humor  canon  xenophobia  militarism  via:ablerism 
march 2016 by robertogreco
A Manners Manifesto - NYTimes.com
"In the democratic present, perhaps the way to distinguish useful etiquette from frippery is to discern which rules help us be good rather than seem good. Serving others first is plainly charitable. Filling companions’ glasses, waiting to eat, giving another the last of the stew, chewing with a closed mouth — each is a basic acknowledgment of togetherness. Perhaps the consequential lesson in the matter of holding your fork, etc., is that customs differ at different tables in different lands, and that there is a certain intelligence in doing as is done. In other words, whatever unites merits keeping, and what divides can be folded and stored away with the linen too old and ornamental to use.

For all that my manners have brought me, including being able to express wordless gratitude at dozens of tables where I could contribute little more, the lesson that best suited me for society may be how our father dressed for dinner. He resolutely donned a hideous pair of patchwork pants whenever we had guests, so that no guest would feel underdressed. Miss Manners recounts that Queen Victoria, at a state dinner, lifted up her finger bowl and drank from it: “She had to. Her guest of honor, the Shah of Persia, had done it first.” The story is told elsewhere with different aristocratic protagonists. The message is the same. True courtesy will instinctively check faddish manners at the door in the interest of kindness — which is the root from which the entire family tree of courteous behavior, from the noble Egyptian’s papyrus on, has sprung."
manners  kindness  etiquette  2015  tamaradler  courtesy  behavior  eating 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Learning from Minecraft
"This post is brought to you by the word queef.

Now that I have your attention, I will let you know that this post will actually be dedicated to parsing out all of the learning that happens while my daughters are playing Minecraft. We have become a rather avid crafting family as all of us now have Minecraft (with the exception of our three year old) and we have our own server too. What I am going to do in this post is spell out a lot of the things that we are learning from Minecraft. There is a back story to why this post exists so I will start by sharing that first. I will clearly label the back story and the learning parts so you can skip the back story. The back story will help to explain my first sentence."
minecrafy  conniecoyl  learning  edg  srg  2012  play  governance  citizenship  communication  culturaldifferences  networks  cooperation  cooperativelearning  punctuation  keyboarding  math  numbersense  geography  socialstudies  science  manners  engineering  art  socialization  intrapersonalskills  via:lizettegreco 
february 2013 by robertogreco
It is a generational thing, of course. The worst... - more than 95 theses
“It is a generational thing, of course. The worst offenders are teenagers – in terms of the group who are the most distracted because this is the generation who never knew life when it was “real”. They live in the continuous future. They have no experience of subtlety, nuance or considered responses – only of instant, illiterate and ill-considered ones. The gratification teens crave is not the warm smile of affection or the approving comment from another human, but the sense of achievement they gain from electronic validation. Emails, texts and updates pinging in reassure them they are alive and popular and abreast of rolling social news.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/9399954/Heres-how-to-outwit-the-smartphones.html

"So true. I remember what it was like back in my day: we teenagers then were masters of subtlety and nuance, and we considered every response most carefully. What a falling-off there has been to the little monsters that surround us now…"
offmydamnlawn  generations  generationalstrife  manners  etiquette  distraction  cellphones  mobilephones  2012  adolescents  teens  digitaldualism  alanjacobs 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Proposed: A Critical Mass for bicyclists who follow the law - SignOnSanDiego.com
"This is a bicycle protest to show San Diego that bikes can share the roads and have the same right to be on the road. This is NOT Critical Mass, this is NOT a race, we will ride in a group and stay together by communicating with each other. Be ready to signal when you turn, stop at red lights to regroup and be polite. If we do stop traffic please wave in gratitude that they are being patient, if close enough say “Thank You” Let’s show SD that there are bikes out there that want respect and can dish it out. SD prove me right and let’s see if we can out number Critical Mass by killing cars with kindness."
criticalmass  courteousmass  criticalmanners  manners  etiquette  2011  sandiego  bikes  biking  activism 
july 2011 by robertogreco
My Life Without A Cell Phone: An Amazing Tale Of Survival | The Awl
"Want to know real convenience? Leave a message on my machine, or email me, and I’ll get back to you when I damn well feel like it. And if I desperately need to speak to someone when I’m away from home or office, I’ll either use a payphone (they do still exist, and I can tell you where every one south of 23rd Street is) or borrow someone else’s cell to make the call. Now that’s convenience."

"Punctuality/Attention Span: These two are boons for my friends and loved ones: If we have a date, I’ll almost always be on time, because I can’t call you at the restaurant, after lingering needlessly somewhere, to tell you I’m running late. Also, when we are together, you will have my undivided attention. Really. I will never glance surreptitiously down at the corner of the table to see who is calling/emailing/texting while we’re in the middle of a conversation. Which, by the way, is gross, and if you’re one of the people who does this you don’t deserve the company of other humans."
mobile  phones  cv  convenience  anachronism  cellphones  etiquette  attention  punctuality  manners  technology  analog  reception  health  relationships  self-reliance  freedom 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Tracking down my online haters - CNN.com
"Bryant says, “I reply all the time by saying, ‘Thank you for writing, I appreciate your opinion though I don’t know why you needed to insult me.’ The general response is ‘Gee, I didn’t think anyone was paying attention.’ And they want to be pals with you. It’s the kick-the-dog syndrome. People believe no one’s listening; they think we’re not people, they think there are these giant monoliths controlling thought. Then when they realize someone is listening, they rediscover their manners.”
journalism  internet  twitter  privacy  community  anonymity  jeffpearlman  via:coldbrain  manners  etiquette  netiquette  listening  confrontation  behavior  classideas  kick-the-dogsyndrome 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Escape from Thunderdome « Snarkmarket [One of three Snarkmarket posts on Marc Ambinder's "I Am a Blogger No Longer". Links within and a great comment thread too.]
"Ambinder totally made the right choice…because…blogging in a Thunderdome of criticism is a really bad idea…it erodes the soul, &…it’s probably not something that a person should do.

There’s a line of thinking that says the whole point of blogging is to…engage with The People Out There. (Especially Perhaps If They Are Vehement Critics.) I think that line of thinking is wrong…a blog at its best is a dinner party, & if you're the guy who shouts me down whenever I rise to speak, who questions my very motives for throwing this party in the first place: you are not invited.

Now, happily, it’s a special kind of dinner party. Anyone can listen in, & the front door is ajar…there’s probably always an extra place set, Elijah-style. But even so: it’s a space that belongs to its authors, & they set its rules. Maybe that’s easier said than done when you’re blogging about the Tea Party…but I don’t know. There’s a red delete button next to every comment…and it’s pretty easy to click."
robinsloan  blogging  marcambinder  snarkmarket  manners  netiquette  conversation  politics  discussion  argument  etiquette 
november 2010 by robertogreco

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