Teach Your Children Well. In a World of Les Moonves, Unbridled Capitalism and Opulent Yachts, Reach For George Carlin.

I was walking along the river this morning holding the girl while the boy trailed a bit behind taking in the sights. It was rush hour on a lovely overcast and slightly foggy day. He heard some truck horns blaring their horns overhead on the bridge that spans the river. To which he asked a pretty good question that may indicate he's in the next phase of his development, still not three years old: “Where are they going, Dada?”

Instantly I seized on an opportunity to, while remaining mindful not to overwhelm him, at least open him up to some fundamental understanding. I began one of my rants, but tailored for this specific receiver, who is still obsessed with trucks: “The trucks are carrying all sorts of goods to places far and wide,” I told him. “Some of them bring food to the supermarkets, like eggs, avocados, and chick peas. Then when we go to shop for our food it seems like magic that everything is in one place for us. But there’s a lot that goes into the growing, manufacturing and distribution of all food. Another time we can get more into it, about the monopolies, etc.”

We were then interrupted by a man who had just parked his car along the water. “You’re a good father,” he said and smiled approvingly, looking up at us ascending the public park stairs. Almost choked me up a bit. Because I no longer wish to remain silent about things I believe. And in this case about things I believe that don’t get aired enough in public, that speak to a wider, more engaged and empathetic worldview. About things I believe are already known elementally to the mass consciousness but often get crowded out by the worst parts of the relentless propaganda that piles up in our brains from being barraged all day long in thousands of little ways through predatory advertising and political and nationalistic brainwashing. So few talk seem to want to talk about this kind of stuff though. Just sleepwalking through life, as if it were always this way and there’s nothing to be done about it. Happiness through consumption. Willfully ignorant of the amount of child slave labor involved in the making all those cheap goods we're trained to pursue as reward for working increasingly shittier jobs. Not ever stopping to contemplate literally how it all comes to us, and then winds up in junk piles filling our garages and attics.

It recalled another similar instance this summer not too long before. We were stopped at one of those rest stops that appear infrequently along those long highways. Aghast at both the sheer amount of the corporate garbage offered as food choices and the outlandish prices of them I launched into a monologue with my son at my side. “This is what you call predatory capitalism,” I projected a little further than to him. “This is the only stop for many miles on this highway. And we have no choice if we want to eat but to buy what they have. And so because people here are vulnerable they can take advantage of us. In this system of capitalism it rewards people who take advantage of others. That's because we value profit over people.” And on like that. A woman stopped and was looking at me. She smiled and said, “you’re a good Dad teaching him like that. I’m a teacher.” We then got into a fulfilling exchange that covered unions, strikes and the history of such that doesn’t get taught in our schools.

The takeaway: apply all that we talk (or write/blog) about here into the real world. That’s where it’s going to make a real difference. Maybe one person at a time. It’s an opportunity for a public conversation. Or at least a plant some seeds in a small group of people who may be listening.

As it happens I didn't get a chance to expound as eloquently earlier this morning. The sight of a huge yacht slowly coming through the straits, a regular occurrence, had the usual disgust welling up in me. It appeared to be yet another self-contained floating island of opulence. This one happened to be flying the Australian or New Zealand flag from it. Every time I see another one of these palatial boats going out from NYC toward Long Island (or CT. or up to New England) I imagine some fat, over-tanned oligarch sitting pampered in its cozy lodging beneath the deck, protected by a crew he secretly looks down upon and wonders how long his fraud can be perpetrated. When will a worldwide mutiny occur among the ranks of those employed by these Economic Terrorists?

Balzac got it mostly right. But I’d add that “behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Anybody who has millions of dollars to spend on a boat has had to have engaged in some kind of extremely illicit brokering, outright cheating or malicious pillaging. I keep imagining some day there might be a man out of a job, about to evicted from his apartment and in debt with a family to feed (maybe former military), situated along the rocks with a high-powered rifle or missile thrower launching a fusillade of rapid gunfire or explosives into the side of one of these floating Fuck-You’s. (If this sounds far-fetched to you, I remind you of this segment on DN in which retired NYPD detective Graham Weatherspoon, speaking about the vet who went on a cop killing spree in Dallas, told Amy that he’s heard from veterans returning home from overseas saying they’re fed up with seeing cops getting away with gratuitously murdering young black and brown folks in the streets. In the same way white vets could see how – because most vets come from working class backgrounds - their kin have been taken advantage of by corrupt gov’t or predatory banks/corporations - the Bonus Marchers and the Okies being a couple of examples). I’m not advocating for such a scenario. But I'd understand if it happened.

For my part I reflexively throw my middle finger in the air, every time (which I also do at the constant helicopters overhead, which are primarily in the employ of shuttling around these coddled Economic Terrorists or used by the Surveillance State). I relish the thought of one of these disconnected human beings by chance happening to glance in my direction expecting to see the usual conditioned American in thrall to wealth. Not me. I grew up in the 80’s, an abysmal decade in every measurable way, watching mindless lemmings gobble up all the Worship the Rich propaganda. I’ll have to find a way to explain that gesture to my kids. But I will.

The true enemies of the 99% are the Financial Terrorists of Wall St, and their buddies in the Big Club, the CEO’s of Corporate America. As George Carlin reminded us,

“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t.
You have no choice.
You have owners. They own you. They own everything.
They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear.
They got you by the balls.
They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
But I’ll tell you what they don’t want.
They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

As with everything Carlin wrote there’s so much to unpack there, including here the privatization of education with charter schools, the DC lobbyist revolving door, the quadrennial spectacle of the presidential elections that consume all the air in the room, the manufactured distraction and celebrity gossip that passes for news, etc. Basically, that our government is an auction house available to the highest bidder. But that’s not what I’m getting at for the moment.

The politicians we spend so much time focusing on really pale in comparison to the damage done by those who really Control The Narrative, the Mainstream Media. Media head scumbags like recently #Me-Too-ed Les Moonves and Phil Griffin of MSNBC (as told to us by Ed Shultz) are two major reasons why we have Drumpf. As Jimmy Dore reminds us in the clip below the former is the infamous slimy, dollar-delirious douchebag who proclaimed, "Trump may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Both networks are on record as having worked to both marginalize and denigrate Bernie Sanders while fixating and promoting Donald Trump during the 2016 primaries.

There's more to the Moonves tape that really shows how evil these pricks really are. "...it's gonna be a very good year for us. I'm sorry, it's a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald. Go ahead keep going."

You've really got to listen to the tone of his voice, at about 3:33-6min to get the full gist of just how warped and depraved this guy is over the prospect of continuing to reap a windfall of profits for his company, knowing full well what he was complicit in.

How does it make you feel that this pure scumbag sexual predator, who gloated over his own profit-making at the expense of a further misinformed and over-titilated citizenry, will now probably receive $100 MILLION for it all? Another abusive and greedy older white male knowing not only that he'll never pay any real consequences for his crimes. But he leverages that status to actually go on the offensive to demand HE gets paid, and paid a fucking fortune on top of it. The sheer fucking audacity of it all! As tens of thousands of young black and brown folks wither in jail over the smallest and often phantom offenses.

It’s the rich and powerful rulers who abuse their position who should be vilified remorselessly. Take any societal problem and peel it down through its many layers until you reach the core. You'll find moneyed interests there alone.

But the mainstream media will portray the villains as Mexicans trying to get jobs, or Muslims wearing headscarves, or gay people wanting equal rights. or women wanting freedom to choose what to do with their own bodies.

Once people begin, with some help from people like the denizens of C99 who get it, to readjust their viewpoints, away from the relentless consumer and political propaganda that is beating each of our subconscious into divide and conquer submission and toward this bigger picture, we may someday get the world we desire. Or at least some relative sense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Carlin again:

Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck.
Well, where do people think these politicians come from?
They don't fall out of the sky.
They don't pass through a membrane from another reality.
They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities - and they are elected by American citizens.
This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out.
If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans.
So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck.
Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.'
Because if it's really just the fault of these politicians, then where are all the other bright people of conscience?
Where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans ready to step in and save the Nation and lead the way? 


We don't have people like that in this country; everybody's at the mall, scratching his ass, picking his nose, taking his credit card out of his fanny pack and buying a pair of sneakers with lights in them!"

These and many other sentiments so brilliantly illuminated by St. George are what I keep near the top of what I believe to be most important. And there they stay so that I can convey such sentiments to these two young, unblemished and innocent souls preparing to navigate a sick world occupied by people like Les Moonves.

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Mark from Queens's picture

stitched together with some other things on my mind over the course of the day.

Off to clean up the kid's room, read to him and put him to bed, so that I can get back to another glass of wine.

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

@Mark from Queens On being a good father and the essay of course. I can tell you this I helped raise along with my wife two lovely human beings ( my daughters ) and I did a lot of what you described that you are doing with your son when they were growing up. Being a long time union member I was always ahead of the curve compared to most of my family and friends especially when it came to labor and economic issues. Among other things when the majority of everything started being made in Mexico and China I made sure they understood it was because of slave labor. Even though I figured they weren't paying attention most of the time I was on one of my rants I would tell them anyway. Well as it turns out they were paying attention most of the time and now that they are both in their 30s and have children of their own they tell me how glad they are that I was up front with them. Now they rant on me about another issue you touched on, our food choices in this country which doesn't get talked about near enough. So yeah keep talking even if it's one or two people at a time it all adds up.

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Wink's picture

get to be 3 1/2
@Mark from Queens
they damn near know everything.
hell, they already know more about Tablets than I'll ever know.
I find it amazing these little whippersnappers can know all of this stuff before they even get to kindergarden, before they can write their name.
Might as well learn 'em about St. George, too.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

janis b's picture

Just sleepwalking through life, as if it were always this way and there’s nothing to be done about it … Maybe one person at a time … 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope … Because if it's really just the fault of these politicians, then where are all the other bright people of conscience?

I wonder and I hope for the children, that one person at a time like yourself will influence the conscience of the future.

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smiley7's picture

in your essay; “You’re a good father.” Keep on keeping on.

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janis b's picture

but there is one father whose writing I think you’d appreciate.

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snoopydawg's picture

Great fantasy about a guy on a rock with a rifle. Can't say that I haven't had those thoughts.

That there are so many people who have more money than they can spend while there is so much poverty is obscene. There are a lot of food banks that need help to stat a float and yet people don't do anything good with their money. But what did people do with their tax cuts? They bought a boat to go with their yacht!

IMG_2372_0.JPG

The charges against Harvey Weinstein were dropped after he donated to Coumo's campaign. This is legalized bribery and so blatant, but no one seems to care about it anymore. A CEO of a drug company raised prices on a drug that people need for bladder infections and said that It's moral to make as much money as you can.

Colbert used to stick his finger in people's eyes, but that was during the Bush administration. Just like Rachel he stopped being like that after Barry was elected.

Funny how people were saying the same things that Carlinhos did about our government a century or two ago and yet nothing has changed.

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

Raggedy Ann's picture

You always give me something to ponder. I like that. I also share some of your thoughts.

Your children are lucky - they won’t grow up espousing the BS. They will be critical thinkers. We’ll need them to guide us. You’re a good dad.

I work at a university and see these kids struggling to pay their expensive tuition, buy books, etc. They work a couple of jobs, even with the lottery scholarship (if they were fortunate to follow the rules to a T). As Carlin said, they don’t want an educated workforce. I want to shake people.

The deeper we get into these times, the more I share Carlin with my circle. I’m hoping they’re sharing it in turn.

The cover is being yanked back. They’re losing their grip. Let’s hope we all come out of it ok. Community-building is more important than ever.

Peace, my friend. Pleasantry

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"If there is not justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government." Emiliano Zapata

QMS's picture

So true Mark. Whenever someone asks 'where did all that money come from?' I say they stole it.

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Listen to your higher mind.

dkmich's picture

I think all parents should talk to their kids about the world and politics so they grow up informed, appreciating its importance to their lives, and thinking that talking about politics and religion is normal. You do a good job of talking to us too. Thanks for sharing.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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ggersh's picture

me I wasn't the greatest but even now I keep
on trying albeit sometimes I think they get it
while at other times I get the proverbial deer
in a headlight look.

The thievery really took off after 911 in my eyes,
it was as if all the greedy CEO's from NY became
entitled to everything, from Welch to Dimon from
Langone to Blankfein all the NYC oligarchs just
the world owed them more.

But then I start to think we all

rom the same stock? Rhetorical

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The US markets will be closed tomorrow in honor of George H. W. Bush.

We should have a memorial day for the truth, which we have allowed to be led down the blind alley of our willful delusions, and strangled.

Lord have mercy on us.

remark about predatory capitalism to a near two year old. I think that's is just perfect and funny as hell to me as I can see myself doing something similar these days. You are definitely a good dad.

I too flip the bird to a few oligarchs as I see their helicopters since I live somewhat near both Gates and Bezos and I can't help but see those aren't police helicopters I'm flipping off, although I certainly DID flip one of those off when it came screaming in low over the house with lights on one night in a neighborhood that isn't conducive to someone running from them and I DO hope that one was seen, although I had a brief flash of them somehow knowing where I live and maybe showing up later at the door but that didn't happen.

I find it very difficult now not to spout off my political views to almost anyone who'll listen to it, and some who I know just tune me out. I don't care and certainly cannot stop myself anymore, if they hear it enough maybe it sinks in one day. Like I recently told one friend mid-rant on income inequality and homelessness - this isn't rocket science, how can we ever justify further tax cuts for the already obscenely wealthy when we have people who are homeless and are NOT choosing to be. There is a look in the eye I get when I feel I've maybe hit some mark and they're starting to see it. Maybe that's mere hope on my part but I don't know, as your examples in this diary show, more people get it than think they do.

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magiamma's picture

for a very thoughtful essay. 'Happiness through consumption' is the root of many of the problems we have today.

Anybody who has millions of dollars to spend on a boat has had to have engaged in some kind of extremely illicit brokering, outright cheating or malicious pillaging.

Seems like there is a lot of thoughtless pillaging going on.

It is good that you are teaching your children so early to think.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation
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GreyWolf's picture

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mhagle's picture

I am ending the day inspired, encouraged, and touched. Your little ones are blessed.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

wendy davis's picture

be a good un, as did mr. wd. our adopted (now 33 yr. old, fostered at 6 mos.) Ute Mtn. Ute daughter has very recently disowned us, but mainly me. our adopted black/azteca son now 35 joined the national guard at the behest of his (then) almost-fiancé who suggested it as a substitute for being a wildland hotshot firefighter for the preceding five years.

the dineh (navajo) posit that one cannot know what sort of parent one's been until one sees who their grandchirren turn out to be.

i grieve, we grieve, and may it go better for you, mark. adoption, of course, has its downsides. that is all.

no on edit: it isn't. you might think to call 'the girl' your daughter, 'the boy' your son.
just sayin' (smile).

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

"the dineh (navajo) posit that one cannot know what sort of parent one's been until one sees who their grandchirren turn out to be."

I believe one’s essential spirit is carried, even if not immediately obvious, within their children; and takes time to develop into maturity (maybe generations).

I see myself as very much a combination of my grandmother and mother, father and grandfather - a hybrid of abstract and spiritual, practical and earthly. But that is due to a long perspective. I see my daughter as unique, with some obvious likenesses, but I don’t have the perspective of more than 28 years. I know she will continue to grow and change over time, some of those changes I will not witness.

I have always loved the native american belief I heard long ago - that one should make decisions only after considering how those decisions might affect those nine generations later.

Essentially, I think we just don’t know the effect we may have, but must feel trust in the knowledge that we do our best.

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

you, but you seem to mean that we carry some sort of genetic memory/spirit of our ancestors in our blood, or that you sense you do at any rate. it certainly may be, but i’m not sure that the dineh meant that. perhaps more ‘which core teachings stuck’, but oddly i’d never asked those dineh who’d old me that what the credo really meant. we teach our children in so many ways, both consciously and unconsciously, and our own unresolved issues are often felt by chirren most loudly. what we model matters a lot more than what me might actively teach/instruct.

few of us are able to offer unconditional love, for instance, and it’s key to a whole child to have someone in their life who offer that, a place or person to go to when ma or pa have pulled their support away for some behavior or other and a child feels like a bad seed, irredeemable. if and when parents can apologize for their mistakes in parenting, it helps the unequal power relationship a lot, and can restore trust; kids have built-in bullshit detectors, i think.

chirren whose parents offer discipline rather than ‘punishment’, especially of the corporal authoritarianism kind likely won’t grow up to bully others, although verbal authoritarianism (because i said so!’) molding can be almost worse i’ve been told by adults who were raised with both sorts of toxic parenting.

now and again i’d write of alice miller’s work at websites, and you wouldn’t believe how many male adults would tell me on the boards: ‘i was hit, and look at me: i’m fine!’

anyhoo, seventh generation principles many say were down to the insightful women in tribes who’d envisioned that ort of sustainable principle, and it’s even enshrined in the Iroquois constitution. mot tribes have some version of it in their cultural understanding as well. that the amerikan constitution is loosely based on the iroquois one is well-known, but first americans lament that seventh generation principle...never was enshrined it it.

‘The Seventh Generation takes its name from the Great Law of the Haudenosaunee, the founding document of the Iroquois Confederacy, the oldest living participatory democracy on Earth. It is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that:

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”’

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

I realise that what I wrote was confusing. I think it was a result of thinking out loud while pondering what the dineh wisdom implied. I guess the ‘abstract’ part of myself was, well, too abstract. Sometimes I confuse myself ; ). I think your interpretation, ‘which core teachings stuck’, makes a lot of sense. I do believe that profound understanding takes time to integrate and manifest as clear understanding. Anyway, I find the questions and thoughts generated by this subject to be really interesting.

I agree fully with your observations of parenting and the nature of a child’s learning. I will look at some of Alice Miller’s work and The Seventh Generation philosophy. Something that you wrote, “…and our own unresolved issues are often felt by chirren most loudly.”, reminded me of something I once read from Carl Jung - “Children often live the unlived life of their parents”. In my observation, including my own experience as mother, there is definitely truth in that.

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

state as you know. it sounds as though you’re giving your daughter plenty of space to become who she will. as far as pinging that theory of carl jung’s, i watched exactly that process as my sister and her husband parented her son and daughter. she pressured the daughter to be a swimming star, then get her MBA (like mom’s), he pressured their son to get an engineering degree. can’t say they looked all that joyous about life in the last photos i’d seen. we are estranged by my choice. sadly, my life is far more pleasant with her out of it.

i was musing about genetic memory a bit more, and while following #nativelivesmatter and many first nations and first americans oppression, someone penned a theory that the indigenous due to continual oppression, genocide, NA sociocide (NA boarding schools), ecocide (stolen and poisoned sacred sites and water), well, you know the list...genetic memory of those horrors reside in the dna of the indigenous. it’s a bit hard to subscribe to this point of view, as surely there would be good memories to pass down as well... but it’s not my life, not would all indigenous lives be monolithic.

now our adopted daughter was abused hideously before we fostered her at age 6 mos; it may be that all of that came back to her recently w/ ‘this’ mother as the perpetrator. again, who can say?

but adoption of course is different than biological parenting, and we’ve often wondered if our son hadn’t been more easily schmooze into the nat’l guard because his black bio-father was a lifer in the army stationed for a few years in the city where he and his azteca bio-mother lived. who can say?

the simplest access for miller’s work may be arthur silber, the great and cranky. this overview and this series based on her work is where i’d learned to love her...and love him for having created such a compelling oeuvre.

i got to wondering if the maori might also honor the seventh generation principle, and
the title of this U of waikato pdf sounds like a promising place to look.

but i love hakas to bits; who wouldn’t love a haka wedding?

but yes, it's a fascinating subject altogether, janis b.

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

I look forward to immersing myself later when I have the space and time to indulge.

A little NZ music for now ...

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

fat freddie!

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

fat freddie!

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

The Maori have very strong beliefs about the guardianship of the land for future generations and in respect for those who have already passed. They also have long been proponents of restorative justice, and enjoy some legal rights in using it for certain crimes. Kohanga Reo schools have existed for decades now. My neighbours, who are Pakeha (white) sent all 5 of their children through those schools, and they are today some of the most well adjusted adults I’ve met.

I read the following article of Silver’s in your link, referencing Alice Miller’s work. It’s very insightful. Here he quotes Miller in his essay, The Roots of Horror: The Demand for Obedience ...

"Poisonous pedagogy is a phrase I use to refer to the kind of parenting and education aimed at breaking a child's will and making that child into an obedient subject by means of overt or covert coercion, manipulation, and emotional blackmail."

The Haka wedding is priceless. Would have loved to see the rest of the wedding video.

I'm sure you and mr. wd instilled many well-grounded aspirations in your children. I hope you get to witness more of the fruits of your labor. Thank you for all the food for thought.

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

i learned first of restorative justice from fania davis, angela’s younger sister. the ‘whale rider’ film features a session or two as i remember it.
https://www.speakoutnow.org/speaker/davis-fania
you’ve likely read keri hulme’s ‘the bone people’, so hard to read, but so hard to put down.

yes: poisonous pedagogy is her core thesis, and ‘protecting witness’ was the term i couldn’t come up with earlier. ‘language nest’ schools; i love it!

arthur silver has a whole separate site for his alice miller works and related evidence that she is/was correct. he’s been dying for years, broke for years, and i used to be able to send him a few tenners now and again, but no more. and his old cat is always sick and dying as well.

well, i dunno about seeing the better fruit of our labor, but i thank you for the good vibes; our daughter won’t even answer our calls or emails. son sure does, and i hope he remembers our most life-grounded modelings, even while being a soldier. sigh. thanks, janis b, for the fine dialoguing.

Poisonous Pedagogy and our Culture of Violencec99% wd, feb. 2018 (a reprise from 2012)

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

It is one of my all time favourite books. I read it long before I moved to NZ 22 years ago, and it might even have contributed to my dreaming of living there.

I too have very much appreciated our exchange and the threads of thought and dimensions it has inspired. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, and thanks for all that you contribute here.

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wendy davis's picture

@janis b

weekend is almost over; soooo many chores, so little time, although i'm at least on the downhill side of them. i admit that part of the reason that i'd coordinated the 3rd congressional CD (western slope colorado) for a female senatorial candidate sometime back was the she'd said it was her favorite book, as it was one of mine.

best wishes for your life and endeavors, janis b; you're a peach.
wd

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janis b's picture

@wendy davis

plum

Cheers!

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