Re: Tis the Season for Porcelain Narcs

1

Maybe an improvement on the Elf. (Via FB)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:17 AM
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I'm fine not questioning whatever Santa story Hawaiian Punch comes home with, but I'm not going to perpetuate it, either

What are you going to do when Hokey Pokey comes home with a Santa story that contradicts it?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:23 AM
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More timely evidence!.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:26 AM
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2: I dunno? It doesn't seem that hard to navigate.

Honestly, nod with a "Huh, that's your story du jour" expression if it sounds like she just wants to inform me. And if she asks me to explain the discrepancy, I'd turn it back on her and ask what she thinks.

80% of what three year olds say is completely batty, so it's not that much of a minefield right now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:28 AM
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Some of the reviews at Amazon reveal this to be a bad idea on even more levels than I initially thought:

"Yes my children loved this, but I thought it was creepy. This sounds like a wonderful idea until you get sick of moving the stupid elf everynight. One night you'll lie awake in bed and remember, damn it, I forgot to move the elf. Then wait until the kids tell their other friends about "their elf" and their friends don't have an elf, and then they call your kid a liar. Year after year until you can't take it anymore and you can't move the thing another 30 days another year and you finally tell them that you are the elf on the shelf and then your kids cry. I'm not making this up."


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:35 AM
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I dearly hope most of you have no fucking clue what I'm talking about.

I would have had no clue if I hadn't read this post over at Bloggess literally half an hour ago.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:54 AM
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This sounds amazingly creepy and unsettling. It's not some Paranormal Activity spinoff marketing, is it?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:02 AM
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"Every night you move the elf A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE CHILD'S SLEEPING HEAD."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:02 AM
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People who do this should have their kids taken away. If my daughter ever asks me about this, that's when I'll snap and tell her that not only does Santa Claus not exist, but that it's all a lie parents made up to get their kids to behave.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:03 AM
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9: How old is your daughter, Walt?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:07 AM
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Santa brings babies?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:11 AM
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Related: Apparently, the Tooth Fairy now brings at least five bucks for each tooth. That's the kind of unsustainable rate of increase that has caused so many problems in health care and higher education.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:19 AM
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She's 7.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:21 AM
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Word to the wise: Not a great idea to tell a kid in foster care that if she's bad Santa won't bring her anything. It's probably not worth teasing any kid like that, but I'm really annoyed with a few people this year.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:24 AM
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Anyway, I never heard of the elf on the shelf. It sounds like a slang name for a sexual position.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:24 AM
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The elf model that comes the with glow-in-the-dark red eyes seems a bit much.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:26 AM
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Though Nia also didn't fall for thinking St. Nick might be real because he brought her Justin Bieber hair bows and would Lee and I buy that? She decided maybe we would. (My family picked up the St. Nick tradition because this is a very German area and when I was the only child in kindergarten who hadn't been visited by the good fellow, my parents decided to play along but of course insist on being hardcore and only accepting gifts left in shoes. St. Nick at our house uses the kitchen table, a treat for each child at his or her place and something to share in the middle.)

Right now, the plan is that Mara will leave out cookies for Santa and if Nia sneaks down to eat them herself since she doesn't believe in Santa, Mara will put Nia in time out even though she knows she's not allowed to give time outs. They work on this plan every day or so and neither has been swayed in her belief or bothered by the other's take.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:27 AM
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15: not to be confused with the Troll in the Hole, the Dwarf on the Wharf, the Orc on a Stalk and the Ent that's Bent.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:29 AM
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My kid tried very hard last year to convince us Santa was real, but we weren't buying it. This year, he doesn't seem to care.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:29 AM
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not to be confused with the Troll in the Hole

Our family does have a Troll in the Hole story. The troll is named Grumpy, and he lives underneath the 18th hole at a miniature golf course. When you don't get your ball back after hitting it in the 18th hole, its because Grumpy has eaten it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:33 AM
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16: I remember once on holiday as a kid in a very Catholic bit of the country, staying in a rented cottage littered with Catholic tat. The plastic Virgin Mary in the living room whose head you unscrewed to pour out the contents (water from the Grotto at Lourdes) we could live with, but my small brother was terrified when he discovered on the first night that the Sacred Heart painting in the bedroom was done in luminous paint. Show me your gaping chest cavity of loving compassion, Radioactive Jesus!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:33 AM
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20: how UMC is it to have traditional family stories about golf courses? The answer is none. None more UMC.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:34 AM
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21: The eyes and teeth of the Sponge Bob soap dispenser in our bathroom glow, but perhaps that may be different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:38 AM
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We play a lot of putt-putt. I'm counting on my kid getting through college on a miniature golf scholarship.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:38 AM
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22. Family stories about miniature golf courses, however, imply that the family has holidayed at Clacton on Sea for generations. Not necessarily UMC.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:38 AM
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Last year I knew some parents that were doing it, and this year it seems ubiquitous

I think I made exactly this same statement last year. Two years ago I knew some people doing it, and then last year it was everyone, and we were the bad parents (in the eyes of other parents) who weren't imparting this holiday tradition to our children.

And of course it's ubiquitous again this year.

Word to the wise: Not a great idea to tell a kid in foster care that if she's bad Santa won't bring her anything.

Ugh. This ruins my morning.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:40 AM
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Family stories about using a 2 wood on miniature golf courses imply that the family drinks too much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:40 AM
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What's the American equivalent of Clacton on Sea?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:42 AM
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Show me your gaping chest cavity of loving compassion, Radioactive Jesus!

Johnny Cash got a little baroque in his later years.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:42 AM
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The creepy (or rather: creepiest) part about the Elf on a Shelf thing is that it takes the manipulative part of the Santa myth (be good this year or Santa won't bring toys! He sees you when you're sleeping!) and focuses on it exclusively and amps it up to 11. I actually know people who love it for exactly this reason, and go on about how much they love having little angels for children (frightened angels) because they constantly cut off any misbehavior with threats about the Elf and no christmas toys. What a manipulative asshole you are, is my thought.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:45 AM
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26.last: I'm sure you've been a very good boy, urple, and don't have to worry it! And Nia wasn't bothered by it as much as I was because she is actually very well-behaved for her age and whatnot and doesn't believe in Santa anyway, but given that that particular version came from her Court-Appointed Special Advocate, I was really extra mad. We definitely subscribe to the "a href="http://www.welcometomybrain.net/2012/12/you-still-cant-lose-christmas-ralphie.html">you can't lose Christmas" model.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:45 AM
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Argh, will someone fix my idiocy in 31, please?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:47 AM
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but given that that particular version came from her Court-Appointed Special Advocate

Oy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:47 AM
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28: If it existed, it was closed in 1975.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:50 AM
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29 is disturbingly inspiring. I think we may have the B-side of "A Child Named Storm" coming soon.

30 is absolutely true. "I'm only good when you're watching me, Panopticon Santa".
I am not sure if the unofficial motto of the Predator flight crews out at Nellis is "WE SEE YOU WHEN YOU'RE SLEEPING/WE KNOW WHEN YOU'RE AWAKE/WE KNOW WHEN YOU'VE BEEN BAD OR GOOD/SO BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS' SAKE!" but if it isn't it ought to be.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:51 AM
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36

35.2 Were you thinking of this?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:56 AM
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36: well, now I am, obviously.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:59 AM
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My four year old daughter came home with the weapons-grade version of the Santa question: "How come Santa brings presents to everyone in the world except us?"

The answer, obviously, was that she and her brother are horrible, horrible children, but I didn't want to have to tell them that so young.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:10 AM
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38: is it because you killed Jesus?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:11 AM
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Aren't you supposed to use these circuits for religion?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:15 AM
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http://i.imgur.com/LR4wi.jpg


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:15 AM
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41: The bed even looks like a crib.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:16 AM
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39: Well, yes, but you have to admit it's pretty unfair to punish my kids for my crime.

And to 40, yes, exactly, my feelings about religion exactly overlay my feelings about the Santa question. When is a kid old enough to understand, "Other people believe in X, but we don't believe in X, and that's fine, but try not to be a dick about it around your friends"?


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:20 AM
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"Other people believe in X, but we don't believe in X, and that's fine,

About 4 or 5.

but try not to be a dick about it around your friends"?

About 30.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:23 AM
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In our house, the cover got blown off the vast web of parental lies last year, when the girls were eight. It started with a question about the Tooth Fairy, and when it was over they'd all fallen like dominoes—the Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, the Candy Witch. It was hugely liberating.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:24 AM
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I don't understand how it was that young smartiepants peep didn't go around telling all the Gentile kids that Santa wasn't real. Maybe I did, but they paid no attention to me, thinking something like, "Poor Jewish kid -- Santa doesn't visit him, so he tells himself Santa doesn't exist."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:26 AM
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I'm going to tell my kid that I'm Santa when he's old enough to understand that sentence.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:30 AM
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48

We've never told our kids that Santa was real. We've told them there was a real St. Nicholas, and he brought presents to kids in a village, and lots of people like to do the same thing and pretend to be Santa (which is a fictionalized version of St. Nich. that was created by a soft drink company, back when they sold hard drugs). The thing is, they don't enjoy it any less. And although they know intellectually that it's just a story, I'm not even sure that makes it any less real to them. Little kids get very powerfully swept up in imaginative stories, especially when everyone plays along.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:35 AM
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I've been thinking about this since watching my brother trying desperately to dispel his eight-year-old's curiosity about my wife's pregnancy without giving the game away ("She's got a baby in her belly!" "How did it get there?" "It grew there!" "But why?" etc.). Is there any point in not telling kids where babies come from, except that other parents will get mad at you if your kid spills the beans? I mean, it's complicated, there are subtleties, you don't want them to go off and give it a try, but what's the big deal?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:37 AM
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A friend of mine recently told me that she grew up being terrified of Santa Claus, because her grandmother (who stored yet-to-be-wrapped presents in the attic) told her that if she went up to the attic to peek, Santa would catch her, break off her toes, and eat them.

A different kind of Santa.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:37 AM
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"She's got a baby in her belly!" "How did it get there?"

It wouldn't behave so she ate it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:39 AM
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my wife's pregnancy

I didn't know this, Yawnoc. Yay, more babysplosion!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:41 AM
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Everyone knows that santa makes the toes into a necklace to ward off leprechauns.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:41 AM
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Don't forget Tonton Macoute, Santa's little helper, who puts naughty kids in his sack and takes them away to Spain. (Whence the nickname for the Haitian secret police.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:41 AM
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Oh wait, or is that an old story, and kid has been out in the world a while now?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:41 AM
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49: He may just not want to explain it while you and your wife are in the room so he can add a "and don't you dare ask your aunt to show you the place where the baby comes out, especially while we're in the Olive Garden."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:42 AM
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Also, congratulations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:43 AM
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Santa also steals the booze from fat ladies and gives it to the homeless.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:44 AM
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Everyone thinks their kid will end up like that kid in Kindergarten Cop (gynecologist's son?) who introduces himself by saying, "Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:45 AM
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54: I was definitely scared of Zwarte Piet when I was a small child living in Amsterdam.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:48 AM
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Is there any point in not telling kids where babies come from, except that other parents will get mad at you if your kid spills the beans? I mean, it's complicated, there are subtleties, you don't want them to go off and give it a try, but what's the big deal?

THIS. Omg. Everyone else in my local group has kids older than Hawaii, and none of these 5-8 year olds know that men put their penises in women and sperm comes out, etc. It drives me fucking nuts.

Who knows? Hawaii does! Pro-tip: the book "It's Not The Stork" is a really great explanation of how babies are made for a 3-4 year old audience. Everything in there is scientifically sound, and it's cartoony, and Hawaii totally loves it. (And it's controversial, because they show a man and a woman wriggling under the covers at one point.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:05 AM
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If you watched American Horror Story last night, you know that Santa also bites the faces off of other asylum inmates.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:05 AM
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Last year I knew some parents that were doing it, and this year it seems ubiquitous, and I dearly hope most of you have no fucking clue what I'm talking about.

I have never heard of it except three (so far) people on Facebook complaining about it, all this year, none of whom indicated what it was. It's been interesting to try to piece it together. And now you reveal everything!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:08 AM
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Elf on the Shelf is creepy-ass shit.

48: My parents explained the Santa myth to me as a way for parents to give children gifts secretly, which is a fun way to give a gift (sort of a version of the "the best charity is that in which the donor and recipient don't know each other). I think that's much nicer than having some pedoelf on a shelf.

We also sometimes left out a lightbulb for Rudolph's nose because Santa (my grandfather's best friend) would call and explain that the bulb burned out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:13 AM
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It's amazing. People just write "Goddamn elf on the shelf! I hate it! Who started this?" It's as if the elf really is a sentient entity which haunts their dreams. Pretty amazing marketing campaign.

And since 4-year-old kids aren't on Facebook people can vent about it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:13 AM
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The thing is, they don't enjoy it any less. And although they know intellectually that it's just a story, I'm not even sure that makes it any less real to them. Little kids get very powerfully swept up in imaginative stories, especially when everyone plays along.

That's the thing! It will fit in with all our household mythos about wind (sometimes it's the catbus! here's a story about how fans have fan sprites that spin and blow to make the wind, and get all dizzy!) Because I am this way, I might overlay it with a certain amount of mythos flavor -- mysterious things happen sometimes and people have a lot of different stories and theories to explain them, and maybe something magical is true, you never know.

The Elf on the Shelf can fuck off forever.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:16 AM
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OT: I'm completing an on-line application where "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" is a choice for your country of citizenship. It lists Czechoslovakia and also the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Is there a reason or did somebody just not purge the dataset?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:18 AM
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64.last is very charming.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:19 AM
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Those stories about the wind in our house come up in the context of "tell me a story" and/or watching Totoro, just to be clear.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:20 AM
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48 was our experience as well. Santa is an imaginary character, much like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. What's the problem with that? None from our kid's perspective. The only issue was concern that she would correct her classmates if they stated that Santa was real, and that this would upset the classmates (or, more likely, their parents) but it hasn't actually been a problem so far as we can tell.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:24 AM
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Now I have the Totoro song in my head. Of course, I don't know Japanese, so this consists of just that part of the refrain that is the word 'Totoro' over and over again.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:25 AM
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In 3rd grade, there was a kid in my class who got really angry when we told him Santa was just his parents.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:26 AM
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67. Sine the dissolution of the USSR, good purgers have been hard to find.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:27 AM
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I'm not sure we ever even said definitively: "There is no real Santa". What we haven't said is: "Santa is real! (Behave or he'll only bring you coals!)", and when asked if various fat people in suits in the shopping malls or on street corners are just regular people pretending to be Santa, we say yes.

When asked if Santa is real, we've just deflected the question with the story of St. Nicholas. Which, implicitly, gives the answer "No, Santa isn't real". And the kids picked up on that pretty easily. But they still think it's all a big fun game.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:31 AM
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Now I have the Totoro song in my head. Of course, I don't know Japanese, so this consists of just that part of the refrain that is the word 'Totoro' over and over again.

Because Jane is pre-literate, we have been watching the English dub these days -- the song is (at least in this version) a hilariously full recapitulation of the movie, including things like "Mei tumbles down, the bus is late. Suddenly a furry wet giant is by your side."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:32 AM
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Or, I guess, "rain tumbles down," although Mei certainly tumbles too.

You only see him when you're verrrrry young, a magical adventure for you!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:33 AM
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75: The English song is hilarious, but the English Ponyo song is the one that gets sung non-stop around here.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:33 AM
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74 is about how we handle it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:35 AM
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74 is pretty similar to what we've done, although Jammies' mom is more explicit about his existence and the consequences of being good or bad than I'd like. OTOH, she gets up with the kids in the morning when we're visiting, which is easily worth more than a little Santa bullshit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:36 AM
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Also, kids seem to talk about this stuff in school mostly as a way to make sure they can tell their parents what other kids get, not to test the hypothesis of whether or not Santa is real.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:38 AM
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Thanks for the well wishes everybody. The story is indeed a bit dated and Yawnoc .W is a happy healthy baby boy, who does not yet know where he come from or anything about Santa, elves, or shelves.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:39 AM
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Babies can't even see shelves until 18 weeks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:45 AM
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15: not to be confused with the Troll in the Hole, the Dwarf on the Wharf, the Orc on a Stalk and the Ent that's Bent.

Those being not sexual positions but rather classics of British cuisine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:49 AM
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83 is quite funny.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:56 AM
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I do object to Elf on a Shelf: the Elves are supposed to be toiling in their non-unionized workshop for the sole reward of bringing delight to children everywhere! Since when did they have the time to be hanging out and ogling children? Get to work, you shiftless little pointy-eared vermin!

No, this spying business is clearly a job for The Krampus. Probably a cuter, more Disneyfied version of him that is discouraged from flaying children or throwing them in pits, mind you, but at this point I'm sure he'd just be glad of the work. Krampus in a Corner, maybe?


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:25 AM
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Our children were visibly crestfallen a few months ago when they found their elf--visibly bereft of magic--while rummaging around in a closet. Half of me feels bad for them, and the other half is disappointed in them for not seeing through this transparent falsehood on their own before now.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:26 AM
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And how much of you is disappointed in yourself, for partaking of such low tactics?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:29 AM
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When asked if Santa is real, we've just deflected the question with the story of St. Nicholas.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:39 AM
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And how much of you is disappointed in yourself, for partaking of such low tactics?

I had nothing to do with such tactics (apart from tacit consent, I suppose). It was all Fleur's doing. She defends her actions by pointing to the delight and wonderment the children felt when the elf came to live in our midst. To which I say, "Bah, humbug!"


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:40 AM
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I feel a little awkward showing up in the Krampus thread, today of all days.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:43 AM
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Krampus is the same as Black Peter, right? Is that not hella racist?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:46 AM
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One year I wore a Krampus t-shirt for finals week. But none of the students recognized it.


Posted by: Jim | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:48 AM
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Reposted from elsewhere, the True Meaning of A Christmas Carol:

A Christmas Carol and Nineteen Eighty-Four are actually disturbingly similar - in fact, the best way to think of A Christmas Carol is that it is the kind of story that a Thought Policeman tells his children at night.

Both of them have 'everyman' heroes who are not particularly sympathetic; Winston Smith is an unambitious civil servant, no close friends, no real interests; Scrooge is, well, Scrooge. Notably, they're both standoffish misanthropes - they both pretty much despise most of the people they meet, namely because both Smith and Scrooge think they are more intelligent than the proles they pass in the street and the clerks they meet in their offices. They are each, as far as they know, the only people in the country to have seen through, respectively, the propaganda and emotional manipulation surrounding Big Brother's Ingsoc ideology, and the terrible sentimentality of the Victorian Christmas.

But they're not completely selfish or actually evil either. Scrooge does, after all, give Bob Cratchit the day off - with pay - for Christmas (though he moans about it first). Winston Smith helps out his neighbour Mrs Parsons with plumbing repairs. They're not very good company, but Ebenezer Scrooge and Winston Smith are both basically honest citizens. You wouldn't buy Scrooge a drink - he wouldn't want it - but you'd trust him to look after your money. You'd probably trust Winston Smith, too.

Unfortunately for the two heroes, though, both of them give vent to their weird and anti-social beliefs. Winston Smith's scribbling of "I Hate Big Brother" in his diary is matched by Scrooge's outbursts that Christmas is "humbug" - a word that's lost its precise meaning nowadays, but which, in Dickens' time, meant, literally, not just nonsense, but specifically high-minded and hypocritical nonsense used by the bossy to bring other people into line. A public school master exhorting his boys to work hard for the honour of the Old School is producing humbug. Big Brother and the whole cult of personality in Airstrip One is also "humbug" in this sense of the word.

Neither of them, importantly, go any further than words. Smith does not initially want to overthrow Big Brother. Scrooge, like the good, tolerant man he is, doesn't want to stop anyone else enjoying Christmas if they want to - "Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine," he tells his nephew.

The only crime of both Smith and Scrooge is one first named by Orwell: thoughtcrime. And both men suffer the same terrible penalty - heralded, in both cases, by the appearance of someone they regarded once as a friend, who has now become an agent of the enemy; O'Brien for Winston Smith, Jacob Marley for Scrooge. They are abducted and terrorised by enemies with an appallingly detailed knowledge of their lives; it seems that both Scrooge and Smith live in a panopticon state. Threats of physical force (well, if someone suspended me high over London by no very obvious means and made it clear that it was only him keeping me from falling to my death, I'd feel threatened) are coupled with brutal psychological warfare.

Climactically, both men are threatened with a penalty worse than death, again best named by Orwell as vaporisation. Not only will they die, but they will be blotted out. Scrooge is terrified by the vision of his rooms emptied of all his possessions, and an oblivious replacement occupying his office; while people still remember his name, they don't mourn his death. Smith knows perfectly well what vaporisation of a thought criminal involves - in his work in the Records Department, he's helped do it himself.

And both men eventually crack under this overwhelming pressure. The last scenes of both books show the heroes, now broken men, submitting (with the aid of alcohol) to the forces of humbug. They now comply instinctively with the ruling ideology, and even take pathetic pleasure in demonstrating their loyalty at any opportunity. Tears running down Scrooge's face, he realises: "But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Christmas."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:48 AM
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While we're on A Christmas Carol, the most recent Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast - the Christmas show - has a fantastic take on it in the Beyond Belief segment.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:06 AM
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93 is genius


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:10 AM
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91: Retroactively perhaps, although originally I think the black was just fur, or a reference to soot from the fires of Hell. Disney-fied Krampus would probably have to be purple or something.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:11 AM
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93 is very good.

I've neve heard of elf on the shelf before this thread. Perhaps it's a southern thing.

My kid has a theory that all fictional characters -- all of them -- live in an underground world beneath the earth, and go on living there after authors and filmakers have reported on their stories for people in the "human world." Not only did I not promote this theory, I've tried to engage in Socratic-style argument to undermine it, but she's stuck with it passionately for over a year now and spends time drawing maps about the connection between the human world and various underground worlds (sometimes it's a single place, sometimes not). Fairies are microscopic (smaller than germs!) ambassadors between the worlds. Santa fits into this scheme because his workshop is underground, as clearly documented in Babar and Father Christmas.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:26 AM
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Not only did I not promote this theory, I've tried to engage in Socratic-style argument to undermine it...

You never quit with the copyright law.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:28 AM
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Retroactively perhaps, although originally I think the black was just fur, or a reference to soot from the fires of Hell.

Somewhere in my head is that Black Peter is supposed to be a Moor.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:28 AM
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Why would you try to talk your daughter out of something that awesome?


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:31 AM
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100 to 97.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:32 AM
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93 is fantastic.
I never believed in Santa, but I don't remember how I interacted with the kids that did. I do have early memories of worrying that people's religious beliefs were fragile and important, and that exposure to my powerful 6-8 year old atheist logic would hurt them, so I guess that I would have been similarily sensitive to their Santa beliefs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:32 AM
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97: Halford, you should buy your child a copy of Gerald Murnane's Barley Patch posthaste. Or maybe you should buy it for yourself.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:35 AM
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98 -- exactly! Why is it so goddamn hard for her to understand that fictional characters are really monetizable property interests that are indirectly paying for her expensive preschool?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:36 AM
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re: 99

Discussed on twitter just the other day, by dsquared, Alex, et al. Moors coming to take people away into slavery being an actual European thing until surprisingly recently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_Slave_Trade#Golden_age_of_Barbary_slavery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_pirates#Barbary_slaves


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:39 AM
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93 and 97 are both fantastic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:42 AM
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97 is great. Make sure you keep all those maps and so on safe. Your child will need them in 20 years when she is the next Robert Louis Stevenson or CS Lewis. (Or indeed Alan Moore - this does have a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen feel to it.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:43 AM
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105: indeed. It's one of the main reasons that the French ended up occupying Algeria. It's also what the US Marines were doing on the Shores of Tripoli. The corsair city-states of North Africa used to ceremonially declare war on the whole of Christendom every year to make it OK to go out and take slaves.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:47 AM
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My kid has a theory that all fictional characters -- all of them -- live in an underground world beneath the earth, and go on living there after authors and filmakers have reported on their stories for people in the "human world".

This is more or less the premise of Fables.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:51 AM
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93 is wonderful. "God bless us, everyone, but some more equally than others."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 10:54 AM
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108: If you're taking slaves, it isn't merely ceremonial.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 11:01 AM
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Trailer for the excellent 93 -- karaoke style makes you complicit! --

or just lyrics


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 11:03 AM
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Damn. Karaoke version.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 11:04 AM
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100 is right!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 11:09 AM
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105: "Cultural memory of the Barbary Pirates" hadn't occurred to me. But again any such identification was probably retroactive, since the Krampus legend in some form is supposed to date back to the pre-Christian Germanic world (a kind of variant on the satyr) long before the Moors were any kind of threat to Europe, be it as Barbary Corsairs or anything else. So as the Krampus strictly-speaking goes, any such identification is more like a momentary blip.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 12:02 PM
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(Still though: he should be purple. Like, a Barney shade of purple, just for the fuck-offness of it.)


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 12:03 PM
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109- Damn, now Halford has to alert the SWAT teams about his daughter's infringement. It's for her own good.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 12:13 PM
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I also think Black Peter might be taking the dandyism thing too far.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 12:22 PM
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We've told them there was a real St. Nicholas

And today is his feast day. Happy Nicholasmas!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 12:42 PM
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Has any child ever -- while still a believer -- not been frightened of the guy who dresses as Santa in the mall (or wherever it is)? Or anyway disliked and distrusted him?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:05 PM
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It's not in the mall, but my apartment building has a traditional Christmas party with a visit from Santa, and some kids are nervous but some are delighted. Mine bought into it until six or seven.

(Come to think, I wonder if they've aged out of participating in the direct-from-Santa-at-the-party present distribution. I should ask them.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:09 PM
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My wife likes the whole Santa Claus thing; I don't. So when they asked, I gave them the same line that I give them about God: I personally don't believe, but if they want to, that's okay with me.

My 10-year-old son made the transition to unbelief only in the last year. On balance, it's probably good for him to discover at an early age that the people closest to him will lie to him for no reason other than their own entertainment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:10 PM
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Our Santa is particularly good, though -- an actor who used to live in the building. He's a tall cadaverous guy with a deep voice, so padded in a suit he looks very different but very Santa-esque, and of course he actually knows the kids in the building.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:11 PM
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One fun changeup might be to have Santa played by an actual cadaver.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:13 PM
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Let Macy's keep its gimmick unique.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:15 PM
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Zombie Santa is the latest thing. "Caaaandy Caaanes!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:15 PM
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I seriously doubt Hawaiian Punch would sit on Santa's lap. (Even if she weren't wearing a skirt.) Hokey Pokey probably would.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:17 PM
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OT: In connection with certain Christmas-related program activities, I'd much appreciate the Mineshaft's recommendations regarding photographers who could produce relevant-arts-sector-appropriate headshots for the woman you reprobates call Lunchy. Let us set aside the vulgarity of cost for the nonce and consider, first, the quality of the work and the relative risk of some sleazy Terry Richardson-wannabe inviting doucheslaughter by trying to get my girlfriend to take her top off.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:35 PM
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128: In the Manhattan area.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:37 PM
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Let me be the first to suggest Annie Leibovitz.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:37 PM
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I don't think I know anybody who knows anybody [...] who knows her, Moby, but good thinking.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:39 PM
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Stop adding new criteria.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:40 PM
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IIRC, I know someone who knows Annie Liebovitz.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:42 PM
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131: you sort of do but not in a way that is useful to you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:42 PM
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Leibovitz. Whatever.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:43 PM
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Huh. Many paths to Leibovitz, apparently.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:43 PM
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128: I've got photog friends in Manhattan. I dunno exactly how cheap they work -- they do have day jobs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:47 PM
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No, I was wrong. I change my suggestion to Mary Ellen Mark.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:48 PM
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Drat, my photographer just moved down South someplace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:49 PM
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Further: One of them works for a photographic bureau, so they probably know other people who are more into it as a money-making thing right now. Should I email for a recommendation?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:52 PM
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||

Speaking of narcs.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:53 PM
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140: I'd appreciate that, Natilo. Please FB me if they have anything to recommend.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 1:57 PM
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141: Be careful what you wish for, eh?
142: Okay, um, I forgot your real life name, could you send me a FB message?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 2:03 PM
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128: I've asked someone who should know for some names and will pass along when I receive them.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 2:29 PM
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"She's got a baby in her belly!" "How did it get there?" "It grew there!" "But why?" etc.

Weirdly, AB's pregnancy with Kai (when Iris was 4) inspired none of these questions. We had already discussed some of the facts of life (mostly on the cellular level, if you will), but not the physiology, and we just assumed that these questions were inevitable.

I think she's got the picture now, but I don't recall any graphic* discussion.

OTOH, a year or two ago Iris clarified that babies come out of the vagina. She paused a moment and said, in all ingenuousness, "But it's so small." Yes it is, kid.

*in any sense of the term


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 2:53 PM
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144: Mille grazie.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 2:54 PM
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More on the OT, Iris really struggled with Santa last year (age 7). She wanted so badly for him to be real, and she kept re-convincing herself that he was, but after Xmas, she finally gave in (and also gave up her quite sincere belief in fairies). Coincidentally or not, her belief in fairies has had a resurgence of late; I'm not sure what her position is on Santa at the moment.

Elf on the Shelf is insanely insane bullshit, and reminds me why, as a species, we make no moral progress: people have terrible instincts about how to raise children, and I don't think that our culture, on net, improves on that instinct.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 2:56 PM
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I wonder if instead of the Elf on the Shelf, maybe we could use those little robot things that were on the Death Star in the Star Wars. The small ones that looked like rolling, black breadboxes. Thanks to Lego Star Wars, kids already learn to shoot those things so there won't be trust issues.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:09 PM
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My sense is that Ruprecht, Piet, and Krampus are all derived from an older story (my guess is that Krampus is closest to the original), and that the racist elements are late additions. I read something today or yesterday stating that the minstrel elements of Piet date only to 1850; whether he was a "Moor" before then wasn't clear. But Austria in 1200 (or whenever) probably wouldn't have used Africans as any kind of bogeymen.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:10 PM
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Back then, bogeymen were just called men.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:11 PM
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God I'm so unmotivated to write two final exams before I can leave work today. Blech.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:14 PM
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151: Don't you have some old final exams you can use?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:21 PM
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For one class, but not the other.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:22 PM
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Can't you just have them find the volume of something you've got sitting around your office?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:25 PM
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153: Well, there! I already reduced your workload by 100%!

I should be a consultant.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:26 PM
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Apparently, calculating what percentage one is of two is hard. Maybe that should be on the test.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:27 PM
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But Austria in 1200 (or whenever) probably wouldn't have used Africans as any kind of bogeymen.

Maybe not Africans per se, but plausibly dark-skinned enemies of Christendom -- this being at the height of the Fourth Crusade and the Reconquista.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:30 PM
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"Elf on the Shelf is insanely insane bullshit, and reminds me why, as a species, we make no moral progress: people have terrible instincts about how to raise children, and I don't think that our culture, on net, improves on that instinct."

Although the Elf on the Shelf is bad, it isn't as bad as slavery or female genital mutilation. I think Pinker is persuasive that things are getting better:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Better-Angels-Our-Nature/dp/0143122010/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

With respect to kids corporal punishment is way down.

The ridiculous move the elf every night for thirty days thing is part of a contemporary intensification of parental focus on children. I personally think that can be bad and/or wasteful; but it really does reflect an increasing concern for children.



Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:32 PM
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156: Consultants always double their results!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:33 PM
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How bad is it if you mutilate the elf's genitals?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:34 PM
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160: The elf has genitals? This is even more troubling.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:35 PM
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You mean they arrive pre-castrated? I didn't realize the scope of the atrocity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:36 PM
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158: Do you suppose his parents named him in reference to the P.G. Wodehouse character?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:38 PM
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160, 161: I think I misunderstood.

No, heebie, I don't think that would be a gqod question for your final.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:39 PM
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164.2: Who types a "q" in place of an "o"?

The answer is peep.

You can use that question, heebie.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:42 PM
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Discussions of discussions of the facts of life with kids always brings up this remarkably graphic children's book. I should prepare to give a copy to my kid some year, but it's unlikely that he'll read German. Possibly it doesn't matter.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:45 PM
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||
So I had a first-stage phone interview today, my first in many months, for which I'd done absolutely no preparation, and when asked about salary expectations, I froze and said something about "oh, I guess in the 30s" which doesn't even show up at the bottom end of a chart of salary distributions for the job title that I looked up immediately afterwards. I've never had a real job! It seems absurd to say I was expecting someone to pay me $40k or more! Aaagh.

*Headdesk*.

Parents, don't let your kids grow up to be (non-STEM) PhD dropouts.
|>


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:54 PM
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166: whoa.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 3:55 PM
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167: That might not be bad. I did the same thing at my job interview for my current job, and they hired me -- and gave me a salary significantly higher than I had asked for.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:03 PM
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You actually do (rarely) get kids who come out face first, as on page 20 of that book, though none of the pictures found by Google image search (face first presentation birth) shows the kid with a smile like that. A midwife friend of mine was kicked off FB for posting one of those photos.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:04 PM
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though none of the pictures found by Google image search (face first presentation birth) shows the kid with a smile like that.

Bummer. Maybe your baby will be the first. Blume.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:11 PM
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If so, there sure as hell won't be any photographic evidence of it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:18 PM
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You occasionally get kids born in an intact amniotic sac. It's supposed to be a good thing if you're into hocus-pocus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:18 PM
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172: Understood.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:20 PM
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Checking in to see what people were talking about in this thread, I am rewarded by seeing 93. Fantastic!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:27 PM
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93 really is brilliant.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 4:53 PM
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Speaking of the Troll in the Hole: laydeez and gentleman, please welcome the internationally-acquainted, critically unclaimed, Grammy-nominated souperstar Al Walser! Put your hands together!


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 5:02 PM
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166: that is exactly the book I was afraid to search for at work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:44 PM
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Loved 93. Kid C is reading A Christmas Carol at school atm. Sadly he has not read 1984 but I'm sure I can subvert his interpretation of ACC anyway.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:46 PM
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A while back, someone mentioned a good book for explaining the facts of life to older, literate children. Any recommendations? I thought about getting this one for the older daughter, but I hesitate because the younger daughter will of course get her hands on it, and I'm not sure I want her reading about oral and anal at age eight.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 6:53 PM
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97 is wonderful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:10 PM
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I don't understand Flip's continued reluctance to adopt the acronym Twyrcl.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:11 PM
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180: I forget how old your older daughter is but the middle book in that series (It's So Amazing, I think) is for 8ish-year-olds but doesn't have details about partnered sex being anything n the immediate agenda for the reader, as I recall.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:34 PM
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It's interesting to browse the reviews of both of those books and see the range of reviewers' comfort levels with particular info for their kids at particular ages.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 7:39 PM
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That this is a newly invented tradition, and one that teaches irony, is what makes it great.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:45 PM
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The book in 180 is the one my parents gave me when I was twelve or so to explain this stuff. I'd highly recommend it for kids around that age. There was a different one they gave me to initially explain the basics when I was about six, but I forget the title.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:56 PM
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My parents didn't explain squat to me. It's amazing I ever figured it out.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 8:59 PM
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It's amazing I ever figured it out.

It's not that hard. You just sort of bend your knees.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:00 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 6-12 9:17 PM
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Back then, bogeymen were just called men.

No reliable connection, unfortunately, between bogeymen (boogeymen, bogles, boggarts, Pookas, pucks, pixies or Pukel-men) and the Bugi pirates of Indonesia.

(Who, incidentally, recognise five different genders, Wiki says.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 3:26 AM
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hence the phrase Bugi Wonderland


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 3:47 AM
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This is ridiculously pollyannish:

Although the Elf on the Shelf is bad, it isn't as bad as slavery or female genital mutilation.

Sure, now. But what will it lead to? An entire generation of children are destined to grow up to be a little army of Hitlers.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 5:24 AM
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88 is great.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 6:20 AM
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166: I know that book! It was given to me, in English, in UU Sunday School. I thought it was great, actually, more funny than graphic.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 7:06 AM
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I also went to UU Sunday school and, come to think of it, that book does look vaguely familiar. I believe that was the class where they had 7-year-olds reenacting the birth experience.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 7:42 AM
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195: I bet that's where I know it from, then! I knew I'd seen it before and didn't place it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:09 AM
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I have to say I don't understand the motivation to buy a book (absent some very serious repression). It was fun explaining the process, and tailoring to the specific kid can't be beat.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:15 AM
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Kids with questions they don't want to disclose to you? Warm and unthreatening a relationship with your kids as you may have, there's probably a virtue to a book where the kid can read the chapter on, e.g., "So you think you may be gay," without having to press a parent for information up front.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:26 AM
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It was fun explaining the process

I don't think I ever heard anyone describe this as fun before.

Maybe my brother would say that -- but then I picture him just trying to confuse his kids for fun.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:33 AM
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I assume CCarp must have included live demonstrations. The sex-ed process replaced bedtime stories every night for a month.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:36 AM
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Like John Cleese in The Meaning of Life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:37 AM
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Aside from sending me to UU sex indoctrination class, my parents left a book in location accessible to me, which meant we got to avoid the entire conversation altogether. And really, that was best for all of us.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:50 AM
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The book was, I assume, Valley of the Dolls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:51 AM
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We got nothing. Well, my sister, when she left for college, got "At this point, you know the values we've raised you with. You're making your own decisions now, and if you choose to do anything we would disapprove of, we'd rather not know about it." That may have been a sex talk, but it's hard to tell.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:55 AM
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My parents apparently got themselves a book about how to talk to their kids about sex, and then wimped out and just gave me that book directly, so everything I read from it had the additional layer of so-you're-a-parent-here's-what-you-say.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:57 AM
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No, it was Changing Bodies Changing Lives, which is actually a pretty awesome book.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 9:58 AM
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201: You know what? I think I'm going to show that very scene to the kids as a conversation starter for a talk about sex. That'll get them good and traumatized.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 2:26 PM
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197: I bought it mostly out of curiosity. It's got way too much writing in there for Hawaii, so we mostly flip through the pages together and talk about whatever catches our eye.

I think we would have been fine without it, but she really really loves the page showing the to-scale drawings of fetuses at different stages.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 2:29 PM
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207 is great. Please do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 2:30 PM
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207: Excellent. Live blog it. Show them the ruby scene, too?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 7-12 2:44 PM
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I have books about babies because when I told 3 year old Kid A that I was pregnant with #3 she basically marched me into the basement of Waterstones (um, that's the children's department in the one in Oxford) and said, "I want a book all about it. With pictures."

And although talking is fine, sometimes - as a child as well as as an adult - you just want to sit and read and think and mull over different bits. I bought Kid C a book because I thought fuck it, I've done periods 3 times, C can do the boy. So the book is for back-up.

Kid A and I are watching "Girls" together, which surely counts as sex ed? Last night we were watching it, and she said, "I really like Adam [Hannah's boyfriend] now" and a second later he answered his phone with "Hi skank, what are you up to? Getting your pussy pounded?" which sent us into cackling hysterics for about 5 minutes.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 8:29 AM
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"This is Inland Revenue."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 8:31 AM
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110: 93 is wonderful. "God bless us, everyone, but some more equally than others."

"Imagine a Santa hat sitting on a human head -- forever."

Or in Narnian terms, "Always Christmas, never winter."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 9:48 AM
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Elf on a shelf is the kind of thing I would have felt obligated to counter-propagandize against (for instance McD's was McYucko's in our household--not that we didn't ever end up there on long drives). But in this case I'd be tempted to target the parents. "Good thing [perfect little angel who is misbehaving at the moment] didn't do that in front of the elf."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 9:58 AM
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"He had won the victory over himself. He loved Christmas." now immortalized on the tubez here, a Making Light comment thread elsewhere, a Henry Farrell tweet referencing this thread, and a YouTube comment from about a year ago (in a different context).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 10:44 AM
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On the Santa front, I was apparently quite the insufferable little prat, as I have distinct memory of contemptuously proclaiming, "Everyone knows Santa isn't real!" at lunch in first grade. This led to me being quickly propelled out of the room by my teacher who heatedly berated me for "Ruining it for the other kids." But neither do I recall feeling any guilt whatsoever at having done so.

However, my tribulations were minor compared to those of my 6th-grade teacher when during an explanation of some literary construct (metaphor? probably) she said something like, "For instance no one really believes that heaven is people's souls floating around in the sky" and a girl burst into tears. I was vaguely aware that it became a big to-do. But I guess a first-grade teacher in the US saying the same about Santa would suffer the same or worse.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 10:59 AM
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I had this conversation with my older sister, and while she didn't remember me confronting other kids, she claims I was quite contemptuous of adults who expected me to believe in Santa or who were dismayed that I didn't.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12- 9-12 11:31 AM
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On topic, I just had my first sighting of the elf/shelf thing. A guy I went to school with put it on the toilet seat with a wad of tp in his (the elf's) hand.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 9:59 PM
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This was on Facebook, not an in person sighting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 10:01 PM
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I thought this one was kind of inspired.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-12 10:07 PM
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