Re: Counterpoint: only if it will make you miserable should you do it

1

One might also add that those lucky few who experience a joyful life will, by the same principle, see their joy increased if they begin in even mild misery. By contrast, joy uninterrupted is frequently unappreciated.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 5:28 PM
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If a life contains one day of joy, properly appreciated, then it contains a lot of...joy. Compared to a life of complaining.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 5:34 PM
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Yeah, that's what your mom told me last night.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 5:36 PM
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i wish i could


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 5:46 PM
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WMBBSARAB?

Why must Ben be such a rapidly aging bitch?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 6:38 PM
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FWIW, I would not characterize a happy - or at least functional -childhood as incompatible with a realistic (read cynical) view of the world. Even the happiest of childhoods will admit ample opportunity for near-daily recitation of the mantra of realist parenting: "Life isn't fair."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 6:42 PM
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"Life isn't fair."

That had to be one of my mother's favorite phrases. Right behind "Because I said so".


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 6:46 PM
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My tone may make you think I am being facetious but I am dead serious.

Forgive me if this doesn't help me one bit to believe more in your seriousness. You would equally likely say it were you serious or not.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 6:54 PM
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Having a happy childhood can delay the recognition that "life isn't fair" until later in life and can lead to a heavy cynical phase right around high school.

Hypothetically.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 6:56 PM
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I think Ben neglects to consider the near-irreparable harm that comes to children whose parents are depressed and withdrawn, or otherwise unable to share their attentions and affections fully with their children, such that those children have a greater incidence of mental illness (in worse cases) and difficulty socializing and functioning normally in relationships. Disenchantment and disappointment are temporary, while those problems are permanent.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:00 PM
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||

Fucking Vikes.

|>


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:22 PM
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No shit. Wasn't this supposed to be a building year, though?

You might think of applying for their special teams job.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:26 PM
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The most important and hardest thing about parenting is to expose your child to what they are prepared to handle.


Posted by: Chuck | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:32 PM
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"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."
—William Butler Yeats

My grandma painted these words onto a lovely piece of wood and gave it to me when I was in high school. It still hangs in my bedroom.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:37 PM
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11-14: The most important and hardest thing about parenting is to expose direct your child to what they are prepared to handle cheer for an appropriate sports franchise.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:46 PM
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12: I'd rather be the guy in charge of fucking clock management. Even after Green and Tice, Childress is the most consistently dickheaded clock manager I've ever seen.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:53 PM
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Sentence of the night:

"Becky persists in her search and has CIA cameo man Bob, with his MilkTray man abseiling antics, shipped over to wrest Michelle from Radu's
substantial fingers."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:55 PM
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I wish everyone could have substantial fingers.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:57 PM
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fucking clock management

They have a clock for that these days?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 7:57 PM
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17 was actually pretty easy, with just minimal googling required. Wikipedia is going to destroy Trivial Pursuit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:03 PM
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"Life isn't fair."

This is one among many reasons that as entertaining as The Princess Bride is as a movie, you (and your children at some appropriate age) really must read (or have read to them) Goldman's book*. In one of his frame story interjections after a particularly upsetting part of the story, he relates a conversation with a friend of the family (Edith Neisser) who "wrote terrific books about how we screw up our children"**. The key excerpt (the whole thing is online here, but best to read it in the context of the book):

I went to the porch and sipped iced tea and Edith was reading this book and she didn't put it down when she said, "That's not necessarily true, you know."
I said, "How do you mean?"
And that's when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: "Life isn't fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it's a terrible thing to do. It's not only a lie, it's a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it's never going to be." Would you believe that for me right then it was like one of those comic books where the light bulb goes on over Mandrake the Magician's head?
"It isn't!" I said, so loud I really startled her. "You're right! It's not fair." I was so happy if I'd known how to dance, I'd have started dancing. "Isn't that great, isn't it terrific?" I think along here Edith must have thought I was well on my way to being bonkers.
But it meant so much to me to have it said and out and free and flying - that was the discontent I had endured the night my father stopped reading, I realized right then. That was the reconciliation I was trying to make and couldn't.

*And if you get a later edition *DO NOT* read any of the new material, introductions etc. that Goldman has added on—find where it says This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it. and start there. Everything else detracts.

**I've never read any of her stuff, but it looks as though some of her books are available.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:31 PM
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No shit. Wasn't this supposed to be a building year, though?

But look at the upside: there's a chance for a truly horrible NFC championship game between Phoenix and Philly. And a chance for a nearly as horrid AFC championship game between Baltimore and San Diego. Which in turn could result in the most sucktacular Superbowl of all time, featuring a combined 14 turnovers, 40 penalties and a final score of 3-2.

max
['And what better year for it than the year Detroit went 0-16? It'd be like a final razz for Bush.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:42 PM
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Thank god Ben doesn't intend to have children.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:43 PM
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Thank god Ben doesn't intend to have children.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:44 PM
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You can say that again.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:46 PM
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22: Actually I find the Ravens about the most entertaining team out there. (And their Super Bowl run was the greatest ever.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:47 PM
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26: Yes! My point. It'd be like some kind of horrid SuperIcebowl.

max
['Are they playing the Superbowl without a dome this year? I hope so. Then we can have a sudden unexpected blizzard.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 8:50 PM
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14: "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

"Don't worry, boys, we'll weather this storm of approval and come out as hated as ever."
     — Saul Alinsky


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:02 PM
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I am such a mood as to say to ben with equal non-facetious seriousness: Fuck you.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:06 PM
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This started out as a philosophy blog, Sir Kraab. We can't lash out reflexively at mere sentences.


Posted by: Cryptic Neds | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:09 PM
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the fewer but apparently--only apparently--happier youths whose adulthoods will be similarly joyous, who will reach their deathbeds without ever having experienced crushing injustice, having been been wracked with guilt or shame or suffering for no reason, who will, in short, lead from egg to apples thoroughly delightful and enviable lives

How I hate them.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:12 PM
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Can we lash out deliberately?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:14 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:17 PM
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Not to worry, Ned. I was lashing out at the paragraphs.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 9:24 PM
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Let no clause stand unlashed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 10:07 PM
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35: When all else fails we can whip Santa's eyes and make him sleep ... and cry deceive the children no more.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 10:11 PM
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Disappointment is the natural experience of the Vikings fan; it's not clear that we'd know what to do with anything else. The 1998 and 2000 seasons, by coming as they did during my late adolescence, taught me not just about the slings and arrows of Vikings fandom, but also about the vicissitudes of life more broadly construed. If only my parents had told me sooner that life isn't fair; I might've turned out much better adjusted.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-09 11:54 PM
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Oh, and Tarvaris Jackson seems like a nice fellow and all, and I hate to wish away anyone's employment in an economic climate such as the present one, but to this viewer he just doesn't seem like the kind of quarterback on which you want to hang your franchise.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 12:00 AM
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I maintain my loyalties: the Bears would have lost that same game in a much more dramatic fashion. More interceptions. More sacks. More of the the fun stuff, same result: NFC North: splat.

I dunno. Two weeks ago, I was predicting Giants-Steelers, but I'm not sure of anything anymore.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 12:33 AM
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21: I read the Princess Bride years after watching (and rewatching and rewatching) the movie. I was disappointed with the all the bitching in the author's interjections.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 1:11 AM
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40. My experience was the other way. I had read the book a number of times over the years before the movie came out. I thought the movie was quite good but it lacked the depth of the book.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 6:02 AM
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40, 41: I guess that reaction is understandable. I 'm like md 20/400; I discovered the book soon after it came out, reread it several times, and thought what really put it over the top was the wacky interplay between the somewhat snarky author in the present, his father reading it to him in the past and the fable itself. The movie, understandably, was quite a different thing and I thought it succeeded well on its own terms as a clever but lightweight fantasy. But I suspect the order in which you encounter them matters quite a bit. So I refine my recommendation—read it first (although I am sure that will almost never happen with kids).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 6:23 AM
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I once knew a minister who was suspicious of teaching kids about the easter bunny and santa - not because they were satanic or anything, but because he feared that kids might reason that if their parents lied about one supernatural being, they might be lying about god, who as we all know, *is* real.

This led me to the opposite conclusion: You should not teach your child to believe in the supernatural in general.


Posted by: Aaron Weber | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 7:51 AM
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Years ago in some class or another we watched a short film about an old woman who randomly performs a child abduction of opportunity - she walks off with it from a grocery store or something - and takes it home for the day. She plays with it, feeds it, then bakes herself a poison cake, eats a slice, calls the cops to come get the kid and promptly dies. Before she dies, though, she breastfeeds the child. Everyone else in the class was in awe of the miracle of hope that an old person in the act of suicide would choose to spend her final moments sustaining the life of future generations, blah blah blah, and I was the only person in the class who saw it not as some purifying act but as, at best, an inoculation. I think the phrase I used at the time was, "Here's a taste of what it's like to grow up, kid."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 8:32 AM
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I was given The Princess Bride in a German translation by my then-girlfriend. I have never read the original (though I did see the movie in English), and I cannot imagine that it can be as good as the rendition in the language of the Brothers Grimm. Even the passages about the evil prince's research into the physiology of pain were (I suspect) improved by being translated into the language of interminable academic prose.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 9:17 AM
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Aaron,

My parents never taught us to believe in Santa, Easter Bunny et al, but I still stopped believing in God when I was 15. Your parents don't need to have lied to you about supernatural beings specifically for you to become aware as a resentful teenager that Mom and Dad don't know shit. (Being of a minority religion also helps: either your family is lying to you, or almost all the other people around you are delusional, or -- and this becomes the most likely solution -- no one except for you knows anything.)


Posted by: PG | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 10:18 AM
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Rend their clothing, those assholes.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 12:01 PM
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Chuck in 14 gets it right that the question is not whether to teach children that life is suffering, but when and how. Some of it they figure out themselves, as when, without any effort on the part of parents to disabuse them of Santa-belief, they cease to believe in Santa.

How should we introduce the Massacre of the Innocents into the Christmas narrative? Should we lay it out in brutal detail, with all its theodical implications? Should we show them Brueghel and Rubens' representations, or have them enact the horror in their church pageants? Or should we just sing the Coventry Carol?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 12:24 PM
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i never met anyone who is happy all the time, all people have some kind of grievance at some point of their lives, karma works that way perhaps
this is fun
(x(x_(X_x(O_o)x_x)_X)x)
Alive among zombies
(_8^ (|) Homer Simpson from wikipedia


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 1:03 PM
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44: How did an old childless woman breastfeed?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 4:08 PM
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Ineffectually.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 4:09 PM
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50: Through the power of ART, I bet!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 4:10 PM
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I inadvertently watched the Princess Bride in a tavern w/o sound. I was trying to do something else. For about the first third I thought "This is the hokiest medieval fantasy movie I ever saw". I'm not sure whether I ever figured out it was a farce, or whether my son told me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 4:52 PM
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How did an old childless woman breastfeed?

Boundless American stick-to-it-iveness. Christ, what kind of commie are you?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01- 5-09 7:27 PM
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