Why I’m Raising Violent 4 Year-Olds
July 14, 2005 11:15 PM   Subscribe

 
I know the initial link is a bit brief, perhaps too brief for a front page post. However, I think its a very interesting and concise look at an emerging Baptist thought.

I should clarify: by 'emerging', I mean, bringing out into the open. Baptists have always embraced this sort of outlook on boys even 25 years ago when I was ten and in a Baptist school. What seems to be different now is how open they are about this perception. Previously, at least in my experience, their desire for hypermasculinity was kept in-house and often only spoken in male only gatherings, like the boys' chapel we'd sometimes have at my school.
posted by pandaharma at 11:24 PM on July 14, 2005


....and God wept.
posted by hortense at 11:30 PM on July 14, 2005


Wow... I'm kinda lost for words after that first link.

I've tried understanding the world view. I've tried to figure out the moral/ethical frame of reference in an attempt to understand what's behind thinking like this. But I just don't get it, and can neither reconcile not relate to it.

Here's one more liberal who just doesn't get it.
posted by blender at 11:37 PM on July 14, 2005


I blame the prophet Zoroaster for all this good guys vs. bad guys bullshit.
posted by ori at 11:42 PM on July 14, 2005


I wonder if this is how Islamic Terrorists are raised. No, I don't wonder.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:47 PM on July 14, 2005


Wimps... consider girlfriends to be conversation partners... They are shameless.

Is he really claiming talking to your girlfriends is a bad thing? No seriously? No talking, and fucking is right out... I mean what's the point?
posted by aspo at 11:47 PM on July 14, 2005


I think I'm missing something. In what way does the author of the first link want his boys to be violent? Against a dragon? Am I reading that correctly? And what's all this about cutting off limbs?
posted by Doug at 11:50 PM on July 14, 2005


Terrence Moore throws like a girl.
posted by sellout at 11:58 PM on July 14, 2005


Writing in the very first year of the twentieth century, William Byron Forbush warned America that it faced a crisis he called "the boy problem." Forbush warned that a generation of young males, then still in boyhood, would soon enter the life of the nation without the necessary civilizing influences, discipline, and character. He called for immediate action and directed national attention to the problem.

Of course those spineless, shamless pussies went off to WWI and WWII. And won.
posted by c13 at 12:03 AM on July 15, 2005


Yeah, that first link is way out there on the internal-violence-as-moral-compass metaphorical theme. He must be beset by dark dreams that he foists onto his Old Testament readings.

The 2nd link indicates I suppose where the violence should be acted out. Beat your boys so they grow into neither wimps nor barbarians.

Rabid foaming nonsense divorced from reality and individuality. Rule by fear.
posted by peacay at 12:06 AM on July 15, 2005


Doug:

Cutting off limbs is a reference to Mark 9:43-47:

43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire
posted by pandaharma at 12:10 AM on July 15, 2005


On a side-note, there is a culture these days of trying to stop boys from being boys. We see it in the news all the time, boy expelled for aiming his finger like a gun and saying "bang", boy expelled for rough-housing, boy expelled for saying something tactless, boy expelled and medicated for being too full of energy, whatever. As well as the accompanying topic of how boys are doing worse and worse in school these days, and how some believe it is due to the climate in schools which says that girls are to be favored over boys whenever possible. When I first saw the lead-in for this post, I was expecting to encounter a discussion of that topic. I wonder if I can derail things onto that far more interesting one.
posted by nightchrome at 12:12 AM on July 15, 2005


And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off with a Light Saber.
posted by c13 at 12:13 AM on July 15, 2005


War between the Dragon and the woman are from Revelation 12

This is an extensive passage which describes the battle between Satan and God.
posted by pandaharma at 12:15 AM on July 15, 2005


Doug: This is the standard Convenient Calvinism that I so know and love from growing up in the South. Basically, it breaks down like this: there are good people and there are bad people and they - the god fearing, Jesus loving, homosexual hating, culturally superior, virtuous Christians - are the good people. The bad people - the secular humanist, moral relativist, pluralistic, drug loving, child molesting, Jesus hating heathens - are out to destroy them. So the good guys have got to destroy the bad guys first. In this pursuit, they have to be hard assed bastards because if they show even an sliver of weakness - like, if they start to think that maybe not all homosexuals are evil or if they allow some women to have abortions under certain circumstances - the evil people will exploit it and, before you know it, the whole world will be a pluralistic, godless, cocaine loving culture that will, of course, be conquered easily by the communists.

But how do we *know* that Jesus loving liberal haters are the good guys? Well, because they believe in peace, love, and justice, while the godless liberal child molestors are big supporters of Fidel Catro, the Khmer Rouge, and Pee Wee Herman. Also, we know they're the good guys because Jesus said so.

And no, I'm really not exagerating by much here. They really do see themselves as the white hats defending their turf against a sea of black hats. And there really is a wonderfully circular logic to it all. They know their actions are moral because they're the good guys and they know they're the good guys because their actions are moral.

So when they talk about ruthlessly battling dragons, they're talking about Bill Clinton, the ACLU, nationalists in the middle east, labor union organizors in South America, reformers within the Catholic Church, and so forth.
posted by Clay201 at 12:22 AM on July 15, 2005


They really do see themselves as the white hats defending their turf against a sea of black hats.

So this would explain why this sort of Christian is never into the whole "Remove the plank from thine own eye" or the Mark 9:43-47 quoted above kind of stuff. Because they're the good guys. They have no plank.

It still doesn't explain their aversion to the stuff about only God being allowed to judge people, though. Because they're real big on judging others.
posted by Jimbob at 12:28 AM on July 15, 2005


Jimbob, I think the general view on that is that they believe God already has judged those others, and thus they are fair game.
posted by nightchrome at 12:30 AM on July 15, 2005


I love it when Christians express the dark and violent side of their religion. If you're going to sign up for this stuff you should go all-in.
posted by mullacc at 12:36 AM on July 15, 2005


> the evil people will exploit it and, before you know it, the whole world
> will be a pluralistic, godless, cocaine loving culture that will, of course,
> be conquered easily by the communists.

I like this plan -- I surrender.
posted by NewBornHippy at 12:51 AM on July 15, 2005


I love it when ChristiansMuslims express the dark and violent side of their religion. If you're going to sign up for this stuff you should go all-in.

All Christians Muslims are the same, right? One bad apple speaks for the lot?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:53 AM on July 15, 2005


Wow, TDL, you're not even trying anymore, are you?
posted by c13 at 1:00 AM on July 15, 2005


Mullacc speaks the truth for Christianity and Islam, and most religions. The full expression of them is almost invariably violent or bizzare.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:01 AM on July 15, 2005


Geez, good thing there's no sweeping generalizations in that second link.
</rolls eyes>

Must be nice to live in such a black and white world.
posted by sharpener at 1:25 AM on July 15, 2005


I'll be running In-School-Suspension for a 2000-student high school starting this fall, so I'll get to deal with the aforementioned barbarians on a daily basis very soon. From previous encounters with them, I would say the second link hits very close to the target in its description of the causes and behaviors of this "type".

The worst of the lot I have dealt with to date (small sample, I know) have all been raised by over-indulgent mothers who were blind to the son's behavior and automatically blamed everyone involved - except the son.

Children have to be taught to be human. I don't think that it is necessary to beat the child to achieve this end, but too many kids today - not just boys - are missing that instruction.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:07 AM on July 15, 2005


They really do see themselves as the white hats defending their turf against a sea of black hats.

This isn't such a shock. Everyone sees themselves this way. It's part of the human condition.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:20 AM on July 15, 2005


Opps, I read the first link and thought it was a wonderfully sarcastic slap at religion. Then I came in here and everyone was so serious. Went back to the link and noticed it was from a Evangelical website. Opps, he is being serious.

Reminds me of the time Dave Chappelle was on The Daily Show and talks about his boys. He is "raising SOLDIERS!" I looked for the clip and couldn't find it.

One is being funny, and the other is just scary.
posted by fluffycreature at 5:21 AM on July 15, 2005


So, wait, lemme get this right. The writer is so hardcore about his theology that he gets pissy about a pastor being cremated... yet he takes his kids to see a film about and order of ancient knights who use Eastern Mysticism to read minds, control the physical world with their thoughts, and so on.

Heh.

Heh heh.

Yeah, just keep writin'.
posted by verb at 5:44 AM on July 15, 2005


This isn't such a shock. Everyone sees themselves this way. It's part of the human condition.

Popular Ethics: I figure there are basically three possibilities here. One, you're wrong about this. Two, you're right about this, but we have the capacity to change it. Three, you're right and we don't have the capacity to change it. If number three is the case, then I figure we're all doomed to spend a few decades trying to murder one another before the whole the whole planet disappears in one kick ass mushroom cloud.

So I'm really pulling for possibility one or possibility two.
posted by Clay201 at 5:47 AM on July 15, 2005


This "us vs. them" is endemic to the cult mentality. They see themselves as seperate, not "worldly". It's the reason why so many of them are so accepting of the war in Iraq. The Iraqi people are "them" to these cultists. Rational people around the globe need to work to deprogram religious people out of their cults. Religion harms us.
posted by sydnius at 5:48 AM on July 15, 2005


On a side-note, there is a culture these days of trying to stop boys from being boys. We see it in the news all the time, boy expelled for aiming his finger like a gun and saying "bang", boy expelled for rough-housing, boy expelled for saying something tactless, boy expelled and medicated for being too full of energy, whatever.

Nightcrome quite nicely summed up the problem as I see it: Gender expectations. Most people think of certain behaviors as "natural" or "typical" to certain genders. (Certainly the violent-boys yahoo does.) And the other guy (second link), trotting out the Murphy Brown dead horse, seems to think that fictional Murphy's fictional kid would be better off without a strong, independent, determined mother. Go figure.
posted by scratch at 6:25 AM on July 15, 2005


I'm not really seeing what the big deal is with the first link. Sure, he's phrasing his ideas somewhat provocatively, but the substance of his point is not terribly violent.

Indeed, he explicitly says "I want them to forgive their enemies, not because they are good boys, but because they understand that vengeance against the Serpent comes not from their hand."

Sure, all the talk of serpents and evil might seem a little foreign to the largely secular MeFi audience, but the real point he's making is a theological one that is not actually about child rearing or violence.

The substance of his point is that much of Christianity has been scrubbed clean of its more unpleasant elements. People want to talk about salvation, but not what happens to the unsaved. He is using the idea of violence as a way of explaining and discussing these issues with his children. Which seems quite responsible if he is raising them as Christians.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:27 AM on July 15, 2005


There are idiots abound. Some of them want to raise children as bullies, albeit Holy Bullies who bask in the Glory of God as they're smiting the heathens. Others want to raise children as pacifists who cower from any violence or loud noises.

Hopefully there are a whole lot of parents and teachers that don't make the news. People that believe the occasional fistfight or wrestling match is part of growing up. That somebody wins and somebody loses and the reason for the fight will probably seem pointless when the kids have a few more years under their belts. That there's nothing wrong with an apology and a handshake. That a skinned knee is a right of passage, not an invitation to sue an equipment manufacturer. That those kids pushing buttons and boundaries are the future generation of business leaders.
posted by substrate at 6:28 AM on July 15, 2005


"The boy is never wrong, is never spanked, and is never made to feel ashamed."

How terrible! More spanking and shaming is urgently needed. I'm willing to volunteer. Gimme your boys now, Americans, and I'll show them the redeeming power of the cat-of-nine tail. Rarrr!
posted by funambulist at 6:48 AM on July 15, 2005


You know it's a good thing for the author of the first link that the son of God didn't teach us to love each other and forgive our enemies.

Oh, wait.
posted by oddman at 6:56 AM on July 15, 2005


The first guy sounds like Erasmus in his Enchiridion Militis Christiani (Dagger of the Christian Knight). Erasmus, who (adjusting for his time period) was the most even-tempered guy in world, writes that we cannot be Adonis and that life is not a Greek drinking bout; rather it is a war our birth begins and we must strap on the hard arms and unsheathe the knife. This is repeated a million times before and after it in Christian writing. Anyone with a familiarity with Christian history will not be surprised by this, though his Star Wars methodology is a bit odd. It looks alarming in the light of our current political climate, but is very much like the rhetoric of the Puritans and the two Great Awakenings and on and on. The idea of the Mormon mission (tempering the faith of young men through a hard struggle somewhere) is along these lines too.
posted by nflorin at 6:59 AM on July 15, 2005


All Christians Muslims are the same, right? One bad apple speaks for the lot?
posted by thedevildancedlightly

The problem with bad apples in the barrel,ddl, is they also tend to turn adjacent fruit all rotten and mushy in spots. That's always been my reading of the old metaphor...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:10 AM on July 15, 2005


When I read that second article in the voice of a filmstrip narrator, it makes it more fun.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:16 AM on July 15, 2005


Is he really claiming talking to your girlfriends is a bad thing? No seriously? No talking, and fucking is right out... I mean what's the point?

Obviously, to allow the manly man to practice in order to become "the sole bread winner, the chief disciplinarian, and the figure who sat at the head of the table and spoke with authority" (see, conversation and looking for emotional support from women - oh the shame! - would spoil all that) "on matters of politics, economics, and religion".
And spanking, don't forget the spanking.
posted by funambulist at 7:19 AM on July 15, 2005


Bulgaroktonos I read your comment a couple of times. I was going to argue with you but I see what you are driving at and I suppose I don't disagree. It's just hard, particularly at this site, not to take it reasonably literally in which case it seems like the author of the first article is trying to instill violent visions in the heads of his children to augment biblical teachings. I can see now that talk of his children is nearly beside the point. Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by peacay at 7:21 AM on July 15, 2005


allegorical in other words.
posted by peacay at 7:24 AM on July 15, 2005


Oddman, did you read the article? He explicitly says he is teaching his children to forgive their enemies.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:31 AM on July 15, 2005


I think he is preparing his boys to enter the general population of our public school system.
posted by buzzman at 7:35 AM on July 15, 2005


This reminds me of the basketball game played by members of The Fellowship, previously discussed here.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:50 AM on July 15, 2005


Nightcrome points out one of today's biggest problems: the feminization of boys. With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.
posted by mike3k at 7:53 AM on July 15, 2005


sharpener nails it.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:12 AM on July 15, 2005


I see conservatives doing this all the time. Imagine up some grand scheme for how the world works, and treat it as law. And if anyone claims not to fit into the scheme, you act like it's a shame that they can't admit who they really are. Or just ignore them.

Some even make their living off doing this (*cough* Ann Coulter *cough*).
posted by obvious at 8:24 AM on July 15, 2005


Personally, having been brought up to stand up to anyone who messed with me, I think we should be bringing girls up to behave as if they are self-possessed, independent people. Then you won't have to worry about "the feminization of boys" because the girls will have become whole people instead of polite automatons.

But I digress.

You don't temper your kids' faith by taking them to Revenge of the Sith. Not at 4 years old. There is such a thing as "age appropriate" in all things, even religion.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:26 AM on July 15, 2005


not to oversimplify the oversimplifiers, of course...
posted by es_de_bah at 8:33 AM on July 15, 2005


Wimps, on the other hand, look to women for emotional support, consider girlfriends to be conversation partners, and look to women for pity. They are shameless.

Woohoo!
posted by eas98 at 8:33 AM on July 15, 2005


obvious, the interesting bit is that that's how they view liberals.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:33 AM on July 15, 2005


Anyone who cries that Star Wars is too violent for their precious little cherubs is just a bit too lame for words (Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe would flog this point back in 1999). However, saying, "I am aiming to raise up violent sons," is downright sick.
posted by deanc at 8:34 AM on July 15, 2005


"Nightcrome points out one of today's biggest problems: the feminization of boys. With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls."
--mike3k

Because, God knows, being "just like girls" is the *worst* thing that could ever happen to a boy. Because girls suck! We're weak! We talk too much and wear pink! We give you teh gay! And we're all sedate, too...you never see little girls acting rowdy, being loud, or fidgeting in class. Nope. They're all little angels.

Maybe you should take your gender-role concepts in for an update. They're a tad rusty.

In an attempt to be fair and talk about an actual issue that might be lurking beneath this egregiously uninformed comment: a great deal of the problems boys *and *girls face in school could be helped if the classes were smaller and the teachers had more time to teach to individual children, with individual quirks--which are not necessarily dependent on gender. The "what's wrong with our schools" discussion is huge and tangled, but of all the problems that schools have, "feminization" of boys is not the issue, though perhaps "drugging large crowds of children into submission" might be one of them.

But then, I'm all feminine, tee hee! So don't agree with me, because I might give you girl cooties.
posted by emjaybee at 8:43 AM on July 15, 2005


With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.

Oh, Jeebus. It has nothing to do with gender. I'm a girl and they wanted me to shut up, too. Schools want everyone to shut up and sit down. Girls have a head start because they've been told to shut up and sit down for years before they get to school, but really it's a control thing and it has nothing to do with quashing boys.

So take exception to schools wanting docile students if you find it offensive--I can certainly think of reasons I don't care for that paradigm and reasons that overwhelmed teachers working for districts terrified of being sued do like it. But get over your men are victims crap because--as a group--they aren't.
posted by dame at 8:47 AM on July 15, 2005


With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.

Oh, Jeebus. It has nothing to do with gender. I'm a girl and they wanted me to shut up, too. Schools want everyone to shut up and sit down. Girls have a head start because they've been told to shut up and sit down for years before they get to school, but really it's a control thing and it has nothing to do with quashing boys.

So take exception to schools wanting docile students if you find it offensive--I can certainly think of reasons I don't care for that paradigm and reasons that overwhelmed teachers working for districts terrified of being sued do like it. But get over your men are victims crap because--as a group--they aren't.
posted by dame at 8:52 AM on July 15, 2005


Anyone who cries that Star Wars is too violent for their precious little cherubs is just a bit too lame for words

I'm too lame for words. My son's three, and I didn't take him to see Revenge of the Sith because I didn't think it would be good for him to see someone with his legs and arms chopped off, and lava burns.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:53 AM on July 15, 2005


Yes, Bulgar, I read the article. To wit:
"I want them to forgive their enemies, not because they are good boys, but because they understand that vengeance against the Serpent comes not from their hand, but from that of the anointed Warrior-Kin"g

Does that sound like the teachings of the Lamb of God to you? Certainly, you could just say that he is acknowledging that only God can seek vengeance and that men who do so overstep their bounds. That, in a weird way does mirror many of Jesus' teachings. But notice that his boys will forego vengeance not because they are good or because it is the right thing to do, but only because he want's them to know their place.

Besides, the idea of a vengeful God is the Old Testament and Christians should not be putting it forth as a reason for action. Doing so is a denial of the new Covenant.
posted by oddman at 8:55 AM on July 15, 2005


Jesus Christ -- Fuck yeah!
posted by eatitlive at 8:55 AM on July 15, 2005


but because they are called to struggle against the Evil One, even to the point of cutting off their own limbs rather than succumb to devices.

Ok, well that is a fine point of view until you actually see your child attempt to pluck his own eye out or chop off his own hand. Then there would be some back peddling pronto!

Nightcrome points out one of today's biggest problems: the feminization of boys. With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.

--mike3k

I don't see this quite as black and white as you do, mike3k. If any child, male or female is constantly disrupting to the whole class, then perhaps as a last resort the parents might need to look into counseling or medication. I don't think there is anything wrong with expecting school children to pay attention in school. I also think that these days there is not enough physical outlets (both at recess and at home) to burn off some of that pent-up energy.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:01 AM on July 15, 2005


For someone who's so tough and not a wimp, Albert Mohler sure doesn't look the part.

As a matter of fact, he looks like a chubby, weak-chinned minister who's never done anything more difficult than tell other people how to live. What a pathetic piece of shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:10 AM on July 15, 2005


The "feminization of men" might be a bit of an overstatement of the problem, but I think there is a real issue here. Regardless of whether or not you believe the differences come from innate sex differences, or society, boys and girls do exhibit markedly different behavior in childhood, as a general rule.

The schools, as they are currently set up, are far more supportive of the typically female behavior than they are of the typically male. The results of this can be seen in the fact that boys are more likely to drop out, and much less likely to go to college.

Even leaving aside the more controversial cultural issues, the fact that the current system will leave a large gender gap in terms of education is a problem that we need to address.

on Preview: Oddman, I think what he's saying is exactly in line with the image of Jesus as presented in the Christianity. Jesus is the "lamb of God", but he also the final judge, and that task brings with it a bit of violence. The whole vengenance is mine thing is completely in line with what this guy is teaching his children.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:13 AM on July 15, 2005


I don't know if its the physical outlets alone, yet more the level of social stress on behavioral expectations, whether gender or general. I found that as a child. I was always taught that violence=bad, but never educated on how to channel my violent thoughts into self-preserving exercises like martial arts. So much stress is placed on the individual in American society, that there's detrimental feelings of inadequacy among those who are different. I think if there was some leveling factor, some equalizer (as in uniform early childhood training) in this melting pot then there might e more room for acceptance and looking past religious/ethnic/cultural difference. It's not about the energy we cant release due to our couch-potato approach to life, but more of our not knowing how to filter out the peripheral distractions that come with too much emphasis on pluralism.
posted by Quixoticlife at 9:21 AM on July 15, 2005


Nightcrome points out one of today's biggest problems: the feminization of boys. With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.

Well put, mike3k, but it makes your point stronger if you call 'em "femiNazis." Hasn't Rush taught you anything?
posted by gompa at 9:37 AM on July 15, 2005


Schools want everyone to shut up and sit down. Girls have a head start because they've been told to shut up and sit down for years before they get to school, but really it's a control thing and it has nothing to do with quashing boys.

Dame made a great point, one that should be kept in mind whenever childraising and schooling are discussed. There's a tremendous bias in favor of hierarchy and submission; by the time most of us crawl out of the system our natural gumption has been pretty much eliminated. Don't know what we can do about it (trashing Starbucks doesn't seem to help much), but it should be kept in mind.
posted by languagehat at 9:46 AM on July 15, 2005


That gist of that second article has pretty much been recycled by every generation since... oh, before the ancient Greeks, probably. And funnily enough it's almost always religious wackos recycling it. Some sort of fondness for tradition and ritual behind that, I think.
posted by Decani at 10:04 AM on July 15, 2005


The truly religious are, by definition, sociopaths.
At least the autohor of the first link is honest about it.
posted by signal at 10:11 AM on July 15, 2005


But get over your men are victims crap because--as a group--they aren't.

Identity politics for me, but not for thee.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:13 AM on July 15, 2005


The main problem y'all have with those frontpage links is, somebody talked about Fight Club.

Metafilter: The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club.

Baptists: Fight Club meeting and practice after school/work, 5:30PM Thursdays, intramural field 2. In case of rain, in the Fellowship Hall. - from the church bulletin, mailed out weekly to all 4000 members

You people twitter at the mention of violence like little old Victorian ladies at the mention of sex. Get over it. Thinking you can put a stop to violence puts you on the same shelf as the people who think you can put a stop to sex.
posted by jfuller at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2005


Not the "little old Victorian ladies" hate thing, again!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:43 AM on July 15, 2005


jfuller, there's a pretty distinct difference between discussing violence and condoning it as a philosophy for raising children.

The Moore link is pretty sad and sick garbage. "You have to get a license to drive a car, you have to get a license to buy a gun but they'll let any stupid sorry sack of shit become a parent."
posted by fenriq at 10:53 AM on July 15, 2005


Manhood, Moore explains, "is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character."

Even though this Moore guy is way the f*ck out there on the "what is he thinking?" end of the spectrum, this is one point that almost eveyone seems to agree on.

Strange that women don't have to deal with this sort of thing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually the difference between a "girl" and a "woman" is thought of as an age/biological difference.
posted by afroblanca at 11:45 AM on July 15, 2005


I'm late to the party, but this "let's teach our kids to be violent" theme reminds me of this sad story. Via Fark.

Patriarchy just sucks for everybody involved.
posted by gurple at 11:51 AM on July 15, 2005


I don't know. These guys clearly take a real problem and blow it up to extremes so that their argument is lost. I don't entirely agree with them, not am I going to sit here proving whether God exists and whether Christianity is the right religion, but you guys really don't have a clue.

First: Jesus is not the lamb of God becaus Jesus is fuzzy and friendly and peaceful, he's the lamb of God because he's the final (perfect) blood sacrifice.

Second: WTF is with the "convenient Calvinism" term? Do you just like the alliteration? Baptists are in no way Calvinists. Calvinists can be pretty messed up and have recently adopted way too much from fundamentalism, but if your frame of reference is the South, I doubt you've ever seen a Calvinist.

As for the quote -- ""I want them to forgive their enemies, not because they are good boys, but because they understand that vengeance against the Serpent comes not from their hand, but from that of the anointed Warrior-King" -- there's nothing in this that is inconsistent, either internally or in terms of the bible. It says all over the New Testament that God will judge evil. He hasn't abandoned that, just left open a path to forgiveness. And what this guy is saying is pretty good advice -- people think they can raise good kids that aren't violent by doing their best to hide violence from them, but that doesn't work because eventually the kid will be exposed to some sort of violence. Instead, he's providing them with a reason to abstain from violence. Not a GREAT reason, but that's more than most people give their kids.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:51 AM on July 15, 2005


Instead, he's providing them with a reason to abstain from violence.

If he's providing them with a reason to abstain from violence, and in fact wants them to abstain from violence, then he's not raising violent kids. He's just exposing kids to violence, and making them aware that God does violent stuff. There's a big difference there, and including the phrase "I'm raising violent four-year-olds" is just inconsistent titillation.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2005


My dad died when I was a kid. I was raised by my mom. I am a violence afficianado, but I have never harmed someone smaller than me or someone unable to defend themselves (no women, no kids - /tongue in cheek quote).

I served my country, put myself through college, put bread on the table by not ripping anyone off or harming the environment and I have not, nor ever expect to, cheat on or otherwise harm my wife. We talk before we go to bed at night, cuddle on the couch regularly, and I have a heavy bag at home and martial arts and Rugby to satisfy my craving for violence (not as good as combat, but hey, no one is killed). I volunteer in my community more than I go to church. Donate what I can spare - but so - what? By Moore's consideration I'm not a 'Man' because I was raised by a single mother? Particulary one that didn't spank me?
Oh, but he said "generally." So, what - us widows sons or single mom kids are all niggers, but I'm one of the good niggers?
In what way is that different?
It's not racism, but it's a "Your not like me & mine so you suck"-ism.
Same shit, just not based on skin color.



I'd happily invite this...person...to live through 1/2 the shit I've been through and survive much less prosper (in my own small way).
"Breeds" is misspelled "breads"
(Is that too much cultural elitism on my part?)

Barbarians or wimps. Hmmmm say that rings a bell, something like:
'The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.'
Yeah, gee I've read Yeats too. (And Huxley, and Aristotle, etc)
Does my Buckleyesque vocabulary and my eridition exempt me from barbarism? I'm not a wimp, so ceteris paribus, perhaps an issue this broad isn't subject to Moore's reductionism no matter how many good books he's read.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2005


"is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character."
Why then, afroblanca, don't we let people of good character under 21 drink?

...sorry, just being a smart-ass there.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:11 PM on July 15, 2005


I just wanted to comment on one snippet from the second article:

The word 'punishment' has been replaced by 'consequences' which means that discipline no longer addresses the boy's true character.

Does this make sense to anyone, or is it just a chunk of semantic nonsense? I can't make heads or tails of it, personally. It's like spaceman logic or something.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:11 PM on July 15, 2005


Wow... I'm kinda lost for words after that first link.

I kind lost my lunch after the first link, but the second link made me get down on my knees and eat it up off the floor just so I could throw up again.
posted by OmieWise at 12:21 PM on July 15, 2005


In the entirely hypothetical case that I was to take that article seriously, I'd first note that whatever this person means by exposing kids to violence for the supposedly educational purpose of teaching them that the world is a tough place and Evil Forces are at work has noting to do with taking them to see a big expensive movie with expensive special effects and fantasy characters. He's just teaching them that big expensive movies use big expensive special effects, before the kids are old enough to be aware of what special effects mean, but maybe, who knows, once they get over the nightmares and following correctional spanking, this will plant in them the seed of a passion for special effects that will twenty years later develop into a wonderful career in the movie industry.

This kind of reality/fiction blurring is more childish than the attraction for biblical-style epic justifications for violence.
posted by funambulist at 12:39 PM on July 15, 2005


"is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character."
Why then, afroblanca, don't we let people of good character under 21 drink?


Because the liquor control authorities are not interested in whether or not someone is a man. They are interested in whether or not someone is over 21 years of age.

/continuing the smartassery
posted by afroblanca at 12:43 PM on July 15, 2005


dagnyscott: So you're denying a major Calvinist influence in southern religion and southern culture? I'm no specialist in the sociology of religion, but I'm pretty sure that anyone familiar with the roots of the Southern Baptist Church--still the region's largest denomination, and its most influential--would call you deluded.
posted by raysmj at 12:58 PM on July 15, 2005


The term "lamb of God" also has a clear double meaning: There is the sacrificial lamb, first, but also the gentle lamb. Lamb don't tend to go off and bite people, y'know, a la rabid dogs, or sharks or alligators.
posted by raysmj at 1:18 PM on July 15, 2005


WTF is with the "convenient Calvinism" term?

I use the term "Calvinism" because it's a philosophy (or theology; whatever) in which there are ultra good guys (God's chosen) and ultra bad guys (those who are going to burn in hell) and nothing in between. And that seems to me a very good description of what we're dealing with here. I use the term "convenient" because in real, undiluted Calvinism, you're never supposed to know whether you're one of God's chosen or not. You just live your life in fear of eternal damnation, I guess. But in this rendition, the believers are quite certain that they're the chosen and others aren't; no fear or doubt necessary. So what we've got is Calvinism that just happens to put its adherents on top of the moral heap and sanction their actions without all that unpleasant uncertainty and mystery. Hence "convenient."
posted by Clay201 at 1:19 PM on July 15, 2005


Identity politics for me, but not for thee.

Uh, no, Kwanstar. See if as a group one is treated worse than others, it makes sense to band together for equal treatment. However, if as a group, one is at the top of the pile, then banding together to protect your turf is being a dillhole, as you are attempting to preserve the nonequal status quo. See how that works? And the cute thing is, some men are treated unequally based on membership in other groups--class, race, etc.--which is why I phrased it the way I did.
posted by dame at 1:22 PM on July 15, 2005


mr_roboto: he's complaining that spanking your children is no longer cool. Like, boys are never going to grow up tough if they don't experience the tough discipline administered by their fathers, because that's how males pass down the secret of manly toughness from one generation to the next, via physical punishment. That's what he means with "addressing the boy's true character".
posted by funambulist at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2005


Related: How to make sure your son doesn't grow up gay. (Warning, very upsetting.)
posted by alms at 1:57 PM on July 15, 2005


"a big expensive movie with expensive special effects and fantasy characters.."
Funanbulist's description of Star Wars does sound spookily exactly like some Bible belt visions of the afterlife.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:45 PM on July 15, 2005


afroblanca wrote: Strange that women don't have to deal with this sort of thing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually the difference between a "girl" and a "woman" is thought of as an age/biological difference.

Is that not because women aren't regarded as ever being the equal of men, so don't have anything to prove? If a woman gets herself into a traditionally male position of authority, on the other hand, things can get very tough.
posted by alasdair at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2005


Yeah... but what if that kid had ended up gay, Alms? (Late to the thread... Lots of weird shit...)
posted by klangklangston at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2005


I found both of these articles to be disturbing (especially the first one.) I just have two points:

Everyone seems to want to rip on Ritalin. I wish someone would have given me Ritalin when I was younger. I started taking it when I was 32, and it has made a world of difference for me.

Why raise violent sons? I have three sons and I want to raise them to know right from wrong and show respect for other people. Will they be wimps? I think not.
posted by SteveTheRed at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2005


alms, thanks, that was truly disturbing to read. I expect that Mr. Toughen-him-up will not fair well in prison. At least I hope he doesn't and I hope he suffers terribly for what he put that little boy through before eventually killing him.
posted by fenriq at 3:33 PM on July 15, 2005


alms, that story is so creepy. Creepiest of all, the fact that those people actually went to court to testify in his defense with those words. Like that motive is supposed to reduce his culpability?! I can't believe it.
posted by funambulist at 3:45 PM on July 15, 2005


Nightcrome points out one of today's biggest problems: the feminization of boys. With schools dominated by women, they want to medicate & sedate boys into being just like girls.

What if the thing that these people are worried about, is that if they stripped away all the violence and the authority they would be just like girls?

I've never thought of myself as particularly traditionally masculine, (I've always liked stories about knights and dragons, but I haven't found a single situation yet (outside Super Smash Bros.) that I thought I could solve by shouting, "I will SMITE YOU DOWN with my HOLY SWORD OF WRATH!!!"), guess I'm one of those wimps then.

Our society is different now, we don't solve that many problems on the field of honor, it isn't that important to be able to physically subdue people, and you are supposed to allow anybody (including girls) to stand up and put in their two cents. Bravery and character aren't dead, but there just isn't that much application of physical violence available to the average male that can be seen in any light as heroic. Bravery has become more of a "stand-up-to-the-group" thing, or a "stand-beside-a-person-you-care-for" thing. Not having many ways to die young and nobly may be the price we pay for a society where not that many people die young.

(I'm not saying I don't enjoy playing the knight in shining armor occasionally, but as I used to complain to my gf, girls are kidnapped by far fewer dragons than a childhood reading fantasy fiction would have you believe. I mean really, what am I supposed to do? If her English professor gives her a bad grade, come back with his head in a bag? (I did used to joke about this))
posted by SomeOneElse at 3:47 PM on July 15, 2005


The little boys next door (one 4, one 2) had a very serious discussion with me about Star Wars, (they were wearing homemade Storm Trooper helmets at the time). They had obviously seen the movie. The discussion was deeply mythic and explained the cyclical universe in terms of the transformation into Darth Vader and the survival of Luke Skywalker. They know they can talk to me about this because I have many swords in my house and I'm a sabre fencer, so I am probably some sort of Jedi knight.

Of course, I'm also one of those darn women teachers who are trying to feminize little boys or drug them into submission . . . though I only teach boys and I think they're easier to teach than girls in a lot of ways . . . though I was freaking ADHD as a kid and still am, and ruefully wish someone had known that instead of taking it so personally . . . and I played with cap guns . . . but I make my students do pushups when they're late for class, because it gets their attention . . . and if I'm late I do pushups . . . is that violence? I'm so ocnfseud.

On reflection, what emjaybee said.
posted by Peach at 4:00 PM on July 15, 2005


Hmmmm. The second link I found my self agreeing, minus the nutty Christian rhetoric, with the broad idea that in recent times men in our culture do not seem to ever mature.

How many guys do you know read comics, collect toys and simply regard the material trappings of childhood as a lifestyle they never shed?

AS far as violence? I think we SHOULD raise our children to understand and confront violence and that sometimes there IS a need to use it. I think we have gotten to be pussies about violence. So much so that we tend to overreact as a result. Men can't fight so they pick up a gun.

The several times I have had to intervene between a large abuser and smaller victim all the while perfectly healthy males stood by and watched with their thumbs up their asses not lifting a finger to help, call the police, or anything.

Back in the days I taught Karate I was shocked how many men had simply never been confronted with physical violence at all— had no idea how to deal with physical aggression at all. No schoolyard fights, nothing. As a result most of the attitudes the men had were unrealistic, over romanticized, based in Hollywood nonsense, or fantastically and superficially macho.

I found that the more introverted and intimidated a man was by physical violence the more likely he was to misread and escalate a friendly sparring session. Inevitably going harder and harder, approaching hysterics. Finally attempting crazy shit like eye pokes and groin kicks usually reserved for serious fighting.

The women I trained seemed sadly all to familiar with violence since many had been victims of assault— they simply had problems giving themselves "permission" to act physically aggressively in response. But most women, after training a while, were not as deluded as the men about the need or use of force.
posted by tkchrist at 5:40 PM on July 15, 2005


The word 'punishment' has been replaced by 'consequences' which means that discipline no longer addresses the boy's true character.

Does this make sense to anyone, or is it just a chunk of semantic nonsense? I can't make heads or tails of it, personally. It's like spaceman logic or something.


I think that if you believe that kids are naturally bad (or sinners) then when they do things you disapprove of, they must be punished. If they just get "consequences" then they don't KNOW that they are bad. Which would then be useless in developing "character", or what they mean by "character."

I prefer to give "consequences" rather than punishment, because I want my child to know that his choices have consequences that he should try to anticipate. Some consequences are good (when he helps smaller children he is praised and gets privileges) and some are bad (when he is defiant and uncooperative he is removed from the situation, no matter how much he wants to stay, and he loses privileges). Because eventually, as an adult, you stop being around people who can punish you (or even want to, unless you seek them out on Craiglist), but there are almost always consequences to actions.
posted by esperluette at 6:19 PM on July 15, 2005


Re that awful story of the "gay baby". Sometimes reality trumps satire

Unbelievable
posted by Decani at 6:29 PM on July 15, 2005


Just a followup to point out that my original comments kind of got derailed into misogynistic territory I myself was nowhere near. Don't want people getting the wrong idea about me because of where others took my arguments.
My concern was about kids not being allowed to be kids, and specifically how that related to boys in particular.
posted by nightchrome at 7:21 PM on July 15, 2005


tkchrist says : How many guys do you know read comics, collect toys and simply regard the material trappings of childhood as a lifestyle they never shed?

I have to take issue with that. Sure, guys who get too into their hobbies are silly, but I don't judge them based on that. I mean, we may laugh at someone who collects replica Starfleet uniforms, but maybe they would laugh at a bunch of guys who spend all their time posting links to a website, commenting on the links, commenting on their comments, commenting on each other, etc...
posted by afroblanca at 7:46 PM on July 15, 2005


So, according to this guy, small children need to be exposed to on-screen violence in order to teach them important moral lessons. The other week when I went to see "Land of the Dead", there was a dude who brought his 4 year old & 2 year old to the theater with him - I guess that means that he was some kind of super-awesome dad of the year type!

/sarcasm

Idiot.
posted by echolalia67 at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2005


Yeah I really don't know why your hobby of karate is any better than somebody else's hobby of being a nerd.

And I don't really know why people need to be confronted by violence. I'm not saying they don't, it is just that all these arguments for traditional masculinity seem to just assume that it HAS to be a good thing, and then proceed to judge contemporary society.

I mean I am absolutely the guy you describe, literally never been in a fight, and I'm sure that the ideas that I have about what it involves are ridiculous. I don't particularly think I reach for a gun, though.

This, to me, just smacks of a philosophical argument that didn't define its basic ideas. Why is being traditionally masculine good? Why is being a man's man any more laudable than being a trekkie?
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:30 PM on July 15, 2005


Edumacate the parents.

echolalia67 writes "So, according to this guy, small children need to be exposed to on-screen violence in order to teach them important moral lessons."

That was my original take. Then I read Bulgaroktonos's comment and went and reread the first FPP link. And then I had to remember that the target audience of course was readers of the The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's 'The Henry Institute'. I think that colours any explication of the article's contents. It's obviously flawed in the delivery/internal inconsistency in so far as the protagonist wants to raise "violent sons" yet he also wants them to "forgive their enemies".

But this is allegory - he's using this theme of Star Wars movies as a way of demonstrating that the Christian ethos is not constructed around pearly white niceties, that the way of a moral person is fraught with internal fights against negativity of a cosmic proportion. Now maybe he has literally used the Star Wars film as a chance to establish it as an example of the greatness of such a moral/religious struggle but his usual audience will most likely see it not so much as extolling the virtues of showing children violent films but rather, how a real life media piece can be used instructively for the betterment (in his eyes yes, of course) of his children.
posted by peacay at 3:56 AM on July 16, 2005


The other week when I went to see "Land of the Dead", there was a dude who brought his 4 year old & 2 year old

I was wondering how that is even possible in legal terms, how ratings work in the US, until I checked and saw that Land of the Dead is rated R, which apparently only means kids under 17 are not admitted without an adult. So I guess it figures. Although, I don't understand how the presence of an adult makes any difference.

In the UK and most of Europe it's classified as restricted to under 15's or 16, no accompanying adult exception. You can pass if you're a bit younger, but definitely not 2 or 4 years old!
posted by funambulist at 5:15 AM on July 16, 2005


Yeah I really don't know why your hobby of karate is any better than somebody else's hobby of being a nerd.

Oh come on. Everybody knows that hitting people is better than knowing stuff.
posted by Decani at 6:05 AM on July 16, 2005


My concern was about kids not being allowed to be kids, and specifically how that related to boys in particular.

Well, actually nightchrome, you did touch on all those special men are victims points: boys can't be the natural roughhousing boys they inherently are; girls are favored in school whenever possible. I believe you didn't mean it to be all misognynist, but it wasn't like people made that up regardless of what you said--it's kinda the logical implication.
posted by dame at 8:06 AM on July 16, 2005


When I went and saw the Star Wars jawn, next to me was a guy with his kids, who were probably three and five years old.
The 3-year-old kept going to sleep, at which point the dad would wake him up and try to get him enthused, and the 5-year-old started crying whenever there was a loud explosion (we were in the front row, and the noise sometimes hurt my ears. And I go to rock concerts for a living).
All I could think was "What a dick."
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on July 16, 2005


I use the term "Calvinism" because it's a philosophy (or theology; whatever) in which there are ultra good guys (God's chosen) and ultra bad guys (those who are going to burn in hell) and nothing in between.

Umm... there are a lot of terms for this. Calvinism is generally not one of them. Most Christians believe (or their denomination has believed in the past) that you're either going to heaven or hell. The only exceptions are Unitarians and possibly Catholics -- though with Catholics, if you're a non-Christian (before Vatican II, a non-Catholic), you're going to hell, so it's not exactly THAT much better.

Fundamentalists tend to follow Luther's idea that if you have faith in God you're going to Heaven. The fundies focus on the conversion, after which you're supposed to magically become a good person according to their beliefs.

Calvinists say that you're either going to heaven or not, but it's really all in God's hands -- you can't be "saved" by an Earthly experience or by your own action because EVERY SINGLE PERSON is evil. So it's probably the LEAST likely to say you're either totally good or totally evil, because everyone is evil. A lot of problems have arisen from this, but this is what Calvinism is, and it's in no way what you're saying.

I'm not going to say there's NO CALVINIST INFLUENCE WHATSOEVER IN THE SOUTH but having a small amount of "Calvinist influence" is not the same as being Calvinist.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2005


smedleman: "Does my Buckleyesque vocabulary and my eridition exempt me from barbarism?"

It might, if you spelled "erudition" correctly. When referring to how book-smart you are with obfuscatory language, this kind of thing doesn't help your argument. Especially when we've got a "Spell Check" button right next to the "Post" one.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 9:11 AM on July 16, 2005


dagnyscott: It's not a small amount, the emphasis on predestination and matters of formal theology aside, and has been noted by scholars and writers going back to the turn of the 20th Century to the present. Talk to a fundamentalist Presbyterian and a fundamentalist Baptist in the South about matters both spiritual and political, and tell me if you don't get the same sort of self-righteous language and vibe off of both of them. There's a good reason for that. Clay201 is more or less correct.
posted by raysmj at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2005


Well, if you're defining denominations by their "vibe" there's really no way to have an intelligent discussion.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:15 AM on July 17, 2005


"Especially when we've got a "Spell Check" button right next to the "Post" one."
damnthesehumanhands - ever read any of my other posts? Familiar with my sense of humor? Notice I spell Al Qeida differently every time I write it? Understood what I meant tho' didn't you? (whoops misspelled 'though' - is 'whoops' a proper colloquilism? did i spell that right? Oops, lowercase 'I'. )
SpellFilter or QuibbleFilter: when you have nothing otherwise useful to contribute.

...of course the computer I'm typing on is won't to post twice, the spell check button doesn't work, etc, but the above is my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm going to have to somewhat back tkkchrist on this. I won't take a position on the link between violence and 'manliness', (I think it's our job as males, much like male lions, to take and dish out the hits - but I have no real basis for that, personal taste tho - and I do have lots of comics. Not a collector, just don't throw them out).
LOTS of people however have no conception of how to use violence so it gets way out of hand way to fast. Men should be taught how to control it. Adrenal glands couldn't give a shit about how reasonable you are. Clearly the best method is avoiding a confrontation, but there are situations which require confrontation, either Bikoesque (is that a real word? Shall I worry that my readers don't know who Steven Biko is and as a result will comment on my misuse of....aw fuggit) or actual violence.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on July 18, 2005


Snarkfilter: when you haven't had your coffee yet.
(Self reference)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2005


Oh come on. Everybody knows that hitting people is better than knowing stuff.

...about star trek.

So I'd say "yes". Knowing what Captain Kirk's wall safe combination is in Episode 17 has slightly less utility than being able to prevent a rape.
posted by tkchrist at 6:40 PM on July 18, 2005


Asshats who use "pussy" or "pussies" as a derogatory comment about men are clearly not familiar enough with the real thing [as in understanding/having basic conceptual knowledge of/etc, not another stupid comment as could be read here easily on other threads]. Pussies are quite strong and adaptable. Nothing weak at all. So people who continue to misuse such a word make it difficult to take the rest of what they say seriously.

There is hardly a lack of violence in American (U.S.A.) culture. If anything, the problem comes from a lack of respect and a societal norm of "fair play." When I was young, we were told that violence was bad, but if you did get in a fight, there were certain rules. As an adult I have seen people punch another toward a street in front of an approaching car, or immediately go for something that can cause permanent injury. But none of those fights needed to happen—the people involved didn't seem to know how to compromise or negotiate, much less clearly communicate what they were upset about. Standing up for oneself is not violence, and one can also stand up for oneself without a physical fight. Being against violence does not equate to being a victim.

Continuing to deny the full range of human qualities to "boys" and "men" is only going to continue breeding messed up, confused, and angry males. How much of people's lives must be closeted away due to fear of how others will judge them? It's not just sexuality that people hide away—all sorts of passions and hobbies are kept secret when people have rigid gender constructs for fear of being seen "different" from the norm. It's ridiculous.
posted by MightyNez at 10:23 PM on July 18, 2005


Oh come on. Everybody knows that hitting people is better than knowing stuff.

...about star trek.


And everyone knows that beating the shit out of that nerd is more important than curing cancer.

(Look look! I can create hyperbolae too!)
posted by Hactar at 10:51 PM on July 18, 2005


The derogatory "pussy" I understood to come from an Anglicized French word for "soft". Not from the ladies noo-noo.
posted by tkchrist at 2:22 PM on July 19, 2005


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