Friday, August 24, 2012

I Didn't Get Where I Am Today By Spanking

When my daughter is much older I want to give her this blog as a present.

This morning I had to explain spanking to my daughter as a concept. Mostly I was explaining that I personally can't jive the idea that you can teach a child to not hit other people by hitting them as a deterrent. Initially I tried to be fair and explain that people have different parenting beliefs and that - in their view - spanking is not the same as twatting your brother with a toy horse. Then I felt like I was being all post-modernist and refusing to acknowledge that there are some things that are just better/worse than others so made it pretty clear that I think it's wrong. She asked if our (my and her mother's) parents spanked us. I told her yes and that back then spanking was just how it was. Being me I started fishing for other examples of things that were cultural common wisdom in the Seventies. All I managed were allusions that mustaches were considered sexy, men wore Y-fronts with confidence, Feminism emerged as a thing, people still openly were prejudicial against non-whites or non-heterosexuals without fear of correction, everybody had a coal fire and was blissfully uninterested in environmental issues (Paul Ehrlich and Earth Day aside), there was an oil crisis and a lot of social movement for minorities. Actually the coal fire, taches and whatnot seems a bit like now in this area - so I showed her a few minutes of Reginald Perrin, Rising Damp and Terry and June (I'm desperately hoping to get my son to bellow "Juuuuuuuuuuune!" at some point today.)

A few moments later I was aware I was talking simultaneously about working class pride and sideburns. Then I overheard myself saying, "....but then people thought Roxy Music were cool back then as well, and that is patently untrue.." and stopped talking immediately. Obviously my daughter gave me the blank expression, thought about all the guff I'd just spewed out and asked if I wanted a banana. So I said meekly, ".....are you glad we don't spank you?" To which she said yes she really did. But then helpfully added, "You should only spank boys if you're a Daddy anyway." Which actually sounds oddly Seventies for some reason - but warped somehow. A fine example being this (you are definitely going to want to read this by the way) -:

After settling down and reading a book about Manta Rays to my daughter I found myself being asked to read an old book about Louis Pasteur to my son. Which was bizarre - but he smiled along with it. Then he plonked down one about Charles Darwin and I read a bit through that before ironically (from a Richard Dawkins "religion is child abuse" perspective) thinking talking about things he cannot understand could be damaging. So I decide to bore him into something else instead by energetically talking about how his mother and I have abandoned our dalliance with christian faith, and that I feel silly about the whole thing but feel better educated about the whole thing in retrospect (far too convoluted and detailed to get into here). I didn't get into most of that because I ended up on a tangent about a radio discussion I heard once about Darwin and he buggered off during it. I told him about how a man (non-Christian and I cannot remember who it was for the life of me) spoke to a large group of people of faith at an American university and asks what century they think Charles Darwin was born in. Almost all of them put him hundreds of years prior to when he actually lived. Weirder still though was when told that Darwin was born the very same day as Abraham Lincoln a common response amongst the group was that (other than faith) a reason they had discounted his "theory" was that it just seemed so medieval and old fashioned.So ironically they had rejected evolution and chosen faith because it wasn't modern and enlightened enough. By the time I started into Darwin trying to figure out why - if God intended all animals to be for us - loads of them were hidden in places people can't reach without severe fear of death he'd buggered off to ride the toy horse his sister poked him with earlier.

 Since then his sister has been painstakingly waiting for me to finish writing this so that she can watch more videos of Reginald Perrin quotes (good girl). But she now seems to understand that writing this - when it does interfere with being with them - isn't just me arseing about. I feel a bit like it's work and have explained that in the end it's intended to be a gift for her when she's older as a book. Ideally I'd like it to be a big, thick hard-bound book with all the content in it so far. But then that would be massive. It also seems somewhat narcissistic to spend all that time, money and effort on making a book out of all the inane drivel that I've written out. But on reflection if I think it's worthwhile to write this shit down I'm assuming it would be worthwhile to do that as well. I imagine that after this length of time it would fit in several books. The front cover of the first one will have that horrible face I made from a 19th century Victorian criminal mugshot. I'm hoping to get some good photos of the Captain Cheesestick outfit my wife is going to make for Halloween for another book as well. I think I may use this method of creation to actualyl start off with - and perhaps gift/sell further copies to anyone else who wants one.

Actually when I started this thing off I had some sliver of a hope that I'd somehow get into professionally-paid writing. But that takes such effort and time that I haven't really gone down that road. A simple example of which is that all the typo's, grammatical errors and slips used to be remedied after the fact. So most people would read this with the errors in. Then the last third of people reading a specific entry would get the final polished version. Many of which have new content in them. My wife used to read through about 24 hours later with the original open in a new window editing as she went along. She doesn't do that any more and I haven't picked up the slack. I did find a burst of ambition a little while back to start "promoting" this on various parenting websites, forums and whatnot. But I quickly grew tired of answering the same questions about where I am, why anyone cares and how dare I say those things - as if this blog had anything remotely daring in it. 

After a little while I capitulated and joined Twitter to mingle a bit with actual writers. That is very interesting and I love reading the constant updates from some of them. I've never really been the voyeur/lurker on forums or social media, but with Twitter that's mostly how it works for me. I'd much rather read linked content than try to rifle off something witty in under 140 characters. Richard Herring talks on his podcast/interview with Stewart Lee about how Twitter really highlights the common tangents of a joke or idea - so it helps him develop his own ideas more. I can understand that I suppose. But the problem with Twitter is that it has a character limit of 140, and I like to ramble on endlessly. I did have an idea how that character limit could be used in a vaguely amusing way - that being though to write something about how your husband has just beaten you and run out of room. Then everyone following will panic, worrisome, become indignant and furious. Then they'll likely miss the follow up entry where you finish the original point that your husband has just beaten you at Scrabble.Nevertheless as much as I like reading the constant drip of what other people write I can't join in the same way and still suspicious of Twitter. And considering that Twitter has just recommended in it's Similar To You section that I follow Peter Sutcliffe, I might be right.
 Right - Thriftshop Friday here we come!


  1. That mugshot makes me think of the Rapraham Lincoln picture. Imma let you google it for y'self.

  2. Mental note from that picture is, don't go to Brooklyn. Additionally you missed out the delights of the Phantom Raspberry Blower from the Two Ronnies and Les Dawson ;-)

  3. I thought I was the only person left on earth who thinks Les Dawson is hilarious. Mostly because people I tell think I mean Les Dennis.

    1. Your not the only one then. Still makes me laugh even now

  4. And I'm way sexier than Raperaham Lincoln. Just sayin'....