Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dog Dabbler and Scottish Filth

Me: So what do you think bras are for?
Daughter: To stop mosquitoes from biting your nipples.

My daughter revealed last night that she think that entire point of bras is to stop mosquitoes from biting your nipples. Hence why one of her mother's has pictures of butterflies on it. First up that makes it seem like the mosquito problem in my area is completely out of control (nb -: rewrite that last line - it makes it sound like you have an infestation in a private area). Granted for a brief period the near-local area suffers a unique fifth season known as Black Fly Season where venturing outside in June is essentially choosing suicide - but that's a touch further north. And although late Summer is irritating beyond belief with the humidity bringing out the bugs, I can assure you that this hasn't led to central New Yorkers strapping on bras to cover up a mosquito's natural food source - nipples.

Anyhoo - her mother and I mentioned that not only do I not wear one ("The lady doth protest too much, methinks.") but that it does serve a more fundamental purpose than the one she'd given. But not yet - that will happen at a later date. Her mother then interjected because quite frankly I have never endured the emotional trauma of having/not having boobs (stop sniggering - I haven't). I had made some vague point about her having to worry about that sort of thing in 8-10 years and her mother quickly made the point that not every girl gets big, huge bra-stuffers so don't let the notion that it's normal and scheduled for them to grow in on your thirteenth birthday seed in your mind. Fair point. Then my daughter revealed her ignorance further by grabbing one of her nipples and yanking it out from her chest hideously far and made the point that her's are, "short" but "one day will be this long!" The mosquitoes will worship her as a goddess if that every comes true.

Moving on - I've noticed the impressionability of my daughter this past week or so. For example she was quite firm on what is and is not a healthy food last week because it was part of her school theme. So she could identify the fruits and vegetables that she was supposed to be eating as a snack - before rejecting that idea as absurd on it's face and asking for doughnuts and potato chips instead. Then earlier this week she Al Gore'd me (shudder...) by off-hand commenting that global warming is the most pressing issue of our time. She didn't use those precise words but it was pretty close. Which is fine because it is a very pressing issue. But I did find it a bit odd that in week eight (I think) of actual school instead of mathematics, chemistry, history and English literature the principal themes have been fruit, Halloween and the very complex issue of climate change.

All of which highlighted the point that while true at every stage of a child's life that they are a sponge absorbing all they encounter - now she is able to repeat it to lots of other adults who might get me in trouble. Ergo her mother and I best watch what we say and get up to. I especially think her mother's current hilarious joke of saying I have the hots for a specific teacher at the school (doesn't matter which one - she made it up) just so my daughter repeats it to them and the rumor spreads. 

Anyhoo - I was thinking of this overall point this morning as my kids watched what can only be a poor decision of a storyline on a television show called Martha Speaks (very NPR white-people style kid's show). It's about a talking dog (it eats alphabet soup that gives it the power of speech) that helps her very white, middle-class family through very minor crises (like a missing shoe), to foil the same criminal from hoodwinking the community and to help them intrude into very stereotypical non-white communities. As is quite common on kid's TV it seems one of the main characters is a minority so that the stale, dry English-language story-lines can be spiced up with funny-sounding foreign words and unusual events that can be alluded to as just crazy stuff that immigrants get up to. At least that's how it comes across. Another fine example is the show Arthur in which they adopted a Chinese baby and then inexplicably insist on dressing it in very traditional stereotypical Chinese clothes complete with a weird chopstick hair/hat thing. What was intended as diversity ends up coming across as a "these are the only things we know about Chinese people" instead. 

In the case of Martha Speaks the mother of the girl who owns the dog is Hispanic. Granted the show takes place in a pardoy of Flagstaff, Arizona - but everyone else in it reeks of New England. Anyhoo on this morning's episode the characters met with a local Hispanic man who helpfully repeated everything that he originally said in Spanish (I swear he said "ay caramba" at one point) in English. Not in a normal dialogue way either - he would stop speaking in one language - say a few words in another - and then say that it means something else in English. But it would be random statements like "that means "I want to emphasize" in Spanish...". The part that had me thinking about my child absorbing everything responsible adults say was when the Hispanic man is told that his girlfriend/wife has been turned into a dog and he made the bold statement that it didn't matter - he loved her and wanted to be with her always. A nice sentiment in one sense but a small voice inside me (and not the usual one) warned me that surely the show just advocated bestiality. And if not that far they did somewhat promote the idea of being romantically in love with a dog as perfectly fine. 

At which point I felt like Rick Santorum. Ick. He's forever banging on about how if you allow gay marriage it'll be a matter of time before society starts saying it's okay to marry three people. Or your sister. Or - heaven forbid - your dog. And here I am wondering if a kid's TV show is very mildly advocating canine romance. Best not bring this up to anyone lest I be associated with that nutty slippery-slope notion. Quick - post a video of something scary to change the subject entirely.

Ack! It's not working. Post something entirely random!

Bah. They still think I'm the type who says that the liberal media (PBS in this case) is advocating non-traditional dog marriage. This requires a stubborn palette-cleanser so that no-one will ever remember the above unpleasantness.

Lastly, my wife is the smartest person I know. I don't say that because I'm surrounded by an endless parade of muppets. Because that not true either. It's more a comment that my wife seems to be able to imbibe large, diverse amounts of complex information and recall them at will with full understanding. She's a high-level thinker who often impresses those within her field with her wide knowledge base. On top of that she is that rare breed of person who enjoys working long hours. In fact she is sometimes teased that she's likely never not working. She's probably sat at home under a blanket reading something light - like the Journal of Scanning Electron Microscopy - to unwind. Her children are aware that their mother is not just smart, but a hard worker who holds no truck with those who don't work to a very high standard. More than that she has fought hard to teach them that time-wasting on brainless, nonsense is one of the most insipid and vile things that professional people toward the top of their respective chain of command. Which makes the fact that she's currently reading the below pish more amusing. She's under no illusions that it is of any literary value but treats it like brainless, prime-time television - like a brain-flush. Although most telling is that I went to save it on my hard drive as "Scottish Filth" only to discover I've already used that file name. 

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