Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Mommy and Daddy are Democrats

Here are some sample pages from the children's books Why Mommy is a Democrat and Why Daddy is a Democrat. I enjoyed them so I thought I'd share...


Nice imagery here... the only thing missing is the WTC towers!


This one was especially nice because those little Democratic squirrels are being protected by Mama squirrel from that hideous lumbering Republican elephant...


It is unfortunate that the Earth looks like a nerd when it feels better.


What do you think? Are these fun or what?

121 comments:

BAWDYSCOT said...

csm,

You must be kidding. Are you daft? Democrats are just as responsible for the deep hole we find ourselves in as the Republicans are. Partisanship runs both ways. So we are now indoctrinating youth with the bad Republican/good Democrat(bad Democrat/good Republican)dichotomy? What exactly would you think of the same book coming out of the other camp? I'll bet not much.

We don't need Democrats. We don't need Republicans. We need statesmen.

There, now I feel better.

csm said...

Although I may indeed be daft, I think you know my tongue was in my cheek when I posted these. I'm not a big fan of indoctrinating children into most any ideology or belief system.

And actually, I'm very accustomed to seeing these sorts of things from the "other camp" and find it interesting that "this camp" is responding in this way. Of course, it is not the entire camp, just one children's book author...

Regarding your ever-present call for statesmen... I shrug my shoulders while making an "eh" noise. Chances are you'll be voting for Bob Barr, which makes me question your thought process regarding presidential politics.

csm said...

{and I know that your previous comment was not just directed at presidential elections}

And while I'm commenting again, why don't you give us an example of a statesman (someone living please and capable of serving now)

BAWDYSCOT said...

In my book a statesman is someone who puts the country above everything else. Ron Paul fits the bill. Does he have baggage? Yep. Do I agree with all his positions? Nope. Do I feel he has many of the right answers? Yes I do.

As far as Mr. Barr is concerned, right now I know little about him, but will start my research soon. I do know he has repudiated the Republican party as conservative wannabes so that is someplace to start.

I will add this. I was talking with a friend of mine and I told him that if any of the three major candidates would promise to rollback the power of the Presidency to a pre-Teddy Roosevelt era, I would vote for them. I doubt they would be willing, so it looks like I won't be voting for a winner again. Oh, well.

VJ said...

Leave it to Democrats to begin indoctrination ASAP. Will their next move be to lower the voting age to five years of age? Well said Mr. Scott. Mommy and Daddy obviously are suckers should be the first line.

csm said...

Of course, VJ, you don't see left-wing idealogues indoctrinating their children into believing that Jesus rode dinosaurs.

I would imagine that there is enough indoctrination going around of various types to disgust us all.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Hey CSM,

Since you're disgusted by parents "indoctrinating" their children into their own belief system, does that mean you'd be willing to read my pro-Democratic books to your own kids? If not, wouldn't you be guilty of pushing your kids to believe the same things you believe? And wouldn't that be a form of political indoctrination?

I'm always amused when people insist they're "disgusted" to see Democrats trying to influence their kids' opinions of the Democratic Party, and then turn around and boast that they'd NEVER allow their kids to read pro-Democratic books -- as if that isn't a blatant attempt to influence the way their kids view the Democratic Party.....

BAWDYSCOT said...

In defense of csm, he did say he posted the thread tongue-in-cheek. I suspected as much, but I desparately wanted to use the word daft.

As far as children go, the role of parenting involves the handing down of basic principles to live by and many of these could have a political component. My father was a staunch conservative(John Birch type), but he never gave me anything to read. The only thing he cared about was THAT I read. As a late teen I went through my utopian phase, you know, we can all live together in harmony if we just understood each other type of thinking. Micro-evolution got me to the libertarian way I believe now.

I am always thankful of my parents because they let me figure out my basic truths, but I certainly knew without a doubt where they stood on the issues and I would have to say I agree with them more now than I did then.

In conclusion, I would find it impossible for no indoctrination by parents to occur even if the indoctrination consists of no opinion, just apathy.

coreydbarbarian said...

wow. this is an interesting turn.

csm is actually being critical of something a democrat wrote? are you feeling okay, bro?

(2 be honest wit ya, these books have bothered me, too.)

bawdy, after listening to gov. jesse ventura 2 wks ago on npr's "wait wait, don't tell me", i believe he is a living breathing statesman, too.

and vj, sweety, ya might want 2 look at the childrens books promoting republicanism. i believe they pre-date the books we are discussing now.

and finally, jeremy zilber, step right up. you're the next contestant on the left is right!

friend, this is essentially a question of personal ethics. quite frankly, i could not share your books with young children. sorry.

lead them to reason, friend, but don't reason for them. had you simply made a childrens book about government, what it is and what it does, i would say GREAT! but you didn't.

i'm sorry mr zilber but telling little kids what party to like is a direct violation of my moral code. let me know when you get around to a pro-government book, will ya?

csm said...

To Jeremy: Dude, you can read anything you want to to your kids. And you can write anything you want to and publish it for others to read to their kids. That said, wake the fuck up you shit-for-brains idiot! If you read more of this blog than just the one entry talking about your work of literary genius (tongue in cheek again) then you'd know I identify myself as a liberal and a Democrat (as well as an atheist).

Kids generally pick up the mindset of their parents regarding politics (And religion unfortunately) but I am of the opinion that kids should be taught to think for themselves and not to toe the line on the "beliefs" of their parents. I think Bawdy gets it 100% correct when talking about his conservative father not caring what he read, but only that he read.

Although the pages of your books that I did see (the free preview ones several of which I posted here) don't appear to be harmful on the surface (and I probably agree with the basic sentiments of them) the danger involves indoctrinating kids to believe that non-Democrats don't do these things, too (promote education, favor police and firemen, etc. etc.)

Sorry if I touched a nerve. And free-thinking people can disagree. Doing so from a point of knowledge though is the minimum we should require.

csm said...

Hey Corey, a pro government book? Now you're gonna get Bawdy on your ass!

Ceroill said...

Bawdy, I come from the same but opposite camp. (Don't you just love using phrases like that?) I was brought up in a liberal household, but, like your parents, mine let me make up my own mind. I could always ask questions, any questions, and expect an honest answer. We had loads of books, on any and almost every topic you could think of, whether fiction, nonfiction, or reference. With perhaps the exception of politics.

As to parenting, I've had my own theory for some time now. I'm sure some will disagree,and by the way this is using the layman's version of the word 'theory'. Simply put, it's this: Children are, by basic nature, barbarians, and the parents' main job is to civilize them.

Vj said...

coreybarbariam, darling, honey pie, when the blog posts a GOP indoctrination book to KIDS I assure you I will have the same disgust. ALL parents indoctrinate or they are sorry parents. They indoctrinate what is good, bad, moral and otherwise. Any parent who would sell a political entity as the great saviour of mankind is off their rocker. I'll take the Bible over the crap coming out of DC anyday.

Jeremy Zilber said...

csm,

I never claimed anything about your ideology, Dude. All I said is that it's hypocritical for someone to say they don't think Democratic parents should try to influence the way their kids view the Democratic Party and then turn around and insist they'd never read a pro-Democratic Party book to their own kids. Your ideology is irrelevant. A free thinker ought to realize that.

And think about this -- If children are truly going to be taught to "think for themselves" (about the Democratic party, religion, or anything else), those kids are going to need exposure to EVERYTHING, including religion, atheism, pro-Democratic books, pro-Republican books, etc. You don't shield your kids from certain points of view if you expect them to think for themselves. If that were the way to encourage independent thinking, it would make sense for a parent to say "I want my kids to think for themselves, so I refuse to let them read books, because books contain ideas that didn't originate in my child's mind." For that matter, kids probably shouldn't be allowed to talk to other kids, because, again, one kid might try to influence the other kid's beliefs about something. And teachers? Forget about it. A good parent would NEVER allow a teacher to influence the way their kids think about the world, so school is out of the question. So, no teachers, no contact with other kids, no books, no TV, etc. Because kids need to learn to think for themselves, right? And how can they think for themselves if they're bombarded with OTHER PEOPLE'S IDEAS?

Ok, so maybe you see the flaw in that approach to parenting? And so the point I was making, once again, is that no parent truly allows his or her children to "think for themselves." It's impossible, and completely the OPPOSITE of what parenting is all about. We all indoctrinate kids with our beliefs one way or another, whether it's by asking them to read something or preventing them from reading that same something. Whether it's by taking them to church or not taking them. Whether it's by allowing them to join the KKK or forbidding them from joining. Whether it's by asking them to recycle or letting them throw recyclables into the trash. Whether it's by allowing them to spend the night at their ultra-conservative Bible-thumping friend's house or deciding it isn't a good idea for them to be exposed to those folks at this time in their life. It's just that some parents are willing to admit we do this, and others like to imagine they're better than us.

But perhaps I'm wrong. After all, when I was quite young, my parents made it pretty clear to me why they preferred Democrats, so I'm probably unable to think critically or objectively about anything political. Despite my Ph.D. in political science, I actually assume all Republicans are literally the opposite of all Democrats, and I'm completely unable to fathom any conservative arguments. When I hear "smaller government is more efficient," my brain goes blank and I'm simply unable to process those words, thanks to the fact that I grew up knowing why my parents were Democrats. Good thing I've got free thinkers like you to help me think more freely and clearly.

BAWDYSCOT said...

vj,

Check out the thread from March 15th titled "More Stupid Shit from/for the Gullible". It ain't the GOP necessarily, but much of it comes from the same mentality.

BAWDYSCOT said...

jeremy,

I feel sorry for you because you are in the same trap both parties and the media have set for the most gullible citizens of this country. Neither party has the answers and they are not even discussing the most important issues that face this little world, let alone this country. They are fighting over the little things, the things they think are on our little minds, the things the media(corporate controlled)have placed in our minds. No one is talking about how we can live peacefully in a world with an upset Russian Bear. No one is talking about the adverse situation our farm subsidies are putting upon the cotton farmers in Africa(responsible stakeholder my ass). No one is talking about the day when there is no oil(since our military has to use tremendous amounts of oil products, will they force us to fight for the last drop?). Has the militarization of space ever been mentioned in any of the debates. FUCK NO! It is all about Reverends, pants suits, flag pins, middle names and age. You go ahead and place your vote for your Democratic candidate and feel you have done your civic duty and I will still bemoan the advance state of dementia of this great country and watch the world slip away from all of us. And you better believe I will tell you I told you so.

Ceroill said...

bawdy, the mention of harping on the little things reminds me of the anecdote about the professor (subject unsaid) who has this array set out on his desk: A large glass container, a jar of golf balls, a jar of marbles, a jar of sand, and two cups of tea.

He pours the golf balls into the glass container and asked the class if it was full. They replied yes. Then he took the jar of marbles, and poured them into the container. The marbles filled in the spaces around the golf balls. Again the class affirmed that it was full.

Next he followed suit with the sand, which took up the remaining spaces between marbles. Once more the class agreed it was now full.

Lastly he poured the two cups of tea in.

He explained the point of the exercise was this: The golf balls represent the truly important things in your life: Family, etc. The marbles are the lesser but still important things, like jobs or cars. The sand is all the little things that can distract you and clutter up your life. Just as if he had put the sand in first there would not have been enough space for the marbles and golf balls, likewise if you let the little stuff take over you won't have time and energy to deal with the important things in life.

One student asked about the cups of tea. The teacher smiled, and replied that it shows that no matter how bad or hectic things get there's always time for a cup of tea between friends.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Bawdy,

For the most part, the two parties and their candidates don't control the questions asked in the debates. It isn't the Democrats' fault (or the Republicans) that the idiot TV people won't ask more substantive questions in debates. In fact, Obama (who's a Democrat, last I checked) complained about this very thing DURING the last debate. Did you miss that fact? If you bother to look at the things Democrats DO control, like their websites, their position papers, their legislative agendas, their speeches, etc., you'll see lots of substantive issues being addressed and almost no mention of flag pins, middle names, etc. If you think the two major parties haven't been arguing FOR YEARS about the militarization of space, you just haven't been paying attention. I suggest you think seriously about who's gullible and who's not.

BAWDYSCOT said...

You seriously think the parties don't control the debates? From the top down, all the way to the states, they control who can show up all the way to who can run. If they aren't a Democrat or Republican they are out of luck. And even if the debates are out of their control(hard to believe)they make speeches every day and they ends up pandering to the populace. What can this candidate do for this segment and what can this one do for that segment. It is all about constituencies, the poor, the rich, labor, mothers, children, Christians, atheists and on and on. And they ALL have big money sponsors to which they will be beholden.

When was the last time any talked about individual liberty for all. The liberty FROM excessive federal government in line with the Founding Fathers. That is what the federal government was mandated to do; not to provide a nice cushy, relatively inexpensive lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. But the day of reckoning will inevitably come unless we start talking and then planning for what is to come. But that won't get you elected, now will it.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Oh, I'm sorry. I'll bet your mind went blank.

csm said...

Bawdy? Are you saying you truly "believe" that there is a candidate out there who cares about their atheist consitituents? Who might this mythical beast be?

csm said...

Nice tale there, Bob, about the jar and the stuff. Can we change the tea to Guinness for Bawdy and me? And perhaps to ginger beer for you, if my memory does not foresake me...

csm said...

Jeremy,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Although you did not claim anything about my ideology, it sure seemed to be implied (at least to these eyeballs). re-reading your original reply, I guess I remain confused... oh well.

As to your additional comments, yes, children, after a certain age, will need access to anything and everything out there. That is what book stores, and libraries, and the Internet, etc. is for. Wouldn't keep my children away from any particular ideology, even ones abhorent to me (like christianity).

Of course, the books in question here are geared toward very young children, aren't they? Pictures of squirrels and bunnies and fishies and puppies (nicely done, by the way) point the way toward a target demographic of pre-schoolers. Personally, I don't think pre-schoolers need to know much about Democrats and Republicans. And I don't know of a pre-schooler who would seek such material out on their own accord, either. So we are talking about parents foisting beliefs onto their children. I'm against that and you are for it. We are unlikely to see eye-to-eye on the matter.

csm said...

VJ, the bible is a much more dangerous book than these books for children. And it is used to indoctrinate children into a way of thinking that is potentially far more dangerous than the Democratic party (which I sorta like).

BAWDYSCOT said...

csm,

Naw, atheists just snuck in there. Wouldn't it be nice though?

jeremy zilber said...

Bawdy,

Yes, I seriously believe the Democratic Party doesn't tell ABC, MSNBC, and CNN which questions they're allowed to ask and not ask. I'm quite sure Senator Obama, who's arguably the most powerful Democrat on the planet at this moment, did not ask to be asked why he chooses not to wear a flag pin in the last debate. And yet he was asked that very question -- for what must be the zillionth time. Call me gullible, but I have a very hard time believing the Democratic Party is begging to have its frontrunner's patriotism questioned on national TV by a former member of the Clinton administration, and yet that's exactly what happened. Meanwhile, I've never heard Obama, Clinton, McCain, or any other major candidate mention the "flag pin issue" other than to answer a reporter's question. I've heard them talk about all kinds of issues (including the type of "liberty" you've been dreaming of -- are you aware Ron Paul is a Republican and participated in the Republican debates?), but I've never heard any of them initiate a conversation about flag pins.

jeremy zilber said...

csm,

Pre-schoolers don't really "need" to know anything at all, other than where to eat and sleep. And yet, there are thousands of books written specifically for kids of that age, and every single one of those books contains ideas of one sort or another. If you agree that pre-schoolers should be allowed to read and/or communicate with other people, then you're accepting the fact that they're going to be indoctrinated into the prevailing social/political/cultural environment. It isn't a coincidence that kids raised in the United States tend to be much more supportive of freedom and individualism than kids raised in, say, China. When a kid reads a book like "The Little Engine that Could" or "Green Eggs and Ham," are you of the mind that it doesn't affect their beliefs and feelings? Of COURSE it does. But I'm sure you don't question THAT sort of indoctrination (you probably don't even call it "indoctrination") because you happen to agree with it.

BAWDYSCOT said...

You are new here, so I will give you a break. Yes, I know about Ron Paul, I voted for him in 1980 when he ran as a Libertarian. He isn't a Libertarian anymore because as a Libertarian he got little respect; so to get elected he ran in Texas as a Republican(the two Parties do everything in their power to keep it a two-party system). As far as the debates, he got to show his face but did he get any relevent questions, no. The debate I saw was the one at the Reagan Library and the longer this went the more steamed I got. McCain got questions. Romney got questions. Huckabee got questions. RON PAUL DID NOT! Maybe I am a conspiracy theorist, but I have to feel the Republican Party had something to do with this. And when the primaries are over, who will get to debate, the Green Party, the Libertarians, the Communists? You are not going to tell me you are a comedian are you?

And one last point, in my second post to you I mentioned the media as a culprit also, the third leg of this three legged stool. But as I have posted before we really do get the government we deserve. A spoon-feeding or bottle-feeding, anyone?

csm said...

I go back to something Bob (ceroill) posted here a few comments earlier --> "Children are, by basic nature, barbarians, and the parents' main job is to civilize them."

I think Dr. Seuss and the little engine do a nice job of teaching some basics of civility and living in a society: "don't knock it til you've tried it" and "try your best and you can succeed" are generally considered good things to learn... and are not indoctrinating them into a cult, society, group, or herd of some type. Democrats good, Republicans bad, somehow, does not rise to the same level (at least to me).

csm said...

Although the first six words of The Little Engine That Could are "Puff-puff-puff. Chug-chug-chug." Is that a subliminal message encouraging our children to smoke and drink?

BAWDYSCOT said...

Smoking(the wacky reef) and drinking. Mmmmmmm. Doh! I just stubbed my toe.

jeremy zilber said...

csm,

Don't you think Green Eggs and Ham teaches kids that it's BAD to be closed-minded about trying new things? Doesn't it suggest that people who are set in their old-fashioned ways are bad and/or stupid? And doesn't this point kids in a somewhat liberal direction? Seuss, after all, was basically a liberal, and his philosophy shows up again and again in his books. Usually it's subtle, but sometimes quite obvious (such as The Lorax -- his blatantly pro-environmentalist anti-corporation story). I happen to agree with this philosophy -- perhaps because I was given lots of Seuss books to read when I was a malleable lad -- but I can at least recognize that it's a one-sided philosophy with clear political ramifications.

The Little Engine That Could -- the underlying message is that the little guy can overcome all barriers (by himself -- with no help from anyone else) if he just puts his mind to it and works hard. Do I really need to explain to someone who recently called me a "shit-for-brains idiot" how this teaches a very American-centric (and somewhat conservative) point of view to the unsuspecting wee ones?

BAWDYSCOT said...

I read every Seuss book I could get my hands on when I was a child and I still ended up a libertarian, go figure.

jeremy zilber said...

Bawdy,

So the Republican Party that desperately wants to keep Ron Paul out of power was unable to stop him from repeatedly getting nominated as a Republican and then elected to Congress as a Republican, and unable to stop him from participating in several nationally televised Republican debates, but somehow they WERE able to make sure the moderators didn't ask him as many questions? Here's a newsflash: Ron Paul was never considered a front-runner by anyone. That's why he wasn't asked many questions. It's the same reason Dodd and Biden didn't get as many questions as Clinton or Obama in any of their debates. Do you really think the Democratic Party hates senators Dodd and Biden, and conspired to keep MSNBC from asking them as many questions as Clinton and Obama? If so, remind me not to ask your opinions on the JFK assassination anytime soon.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Ron Paul was nominated and elected by Texans, not the Republican Party as a whole. Western states have more of an affinity for libertarians and I surmise the national Party didn't mind a Republican holding the office Paul held as it would sure beat a Democrat; that would be their thinking.

Ron Paul was asked NO questions in the debate I witnessed, not a few, NONE. And because Paul's platform included a downsizing of the federal government to a massive degree, the rest of the Party would definately be incentivized to minimalizing him as they had just gotten used to holding the reins of power(power they misused once they got it, kinda forgot the tenets of conservatism they did) as this wasn't always the case.

As far as JFK is concerned(you brought it up) I believe the story generally understood as the truth about his assassination. But I also consider him to be a very lackluster President too(good taste in women though).

csm said...

Y'know Jeremy, I can't say I agree with your polarizing descriptions of Green Eggs & Ham and The Little Engine That Could. In fact, they sound downright nutball to me, in a sort of shit-for-brains kinda way.

(If we can go back to the reason I called you shit-for-brains, it was your accusation of my politics being conservative/right-wing... and you later denied making that accusation... to which I reply, bullshit, dude, you seem to be keenly aware of the statements you are making and making them in a cogent manner.)

Re: The Lorax, yes, there is a pro-environment message to that book. I do not equate preserving the environment with politics or indoctrination. That said, I can understand why some (loggers, global warming deniers, etc.) might want to keep it off of their children's reading lists.

csm said...

Note: I did not say I necessarily agreed that the book SHOULD be kept off of any reading lists.

jeremy zilber said...

csm,

In my experience, when people resort to things like "they sound downright nutball to me," it's almost always because they can't think of an intelligent way to argue their point. It's kind of the adult version (and I'm using the term "adult" loosely) of "if you don't know, I'm not gonna tell you." I guess there's nothing more to say on that topic, since "seems nutball to me" isn't really debatable.

So I'll debate your more substantive argument. Here's my original post in its entirety. Why don't you point out the part where I accuse you of being a conservative:

Since you're disgusted by parents "indoctrinating" their children into their own belief system, does that mean you'd be willing to read my pro-Democratic books to your own kids? If not, wouldn't you be guilty of pushing your kids to believe the same things you believe? And wouldn't that be a form of political indoctrination?

I'm always amused when people insist they're "disgusted" to see Democrats trying to influence their kids' opinions of the Democratic Party, and then turn around and boast that they'd NEVER allow their kids to read pro-Democratic books -- as if that isn't a blatant attempt to influence the way their kids view the Democratic Party.....


I suppose one could reasonably infer that I don't think you're a committed Democrat, but even THAT isn't obvious, since it's possible for all of my points to apply to a Democrat. Regardless, absolutely nothing in that comment implies "conservative." I could have written exactly the same comment if you'd stated in your blog that you're a devoted Socialist or Green. (Try it. Imagine I'm making that comment to someone who just told me he's a member of the Green Party. My response still makes perfect sense.) My point didn't hinge on your ideology at all. It hinged entirely on your hypocrisy.

csm said...

I disagree with your current interpretation of what you typed. You implied that by me not being willing to read pro-Democratic books to my hypothetical children that I would be indoctrinating them to my way of thinking, that being, non-Democratic, which means Republican. Sure, you can weasel around things and say, oh, it could've meant green, but we all know that is not what you meant.

So if you meant something else, then you did not convey your thoughts well at all. I choose to "believe" that you conveyed your thoughts perfectly in accordance with what you assumed my politics to be at the time.

Regarding calling your interpretations of Seuss and "the Little Engine" books, I already said what the main themes of these books are. You choose to find more lurking in these books than is there, and such is your right to believe whatever you choose. Good luck with that.

To your final point, I see no hypocrisy in my position at all. And you have shown none.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Jeremy,

"If so, remind me not to ask your opinions on the JFK assassination anytime soon."

"they sound downright nutball to me"

Could you please enlighten me on the difference between the above statements.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy well stated. Your intelligent remarks are an enjoyable read

jeremy zilber said...

"You implied that by me not being willing to read pro-Democratic books to my hypothetical children that I would be indoctrinating them to my way of thinking, that being, non-Democratic, which means Republican. Sure, you can weasel around things and say, oh, it could've meant green, but we all know that is not what you meant"

Sorry, but you lose this argument. Badly. If you go check out just about ANY liberal blog, like Daily Kos for instance, you'll find LOTS of criticism of the Democratic Party coming from lefties. To use your phrase, only a "shit-for-brains idiot" would assume someone who criticizes pro-Democratic books like mine must be a Republican. And, interestingly enough, that seems to be exactly your assumption.

"You choose to find more lurking in these books than is there, and such is your right to believe whatever you choose. Good luck with that."

What an ironic thing to say, given that you said of MY books:

"Although the pages of your books that I did see (the free preview ones several of which I posted here) don't appear to be harmful on the surface (and I probably agree with the basic sentiments of them) the danger involves indoctrinating kids to believe that non-Democrats don't do these things, too"

So, when I find deeper political meanings in Seuss (who's known to have snuck his politics into his books), I'm choosing to find more lurking in the books than is there, but when you see something evil lurking in my books that, by your own admission, "don't appear harmful on the surface," you're just being an astute observer? And you really believe you're not a hypocrite?

As to your original hypocrisy -- it was exactly as I said in my first post. It's hypocritical to criticize someone for "indoctrinating" their kids if you're going to turn around and say you'd never permit your kids to own a book that contains a message you don't want them to hear. They're both forms of indoctrination, clearly. If you can't get that simple point, then I'm sorry, but there's nothing more I can say to help.

jeremy zilber said...

bawdy,

"Could you please enlighten me on the difference between the above statements."

I sure could. The difference is that one (mine) comes at the end of a substantive argument and helps drive home the main point of that argument (i.e., you're seeing a conspiracy where there probably is none), while the other one (his) stood alone, i.e., taking the place of a substantive argument, which suggests he has no substantive argument at all.

Hope this clears it up for you.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Well at least you are gentleman enough to say "probably" because it sure smells like a conspiracy to me.

With my natural distrust of both parties(hell a powerful central government in general)sprinkled with human nature's way of the powerful wanting to stay in power, you probably can see where I am coming from even though I would imagine you are in disagreement.

csm said...

You have NOT changed my mind, Jeremy. We both know your initial intent regardless of how you attempt to twist it now.

And here is a little test for you. Let's just re-title your books to Why Mommy/Daddy is a Republican and change no other content except switch Democrat to Republican. OK? Now does it become clear that the books are saying why someone chose one thing (Dem) over another (Rep)? I don't expect you to agree, but it is quite clear to me. Much more clear than, oh, let's say Green Eggs & Ham teaching that anyone "set in their old-fashioned ways (is) bad and/or stupid"... or that The Little Engine That Could teaches kids not to accept help... at least to me, that is.

csm said...

And when did I ever say I'd "...never permit your kids to own a book that contains a message you don't want them to hear"?

BAWDYSCOT said...

So, jeremy, what exactly was your intention in writing this book?

jeremy zilber said...

You have NOT changed my mind, Jeremy. We both know your initial intent regardless of how you attempt to twist it now.

I'm not sure why you're so dead set on proving you know exactly what I was thinking (but not actually saying), other than the fact that you called me names because you assumed I was thinking it. I imagine you're now a little embarrassed about that, and to save face you're going to continue insisting you know what's going on inside my head -- no matter what I've actually said or not said.

But csm, to the extent that it matters, are you aware there's a little blurb called "about me" right at the top of this very page? You know, the one where you identify yourself as a liberal? And does it not occur to you that I might have glanced at that blurb before responding to you? Apparently not. Well, here's the surprise twist, csm: I DID read that blurb before responding.

But I'm sure you somehow "know" that I didn't REALLY read it, because, well, something in my comment sort of implies that I think you're a Republican, because, according to you, whenever I say someone wouldn't read a pro-Democratic book to their kids I must believe they're a Republican. And the reason you know THAT is because, well, uh, because you just KNOW, that's how.

Give it up, csm. If you can't bring yourself to admit your mistake and apologize, at least bring yourself to admit that you're arguing something a bit counter-intuitive, i.e., that I would have taken the time to read your post and respond to it, but couldn't manage to bring myself to glance at the first line of your "about me" blurb.


And when did I ever say I'd "...never permit your kids to own a book that contains a message you don't want them to hear"?

Are you now saying you'd be perfectly happy to let your hypothetical kids own my books? Great! Sorry I misunderstood. (See? It's easy to admit a mistake.) I guess when you said "I think you know my tongue was in my cheek when I posted these. I'm not a big fan of indoctrinating children into most any ideology or belief system," I got the impression you wouldn't allow your kids to own these books. I stand corrected, and I'm glad I was wrong about that.

jeremy zilber said...

Bawdy,

To quote my website (apologies for the formatting problems, but I'm too busy correcting csm's mistakes to fix any of this):

I've known I was a Democrat ever since I was about 6 years old, when my parents agreed to
host a fundraiser for presidential candidate George McGovern. They never told me that I
should be a Democrat, but they explained why they were supporting the Democratic
candidate in that election, and I'm grateful they did. My early exposure to partisan politics
sparked a lasting interest in political issues and American government, and by the time I
entered college, I was already a political activist.

After receiving a degree in government from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in political science
from Ohio State University, I spent the next ten years teaching American government and
politics. Although I was teaching at some of the country's best colleges, it was apparent that
most of my students knew very little about their government or the people who ran it. Sure,
they'd all learned a few basic facts in high school, but most of them didn't really understand
how the political system worked, or why anyone should really care about it. Even more
troubling was the fact that many of them seemed perfectly content (and often determined) to
remain as politically uninformed and uninvolved as possible.

While I never conducted any formal surveys of my students, it was clear that most of the
politically active ones had been raised by parents who weren't afraid to talk about politics
around their kids. And my personal experiences merely confirmed what researchers have
known for decades: children raised in households in which politics is a frequent topic of
discussion are most likely to become politically active adults.

Given my strong desire to see more Americans take an active interest in politics -- and
especially an interest in the Democratic Party -- I self-published Why Mommy is a Democrat
in November of 2005. The response has been simply fantastic. With over 25,000 copies sold in
the first two years, Why Mommy is a Democrat is already one of the most successful
self-published children's books of all time. Encouraged by the book's success, I self-published
Why Daddy is a Democrat in 2007. Both books reflect my passion for progressive politics, my
sense of humor, and my academic training in fields such as political psychology and
socialization.

jeremy zilber said...

Apologies for my previous apology. It seems there weren't any problems with the format.

BAWDYSCOT said...

jeremy,

Thanks for answering my question and please take to heart that I think much of your goal is laudable. I rail many times our citizenry is rampantly apathetic and I believe a wake up call is coming. It hurts me because I love this country and it's Founding.

Though I feel we don't have much in common politically(please don't read as totally), I have posted many times here and at other blogs that I would defend to the death anybody's belief in anything regardless of how hair-brained I find those beliefs. As an atheist, this tolerance to other ideas has served me well.

csm said...

I think there is a difference between parents buying and reading indoctrinating materials to their children and children seeking out books (of any kind) that interest them. If my hypothetical children found these books of their own volition and read them, well, fine by me. I'd ask them if they wanted to discuss anything they read with me and even read the material myself to keep up with that they were doing.

It seemed to me that these books were designed for a parent to read them to a child. It also seemed to me that they were designed to instruct the child about how one political party is better than others. These assumptions could be incorrect, I suppose, but I find that highly unlikely. Given the book's titles, and as I said before, the material on the pages I've seen, they appear to be geared toward very young children who would not seek out this material on their own. But maybe a first grader with a credit card and a jones for Barnes & Nobles would ring 'em up and read 'em?

Regarding the shit-for-brains comment, those who know me here know that I react with cussing and nastiness at times. Especially when I feel demeaned or when dealing with what seems to be insults. I do NOT change my opinion on your original comment, but I will apologize for the name calling. That said, if you choose to stick around here and join us, great. However, I might do it again... no promises.

csm said...

By the way, Jeremy, did you also do the drawings in those books?

Jeremy Zilber said...

csm,

Call me crazy (or whatever name you plan to call me next), but I don't think a responsible parent waits around for his/her young child to request specific books before encouraging the child to read specific books. If that's your idea of good parenting, then perhaps it's best if your kids remain purely hypothetical. In fact, I dare say the vast, vast VAST majority of young children will never request any specific books until they've been made aware that such books exist, which is usually going to be the parent's responsibility.

As for the artwork, no, it's not my own.

As for the suggestion that a pro-Democratic book is inherently an anti-Republican book, that may be your belief, but it isn't mine. Since the books' themes include tolerance, peace, kindness, etc., it's hard to see how they're encouraging kids to hate anyone or act cruelly toward anyone. If a parent gives a child a book that talks about how brave and wonderful America's fire fighters are, is the parent implying that police officers (and other non-fire fighters) are bad people? I don't think so.

Do I think Democratic policies are superior to Republican policies? Obviously. Do I want kids to know that? Of course. But the point of the books isn't to make kids hate Republicans, which is why I chose NOT to say anything negative about Republicans or conservatives -- or at least not in ways that kids would understand. Compare my approach with, say, "Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!," and perhaps you'll be able to see my point.

Now, what truly strikes me as odd is a person who whole-heartedly believes the Democratic Party's policies are superior but refuses to say so to their kids. For the life of me, I don't see how that's doing the kids any good. It's like saying "well, I happen to think the KKK is a bad organization, but I'd never tell it to my kids or discourage them in any way from joining. They've got to decide on their own whether the KKK is right for them." That strikes me as a person whose commitment to "free thinking" has completely ruined his/her ability to think. That person might as well let a robot raise the kids.

csm said...

Well, Jeremy, we'll have to disagree on a few things, then. I've known many children (and I was one, too) that seek out and request books without having them "forced" (insert some other less incendiary word there if you so choose) on them. Also, I have no problem with reading to children. I do, however, have a problem with indoctrination - religious, political, what have you.

Perhaps your books are not anti-Republican. In a two party system such as the USA's though, promoting one party does denigrate the other. For adults, this is great, I participate in it myself (although I have, in the past, voted for and supported some Republicans). For children, I still find it distasteful. Obviously you do not... fine, we disagree.

Regarding the KKK, sure, they are a bad organization. I would teach my children about the horrors of racism and they'll come to know that the KKK, being racists, are not worth their time. Are there actually bands of KKK activists in your neighborhood seeking out your children?

jeremy zilber said...

Just out of curiosity, as a young child, how did you know a particular book existed without your parents (or some other adult) telling you about it? ESP?

coreydbarbarian said...

jumping jesus on a pogostick, jeremy. it's like you've never heard of a library.

i don't believe adults turned me on to even 1% of the books i read as a child. i perused the library, both public and school, and i followed my own interests with absolute freedom.

if kids want to check your book out, that is great by me. if they are not old enough to choose your book, then they are probably not old enough to handle it, or books on the kkk, for that matter.

jeremy zilber said...

Did you drive yourself to the library in pre-school? I doubt it. Did you wander over to the kids' section by yourself? I doubt it. Or perhaps did someone drive you there, sit you down in front of a particular shelf, and then say "look at these!" I'm thinking that's probably how it went down. And I fail to see much difference between that and a parent handing my books to a child and saying "look at these!"

And, frankly, I'd like to hear from your parents on this one. For some reason, I rather doubt you can accurately recall how you came into possession of the books you owned in pre-school. Your parents NEVER bought books for you without you first requesting them? Your relatives NEVER gave books to you unless you specifically asked for them by name? Friends of the family -- they NEVER gifted any books to you without first clearing the titles with you? Wow -- no wonder you're such a free thinker.

Even if that's what you're claiming, I'm going to say it's pretty atypical. I've spent a fair amount of time in children's libraries and children's bookstores, and in my experience most parents can't go four seconds without offering advice to their kids. "You'll like that one." "I don't think that one's going to interest you." "That's a good book, but it's for older kids." etc. If these kinds of things don't sound familiar to you, I submit you haven't been in a children's bookstore or a children's library for quite some time.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Maybe I am just an old man and times were different when I was a kid, but I had the same kinds of experiences as csm. I was lucky as my mom taught me to read before I went to first grade(my area of Arizona didn't have kindergarten at the time), but I don't remember the books she used to teach me to read. My first books, which I checked out at the library(all by myself, BTW),were Seuss books and Peanuts books. When I got a little older I read all the James Bond books. And then came the crowning achievement of my grade school reading career, I read Catch-22 in the eighth grade. Did I understand all it was trying to tell me? No(I have since reread it two more times). In high school it was Catcher in the Rye, I started reading Kerouac, Burroughs, Henry Miller. Nobody told me what to read. As I have said, my father was just thrilled I was reading anything and he never denigrated anything I did read.

Again, maybe times have changed. I get a sense parents today are much more protective of their little bundles of joy and that protectiveness has a downside; kids don't get the chance to figure things out for themselves.

My parents did let me in on their political thinking, but even that didn't always go very well. Which reminds me of a story...

When I was probably ten or so I was in the kitchen with my parents, probably doing the dishes after dinner or something, and my parents started talking about MLK(this would have been a couple years after his assassination)when my mother referred to to him as a "Red". For some reason(probably because it was my mom)this stuck in my mind.

A couple of years later, I was at a friends house and my friend and I were talking about things with his mother who just happened to be an English teacher who had a liberal bias and MLK came up and I just couldn't help myself and I said, "Aw, he was just a Red". I only vaguely knew what the hell I was talking about and she called me on it(as well she should). I ered and umed and stammered out some bullshit and she said, "Your parents told you that, didn't they". I had to say yes and I felt inches tall. After that point I made it a point to start thinking for myself. I never wanted to feel that way again. Unfortunately life isn't that kind, of course.

In essence I know what you are saying, jeremy, parents do direct the thoughts and paths their children take. But the best parents, IMHO, have the timing down(do you really think pre-school is the best time to teach about politics, kids have a bad enough time being kids anymore) and that means the time to stop pointing out the exact direction to take and just be there to help them back onto the course when they stray.

BAWDYSCOT said...

One more point, in grade school I rode my bike a few miles all by myself to get to our city library. Of course I grant you the Phoenix area was a much kinder and gentler place back then. It didn't hurt I was also listening to one of the best underground radio stations at the time too. Ah, those were the days...

Ceroill said...

Interesting. Do parents these days really micromanage their kids' reading choices? I find I must echo csm and bawdy in this respect. Now, I'm not claiming to exactly recall what first book I handled or under what circumstances. However, I also do not recall my parents at any point saying "here, read this", or "don't read that". We had many many books in the house, and as I recall they were arranged thusly: On the lowest shelves were the reference books: Dictionaries, encyclopedias, Time/Life books of various types (I'm sure you guys remember those: Great Ages of Man, etc, etc). Above those came literature, politics, philosophy, fiction and suchlike. Generally the higher the book was on the shelves the more obscure or specialized the content, or the older and more valuable the books.(some old copies of the classic greek plays were on the very top shelf)

Shakespeare happened to be on about the 3rd shelf up, and right where I could easily get to it when I was about 10. Poe was there too, and one of my birthday presents when I was 12 was a copy of the Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. I still have that book, it's one of my treasured possessions.

Meanwhile, the coffee table had a variety of magazines easily available:National Geographic, Scientific American, Science News, Smithsonian, Psychology Today, and others.

Ok, so much for my biographic meandering.

coreydbarbarian said...

jeez, jeremy, you sure are full of doubt. i assure you, my mother (single parent) sent me out on my own as soon as i could navigate a street-crossing. i was walking to the library (on my own) before i could reach the pedals on a bicycle. as a matter of fact, i considered the (adult) librarians to be my best friends in elementary school!

am i pretty atypical? you betcha.
then again, i like it like that. have you seen what passes for typical these days?

as for preschool books that i actually owned, there weren't very many at all. 3 or 4 berenstein bears books and a children's bible, mostly. i remember receiving half of the hardy boys' books (used, naturally) when i was in the first or 2nd grade, but that was later in life, not preschool.

but i digress. i already admitted i was atypical.

i can concede this: i haven't actually been in the childrens sections of many bookstores. you prolly have a lot more experience there than i.

here's my argument: your target audience should have been (in my opinion) a lil bit older. preschoolers that are too young/immature to self-select are generally gonna be to young/immature for an intro to partisan politics. some things should wait..for a while.
imo.

bob, just saw your biographical meanderings while previewing my text. sounds like a warm & comfortable home. thanks for inviting me in. :)

BAWDYSCOT said...

Sheeeet, we were all atypical! Or were we? One thing in common, I think, we weren't raised by boomers. Our parents came from a different time where self-sufficiency was prized.

jeremy zilber said...

I'm not claiming most parents tell their kids exactly what to read and what not to read at all times. I'm saying most parents will periodically purchase (or check out) books for their kids without waiting for the kids to ask for those specific titles. People do this for adults, after all (it's called a "gift"), so why wouldn't they do it for their own kids, grandkids, nephews and nieces? (If you grew up in a household where nobody ever surprised you with a new book, let me tell you, you REALLY missed out.) And I'm also saying most parents will steer their kids away from a book (or a genre) or toward a book (or genre) if they have some sort of ethical or educational reasons for doing so. Parents who'd let their kids walk into a public library and check out anything they want would be pretty irresponsible, it seems to me. If the 4-year-old child walks into the library and points to an especially violent R-rated DVD or a copy of The Hite Report and says "that's what I want," is the parent supposed to check that out for the kid simply because that's what the kid claims to prefer? If your 4-year-old walks into a bookstore and happens to notice a book on the history of pedophilia, and for some reason insists "this is what I want," is that the book you're buying for your kid? Because, you know, to do otherwise would be to impose YOUR will on the child? Honestly, is that how it worked in your house?

Basically, you're trying to have it both ways. You're claiming my books are aimed at kids who are too young and helpless -- whose minds can't fully grasp the complexities of the books or form counter-arguments -- and yet you're saying that at that very same age, children can (and should) be fully trusted to make all their own decisions about what they should and shouldn't read. How can both be true? If the child is too young and vulnerable to handle the "dangerous" concepts in my books (such as "sharing" and "being nice" and "making sure we have great teachers"), then how on earth can that same child be trusted to pick out all of his own reading material? It doesn't make any sense.

To put this another way: are you saying, corey, that if your mother had raised you EXACTLY the same way, except that she had read you a copy of "Why Mommy is a Democrat" a few times when you were four or five years old, you'd somehow be a different person today? You'd be a lesser person? You'd be unable to think for yourself now? How would that have happened, I wonder.

BAWDYSCOT said...

I don't see much difference between a R-rated DVD and your books to tell you the truth. Both will take some explaining to a pre-schooler.

Well, see little Johnny, that man has a willy and this woman has a cave and when they get all hot and bothered...

Well, see little Johnny, some people are Democrats and some people are Republicans and the real smart people are neither and every four years they all get together and....

What I believe we are all saying(and I apologize for talking for the group)is that pre-school age is a little too early for either of these talks.

jeremy zilber said...

Ok, Bawdy, if you can't see much difference between a picture of smiling cartoon fish with the caption "Democrats make sure schools have great teachers" and graphic footage of a guy having his intestines ripped out by a pack of flesh-eating zombies, I think I'm done talking to you.

It's been fun.

Ceroill said...

corey, you're quite welcome. In many ways it was indeed as you say. Not that childhood was a blissful idyl. Such a concept is pure fantasy, and has no relation to the reality of anyone's childhood.

I do, however, believe I was quite fortunate in the parents I wound up getting.

Dad and I used to have a game of me trying to ask a question he could not readily answer. Didn't happen until sometime in my teens when I got home and managed to read through the latest Science News before he did, so I got him on a recent development technicality.

He's the one who when I was still quite young answered for me the supposed ultimate riddle about chickens and eggs.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Well, Mr. Zilber hasn't much of a fucking sense of humor, does he? Good luck on your children's book career without a sense of humor. CHILDREN LIKE TO LAUGH; THEY DON'T WANT TO WORRY ABOUT WHO THE NEXT FUCKER IN-CHARGE IS GOING TO BE!

It's been fun.

csm said...

Maybe I should write a book for my nieces... it will be titled WHY YOUR UNCLE IS A FAN OF BAWDY SCOTSMEN

Here is page one: Bawdy Scotsmen promise to drink Guinness in hell with your Uncle.

Sorry I can't draw or there would be an accompanying picutre. Imagine a right awesome picture of two bearded fucks drinking beer among flames while being pitchforked by a cloven-hooved beast. Ahhh, the kiddies should love that...

coreydbarbarian said...

well jeremy, i can tell that you are passionate, and that you have put some thought into this. i appreciate that.

i hope you understand, i find it unsavory telling an adult which party is better and why. i do cherish my own freedom of thought, and i guess i want others to use their own minds to decide for themselves.

with that in mind, maybe you can see why it is even more distasteful to me to influence a young child in such a way.

you said:"Parents who'd let their kids walk into a public library and check out anything they want would be pretty irresponsible, it seems to me."

and of course, i disagree. i wouldn't be 1/2 the man i am today if my mother hadn't allowed me that freedom. (it is illegal to rent or sell an r-rated film to a minor, by the way. books, fortunately, have no such restrictions.) if a child can lead him or herself to a book on pedophilia and stay interested, more power to them. no book should be off limits to a child, no idea out of reach. (porn doesn't count; legal restrictions for age and all).

which leads us to this:"Basically, you're trying to have it both ways. You're claiming my books are aimed at kids who are too young and helpless -- whose minds can't fully grasp the complexities of the books or form counter-arguments -- and yet you're saying that at that very same age, children can (and should) be fully trusted to make all their own decisions about what they should and shouldn't read. How can both be true?"

friend, i am saying that preschoolers should not have this book chosen for them. certain subjects should be broached by the individual, not the parent, teacher, etc.

finally, this:"if your mother had raised you EXACTLY the same way, except that she had read you a copy of "Why Mommy is a Democrat" a few times when you were four or five years old, you'd somehow be a different person today? You'd be a lesser person? You'd be unable to think for yourself now?"

yes jeremy, i would be a (subtly) different individual. lesser? can't say. unable to think for myself? unlikely, but how can i say? but somewhat different? definitely.

remember those preschool books i mentioned from my youth? each one had an effect. now, the berenstein bears, i don't mind so much. but the childrens bible, let me tell ya, i resent it.

now what if dear mum had actually read a republican childrens book to me a few times, and subtly influenced my politics. it might have taken me years to actually overcome what could have become an ingrained habit, an unconscious preference to the gop.

had i found the book on my own, however, no such attachment is formed. if i don't believe my "tribe" already supports said ideology, i can judge rationally instead of relying on cues from the tribe.

make sense?

p.s. prolly should've warned ya about guinness fridays around here... ;)

jeremy zilber said...

Seems to me that if parents, teachers, and other adults actually behaved the way you want them to behave -- especially liberal parents -- we'd be a much more backwards society than we already are. We couldn't really tell our kids much of anything, for fear that we might be forcing our own beliefs on them. Could we tell them everyone should be treated equally regardless of race? No, because it's just an opinion. Could we tell them to pay attention in school because it's going to help them down the road? No, because it's just an opinion. Could we tell them it's wrong to steal things? No, because it's just an opinion. Could we tell them not to use violence to settle conflicts? No, because it's just an opinion. Could we tell them about evolution? Certainly NOT! Could we tell them global warming is a problem? Certainly NOT! Could we tell them it's bad to waste energy? Nope. Could we tell them it's good to share? No way. Could we tell them it's good to think about other people's feelings? No. Could we tell them they need to think about how their actions affect other people? Of course not. Could we tell them they need to clean up after themselves? I don't see how we could. Now, MAYBE we could tell them 1+1=2, but even there, I'm sure we can find someone who'll claim those numbers don't add up the way you and I think they do, so we'd better not risk saying anything about math to our kids. I mean, what COULD an adult say to a child if every single thought the child ever has in his/her life must be entirely self-initiated?

You may have picked out all your own books at the library, but I bet somebody else taught you how to read those books, which means someone else taught you how to pronounce words the way all other English-speakers pronounce them. Now, wasn't that a little forward of someone to assume you'd like to learn English? I mean, what if you wanted to speak a different language or pronounce words differently than other people do? Or assign different meanings to all those words? But you weren't given that choice, were you? The horror! (I know, I know... your mother left it up to you and you CHOSE to learn English and you CHOSE to pronounce words the way she does. If you'd decided never to speak a word of English -- or never to speak at all -- she'd have just said "good for you! I like your spirit and independence! Don't ever let 'The Man' force you to speak if you don't want to!")

csm said...

Yeah, we get it Jeremy, your books are the best things ever written and only you know what should be taught to children. Keep on writing those Caldecott winners...

jeremy zilber said...

What an ironic response, csm. I'm the one who's been saying it's up to parents to decide what to tell their own kids, and you're the one who's been saying there's a "right way" and a "wrong way" to raise kids, and the "right way" just happens to be YOUR way. Did you forget why you attacked my books?

Ceroill said...

If I may pipe in from the sidelines here, I think you have both actually been ponging back and forth, under the (probably) mistaken impression that the other fella is saying "My way is right, yours is wrong!". In reality, I suspect you both have a very similar basic attitude, and that csm's main question about your books is one of timing more than content.

To inject a bit of levity, it reminds me a bit of a joke I heard once about a pair of Irish clergymen, a Priest and a Vicar. They had been arguing for hours and hours about whose religion was the right one. Eventually the Catholic Priest held up his hands, "Wait a minute! We both have the same Boss, we both work for the same Man Upstairs! Why don't you go off and teach His teachings in your way, and I'll go off and teach His teachings in His!"

jeremy zilber said...

Perhaps, ceroill, but that isn't the impression I've gotten from comments such as "I'm not a big fan of indoctrinating children into most any ideology or belief system." I think csm is saying parents have no business trying to influence their children's beliefs, PERIOD, and I'm saying it's not only the parents' right to influence their children's beliefs, but liberal parents actually have an obligation to do so, and they have an obligation to do so while the child is still young enough to be indoctrinated. Otherwise, what's the point? I think it's quite irresponsible for a parent (liberal or otherwise) to allow his/her young child to believe, say, that whites are superior to blacks, or that Jews are inherently greedy, or that women shouldn't be allowed to drive or hold jobs, while csm apparently thinks it's not the parent's responsibility to talk to children about any of that stuff (or anything else that can't be proven objectively) until they're old enough to have already made up their minds. Now, csm may want to claim this is just a matter of "timing," but if the parent isn't supposed to be indoctrinating, then doesn't that pretty much rule out any conversations until such time that the conversations can't actually influence the child at all? And at that point, why bother?

So, I think this is much more than a matter of timing. I think this is a question of parental responsibilities.

coreydbarbarian said...

lol! that sounds about right, too.
thanks for the breather, bob.

jeremy, you've been in a defensive crouch for four days now. relax. we don't bite. bawdy drools a bit, and csm might hump your leg, but we don't bite. ;-D

the truth is, you are both right, because this is a question of the timing of parental responsibilities. the group here generally believes partisan politics belongs in middle school, not preschool.

you seem to be caught up in an all-or-nothing trap. we are parsing through subtle and delicate nuance here, really. all-or-nothing just won't do.

certain subjects shouldn't come up when preparing preschoolers for the world. imo, partisan politics is one of those subjects. if they ask, or seek it out, that's one thing. but for me, it would violate my rather delicate conscious.

and we can't have that.

part of our disagreement stems from basic optismism vs. pessimism. you know, hobbes vs. rousseau kinda stuff. you strike me as a leviathan kind of guy. (and don't take that in a bad way. that's just how i'm reading you so far). but that's just the surface of the matter.

the more subtle and nuanced part of our argument lies in the realm of ethics. this is where we are bound to disagree, simply because we are different people. this is the realm of shoulds and oughts, and listening to your conscious, as brought to you by the voice of jiminy cricket, of course.

finally, there's the meat of the matter. namely, you just can't accept the fact that some beaTniK bloggers don't like the target audience that you chose for your book. we're just a handful of american voices, nothing more.

which brings me back around to a thought i was chewing on for a 2-hr motorcycle ride in michigan today: when it comes to hobbes & rosseau, which had a greater influence on the 2008 democratic party? it's not every day that i can ask a poly sci whiz for opinion. i would appreciate yours.

individual candidates are easier to pick out, but the party as a whole...it's harder to keep everything in context.
thanks!

jeremy zilber said...

Ok, now let's think about this, Corey. Among other gems, I've been told to "wake the fuck up you shit-for-brains idiot," I've had my books called "works of literary genius" (tongue in cheek, of course), I've been told repeatedly that I'm lying, I've been told I don't have a sense of humor, I've been told "your books are the best things ever written" (and I'm pretty sure that was meant tongue in cheek again), and now you're telling me I've been too defensive and need to relax? Are you sure you're being completely objective about this? Do you think maybe it's possible that your disagreement with me is clouding your judgment about my "defensive crouch" just a bit?

you seem to be caught up in an all-or-nothing trap. we are parsing through subtle and delicate nuance here, really. all-or-nothing just won't do.

Do you happen to remember the initial attack on my books? It went a lot like this: "I'm not a big fan of indoctrinating children into most any ideology or belief system." That strikes me as basically an all-or-nothing statement, but it didn't seem to bother you at all. Curious.

But I digress. You've stated your basic argument this way: "certain subjects shouldn't come up when preparing preschoolers for the world."

Putting aside the fact that "shouldn't come up" sure does sound all-or-nothingish to me, my question to you is this: What's the harm? How, exactly, is a preschool age child (or a child of any other age) going to be harmed by learning why Mommy or Daddy supports the Democratic party? In what way is this information going to stunt a child's mental growth any more than, say, knowing why mommy likes the next-door neighbors, or knowing why mommy dislikes fighting, or knowing that spring is mommy's favorite season, or knowing why mommy likes the Red Sox more than Yankees? Other than the fact that YOU might happen to find party politics distasteful, what's your objective evidence (or even your subjective argument) that this information is going to damage the child more than any other information about mommy's preferences? Or are you actually of the mind that all of the above information would be equally damaging to the child's mental development?

coreydbarbarian said...

starting at the top..

i never said you didn't have a right to be defensive or agitated. you have every right. however, the defensive posture must be uncomfortable, even exhausting to maintain.

you might be justified in your anger, but is your anger serving you? if you prefer that emotional state, that is one thing. i just thought you might be more comfortable relaxing a bit.
this is after all, only a weblog.

i fear socrates would chastise us all. we have spent the better part of a week debating the indoctrination of children without ever defining indoctrination. is it possible that you view the word in neutral terms, while some of us at tsorb see it in negative terms?

it might help to remember the crew here considers themselves free-thinking, and they/we have probably been driven to our views of indoctrination by prior events, be they religious, familial, social, or whatever.

i can't help but think that perhaps you have never seen negative consequences with regards to the "indoctrination of youth". that might not be correct, but i am left with that impression.

let me give you an example from my own life. my parents split back in the 70's. i have therefore been able to observe both branches of the family acting in isolation from one another. my mother's side is mainline protestant and republican. my father's side is evangelical and republican.

one thing i noticed early on was how mainline protestants don't link their religion to their politics. evangelicals, on the other hand, fuse the words into one thing. in other words, if you don't vote republican, you hate god.

i watch the children on one side of the family growing up to be fairly rational people. on the evangelical side, idealogues and zealots. there is no rationalizing with an individual who has been "indoctrinated" into this political/religious mindset. their minds were muddled from the get-go.

you ask, "where's the harm?", (which strikes me as pragmatic, as opposed to idealistic). well, the closed minds that never step foot on a college campus because they already know "the truth", they are evidence of the harm. the folks who are raised to identify a specific party with their religion, and both as "right", they are further evidence.

earlier this week, i stumbled on a video of a preschooler at a red sox/yankees game. the young boy was perched on his father's shoulders, with his red sox hat setting proudly on his head. sounds cute, right?

the kid's middle finger was raised high in the air, and the ugliest face i had ever seen on a child was painted on his face. his parents faces' were beaming with pride. i nearly wept.

is my evidence anecdotal? sure. but in my experience, when you train a child to prefer one group over another, whether directly or indirectly, there are negative consequences. because of personal experience, i simply cannot condone leading a child to prefer one party over another.

it is one thing to teach a child to value liberty and justice for all (for example). it is quite another to teach that same kid that the democrats value liberty and justice for all MORE than the alternative party does.

jeremy, i realize this debate is important to you as an individual; it IS your morality we have criticized, isn't it? i only wish for a moment you could see that we weren't actually aiming for you, but for one specific action that fits a pattern we recognize as damaging.

finally, could you please humor this poor, dumb factory worker and give me your opinion regarding the influence of hobbes vs. rosseau on today's democratic party? it was an honest question, unrelated to our current dialogue.

thank you.

Mick said...

You hit a sore spot jeremy which is why attacks begin. Some issues are so emotional that it is impossible to have any real dialogue on the subject. Indoctrination implies things of a religous nature and religion is definitely a hot button item. Freethinkers do not consider their views to be indoctrinating. It doesn't make much sense but it is what it is.

csm said...

Interesting dichotomy in the previous two posts. A reasoned and rational comment from Corey, followed by an idiotic, uninformed opinion from Mick.

By the way, the first definition in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for indoctrinate is "to instruct in a doctrine or ideology"...

jeremy zilber said...

Corey,

Is it okay to train children (either by what you tell them or what you don't tell them) to prefer free-thought to religious or political zealotry? And, if so, are you not training them to prefer free thinkers over religious or political zealots? Just look at the way the "free-thinkers" in this forum have attacked me because I think it's important to tell children why mommy is a Democrat. Just look at the way you all attack the religious zealot types, almost as if they're subhuman. Do you not see how this parallels the kind of hatred and "us-vs-them" mentality you're supposedly opposed to?

Seems to me that another way to approach my book -- a more open-minded way -- would be to ask yourself WHY it's a bad thing, and I don't think you've been able to come up with a reason other than it's not what you want YOUR kids to believe. But you haven't shown that it's BAD to be a committed Democrat. All you've shown is that YOU think it's bad.

coreydbarbarian said...

look at your premise, jeremy. when you hold up free-thought as an alternative to zealotry, you go way off course. you're truly comparing apples to oranges. or right thinking to wrong thinking.

freethought is the placement of reason as the first thing. everything else we know is subject and conceived relative to that first thing. if you put 2nd things first (like, say placing religious or political dogma above reason), you screw up the whole system. thus, right thinking versus wrong thinking.

if you confuse freethought for anything other than that, your argument might seem rational.

props 2 c.s.lewis's essay "1st & 2nd things".

"Just look at the way you all attack the religious zealot types, almost as if they're subhuman. Do you not see how this parallels the kind of hatred and "us-vs-them" mentality you're supposedly opposed to?"

remember plato's allegory of the cave, jeremy? whose perspective was correct, the individual outside the cave, or inside? again, we're talking right thinking vs wrong thinking. as a freethinker, i hope to help the ones who choose to stay in the cave. i pity, not hate. hate is un-reasonable. ;)

that does not mean however, that i don't get extremely frustrated with some cavedwellers, sometimes.

"WHY it's a bad thing..."

because it is pure opinion. our job is to teach them to form opinions properly (and yes, that includes morality, because ethics are subject to reason), NOT to form their opinions for them. ya wanna teach em why teachers are good, or firefighters, or police, wonderful. you want to train em to favor one party over another, nuh-uh. wrong-thinking.

finally, dear professor, have you arrived at any conclusions regarding the influence of thomas hobbes on the democratic party of 2008, or of the influence of jean jacques rousseau on same party? to be quite frank, i am beginning to wonder if poly sci whiz's have any foundation in political philosophy at all... :D

coreydbarbarian said...

mick said,"You hit a sore spot jeremy which is why attacks begin."

to be fair, placing political or religious dogma over reason is a sore spot with freethinkers. so you're right.

and, "Some issues are so emotional that it is impossible to have any real dialogue on the subject."

i have to disagree with this, the sheer length of this discussion, both in terms of time and posts, stands in stark contrast to your claim.

and, "Indoctrination implies things of a religous nature and religion is definitely a hot button item."

religious or political doctrine/ideology subverting reason will do it everytime. that's kinda our "thing", by definition.

and, "Freethinkers do not consider their views to be indoctrinating. It doesn't make much sense but it is what it is."

our problem is with the subversion of reason with secondary things. if you can't reason, it won't make sense. hardly anything will, except for your new first thing. :)

Jeremy Zilber said...

Corey,

I've responded to this argument before (recall, it caused csm to have a meltdown), but I'll summarize my point again: If parents confined their conversations with children strictly to that which can be proved scientifically and beyond all reasonable doubt, virtually all conversation between parents and children would cease to exist. No child could ever be told that racism is bad, or education is good, or fighting should be avoided, or "everything is going to be okay," or "the doctor is just trying to help you." Parenting would essentially boil down to reciting mathematical equations and if-then statements. I just can't believe that's what any of you want parents to do. And yet, that seems to be where your argument leads. If a statement like "I like Democrats because Democrats do x, y, and z" is going to cause some sort of irreparable harm to the child's ability to reason, then so too is a statement like "don't hit your sister, because hitting isn't nice." The fact is, NEITHER of those statements is going to cause any harm whatsoever. A child can hear EITHER of those statements and still reason and think for him or herself.

I'm not interested in debating political philosophy, but have any of your favorite philosophers ever argued that children shouldn't be taught any kind of morality? I seriously doubt it. And yet, morality relies primarily on opinions, not scientific facts. Try as I might, I'd never be able to prove scientifically that racism is wrong. And yet, try as you might, you'll never be able to convince me there's anything wrong with a parent telling a child not to be racist.

Lastly, are you paying any real attention to what my books actually say (and don't say)? Nothing in my books tells a child "you must be a Democrat," or even "Democrats are good." The books are merely a series of statements about what Democrats do, which are part of a larger explanation as to why Mommy and Daddy have chosen to be Democrats. It's like explaining mommy's occupation by saying "teachers try to help kids learn, and that's why mommy decided to become a teacher." According to your argument, that sort of statement should be avoided because it will cause a child to assume non-teachers are evil and blindly accept everything teachers say as the gospel for the rest of his or her life. At the very least, it will hamper a child's ability to reason when it comes to teacher-related issues. I strongly disagree. It may cause the child to have a greater respect or affinity for teachers, but that's about the extent of it. In fact, at least two people here have noted they've gone in exactly the OPPOSITE direction their parents tried to push them. Doesn't that tell you something about the way the human brain works? Yes, it's possible to brainwash a child into believing something to the point where it can never be questioned, but it takes a LOT of effort. A couple of short books isn't quite going to do the trick. Otherwise, we could all just give our kids a book that says "do everything your parents tell you to do and never argue with them" and parenting would be a breeze. Unfortunately, kids don't work that way.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Let me just add one more point. It seems to me that you're primarily interested in arguing all this at very theoretical level -- as when you claim "ethics are subject to reason" and try to goad me into a debate about long-dead philosophers. That's fine for a blog discussion, I suppose, but my books are meant for real-world parents and real-world kids. And in the real world, a parent can't use "reason" to explain why, for example, racism is wrong or universal health care is a noble goal. They can try, but ultimately, those are just opinions. And I'd hate for real-world progressive parents to feel the slightest bit of hesitation in sharing those kinds of opinions with their real-world kids.

csm said...

I think it is time for the Spaniels to sing this thread away...

Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it's time to go,
Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it's time to go.
I hate to leave you, but I really must say
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.

coreydbarbarian said...

yeah, this is going nowhere, and fast. i guess we just agree to disagree, then.

"And in the real world, a parent can't use "reason" to explain why, for example, racism is wrong or universal health care is a noble goal."

you're sorta right, jeremy, because most parents can't use reason. however, if you tried, reason does explain things like "why racism is bad". consider issues like the ontological good, and apply them.

i am somewhat amazed that you do not link ethics and reason, but i'll get over it. to cast morality as opinion...wow.

i asked an honest question. no goading, or trickery. just a question, and one not related to our current discussion. it began as a search for common philosophical ground, so we might have something to work with. oh well.

"It seems to me that you're primarily interested in arguing all this at very theoretical level..."

friend, if you don't get it right on the theoretical level, your application won't be right, either.

goodluck in your endeavors, jeremy zilber.

BAWDYSCOT said...

The thing I find a little "funny" about Mr. Zilber is that he dismissed me(I am done talking to you.) when I basically agreed with his stance about parents and the need to instill basic principles to live by. He even used me as an example("In fact, at least two people here have noted they've gone in exactly the opposite directions their parents tried to push them."(I wouldn't say exactly opposite in my case))that it(indoctrination) doesn't always work, but it is THE job of parents to guide the little ones. My main problem with his books happened to be the "timing issue". The kid gets to be seven, eight, nine I haven't a problem with these books(except they would then be too young for them), four, five I believe is too young. Now if Mr. Zilber were still talking to me, my suggestion would be shoot for an older audience. He could actually put more substance into them, make it a real educational experience.

The other main problem I have with him, is that he is coming at this as a teacher. And a teacher should teach all sides to any concept whether they agree with any one side or not. Mr. Zilber is already on record as saying, "Despite my Ph.D. in political science, I actually assume all Republicans are literally the opposite of all Democrats, and I'm completely unable to fathom any conservative arguements." Now that kind of thinking is perfectly reasonable if you were a parent, but would be on the verge of negligent if you were a teacher, especially if you were a teacher with a Ph.D. in political science.

Yes, it has been fun, Mr. Zilber.

jeremy zilber said...

Corey,

I defy you to use reason or logic to "prove" racism (or anything else) is morally or ethically wrong. Ultimately, you'd have to begin with assumptions about what is good or desirable. There's no getting around that fact. If you start with an assumption that the earth is more important than people... then... presto! everything that helps the earth is "rational." If you start with an assumption that human happiness is the most important goal, then.... presto! That leads you to certain conclusions. If you start with the assumption that God's will is more important than people's happiness... presto! A completely different set of rational conclusions. It all depends on where you start, and where you start depends on your personal values, not objective rationality.

I believe racism is wrong, but only because I was taught to value equality and fairness. These are MY values. I wish they were universal, but they're not. I wish I could PROVE I'm right to value these things, but alas, I cannot.

Likewise, I believe Democrats are the country's best realistic hope for moving us in the the "right" direction. But could I prove universal health care, slowing global warming, ending the war in Iraq, etc. are the "right" goals? I can do so ONLY if I'm allowed to begin with certain assumptions about the desirability of fairness, health, and the importance of making the planet inhabitable for future generations. Those who value these things should explain their fondness for the Democratic party to their kids. Those who don't, shouldn't. It's that simple. Those of you who don't believe in the Democratic party are surely free to hold those views, but you ought to realize that your views are no more "rational" than mine.

If you need to fool yourself into believing your feelings and preferences are all perfectly "rational" and based on objective proofs, then so be it. But a true freethinker would accept the fact that his core beliefs are nothing more than that -- beliefs. You aren't sickened by racism or moved by an act of selfless heroism because of the "objective rationality" of those acts. If that were the case, you'd be equally moved by watching somebody complete a difficult sudoku puzzle.

jeremy zilber said...

Mr. Zilber is already on record as saying, "Despite my Ph.D. in political science, I actually assume all Republicans are literally the opposite of all Democrats, and I'm completely unable to fathom any conservative arguements.

Bawdy,

People like you are the reason emoticons were invented.

BAWDYSCOT said...

What you are talking to me again?

So tell me how "universal healthcare" is the "right" direction. I am all ears.

And you still need to work on that sense of humor jeremy, for the kids's sake.

jeremy zilber said...

I just explained it.

BAWDYSCOT said...

"Likewise, I believe Democrats are the country's best realistic hope for moving us in the the "right" direction. But could I prove universal health care, slowing global warming, ending the war in Iraq, etc. are the "right" goals? I can do so ONLY if I'm allowed to begin with certain assumptions about the desirability of fairness, health, and the importance of making the planet inhabitable for future generations."


I try not to call people names. I try to listen to somebody make their argument as politely as I can. But you sir have made me understand why csm called you a shit-for-brains idiot. You have NOT stated your case for universal healthcare. You were still going on and on about why your fucking books are so fucking good for kids of parents who have the "right" ideas(has anybody else on this thread seen the irony of calling progressive ideas the "right" ideas). You have problems answering questions, legitimate questions, from interested people, my friend; which makes me wonder how fucking good a teacher you are.

jeremy zilber said...

Bawdy, my friend (or, as you'd say, "my fucking friend"), in the first place, I'm not a teacher, so you can stop wondering whether I'm a good teacher. In the second place, I didn't come to this forum to discuss my views on health care or other topics that might happen to interest you. I came here to discuss my books (remember? the subject of this thread?), which is why I'm going "on and on" about them. I mentioned universal health care as an example to illustrate my larger point. And my only real interest in being here is that larger point. Sorry to disappoint you.

That said, my brief reference to universal health care pretty well explains why I think universal health care is a step in the right direction. The reason is that it flows naturally from the values I was taught as a kid, i.e., I was taught that it's good for people to be healthy. If you really need me to explain the logical connection between universal health care and universal health, I'm afraid there's little I can do for you.

Lastly, trust me, back when I WAS a teacher, none of my students would have asked questions like yours, so they tended to get more complete responses than you're getting. They would ask things like "what happens in the event of a tied electoral college vote?" Not "hey, professor, why do you think health care is a good thing?" I hope you can see the differences between those types of questions.

BAWDYSCOT said...

I didn't ask you "hey professor, why do you think health care is a good thing?" I asked you to state your case for UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. This is an area I know something about(surprising huh?) as I am the Medicare Biller for a Skilled Care Nursing facility and I have a pretty good idea what will happen if we go to that kind of system. It was a legitimate question just like corey's. But hey, you go ahead, you know the best ways, the right ways, the ways of peace and love and everything soft because you know that Democrats will make sure we can all sleep at night with no cares in the world. Our large and benevolent federal government will make sure this happens, especially if we keep those dastardly Republicans out of office(I am on record many times saying both parties are equally reprehensible as anyone here can attest). Sweet dreams, jeremy.

jeremy zilber said...

"I have a pretty good idea what will happen if we go to that kind of system."

That's interesting, because I never mentioned any kind of "system." What I said was that Democrats will move us toward "universal health care," which simply means "health care for everyone." There are numerous ways this can be achieved, so "that kind of system" has almost no meaning here. I'm for everyone having access to decent health care. Period. If you're not, so be it. It's not my goal to convince you to adopt my values.

Ceroill said...

Unfortunately, the term 'universal healthcare' has become, over the last several years, a 'hot button term' for many with conservative leanings (not Republicans necessarily). To them it automatically implies total government oversight or control of the health care industry, and smacks of that bugaboo 'socialism'.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, great job! You keep the subject on trsck while the pack atempts to keep running to and fro. Keep up the reasonable dialogue although it may be difficult. The indoctrination is deep and thorough.

coreydbarbarian said...

first, this:""that kind of system" has almost no meaning here."

universal is the only specific system being discussed. plenty of meaning in the word universal; ask the catholic church.

moving on.

jeremy, i am starting to read your argument as a defense for moral relativism. is that your intent?

you seem to be saying that all beliefs are equally insubstantial and impossible to "prove", thus all morality is entirely subjective. is that a correct interpretation?

(i am reminded of a quote from the british philosopher roger scruton; "the man who says, 'there is no truth' is asking you not to believe him. so don't!")

i am arguing that beliefs founded on reason are by definition rational (which is why we can both continue to debate the issue), and that beliefs that circumvent reason or downplay its significance are by definition irrational. in this scheme, rational arguments hold more weight.

now, if you are arguing in favor of relativism, then that is where we must agree to disagree. if you're arguing something short of relativism, well, i'm all ears.

jeremy zilber said...

Corey,

Again, you're trying to turn this into a philosophical debate while I'm interested only in the real world. What I'm saying is that, for better or worse, our values are formed in childhood, and, for most people, parents are going to be the key figures in shaping those values. They can do so either by what they tell the child and/or HOW they tell the child, as well as by what they do NOT tell the child. Either way, almost every child's values are affected by upbringing.

With that in mind, MY values tell me that it's important for parents to get their kids interested in politics and, in particular, the Democratic party. Can you prove I'm objectively wrong for wanting this? Can you prove that avoiding these books is objectively the right thing to do? I'd love to see you try, but all you seem to be able to say is some form of "reason is good, so these books are bad." But you haven't shown how the books interfere with reasoning skills (because they almost certainly do not), nor have you even managed to show that reason itself is something to be valued. Why? Because you can't do that either. Because the only reason you value reason is that reason is something you happen to value. You certainly didn't discover your preference for reason by solving a mathematical equation. So, whether you like it or not, you support a form of moral relativism in which morality can and should be derived by reason rather than faith. But how can you prove it? How can you prove a reason-based morality is "more moral" than a faith-based morality? You'd have to reason it out, would you not? But that assumes you value reason above all else, which, by definition, a faith-based person does not. It's a circular argument from which there's no escape. Where you end up depends entirely on where you start.

But I digress. I'm NOT arguing in favor of moral relativism. Or against it. You're the one interested in moral relativism, not me. I'm arguing in favor of my books, and trying to show that children can read these books and grow up to be just as reason-loving and free-thinking as you (and I) are, but with perhaps a greater respect and affinity for the Democratic Party, which I think is quite reasonable.

Lastly:

universal is the only specific system being discussed.

What are you talking about? How is "universal" a "specific system"? Massachusetts and Canada both claim to offer universal health care, but they have very different systems for achieving this goal, do they not?

coreydbarbarian said...

it's funny, but some great minds believe that the philosophical underpinnings are the only objective and real aspect of the "real" world.

nevertheless, we are running around in circles. we disagree on what specific age it is appropriate to introduce children to party politics. end of story.

it was a mistake for me to comment on universal healthcare. you are clearly not interested in talking about anything beyond your books.

now go away, or i shall taunt you a second time. ;)

jeremy zilber said...

In sum:

It's interesting to me that I've asked several times for you (or anyone here) to offer any sort of tangible or logical proof that my books will do any harm whatsoever, and every time the response has been some form of "take our word for it -- they're harmful. Anything that tells a young child what to believe is harmful to the child's intellectual and moral development." And every time, I respond with some form of, "but I bet you think it's okay to tell a child to believe X, don't you? And THAT doesn't seem to harm a child, does it?" And the answer is always some form of "Oh, telling them to believe X is fine, but what YOU'RE asking them to believe is obviously going to do some harm, because that topic shouldn't be discussed until they're older." And the closest ANYONE has come to providing any real evidence has been a bunch of anecdotal stories about indoctrination-gone-wrong, as if a few tangential cases somehow proves a general rule. (Hey! Come to think of it, I've met several anti-intellectual adults who DIDN'T read my books as children. Does that prove children should read my books?) And when I ask how/why you're making what seems like an entirely arbitrary distinction between telling a child "X" (e.g,, "Mommy doesn't want you to be racist") and telling a child "Mommy likes what Democrats do, which is why Mommy is a Democrat," I'm told the discussion isn't going anywhere and it's time to be quiet now. Frankly, given your lack of evidence (or even a clear, logical argument) it's almost as if you're asking me to take it on faith -- blind faith -- that you're right. How ironic.

BAWDYSCOT said...

DESERTPEARLHarm? I don't believe I have said anything about harm in your books. I did say, in my opinion(which is just that)your audience might be too young and that children have a tough enough time having a childhood these days without having to deal with party politics, but no there is no way physical or emotional harm can come to a tot with your brand of literature.

I went back to your original post which starts with "Hey CSM", so your hackles were up from the beginning. And if you had looked around this blog for awhile you would have seen it is a humble little place where a handful of like-minded males go to work on their belief systems and let some steam off and that there was little chance of making a sale. You seemed like you were ready for an argument and we, taking the bait, argued. You didn't change any minds at least as far as I can tell(we haven't heard from csm in awhile). So I wonder if you feel successful or not. But since you have spent some wasted time here I am wondering if sales are down.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Bawdy,

Here's the funny thing about my books: the more time I "waste" discussing them in forums like this, the more copies I sell. Go figure. Ironically, though, you have repeatedly tried to draw me into off-topic debates, so one might wonder if YOU have anything better to do with your time than insulting people and starting political arguments that serve no obvious purpose other than your own amusement.

As for the word "harm," there's a reason I prefaced that word with the phrase "some form of." I wasn't claiming anyone had actually used that word, per se. While you certainly haven't been the most adamantly anti-book poster, and at times you've distanced yourself from the other critics, it seems to me that you've consistently taken the position that kids would be better off without these books. If your position has been "these books are completely harmless and if parents want to read them to their kids, then good for them!" then I apologize for any suggestion that you've been disapproving of them, and you can just assume my "harm" comment is no longer directed at you.

BAWDYSCOT said...

I would venture to guess all the regulars use this place as amusement and camaraderie. Is that wasting time? I don't think so, but some might.

coreydbarbarian said...

oh come on now, we had fun, didn't we? you got to sharpen your argument, we got to improve our own understanding of our position (which is all we ever really try to do, you see) and an anonymous poster or two got all excited. what's not fun about that?

to be honest, you were probably the only one who was looking for a "win". that may go a long ways toward explaining the lack of evidence or clear, logical argument that you cite. sorry if you thought otherwise.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Ok, NOW I get it. The purpose of this blog is to make a bunch of unsubstantiated claims that you can't possibly prove, insist they're right because... well.... because you say so, insult anyone who disagrees with you, and then congratulate yourselves for being such freethinking logical people.

Mission accomplished, I guess.

csm said...

If that is what you've come away with, well, then fuck you turd fondler.

csm said...

[For those without a sense of humor, that last comment was a reaction to help ol' Jeremy prove his point.]

BAWDYSCOT said...

Is there a scientific name for a turd fondler? fecamaniac?


jeremy,

This exercise may have helped sell more of your wonderful volumes, but somehow I don't think so.

coreydbarbarian said...

and congratulations all around for being such freethinking and logical bloggers, guys. ;)

jeremy zilber said...

You're probably right about that, Bawdy. I doubt more than a handful of people read this blog. I wonder why.

BAWDYSCOT said...

For someone who trys to place warm fuzzy thoughts into younsters minds, you sure are a smart ass, jeremy. Berate us neanderthals all you want, puff out your chest in victory, I for one will consider you very small-minded as you are the someone who hasn't looked at things from the other perspective for your whole life from what you have told us. I realize this won't affect you much, but the feelings are mutual. Good luck on your books, good luck on your Democratic life and don't let the door hit you in the ass. Bye.

Jeremy Zilber said...

Poor, poor, Bawdy. You're right: that was so smart-ass of me! I'm so ashamed. Especially since you've been so consistently pleasant and hospitable, such as when you said:

"Well, Mr. Zilber hasn't much of a fucking sense of humor, does he? Good luck on your children's book career without a sense of humor. CHILDREN LIKE TO LAUGH; THEY DON'T WANT TO WORRY ABOUT WHO THE NEXT FUCKER IN-CHARGE IS GOING TO BE!"

Or when you said:

"But hey, you go ahead, you know the best ways, the right ways, the ways of peace and love and everything soft because you know that Democrats will make sure we can all sleep at night with no cares in the world."

Or when you lovingly said:

"But you sir have made me understand why csm called you a shit-for-brains idiot. You have NOT stated your case for universal healthcare. You were still going on and on about why your fucking books are so fucking good for kids of parents who have the "right" ideas(has anybody else on this thread seen the irony of calling progressive ideas the "right" ideas). You have problems answering questions, legitimate questions, from interested people, my friend; which makes me wonder how fucking good a teacher you are."

How on EARTH could I be so cruel as to suggest not many people would want to read such thoughtful comments? I'm such a smart-ass!

BAWDYSCOT said...

Was that the wind I heard outside or was it flatulence? Anybody else hear it?

coreydbarbarian said...

maybe. did it almost sound like the drone of a mosquito?

Lou said...

Be careful when you argue with fools Jeremy. Some may not recognize the difference. You have published books, they have published a blog entry. This is obviously all they have. Give them their moment.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Hey lou,

His books are self-published and they are pre-school primers. He ain't Faulkner, dontcha know.

jeremy zilber said...

Of course you're right, Lou, I should know better. But I'd still like to give Bawdy something to do with himself, so I'll respond and let him call me a few more names.

Bawdy,

This may surprise you, but I've also co-authored a book published by Praeger Press (part of the Greenwood Publishing Group) for an adult (primarily academic) audience. It's been out for about 8 years, and it's sold maybe 1/20th as many copies as "Why Mommy is a Democrat" has sold in 2 years, which is now something like 27,000 copies. (Not to mention the Daddy book, which has sold a few thousand copies in the six months it's been out.) Also, my "real" book never got any national TV, radio, or newspaper exposure, as my current books have. So it turns out self-publishing isn't always a sign of weakness.

But you can go right on believing I'm a complete failure if it makes you feel better about what you're doing here. Frankly, given what I know of you, I don't think I'd really want your admiration.

jeremy zilber said...

Oops -- make that 27,002. Two more copies sold while I was typing my previous comment.

I imagine Bawdy will now point out that if I were a REAL author, I'd have sold at least THREE copies while I was typing that last comment....

BAWDYSCOT said...

Was that the wind I heard outside or was it flatulence? Anybody else hear it? Maybe corey was right it does sound like the droning of mosquitos.