"You happy now, bitch?"

a rebuttal

Another typical unschooling-defamation piece makes its way into my Tweetstream. I was inspired to make a little something I will picture in my mind every time this happens. Call it my personal moment of Zen.

"You happy now, bitch?"

This little bit of Photoshoppery has nothing to do with unschooling. It has everything to do with being awesome. For instance how awesomely I LOL every time I read or hear some other persnickety, tired-out, anti-child, parent-dissing pearl-clutching screed recommending enforced child-class institutionalization.

***

In other news: I wrote a new post at UB, but it’s kinda grouchy, fair warning. I had a good day today though, honestly.

when Black Friday comes / I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Friday links, and I’m owning it!

1. This weekend we watched Trail of the Screaming Forehead courtesy of sundancenow.com, a project by Larry Blamire (who also helmed one of our family-favorites, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra). It was so much fun – so funny, clever, silly – and beautiful color (it was filmed in CRANIASCOPE). Truly a treat! The children laughed at the jokes but also took the “tension” very seriously!

2. At Underbellie: I published my piece for the Squat! Birth Journal. I encourage you to buy a copy (print or download). It’s a lovely zine by passionate people!

3. I was very impressed with “Ami’s Guide to Food Privilege: How classism, fatphobia, and various other “-isms” control what we eat”. Such a great 101 for the classist and orthorexic bile I am sad to say, I hear often enough – maybe even daily.

4. Join the “I LOVE MY BUM” Campaign! at The Discourse. AU Dr. Thomas continues to prove her awesomeness. I think I got firsties when I sent in my email, too. Hee.

5. “Guest Post: Transmisogyny is Misogyny Against All Women”; another one to sink your teeth into, featured at TranArchism.

6. Laurie Couture writes, in her typical direct and passionate manner, “Unschooling Parents (Not School Teachers) Best Equipped By Nature to Guide Learning”. As a friend at lunch said yesterday, she thinks parents truly aren’t aware there are options besides school or at-home-school. You know… as an aside, I would hope any of my work encourages parents to find ways to be with their children and live life well. I know I’ve made a difference – and I have people like Laurie and Wendy and Idzie and Cheyenne and Jeff and Daniel, to name a few, who’ve helped me find my own way.

7. Did y’all catch the title of the last Friday link post? [ tumbleweed blows past ] Anyway, 17 year old Fiona at Rachel Simmons’ site writes the first thing on the “Rebecca Black phenomena” I’ve seen so far that was worth reading. You know what’s pretty pathetic? Full-grown people making fun of thirteen year olds (yeah, this is happening. LOTS). And saying stuff like, “I’m going to ass-rape you” and “die in a fire” (but you know, it’s just a joke! And so are all those other instances of child abuse and terror, and actual thirteen year olds that get raped! All jokes! Um… er…). Yes. That is actually happening.

8. On a lighter note, and at The Retroist: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Memories”. As I commented, I have a special place in my heart for this film; likely primarily because I saw it as a young child. Interesting it is one of two films responsible for the PG-13 rating. Also from the Retroist: Patrick Warburton for Bugle Boy. Look, PW is a handsome guy, and that’s a very nice bod he’s sporting there outside of blue latex and all. But the soprano sax and the come-hither-I’m-dressed-in-your-shirt-teehee!, not so much.

9. “Study: 87 Percent Of Movies Would Be Better With Michael Keaton In Them”. So true!

10. While I’m excited as anyone at the so-called trend Penelope Trunk identifies in Sara McGrath’s piece, “Entrepreneur with Asperger’s on getting unschooled” (I say “so-called trend” because of course, school is the relatively new invention, not “unschooling”), I didn’t like the tone of some of her comments. Specifically: “Over the next ten years, Trunk predicts that we’ll have two classes of kids: one set who knows how to run themselves in this world and another set who needs to be told what to do.” Hissss! While I have absolutely seen many differences observable in self-direction, independence, assertion, fairness, anti-bully mindset, varied and complex social skills, and real-life skills observable in non-schooled while well-nurtured children (not just in my own children but in reading countless testimonies of other life learning / consensual living / unschooled families, children, and grown non-schoolers), I think ultimately framing parenting and childrearing in competitive terms is both a very schooly thing to do and quite unhelpful – but, unfortunately, as American as deep-friend asshattery.  In this country, raising your own children without the use of state institutional instruction/care is damned rare, and I’m wondering if the few and the brave who do it might consider distancing themselves from or even denouncing outright too much Special Snowflake MY KID WILL HAVE AN EDGE OVER ALL OTHER KIDS. Caveat: in exploring the amazing multilayered awesomeness that is life without school and non-punitive parenting, it’s been like scales falling from my eyes daily and a lovely journey. I think any amount of talking about one’s experience of this Wonderfulness is going to necessarily bring to light some of the silliness or awfulness of the live lived before, and I’m aware that be threatening for some to read. It’s a conundrum I haven’t quite figured out myself (for my part I try, when talking about our homelife, to speak in first person). I’d also point out many passionate life learners are very concerned with improving outcomes and scenarios for all children, including the 98% enrolled in compulsory schooling, and have some of the most incredible ideas about how to go about these goals.

11. Film: live-action akira adaptation: starring white people! at Angry Asian Man. This film is a classic, much beloved, and Hollywood won’t do well by it. The typical racebending aspect is just another soggy slap in the face. SMH as per usual.

12. Speaking of movies: I’m loving Anita Sarkeesian’s vlogs times one hundred. In “Tropes vs. Women: #1 The Manic Pixie Dream Girl” she does not disappoint. But you know, Portman’s character in Garden State *totally* had her own story arc. Like how she was epileptic, and her hamster died that one time.

13. Movies, again: screen giant and philanthropist and lovely woman Elizabeth Taylor dies. A lovely photo-perspective at all things amazing.

14. Bri writes a wonderful post on her experiences with a lap band. You know, that surgery that is rather dangerous and doesn’t work, but people are still quite eager about.

15. In ridiculous and gratuitous cupcake awesomeness, I submit the Cupcake Cupcake Topper and homemade Hostess cupcake cake balls (as seen on my blog yesterday).

16. Wednesday night we saw Handsome Little Devils at the college (they were fabulous!); Monday it’s the Reptile Man’s Serpentarium, and a few weeks later, the Kenya Safari Acrobats. I can speak highly of the first two experiences and I look forward to the third; what are you up to?

17. Currently listening to: Vetiver, Au PairsAdele’s “21”, and Kelis (Phoenix loves the latter two). What are you listening to?

18. Live bunnycam featuring new babies. LIVE BUNNYCAM FEATURING NEW BABIES. There is no better link to leave you with, people. P.S. a baby rabbit is called a “kitten” or a “kit”. Excuse me while I punch myself in the face. Because of the cuteness.

different outlooks different hopes

friday, friday, so good to me

Taking a break from my latest Netflix obsession (don’t worry, my obsessive-television watching is usually in short-lived bouts) I bring you: FRIDAY LINKAGE.

Film
Bollywood for Beginners Index at Filmi Girl

“Worst Movie of the ’00s?” at PostBourgie. Great piece and excellent comments.

There are no words for the excellence:

(thanks, Steev!)

Society
“Smiling Indians and Edward S. Curtis” by @NativeApprops. Definately check out the galleries, & the video.

“Guest Post: Reactions to the Case of Lara Logan” by Matt Cornell; also, Bill Maher makes LOUD NOISES about how U.S. is just SO MUCH BETTER TO WOMEN THAN MUSLIMS: “Bill Maher Pronounces Sexism in The Middle East, Worse Than In America” from womanist-musings. Finally, a succinct summation of some of those others who stand to lose with these narratives: Laura with “On Feminism, Religion, Superiority, Kyriarchy and Women’s Rights”.

“CNN buys into homeschooling stereotypes in child abduction case, blames victims”. Just add another nugget to the pile of deplorable turdburger that “Nancy Grace” (the show, not the person).

“Covering Up is a Feminist Issue” via PhD in Parenting, fertilefeminism; great video and a good 101!

“Class warfare” at globalsociology

“Just a Parent” by Ouyang Dan on Random Babble

Health
Planned Parenthood at PostBourgie

“Dear Michele Bachmann, et. al: Please Shut Up and Sit Down” at parenting.com

Gym Class by Michelle Allison. If there was a BINGO card about lots of awesome shit Kelly cares about (abolishing adultist thoughts, freeing children from forced institutionalism and segregation, HAES/FA etc.) I’d be shouting “LOTERIA!”

Parenting
“The best parenting book you will ever read.” – some thoughts on a fictional hero of mine – and many others’ (note: spoilers, link concerns the book To Kill A Mockingbird).

“Five Questions for Laurie A. Couture by E. Christopher Clark of Geek Force Five”. Ms. Couture is becoming one of the items in my feed reader I look forward to most. Her thoughts on the third question – C. – I’ve found most relevant as she’s discussing teens, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time around teens lately and I’m loving it!

Make/Craft
Awesome Godzilla Quilt, courtesy of the East Bay Heritage Quilters

“Coke Bottle Watering “Globes” at RadMegan

Hand-painted  B-movie purses? I had to write this lady a stalky email because. Come on. How awesome!

How to cook perfect rice – in a frying pan at Just Bento

Quotable
‎”Free children are not easily influenced; the absence of fear accounts for this phenomenon. Indeed, the absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child.” ~ A. S. Neil

Random Awesomeness
Promtacular – ZOMG, who’s ready to dig up prom pictures? 100 to YES.

“Mad, Mod & Macabre – The Ronald Stein Collection” – I. Want. This.

different outlooks different hopes

"Wisdom Teeth" at xkcd

hey yo it’s pink Friday

This morning when I woke up I observed my daughter had found a discarded t-shirt of mine and slipped it on and slept in it all night.

Which I love, more than anything.

OK so, aw hells yes! Another Friday and I am scaling back my linkage, or trying to, still. And what-do-you-know, I’m still on some very similar topics. Well OH WELL, what can I say, I am just very excited about them all!

Parenting
“I don’t love you enough” by Jeff Sabo. This piece is a worthwhile refution of the “tough love” sentiment and just how bad things have gotten if you’re proud of “stalking” your child.

P.S. I emailed Jeff and he told me his blog should be up and for public viewing (earlier there were problems).

On the please-do-not-do-it-this-way parenting bit, here are some “treasures” from Love & Logic (a parenting/teaching philosophy fairly popular in my peer set which demonstrates the phenomenal and deep-level breakdown of trust that many mainstream parenting strategies perpetrate). Here’s their most recent update, on some “tough love” (same ol’ same ol’, although L&L seems to hold itself as something different than typical old-school punishment techniques) regarding shoplifting; then follow this with this delightful screed comparing children to “growling and foaming at the mouth” “rabid dogs”. Fun!

Sandra Dodd: Unschooling & Real Learning, a six and a half minute clip of a Sandra Dodd interview that I like (what she says between 0:50 and 1:01 gives me the shudders… because I have seen and experienced this firsthand). I like the word “unschooling” less and less – not that I have any problem with others using it. Maybe I’ll write more about that soon.

Health
“Iron-deficiency is not something you get just for being a lady” by Dr. Kathryn Clancy. Consider your blog FOLLOWED, Doctor-Woman!

“Lactate Your Ass Off (Or Not)”; JJ Keith drops some realities regarding breastfeeding and “baby weight”. I notice people brag about losing their baby weight (which helps other people feel terrible about themselves for this or that reason). What I know now is, that’s a pretty individualistic thing and people should consider STFU on the whole thing.

Michelle Allison asked her readers what questions they’d have for her regarding food, nutrition, and eating competence: “how to eat in front of other people” was number one (this is quite sobering and sad). The pdf material she provided in response is incredible. Even if one doesn’t think they have any issues with disordered eating, a read-through is highly recommended.

“Real Quick: Actresses who eat things are FASCINATING” by Lesley Kinzel. Ha! Nail, hit on the head. Also, “fatassery” is the best word I’ve heard this week.

Make/Craft
Fringey streamers at Oh Happy Day

Guess what’s gonna be happening in our house this next week. KOREAN COOKERY!

Just Awesomeness

National Geographic‘s Photo of the Day, won’t you?

Minecraft + pharmaceutical humor! (WIN) (& – thanks, Ryan!)
"Wisdom Teeth" at xkcd

Three years ago, Valentine by yours truly (and yes, this still happens to me)

Back to the future by photographer Irina Werning. ZOMG do I love this times one hundred.

Action Figure Slow Motion Punches:

***

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
– Charles G. Stater

needing decompression

Ralph, Phoenix and I have just returned from attending “Erase the Hate”, a community discussion project curated by the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The event was less of a discussion than I’d thought it would be, but was nevertheless a great presentation and talk delivered by Thomas B. Howard, Jr., Ed.M.

During the introductory video I cried silently and rather fluidly.

Howard’s subsequent speech and presentation kept me on the edge of my seat (not so much for Phoenix, who after two hours flagged a bit). I was also very pleasantly surprised to see how intersectionalist the Foundation’s work is – the stated missions as expressed on their site’s FAQ are rock solid and were borne out tonight.

Dr. Howard made it clear his personal eschewal for the “kids will be kids” excuse in response to bullying activity and resultant harm and suicide in our nation’s youth population; he emphatically stated, “Kids will be the kids we teach them to be.” Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. I found myself fervently wishing for more strong, compassionate and proactive leaders of Howard’s ilk in the lives of our young people.

He also expressed his opinion the “athletic white male” and white males in general have incredible privilege they can leverage to make things better for marginalized and abused populations. Yes, again. Another strong point in a very strong presentation.

But there was deep sadness for me in this event, too.

I knew schools were oppressive for marginalized groups but I didn’t realize how much. Near tonight’s conclusion one young white man stood up and after thanking Howard profusely announced his intention to start a GSA at his own high school – Hoquiam. He also said he was the only out gay male in the school. This bothered me quite a bit. I went to this same school and graduated sixteen years ago; at that time we had one “out” male student (who was mistreated horribly). Sixteen years and youth still aren’t safe?

A handful of other young people stood up and told part of their stories. It was clear that although the college campus is generally experienced as a bit more inclusive, the problems in our public schools are quite severe. In support of my impressions Howard said today’s conversation at Hoquiam High School had been a good one but Aberdeen was “the worst school he’d been to.” He said he was not so upset at the disrespect of the students but because the adults in power did nothing to stop it. This is very grievous indeed, but is substantiated by other experiences I’ve read about regarding this school (see: “ALCU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Harassed Student” ; you can read the school district’s response here, where sadly and predictably they deny they did anything wrong or have any responsibility for Russell’s experience.)

It seemed like everyone left smiling and relaxed – in one attendant’s view, “empowered”. I felt quite disturbed and sad. First, I would expect most attendants tonight to be those who already supported many aims of the Foundation – and it was hardly a full house. If this small populace does not take their inspiration tonight and continue to meet the rest of the world with strength and compassion and an improved listening ability, I worry change will continue at a glacial pace. Secondly, I feel anger and sadness about the larger community that does not task themselves to do better. And I was and am rattled to hear the testimonies from within school.

I did take some comfort: it appeared many of the young students there (Phoenix was the youngest but there were students from age thirteen and up) took a lot of strength from what they saw. This is a good thing, probably even an essential one. At the end of all this, for me, I simply have to believe people who said they found the work helpful. I can’t let myself get cynical or apathetic.

And on that note, today I stumbled across “Born This Way” and read through a few entries. Not quite enough, not yet, to feel better. But a good start.

***

In additional news: today the Hogaboom kids announced their intentions to convert to vegetarianism (they haven’t quite grasped how near-impossible this is to do if eating out, ever, in Hoquiam and Aberdeen). I am not super-surprised as we’ve been watching the typical glut of nature films lately and both kids have been expressing a high degree of compassion and empathy for animal life; for quite some time they’ve also been aware of big agriculture processes (as opposed to our happier chickens, for instance). I am a good enough cook with regards to vegetarian fare but – three meals a day for four people! Yikes! Recipe sources that don’t suck and aren’t boring are highly appreciated!