communication, complaints, condescending twatbags, language, rants, religion

Oh my God, how OBNOXIOUS!

The featured photo is of a t-shirt offered on I probably ought to order it for the warmer days that are rapidly approaching.

I hope everybody had a nice Valentine’s Day. Mine was pretty quiet. Thanks to COVID-19, and the general doldrums that have come about because of that, plus Bill’s busy status at work, the crappy weather, and just the fact that I’m getting older and more crotchety, Valentine’s Day was pretty low key. I didn’t even write any fresh content yesterday, even though I had a couple of topics in mind. I just wasn’t in the mood.

But anyway, Bill delivered. I got a beautiful bouquet of roses and one of Bill’s trademark mushy cards. My orders came in, and I got two new box sets of forgotten 70s and 80s era shows I loved as a kid. And, glory of glories, I also got new underwear! Unfortunately, they are not made of my preferred combed cotton knit, but of some kind of yucky “super soft” material. It’s probably modal, or something like that. I have had them before, and didn’t like them… and I guess I failed to realize I had ordered them again. Oh well. At least they aren’t stained yet.

Bill is home today, because he’s taking three classes from the Jung Institute in Zurich. Originally, our plan was to go to Switzerland so he could attend in person, but COVID-19 fucked that up, too. Ironically, even Germany is talking about loosening restrictions very soon– like, next week, “loosening” is supposed to commence. But I doubt that will mean the same to most Americans as it does to me.

The fucking face masks will still be required… the heavier, “coffee filter” ones, that I absolutely loathe, which haven’t actually stopped the spread of the virus. Yeah, I know this makes me sound like an “anti-masker”, which maybe I am on some level. I am an anti-masker in the sense that I want them to eventually go away. I recognize their utility in crowds, when the virus is running amok and there are no vaccines. But it’s been almost two years, and we’re all so tired. When Germany says it will “loosen” restrictions, that means that they’ll stop with the 2G+ nonsense… meaning to go into a business or restaurant, one must be fully vaccinated AND tested or boosted. Or the even more ridiculous 2G++ requirement– vaxxed, boosted, and tested. And they’ll let more people visit each other or be indoors. They’re just doing this because spring is coming, and they want people to spend money. As far as I’m concerned, if I have to wear a coffee filter, I’d rather stay home, or go to a place where I don’t have to wear a coffee filter. Which brings me to my next topic…

Apologies to the person on my friends list who posted the below photo if s/he finds my upcoming comments offensive or shaming. I honestly feel the need to discuss this… because again, how obnoxious…

I saw this yesterday and had to scratch my head a bit. Besides the apostrophe abuse, the message is just fucked up.

I’m about 100 percent sure the person who shared the above photo meant well. It was probably meant to inspire thought… or maybe a sense of shame. I don’t know. I would expect that the people who saw this were friends, and I would hope the person’s friends weren’t the type of people who would need to be reminded to be ashamed about the horrors of the Jim Crow era. I don’t think this photo quite sends a logical message.

Let’s stop and think about the two situations being compared for just a minute. In one situation, a person encounters a “masks only” sign. That means he or she must either put on a mask to enter an establishment, or go home and order online. That sign has nothing to do with anything beyond the person’s control. It’s a matter of choice. Wear a mask and do your business, or go home and order online. Simple, right?

The other situation involves people being excluded simply because they have dark skin. That’s something beyond their control. The people in that photo can’t just go home and change skins or order online. What’s more, having dark skin isn’t like spreading a contagious and potentially deadly disease. Being a person of color isn’t contagious, nor would I say it’s a negative thing. It just is. By contrast, nobody sane wants to catch COVID-19.

Looking at the meme again, I also think that the comparisons are kind of like apples and oranges in terms of the “victims”. I mean, most “woke” people routinely condemn the so called “obnoxious” anti-maskers among us, right? They say things like, “It’s just a strip of cloth.” or “It’s no big deal.” or “Just get with the program so we can get beyond the pandemic.” And when anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers happen to fall ill with COVID-19, the pro-face mask crusaders then have a good laugh. Some of them really yuk it up when some of those people end up dying due to their ignorance and stubbornness, as they self-righteously continue with their preaching about showing compassion and consideration during the COVID-19 era.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am fully onboard with vaccines. I will even admit that masks are a good idea in crowds, when the virus is especially deadly, there are no effective treatments, and people aren’t vaccinated. I just want the masks to go away someday. I dream of a day when we can be in public again and not have to deal with annoying rules. And until that day comes, I’ll probably just mostly stay home and order things online. I’m not going to protest or get into a fight with someone over wearing a mask. I probably just won’t do business with them in person, if I can help it. That’s my choice. I don’t mind making that choice, and I’m sure the people in public life are fine with me not being around them. They won’t even know the difference. Because seriously… how obnoxious! I know I am, so I will spare everyone.

But when it comes to the other part of the meme– the part where we’re asked to consider how people of color felt when they encountered a “whites only” sign, I just don’t think that quite compares to being asked to put on a mask. Most decent people roundly condemn the Jim Crow laws. A “whites only” sign would be very offensive to them. The same group of people would probably not be offended by a “masks only” sign. Get it?

Apparently, a lot of people didn’t think about this photo for as long as I did, since it went viral. But when I clicked on the photo my friend shared, it took me to the original post. There was a lively discussion going on, with many people who could see the same issue with it that I see. These two situations simply don’t compare. One person commented that this meme was one of the stupidest things she’d ever seen. I wouldn’t be quite that harsh. I think the person who made it probably meant well. I just wish he or she had given it a bit more thought, just as I wish those who are sharing it, presumably with their friends, would consider it a little more.

How is that photo supposed to make your friends feel? Is it your intent to shame your friends? Because, honestly, that’s how I felt when I saw it. And then I felt pretty annoyed. Don’t we have enough to be concerned about these days without conflating two such serious issues that don’t really measure up to each other? Is it really anyone’s intentions to offend their friends on social media? I do hate the face masks and I chomp at the bit for the day when we can ditch them. But I don’t think being asked to wear a mask in order to slow down a contagious disease compares, in any way, with the horrors of the Jim Crow laws. They are totally different concepts.

I suspect the photo was intended to shame anti-maskers by reminding them of how horrible and difficult it’s been for truly oppressed people. I think it really misses the mark, though, and oversimplifies things. I would hope that your friends don’t really need this kind of shaming.

I’m getting pretty tired of people on social media using it as a means of being sanctimonious to other people, anyway. I know a lot of people do it. They like getting on a soap box, and social media makes it easy and relatively safe to do so. It’s still very annoying, though, and probably not that effective, especially toward friends. Or, at least, that’s my take. All it does is spread unnecessary negativity. In fact, I find the practice highly obnoxious. 😉

Moving on to another obnoxious topic. That would be Paula White, televangelist extraordinaire. The other day, James of Fundie Fridays did an excellent video about her. I think Paula White is extremely obnoxious. I thought so when I first discovered her on TBN back in 2003 or so. I used to watch her show for fun, because I found her so incredibly over-the-top. But then she became our most obnoxious former president’s “spiritual advisor”, which gave her an even bigger platform. And she really showed us the crazy, didn’t she?

If you are at all interested in Paula White and her crazy story, you should watch James’s video. My only criticism of the video is that James went on a little bit longer than he probably needed to; and he used a few too many Journey references, since Paula is currently married to Jonathan Cain, who plays keyboards for Journey. But overall, I think he did an excellent job of exposing the crazy shit that spews from Paula White’s collagen plumped lips. Bravo, James!

Good gawd. How obnoxious!!!

I probably would have written a whole post devoted to the above Paula White dedicated video, especially since I know that James and Jen of Fundie Fridays have become very popular and, hey, I like to ride on the coattails of other people’s successes when I can, right? Because I am obnoxious that way… I have noticed that people hit this blog because I’ve written about Fundie Fridays. So it’s not a bad thing when I mention that channel, because it’s a win/win. It exposes new people to their content, and possibly mine, too. I don’t aim to be as popular as they are, but it’s not a bad thing to get some ad revenue. Maybe enough to buy beer? That would be nice.

In the interest of not pulling a “James”, I’m gonna wrap this up and do some guitar practice. Sorry to be so obnoxious this morning. Noyzi put that theme in my head, as he was galloping through the house like a freak as Bill prepared to walk him and Arran. As he came whizzing past us in his joy, I said, “Oh my God! How OBNOXIOUS!” I love the word “obnoxious”. It’s a word that people have used to describe me since the day I was born. I might as well own my obnoxiousness with this obnoxious post. I don’t enjoy offending people, and I’m truly sorry that some people think I’m obstreperous. That’s another reason I stay home. 😉

Anyway, hope y’all have a good day. And if my friend finds my commentary on the above meme obnoxious, I do apologize. But, if I’m honest, I really think the meme really gets it wrong and, to be frank, I was a bit offended by it, and felt the need to vent. So, I’m sorry if I offend, but not sorry that I wrote on this topic. I hope we can still be friends. 🙂

And just to be even more obnoxious, below is a link to Amazon, where you can purchase the t-shirt… and I will get a small commission from Amazon, if you do. See? Another win/win.

condescending twatbags, modern problems, social media

“Calm down. Have some dip.”

Listen to George.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been giving more thought to ditching Facebook. With each passing day, it becomes more and more of an attractive option to me. I think dumping Facebook would spare me a lot of aggravation. On the other hand, I worry that without Facebook, I’ll be bored. I never really got into Twitter, although I do have an account there. I don’t use Instagram at all, and am not wanting to start. But Facebook is becoming more and more of a problem for me, even though I know if I quit using it, there would be a handful of people I would miss. And I mean, out of just over 400 friends, I would probably miss about 25 or 30 of them. The rest, I really could take or leave.

Yesterday, as I carefully hid post after virtue signaling post about the importance of wearing face masks, I was prompted to do a Google search. It was because yet another one of my “friends” posted the “wear a damn mask” meme. I wrote a few days ago that I find that phrase very off putting and rude. I don’t think that’s an expression that true friends would use toward each other. When I see it written, I imagine someone snarling at me. Maybe it’s because I’m an old fart now, but being snarled at isn’t appealing. I mean, I hope at some point, someone besides Bill will show me basic respect… although maybe that’s a lost cause. Figures Generation X would get screwed like that. We were all taught some basic home training, but by the time we got old, that all went out the window.

Anyway, my friend posted “wear a damn mask”, which irritated me, if only because I know she’s bright enough to come up with something of her own that is clever, rather than passing around yet another stale platitude originally stated by a politician. If you search “wear a damn mask”, you will find many results by people who have co-opted that cliche for their own news articles and blog posts, and that annoys me even more. So I headed to Google and typed, “I hate wear a damn mask”. It actually pains me to write that here, since it’s not grammatically correct. But I didn’t want results for “I hate wearing a damn mask”, which is already a given. I wanted to know if other people out in Google land are as annoyed by the phrase “wear a damn mask” as I am.

I didn’t find what I was looking for, although I did stumble across a very clever and entertaining article on a site called Damage. It’s apparently a magazine that seeks and actually pays writers for content. A writer named Amber A’Lee Frost wrote a very witty post called “I’m Not Wearing a Mask”. That’s probably a great title, since it will beg people to click it. A whole lot of people are full of righteous indignation and sanctimony about non-mask wearers. They’re calling them “selfish”, “thoughtless”, “reckless”, “stupid”, and even “murderous“.

Amber A’Lee Frost wrote about checking her email and being relieved to find one from Banana Republic, telling her she is to wear earth tones this summer. It was a shred of normalcy that reminded her that summer would, indeed, happen this year. The world wasn’t and isn’t about to end. Like me, Frost is sick of the fucking ads for “cute masks“, another topic I have bitched about on this blog. And, like me, she is writing about cooperating for the common good, which I have been doing, but not liking. These two paragraphs very nicely nailed how I feel:

I do wear a mask (so congratulations if you made it this far into the essay without calling the cops on me), and I hate it. I’m aware that not liking the masks is neither an original nor productive sentiment, but it doesn’t hurt anyone to admit it either, so it would stand to reason that it is an appropriate and healthy thing to feel and to say. And so…

I hate The Masks. I hate wearing them, I hate seeing other people wearing them, I hate seeing the discarded ones all over the ground. I fucking hate them. I feel like I live in an open-air hospital, or a particularly cosmopolitan leper colony. I miss human faces very badly, and I hate the sensation of being trapped in a breathing swamp of my own self, as each damp exhale rolls back onto my face.

Yes. YES! Especially the part about feeling like living in an “open-air hospital”, although fortunately, so far, people in Germany aren’t quite that gung ho yet. Most people around here only wear the masks indoors or on public transportation.

I enjoyed the rest of Frost’s essay very much. She has a way with words, and some of her comments were very funny to me, while still being oddly poignant. For instance, Frost writes about how children during the World War II era wore gas masks that looked like Mickey Mouse. The beloved mouse styled gas mask was designed by the U.S. Army and was supposed to be comforting to children as they wore the masks to protect themselves from deadly mustard gas. But the “cute” design only served to make the masks look weirdly menacing and dystopian. Like me, Frost finds the current trend of “cute” face masks upsetting, creepy, depressing, and when it comes down to it, repulsive. She writes, “the new market of boutique facemasks repulses me far more than any makeshift from a bandana or scarf, or the cold medicality of the N95 respirator. But make no mistake; they all suck.” I completely agree!

I showed the article to Bill, who also found it a good read. So I shared it on Facebook, and got some good comments. One friend even recognized the post as a great perspective on this whole pandemic thing, particularly involving people who are reacting in an extreme way. I completely understand how serious the pandemic is. I’ve been saying so from the get go. But that doesn’t mean I am willing to wear a face mask 24/7 for the rest of my life. I expect these measures to be temporary, just as they have been in the past when there’s been a war involving poisonous gases as weapons or a pandemic going on. In those days, we didn’t have social media, though, so we weren’t all subjected to everyone else’s views on how people should be coping or reacting to this current reality.

A friend didn’t like Amber A’Lee Frost’s post. She wrote that it was just as annoying as all the preachy virtue signaling posts by the pro mask brigade, and it’s just another form of virtue signaling. I advised her not to read articles she doesn’t like. She then implied that the fact that she’d read the post was my fault, since I had enjoyed it and was enlightened by it. In other words, she thought she’d like it, since I had. And, I guess, since she didn’t like it, I somehow “let her down”.

To be honest, I was kind of non-plussed by this response. I have over 400 Facebook friends. I should probably have far fewer, but that’s beside the point. How can I possibly be expected to know what will or won’t please or enlighten my friends? I didn’t realize it was my duty to entertain them on my Facebook page. I liked Amber A’Lee Frost’s essay, and I think that should be good enough, at least when it comes to deciding what to share on MY page. I can’t please everybody, nor can I know what will appeal to everybody. It’s not like she didn’t know by the title of the piece– “I’m Not Wearing a Mask”– that the post was going to be about face masks. Moreover, most blogs are full of virtue signaling. God knows, mine is!

Amber A’Lee Frost’s post is the first and only one I’ve seen so far that accurately addresses how I’ve been feeling. I’ve been struggling to convey the same thoughts in my blog that she did so well in her essay. I’ve not been as successful. I was delighted to read how she’d put the experience of living in this new reality. It was funny, witty, and easy to read, but it was also startlingly accurate to me. We know that the masks are necessary for now, but we don’t have to like it. And saying out loud or posting that we don’t like it and don’t want it to go on forever doesn’t make us bad or irresponsible people.

Just as I was recovering from that altercation, I ran across a news article about Joe Biden and his thoughts on mask wearing. The CBS News headline states, “Biden says he’d use executive powers to force Americans to wear masks in public”. That headline makes me worry. We don’t need a politician acting like Trump, only from the other side of the political spectrum. Trump has been using a lot of forceful, obnoxious, rights ignoring language. I don’t want to see or hear that from Joe Biden. I want him to be sensible and a good role model. I want him to consider all viewpoints and do what is best for the country in a moderate way. I am not looking for Trump behavior, only with a liberal bent. The word “force” is not a good one to use in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. America is supposed to be about freedom. There is nothing “free” about the word “force”, and it won’t win over reluctant Trump supporters who don’t like the orange menace, but like “leftism” even less.

In the course of our discussion about that thread, someone brought up seatbelts and how long it took to convince people to wear them. And yes, I DO remember quite well. In fact, I always hated seatbelts when I was a kid. I didn’t consistently have to wear them, which was probably one of the problems. The other problem was that they were uncomfortable, confining, and restrictive, and, in fact, weren’t really that safe. Seatbelts in the 1970s were not at all like seatbelts of 2020. Today’s seatbelts are a lot more functional and comfortable, even with the added shoulder belt in the back seat that we didn’t have in the 1980s.

But– I still don’t see wearing a mask as the same as wearing a seatbelt. It’s always been unsafe to ride in a car unrestrained. That was true even before seatbelts were invented. Face masks, on the other hand, are a very new thing for the vast majority of people and, until very recently, it was not considered unsafe to walk around in public without one. For most people with normal immune systems, it truly wasn’t unsafe.

It takes time and evidence for people to change their opinions and habits. Trying to force people to change, berating and insulting them, and not using common sense is not the best way to change hearts and minds about an issue. All you have to do to know this is look at some of the failed public health campaigns of the past… and present, really.

Like, is anyone really convinced that only providing sexual abstinence education to teenagers helps fix our nation’s issues with teen pregnancy? Look at where the teen pregnancy problems are the worst and you’ll easily find the answer to that question. Ditto for promoting condom use to prevent HIV infection. In the 1980s, public health experts were threatened with a withdrawal of federal funding if they made any health promotion materials that implied that homosexual behavior is acceptable. It also ignored the fact that condoms blocked what most gay men enjoy most about sex– physical contact and sensations. Consequently, a lot of homosexuals ignored advice to use condoms to protect themselves against the virus that causes AIDS. A lot of time and money was wasted, and the pandemic continued until scientists finally started finding ways to effectively treat the virus and condom manufacturers started making products that addressed what their customers were looking for in a sexual experience.

Someone decided to take me to task on that issue, too. I was bombarded with links to articles about the coronavirus in such a way that I couldn’t possibly read or respond to every link in a timely manner. Frankly, I found that approach insulting because I can Google with the best of ’em. The person told me they once were paid to do online research. Well, guess what? So was I! And I actually earned an advanced degree in public health and worked in epidemiology, so I’m not exactly a slouch myself when it comes to research, particularly in the field of public health and healthcare policy, another area in which I used to work. But really, I didn’t want to talk about research. I wanted to talk about common sense.

What has me especially concerned is that a whole lot of people– a lot of them people lucky enough to be on or beyond the edge of elderly, who have been fortunate enough to enjoy long, productive lives of relative normalcy– are pleading with young people to give up the prospect of living a “normal” life themselves. They are acting as if we should all simply accept that the virus is here to stay and we should grin and bear the prospect that we’ll be uncomfortable and inconvenienced by it for the rest of our lives. Some of them sound like this is how they think it’s going to be from now on, and the rest of us should simply relax and be okay with it.

Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that I’m NOT okay with it. I do not want to wear a mask from now on. I will wear one for now, out of respect for the common good, but I expect the masks to be a TEMPORARY measure. I am not willing to give up seeing people smile, hugging and kissing, eating good food and drinking fine wines in restaurants, listening to people play saxophone on street corners or hearing choirs sing in churches, feeling cool breezes on my face, wearing pretty lipstick, or hearing people speak unmuffled in public. I am not going to just sit still and accept that as my future without complaint.

Feeling this way doesn’t make me crazy or irresponsible or in need of a lecture. It’s COMMON SENSE. I hope and expect that scientists will find a way to arrest or treat this virus, the same way science has handled prior pandemics. So yes, I will cooperate with the mask requirements for now, although I’d rather simply stay home, and I suspect that pretty soon, that will be an issue because it will affect the economy. But I absolutely expect that I won’t be putting up with this shit for the rest of my life. I would hope other people feel the same way. And I would also hope that before they go off on someone for complaining about the masks and rightfully saying that wearing them sucks, people would use common sense.

Wearing a face mask sucks. I doubt that many people really enjoy it. Admitting that it sucks isn’t a bad thing. It serves as motivation to make disease prevention more practical and comfortable for everyone. People who say the masks suck and admit to hating wearing them aren’t necessarily in need or a lecture or an intervention. They aren’t even necessarily non-compliant. And I’m getting tired of thinking this and posting it only in my blog as I quietly hide, ignore, or scroll past posts and stale memes about the importance of face masks because I don’t want to be harassed by my so-called “friends” who apparently think I’m stupid and need a clue.

I get it. Many people think face masks are important and should be mandatory. Most of your friends either get it, or won’t be convinced. Hitting us over the head repeatedly with the same message isn’t going to do much more than piss us off… and, in my case, make me think about ditching Facebook altogether– although I mostly think I might do it because I’m pissed off about being falsely accused of posting “hate speech” on Facebook and not being able to complain about it to a real person. That is lame as hell, and it tells me that Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk have way too much power in my life.

family, musings, religion

Sunday School ditcher…

This is a repost from April 26, 2016. I did write fresh content today, but I don’t feel safe in sharing it publicly. So I’m sharing this piece from my old blog instead, mainly because old memories were brought up by a meme my aunt shared a few years ago.

My mind is on an incident that occurred sometime around 1983.  I was in middle school.  Every Sunday, my dad took me to Sunday school and church.  I hated going because I thought church was pretty boring.  My mom was the organist at another church and my dad sang in the choir, so I either sat alone, or with a lady who was the wife of another choir member. 

As much as I hated church, I really hated Sunday school.  The guy who taught my Sunday school class at that age was very annoying.  I didn’t like him at all.  I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t like him, but I hated being in his class.  I also got bullied by others in Sunday school, people who had been born and raised in the community and picked on anyone who wasn’t like them.

For some reason, one week I decided I wasn’t going to go to Sunday school, so I hid in the bathroom for the whole hour.  The following week, I did the same thing.  I don’t remember how many times I ditched Sunday school, but it was enough times that when the Sunday school teacher ran into my dad and me at the grocery store, he asked where I had been.  My dad, who was unaware that I had been playing hooky, was flabbergasted that I disobeyed him.  When we got home, he gave me a spanking that I have never forgotten. 

I don’t remember my dad ever asking me why I skipped Sunday school.  I don’t remember him talking to me about why I needed to be there.  I just remember his raw brutality that day and how it made me feel.  After that, I went back to Sunday school, but I still hated it and really resented the teacher.  When he died a couple of years later, I was glad I didn’t have to see him anymore.  His wife was a friend of my mother’s.  I liked her.  She was very intelligent and played piano.  I’m sure her husband was a swell guy.  But he sure fucked up my world that day in the early 80s, when my dad was more concerned about his image and my disobedience than he was about me, personally. 

I was reminded of that incident last night after reading about the latest research on spankings.  I made the mistake of sharing the article and got a few comments from conservatives who continue to defend it.  I wasn’t actually wanting to debate the issue.  In fact, I simply said I wasn’t a fan of corporal punishment.  I speak out as someone who was disciplined almost exclusively with yelling and hitting, not one of those people who constantly claim spanking is harmless and builds character.  I figure I have as much of a right to be heard as those who think spanking is totally okay. 

As I was having this discussion last night, sitting in my living room with my gentle husband, I got very upset.  I finally had to tell people I was done with the topic, because I was sitting there in tears remembering being physically punished by my dad. 

I recalled my dad when he was in discipline mode, face beet red, veins popping out, and barely in control of himself.  Fortunately, he was never one to use a belt or a spoon.  He only used his hands, which were definitely enough when he was enraged.  I remember him yelling at me as he hit me, powered by fury and adrenaline.  I never knew which infractions would earn me a spanking.  He would just spank when the mood struck, which was never consistent.  Come to think of it, he was inconsistent about a lot of things.  For instance, he always wore a seatbelt, but wouldn’t always make me wear one.  Usually, when he did, it was either because he was punishing me or trying to assert himself as the boss of the family.

One time when I was about 13, my dad was driving me and a friend to the barn where I kept my horse.  I had to go clean stalls.  As we were headed there, my dad informed me that he expected me to haul gravel when we got back home.  I asked him if the work could wait until I no longer had a guest.  He got very angry and told me not to expect him to come pick us up later.  For some reason, I got very upset with my dad and called him an asshole.  His response to that was pretty epic.  He parked the car.  I got out and headed for the barn.  He followed me, grabbed me by the neck, and started to throttle me. 

My friend watched my dad scream at me as he clutched me by the neck.  I remember telling him to let me go or I’d kick him in the balls.  He did let go.  Later, he acted as if nothing had happened, though my mom made sure to tell me that I’d “really blown it”.  She was just pissed that he was pissed and didn’t care why I called him an asshole.  Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.  I had lost my temper too.  But I was a kid and he was a grown man who resorted to violence to get his point across.  I certainly didn’t gain any regard for my father when he choked me in front of my friend.     

My father’s discipline sessions did not teach me to respect him.  As a matter of fact, by the time he died, I had a lot of conflicted feelings about him.  He was my father and I loved him for the many good things he did.  But he also often treated me badly and felt he had a perfect right to.  He brought me into the world and felt he had the right to “take me out”, right?

The latest studies on spankings indicate that spankings make children more aggressive and less successful. Quoted from the article I linked:

The more kids are spanked, the greater the risk

Studies have shown that spanking can damage a child’s IQ or ability to learn; that it trigger aggressiveness and worsens behavior. Gershoff says the pattern is consistent when a large number of studies are put together.

“In childhood, parental use of spanking was associated with low moral internalization, aggression, antisocial behavior, externalizing behavior problems, internalizing behavior problems, mental health problems, negative parent- child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem, and risk of physical abuse from parents. In adulthood, prior experiences of parental use of spanking were significantly associated with adult antisocial behavior, adult mental health problems, and with positive attitudes about spanking,” they wrote.

“Spanking was also significantly associated with lower moral internalization, lower cognitive ability, and lower self-esteem. The largest effect size was for physical abuse; the more children are spanked, the greater the risk that they will be physically abused by their parents.”

Let’s take a look at the end results in my case: 

First off, here I sit, “The Overeducated Housewife”.  Some may say that I’ve been “successful” in many ways.  I have a good marriage and managed to finish my education and then some.  But I haven’t had a regular job in years.  I tried to get one for a long time, but finally gave up on it.  The thought of going back to work terrifies me.  I also have trust issues with people and am reluctant to connect with them.  

I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety.  I had issues with eating disorders when I was younger, though now I think I’ve pretty much traded those for drinking too much.  I’m still haunted by my upbringing and if I think too long and hard about it, I get very upset.  

As a kid, I was aggressive to other kids and animals.  It wasn’t until I got older that I developed a sense of empathy and compassion.  I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of negative feelings about my parents, too.  I would consider my father’s version of “spankings” excessive and abusive.  They were not done when he was calm and they didn’t involve anything more than him getting out his frustration and anger by physically attacking someone much smaller than him.  Maybe some people would say that my dad’s spankings were actually beatings.  But my dad called what he did “spanking” and it was perfectly fine for him to do that to me.  I often felt resentment and often fantasized about hitting him back.   

Was all of my baggage caused by my father’s spankings?  Probably not.  But I don’t think the physical punishments were helpful at all and I can definitely relate to what researchers discovered in their studies on spankings.  Maybe I’d be more in favor of corporal punishment if my father had spanked me when he was calm and rational, but it would have taken time, effort, and self-control for him to get to that state.  He wasn’t disciplined enough to calm down before he put his hands on me, so his form of discipline ended up being abusive.  

I often hear people saying that today’s kids are entitled brats because they don’t get spanked.  I don’t think that’s why kids today seem different than they were in my day.  I think a major reason why kids are more “fucked up” nowadays is because they aren’t necessarily allowed to be kids anymore.  We have plenty of nanny laws designed to protect them, even though there’s never been a safer time to be a kid.  We don’t let them run and play, but force them to take standardized tests.  We don’t let them explore on their own or give them time to dream.  Instead, we load them up with planned, supervised activities.  Parents have to work very hard to make ends meet and often families end up splintering under the stress.  And at the end of childhood, young adults have this fucked up world to assimilate into somehow.    

I understand that people are going to do what they’re going to do.  Parents are going to spank their kids and call it “loving” discipline.  I can’t agree that spanking a child is a loving action.  I think it’s often done as a result of a parent losing control and being lazy.  But I also say that as someone who was a recipient of corporal punishment and not as a parent myself.  I admit that I don’t know what it’s like to be on the other side of the equation.  I’m sure if I were a parent, I would be tempted to lash out sometimes, even though intellectually, I think spanking is a wrong-headed thing to do.  

Plenty of people were spanked as kids and “turned out fine”.  Maybe I’m “fine” too.  When I think of my father today, sometimes the memories are good.  Often, they make me feel sad and depressed.  I wasn’t his favorite child and I bore the brunt of his PTSD, depression, and alcoholism.  He’d call me fat, retarded, and “crazy” and he felt like he had the right to strike me anytime he wanted.  He’d leave me enraged and humiliated and full of hatred for him.  Somehow, I doubt that’s what my dad was going for when he decided I needed discipline.