ethics, healthcare, law, modern problems, poor judgment

Medical freedom… or medical freedumb?

Today I reposted a 2017 era article from my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife blog. That post was written in a time of blissful ignorance of what awaited the world just three years later. In 2017, I was inspired by reading about young people who were critically ill and forced to accept medical care decisions thrust upon them by older people. Most of the cases of the youngsters in that post suffered from cancers of some kind, but a couple of them had other medical problems.

In several cases, the young patients’ parents were religious or wanted to try a more “natural” approach to healthcare. The parents were taken to task by medical professionals who wanted to override their decisions. In one case, the patient was a 17 year old young man who was deemed mature. He didn’t like the chemotherapy that was prescribed to treat his Hodgkin’s Disease, so he tried to refuse it. Doctors sought to force submission by legal means. In the end, the young man’s case was the inspiration for “Abraham’s Law” in Virginia, which allows older teenagers and their parents to refuse medical care or choose alternative therapies.

It amazes me now to read about these controversial cases involving young people, especially given that COVID-19 wasn’t on the radar at the time. Nowadays, the term “medical freedom” is a hot topic, as people fight over whether or not vaccinations against the coronavirus should be mandatory for all who can safely take it. On one hand, there’s a group of people who want to be able to make all medical and healthcare choices for themselves, although a lot of the people in the anti-vaccine group curiously draw the line at abortions for other people. On the other hand, there’s a large group of people who fear the rapidly spreading COVID virus that has, so far, killed over 650,000 Americans and well over four million people worldwide. That group believes that people should be required to get vaccinated.

Although I am all for vaccination and I do believe that the vaccines are saving lives, there is a part of me that empathizes with those who don’t want to be forced to take it. I don’t think it’s smart to skip the vaccines. Many of the arguments I’ve heard against the vaccines seem to be mostly based on misinformation and conspiracy theories. A lot of people worry that there will be terrible side effects to the vaccines. Or they know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy whose balls shriveled up and fell off after the first shot. Personally, I think those arguments are pretty lame. But I also genuinely don’t like the idea of forcing people to do things. I wish those kinds of rules weren’t necessary, and more people would cooperate simply because it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve read many stories of people who took a “wait and see” approach to COVID-19 and are now dead. Some of the saddest stories involve people who had young children or newborn babies. I’ve read at least three tragic stories about parents who have left large broods orphaned because of COVID. I’ve also read a lot of sad stories about people who are sorry they didn’t get vaccinated.

And I’ve also read about many conservative radio talk show hosts who have either gotten very sick from COVID or have actually died. There was a news story just this morning about a conservative talk show host named Bob Enyart, who had spread false information about COVID-19. He got sick and died. Enyart was vehemently against vaccine and mask mandates, and last year, he successfully sued the state of Colorado over mask mandates and capacity limits in churches. Enyart was all about making choices for his own health, but as a very vocal opponent of abortion, he apparently didn’t mind making healthcare choices for other people.

Curiously enough, Enyart was a Christian pastor, and he once gleefully read the names and obituaries of people who had died of AIDS while he played “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. What a charming man… huh? As Mr. Enyart was the 5th conservative radio talk show host to die of COVID in the past six weeks, perhaps the Queen song is appropriate theme for him and his ilk.

This morning, I ran across an interesting thread in the Duggar Family News Group. Someone, yet again, compared the COVID vaccine and mask mandates to seatbelt laws.

I disagree with this comparison. I also am old enough to remember when the seatbelt laws went into effect. At the time, I was pissed off about them. Don’t be too hard on me, though. I was a teenager.

I have mentioned before that I don’t think the COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates are the same as seatbelt laws. I mean, yes, I can see how people would make the comparison, but I don’t think it’s a very accurate one. When I was a child, I hated seatbelts and would only wear them if I was forced to… and generally that only happened when my dad was feeling controlling. In those days, a lot of people didn’t wear seatbelts. They weren’t as comfortable as they are today. Thankfully, as time has passed, the technology behind them has improved. I doubt we will ever be rid of the damned things. In any case, seatbelts are kind of different from masks and vaccines, as they don’t involve being injected into someone’s body, nor do they impact normal living and communicating as much as face masks do. You only wear them in the car. They don’t interfere with speaking, hearing, seeing, eating, or breathing.

And before anyone tries to tell me that masks don’t impede breathing, let me just stop you right there. I know they don’t. But some people do find wearing them oppressive, and the anxiety that comes from that might impede breathing. There are some people who can’t wear them for whatever reason… not too many, I will admit, but there are some. Likewise, some people can’t wear seatbelts for whatever reason. A lot of times, the reason has to do with being very obese, but sometimes it’s because of an injury or an occupation.

The point is, I don’t think seatbelts will ever go away. However, many of us hope the masks will go away, if and when the pandemic ends. Personally, I don’t see the pandemic ending happening unless a lot more people get vaccinated. But even though I think vaccines are an excellent idea and I would strongly encourage people to get the shot(s), I also feel uncomfortable with government mandates on things like medical care. Because, there are people who can’t or shouldn’t get vaccinations, for whatever reason. I also understand that some people are genuinely concerned about government overreach. Their concern isn’t entirely unfounded, although some of the arguments I’ve read are pretty ridiculous.

One thing I don’t think is helpful, though, is being rude and insulting to those who disagree. I don’t like the dogpile approach to trying to change minds, either. The above photo was shared in the Duggar Family News group, and it did invite contention. One woman posted this:

I remember when this page was about snarking on fundamentalist Christian families on television rather than promoting the divide of human kind based on personal choices they make for what they put in their own bodies.

That comment led to this response…

Even though I understand the frustration behind this response, I don’t think it was helpful.

The original poster was offended by the image. She expressed her dismay that a total stranger would wish death on her. Then, a big, long thread of comments ensued, with the vast majority of people name-calling, hurling insults, being sarcastic, and typing “all knowing” responses at the original poster. Her response, rather than being convinced, was to dig in her heels and respond in kind. Then, she either got booted from the group, or left on her own accord.

The last comment ends with the person telling the OP not to go to the hospital because she doesn’t believe in science. I disagree with that attitude, too. If someone gets sick with COVID, I don’t want them out on the street, infecting others. I’d rather see them getting treatment.

So… what exactly was accomplished by this contentious exchange? Not much, that I can see. I think a more respectful and friendly dialogue might have done more to foster group harmony. Maybe no one’s mind would have changed, but at least there would be listening and constructive communication going on, rather than flaming and hair flip rage exits. No matter what, I don’t think it’s appropriate to wish death on people simply because they disagree with you. On the other hand, I do understand the sentiment and the frustration behind such responses. I will also admit to occasionally being a hypocrite when I get pushed too far. I’m human, after all. I do try not to start out with abuse and insults, though.

I have never liked “nannyism”, especially in laws. However, I understand why “nanny” laws are often necessary. Many people, when left to their own devices, will not do things that are in their own or the public’s best interests. I have always hated wearing seatbelts myself, but I do understand why they’re necessary. I also have a husband who will turn into Pat Boone if I don’t wear one. So I do comply with that rule.

Even though I fucking hate face masks, I comply with that rule, too. However, I hope someday it will no longer be necessary. And I had no issues whatsoever with getting vaccinated against COVID, because as a student of public health, I know the theories behind vaccines and have seen concrete evidence that most of them work. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to learning new information, nor does it mean I’m not aware of potential risks from certain vaccines.

Below is advice given to people during the Spanish Flu pandemic. I agree with most of it, although I don’t think it matters whether or not someone “obeys cheerfully”, as long as they are compliant.

From 2018, when the Spanish Flu was killing people. They used masks then, and the masks eventually went away. I hope the same for COVID-19.

My late beagle, Zane, was a prime example of a dog who didn’t do well with vaccines. He had mast cell cancer (immune system cancer) that eventually progressed to lymphoma. He was allergic to at least one vaccination, and would get tumors when he had others. I actually think some people over-vaccinate their pets, and some of the encouragement to vaccinate is due to the revenue vaccines generate. Dogs with mast cell tumors should not get any unnecessary vaccines. I’m a little concerned about Arran, because he is due for a rabies shot next month, and the rabies shots can stimulate mast cell tumors. Arran has also had mast cell tumors, though not to the same severity Zane had. Because of Zane, I have some sympathy for people who are against vaccines, even though I think their reasoning is wrong in most instances. We don’t vaccinate people like we do pets, anyway. We certainly don’t get as many shots as they do.

Although I do believe in vaccine efficacy, I am not one to run out and demand the latest and greatest shots, nor do I get every vaccine available. For instance, I’ve never in my life had a flu shot. I would get them if I spent more time around other people, though. COVID-19 is different, at least right now. There’s hope that the virus will eventually weaken and become less dangerous, as flu mostly did. But at this point, it’s not getting better. Many people are getting sick and dying, and from what I’ve read, COVID-19 is a pretty nasty way to go.

I do think sometimes we need laws to protect ourselves and each other from those who lack insight, perspective, and wisdom. On the other hand, I agree that people should be free to make choices, whenever possible. Either way, medical freedom doesn’t do a damned bit of good to anyone who is dead. So I do hope that those who are against vaccines will wise up and get with the program. I understand wanting to wait and see how other people do with the shots, but time is running out… I have read too many sad stories about people who waited too long and got sick. There are too many stories about orphaned children, and bereaved spouses, siblings, and parents. And too many people are becoming downright mean and NASTY toward total strangers. I wish we’d all remember that when it comes down to it, we’re in a community. And being in a healthy community requires compassion, responsibility, and solidarity.

That being said… sometimes people DO need protection from crazy beliefs. Case in point, an old Mr. Atheist video I came across yesterday. Religion and politics make people do stupid things, even to their children. So while I am mindful of the so-called slippery slope when it comes to government overreach, I also think some people need to be saved from “freedumb” ideas.

JWs are just one group that have beliefs that can harm others… especially their own followers.
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videos, YouTube

Why I’ll never willingly be a YouTube personality…

I have a YouTube channel, but I don’t use it to make a name for myself. It started as a place for me to deposit raw videos from my travels. Now, I use it for travel or dog related videos I put in blog posts or when I feel like trying a song. Usually, when I record a song, I do it on SingSnap, since a lot of the ones I want to do are available there. It’s easy to record a song on SingSnap, but there are some drawbacks. The sound quality isn’t typically as good. I’m recording on the Internet, so that can affect syncing and background noise. SingSnap also got a new recorder, which I’m finding to be pretty wonky. However, in terms of ease and just trying stuff, SingSnap is good.

Sometimes, I make YouTube videos for music because I want to have something sharable. I’ve also found some interesting people on YouTube and, at least in the past, I could collaborate with some of them. I have no illusions of becoming a YouTube star, though. In fact, I don’t really promote my channel, nor do I post a lot of content. I have 79 subscribers at this writing. I’m not unhappy about that. I am primarily a writer, not a YouTube personality.

There was a time several years ago when I thought I’d like to expand my “audience”. I got a taste of what that can be like. I realized that when you put yourself out there, you can run into some real snakes. An encounter with a “real snake” is one reason why I moved my blog to WordPress. I don’t like drama. I just like to articulate my thoughts, and I tend to be very honest about how I feel. Some people like it. Others don’t.

Why is this subject coming up today? It’s because I’m sitting here listening to Jimmy Snow, a popular YouTube personality who has been going through some major YouTube drama right now. Some people know him as “Mr. Atheist”. I like his channel, although he has recently changed formats, which I don’t like as much. But still, I find him clever and interesting, and sometimes he’s pretty funny, too. Lately, Jimmy has gotten into some kind of disagreement with two women over someone’s book of poetry that was poorly reviewed. Somehow, Jimmy got into the middle of this and it’s turned into a huge drama. I’m not going to try to explain it, because I can’t. But I’ve seen sooo many videos about this drama, and it’s all culminated in the one I’m watching right now.

Jimmy Snow apologizes for the latest kerfuffle.

I don’t really know what this is all about. I’m not sure exactly why a negative book review has turned into such a huge deal. I’ve seen several videos by other YouTube personalities who have commented on this. Some have said some bad things about Jimmy Snow. Maybe, for some people, it’s personal. Maybe they’re involved in the drama themselves. I suspect, however, that some folks are making these videos for views and money. It strikes me as kind of tasteless and needlessly dramatic. I listen to Jimmy talk about this– he’s obviously upset and stressed out. It seems kind of pointless… and it reminds me that there’s a downside to being popular.

One of the many people who made a video commenting on Jimmy Snow’s drama.

For the record, I still like Jimmy. I even like his new format somewhat, although I preferred his Mr. Atheist stuff a bit more. When I listen to him speak in the above video, I hear someone who really is hurt and distressed by what’s happened. He sounds sincere to me, although again, I don’t know him personally. I just find his show entertaining and sometimes funny. I don’t like to see people in distress… but listening to him talk about this situation makes me realize that I’m happier as an obscure blogger. I remember how I felt when it seemed like people were stalking and spying on me, trying to stir up shit. I definitely don’t like it.

Jimmy Snow isn’t the only one who’s been getting dragged lately. Katie Joy Paulsen, of Without a Crystal Ball, also seems to have a lot of enemies. Katie Joy does a lot of videos about the Duggars, and she’s pretty popular. I do watch her videos sometimes, having gotten hooked on them when Bill was TDY for weeks. I’ve seen many people posting about her, making allegations that she lies and threatens people.

Katie Joy has made videos addressing the critics. She says she’s had CPS called on her, as well as multiple visits from the police over videos she makes. She’s even said she’s had dealings with the FBI due to death threats. Obviously, like Jimmy Snow, she makes money on these videos. But she’s also been sued over her commentary. Believe me… I am not interested in that kind of notoriety myself. I don’t know Katie Joy personally, so I’m not involved in her drama. But other people sure are.

No thanks… that kind of drama is more than I want to deal with.

This guy, Road Hog, has been posting all kinds of videos about Katie Joy. He calls her a liar and takes great pains to find falsehoods in what she says and does. It’s creepy and weird. I don’t know if what he says is true. He’s not the only one I’ve seen criticizing Katie Joy. I wonder if part of it is an attempt to score viewers and cash from monetization, or if he’s just on a quest to “uncover” a scandal. I just know that dealing with this kind of shit doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Hmm… what’s Road Hog’s real problem with Katie Joy?
He’s made a bunch of these videos. I’m beginning to think he’s got a problem.
Why is this guy so invested in Katie Joy’s channel? Has she accused HIM of something? Or is he just trying to cash in on drama and make money from views?

I notice that the more followers a person has, the more likely he or she is going to have to deal with strife. I write because it brings me pleasure. I find it liberating to put my thoughts down. I like sharing these thoughts with others, especially when they enjoy or even learn from my observations. But I am not interested in the kind of stress people like Jimmy Snow and Katie Joy are enduring, especially when it’s clear that making YouTube videos is their job. Jimmy has said that he has an actual “staff” who depend on him for their livelihoods. So when people start turning on him, it doesn’t just affect him.

My YouTube channel is pretty boring and non-controversial. In fact, last year I even stopped doing collaborations with a YouTuber because he reacted very negatively to a relatively innocuous comment I made on one of his videos. I decided I didn’t need that kind of drama in my life, so I unsubscribed. He didn’t seem to take that well, and he actually came to my channel and deleted every single comment he’d ever left on my videos within about eight years. That, to me, is pretty telling, and definitely weird. It’s a sign that I was right to back away from him.

The other main reason why I don’t try to make a name for myself on YouTube is that I don’t like being on camera. I don’t want to put on makeup, fix my hair, or wear a bra. I have an okay speaking voice, but I get very self-conscious on camera. The Zoom meeting I attended last week was enough video exposure for me. I don’t even use the camera when I make SingSnap videos.

So I am content to write this stuff on my personal space, on a fairly under the radar blog. I let the people who want to find me, find me… and enjoy relative privacy. I don’t know what I think about Jimmy or Katie Joy and whether or not these dramas are justified. I just watch their channels to kill time. There’s a downside to popularity, and I’m too old and cranky to deal with it.

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bad TV, complaints, politics

I fell down a rabbit hole yesterday…

After a short training session with Noizy the wonder dog, I decided I wanted to relax with a little TV. I pay for Netflix every month, but I don’t watch it very often. I decided to see if there was anything on there I wanted to see. I think I did see a show about a month ago– it was British and kind of contrived, but entertaining in a pseudo American kind of way (however, I no longer remember the name of said show)…

I decided to try again with another show, called Doctor Foster (2015 and 2017). This show, which so far has had two series, is kind of loosely based on the Greek myth, Medea. It’s about a female doctor named Gemma Foster who suspects that her husband, Simon, is having an affair. What aroused her suspicions? A blonde hair on his scarf. Next thing you know, Gemma is losing her shit.

A patient comes to her complaining of not being able to sleep. Gemma doesn’t want to give her sleeping pills. But she soon realizes that she can trade the pills for a spy. She recruits the patient to spy on her husband. Sure enough, he’s fucking someone else… his business partner’s daughter, who is about 22 years old to Gemma’s 37.

I guess I’m an old fart according to the people who wrote this show… and Bill is regularly fucking other people.

I should mention that Gemma (played by Suranne Jones) is smoking hot. She’s tall, well-built, and dark, with brooding eyes and a willowy, fit figure. More than once, the men on the show mention how “hot” she is, “for her age”… Wow. But still, despite being a well-paid doctor who is smoking hot and the mother of Simon’s son, Tom, Gemma isn’t enough for her randy husband. Apparently, men are completely incapable of being faithful. Seriously, they literally say this in the show.

Anyway, Simon’s lover, name of Kate, is pregnant. Guess who breaks the news to her? Gemma… who has somehow managed to finagle a doctor switch, quickly figuring out that the guilty blonde is the pretty girl sitting in the waiting room. She has Kate take off her trousers and top, remarks on how “fit” Kate is, and draws blood and urine.

Now… all of this is a bit contrived for my liking, but I have to admit, it’s kind of addictive viewing. I like British TV because it’s about as trashy as a lot of American TV; I can understand what is being said; and the humor is often witty. But this series, which won awards, is pretty far-fetched and ridiculous. I still binge watched the whole first season yesterday and have seen a couple of the episodes of season 2 today. It beats reading the news and the comments, which apparently I “kill” myself over, according to a regular reader.

The other alternative, besides playing Sims 4, practicing guitar, working on my latest jigsaw puzzle, or writing fiction, is trying to read my latest book. For some reason, I usually fall asleep when I read, even when the subject matter is interesting. I didn’t used to do this. I think it’s partly because I don’t sleep through the night thanks to Bill’s early wake ups and because Germany is entering the cold, dark time of year that makes me want to hibernate. The book I’m reading is about hellish doctors during the Nazi era. It’s very interesting, well-written, and personal, since it comes from a woman who was a court reporter during the Nuremberg Trials. But I get through a few pages and drift off.

I am glad we have the new dog, though. He gives me a reason to go outside and work with him. He’s making strides. A few days ago, he was absolutely terrified of the leash, to the point of submissive peeing on himself just by seeing it. Today, I put it on him and brushed him thoroughly. I could tell he enjoyed the brushing, even if he didn’t like the leash. I think he likes the attention, and the brushing probably feels good to him. I’m sure it scratches the itches, so to speak. He needs to be brushed, though, because he’s shedding a lot and we’re not quite ready to try a bath.

I also got him to take some roast beef from my hand. This dog isn’t very food oriented at all, but he has learned that beef and pork are tasty. He wouldn’t take the treats on the leash, but happily enjoyed them after we were finished with our session. And he also sit twice on command, without my having to touch him. After two times, he was too overwhelmed to continue. But… this was another big leap. I put the leash on the outside table with the brush and shedding blade and I saw him sniff it. I hope that means he’s realizing the leash isn’t to punish him. Maybe soon, he will see the leash as a great thing, as Arran does. I look forward to taking them both on a walk.

And finally, this morning, I watched this video about Kanye West’s ridiculous presidential campaign. The man has clearly lost his marbles and needs to get back on his meds.

Hard to believe, the election is so soon… any way it goes, it’s going to be a weird aftermath.

The mask crusaders continue on, trying to shame people into wearing masks. I really think it was a mistake to promote the idea that masks only protect other people. Even if that’s technically true, I think they should have been promoted more as a self-protective measure. I think people are more likely to cooperate if they think they’re doing something that is in their own self-interest.

Americans, by and large, are pretty selfish people. We’re big on individualism, personal freedoms, and pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We don’t want to be told what to do or lectured, even if mask wearing makes sense. I see so many people fighting with others about the stupid masks. Frankly, I think that’s a waste of time. Getting on a moral high horse doesn’t inspire cooperation, even if what you’re saying is “right”. Unfortunately, it’s going to take people getting very sick and scared before everyone is on the bandwagon.

As for me, I continue to stay home most of the time. I’m sure I’m not alone. When you stay home and watch bad TV, you don’t need a mask, nor do you hear a bunch of carping from other people. I’m sure that staying home isn’t what is best for the economy, but it is what is best for one’s health. Because even if you wear a mask, you can still get sick. Mask wearing just helps slow down the spread of the virus and keeps the hospitals from getting overwhelmed. On the other hand, I might wind up with other health problems from staying home.

This has definitely been a very ODD year. It’s going to be one of those years that changes everything, kind of like 9/11 did. I hope 2021 isn’t worse. I definitely relate to today’s featured photo. According to Ancestry.com, I come by that relation honestly.

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domestic violence, psychology, religion

“Grooming” your wife…

A few days ago, a friend of mine shared a blog post with me. He shared it because he knows I am fascinated by fundies– particularly of the Christian type. The post, which I have now seen passed around on Facebook on Duggar Family News and now on YouTube, has a lot of people in a tizzy. Here’s a video done by Jimmy Snow (aka Mr. Atheist) about this very blog post.

Jimmy Snow talks about a blog post entitled 7 Steps to Grooming Your Young Christian Wife.

Jimmy is clearly shocked by the contents of the blog post, which was written by a guy who thinks he ought to be treating his wife like a child. The article, as well as the comments, even includes references to spanking the wife for disciplinary transgressions. For example, the author of this piece includes an example of a man named “Robert” who is 24 years old. His wife is 18. He wants to be in charge of her, but she won’t get with the program. He’s asked the blogger for advice in getting his wife to accept her supposedly “Biblical” role as submissive to her husband’s leadership.

What follows is a list of seven steps to indoctrinate young women into being “godly”, submissive, disciplined wives. And he does specify that she must be young. Prerequisite #3 is exactly that. See below.

And why is this? I think I know…

As Jimmy points out in his video, people under age 25 tend to still be in “development”. It’s a fact that most human brains aren’t fully developed until people hit their early 20s. A person’s judgment is still forming when they are in their late teen years. They are physically mature, but mentally and emotionally, they’re still a work in progress. Which isn’t to say that a person can’t be “progressing” emotionally and mentally beyond their early years. It’s just that a lot more of it is going on during the time in which a person is maturing. The author of the “Biblical Gender Roles” blog correctly points out that a woman in her 30s or 40s is a lot less likely to accept that her husband must be in charge. I would add that even though young women might accept this condition of marriage, some of them will eventually reject it when they get older and are more mature.

So then, after listing three prerequisites, the blog author continues with his seven steps to “groom” a Christian wife. As he delves into this post, he even points out how creepy the word “grooming” is to many people, and he specifically calls out “secular humanists”.

Many of us cringe when we hear the word “groom”, when it’s not pertaining to personal hygiene or cleaning up an animal.

But then the blogger goes on to explain why “grooming” is okay when it’s your “Christian” wife. Then he goes on to write about why spanking wives is okay.

I probably have a controversial opinion about so-called “domestic discipline” in that I don’t always consider it abuse. If the people involved are consenting adults and they have truly consented to living that lifestyle, knowing the potential risks that could befall them in surrendering their personal power to, or accepting total responsibility for, another person, then I don’t figure that it’s any of my business what they do at home. If they don’t consider it abusive that their husband is head of the household, who am I to tell them they’re wrong, even if I disagree?

What I find especially interesting is that so many people are quick to call spanking one’s adult wife “domestic abuse”, but they have no problems with spanking children. Even if a wife is being abused by her husband’s spankings, she is always in a better position to seek help than a child is. And yet, many people don’t have an issue with spanking children, and a lot of folks even think that if we spanked children as often as we did back in the day, there would be fewer social problems.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I am not a proponent of spanking children in most situations. I see it as a last ditch thing that should only be used when every other measure fails, and even then, it probably shouldn’t be used. My father spanked me a lot when I was a child. It was pretty much the only method he used to discipline me, besides yelling at me (also not very effective, although often employed by frustrated parents). He’s been dead for six years, and I’m still angry with him about some of the things he did in the name of teaching me wrong from right. In my case, the spankings were usually abusive. They were always terrifying because he was almost always enraged when they happened.

Although I don’t remember being spanked once I got into true adolescence, I do remember that my dad was fine with hitting and slapping me until I was about 21 years old. The last time he did so, I told him that I would have him arrested if he ever laid a finger on me in anger again. It took considerable courage to tell him that, especially since I still relied on him at that point in my life. But it was a groundbreaking day for me. I decided on that day that anyone who hits me without my consent had better kill me. Children have no say over what an adult does to discipline them, and they are mostly unable to ask for help out of an abusive situation the way an adult can. Adults are usually bigger and stronger than children are. Women are also often smaller and weaker than men are, although there are certainly exceptions.

It always surprises me when I see people like Jimmy Snow flatly condemning domestic discipline as “abuse”, but so many other people are perfectly fine with physically punishing children. If you do a little sleuthing on the Internet, you’ll find that there’s a large population of people out there who are a little bit kinky and they enjoy exchanging power with others. As long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual, they don’t see it as abusive, even if other people think it’s “sick”. Some of those people also align these practices with Christianity. Again… not my cup of tea, but the brain is a fascinating and powerful thing. Some people, like it or not, get off on it.

A person who is legally able to get married can consent to “domestic discipline”. I may not agree with his or her decision to allow a spouse to discipline them with spankings or other punishments, but it’s not my place to tell them they can’t or shouldn’t. Ultimately, it is their decision. What’s sad about these fundie Christian marriages, though, is that a lot of the people who are in them don’t know another way. They have not been exposed to life beyond the religion they were born into, and a lot of them have not been taught critical thinking skills– hence the blogger’s comment that “grooming” a wife to be a disciplined Christian helpmeet is not going to work unless she’s young, and from a very sheltered upbringing. If she’s been exposed to another way, she probably won’t accept it.

In any case– I’m not sure that what the author of the Biblical Gender Roles blog is proposing is really the same thing as two consenting adults entering into a “domestic discipline” relationship. It sounds to me like his advice to “Robert” and his ilk is to “manipulate” their young wives. That practice, probably IS abusive, because it’s done in a deceptive, underhanded way. The very fact that the women have to be “young” and therefore naive and tractable, is kind of sick and creepy. These men simply want to marry children who have reached legal adulthood and will do what they say without question. That’s abusive.

In a weird way, because they have been on TV, I think the Duggar women might have escaped worse fates than they would have otherwise. If they kept being raised in an isolated community, with no exposure to “normal” people and worldly ideas, the daughters, especially, might have wound up being stuck in marriages in which they are treated like children and expected to obey their husbands without question. I think that being exposed to the world because they’ve been on TV has made them a little less subjugated than they could have been.

Look at some of the choices the Duggar daughters have made since they’ve been married. Jill Dillard wears pants and has a nose piercing, and she’s been photographed wearing what most women would consider modest swimwear but, for her, is probably scandalous. Jinger Vuolo moved to Los Angeles, where she wears pants and has had her hair cut. She’s only had one child so far, although she’s pregnant with her second. Her husband doesn’t take orders from JimBob Duggar, nor does Jill’s husband, Derick. Jessa Seewald is still close to home, but she obviously has a strong personality and is not being controlled by her husband, Ben, who has a milder personality than she does. I don’t know about Joy Anna Forsyth’s situation, but her husband makes his own money flipping houses, rather than working for Boob. Had they not been on TV, God knows who they would have married, and what they’d be expected to tolerate. And it would all be behind closed doors! Since they’re famous and a lot of “normal” people are watching, there’s somewhat less secrecy and weird shit that would go unnoticed or called out. On the other hand, Michelle Duggar had a somewhat normal upbringing and she willingly submitted herself and her children, especially her daughters, to what many might consider an oppressive lifestyle.

Anyway… like a lot of people, I was kind of grossed out by the Biblical Gender Roles blog and its tips on “grooming” a Christian wife. It’s definitely not something I would be interested in, and I’m grateful that I was raised by people who would not want that for me, either. But, I must admit that it makes for interesting speculation and a temporary diversion from all of the other doom and gloom headlines that are currently circulating. And now that I’ve written today’s tome, I think I’ll take Arran for a walk and get some fresh air… then practice my guitar.

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LDS

“Re-education” is creepy…

Recently, I became a fan of Mr. Atheist’s YouTube channel. Mr. Atheist, aka Jimmy Snow, puts out high quality videos about religious wingnuts. He’s done quite a few about Lori Alexander, aka “The Transformed Wife”. I have written a few posts about her myself, although I think most of them are on the original blog. Lori Alexander, for those who don’t know, is a woman who writes blog posts and makes videos about the role of Christian women. For example, she thinks women should stay home and raise children instead of working outside of the home. As I write this, I’m listening to one Jimmy Snow did about Lori Alexander several months ago.

I wouldn’t know… I don’t pay much attention to Twitter, and if I did, I would pay any attention to Lori’s…

I think Mr. Atheist is bright and entertaining. Sometimes, he’s even funny. As an ex Mormon, Mr. Atheist is especially qualified to opine about ex Mormon bloggers and YouTubers. I happened to catch one he did about a YouTube content creator calling herself MonsonSchoolhouse. This is a very blonde Mormon lady with several children who makes videos about homeschooling. I haven’t watched much of the original incarnations of her videos, mainly because it’s not a topic that interests me on a personal level. I don’t have children, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t homeschool them. I’m also not LDS and definitely never would be.

But, because Mr. Atheist was raised LDS, he knows all about it. And he watched MonsonSchoolhouse’s video and provided the following commentary on it.

Damn… she is so blonde…

I did watch the above video, and in it, I noticed that MonsonSchoolhouse says that she no longer has to “re-educate” her children when they come home from school. She says that because they are closed off from influences that might cause them to stray from her LDS principles, they are better off. I couldn’t help but think of another use of the term “re-education“. Before I listened to MonsonSchoolhouse talking about the wonders of homeschooling her children and controlling her children’s indoctrination, the only other time I heard about “re-education” was regarding harsh camps where disobedient people were sent to be taught the “right” way to think and behave. Right now, they exist in China, where Muslims are being sent to have their “thoughts transformed”.

I have heard about them in other places, such as Vietnam and North Korea. They’re not nice places to be. They tend to be prisons, where unlucky inmates are “persuaded” to change their views or else. I wonder if MonsonSchoolhouse knows anything about that as she talks about “re-educating” her kids after they’ve been in school.

I know a lot of parents believe their children are “theirs” to do with whatever they want. They feel it’s their responsibility to “train ’em up” right. Some parents, particularly those involved in strict religions, actually kind of run their families like a mini cult. I don’t know if that’s how this mom runs her family… but I do think that using words like “re-education” kind of make me conjure up visions of people being forced to think a certain way… or face dire consequences.

I’m really glad my parents gave me the freedom to do a lot of what I wanted when I was growing up. I could read whatever I wanted, study any subjects that interested me, watch the movies and TV shows I wanted, and basically learn whatever I could before I became an adult. Although I was forced to go to church when I was growing up, I’m glad they chose a fairly liberal, mainstream church that valued educated leaders and embraced science. Whenever I hear the stories of children raised in strict religious belief systems and the “catching up” a lot of them have to do once they become adults, I’m glad I wasn’t in that kind of family system. I won’t say I’m not fucked up on any level because I think most people are to some extent. But I definitely could have been a lot more fucked up than I am… I look at how my husband’s daughters were raised and what they’re having to overcome, and I realize how lucky I was.

I don’t think shielding children from the world is the best way to teach them or help them grow up. Eventually, they will have to function in the real world. Being able to recite vast passages from the Book of Mormon is not likely to help those kids pay their bills… unless, of course, they manage to find a job working for the church. And, in my opinion, preventing those kids from associating with people who aren’t like them is also not the best way to prepare them for the world. Eventually, they will run into people from different places with different ideas and different appearances. Instead of being able to consider those differences and draw their own conclusions, they’re liable to hear their mother’s voice saying that different ways are “not correct”.

Personally, I think homeschooling can be a bad idea, anyway. I won’t say it’s always a bad idea. I know some people who invest the time and effort into doing it right. In fact, Bill and I know a couple who homeschooled all seven of their children and they’re all pretty brilliant. But I also know that Bill’s ex wife supposedly “homeschooled” Bill’s daughters, mainly as a means of controlling them and preventing others from influencing them. And though both have managed to get into college and one has even graduated, they missed out on a lot. They have succeeded in spite of Ex’s efforts, rather than because of them.

I noticed on Mr. Atheist’s video about the Mormon homeschooling mom, a German commenter was flabbergasted, since homeschooling is pretty much forbidden here. Frankly, I kind of agreed with what the commenter said– that most people really shouldn’t be trying to teach their children alone. It’s kind of like a doctor treating his or her own family. But then… I can’t say that all homeschooling is disastrous, because I know it’s not. It works well in some families. I think the ones that are most successful are the ones who don’t do it for religious reasons.

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