The Big Picture: Arch-Villains

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People need to leave Ronald McDonald alone. That clown is benevolent and only wants what's best for us all.

Dastardly:
Obviously, as I mentioned originally, I'm not talking about all parents. I'm simply rejecting the notion that a parent "knows what's best" by virtue of simply being a parent. It would be like me claiming that because I attended school, I'm educated.

No, because education is clinical knowledge, parenting is primarily experiential knowledge. The fact that they are a parent in the first place is what gives them the advantage. I'm sure you would agree that a person can be learned without attending a traditional school, but who's going to be taken more seriously, the person with the degree or without? Likewise, I'm going to trust the word of the parent over the non-parent because they're the ones who put in the time.

If I'm not demonstrating the skills I supposedly learned, my claim is empty and I'll be fired. That's why we're put through rigorous proving processes before we're even allowed into a classroom (and continuously put through those processes while we're in there).

That's the same process that a lot of other people have to go through also. It's part of having a job. But your training is in teaching, so you teach. It doesn't make you qualified to raise a child from birth to adulthood any more than if you took a job as a spot welder. Citing your credentials against the experiential knowledge of actually being a parent is like comparing apples and ducks.

But you want us to just roll over and believe that simply because a person is a biological parent, they automatically know what's best?

Roll over as opposed to what? You can't raise the child in their stead, and once they move on from your grade, you'll never see them again anyway. In the end, a parent is going to do what a parent is going to do, and short of calling Child Services on them for neglect, what is it you're proposing to do?

Various examples defining the middle by the extremes

You'll find few people more critical of welfare queens than I. I once knew someone who worked in the state system in Pennsylvania, and he related a pretty broad range of horror stories about the cases he had to work. But the problem here is not strictly in the parenting but in the socioeconomic situation at work (and I can only assume this puts you in a relatively low-income district). Never mind parenting, a lot of those people should not even be functioning members of society, which is my point about the low bar for parents being sufficient to the task that I'll take their word on its face.

But here's the problem: the system exists in a way that perpetuates the problem. Even use the words "welfare reform" in a sentence and here come the accusations of racism and leaving black people to die in the streets. Point out that all the free education in the world won't solve the underlying problems that prevent these kids from being upwardly mobile, and you get a lot of "LOL go back to Faux Neewwzzzz" (if you really want to be an impactful educator, teach people that "Faux" is roughly pronounced "Foh" and is not a valid homophone for "Fox"). I'm not much into schadenfreude, but I do think your examples demonstrate the chickens coming home to roost when it comes to propping up the dregs of society and shielding them with the people who are actually trying to claw their way out of their hole. And as long as people are crucified for wanting to remodel or replace a broken system, expect nothing more than the status quo where people who shouldn't even be a part of this conversation are encouraged to continue negatively impacting all areas of society, and not only the aspect that directly relates to the kids stuck with them as parents.

In a less extreme and far more common example, when two parents can't even act like civil, mature adults during a parent conference, and instead bicker with each other in the exact same way a child would, and do so while their child is watching, and then want to claim their child's failure and misbehavior in school is our fault?

Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but their lack of social skills, even passed on to the child, do not make you more qualified to raise the child. Besides, if that's your criteria, then based on the condition of most forums, I submit most people on the Internet should not be "allowed" to have a child.

It doesn't guarantee a good teacher, but at least it's something. A teacher education curriculum is about 50% "content area" stuff--science teachers learning science, etc. The other half is about how children learn and are motivated, evidence-based practices for teaching and managing behavior in and out of the classroom, stuff like that. If even all of that doesn't guarantee a good teacher, how much less of a guarantee do we have on parents simply because they're parents?)

Yes, and as I said, those skills give you a specialization in the education of a child. The guarantee you're going to get on parents will never come from a textbook or a certification because again, they are not clinical skills. The reason being a parent makes someone a de facto expert on raising their child is precisely because it is NOT automatic as you suggest. A parent becomes the expert by the very process of being a parent. It's 24-hour, 7-day, 365-a-year on-the-job training, and for the most part, you don't get to quit or ask for a raise or vacation or federal holidays. Putting in the time is what qualifies them, and for the most part, your examples of people who are less qualified than you to be a parent have nothing to do with your expertise, and everything to do with the fact that they are less qualified than you to be a member of society at all. Bad parenting is the least of their troubles; they suffer from bad everything-ing, and therein lies the real problem.

Marketing to children is a logical long term investment. If some parents are too busy to guide their children, then that is their own problem.

There are usually laws, which prevents children from purchasing both cigarets and alcohol. I don't know if similar laws should be applied to fast food, or if we should simply impliment a parenting license.

Aslong as a company doesn't lie or withhold vital information about their products, they can do whatever they want for all I care.

Keep in mind, that humanity once though the world was flat. We all act on the knowledge that we possess.

I don't have any problem with mascots like Ronald McDonald. I do have a big problem with happy meal toys, I think those are a much bigger enticement for kids, but I still don't think they should be banned.

After re-watching the video, I couldn't help but notice the picture for when MovieBob said he was "totally behind" kids eating healthier; it's a picture of Elmo with some Muppet veggies.

What does MovieBob think about Cookie Monster not specifically eating cookies? Or that some people have given him the nickname "Veggie Monster"?

I love how he talks about stupidity and then makes the title of the video "arch-villains", we all know how clever villains can be...

TheSchaef:
No, because education is clinical knowledge, parenting is primarily experiential knowledge. The fact that they are a parent in the first place is what gives them the advantage. I'm sure you would agree that a person can be learned without attending a traditional school, but who's going to be taken more seriously, the person with the degree or without? Likewise, I'm going to trust the word of the parent over the non-parent because they're the ones who put in the time.

Firstly, I appreciate your thoughtful reply. In many instances, these sorts of discussions can turn ugly very quickly. Civility greatly appreciated.

To the topic: Taking what I've marked in italics, it's getting my point backwards. It's more important to note that a person can go through traditional school and not be very learned at all. Being in and going through the experience does not guarantee learning. Learning isn't measured by time-on-task, it's measured by assessment.

Assessment can be formal (like taking the driving test, or having a review done by your supervisor). It can also be informal--if I'm cutting people off, failing to use my turn signal, and generally just being a jackass on the road, people can informally assess me as a bad driver. The key to assessment isn't that the test itself is magical. The usefulness is in the data it generates.

Drawing the distinction between "clinical" and "practical" isn't quite as useful as we want to make it. We tend to overstate the difference between the two just as often as we understate it. Yes, the experience of actually teaching/doctoring/parenting/etc. is always very different from the learning. The difficulty of the experience, however, does not negate the efficacy of the techniques taught in the clinical environment.

The way kids learn behavior is the way they learn behavior. That mechanism functions both in and out of school, and it functions the same way. The difference is in the techniques used to take advantage of that mechanism. Teachers and parents utilize different techniques, depending on the environment, but they're both taking advantage of the same mechanisms in the child's mind.

As a for instance, a parent could be told, "It's not going to do you much good to tell the child how not to behave if you're not also going to tell the child the correct way. It's must faster to focus on what you want, rather than what you don't want." It's a basic, but very important principle to guiding behavior and learning. Don't tell someone the 1,000 ways not to do it, when just showing them how will suffice.

Too often, though, a parent will say something like, "Yeah, well when you have kids, we'll see how easy you think that is." But no one ever said it's "easy." Just that it's effective. The fact that there is an easier (but less effective) shortcut doesn't disprove the more effective practice being recommended.

A student is writing a book report, and you tell them, "Read the book carefully. Summarize the plot, including character names. Use complete, grammatically-correct sentences." The student turns in a piece of paper with the title, a bullet list of the characters, and an incorrect plot summary of the book, likely guessed from the title. The report is also entirely constructed of sentence fragments.

As the teacher, you tell them, "This report isn't accurate, and it's unintelligible because the sentences are incomplete. You didn't follow the instructions." To which the student replies, "Yeah, well your way is harder, and it takes longer. So I'm not going to do it, because it's my paper."

Just because a task is more difficult to do correctly doesn't excuse us for not doing it correctly. Just because implementing sound parenting advice is harder in practice than it is in theory doesn't mean no one should ever have to do it.

That's the same process that a lot of other people have to go through also. It's part of having a job. But your training is in teaching, so you teach. It doesn't make you qualified to raise a child from birth to adulthood any more than if you took a job as a spot welder. Citing your credentials against the experiential knowledge of actually being a parent is like comparing apples and ducks.

I'm not citing my credentials against the parent. I'm not saying "my training makes me a better parent than their experience." I'm saying that I am required to demonstrate mastery before I can claim mastery in my job. A plumber has to prove he can plumb before he gets a license to plumb things. A fisherman has to have a license to catch a fish.

The point is that the parent doesn't have to have any experience in order to become a parent. They don't have to take a class, look through a book, read a pamphlet. Nothing. They never have to prove they are effective at the job--only that they're not criminally ineffective at it, and only when being watched.

So, when the school makes some kind of recommendation about how best to teach the child something (which is certainly our area of expertise), for a parent to just wave us off saying, "You don't have kids, so you don't know," is a cop-out.

Roll over as opposed to what? You can't raise the child in their stead, and once they move on from your grade, you'll never see them again anyway. In the end, a parent is going to do what a parent is going to do, and short of calling Child Services on them for neglect, what is it you're proposing to do?

I'm not. I'm most definitely lamenting a problem to which there is no acceptable solution. My personal solution? I don't want to raise that person's kid. More and more, we as schools are being told to do just that. Character education, rigorous behavior management programs, time and money and after-school care, schools providing half of a kid's meals, year-'round... If I wanted to raise the kid, my name would be on his birth certificate. I'm all about teaching him stuff, of course! But raising him? No.

I don't want the school to tell the parents how to do their job. I just want the school to be able to put the parents in a position where they have to do the job. If the kid's misbehaving, we should be allowed to send him home to be dealt with until he's ready to learn. We need to stop picking up the slack for the absentee parents. If that means some people starve, fine. Consequence is the only dependable teacher.

Various examples defining the middle by the extremes

Nah, I was pretty clear that my examples were extreme. It's just that they're out there. I'm certainly not making any claim that the "majority" of parents are bad. But there are plenty.

I'm not much into schadenfreude, but I do think your examples demonstrate the chickens coming home to roost when it comes to propping up the dregs of society and shielding them with the people who are actually trying to claw their way out of their hole. And as long as people are crucified for wanting to remodel or replace a broken system, expect nothing more than the status quo where people who shouldn't even be a part of this conversation are encouraged to continue negatively impacting all areas of society, and not only the aspect that directly relates to the kids stuck with them as parents.

And this is where I've been going with this. These problem parents no longer need to get carte blanche just because they're parents. Having the job doesn't mean you can do the job, especially when you didn't have to go through any kind of screening process to get the job. The fact that a kid has survived long enough to go to school doesn't mean "good" parenting is taking place.

We are desperately trying to fix education, and fix society at large. We're placing more accountability on all of our leaders and teachers. We're putting more responsibility on them even as we take away pay and benefits. Every problem that comes up, we tell them to deal with it, whether it's their fault or not. We tell them to be the kickstand for those "dregs" you mentioned.

But no one is going after the parents. The first unit of civilization was the family. The parent, it's first leader and teacher. Parents are the front lines, the ground floor, the keystone, the most important link in the chain, and whatever other metaphor you need to indicate that they are of utmost importance.

Yes, and as I said, those skills give you a specialization in the education of a child. The guarantee you're going to get on parents will never come from a textbook or a certification because again, they are not clinical skills. The reason being a parent makes someone a de facto expert on raising their child is precisely because it is NOT automatic as you suggest. A parent becomes the expert by the very process of being a parent. It's 24-hour, 7-day, 365-a-year on-the-job training, and for the most part, you don't get to quit or ask for a raise or vacation or federal holidays. Putting in the time is what qualifies them, and for the most part, your examples of people who are less qualified than you to be a parent have nothing to do with your expertise, and everything to do with the fact that they are less qualified than you to be a member of society at all. Bad parenting is the least of their troubles; they suffer from bad everything-ing, and therein lies the real problem.

From this last round of quotes/replies, I'm seeing that we're not really disagreeing. We're talking around each other. I'm trying to avoid going to the "They shouldn't even be here" extreme, though. I'm just saying that we need to stop giving them a pass simply because they are parents.

Being on the job does not mean you're learning a damned thing about the job. You could just be marking hours and collecting a paycheck. And in workplaces with little to no accountability, people do that all the time. Parenting has virtually no accountability. As long as the kid's not beaten, naked, or starving, the parent is held as untouchable.

And to the point I've italicized in your quote: I'm not making the claim that I'm more qualified than them to be a parent. I'm saying that their status as "a parent" does not make them more qualified than anyone else. If they've demonstrated expertise as a parent, that expertise may well qualify them. But the status itself? No. Because it costs nothing to attain, virtually nothing to keep, and no one checks up on whether it's being earned.

I'm not saying, "I should be able to tell parents how to do it." I'm saying that too many parents completely ignore any recommendations from the school about a child's learning, simply because, "You're not his parent, so you don't know a thing." Fact is, we've undergone extensive training and demonstrated mastery in this department (child learning), and as far as we can tell they did what?

To put it in another way, it'd be like someone telling a Klan member that his Klan-member son is a racist, and that Klan member saying, "Well, I'm white, so that means I'm the only one qualified to judge whether a white child is racist."

I've been eating mcdonalds since I had teeth, I'm now 25 and am a perfectly healthy weight with relatively low body fat because me and my family exercise basic common sense, i.e. "don't order a large, and remember they have salads too." The menu even tells you how many calories each item has so they're basically doing everything they can to keep you from killing yourself outside of telling the fat people who show up to go home.

Gutted that this wasn't about comic/movie arch-villians and how shit most of them are, but a great episode anyways =]

One of the worst episodes of the Big Picture. Not because I disagree, just because it didn't interest me at all, specialy after seeing the title i thought it was another thing :/

They can get rid of Ronald
But Nothing Can Kill The Grimace!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeyU7uVOTic

Dastardly:
To the topic: Taking what I've marked in italics, it's getting my point backwards. It's more important to note that a person can go through traditional school and not be very learned at all. Being in and going through the experience does not guarantee learning. Learning isn't measured by time-on-task, it's measured by assessment.

Where I disagree is that I think the two are inverses of each other. You may go through school and not be learned, but when a prerequisite for a job is a bachelor's degree, the guy who schlepped his way through a C-average matriculation is going to get a foot in the door and the guy who worked full time and went to night school and still made the dean's list every term, but his loan money dried up with six classes still to go, is not even going to get a call back. Why? No degree. Degree required.

The disconnect goes both ways: you can be one without the other. My point is that the person holding the diploma will get the nod over the person who does not. In an experiential task like parenting, the one who has the kid is going to get the nod over the one who does not. Right or wrong, these kind of things can be prejudged in advance of any effort to assess competency.

We tend to overstate the difference between the two just as often as we understate it. Yes, the experience of actually teaching/doctoring/parenting/etc. is always very different from the learning. The difficulty of the experience, however, does not negate the efficacy of the techniques taught in the clinical environment.

Where I disagree here is that children are so highly individual that, while clinical methods can give insight on a normal range, real-world results don't shy away from defying that norm. Even with my own two boys, ages 3 and 2, there are stark differences emerging in their personalities and in the way they absorb and process information.

The elder has a very active imagination and will pretend to be any number of things he saw on TV or read in a book or played in a game. Any long slender object to him is immediately a sword because he can play Wii Sports. Some may see that as a downside (GAMES CAUSE VIOLZENZ!!11!) but because he absorbed it from Wii Sports, his view of swordplay is that it ends when someone falls into the water with a splash and bubbles, which he recreates in great detail. He doesn't associate any harm with his actions, just like children will chase each other around and rough-house without doing any actual fighting.

By contrast, the younger tends to ape what the older is doing, even when he doesn't understand exactly what he's doing. The older will say "look, daddy, I'm a caterpillar!" and the younger will smile and laugh as he squirms on the ground cause that's what brother is doing. But left to his own devices, I see him exploring how objects work and interact with each other spatially. At the pool this week, a floaty ring fell into the pool and started to drift away from the edge. The 2yo took a long noodle and used it to hook the ring and pull it back to the edge where he could reach it safely. I'm not sure that would even have occurred to the 3yo.

The point here is that there's not a formula that says, this is how to shape your child's development, that I can apply even to my own two boys in the house and expect the same outcome. One is always pushing pushing pushing to try new things, one kind of hangs back and takes things in quietly, then surprises everyone by surging forward in his development after some catalyst or another. A study won't tell me that, any more than it will tell me how our experience with the first can only partly inform our efforts with the second. And the fact that this knowledge can only come from the parenting experience itself, because it is the only source of reliable data regarding how THIS CHILD learns and grows, is why I balk at the notion that the only qualification by which a parent can claim authority is their awareness of their own reproductive instincts.

Too often, though, a parent will say something like, "Yeah, well when you have kids, we'll see how easy you think that is." But no one ever said it's "easy." Just that it's effective. The fact that there is an easier (but less effective) shortcut doesn't disprove the more effective practice being recommended.

I think you meant to italicize the phrase MORE effective, not just "effective". That's kind of my point, is that not every technique has equal results because kids don't develop in a vacuum. Some of those parents may have been trying for a good length of time with no results, only to have you tell them something some other guy said three years ago, and they're still here with the same problem, so thanks for nothing. I know that on a broader note, it irks me when people recommend options I have already exhausted or are not available to me, and act like if I just do that thing, then my problem will be solved.

Again, it goes to the point that there is a whole lot of work going into parenting that never manifests itself in a classroom or comes out in conference, and for some of those people, there are probably two dozen other things they're wrestling with that are every bit as difficult, or more. Telling them "being a parent is hard work" wouldn't really endear yourself to them any more than telling them "based on the training I received which offers no specifics to your child, combined with the limited number of hours I spend with your child, I have determined that doing this will solve Johnny's little problem, and if you were actually a good parent, you'd do what I say." And I'm just saying this as the hypothetical parent who might take comments in a certain light, as well as a not-hypothetical person who often struggles to communicate his intentions clearly to other people.

The point is that the parent doesn't have to have any experience in order to become a parent. They don't have to take a class, look through a book, read a pamphlet. Nothing.

Again, I view "have to have" in light of the distinction between clinical knowledge and experiential knowledge. We took marriage classes but the experience of being married has informed us more on how different life is in this state. We took pregnancy classes but again, real-life experience suggests that you could have just about anything connected with your pregnancy and as long as you're not bleeding out your ears or suffering from gestational diabetes, the doctor will tell you, oh, that's normal, don't worry about it until you start bleeding out your ears. My wife read every book she could get her hands on regarding the formative years of the child, and started panicking every time the first baby wasn't doing this at exactly this stage of his life, and wasn't eating these foods yet, but in the end, the parent adapts to the child as much as the child adapts to the parent. Learning is part of the teaching process in the home. And that is why I push parenting pretty much entirely into the realm of the experiential. Being a parent IS the required experience, and it can only come post facto.

More and more, we as schools are being told to do just that. Character education, rigorous behavior management programs, time and money and after-school care, schools providing half of a kid's meals, year-'round... If I wanted to raise the kid, my name would be on his birth certificate. I'm all about teaching him stuff, of course! But raising him? No.

This is where the mildly-libertarian conservative in me comes out and agrees that schools shouldn't be doing all this stuff in the first place, but the nanny state that's being built in America is putting you into a situation that neither you nor I think is appropriate to your job. But the individuals are abdicating their families, the families are abdicating their churches, and the essential result of the domino effect is that a society that takes care of its own is being dismantled, both by apathy, and by an interventionist government that claims the power to step in and do the stuff that's not getting done otherwise.

This is why social conservatives (rightly?) consider the family unit the backbone of a healthy society. A family is a micro-community of people working together to build a home, and a church (in a traditional sense) is a community of families working together to build a neighborhood, and a city is a community of, well, communities working together,and so on and so forth. It's a series of concentric circles where interaction within the family informs interaction within a community and the sense of social responsibility that allows people to hold their own city, state, nation together. Now we have, what? Some federal subsidized after-school program of questionable effectiveness that you don't want any more than I do.

But no one is going after the parents. The first unit of civilization was the family. The parent, it's first leader and teacher. Parents are the front lines, the ground floor, the keystone, the most important link in the chain, and whatever other metaphor you need to indicate that they are of utmost importance.

This is the founding principle of bottom-up governance, but our nation has been drifting more and more towards centralized and especially executive power, and governing from the top down. I'll not debate the chicken or the egg here, but there's a correlation between abdication of responsibility and degradation of personal liberties, and I'm not comfortable with either, though the (to me, fatalistic) argument is that hey, people are not going to do this, so there's no other choice but to exclude the individual from this or that process.

From this last round of quotes/replies, I'm seeing that we're not really disagreeing. We're talking around each other. I'm trying to avoid going to the "They shouldn't even be here" extreme, though. I'm just saying that we need to stop giving them a pass simply because they are parents.

And I'm saying that the parenting aspect is to you a more visible aspect of a broader picture where the people you made examples of are leeching off society on all fronts and having the same negative impact all the way around. I hope it goes without saying that I don't favor extermination, or jailing people just for being poor, but I will go farther than saying a drug dealer shouldn't have kids, to say that a drug dealer should not be tolerated by society in the first place, kid or no.

Because it costs nothing to attain, virtually nothing to keep, and no one checks up on whether it's being earned.

I'd be interested to hear the reactions of a few parents when you tell them that becoming and being a parent doesn't cost anything. I'll spare you mine. But noting the number of people here who are not shy about crucifying a parent for taking their child to McDonald's AT ALL, much less every day, I'd say a lot of parents find themselves in a constant state of social assessment, and get to experience all the "joy" of feedback on why they're not fit to raise a goldfish.

To put it in another way, it'd be like someone telling a Klan member that his Klan-member son is a racist, and that Klan member saying, "Well, I'm white, so that means I'm the only one qualified to judge whether a white child is racist."

If being white were an experiential skill and not a genetically-derived melanin level, I might agree with your analogy.

Doubt anyone cares but... Bob's picture of natural selection getting rid of obese people or smokers is biologically flawed. Bob seems to be under the impression that evolution means everyone just magically gets better and better. No, you pass on your traits to your kids and smoking and eating too much don't stop you having kids, in fact by the time they kill you most people have already had children.

Not only is it wrong, but the whole idea of 'Natural Selection will weed out all the bad people' is called eugenics, and I don't wont to get all Godwin but... Hitler really liked eugenics. Stupid people in a civilised society will always have the same number of children as smart people, and in an uncivilised socity, it's the sportier types that survive, not the clever ones, so Bob would have a problem with that set up.

In any case, technology and science are moving faster than the incredibly slow process of evolution, so the advances in medicine and robotics will offset any lack of evolution by humans.

Sorry about that, but the 'Theres no evolution any more we should just kill stupid people!' argument really pisses me off, and Bob lost some respect from me for using it.

EDIT: Sorry my bad...double post.

dante brevity:

Nurb:

dante brevity:

I'll find them for you if you want, but a Google search will help you find a dozen studies that say fast food is chemically addictive. Not just in an emotional/comfort capacity either; people who've eaten diets with high sugar get the shakes when the sugar is taken out of their food. I'm not saying that this should make fast food illegal; I'll be ticked if someone tries to take away my very addictive caffeine. Marketing these things to kids, though? No.

You missed the posts above explaining how fast food is NOT CHEMICALLY ADDICTIVE. Same way weed is in no way addictive, but people CAN form a dependancy on it, gambling, video games... etc

The morbidly obese are addicted to food period, but there's nothing chemical about it that makes the brain addicted like crack, tobacco, or alcohol.

There's a difference between chemical and emotional/mental created addiction.

I didn't miss the posts; they're just wrong. Fat, sugar, salt and caffeine, all of which are excessively present in a fast food meal, all share addictive properties with other "drugs" like "crack, tobacco or alcohol." I understand the argument that some things are not inherently addictive, and I agree with you that marijuana is probably one of these. Fast food isn't, though.

However, even if McDonald's was addictive like gambling more than crack, the fact remains that we don't market gambling to children. If Casinos trotted out a cartoon character mascot and bought airtime during kids' shows, you better believe parents and the government would cry foul.

It's not addictive like real drugs, there's a difference. Like bob said, the government can step in with the parents making it a large part of kids' diets, not between EVERYONE and comfort food that they know not to eat all the time.

Giving legitimacy to this argument also gives it to the woman who's suing Chuck E Cheese for making kids want to gamble.

Take yer nanny state elsewhere! xD
image

Double post issues today

Forgive me if I trim down to only the most relevant. I think hitting these will get at the core of a couple points upon which you insist we're disagreeing, but I don't honestly believe we are. I think we're just "two ships passing in the night" on a few particulars.

TheSchaef:
And I'm saying that the parenting aspect is to you a more visible aspect of a broader picture where the people you made examples of are leeching off society on all fronts and having the same negative impact all the way around. I hope it goes without saying that I don't favor extermination, or jailing people just for being poor, but I will go farther than saying a drug dealer shouldn't have kids, to say that a drug dealer should not be tolerated by society in the first place, kid or no.

I agree. But, as a teacher, that belief doesn't really do me any good. I can only deal with the child. I can't fix the parent, not in any way whatsoever. But what is irking me is when the parent intentionally stands in the way of us (as teachers) helping the child. When we know what we have to do, and what we need to get the child to do, and we know how to go about making the two overlap... and the parent just says, "No."

Maybe because it involves some extra work on the parent's part--like, say, signing a weekly report on whether or not Johnny brought his homework home. Maybe because they find it personally insulting--like, say, a parent refusing to believe their child is even misbehaving, because (to them) that would mean they may have fallen short, and that's just not going to happen. Whatever the reason, that's what we're having to deal with--a parent who won't get out of the child's way sometimes.

Because that's the front on which I'm stationed, that's the battle I have to watch. I'm perfectly aware that bad parenting is a symptom of a problem as much as it is the cause of another. But anything higher up that cause-effect chain is beyond my pay grade.

(I also know that thinking that parent should "get out of the child's way" is thinking outside my pay grade, but that I can't help. I'm held responsible for every facet of that child's learning while in my keeping, and I'm in the crosshairs if he doesn't--regardless of the fact that he can't concentrate or learn because he's hungry and tired due to an unfortunate home life. You can fire a teacher, but not a parent, so...)

I'd be interested to hear the reactions of a few parents when you tell them that becoming and being a parent doesn't cost anything. I'll spare you mine. But noting the number of people here who are not shy about crucifying a parent for taking their child to McDonald's AT ALL, much less every day, I'd say a lot of parents find themselves in a constant state of social assessment, and get to experience all the "joy" of feedback on why they're not fit to raise a goldfish.

I think we're missing each other here. "Parent" is not a title or a skill. "Parent" is a state that simply means a person has biologically reproduced, and here sits a surviving offspring. That's it. When I say "parent," that's what I'm talking about. Now, a "good parent" or an "active parent," that's something else entirely.

But to become a parent requires having sex and waiting nine months. I'm accounting for the fact that many people aren't even having to pay any sort of medical bills--the State picks up the tab for them (for the eleventh time). I'm using the most basic definition of "parent" because I don't want things to turn into a "No True Scotsman" when someone says, "Well, that person's not really a parent, then."

If being white were an experiential skill and not a genetically-derived melanin level, I might agree with your analogy.

And that's just it. Being a parent is genetically-derived. There is no necessity that a person pick up any skills (other than "feed it, change it, put it in pants, get it to school"... and even "feed it" is debatable in many cases). Any skills that person does pick up are to their credit. It doesn't require a class, and I've never indicated that it did. It doesn't require clinical knowledge, and I've never said it did. It could benefit from both, to be sure.

But there is no system in place that measures whether or not a particular parent has achieved any of these skills. The only indication we have of whether or not they have is the result--the child. And sure, there are other variables out there... a parent may say, "Look, I just don't have the time to make sure Johnny does his homework or gets a good 8 hours of sleep." To which I could only want desperately to reply: Make the time, because you're the only person on this damned plant whose job it is to do that. Of course, I don't.

ANECDOTE:

A personal example from my own life. My sister was potty training her first child. It was a slow-moving process. Her plan was simple: offer treats when she went on the potty, and yell at her when she didn't. Admittedly, the yelling probably wasn't a "plan," but it's what she was doing pretty regularly.

At the time, the girl was just barely two. She wasn't doing very well at telling mommy when she had to go, and mommy was doing a lot of yelling... so she really didn't want to talk to mommy about potty. And it got to the point that my sister would sit her down on the toilet after each meal until she went... a process that generally involved a lot of crying (and yelling).

During one of the many conversations during which she lamented the situation to me, (By the by, I was living with her at the time while visiting the family for the summer) I very gently and diplomatically offered the following observations, based on what I knew about child development (physical, as well as mental), and learning/motivation:

1. She may not be physically ready yet. Muscles and nerves take awhile to fully develop the kind of sensation and control it takes to know when you have to go, let alone to hold it.

2. So far, all she had really learned is that peeing and pooping make mommy really, really mad. She would leave her dirty diaper in corners or behind furniture to hide them. Or, later in the process, she would come to me or her dad and tell us to tell mommy she had to go potty (which only made mommy yell more).

3. She'd also learned that the toilet was a place to go to be punished and yelled at, so she didn't much want to do any activities that involved being near the thing. Mommy had reinforced "toilet = yelling" in such a clearly Pavlovian way.

4. There's no point in yelling at all. She's not doing it on purpose, she's not doing it to make you mad, she's not doing it to make more work for you. She can't help it. It's okay to be frustrated that you have to clean it up, but don't direct that frustration at the child. (This is an important principle in education, when teachers might occasionally get mad at students for not knowing something they weren't really taught, or punish students for not understanding a concept.)

5. This is not a natural behavior--pooping in a special bowl in a special room. It has to be taught, not just demanded. Show her how, as weird as that sounds. When you do it, give yourself a cookie and let her watch. Then give her one. Then have her try, even when she doesn't have to go. Reward her then, too. Teach her the process one step at a time.

Now, bear in mind, these were over the course of several conversations, and they weren't as direct as I'm making them here. I didn't bombard her with uninvited information or advice, I didn't pile it on all at once. I explained the reasoning behind each point, but not in a pedantic way. Just so you can be sure I understand how giving advice in that way can be fiercely counterproductive.

Her response? "Please. You don't have kids. You don't know how frustrating it is, having to change diapers and clean up poop. You don't know what you're talking about." I told her that I may not personally know just how frustrating it was, but that I understood that it was frustrating. That, of course, didn't change the facts: she wasn't learning to use the potty, she was afraid of mommy and the potty, and it wasn't getting any better. But she dismissed it all from the word go, simply because "she knew better, because she was the parent."

In the end, her husband got the job done (doing exactly what we'd talked about). And the next time around, with her next child, my sister was a little more patient with that child. Of course, she'd still yell and scream at the older one whenever she had accidents or wet the bed... but it seemed like experience had taught her a bit.

But couldn't she have saved herself and her daughter so much stress and yelling and crying just by taking some sound advice from someone who just so happened not to be a parent? Instead, she pulled out her "credentials" and used that to excuse herself for yelling at her child for not automatically knowing how to poop in a toilet.

I'm in agreement here.

A certain group of people need to learn that raising children involves being responible for them, rather trying to shoulder the blame onto someone. When a child isn't getting out enough or gain weight, rather than syaing 'it's videogame compaines/fastfood places/whatever's' fault, they should thinking about how to change it. Simple anwser, don't let your kids eat junk food all the time and get them off the consoles and computers. If they whine and refuse, take away the console/computer or outright refuse to let them eat junk. It's pretty simple.

And to some...maybe rethink about breeding. There are people out there who should NOT be allowed to spawn.

Well, just ONE cigarette isn't going to kill anyone either, Bob. That felt like a major weak point in your argument.

One cigarette a year is just as (un)harmful as one big mac a year. However, if you had say two cigarettes a day vs. two big macs a day, I'd actually not be surprised if the big macs killed you first.

To add to that, ostensibly, kids/young people have easier non-parental access to McDonalds food than they did to cigarettes. It's cheaper, and there's no age check.

Overall, this was a pretty weak episode.

I don't give a crap about banning Ronald McDonald, but if anything they should just get rid of him because clowns are f'ing creepy.

ps: I'm not defending cigarettes here -- I loathe them.

Dastardly:
Forgive me if I trim down to only the most relevant. I think hitting these will get at the core of a couple points upon which you insist we're disagreeing, but I don't honestly believe we are. I think we're just "two ships passing in the night" on a few particulars.

You know what, that's fine. I was apprehensive about hitting that Post button cause I knew I was about to submit a tome, but looking back through for something I felt could go unsaid, I trimmed I think two paragraphs. Getting pulled into the mire of symptomatic behavior and larger causes, I ended up having a lot to say about my political philosophy and the ills of society. All germaine to the topic but I don't blame you in the least for putting the train back on the rails.

Maybe because it involves some extra work on the parent's part--like, say, signing a weekly report on whether or not Johnny brought his homework home. Maybe because they find it personally insulting--like, say, a parent refusing to believe their child is even misbehaving, because (to them) that would mean they may have fallen short, and that's just not going to happen. Whatever the reason, that's what we're having to deal with--a parent who won't get out of the child's way sometimes.

It was on this point that I thought it might help to take the side of the parent, like a doctor or some other consulted specialist. But of course, being only a parent with a limited perspective, I can't blame you for saying "easy for you to say, you're not a teacher!" :)

"Parent" is a state that simply means a person has biologically reproduced, and here sits a surviving offspring. That's it.

Again we get to this point and I'm forced to say it understates the matter. A parent who abandoned a child or turned it over for adoption has done nothing more than successfully reproduce. A parent with a child of some significant age has managed - if nothing else - to keep it alive during the time when it was the most vulnerable a human being is ever going to be apart from the womb and a life-support machine (which are effectively the same thing), when the need to attend to it was almost constant, and when the slightest mishap could have potentially disastrous consequences.

And that's just it. Being a parent is genetically-derived. There is no necessity that a person pick up any skills (other than "feed it, change it, put it in pants, get it to school"... and even "feed it" is debatable in many cases).

But see, those are things above and beyond the mere 30 seconds it took to put it there. This is why I keep saying that it's a cute marginalization of nominal parenting skills but it's a gross oversimplification in all but the worst cases, which usually put the child in physical danger anyway. And a lot of people are using this same line to describe parents who do nothing more than give a child fast food. You may not best exemplify this dismissive attitude against parents but you provided the most comprehensive argument about it, before scaling it back to note that the small percentage of people you refer to barely qualify as humans themselves.

But couldn't she have saved herself and her daughter so much stress and yelling and crying just by taking some sound advice from someone who just so happened not to be a parent? Instead, she pulled out her "credentials" and used that to excuse herself for yelling at her child for not automatically knowing how to poop in a toilet.

She probably thought you didn't know what it was like. People are pretty happy to dispense advice to others on what they should do from the sidelines, but in the end we're the ones who have to actually live our lives day after day. And when you're doing that and dealing with a mountain of frustration, yeah, it's pretty hard to imagine someone who doesn't have to put up with any of that sympathizing with your position. Whether it's right or wrong in a particular circumstance, I don't think it means she should have to get a license or give up her kids over it, and I think there's merit to the underlying argument: that the experience of raising a child is pretty singular and difficult to relate to without sharing in the experience.

Far be it from me to point out MovieBob being wrong again, but this is stupid beyond belief. It's obvious that Joe Camel is specifically targeting kids? You're retarded. Joe Camel was the mascot version of any actor in a 50s movie who already made smoking look cool. Maybe we shouldn't attack a company just because it happens to advertise well. At least McDonalds ACTIVELY targets kids, and showcases toys to get them to encourage their parents to go there! Everything ends up killing you if you get too much of it, stop pointing fingers at companies and take responsibility for your own actions.

when are people going to start being accountable for their own actions?

Sometimes I feel like the only sane person in a world gone mad...

(not saying bob is crazy, love his shows in fact, just trying to make a point)

This was a very good episode, I enjoyed it. Intelligent and comprehensive. When he's not trying to be edgy or shocking, I really enjoy what Moviebob has to say. He's an intelligent guy.

President Bagel:
People need to leave Ronald McDonald alone. That clown is benevolent and only wants what's best for us all.

You WOULD say that. Clearly you are an agent of Ronald's, Bagel.

Macers gave up using there mascots over hear in Aus about... oh.... I would say, 15-20 years ago now?

I am going to agree completely with what your saying BoB. Accountability needs to be with the parents first, THEN the fast food joints.

Nurb:

dante brevity:

Nurb:

You missed the posts above explaining how fast food is NOT CHEMICALLY ADDICTIVE. Same way weed is in no way addictive, but people CAN form a dependancy on it, gambling, video games... etc

The morbidly obese are addicted to food period, but there's nothing chemical about it that makes the brain addicted like crack, tobacco, or alcohol.

There's a difference between chemical and emotional/mental created addiction.

I didn't miss the posts; they're just wrong. Fat, sugar, salt and caffeine, all of which are excessively present in a fast food meal, all share addictive properties with other "drugs" like "crack, tobacco or alcohol." I understand the argument that some things are not inherently addictive, and I agree with you that marijuana is probably one of these. Fast food isn't, though.

However, even if McDonald's was addictive like gambling more than crack, the fact remains that we don't market gambling to children. If Casinos trotted out a cartoon character mascot and bought airtime during kids' shows, you better believe parents and the government would cry foul.

It's not addictive like real drugs, there's a difference. Like bob said, the government can step in with the parents making it a large part of kids' diets, not between EVERYONE and comfort food that they know not to eat all the time.

Giving legitimacy to this argument also gives it to the woman who's suing Chuck E Cheese for making kids want to gamble.

Take yer nanny state elsewhere! xD
image

"It's not addictive, like real drugs. There's a difference." What's the difference? You ingest a substance that's unnecessary to sustain life. It's been shown to cause physical withdrawal symptoms in the body when removed. It's been shown to activate the same opiate receptors in the brain as other "hard-core drugs." It is, by any measure, chemically addictive.

Also, to reiterate, I'm not advocating for the abolishment of these foods, just the prevention of marketing them to children. If you want to make the argument that we need to go after parents instead of the fast-food companies, consider this: Studies show that between 20% and 25% of teens eat fast food for three or more meals a week. What's more feasible, removing 20% of children from their parents, or getting rid of Ronald McDonald?

TheSchaef:
But see, those are things above and beyond the mere 30 seconds it took to put it there. This is why I keep saying that it's a cute marginalization of nominal parenting skills but it's a gross oversimplification in all but the worst cases, which usually put the child in physical danger anyway. And a lot of people are using this same line to describe parents who do nothing more than give a child fast food. You may not best exemplify this dismissive attitude against parents but you provided the most comprehensive argument about it, before scaling it back to note that the small percentage of people you refer to barely qualify as humans themselves.

But I'm just not inclined to believe that keeping a child alive is so great a feat in and of itself. See, you claim that these dregs of society barely qualify as humans themselves, but realize that they very, very likely started out as these exact kids. Parents that thought keeping them marginally fed, barely clothed, and semi-regularly attending school (though not necessarily successfully) was "good enough."

That kid has basic needs somewhat met, but isn't learning how to meet those needs for himself/herself. So, later on, they become the next generation of Welfare in that family. This is where the cycle starts.

Since the dawn of man, kids haven't changed a bit. Parents have, though. We've got a world full of kids who got just old enough to have kids. Biologically, their brains haven't even finished developing (around age 25, the prefrontal cortex finishes--that's impulse control, by the way). Legally, they're not trusted to vote or buy beer. And many of them have several children.

(I'm aware that "back in the day," people this young had kids and did just fine. That's also because they lived in a society that didn't shield them from consequence, so responsibility was learned as a necessity at a younger age. We're not there anymore.)

She probably thought you didn't know what it was like. People are pretty happy to dispense advice to others on what they should do from the sidelines, but in the end we're the ones who have to actually live our lives day after day. And when you're doing that and dealing with a mountain of frustration, yeah, it's pretty hard to imagine someone who doesn't have to put up with any of that sympathizing with your position. Whether it's right or wrong in a particular circumstance, I don't think it means she should have to get a license or give up her kids over it, and I think there's merit to the underlying argument: that the experience of raising a child is pretty singular and difficult to relate to without sharing in the experience.

And I certainly recognize that I haven't been in that exact position. It doesn't mean I'm a stranger to extreme frustration, feelings of futility, stress... it doesn't mean I can't comprehend the emotions present in the situation, nor does it mean any advice I have to offer is automatically wrong.

The advice should be measured on its own merits. Does it make sense that yelling at a child right after they poop, when they don't fully understand the language you're using, will cause them to associate their poop with your anger? It absolutely makes sense.

Do I understand why someone in that position would, in their frustration, lash out at anyone providing advice (even though she asked for it) as a way of making themselves feel better for not having been immediately successful? Sure I do. In our anger, we use a different region of the brain--one that actively opposes and suppresses rational thought. We do dumb things when we're angry.

I understand that. And I also understand that means it is even more important that someone be willing to listen to objective advice, rather than wallow in self-excuses. When you're in a leadership or a teaching position, you don't get the luxury of making excuses for your bad days. And parenting is both.

(Will there be bad days? Sure. We're human. But does the fact that they're inevitable mean they're excusable? No.)

The problem, as I'm seeing it, is an over-abundance of sympathy. Because so many people sympathize with the problem, we turn the other way and essentially excuse the non-productive behavior... because, hey, who hasn't been there, right? (It's like the parent who says, "Aw, hell. I lied as a kid, no big deal." Yeah, you did. And you got punished for it, so you wouldn't do it again. Of course kids are going to try it, that doesn't mean you let them.)

One of the areas I teach is band. I teach kids to play musical instruments. And every band director has a "favorite" instrument--the one that they play best. And usually we tend to think that a director that, say, played trumpet is going to have a good trumpet section because they favor them. In practice, it's usually the opposite that is true--a director that plays trumpet has a more personal understanding of the challenges, and they're more apt to excuse bad habits because they "understand," so more often than not, it ends up one of their weaker sections unless they specifically guard against that sympathetic bias.

dante brevity:
snip

To further the idea about things being addictive, I would make the argument that addiction is psychological, regardless of the substance. Even with cocaine, etc. It's withdrawal that is the chemical/biological component.

Addiction is the psychological reaction to the withdrawal, as well as the establishment of a habit (which is simply an action divorced from its original meaning). Basically, this means that nearly anything can become addictive, because nearly anything can prey upon that particular psychological pathway in a person... and the body can also manufacture withdrawal symptoms to mirror that mental reality.

A habit doesn't have to specifically be chemical to be addictive.

voorhees123:
God forbid parents would chose to NOT feed there kids crappy fast food. So this argument is retarded. The food is cheap and thus low earning parents buy it. Its a shame, but thats life. Also in the UK we do not get free refills, where as in America you do. Surprised the hell out of me. lol. I guess you could make your kids exersise more to lose weight but you cant blame the firm for obesity as we all have the choice of whether we eat it or not.

I just don't think this response holds water. It is more convenient to go to a fast food restaurant and have someone else quickly prepare a meal it would take you longer and more effort to make yourself (generally speaking). However, it's not actually that much cheaper, at least not here in the States. I won't try to speak for the UK or any of Europe because I have no idea of market prices there. (Sidenote: I wish I had the time to travel.) The amount of money a four member family would spend on three McDonalds meals in one week is comparable to the amount that would be spent on packages of ground beef, buns, cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, and cola. I left out condiments assuming that most families just tend to keep them in ready supply one way or another. Also, coming from a low income family that did everything it could to not rely on fast foods as regular sustenance, I find it very easy to interpret your words as somewhat classist, saying that poor families buy fast food more often. Again, as it is more a matter of convenience than perceived savings, I guarantee that just as many fiscally sound parents buy their children fast food as those who have a poor income. I don't believe this is your intention (giving you the benefit of the doubt here), so I won't take offense to it. That being said, I think it's ridiculous that Ronald is being targeted legally, but Moviebob does seem to meander a bit on this one.

Well Bob in my country we have a saying:

Една цигара немой те умори, ама една жена може.
One cigarette can't kill you, but one woman can.

cant do anything but agree with you this time bob, parents are idiots and never plan anything it is their only role in life to make sure their kids grow up healthy and happy but they end up making entitled whiny lazy goof-balls that don't know how to look after themselves or treat each-other's feelings

this is the reason everyone in cod calls you names
this is the reason people are unhealthy and unhappy
this is why we have teen pregnancy and gangs and drug usage
this is the cause of 60% of the problems society has
you called it:
BAD PARENTING!

( the other 40% comes down to misinformation, laziness and overpopulation )

GeorgW:
Loved your definition of natural selection!
I didn't know about this, it certainly is stupid. Enforce a parenting license and it's all fixed.

Damn right brother. Every prospective parent has a 9 month window of notice that their about to waff out a little pile of their partners and their own DNA. In this time mandatory parenting classes. do well - you get a parenting licence, fail and baby goes to a better home.

Dele:
I think there might be a bit of a problem in your central argument that tobacco is bad for you whereas hamburgers dont cause obesity...unless consumed by excessive amounts. In the scientific world of toxicology everything is bad for you if consumed in excessive amounts. Smoking less than once in a week does not cause statistifically significant risk to life expectancy. Teaching kids to love McDonalds encourages bad habits that stick especially to the fat and the poor. Read that sentence again.

I call your episode to be a bit too filled with nostalgia.

Hamburgers don't contain Nicotine, an addictive substance that makes it hard to only smoke one a day.

fat on the other hand isn't inherently anything other than a long chain hydrocarbon.

One thing not mentioned in this video is the kids who live in a house-hold of such poor economic situation that the only thing their parents feel they can reasonably afford is junk food. The cost/calorie at McDonald's is hard to ignore, and when they're advertising directly to kids, parents are further tempted to make the easy (and relatively cheap) choice of heading to McDonald's. Not to mention that economically destitute areas are dotted with fast food restaurants on every block. When's the last time you saw a Whole Foods in a slum?

The food stores where the poor can use their food stamps are equally tilted toward cheap, high-calorie, low-nutritional value food. The (overly-simplified, non-expert) solution is to make food that is good for you affordable. Maybe subsidizing fruits and vegetables instead of corn would help?

Dom Kebbell:

Hamburgers don't contain Nicotine, an addictive substance that makes it hard to only smoke one a day.

fat on the other hand isn't inherently anything other than a long chain hydrocarbon.

Any substance that provides pleasure has the ability to cause (mental) addiction. Strong physical addiction that nicotine, caffeine and some other drugs can cause takes a longer time to develope. There is nothing inheritly difficult in smoking only one tobacco a week or a day, but it may be extremely difficult to change the habit of smoking three a day though.

More people are addicted to eating than most would think.

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