Playing Doctor

I was asked to comment on an article titled “Kids Are Going to Touch Genitals. Let’s Not Get Too Freaked Out About It.” So I read it. And oh sweet Jesus. Adult people demonstrate such depths of ignorance about child development and human sexuality that it’s scary. Here is the story that the article tries to discuss in its strangely impotent manner:

A preschool in Carson, CA. is under fire because a 5-year-old girl was caught with her mouth on the genitals of a 4-year-old boy. The school has since shuttered — although they’re saying it’s because their director is leaving — and the community is baffled and outraged.

Here is the author’s response:

In a culture that thrusts adult sexuality onto children — ones who are often too young to understand it — it makes sense that people are freaked out by one child putting their mouth on another’s genitals.

Whenever I read something this stupid, I feel really hopeless. Cultures that do thrust adult sexuality onto children – by marrying them off at a very early age, for example – have nothing whatsoever to do with the US culture and it makes zero sense to discuss them in this context.

Of course, it is normal for small children to experience curiosity towards each other’s genitals. This is where “playing doctor” came from, which is a game that people of our Western civilization are all familiar with.

However, curiosity about genitals is one thing and imitating an adult sex act is a very different thing. Any psychologist worth a dime would recommend that the little girl’s family be investigated. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that everybody – the school, the girl, the boy, the culture, the television, the Santa Claus – will be blamed for this except the kid’s parents.

Small children are, indeed, hypersexual. However, their sexuality is completely self-referential. This means that it is all about gratifying oneself. The desire to gratify others (and administering oral sex is the definition of such an act) is, indeed, a cultural construct that appears much later in life. To put it even more bluntly, when children masturbate, that is supremely normal (as long as parents manage to teach them not to do it publicly). But any interest in less self-referential sex acts is evidence of deep trouble at home.

P.S. To “Obama’s Kill Lists”

I just discovered that there is yet another alternative to the options I listed in the previous post. It is this:



Translation: I refuse to acknowledge that the military and economic dominance of the US in the world during the XXth century has benefited me personally in the least.

I’m sure people who adopt this point of view feel vastly superior to those who believe that the US has been helping foreign nations by invading them out of the goodness of its heart but, to be honest, the difference between them is minimal.

Obama’s Kill Lists

Everybody is appalled about Obama’s kill lists. They are illegal, dangerous, horrible.

Yes, they are all that. However, my question is: what is the alternative?

I see only two alternative courses of action. One, is the tried and trusty route of invasion. Do you want the US to keep invading the countries that it doesn’t like (call them undemocratic, dictator-ridden, Communist, terrorist, whatever you like, terminology is not important right now)? We all know that this is not economically sustainable at the moment and is not likely to become sustainable any time soon. Besides, this has become so outdated that the two recent endeavors in this direction bore very little desired fruit.

The other possibility is for the US to give up its belief in its exceptionalism and its role in managing the world’s affairs. Taking into account how wedded the regular Americans are to this belief and how fierce the economic competition between the US, China and India is about to become, what are the chances of that, in your opinion?

In mine, they are less than nil.

So here are our options at this point:

1. Withdraw from neo-colonial expansion, somehow change the entire national identity of the country and convince every American that is a good thing, concentrate exclusively on internal affairs, experience a dramatic lowering of the standards of living, witness the world’s hegemony of China or India. (I can’t say which one right now, what do you think?)

2. Keep to the strategies of the XXth century which mean military invasions with the attendant military, economic, and domestic costs.

3. Modernize the nature of your involvement through drone strikes, kill lists, and similarly appalling things we will see in the nearest future.

Are we really surprised that Obama is going for Option#3?

Nothing is easier than to whine that invading countries is wrong and drone strikes are evil. Yes, they are very wrong and extremely evil. Tell me instead how willing you are to put your money where you mouth is in the most literal way possible. How prepared are you to face the costs of living in a country that is not the world leader but a fairly insignificant, one-among-many place?

Everything comes at a price. Everything. Of course, it must be lots of fun to pretend the leaders you elected are doing these things out of inexplicable weirdness and not in order to give you what you insist on having.

Monday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

It’s so fantastic to have such a supportive spouse that I wonder with astonishment and awe how anyone could be attached to a person who was unsupportive and hostile to your career. Especially when the worker is the sole working individual of the household. Shouldn’t the sole earner be supported?” I know exactly what both scenarios feel like. I was the sole working individual in the household whose career efforts were sabotaged at every opportunity in my first marriage. And now I have the experience of being married to somebody who is 100% supportive of everything I do professionally. Do I need to spell out which scenario is better and healthier?

The remains of my favorite king have been found. Yay! At least, Britain had kings one could feel interested in. The ones we got, however, were all idiots, losers, raving lunatics, mass murderers, with the exception of Boris Godunov who was an usurper. And a child-murderer.

Just because you finish your Ph.D. doesn’t mean you have to do a national job search, writes Rachel Leventhal-Weiner. Sometimes your best bet is to make a career where you are.” Is she mocking us? Does this condescending. . . person really think that people look for tenure-track jobs on the other side of the continent because they “put down shallow roots”? Yes, that’s why I ended up in Southern Illinois, because there is something wrong with my “roots.” I’m very lucky to have ended up with a dream job but I didn’t come here because I had any choice in the matter.

Horrible barbarity: “Officials of the Palestinian Authority, which does not control Gaza, are criticizing Al-Aqsa University, which is located there, for adopting a dress code for female students, Ma’an reported. Women will be required to wear “Islamic” attire, but officials said that need not be a full body or head covering, but must involve modesty.”

More horrible barbarity: “A call by a Saudi imam for a full face-veil for baby girls to protect them from sexual abuses is sparking a controversy among Saudi Muslim scholars and social media for tainting the image of Islam.”

And a very funny comment on the preceding horrible barbarity.

Want to know why the governments that try to ban the horrible barbarity are absolutely right? “Naomi Oni, 20, was on her way home from work to her home in Dagenham, East London, on 30 December when an anonymous attacker, wearing a niqab, threw the corrosive liquid at her, leaving her with serious burns on her head, neck, arms, legs and body.” And that’s just one of many reasons.

Weirdness: “Massachusetts Republicans are desperately scrambling to find a strong Senate candidate to replace Scott Brown, with some even trying to persuade Mitt Romney’s wife or son to jump into the race to avert another electoral disaster.” The idea that a politician is interchangeable with his or her relatives is so backwards that it scares me. Why not just bring back monarchy then?

I don’t want the conservative radio hosts to go away because they never fail to entertain: “I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb.” I think I will never stop laughing.

A textbook case of the consequences of being stuck in the Oedipal stage.

Still excited about the Egyptian “revolution”? It now calls to mutilate women: “Female Advisor to Egyptian President: Girls Not Circumcised “Lacking in Faith”.”

And what do you think about the case of the Applebee’s waitress and her weird customer?

Another really extreme example of helicopter parenting.  Where are all these crazies coming from?

A drunk pedophile is not a pedophile! Oh, wait. . . What is this, a week of flourishing barbarity everywhere?

And the post of the week: an adjunct instructor versus the Coach: the battle of Harvard. I haven’t worked for Harvard but at Yale this is exactly how things were. “So, how many did you get this semester?” we, the instructors, asked each other. Everybody knew that the question referred to how many athletes we had in our sections. When the number of athletes reached a critical mass, this meant we were facing a failed semester. When sports trump education, don;t expect anything positive.