Sorry Richard, Fairy Tales Are Important

(This post got away from me a bit, but I was super annoyed…so enjoy the rant.)

Richard Dawkins kinda annoys me.

No wait, let me honest here.

I might find it really difficult to not punch him right in the face if I met him in person. I wouldn’t do it, but boy would I be tempted.

Especially after this.

Fairy tales and believing in Father Christmas could cause children harm.

This is according to controversial biologist Richard Dawkins who warned an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival about the dangers of make-believe.

In typically incendiary style, Dawkins suggested it was ‘pernicious to instil in a child the view that the world is shaped by supernaturalism.’

The 73-year-old acknowledged that the appeal of fairytales lay in their magic but believes they may be causing more harm than we think.

He also questioned whether we should let children believe in the myth of Father Christmas at all.

‘Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasy of childhood?,’ he said. ‘Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism?.’

Daily Mail

 

I honestly do not know what I would have done with my childhood without fairytales and fantasy novels feeding my imagination. In fact I don’t know where I would be today in my personal or professional life without these things.

I read voraciously as a child and a teenager, most of it fantasy and fairy tale based. I was never hugely interested in science or mathematics, but English and history classes, anything where the story of an event was the most important part, I excelled in. This was what kept me going to school and turned me into someone who loved learning, rather than someone who cut class and flunked out.

My love of fiction, fantasy and fairy tales especially, also taught me a great deal about right and wrong, ethics and morality, peer pressure, hope, and loyalty.

The fact that my parents read to me when I was a child and took me to the library as often as I wanted (where I devoured fantastical stories about fairies and knights and dragons) gave me a love of reading and writing that has made me a better student and a better person.

The point of fairy tales and fiction is not to lie to our children. The point is to expose them to ideas and other cultures, abstract ideas that a child is simply not equipped to deal with in reality until they are older, virtues that will help them grow into strong adults, and lessons that teach our children, early on, how to avoid the pitfalls of adulthood by showing them that actions have consequences.

You can claim fairy tales are old fashioned, sexist, or too “supernatural” all you want, but takes a very narrow minded view of what the themes and ideas of these stories are, not to mention a really low opinion of children’s intelligence. I have yet to meet an adult whose mind was so addled by fairy tales as a child that they could not differentiate between fantasy and reality as an adult. 
There is nothing wrong with fostering imagination and fanciful thought in a child.
There is no reason why we must spend every second a child’s formative years smashing their wonder and imagination and telling them they aren’t allowed to believe in fairy godmothers or women with hair long enough to climb because it doesn’t foster a spirit of skepticism. 
Where does this even end?
If fairy tales are bad for fostering an acceptance of magic, then what of A Mid-Summer’s Nights Dream or A Christmas Carol, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? What of the dozens of pieces of classic literature, hailing from your country and the histories of a half dozen other empires? Are they not appropriate for children either? 
Childhood ends soon enough (and children who love reading, whether they love Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales or A Brief History of Time, fair better than children who do not) and it takes a very sad person to want to end the magic of childhood early.

Look, Dick, I get it. You had a really screwed up childhood. I’ve read the stories about how a teacher molested you and how your prep school years were full of being bullied. Your childhood sucked and, even though it appears you can’t see the damage it did, it did leave scars. I feel bad for you, all feelings of wishing to punch you right in the nose aside, I really do wish your childhood had been better.

No child deserves to have things like that happen to them.

But that doesn’t give you the right to stomp all the joy out of other children’s lives and try to smash every bit of wonder and imagination out of the world, because you think fairy tales are “pernicious lies”.

I think maybe you don’t have the frame of reference necessary to decide what is or is not harmful for childhood development. Perhaps, if you stopped thinking you are better and smarter than everyone else for a second and consulted a child psychologist or the parent of a child (or, better still, an actual child) on the importance of fairy tales, you might find you don’t know everything and you might just be wrong about something.

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Common Core Tourettes and the Anti-Common Core Mob

 

 

 

one cries because one is sad

(This post got a bit away from me, I apologize for the rambling nature and probable spelling errors…in my defense I’m ranting and I don’t care if my grammar is perfect in a rant)

I don’t know what we did before we had Common Core to blame all our education woes on, I really don’t.

I don’t remember my  parents saying “look at this Prentice Hall math problem my kid had to solve” or “look at this Houghton Mifflin Harcourt history worksheet my kid brought home” and trust me the problems were just as prevalent then as they are now that everyone has tourettes that automatically attaches “common core” as the adjective in every complaint about education, curriculum, or teaching styles.

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Tea Party, Please Look Up Compromise in the Dictionary

Me: *voices dissenting or unpopular view of a Tea Party view*
TP member: That’s stupid.
Me: Okay….why is that?
TP member: What are you a liberal plant or something?

That is a summary of a conversation I had last night, just in case anyone wonders why I’m starting to get tetchy about the Tea Party these days. If these next two elections cycles end in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to “ideologicaly purity” zealots (libertarian or Tea Party, tbh) I may actually give up politics, switch back to writing fantasy novels and awkwardly wooing pretty girls. We need a few wins under our belt before we have leeway for irrational debates on who is more ideologically pure. Grow the fuck up and realize that the long game, the game where we actually win and make a difference (because I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me that an executive and legislative branch of liberals is more realityappealing to you than one full of moderate Republicans), takes some form of adult compromise. If you can’t produce a real argument when you disagree with someone, then shut the fuck up. I don’t have time for your crap, neither does the current election cycle.

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It’s Always Okay For Someone to Not Like You – A Rant

I find myself at odds, once again, with another gay Republican. I wrote an article a few months ago on why I don’t make politics personal and what triggered it was an article written by Jimmy LaSalvia, recently of GOProud.

Now I find myself writing a response to something he’s said once again…and steadily getting annoyed at myself that I feel the need to continue doing so.

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A Rant: I Love Politics, But I’m Beginning to Hate the Politics of Loving Politics

politicsYou know what I mean.

Especially you know what I mean if you are part of any “inner circle” of an organization, blogger’s row, or media credentialed folks.

I went into doing this because I love what I’m doing and I want to make a difference. I don’t try to pretend that I’m more experienced than I am and I just wanted to remained principled and hope that my talent would get me noticed, but once you reach a certain level of being “in the know” with all of this…you get disillusioned about whether or not that’s why anyone else is involved.

It’s a country club mentality, where everyone is smiling and laughing and loving each other, but in the background it’s all nasty words whispered behind people’s backs and a complete inability to know where you actually stand with people.

Do they like me? Do I annoy them? Do they think I’m a hack?

It’s impossible to tell where we stand when everyone is talking out of both sides of their mouth.

I’m too principled to smile at someone through my teeth and bash them as soon as they are out of sight. If I don’t like you, you’ll probably know about it. If I can tell you don’t like me, I’ll just avoid you. I don’t like the politics of social interaction and I’ve come to realize that the social politics of political commentary are sometimes just as bad as the politics I rail against on my websites.

I’ve often thought that one of the problem’s the GOP has is that they refuse to take chances. They like the old familiar faces and their routine song and dance, because it’s always given them results, even if the results are mediocre at best in many cases. Any attempt at changing the tempo or the dancers is regarded with fear and disdain, because the chance that it might gain them spectacular results has been covered up by the fear that it will destroy their chance at getting at least those mediocre results.

The fear of the crash and burn has made a good portion of them go stale. Succeed on your own and they might let you into their fold, but they aren’t interested in taking a risk on anyone with a new sound.

It’s possible that the voices calling for change can get stale too, preaching to the choir and going through the same 1-2-3 step waltz. We love the rabble rousers and the people who want to change the face of the GOP, but maybe we’re just as stuck in our own song and dance as everyone else.

Maybe our connection to the politics has tarnished our own social politics or maybe it’s just a fact of humor nature that we just can’t change.

Either way, I’m exhausted.

_____________________

Current Mood: Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men

And some days I can’t even trust myself
It’s killing me to see you this way

‘Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Hey!
Don’t listen to a word I say
Hey!
The screams all sound the same
Hey!


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Trust me, if this was targeted toward a specific person or organization, I’d let them know about it. This is just a general rant about a general feeling of frustration that’s been building in me for sometime.