Friday, February 13, 2015

Today's Post or Caveat Emptor

The boys must once again endure the "fun" of the traditional Valentine's Day Party at school.  They weren't very thrilled about it last year, and this year, well, they'd've opted out if the could've.  We were unable to find any cards they wanted to be associated with at the store, so they opened their trusty craft boxes and designed their own:

This is Nick's page of four:

I am a star... that, uh, star, well, may not be.

Zack did these:

Awesome = Valentie (sic) so... Be Awesome  Yeah, that's pretty clever, little dude.

They were quite proud of these, I even found a paper cutter to make them nice and neat.  They carefully chose which would best for each fellow classmate, Z even wrote a little message on each one.  It was fun both watching them making the cards and listening to them decide who would get each.  It softens my heart to know they have considered each child in their class with at least some tenderness.

From Marci's  "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

We were reading aloud as a family and came across the phrase "sleeping like a baby."

Nick piped up, "Hey, that's a simile."

"You're right, Nick," I said.

To which he shrugged and said, "Ever since our teacher introduced us to literary devices, I see them everywhere."

*will played, educators, well played*

I'm a sucker for a well-placed literary device...

Listen, I'm gonna break character here for a bit.  I don't usually offer opinions or try to comment on things that are trending or the like.  In the past, when I have, I haven't felt so good about it, and, well, it does not serve the essential goal of this blog.  Anti-vaxxers and Bronies and MRAs and assault rifles and circumcision  and same sex marriage and extremists are all things on which I have an opinion.  I'd guess the vast majority of the folks who come around here could guess my position on all of these.  That's not my point, really.  In twenty or thirty years - or minutes - a lot of this isn't going to be in the forefront of thought.  Some, perhaps, might seem anachronistic, quaint even, looking back at them.

So, I avoid all of it.  On purpose.  Mostly because trolls (again, anachronistic in a few years) are not to be tolerated.  They are not welcome here, or in polite society.

All that being said, I'll go on and tell you something.  We didn't make the cards you see above by hand because we had some particularly high-handed motive.  We didn't do it because they really wanted to do them on their own or because they wanted to exercise their innate creativity.  Nope.  We did it because the choices for store bought cards, well... sucked.

As I stood looking at the display in the grocery store, two in fact, I felt so bad for my sons.  There were, what, a couple dozen designs and all but one had some commercial tie-in.  From Star Wars to Little Kitty to every Disney show, Cartoon Network show ever conceived.  There were Barbie Cards and Sponge Bob cards and superhero after superhero after superhero, ad nauseam.  Truly... add vomit.  I mean, there weren't even any Arthur cards.

Now, to make our family sound even more provincial, I'm gonna tell you this - the boys don't know who the vast majority of these characters and shows are.  Any they do know, they do not want to celebrate nor associate themselves with them.  Come on.  Would you?

I was willing to go back if they really wanted Captain Avengerman, Jaba the Jedi, or Ted the Builder... whatever, to represent them in a considered exchange of cards.  They didn't.  I told them there was one pack of sort of plain cards with cat and dog stickers to go along.  They just said they'd make their own.

I'll stop here, I'm already in trouble.  One simply does not joke about superhero or Starwarian names.

I'll say one last thing.  Nick and Zack did not watch any commercial television until they were well over six and it is only in the last year or so that they've started watching cable shows on the alleged children's channels.  From day one we have emphasized their role as fodder in the world of capital consumers in this world.  They are healthy in their skepticism of advertising, they know how and why they can be manipulated and, well, sorry world, they ain't buyin'.

One particularly enraging part of all this was that the one pack of non-commercial Valentine's Day cards was three (3) times as expensive as the others.  I mentioned this to my wife and Nick said:

"Well, that's because the Star Wars and Disney ones are basically just ads for their shows."

There ya go.

Thanks for stopping by, I'll shut up now...


  1. Your kids sound Valentines (read: awesome), Bill. Don't shut up. Keep expressing your thoughtful well-reasoned opinions. Even people who disagree can't help but be interested. No apologies or caveats necessary.

  2. Yep, always enjoy reading your face book hit this one right on the money! So many people just buy into the commercial crap.