Friday, November 30, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

In Texas, a 19-year-old mother has told police her two-year-old daughter was beaten with leather belts, had her head held underwater in a bathtub and was thrown across a room, slamming into a tile floor, for failing to say "please" and "thank you" and otherwise displeasing her 24-year-old stepfather. The child's body was found in a plastic box in Galveston bay.

As authorities sort out details of the brief, brutalized life of Riley Ann Sawyers, also known as "Baby Grace," it is a haunting reminder of what childhood was like in America before parents of the Baby Boomers came home from World War II and one of them, Dr. Benjamin Spock, wrote a book for the first generation that would treat children as human beings to be loved and nurtured rather than creatures to be trained and restrained. . . .

Now, some critics find those children who were not drilled to say "please" and "thank you," as they near retirement age, a "me" generation, selfish, self-centered and the source of many of America's social ills.

But whatever the pathology in the case of Riley Ann Sawyers turns out to be, her story is a jolt to those who may have forgotten that the Baby Boomers also turned out to be one of the most sensitive and caring generations ever.


I just created a new chart on my electronic medical record. I typed in the patient's name, her date of birth and her phone number, and then I chose from the dropdown menus for sex and marital status. The blanks are automatically filled in, but this patient is a married woman so I had to change both, because the default option is male, single. And I can’t change the defaults.

Why do I have a feeling that the people who designed this program are male, single? It's a small thing, but every time I create a new chart I am reminded that "female" is considered an aberrant state of being.

-- JAY

Abandonment is one of humanities core anxieties, the fear of which dawns on us as infants when we realise we're actually an individual, separate from our mums and dads.

When you're a kid this is a very real terror, for abandonment in most cultures signifies death. If an infant is left untended in the wild (or in a city), it's usually game over unless you meet a friendly, lactating wolf.

For most of us though, it is an unfounded dread and those vicious moments of hysteria in the supermarket, when we've lost sight of our mother, are assuaged by her sudden appearance and the much repeated mantra of childhood that "it's OK, mummy and daddy are here."

Some kids (and adults) aren't so lucky and you may have known a poor bugger who turned up at school, his world collapsing, because this primal horror had been realised and mum or dad had disappeared, never to return.

It's another of society's frustrating hypocrisies that we condemn fathers who walk out on their families, but we despise women who do the same.


"I was a hairdresser until a couple of years ago," Gail Simone said. "It took me a long time to admit that I was a professional writer."

Ms. Simone was talking about her rise from hairstylist to online commentator to professional comic-book author. This month she added a new title. With the publication of issue No. 14 of Wonder Woman, which hit stores two weeks ago, Ms. Simone has become the regular writer of that amazing Amazon's super-adventures, published by DC Comics. She is the first woman to serve as "ongoing writer" (to use the industry’s term) in the character's 66-year history.

It's an assignment that will only increase Ms. Simone's profile. It's also the latest move by DC Comics to push Wonder Woman, the company's third-ranked hero, behind Superman and Batman, into the spotlight.

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