« Might be quiet for a while | Main | Arriving in Jordan »

June 07, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Very cool. Are your boys fluent in both German and English?

It is often surprising what catches our children's interest. When Colin was 3, he spotted a video tape at my parents with a dragon on the cover and wanted to watch it. It was the Ingmar Bergman version of The Magic Flute, sung in Swedish of all things, but with English subtitles. Well, Colin couldn't read, but we saw no harm in him watching the video, so put it on. Half an hour later, he was still watching and objected when we suggested something else. It was his favourite video for years. My parents took him to a live performance when he was all but 6. He loved it, only falling asleep in the final act (long opera!). Has seen it a couple of times since, the last one being at the Vienna Opera House when he was on a school trip a couple of years ago.

Jussi Jalonen

Apparently I'm the only one who found some elements of this story just a little bit disturbing.


J. J.


Jussi, that's one way to kick off a flame war, you know. Thank goodness we actually don't have that many readers anymore, now that Carlos and Noel are gone, otherwise people would jump at it.

Mike Davis

I too am disturbed by the thought of children watching Transformers videos, Jussi. 90s Fox animation, that's where it's at!

(I remember when the X-Men made a cameo in Spiderman's 90s Animated Series. _It completely blew my mind!_)


Woot! It's great to see him engagiert so jung!

Andrew R.

I hesitate to do this, but I'm going to jump in and at least offer a moderate defense of Jussi. The Obama cult of personality makes me extremely uncomfortable. Yes, I know that he exudes charisma and could charm the spots off a leopard. When I see well-educated members of the global elite also joining in the collective rapture, though, it causes me to be uneasy. I mean, his supporters are already calling him a supernatural emissary from the realms of light.*

Claudia, please don't take any of this as an insult. I'm aware that you and Doug have many good reasons for preferring Obama to McCain. But I want to offer an explanation of how the above post could make someone uncomfortable.


The New York City Math Teacher

Andrew -

You're uneasy with the strong emotions Obama's candidacy inspires. Remember your Weber, and his theory of leadership legitimation?

If the American political system can be likened to a garden, a drought has gripped the last fifteen years. The legitimacy of institutions has been under attack by self-seeking mostly right-wing ideologues and demagogues, mostly from the right. Our distinctive legal, political, and social culture is dying from deep corruption of norms of discourse, rules of legislative and administrative procedure, and legal due process. Rationalist and positivist appeals are insufficient; to arrest this decay, a mobilization of emotion is essential for the assembly of the presently necessary reformist voting coalition.

And the hope and faith is really heartening - because it's also coming from formerly disaffected or anomic segments of the electorate. While I'm not unswayed by Obama's obvious charisma, that charisma is both innate and subscribed - bestowed by an electorate seeking, needing legitimacy in a political realm sick with cynicism and disillusionment.

So, I'm happy that Obama has this appeal. It's a necessary appeal - because of its clarity, it cuts through farrago, obfuscation, and misdirection, and will reassemble the Roosevelt voting coalition.

Doug M.

I'm a member of the global elite!


Doug M.

Andrew R.

Of course you are. And that's why I take heart that you still enjoy things like D & D. :)


I'm not taking offense; in fact, I was baffled by Jussi's response but not offended. I thought his word choice was poor but then I know I'm funny that way.

What really confuses, baffles and annoys me is that people would assume that my/our approval of Obama should entirely rest on his oratory skills, and not on his program. Do people not do research anymore these days, and then assume that others don't, either?

Both Doug and I've looked very closely at what Obama wants to do -- it's easy, too: just poke around on his website, then look around elsewhere. Lots of reading, I promise. Then look at what McCain offers. Compare, decide.

There are quite a few things I make me uncomfortable about Obama -- religion is only one of them. I like a secular mindset and any talking about God in a political setting makes me flinch. But so does talk of a presidential candidate about cap-and-trade when it's just so obvious he has no idea what he's talking about -- and what will matter more in the end?

Yes, I like to listen to Obama's speeches. Come on, who doesn't after eight years of Bush? It's brain candy, it really is.

Do Doug and I indoctrinate our children? I hope not. Are they influenced by our ideas and beliefs? Of course they are -- they are all of 2, 4 and 6 years old. We try to raise them in a responsible way which does not, in my mind, include not stating any views on politics or other issues. When Alan or David ask, we answer -- with as few euphemisms and as straight forward as possible.

People may feel uncomfortable about this but you know - deal with it. And next time, when your six-year-old wants to know what his scrotum is good for, I'm perfectly willing to give you some pointers. ("And women will let me do this?" There's a blog post there, maybe.)

The comments to this entry are closed.