Priorities and Practicality


Detail of 'Relativity' by M.C. Escher, 1953.

Paula M. Fitzgibbons explains:

It’s possible my daughter’s condition is unavoidable—that she was born with a fear of death imprinted on her genes. There is plenty of precedent in my family, with an unbroken line of anxiety-ridden women stretching back to my great-great grandmother, who made a harrowing journey from Ireland to the United States. Researchers do believe there’s a genetic component to anxiety, but for a time, I believed my daughter was additionally cursed by epigenetics, or the idea that our experiences can write themselves into our children’s DNA. I’ve since abandoned the idea—the science of epigenetics is still sketchy, and I don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to an unproven concept when our problem is more immediate. My daughter’s anxiety is interrupting her daily life and nightly sleep.”

It seems almost petty to point out, but given the stakes I think it very important to acknowledge we witness, in this passage, the temptation of pseudoscience, and the practical gravity drawing one away from such shiny and dangerous notions. While the epigenetics of fear are, indeed, mind-boggling, the point is that virtually nothing about the concept is sound, yet. Or, as Lisa Simpson once said, “You don’t control the birds. You will, someday, but not now.” That mice verge on the Lamarckian when conditioned in a context of mortal fear and the torture to inspire it is a far cry from what’s going on with human beings; and while it’s true I haven’t followed this question so closely over the last few years, it’s also one of those subjects we would have heard something about if someone achieved any sort of definitive answer about anything. There are myriad reasons to be tempted by epigenetics in these aspects, but behavioral epigenetics does not at this time a sound science make.

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Fitzgibbons, Paula M. “Watching My Daughter Develop the Same Anxiety I Struggle With”. The Cut. 12 September 2017.

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¿Who You Gonna Call?


In recent days, two television adverts, one for an insurance company and another for home security services, have drawn my attention for alleged customer testimonial that skipped over first responders. No, really:

• Crime, therefore call insurance company before callng police.

• Fire, therefore call home security company, who in turn called fire department for you.

In truth, I have no idea how to feel about this. And, you know, there was also something else that flitted by in those spots, but, honestly, the implications of spinning narrative would be entirely on my own conscience, and it’s not a pleasing prospect; even worse would be noticing something we are expected to notice—you know, a feature, not a bug. Never mind. It is enough to simply wonder at skipping out on first responders.

Live Through This


¡Freak Flag Fly!

#FightWinLoveLive:

Question Are state same-sex marriage policies associated with a reduction in adolescent suicide attempts?

Findings This difference-in-differences analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities.

Meaning Same-sex marriage policies are associated with reduced adolescent suicide attempts.

(Raifman, et al.)

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Loops and Tangles


It seems an uncertain question; there are, after all, trivial occasions and results, but what of habituation? To the one, you say to the child, “I am going to [do this]. What do you think?” To the other, you say to the adult, “[The child] wants [this].” When it is what one intends to feed the child, perhaps this isn’t a particularly important distinction. But it really does feel, in other moments when you tell people what the child wants about various things, like a setup. And at some point amid the repetition it does occur to wonder: Is it that you don’t think I hear? Or do you really think telling a child something and then asking a binary question establishes what a child wants?
     To the one, we are all human. To the other, that this is not necessarily uncommon behavior is part of the point. Or the problem. The rest is less certain; perhaps there are occasions when the child says no, but on the occasions I do, in fact, hear, it seems a pretty predictable process.

Is This Thing On, and Why Would You Care?


Brook, the jolly Humming Pirate who also happens to be a skeleton with an afro. (Detail of frame from 'Shonen Jump One Piece'.)

It occurs to wonder what actually happens when the written word is dismissed from duty and argumentation is carried out via social media with links to other people’s YouTube rants.

No, really, I just don’t get that bit about how someone wants their voice to be heard so they send you a link to an hour-long YouTube rant. Honestly, they’re like really unskilled salesmen; getting you to sit through an hour of their favorite bigot is the point. Seriously; they know they’re not going to convince you. They just want to demand that you waste a bunch of your time in order that they might feel special, and then despise you for accommodating.

Sometimes it feels stupid to post these notes, but then we might recall the godawful narration explaining poker to a James Bond audience; and something goes here about the simpleminded moralist explanations in Hunter x Hunter mixed in with the sexual molestation scene and the nostalgic bit with the guy standing there in the middle of an emergency sniffing the scent of a woman from his fingers.

No, seriously, at first it’s a combination of Dragonball and Boobah―(“Look what I can do!”)―with infantile moral lessons describing character motivations, and then ....

Which actually might prove useful, for once. Perhaps the proper response to, “Here is a long-assed video in lieu of me actually doing any work to post a proper argument,” would be to simply post episodes of Hunter x Hunter and One Piece, the latter of which actually has the courage to denounce sexual harassment by its name.

On Morality and Hitting Children With Cars


Honestly, after everything else, to see a photo of Pietro with his arm in cast and sling―

Transgender mother Bárbara Pastana, and her 2 year old son Pietro, were victims of a transphobic assault on Tuesday October 4th in Belém do Pará, Brazil. The attack occurred when she was taking her Pietro to the kindergarten by bike.tg-sign

“Every day I go out (in the Bengui neighborhood) and take my son to school by bicycle, in a front seat. Today, a car approached and followed me slowly. I kept pedaling but the driver sped up the car and hit on the bike, “she said.

Bárbara fell toward the sidewalk above her child and said that after the impact, her only concern was the health of the child. “I could not see anything, just saw my injured son. I do not know who did it, I can not imagine, “she said.

(Santos)

―is just too much. Today is one of those days.

Then again, today is one of those days insofar as I get to have such days. Brazil is a killing field for transgender, and I won’t tell anyone to feel thankful we Americans are merely fighting over restrooms, or anything like that. Still, though, I don’t know: Is there comfort that it’s not so bad up here, or are we just not there yet? And, you know, it never really helps to tell anyone to cheer up, at least they’re not running you down or … or … okay, at least they’re not doing all that stuff as much. Right. Never really helps.

I don’t know; this reminder that they would kill the children, too? Attacking children is hardly unique, but remember, these are the moralists.

____________________

Santos, Eduarda Alice. “Transgender mother and son victims of hit and run”. Planet Transgender. 1 November 2016.

The Adventures of No Way Really


Something goes here about the nights and days of getting older. It is one thing to be out of touch; to a certain degree that has nothing to do with age, and, on occasion, a matter not so much pride as relief. Still, though, I happened to find a piece of information interesting, but my daughter informs me that Spider Man soup has apparently always been a thing.

To the other, nothing ever begins.