Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Solstice Slugfest!

Hoo, doggies, but my post about Santaism got 'em going! The 25 comments may have set an Agoraphilia record. I thank you all. I love a good holiday dust-up, especially one that comes just in time for our celebration of the True Reason for the Season: Winter Solstice.

I especially appreciated how my wife, d, jumped into the fray to defend me and her family. Picture a bar fight in which a man is momentarily overpowered. In the stock movie version, his woman saves him by blind-siding his foe with a bottle. In contrast, d would break the bottle in half, grab its neck, step in front of the bad guy, and growl, "Back off or eat glass, punk." And yet, far from a thick-necked burly-girl, she's a total babe!

As to the merits of the argument, I found most convincing Glen's explanation of why parents lie about Santa. He wrote, "Santa provides a reward-and-punishment scheme that *appears* out of the parents' hands. 'I can't help it if you didn't get many gifts -- I guess *Santa* thought you were naughty.'"

That jibes with something I've often observed: Discipline probably constitutes the most unpleasant of a parent's duties. Contrary to what kids may think, it is no fun to see someone you love feeling ashamed, sad, or angry with you. Yet parents who skimp on discipline exhibit not kindness but sloth and selfishness.


Glen Whitman said...

The problem with my explanation, as d pointed out in a later comment, is that so many parents eventually cave and give their kids lots of presents regardless of their behavior. Perhaps parents are relying on their children's poor memory of previous Christmases?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to break it to you but you tie with Glen for his post on the "Parentalism and Unalienablity". Hee...
You guys are a really good looking couple! All writers in Agoraphilia seems to be good looking.
And yeah, women are tough especially when it comes to their families.
Parents definitely need to discipline their children. I don't buy that parents are friends too dealio. Human beings are so fragile, there are so many things we can do to mess them up, but hopefull they see the love and best intentions underneath it all. It's a delicate balance.
Ok, I think I'm getting obssessed with commenting. I have to stop now.


Tom W. Bell said...

I considered d's counterargument, Glen, but reasoned that: 1) Parent rationally discount their kids' memory (as you suggest); and 2) Parents use the Santa threat without giving adequate weight to their own propensity to backslide later (demonstrating again how it is unpleasant to discipline).