Saturday, June 15, 2013

They Walk Among Us...

...silent and effectively undetectable. You can't tell them from normal folks by appearance, most of their statements and behavior pass unremarked, and they're on a mission, though definitely not from God:

More than 7,000 academics are gathered in Victoria, B.C., this week for the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, presenting papers on everything from the errant lessons of Grey’s Anatomy to Justin Trudeau’s political brand power. In this week-long series, the National Post showcases some of the most interesting research.

Parents who read their kids stories about happy, human-like animals like Franklin the Turtle or Arthur at bedtime are exposing their kids to racism, materialism, homophobia and patriarchal norms, according to a paper presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Most animals portrayed in children’s books, songs and on clothing send a bad message, according to academics Nora Timmerman and Julia Ostertag: That animals only exist for human use, that humans are better than animals, that animals don’t have their own stories to tell, that it’s fine to “demean” them by cooing over their cuteness. Perhaps worst of all, they say, animals are anthropomorphized to reinforce “socially dominant norms” like nuclear families and gender stereotypes.

Please read the rest. Any offense you give or small, valuable items you break during the subsequent fit of uncontrollable laughter are entirely your own affair.

I do believe it's time to say a few things very, very plainly:

  • Normal means usual, or overwhelmingly more common than any alternative.
  • Therefore, when we speak of human attitudes, convictions, and behavior, normal should be interpreted to mean "what the overwhelming majority of humans feel, think, and do."
  • It follows that:
    • "Racism," when applied to the human race vis-a-vis the subhuman races, is normal.
    • "Materialism," i.e. the desire / preference for material comfort and security, is normal.
    • Heterosexuality is normal.
    • "Homophobia," whether anyone likes it or not, is normal.
    • "Patriarchal norms," to the extent the phrase was intended to convey anything more than "men are icky," are normal.


  • From the anthropocentric viewpoint, "animals exist only for human use" is exactly correct.
  • With due respect to Caligula et alii, humans are better than animals intellectually and ethically.
  • Animals have no stories to tell, regardless of whatever stories humans tell about animals.
  • "Cooing over their cuteness" is far better than what PETA does to the ones it "rescues."
  • Nuclear families are the basis of modern civilization.
  • Assuming the "gender stereotypes" the "researchers" have in mind are the usual ones, those stereotypes are irrefutably correct.

In short, the use of animals in children's books is rational, pro-social, and pro-child-development. Indeed, the practice helps children to develop kindness toward animals. But these "researchers" are angry about it. That says a lot more about the "researchers" than about animals, their use in children's fiction, the various ideas and attitudes mentioned above, or anything else.

If you need a list of dead-giveaway words by which to detect and reject such bilge without needing to read it attentively, my favorites are:

  • Racism
  • Homophobia
  • Heteronormative
  • Patriarchal

Are these "researchers" entitled to their opinions of our "racism," "homophobia," "materialism," and "patriarchal norms?" Of course:

Porretto's Bio-Social Theorem:
Opinions are like assholes:
Everyone's gotta have one.

But the rest of us are equally entitled to laugh ourselves hoarse at their notions...and to keep them as far away from our kids as contemporary technology and the laws of physics will permit.

Of course, this is the beginning of yet another attempt to condition our children into politically correct "pre-liberal" mindsets. Its risibility should not be taken as an indication of harmlessness. (It's certainly not an exculpation.) Fortunately, harsh, derisive laughter from a multitude of sensible sources is the best detoxifying agent for such malicious nonsense. Use it!


Horatio said...

"Porretto's Bio-Social Theorem:
Opinions are like assholes:
Everyone's gotta have one."

Horatio's Addendum: "All of them are stinky some of the time; most of them are stinky most of the time; and any that are not stinky at this time will become stinky over time."

Cederq said...

So, Mr. Porretto, does this mean "shite happens?"

What a bunch of maroons...

Joseph said...

Do we really want children reading about animals As they are?

Bill C said...

Forget the animals, it's those retarded humans we must deal with. They are warping young minds and should be punished for it.
Show them how lead kills.

Bill C said...

Discovery channel and national geographic. Arthur is food for cheetah. :-D