Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sick Of Vick

Enough with Michael Vick. I'm not going to argue the merits of whether what he did was an actual crime (it wasn't) or whether animals have rights (they don't) or whether dogfighting is a disgusting pastime (it is) and whether people who engage in it must have some serious psychological issues (they probably do). Please see Myrhaf for an excellent analysis of these issues.

I'm just so tired of hearing about it! We watched the Falcons-Bengals game last night and the commentators kept interrupting their own game analysis to discuss Michael Vick. Focus on the game, you jackasses! Sure, Vick isn't there and that's going to change things for the Falcons, but during the game was not an appropriate time or venue to discuss the ins and outs of Vick's statement or Blank's statement and did I just hear someone mention the ASPCA?

And then after the game, our local news channel didn't even discuss the game right away, but started interviewing a veterinarian who saw the dog carcasses and couldn't even discuss that because the case is still ongoing!


Also, I'm quite pissed off at Michael Vick because now we've got some 'splainin' to do to Ryan. And I just don't think it's 'splainable to a 5 year old, however bright. We've told Ryan that Vick is "on a break" (think Rachel and Ross) and won't be the QB this season. Obviously, this explanation is only a temporary measure that will collapse like a trailer park in a tornado when he thinks up the next few logical questions in the sequence. I know he's thought of some of these questions ("Why?" "Why is he going to jail?" "Why is dogfighting bad?" "Is Michael Vick a Bad Guy now?") but hasn't voiced them yet. He's the kind of guy who thinks these things over and then will unleash an onslaught of questions on unsuspecting adults without warning.

Oh well, at least we've got some time to consider the best way to explain this to him. I just hate having to do it and I really really hate that he's going to be so disappointed. At least he's got Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and Tom Brady and other Good Guys to admire still.

In the meantime, enough already! Put the guy in jail or whatever's going to happen to him and let him deal with the fallout from his actions. His actions are worthy of contempt; he isn't worth all this extra attention.

If the rest of you are tired of hearing about Michael Vick, please have sympathy for football fans here in Atlanta. I really hope that once the season gets underway officially and we start losing games as usual, things will settle down. Otherwise, my head just might explode.


Deb said...


I've been thinking a lot lately about how and when to explain things to my kids. Madison, my 8-year-old, loves talking about religion, philosophy, politics, history, etc. But there are so many things about the world that are icky, so that even though she is brainy and theoretically able to understand, it's not as though she's emotionally ready for it.

My husband and I have been thinking about how to approach philosophy with her, too. She loves it when I have done lessons on the School of Athens and things like that, so I started searching for a history of philosophy book for kids. But my husband thinks that perhaps this should wait until she's much older...he thinks what we should do now is teach her the right ideas, and then save the history of wrong ideas until she's a teenager. He argues that we don't delve much into the history of wrong ideas in math or in the sciences, and that now is the time for a solid foundation in what's actually true.

I have some more discussion on this in one of my blog entries. I'd be interested in the thoughts of other Objectivist parents.

Rational Jenn said...

Hi Deb,

You raise some interesting questions, some of which I've been mulling over myself. I have one, maybe two, blog posts that I'm working on and hope to post soon (I've been working on other things the last few days).

I think Philosophy as such is probably too abstract a subject for a child to tackle. However, we do teach our values and philosophical ideas to our kids every day by example and answering questions and through story-telling (literature and history).

I have a hard time envisioning a child understanding a higher level ethical concept such as Good or Evil. But my child is learning about this concept when we discuss Good Guys versus Bad Guys and the kinds of things each does. Just as a child needs to see several different examples of drinking glasses to form the concept "cup" or "glass", a child needs to see (or hear about) these higher level ideas before they can appropriately abstract the concept of Good or Evil or Consciousness or what have you. So I think a good approach when the child is young is to answer their questions in a way they can understand and point out such ideas from time to time as opposed to sitting down with Philosophy.

Thanks for your comments and I look forward to reading your blog!

Deb said...

I know it's unusual, but Madison actually likes abstract philosophy. I know she's young, but we've been talking about religion and abstract issues such as freedom and justice since she was 5, helped along by our close friends who escaped from Cuba for all the right reasons. My 6-year-old, Ella, has no interest in any of these things yet. (This is just fine, as far as I'm concerned, she has other interests aplenty.)

Madison is a Harry Potter fanatic, and we often discuss the way Rowling approaches ethics, and whether they're right, and it can get pretty subtle. We often talk about the circumstances in which one would break a rule, how to differentiate bad rules, rules as private agreements (follow the YMCA's rules at the pool or don't go to the pool) vs. imposed by the government or by the mom.

For an example of the kinds of philosophical discussions Madison and I have typically, see the middle of the post at http://mariposario.blogspot.com/2007/08/golden-age.html. The kid wants the THEORY! Since we're theorists, too (my mathematician husband has written on Objectivist epistemology and number theory), it's relatively easy to answer her questions on the fly, at least NOW while she's only 8, but it would be so nice to give her some good books on the subject to read, too.

So, in short, of course we're giving her ample opportunities to talk about and practice good method (reason), and about ethics as we see people acting in the world around us. We're teaching her about productivity. We're differentiating altruism from generosity and negotiation. We're doing all of this with Ella, too. But Madison is fascinated by why some people have other ideas, and what those ideas are, and where they come from. She likes reading mythology, including the Bible. So I've been feeling that she'd really enjoy a well-written history of philosophy.

Maybe some Objectivist will see the market for such a book.

Rational Jenn said...

I really enjoyed reading your post, Deb! Your girls are very interesting people.

Your older daughter sounds a lot like my son--he can't get enough details from us. He asks question after question to drill down precisely the answer he's after and won't rest until the question is answered to his satisfaction. It can be an exhausting process. We have touched on theories as well, and I can see him being very much like Madison when he is 8.

I wonder if you could start with the history of science or the Greeks and go from there. The story of Thales thinking everything was made of water might be interesting to her. And then Heraclitus and the Atomists and all of the other pre-Socratic thinkers. They were trying and trying to make sense of the world in the best way they knew how.

The Story of the World books might have those kind of stories in them, but I don't know for sure. My kids are younger than yours, so we're just not there yet, but I envision explaining things in terms of history. Let me know if you find something.

I love the way you've described your summer with your kids both being in good stages. It gives me hope!

Thanks again and sorry for the delay in replying.