14 December 2006

NOT for the kiddies (Part 1)

Gentle readers, as you may already have noticed, I have no time for hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments. It is a whole time job.

Which lead us neatly on to Christmas, for I find that there is hypocrisy everywhere, with many celebrating the festival without enough decency to pretend to be Christian, insisting that the whole thing is done ‘for the kids’.

Given how stressful and exhausting Christmas has become, with so much emphasis on mindless materialistic consumption, which can also be said for a lot of kids, perhaps it is true. It certainly explains how awful Christmas if you pause to consider how awful most kids are… not that I blame the kids themselves, it’s the parents I blame.

Just the other day, I watched a woman on the metro, accompanied by (presumably) a little daughter who asked to be given her book to read. It was clearly the little girls book- unless the woman’s intelligence was even lower than her behaviour suggested- and since I was enjoying a read myself at the time, I appreciated the little girl’s request to be a perfectly reasonable one... yet it was refused. At first, it occurred to me that perhaps the woman objected to the little girl’s impoliteness, for she demanded rather than requested her book, with no ‘please’ at the end of the sentence. However, it quickly became clear that this was not the kind of parent who concerns herself with such delicate matters as manners, and that her child has no hope of being enrolled in the best Swiss finishing school.

So it was that the little girl, upon receiving this (unreasonable) refusal, began to scream loudly. The woman’s immediate response was to stare into the distance and ignore this, perhaps accustomed to the distressing sound of shrill cries, although none of the other passengers were. And those cries continued to get louder and louder, until at last this dreadful woman – who seemed more concerned about disapproving looks from the passengers than her child’s welfare- flung the book in her child's direction, which of course did not have the desired effect of appeasing the child, who was by this time hysterical. More shrieking ensued, and eventually the woman picked the child up, and spent the remainder of the journey trying to calm her down.

Needless to say, I sat shaking my head in disapproval throughout. What kind of messages is that woman giving the child?

1. Unreasonable refusals to reasonable requests are acceptable.
2. If there’s a problem, ignore it.
3. Scream loud enough and you’ll get what you want.
4 Demand attention to receive warmth, love and comfort.
5. Show no respect to your parents, or those around you.

One wouldn’t find a gay couple prepared to leave a pet in that woman’s care, let me assure you.
To think bigots in the world consider a gay or lesbian couple unfit for the responsibility of parenting! How dare they think so! Let me assure you that before parenting, a gay or lesbian couples pauses to consider more than the logistics of how to have a child together, which is more than can be said for some heterosexual couples, many of whom appear to have a child because of peer/parental pressure, or in the hope of filling cracks in a defunct relationship, or without any thought at all.

If I had my way, instead of advertisements about how a dog’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life, there’d be advertisements for heterosexuals about how a child’s not just for your own personal fulfilment.

But I digress.

A moral obligation falls on those of us who are not seduced by the mindless festivities to show a little consideration to those around us, sharing the truth about Christmas with those kids who are unfortunate enough to have ignorant and inconsiderate parents, don’t you think?

Yes, I thought you’d agree with every single word I said. What a wonderful audience you are!

So let's gather all of the little kiddies... How are you today, little kiddies, are you all sitting comfortably? Please do not leave any stains on my furniture, thank you! Now, my name is Cuentin, but you are to call me Ms Quisp, and I think it’s time we had a little chat…

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