Five Fascinating Facts about Harry Potter

jennpower:

The author was told she “didn’t know anything” about the series she created…. It’s interesting when a book goes from being an author’s to being a book for a community. I’m wondering: Does that somehow lessen the author’s ideas?

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Here are our five favourite facts about one of the biggest publishing phenomena of the last twenty years, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Even if you’re a diehard fan of the series, we hope there’ll be something here to surprise you…

1. When J. K. Rowling visited the chatroom of Mugglenet, she was told by regulars to keep quiet as she didn’t know enough about Harry Potter. According to Rowling in an interview for the Leaky Cauldron website, the first time she Googled ‘Harry Potter’, she stumbled upon the Mugglenet site which is dedicated to discussion of the Harry Potter series. Deciding to join the discussion (under a pseudonym), Rowling found that she was treated with ‘outright contempt’ by regular users of the site, who told her, ‘Yeah, yeah, shut up, you’re not a regular, you don’t know a thing.’ Perhaps Roland Barthes had a point when he talked…

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“It Can’t be Called Back.”

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A word of caution.  I am going to be talking about the Canadian residential school system and the American industrial school/boarding school system. This also mentions trauma and abuse. If you start to feel uncomfortable, please get off and go read something else. 

Okay. Here we go. First of all, I know that I haven’t been on in a really long time. Life gets in the way. I’m busy with school, reading, and trying to relax. But I’m still here, still thinking, and living and breathing.

I’m not exactly sure how to start this post off. Maybe I should start off by alerting everyone to the fact that I’m talking about a different culture- a non-Western culture and so, the way that children are thought of is different. In indigenous culture “Children are greatly valued and considered gifts from the Creator. From the moment of birth, children are the objects of love and kindness from a large circle of relatives and friends. They are strictly trained but in a ‘sea’ of love and kindness. As they grow children are given praise and recognition for their achievements both by the extended family and by the group as a whole. Group recognition manifests itself in public ceremonies performed for a child, giveaways in a child’s honour, and songs created and sung in a child’s honour. Children are seldom physically punished, but they are sternly lectured about the implications of wrongful and unacceptable behaviour.” (Leroy Little Bear, 31) Kim Anderson echoes this statement and expands even further on the idea that “Aboriginal children are precious … because they represent the future. They are not considered possessions of the biological parents; rather, they are understood to be gifts on loan from the Creator. Because of this, everyone in the community has a connection to the children, and everyone has an obligation to work for their well-being. Each one of us has a responsibility to them.” (Anderson, 159) The way that children are treated and thought of is different than in Western culture. I’m not going to make judgements as to whether it’s better or worse, because I don’t have the authority to do that; but I am going to say that this way of treating children is remarkably different from a Western view.

It’s hard to explain trauma. The best way to do it however, for people who have never dealt with it directly is in simple terms. Trauma is when something bad, scary and unexpected happens to someone and it is beyond the person’s control. It can happen because of a natural disaster, (like a fire, earthquake, flood), or an accident (like a car accident), soldiers in war, and victims of abuse (psychological, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.) Sometimes the brain will shut down to protect the person dealing with it. Or maybe I should let someone else explain it:

“What you said just now-

it isn’t so funny

It doesn’t sound so good.

We are doing okay without it

we can get along without that kind of thing.

Take it back.

Call that story back.”

But the witch just shook its head

at the others in their stinking animal skins, fur, and feathers.

It’s already turned loose.

It’s already coming.

It can’t be called back.” 

(Silko, 128)

There- I let Ceremony describe it for me. Once something happens; it can’t be undone. People can try to pretend that nothing happened, or repress it, but eventually it will come back, and no amount of hoping or wishing will make that event become undone.

In residential schools, children were taken away from their parents and placed into schools to make them civilized. When the Europeans arrive to North America and saw that people were already living there, they quickly tried to set about placing a social hierarchy: with themselves at the apex. Everyone else was inferior. As a result, “Europeans assumed incorrectly that Indians had no systems of education, no forms of governments, no religions, no valuing of wisdom, no methods of advancing knowledge, and no way to teach their children. In her essay… “Systems of Knowledge,” Clare Sue Kidwell details that American Indians educated their young people in a variety of ways and that they had been doing so for thousands of years prior to the European invasion of America.” (Keller et al, 4) The adults completely rejected the indigenous way of caring for children, and attempted to “civilize” them by using their own way of looking after children, and expecting them to accept it: “The seventeenth-century Jesuit missionaries of New France were struck by this distinct Aboriginal approach to children… From their perspective Native people over-indulged their children; they loved them ‘excessively’ and raised them without discipline. The missionaries failed to recognize that Aboriginal people disciplined their children through more subtle methods, such as storytelling or teasing.” (Anderson, 159) There was a clear cultural difference between the way that indigenous people and European people looked after their children. “Non-Indians conceived of American Indian parents and communities as unstructured, permissive, and negligent. For these reasons, administrators were determined to put discipline, order, and precision into the lives of every Native pupil, regardless of age or personal problems…Many non-Indians conceived of Indians as wild, untrained, and spoiled. As a result, school officials endeavoured to train the students like drill sergeants break new recruits.” (Keller et al, 17-18) The indigenous people did have order though, it was just taught and thought of in a different way. A brief description about residential schools can be found here if you’re interested in looking further into it. I will be looking at it from one aspect; being sent into the schools, being expected to conform, and having to regain indigenous culture afterwards. If I tried to tackle everything, it would be an extremely long post.

In “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” the narrator takes the reader from her perspective of her life from before she left to go to school, being in school, and the aftermath of being in school and returning home. I just finished a paper on this about three weeks or so ago,* I’m not going to cite it here,  but I will be taking some of the quotes from it and using it in here, to present the same argument, from a slightly different angle and going more in depth.

She is traumatized by the event. Even before leaving for the school she knew something was wrong. Just from seeing “my mother’s face while she spoke…I knew she was unhappy.” (Bonnin, 1) Despite that, she still begs her mother to let her go and believes the lies that the missionaries “had told me of the great tree where grew red…apples; and how we could reach out our hands and pick all the red apples we could eat… I was eager to roam among them.” (Bonnin, 5) When she leaves, she says that “I no longer felt free to be myself, or to voice my own feelings.” (Bonnin, 6) This is a change from how she is first seen,“as free as the wind that blew my hair, and no less spirited than a bounding deer. These were my mother’s pride,-my wild freedom and overflowing spirits.” (Bonnin, 1) After going to the school, one of the first things that happened was that children had their hair cut. This upsets the narrator, who explains that “I remember being dragged out [of the bed], though I resisted by kicking and scratching wildly. In spite of myself, I was carried downstairs and tied fast in a chair. I cried aloud… until I felt the cold blades of the scissors against my neck and heard them gnaw off one of my thick braids.” (Bonnin, 7) The act of having her hair cut was traumatizing. “Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards!” (Bonnin, 7) She had been told by her mother that having her hair cut was only for people who were being publicly shamed. Having to deal with it in another cultural context, especially alone, was confusing, and most likely humiliating. When she loses her hair it also marks a visual representation of the loss of her freedom. She is changed, both internally and externally.

Porcupines and China Dolls is written by Robert Arthur Alexie. The title of the book is significant; Porcupines and china dolls are meant to refer to the children who attended the residential schools. It opens with a flashback of what happened when they first arrived at the schools. Upon their arrival, “The boys are herded into a long room where a missionary takes a pair of scissors and cuts their hair…they’re given clothes and realize they all look alike. They look like porcupines: well-dressed porcupines.” (R. Alexie, 9-10) They are no longer human, but animals. The word porcupine may also refer to the fact that “The Huron and Iroquois… described the French mothers as ‘porcupines’ because of the rigid disciplinary methods and the corporal punishment they witnessed among the settlers; practices that were common to seventeenth-century European childrearing. European children of that time were considered ‘chattels of the patriarch,’ whereas Aboriginal children were accorded a great deal of autonomy and freedom.” (Anderson, 159) Being called porcupines then has another meaning; not to dehumanize them, but to describe how they were treated by the schools. Alexie actually manages to re-humanize the indigenous people using the same imagery that had been used to dehumanize them. When a boy “starts to cry…it is heart wrenching. It sounds like a million porcupines crying in the dark.” (Alexie, 11) and when the parents discover that some of the children have died at the schools  “twenty or more People are moaning. They are not crying, they are moaning, and it is awful. They sound like a million porcupines crying in the hills.” (R. Alexie, 14)  As porcupines are shown to have emotional reactions, so are the people; they are all connected and instead of focussing on difference, the similarity between porcupines and people are highlighted.

Indian Porcupine, Hystrix indica (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When Porcupines get scared, they have their quills to protect them. The boys at the school “look like porcupines” with their hair cut off. However, they are unable to defend themselves like the porcupine. (Caption taken from my other blog- Uniting all creatures)

In the residential schools children were not allowed to speak their own language. In Porcupines and China Dolls even though “they have never spoken a word of English.” (R. Alexie, 8) they are still expected to pick up English quickly, and speak only English. When he arrives home  he cannot fully integrate himself back into the community right away as he has forgotten his language. “Someone will call his name, and he’ll look at a woman he doesn’t remember. She’ll tell him something in a language he doesn’t understand. It slowly dawns on him: he’s forgotten the language. Or has he? The language is still there, but he’s now thinking in English and has to translate it. It’s a long and difficult process.” (R. Alexie, 14) He has lost his voice in the community because he has been forced into a European one. “Administrators forced Native American children to speak English in their everyday lives, and they expected Indian children to speak only English all of the time. Otherwise, administrators would punish children. As a result, school officials created more distance between themselves and the students. The language barrier between Native American speakers and English speakers proved difficult for both students and teachers.” (Keller et al, 25) Taking away the language of indigenous people and forcing English to be spoken showed that the real purpose of boarding schools was to “segregate Indian children from their parents and cultures, gradually integrating them into the white world in a controlled fashion.” (Keller et al, 13) When they went to the school there was a system that was followed. It happened “as soon as the children left their families,” (Keller et al, 17) and forced them to try to adapt to a culture and way of life that was much harsher than their own. “When the children reached the school they faced an institution designed to assimilate Indian children. School superintendents, teachers, matrons, and disciplinarians often stripped the children and took their clothing, blankets, ornaments, and jewelry. School officials bathed the children and cut their hair to “kill the bugs”. If this did not work, school officials used pesticides to kill lice. This began the process of taking away the child’s outward appearance as an Indian person, a sad and humiliating process for many children who took pride in their unique clothing, material objects, and long hair- connections to their home communities.” (Keller et al, 17) Everything that made the children who they were was taken away from them: they were stripped of their identity.

Although they may have been stripped of their identity, sometimes the school had the opposite effect: “Students used the potentially negative experiences to produce a positive result-the preservation of Indian identity, cultures, communities, languages, and peoples.” (Keller et al, 1) Some students “resisted many aspects of the boarding school environment and often defied school officials, finding innovative new ways to deal with arrogant administrators, abusive rules, and severe punishments. When children first arrived at the school, many cried themselves to sleep and continued to cry for days, weeks, or even months. To comfort themselves and others, some children sang in their Native languages. They sang at night before going to sleep, and they sang when they sequestered themselves away from others who might tell on them… Some children ran off to riverbeds, nearby woods, or orchards where they comforted one another, danced, drummed, sang, and told stories- all in their own languages.” (Keller et al, 22) They tried holding on to culture, even while it was being taken away.

In many cases they succeeded in reclaiming their culture and retelling their story. The film “We were Children” tells the story of two indigenous people who were forced into the residential school system.

This is the trailer for the movie. It is horrifying, it’s a documentary. At the beginning of the movie, there is information given about the history of the schools. “For over 130 years, Canada’s First Nations children were legally required to attend Government-funded schools run by various orders of the Christian faith.” (Wolochatiuk) If they were not attending the school, the parents could be threatened with jail. If you watch the whole movie, you can see how the entire ideology of religion manipulated the way that Europeans treated indigenous people and gave them a sense of control over the children in residential schools. This documentary and other steps have been taken to try to retell the story of residential schools and reclaim the indigenous culture that was taken away from residential school students.

The process of reclaiming one’s identity is a major theme in Porcupines and China Dolls. It is also an extremely long process which can be stressful. Something that has been taken away and nearly eradicated can be extremely hard to recover. In the case of some of the indigenous tradition,  religion and tradition conflicted with each other: “The missionaries, called Anglicans, baptized the Blue People, took away their drums, songs, and funeral practices. The Anglicans told the People that burning their dead was barbaric and uncivilized and that their drums were the devil’s tools. (R. Alexie, 6) The indigenous people gave up their traditions as the ideology of religion was introduced, and it was only countered after conversations started with questions as to why it happened. In Porcupines and China Dolls, the turning point for admitting the wrongs that had been done by the church and schools comes from Mary, who asks “‘How come Our People don’t drum anymore?” (R. Alexie, 174) Martin answers back that  “‘ Missionaries took ‘at away in ‘a 1800’s.”… ‘So our People haven’t drummed for a hundred years?’ ‘Las’ time ‘ey drummed was 1965 when Chief Francis died. Always liked drum dancin’. Be good if someone brought it back.’ [Martin] paused for a second. ‘Our language will be gone in ‘nother generation. Once ‘at goes we’ll have nothin’.'” (R. Alexie, 174) Mary gets Martin thinking about the traditions and how they have been taken away. Traditions are powerful in any culture; to lose a tradition is to lose part of a culture. When they can’t even speak their language, or observe their culture without “looking to see if any missionaries are standing behind” them, (R. Alexie, 16) they are still being controlled. Once they start to drum again, they become hopeful. “It was like a dream in slow motion. Five old men beating drums had appeared out of nowhere. Four old women behind them started singing. They lifted their voices to the stars and heavens and it sent shivers down every spine…They sang of great battles in days gone by. They sang of the great battle they’d witnessed today… They sang of hopes and new beginnings. They sang their hearts out, and it was a fucking sight to behold.” (R. Alexie, 217-218) To not only witness the tradition of the drums but be proud of it is a huge step to rebuilding the culture which was lost. The step of reclaiming culture is just as important as retelling the horrors and stories of what happened.

Junior throws an old school book at Mr. P, fed up with receiving hand me down textbooks at the school on the reservation.

Will’s Garden by Lee Maracle and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie are not specifically about children going through the residential schools, but the family members and mentors of the main characters in the two books do briefly share their experiences. Will speaks to his aunt in Will’s Garden, and she minimizes her experiences but still manages to make Will feel uncomfortable. “‘Not like they tortured me or anything, just fed me their foods in small amounts…That summer, your gramma took a look at my hands and she never sent me back.’… I did not need to know this about that place. I had heard about the abuses, the beatings, the hunger and the rapes, but this made the whole thing a horror story.” (Maracle, 149) She shares part of her story as a student in a residential school. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, we get another perspective from one of the teachers, Mr. P. After Junior throws a book at him, Mr. P apologizes and says that “I want you to know that hitting me with that book was probably the worst thing you’ve ever done…But I do forgive you…No matter how much I don’t want to. I have to forgive you. It’s the only thing that keeps me from smacking you with an ugly stick. When I first started teaching here that’s what we did to the rowdy ones, you know? We beat them. That’s how we were taught to teach you. We were supposed to kill the Indian to save the child.” (S. Alexie, 35) This is a reference to Pratt, who was influential in the creation of the residential schools. (Keller et al, 14) Mr. P explains that “I didn’t literally kill Indians. We were supposed to make you give up being Indian. Your songs and stories and language and dancing. Everything. We weren’t trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill Indian culture.” (S. Alexie, 35) Indigenous culture was the target of residential schools. The people who ran the schools thought that if they changed the indigenous people earlier in life, they would eventually remove all indigenous ways of life, their traditions, culture, and “civilize” them.

Mr. P teaches Junior that the rez is a product of the way that indigenous people have been treated prior to his own life. In order to change this, he needs to really join the Western society in a way that he wants to; by not conforming to it, but by being himself.

Even though “Beginning in the late 1850’s, over 150,000 Aboriginal children were legally forced to attend Indian residential schools in Canada.” (Wolochatiuk) the residential schools did not completely serve the purpose they sought out to as being “part of a wider program of assimilation designed to integrate the Aboriginal population into “Canadian society” ” (Wolochatiuk) Although some people embraced it, many resisted the schools and their attempts to silence a culture made it stronger. “The American Indian boarding school [and Canadian residential school] experience is layered with deep meaning that cannot be understood simply by framing the schools, administrators, and teachers as good or evil. Teachers, administrators, and disciplinarians were all individuals, and they did their jobs in their own ways. Some students liked the superintendents and teachers, and others hated them. Some… liked their boarding school days, and others loathed that time in their lives.” (Keller et al, 27-28) Since this is the case I have not made any judgement on the schools or the way that people felt about it. I have merely sought to show what the effect was and how the act of retelling and reclaiming a culture can allow it to thrive. Every culture deserves to be celebrated, every tradition deserves to be respected, and people deserve to be able to respect their culture and others in any way they wish to without fear or anxiety. In 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, issued an apology to those who endured residential schools.

However, that does not mean that it should be forgotten about. It is an important part of Canada’s history, not a very good part, but an important part which has shaped the way that indigenous people and their culture has been thought of. “At their peak in the 1950’s, there were 80 Indian Residential schools across the country. Today there are over 80,000 Indian Residential school survivors. ” (Wolochatiuk) People are still affected by the residential school system. It is a generational problem; as shown through the books I have cited. It is not in the past- far from it, it continues to affect people and will for a long time.

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WORKS CITED:

IMAGES:

  1. http://someonetoday.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/70498-ceremony.jpg
  2. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f2/IndPorcupine.jpg/300px-IndPorcupine.jpg
  3. http://smashmrp.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/b92f26da93897737018a6cd24be602323.jpg
  4. http://occr.ucdavis.edu/ccbp2011/images/hope.jpg

CLIPS:

  1. IDFA 2012| Trailer|We Were Children. Prod. IDFA. Youtube. IDFA, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 11 June 2014.
  2. Residential Schools Apology/ Excuses Pensionnats indiens. Prod. Prime Minister of Canada Youtube. np, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 June 2014.

BOOKS:

  1. Alexie, Robert Arthur. Porcupines and China Dolls. Penticton, B.C.: Theytus, 2009. Print.
  2. Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Penticton, B.C.: Theytus, 2009. Print.
  3. Anderson, Kim. A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood. Toronto: Sumach, 2003. Print.
  4. Bonnin, G “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” in Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Nina Baym, pp. 1-22. 1989. W.W Norton & Company, Inc.
  5. Keller, Jean. A. Sisquoc, Leslie and Clifford E. Trafzer. Boarding School Blues: Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences. United States of America: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Print.
  6. Leroy Little Bear. “Jagged Worldviews Colliding” in Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision, edited by Marie Battiste, pp. 77-85 2000. UBC Press.
  7. Maracle, Lee. Will’s Garden. Penticton, B.C.: Theytus, 2002. Print.
  8. Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print.

LINKS:

  1. “”Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans.” “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans. American Social History Productions. Web. 21 May 2014.
  2. “Indian Residential Schools Educational Resources” Web. June 2 2014.

OTHER:

  1. We were children. Dir. Tim Wolochatiuk. National Film Board, 2012 Film.

*I started this post in October 2013. And then, I abandoned it- See? Told you it would take a while to finish what I started.

You Gotta Learn to Fly Sometime-But How?

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Continued from you gotta learn to fly sometime-an introduction. 

As a person immersed in Western culture, I’m trying to figure out amongst all of the numerous traditions which Western culture is so fond of using as rites of passage and milestones: How do you know when you’ve matured or “grown up?”

I’m trying to figure that out. Have I grown up when I’ve started dating? I’ve started dating and I don’t feel any different.

What about when you reach the age that you can drive? I’ve been past that for four years, and I don’t want to drive, I don’t really need to drive, and I still haven’t felt any different. Does that mean I want to be a child forever?

If they bought me a pink car, I might consider trying to get my license. Maybe.

Every birthday I’ve had, every milestone I’ve passed: graduating high school, going to university, being able to legally drink (okay, that time when I had a candy apple martini, that made me feel a little bit grown up.) being able to stay home alone overnight for the first time, and… You got it. Nothing.

Mmm… Candy apple martini.

My parents are always telling me to “grow up”. Sometimes I even tell myself to “grow up.” But the reality is, how do I do that? It’s not as simple as just putting on a big fake nose and calling yourself a clown.

Sometimes people distinguish it using biology (at least for females). When they start menstruating, they can have sex, and babies, and they are officially a “grown up” in some cultures. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes people say that when you’ve left your parents or guardians house you’re an adult. Does that mean that every time you go back and visit your parents, you’re a kid?

There’s just so much ambiguity as to when exactly childhood ends and adulthood begins. If these really were two separate categories, wouldn’t it be easier to define and point out when one moves from one stage to another?

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WORKS CITED

IMAGES

  1. http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/candi/Pink%20car.jpg
  2. http://pad2.whstatic.com/images/thumb/3/34/Make-an-Apple-Martini-Intro.jpg/670px-Make-an-Apple-Martini-Intro.jpg
  3. http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-100361322-Portrait-of-clown-vector-illustration.jpg

Update!

I just wanted to update this; saying that I know I’ve been busy doing other stuff, but I’m back. Here’s a little teaser of what’s to come.

  1. “A Whole New World”- I talk about fantasy spaces in Children’s literature. Just a little bit more touching up, and I think I may post this next week.
  2. “Stuck in a moving world”-Disabilities in Children’s Literature- there’s a lot, and I’m going to need to do quite a bit more research on this before I even consider posting it, but it’s underway.
  3. “It Can’t be Called Back” Looking at the residential school system and trauma in indigenous fiction.
  4. Life? What Life? Or When Life Doesn’t Seem Worth Living.” Self destructive acts in children’s literature and young adult literature- there’s a lot of it. Why? That’s what I try to figure out in this post.
  5. “Well, That Escalated Quickly-Prose.”- Remember that other post I made? Well, this is the one I promised that would follow up on it.
  6. “From Folktale to Confessions”- I look at different versions of Cinderella, the fairy tales and folk tales, and the way it’s changed.

And, I guess that’s it for now. Just wanted to let people know this thing isn’t going to be abandoned.

 

Disney’s First Gay Couple

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jennpower:

I don’t think it should have been criticized. I think it’s great. Media should reflect real life, and I’m glad that “children’s” television is approaching this subject with inclusiveness. I love how the reaction is to the kid having two moms. Congratulations Disney Channel, maybe there is hope for children’s television networks after all.

Originally posted on ShoutOut! JMU:

Okay so everyone is talking about something kind of monumental: the Disney Channel featured its first gay couple on an episode of one of its original series. Good Luck Charlie is a family, children’s show that is a popular original comedy. Bob and Amy Duncan (Charlie’s parents) are arguing over the name of the mom of Charlie’s friend Taylor: Cheryl or Susan. When the doorbell rings Susan and Cheryl are there with their daughter and introduce themselves as both of Taylor’s moms.

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The Inherent Dangers of Elf on the Shelf

jennpower:

I feel that there’s something seriously wrong with using this doll as a sort of surveillance measure for kids. Why don’t we try talking to them instead of bribing/threatening/pleading? They can use their words, just like we can (well, once they know how to talk)

Originally posted on Everything is Better Wrapped in Bacon:

Image

It started in 2005, not really the “Tradition” that Bing Crosby is.

If you’re like me, then the holidays are a time of elaborate decoration, gift-giving and the hidden look of disappointment in your parents’ eyes as they come to terms with another season that you’ve stood by your decision not to have children. Luckily for my parents, my younger sister has two little boys that love Christmas! My parents adore them and my sister and her husband are heavily involved in their lives and forming nostalgic memories for them to look back fondly on.  One of the “traditions” that my sister introduced is the Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.

For those of you who aren’t in the know as I was not, Elf on the Shelf is a posable elf doll and accompanying book that outlines what this little elf means for the children of the house…

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France Wants to Ban Child Beauty Pageants

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jennpower:

Wow. I really applaud the French government for this! Let’s hope that it spreads elsewhere too.

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

France’s Parliament has moved to ban child beauty pageants on the basis that they promote “hyper-sexualization” of minors. The Senate adopted the bill 196 votes to 146 on Tuesday. It will have to pass the National Assembly before becoming law.

Organizers of pageants would face up to two years of jail time and a large fine (about $40,000). In a presentation to Parliament, former Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno said, “Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is only judged by their appearance.” Jouanno wrote a report on the hypersexualization of children in 2011.

The debate in France over the sexualization of children began back in 2010 when Vogue featured a spread in which a young girl wore high heels, a tight dress and makeup. Vogue defended the photo shoot saying that it reflected a common fantasy among young girls to dress like their…

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J.K. Rowling’s Secret: A Forensic Linguist Explains How He Figured It Out

jennpower:

I thought this was interesting. J.K Rowling moved from children’s literature to adult literature, and used a pseudonym. Despite the move from children to adult and the change of name, someone who analyzed it was able to find out it was her from the different phrases she used in both books, and the way she wrote things. It appears that maybe the audience and writing for both audiences, may actually not be that different after all

Originally posted on Entertainment:

It sounds like something out of, well, a detective novel: the U.K.’s SundayTimesbroke the news yesterday that Robert Galbraith, the “first time” writer behind the critically acclaimed crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, was, in fact, the nom de plume of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Galbraith was described as a former military police investigator with a surprising knack for language — that is, before “he” was unmasked as the megafamous author, who told the Times that writing under a fake name was “liberating.”

As explained by the New York Times, a writer for the British paper received an anonymous tip via Twitter, in which a now deleted user claimed that Rowling was the real author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. (Is it possible that the anonymous user was the book’s publisher? As the New York Times notes, there’s no way to rule it out.) Sunday…

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Singapore’s Scoot Latest Airline to Offer Child-Free Flying Zone

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jennpower:

I read this article, and seeing the separation from child and adults literally, it’s actually ridiculous. There are “good reasons, and bad reasons” to separate them, but it’s ridiculous whichever way the airline and reporters try to sell it. And some of the comments are shocking too: “Parents feel discriminated against, but what about those who CHOOSE not to reproduce? Why should we have to deal with others’ children?” Children aren’t always a nuisance, there needs to be this changing of the way people think: They’re people with needs, when their needs aren’t met, they’ll try to communicate that. If people are really annoyed with children, or an airline goes so far as to make an “adult only” section of a plane, we’re separating people based on whether they’re children, or adults, or adults with children, and segregation breeds intolerance. I’m against this- but read the whole thing, then decide for yourself what you think.

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

Wish your air travel came with a little less crying and kicking? Scoot Airlines is looking to make certain adults’ dream come true.

The Singaporean budget carrier is now offering a child-free zone, dubbed the “ScootinSilence” area, in which kids under 12 will not be allowed to sit. While the silence zone only lasts for five rows,  numbers 21 to 25, it should provide some assurance to travelers who bristle at the prospect of being seated directly behind, in front of, or, worst of all, next to a noisy child.

(MORE: Airline Replaces Built-in Entertainment Systems with iPads)

Not surprisingly, mile-high peace and quiet isn’t free of charge. Scoot is providing the ScootinSilence area as a $14 upgrade, so you’ll have to have to ask yourself whether a one time no-baby guarantee is worth the price of a pre-flight meal, or simply a reusable pair of earplugs.

Scoot is just…

View original 506 more words

Blog Award Nomination?!

I logged on this morning to find the bright orange thing lit up. I had a comment! Oh boy! And then I read that comment, and well, someone nominated me for an award. Thank you Cara! I’m a bit surprised, I mean I’m not doing this for awards or publicity or anything; my general rule that I’m sure I’ve already told half the blogging community by now is: Write if you want to. Write if you have something to say. Write what you want to. The best way to think of it is like this: If you were to lose all your followers tomorrow- would you still continue your blog? If the answer is no; I suggest you stop and re-evaluate why you started blogging in the first place.

 very-inspiring-blogger-award

Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.

3. Share 7 things about yourself.

4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.

5. Include this set of rules.

6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

7 things About Myself That you won’t find in any of my other posts written yet or on my “So who are you and what is this?” page.
  1. I’m a dancer. I’ve been dancing since I was 12, but I stopped to focus on university. My favourite styles of dance are Musical Theatre, Tap, and Modern; but I would have loved to try lyrical or ballet if I had the patience to deal with barre work.
  2. The library is like my second home. I’ve always told my parents if they had to lose me like parents sometimes accidentally lose their kids for a minute in the supermarket, to please lose me in a library or a bookstore.
  3. On that note, I’m currently wanting to be a librarian. I’ve wanted to be a lot of things over the years, actress, audiologist, writer, editor, and now librarian. It seems possible- maybe.
  4. I’ve been to a lot of places. When I was 12 I spent a year and a half in England. The best thing was that we got to visit a lot of other places in Europe. Paris and Normandy (in France), Venice and Rome (in Italy), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Corfu (Croatia), Mykonos and Athens (Greece), Edinburgh (Scotland) (And that’s just all the European places)
  5. I’m considering maybe going to get a teaching degree, maybe it would be fun to be a teacher- but then I just remember all those presentations I’ve given over the years, remembered how scary they were; put myself into the perspective of a teacher- who has to do that every single day! And remind myself that others would be better at it than I ever would. I’m terrible at explaining stuff.
  6. I really want to make a difference in the world; more than anything-I get into really dark places sometimes, and I just think to myself- why not spend my life helping others instead of just grumbling about me- then maybe it would have some purpose. I’m considering joining the Peace Corps for a year or something of that sort.
  7. I ask way too many questions. This whole blog started from a question. Unfortunately, the questions I ask usually don’t have answers. That bugs me, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t answers; it just means that I have to try to find an answer myself! In other words, I think too much, am too into school, and should just learn to “relax?” once in a while.

So that’s me, I guess. It’s a bit strange to make a list of things about myself… I’m not sure if you can get a whole sense of a person just from their writing a list. I’m going off on a tangent again as usual.

Nominees

Now this is difficult. I follow many blogs, but they’re all so different; and I just have to think about how I can possibly just list a few when they are all so different from each other. Here are some that get my vote though.

  1. Children’s books heal: This is an amazing blog about children’s books and how they can help kids deal with disabilities, trauma, parents in the army, etc. They pick a book, give a synopsis of the book and comment on it. It’s great to see and read this blog and realize that kids books can help others.
  2. RebelGrrls: A blog that explores disability in popular culture and representations of gender. Really interesting to read all their posts about Disney- but they also write about stuff like Big Bang Theory and “more adult” stuff.
  3. Brandon Robshaw and the English Language: this blog is amazing. This blogger talks about certain words, why those specific words are used, if language can be gendered and so on. Highly informative and great to read.
  4. The Grimm Report-Not exactly academic, but still entertaining. I am a huge fan of this blog. It takes fairy tales and creates satirical news reports about the events or characters featured in them.
  5. Young People’s Pavilion: Another site with great insight. (See what I did there? Yeah, I’m the next Dr. Seuss!) It talks about creative writing, gives reviews of children’s books and great summaries.
  6. Hannah Meiklejohn: She writes amazing book reviews, and I love her posts on children’s illustrations. There’s a lot of great stuff and variety- if you’re looking at children’s books that is.
  7. JUMP FOR JOY! Photo project: Another non-academic blog, but I just appreciate so much how this person is trying to find positivity in this world through this project that I had to nominate them.
  8. CanadianWry: A person blogging on her sabbatical: switching cultures from Britain to Canada. It’s nice to know that others can see that there are differences between countries that are supposedly alike. Even if the same language is spoken; it’s not the same place, and I love all the information given from a tourists view about my hometown. Really inspires me to look at it in a new way.
  9. Tolerantpeople: Great blog about-what else(?) Accepting others. Sophist six speaks about Race profiling, age discrimination, stereotyping, and so on. Looking from this blogger’s point of view is just very interesting to read about.
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