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Three Stories: The First

In last week’s post, I advocated for refusing to use the word “childish” as a label for irritating and troublesome behaviors, because it defames children as a class. Adults are not paragons of rationality and are just as likely as kids to be overwhelmed by their...

Heaping Scorn with a Single Word

Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational – but how much does it cost you to knock on wood? [emphasis mine] —Judith Viorst “You’re being childish.” “Don’t be so childish.” Many, if not most, of us have been called childish or called...

More Thoughts on Performing Monkeys

My post, Performing Monkeys, generated several comments that stimulated more of my own thoughts about the topic of children as entertainment. I described the adult reactions in that video of Sydney testifying before her school board as “amused condescension”. Erik...

Who Will Protect the Children?

In the U.S., we use ratings systems, print and broadcast warnings to inform parents and guardians about materials that various authorities deem too offensive, disturbing, violent, scary or adult for young children to listen to, read, watch, or play. When I was a staff...

What Do You Expect?

In January, I heard a fascinating radio show on how our expectations affect people around us in concrete and long-term ways. The show was the premiere episode of the terrific Invisibilia podcast, and was broadcast on This American Life. The main story was about Daniel...