my night as son of sam (or are there parenting strategies

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Mon, 28 Nov 1994 03:08:53 CST

(about a mile away on W Taylor St) dealing with my Luddism; specifically,
betcha I'm the only one here who never used a mouse. Before a week ago.
Rather than learn to use the mouse, I started to wonder about whether parents
who never steeped themselves in the arcana of the Helping Professions and the
Exact Sciences taught by Schools of Education can actually have "parenting
strategies." There are, or at least at one time were, parenting practices,
socialization patterns, and so on. Formerly known as "bringing up," or
"upbringing." These have fallen victim to cultural change, elsewise we
shouldn't have "parenting" today. I don't quite believe this, and don't
think you do, either, but just chew on it.

In the Old Days, as in the Old Neighborhood, a child who becomes a non-
deviant youth, ie, stays in school; then becomes a non-deviant adult, ie, a
certified public accountant, was "brought up right." The nondeviance at a
later point in the life cycle may be said to have caused having been "brought
up right." Should, however, the offspring be shown to even the most doting
parents to have committed an unambiguously heinous crime, for example, the
parents will throw up their hands and wail, "You try to bring them up right,
but...." There must be a second part of the sentence, even if unspoken, in that
the deviance which the offspring has unambiguously committed eo ipso and post
facto nullifies the "brought up right," which the parents had hitherto been
convinced they were doing, that is, using correct methods in upbringing. What
I am saying, in other words, is that the conventional commonsensical ideology,
embraced with special fervour by the Republicans in the 1994 US congressional
elections, is as wrong about childrearing as it is about heredity as it is
about psychology (fleawill, aka "Personal Responsibility").

The most recent product of the Old Neighborhood to have attained national
name-recognition was the serial killer, Son of Sam. He lived six blocks over
that way, on the other side of the Grand Concourse. My childhood and that of
Son of Sam had certain points in common. I therefore spent several hours
imagining that I was Son of Sam, as I am widely believed by at least two of
you to be. The same sorts of elective affinities and functional relationships
- you know, the vulgar-Weberian and vulgar-Durkheimian trash that any college
sophomore can concoct out of whole cloth termpaperwards - might be adduced to
account for fosslike behaviours, or fullyfledged Son-of-Sam-like behaviours,
as that which seemingly conduces to excessively high IQ-test scores.

Note: I'm sure that none of you believe that IQ-test scores can be excess-
ively high. I find that quite strange.

Think of all the Normal certified public accountants given upbringings only
marginally different from my own (or Son of Sam's). Who must, therefore, have
been "brought up right." Causality is statistical, not individual-behavioural,
anyway. It's just that we've agreed upon the discreet organism as the *unit of

So, I've changed my mind again. After having gone quite deliberately insane
a week ago, which is why I couldn't tell you the nature of the "thought
experiment" I was performing on myself, having no idea in hell that that was
what I was doing anyway. I regret that two people actually read it, almost
as much, even, as I regret having written it. That said, I wish it to be
clearly understood that the only insane posts on this list are written by
me after 3am, as this one is; elsewise, any and all namecalling, ranting,
raving, an' Stuff by the rest of you will be considered part of a Plot whose
object is to Get Me.

We Know Your Kind.

Have a very wonderful Annual Meetings; just don't expect the world to be
there when you get back.

Daniel A. Foss