Archive for the ‘My Son, The Doctor’ Category

Motile Prestige Prospecting Devices

Once the child has been brought into the world in order to satisfy the neighbours, it must be made to behave so as to impress them. The “morality” thereby taught means, not what sort of person you are inside, but whether you uphold the reputation of your parents among their peers. Although this Henry James […]

Posted on January 7, 2010 at 10:03 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Sycophantic Technology

All parents will say, if asked, that they are bringing up their children to become good citizens. In many cases it appears that the parents’ idea of a good citizen is by no means someone who treats all his fellow-citizens with consideration and humanity; for how else do children grow up to display hatred and […]

Posted on January 8, 2010 at 11:17 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

The Nameless Heir

I knew a man who referred to, and even addressed, his son as, “My son and heir”. In this way he was unconsciously confessing that he regarded his son primarily as a reflection of his own glory and guarantor of his social position, a tool of his own prestige and continuity. The son as an […]

Posted on January 8, 2010 at 13:32 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Magical Garments

Suits are not so much status technology as status magic. They magically confer parental approval on offspring who could otherwise not achieve it. The mechanism is that others approve the suit, and thereby approve the parents. Who cares who is inside the suit, as long as the agreement among parents to respect one another for […]

Posted on January 9, 2010 at 11:22 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Presents For Shaming

After a certain age, varying between about twelve to eighteen, parents’ birthday and holiday-season presents to their offspring cease to be about giving them things that they might like, and instead focus on symbolic reproaches, correction and shaming into desired behaviour. Such presents should be either something the children will obviously not want, so that […]

Posted on January 10, 2010 at 12:07 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Unhappiness As A Crime

I knew a man whose father said to him, “You’re a very unhappy person”. Now, such words may be said compassionately, or with concern; but in this case they were said in an accusatory manner, in precisely the same tone as one might say, “You, Sir, are a thief and a liar!” Perhaps for the […]

Posted on January 11, 2010 at 12:53 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

A Most Revealing Question

I am quite sure that I was not the only child to be continually asked, “Why does everything have to be so difficult with you?” It is my impression that this is a very common piece of rhetoric. Now, a child cannot deconstruct his parents’ gamy utterances, because he has almost no experience of the […]

Posted on January 11, 2010 at 22:56 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Crisis Maximisation

I have known two people, a man and a woman, who reported the same peculiar experience with their parents: they were both “good” teenagers, in the sense that they did well at school, never took drugs, never stole, never crashed the car, never got into trouble with the police, never caught a STD, and never […]

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 11:47 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Three Indicted Occupations

When I was a youngster, some friends and I amused ourselves by making lists of the professions that we thought should never to be allowed to have children: the Big Three were always teachers, priests and shrinks. Some added military officers as a fourth, while others vehemently disagreed and reported that “army brats” seemed to […]

Posted on January 13, 2010 at 11:14 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor

Advice To Boasters

One advantage of marriage is that it makes obnoxious boasting more acceptable. Consider French kitemaker André Cassagnes, who among other things invented the Etch-a-Sketch toy. Since he could not afford to patent it, someone else got his name on the patent and the credit. According to his obituary in The Economist, André never seemed to […]

Posted on January 14, 2010 at 09:57 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, My Son, The Doctor