Spot knows there have been a lot of heavy topics here lately: bird flu, Bush - Hitler comparison, examining witnesses, and so on. Spot bets that you boys and girls are ready for a little comic relief. Well, guess what? It's Monday! You know what that means.
Yea, it's Katie day!
Yes grasshopper, it is. And we have a nice piece of feedstock to work with; let's fire up the chipper and get started!
Today, Katie tells us about a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision to uphold the right of a Hennepin County parent to spank a son. Well, not so much "spank" as administer a beating with a "small" maple paddle. The parent brought down that paddle in anger on his son 36 times. Apparently, the son was wont to sneak out of the house, and according to Katie:
At first, dad tried the textbook approach. He grounded his son and withdrew his privileges. G.F. continued his delinquent ways. Dad then warned G.F. that he would use the paddle if his son threw a tantrum or left home again without permission. (Dad's rough sense of justice dictated that G.F. would get one whack for every year of his age.)
But G.F. soon sneaked out again. Dad then announced that it was time for the "hot seat." G.F. got 12 whacks with a "small maple paddle."
Unrepentant, G.F. responded with a tantrum. Likewise undeterred, dad applied 12 more paddle strokes. Then things got seriously out of hand. G.F. picked up a knife and threatened to kill himself. Result? Twelve more whacks and off to bed.
Twenty-four whacks and then things got seriously out of hand? Spot thinks things did get seriously out of hand before that, and the parent was the reason they did. Hennepin County Social Services apparently agrees with Spot's view. And the kid threatens suicide and it earns him twelve more strokes? What is this, a Mel Gibson movie?
If somebody hit Spot with a wooden paddle 36 times, Spot would try to kill him. Failing that, Spot would hope there would be a witness to call the ASPCA so the spittle-flecked person with the anger management problem might be charged with animal cruelty. And don't you think you would be charged with animal cruelty for beating a dog 36 times? But apparently with a child it's okay. Go figure.
Katie's starts the column with a light-hearted stroll down memory lane:
Many folks of mature age will tell you that, in their youth, no lessons were conveyed so memorably as those reinforced by a stinging rebuke to the backside.
I'm speaking, of course, of the disciplinary device known as the "paddle." In my father's day, this simple piece of wood had a variety of nicknames. The paddle hanging in the school principal's office was often dubbed the "board of education." Back then, most sons knew well the sense of doom that descended when dad reached for the paddle and calmly announced, "It's time to give the 'attitude adjuster' some use."
The paddle was sometimes overused or misused, no doubt. But for many, its memory carries a silver lining. They recall its sting, but they also recall its effectiveness -- and the conviction that they would never, ever, EVER call their sister that name again.
Spot noticed a curious thing; Katie apparently believes that spanking, beating, choose your preferred word, is appropriate for sons but not daughters. Katie, if somebody laid 36 stripes on you as a child, would that have been child abuse? This is just a hunch, of course, but Spot bets you would have thought so.
Katie ends her column with another boy-only beating scenario:
Today, lots of dads are doing their best to master that most imperfect of sciences: raising sons to be men of character. S.F.'s chosen method of discipline "may not have been the best approach under the circumstances," said the court, but "parents, who are in the best position to make those judgments, have a wide degree of latitude regarding the discipline of their children."
Spot supposes that beating--because let's face it, this was a beating--helps to transmit the attitudes and techniques of the abuser to the abused so that the tradition can be carried on.
Well, that was sort of serious, too. Sorry.
And Katie, what was it that your brother called you that got him flogged?