Some of you boys and girls may remember the case of G.F., the miscreant that Katie wrote about last summer. That column is no longer with us, but Spot worte about it in Katie goes whup ass! Here's Katie's summary of what G.F.'s parents—devout Christians, of course—did to lovingly correct their son:
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.
Did you count thirty-six whacks, boys and girls? Spot did. Lizzie Bordon gave what, forty?
Here's the summary of the same events from Katie's current column:
After warning Gerard repeatedly and posting Bible verses to remind him of the consequences, Fraser smacked the back of his son's upper thighs 12 times with a small wooden paddle after he disobeyed and lied. He repeated the process twice over an hour and 15-minute period when the boy remained defiant. The paddling left no marks.
"I wasn't trying to harm him," Fraser said. "I was trying to teach him about the importance of self-control and respect for authority."
Oh! He posted Bible verses! That explains everything. Why didn't you say so in the first place, Katie? A religious beating is something entirely different. Entirely!
Spot would like you to reflect on the irony of trying to teach somebody self control by hitting him three dozen times with a maple paddle. And the maple paddle? Where did you get that, daddy? Make it in shop class when your father was beating you?
Reflect also on Katie's statement that "[t]he paddling left no marks." Oh, it left marks, Katie, right in little G.F.'s head, just as was intended.
Why did Katie's glorification of sadism get a second column?
Because Katie is kinda sadistic herself?
Well, maybe, grasshopper. But Katie's original column on this sickening slice of home life came when the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in favor of G.F.'s pious mommy and daddy. Now, alas and alack, the case is being appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Katie apparently couldn't resist another bellow of outrage. We do get some more details:
Gerard, now 15, returned recently from a Christian boarding school in Utah where his father and mother -- a materials handler and hotel kitchen worker, respectively -- sent him after raising the $50,000 tuition by refinancing their home.
The county's continued intervention is absurd, Gerard says. "I understand now that my dad paddled me because he loves me, and he wants me to have success in my life. He disciplined me, he didn't abuse me.
Let's see, you're Gerard. You have just returned from a Christian gulag in Utah. When you get a beating in Utah, it does leave marks. You don't want to ever go back to Utah, not even to hear that big choir in Salt Lake City, but you know the lengths that your folks will go to make you obdient, dutiful, and well, maybe a little cowed. So now you're sitting at the kitchen table across from this severe-looking woman with frizzy hair and dressed in black. She has been visiting with your folks, and they have been praying and chuckling in an odd sort of a way. You are three years away from the age of majority.
The severe-looking woman with the frizzy hair and dressed in black asks, "Do you know why your dad whacked you three dozen times?" Your father is sitting immediately to your right, your mother to your left.
Consider your answer very carefully, boys and girls.
Katie has this to say about spanking:
Spanking may be out of fashion. But it's gotten a bad rap -- no pun intended, says Waite [one of the parents' attorneys]. Spanking is an important tool that parents need in their disciplinary toolbox to shape behavior.
Most Americans agree. According to research cited by Waite, commissioned by the Family Research Council, 76 percent of those surveyed said that spanking was an effective form of discipline in their home when they were children.
Ah, the Family Research Council! Of course! That's James Dobson's outfit, isn't it? Here's what one commentator said about James Dobson on the subject of discipline, taken from a passage in one of Dobson's books:
"When I told Sigmund to leave his warm seat and go to bed, he flattened his ears and slowly turned his head toward me. He deliberately braced himself by placing one paw on the edge of the furry lid, then hunched his shoulders, raised his lips to reveal the molars on both sides, and uttered his most threatening growl. That was Siggie's way of saying. "Get lost!" "I had seen this defiant mood before, and knew there was only one way to deal with it. The ONLY way to make Siggie obey is to threaten him with destruction. Nothing else works. I turned and went to my closet and got a small belt to help me 'reason' with Mr. Freud."
What Dobson never explains to his readers is WHY it was so essential that the dog sleep where Dobson wanted him to sleep instead of where the dog wanted to sleep. Dobson is behaving like a toddler who throws a violent tantrum if his "bedtime ritual" isn't adhered to down to the slightest detail. Making Siggie go to sleep on command where and when Dobson wants him to has been part of this overgrown toddler's bedtime ritual for six years. Now, Siggie is interfering with a small detail of this bedtime ritual of Dobson's by wanting to sleep somewhere else which is warmer and more comfortable. So Dobson, true to his infantile level of emotional maturity, throws a violent tantrum:
"What developed next is impossible to describe. That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt. I am embarrassed by the memory of the entire scene. Inch by inch I moved him toward the family room and his bed. As a final desperate maneuver, Siggie backed into the corner for one last snarling stand. I eventually got him to bed, only because I outweighed him 200 to 12!"
This is one sick puppy, and I don't mean the dog, either. Dobson is OBSESSED with control. I suspect that this stems from the punitive upbringing he endured as a young child (and which he now praises, with unintended irony, for making him what he is today). Now that he is a grownup, and too old to spank, he is determined to get everything HIS way, by golly! He is a 200 pound, verbally articulate version of the "strong-willed" toddlers whom he always exhorts parents to whip into submission "with a belt or switch" because "pain is a marvelous purifier." Dobson is walking proof of how just how badly a spanked child can turn out. The fact that parents like this exist in the world is an excellent argument for why all forms of corporal punishment should be abolished forthwith.
Just in case the more slow-witted among his readers fail to grasp the obvious parallel between his relationship with his dog and the type of parenting advice the man as become rich and famous by dispensing, Dobson then lays it explicitly on the line:
"But this is not a book about the discipline of dogs; there is an important moral to my story that is highly relevant to the world of children. JUST AS SURELY AS A DOG WILL OCCASIONALLY CHALLENGE THE AUTHORITY OF HIS LEADERS, SO WILL A LITTLE CHILD -- ONLY MORE SO." (emphasis Dobson's)
Spot would like Dobson to try that treatment on Spot's pal Theodore! He's a Rottweiler. But of course Dobson would never do that. He knows you only wield your authority against the powerless.
And for Spot's money, Katie, you've established a new low benchmark against which to measure future offerings of yours. Congratulations.
On a tip from a reader, Spot googled around and found several sites dedicated to a discussion of spanking (don't even start, grasshopper) and offering paddles for sale. One that Spot can recommend is Spanking Paddles by Walt, which offers several models in different woods and price ranges. Spot didn't see maple, though, so the daddy above must have shopped somewhere else! Spot's favorite from Walt's was this model. It shows that spanking does have a certain, er, crossover appeal.
MNO did a great parody of Katie's column at Norwegianity.
grumble grumble grumble
What did you say, Spot?