Right to be Selfish

Philosophy, Politics

I will never claim to be an expert on feminism. Largely because I am a man who doesn’t understand the first thing about the issues women face on a daily basis.

I have witnessed the dichotomies that we have for women in this society though and as the father of a beautiful girl, some of it disturbs me. Some of them are long-standing mores from our sexist past. Some are imposed by women themselves. The genesis of those dual standards are an important element to solving the problem.

Popular culture is a very powerful influence on people. Many times you can see the fringes of societal change in said culture slowly emanate in real life. Seeing a particular character on a TV show or in a book can help pave the way for making their lifestyle, sexual orientation, career, status acceptable to the world.

The inverse is also true.

Al-Jazeera recently posted an article on the critical reaction to Lena Dunham’s character on Girls. I confess to not watching the show but as I have read, the main character Hannah can be self-absorbed and critics don’t seem to like it. One critic has even stated that he’d like to see her choke and die.

Yet, critics and audiences never seem to mind when men are driven, ruthless and aggressive. We’ll even cheer a man on as he commits mass murder in Breaking Bad. We celebrate Dexter as he stalks and kills victims, even if they are bad guys (and girls). We love the likes of Tony Soprano, who damaged or destroy everything around him as he continued to flaunt his Neitzschean nature.

But when a woman does it, we can’t stand it. It’s definitely a double standard. We don’t mind it when men wreak havoc for their own personal gains but God forbid if a woman tries to do the same.

When Breaking Bad first came out, Anna Gunn, who plays Walt White’s wife Skyler, was reviled by audiences because she kept standing in the way of her husband’s goal to perfect and sell methamphetamine. So again a man can cook meth, kill drug dealers, lie and steal but if his wife tries to defend her family against all of that, well she’s just a bitch.

Sorry, that’s not right. We can’t have that view towards women in popular culture and yet expect women and girls to become ambitious. Forthright thinking and aggression in a career are clearly not cherished as a female personality trait.

I know, we’re talking about entertainment here. Not real life. But consider the fact that we obsess over real serial killers. We love reading about real mobsters. More than we’d like to admit, this love of male ambition is part of our consciousness.

The question really is, why does the double standard exist in the first place and why can’t we seem to move past it? And suppose we flip this issue on its head and say, “Maybe we shouldn’t just ask why women can’t be ambitious. We should ask why men are allowed to get away with it.”

It probably all boils down to the classic roles of gender. Men are supposed to be violent hunters who have to plot and methodically track their prey. Women have to maintain the home with domestic prowess for the family. Somewhere along the way though, we allowed the male role to expand in such a way that he uses his skills for himself, not just the good of his family. And we have come to a point where we admire men who do that.

I use the term “allow” because that is what’s going on. Men couldn’t behave like this without passive acceptance by society, other men and women.

In Breaking Bad, Walt even admits to his wife that he cooked meth and created his drug empire for himself.

“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And … I was alive,” he tells her in the finale.

We should allow women to pursue their personal ambitions or expect better of men. We can’t have it both ways and say the sexes are equal.

We’re likely about to have our first female presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton. No matter how you feel about her, she’s going to be and has been subject to the same hypocrisy. Clinton will be derided for being ruthless, ambitious and willing to do anything to become president, which even means putting up with Bill’s sexcapades.

No doubt she’ll have a male opponent. He’ll have the same traits as Hillary. But he won’t be criticized for it.

We expect it from him.

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First World Problems

Philosophy, Politics, Religion

first-world-problems-51
If it’s one thing I can’t stand to hear from someone is how some particular thing is “destroying our nation.”

Whatever it is, no it’s not. Our country is just fine. Lately every single politician, political movement, religion, atheist, communist, socialist, fascist, congressman, president, governor, mayor and the Post Office is destroying our country.

What exactly is so bad that some sort of harbinger has been unleashed declaring the end of the United States? Are we slugging it out in the streets for a top spot in bread lines? Do we face some kind of energy crisis? Are armed guards kidnapping random people in the night? Do we wake up to assault gun fire and mortar shelling every day like they do in Syria? Any genocide going on?

No. None of that is happening. We don’t have any REAL problems. We bitch about the political fighting in Washington, tax breaks for the rich, lazy people on food stamps, etc. But, I’m sorry, those are not nation-destroying troubles. Ronald Reagan’s Iran Contra scandal, George Bush’s recession, Bill Clinton’s philandering, George W.’s warmongering and Obama’s fight for his healthcare plan have not destroyed this country and none of it will.

Do we have problems? Yes, we do. The government spies on everything from our phone calls to our top scores on Angry Birds. Politicians on both sides lie about facts and use fear and anger to generate fervor among their electorate. Our economy at times seems to hang by a thread. The public denies scientists when they don’t like what scientists have to say.

But by and large, these things ARE being held in check. We still have our smartphones and our memes. We still drive our gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. We still have McDonalds, buffalo wings and Pizza Hut. This Sunday our nation will sit collectively for five hours while we enjoy our annual descent into junk food and beer during our beloved Superbowl.

Can things escalate to the point that our country will be destroyed? Of course. But we’re nowhere near that point. The fact that we’re so much in arms about the NSA, political discourse, climate change, economic regulations, welfare costs and healthcare shows that we do at least care about what’s happening even if we keep electing 90 percent of incumbents in Congress who do nothing about it.

And I won’t lie, sometimes I get caught up in the drama of it all and join in the chorus of doomsday. But I think enough is enough.

I’m not saying we should never be worried. I’m saying stop it with the histrionics. Let’s keep our eyes on the realities of our world. There are countries with genuine war zones, food shortages, widespread disease and genocide. But it’s not our country. Our issues are, at the end of the day, first-world problems.

It’s the deep paranoia and the actions that people take based on that paranoia that can cause serious problems. But even then, that won’t be the end of us.

Marijuana v. Alcohol

Politics

Although no one tells me, I’m positive everyone gets annoyed when I start a comment off with “I used to be a newspaper reporter and I…”

I apologize in advance but the thing is, journalists see things in this world that most people don’t. They have a unique perspective and a more informed perspective than those who are content to just watch TV news.

I say all of this before talking about something that I haven’t before and that’s drugs. Obama said in a recent New Yorker article that marijuana is perhaps not the pariah on society that it was painted to be in the likes of Reefer Madness. While it could be a gateway drug and is damaging to your lungs, it doesn’t cause as much ill effects on the body and on society as previously advertised. There’s all kinds of research about the subject. Some say marijuana’s bad. Others say it’s not that bad.

I won’t profess to know one way or the other. I’ve never toked up nor have I smoked a cigarette in my entire life. Watching my grandfather wither up and die from lung cancer solved that problem for me.

I do however, drink. Not excessively but regularly.

As a newspaper reporter I witnessed a lot of the things that go wrong when it comes to alcohol and drugs. One of my responsibilities with some of the papers I worked for was covering the courtroom. Most every single murder case I covered involved alcohol and/or drugs in some manifestation. Either the victims or the killer were on drugs, buying drugs, selling drugs or fighting over drugs. As far as alcohol is concerned many times killer was drunk or had been drinking.

Then there are the manslaughter cases from drunk-driving fatalities. There’s a lot of those, especially in Texas. The trials were especially painful to watch because, unlike homicides, there’s no real explanation for someone dying in a drunk-driving wreck. With a murder, there’s some known motivation. With intoxicated manslaughter, it’s really about chance. The victim just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and then, poof, their gone.

Like it or not, alcohol is part of American culture but it is also an element of many heinous things that happen in the criminal justice system. Aside from the wreck deaths and the murders, there’s an untold number of domestic violence, assaults, robberies and more that are fueled by people with alcohol in their system.

While it was a prevalent theme in many of the cases I covered, one thing that I didn’t see a lot of were suspects who committed crimes while under the influence of marijuana. I’m not saying that it never happened, just that it was exceedingly rare.

There’s two ways of looking at that, of course. One is marijuana isn’t much of a factor because it isn’t legal and therefore less people use it than alcohol. True. The other way of looking at it is (and I’ll borrow the pro-gun lobby logic here) criminals don’t follow the law thus they’re more than likely to light one than regular people and thus more likely to commit crime while under the influence.

Regardless of how you look at it, it’s not something that you see a lot of when it comes to people who commit crime and their mental state. Yes it does happen but not near as often as you see with alcohol.

So why are so people fighting the legalization? My guess is they’ll use the point of view that if it’s legal more people will use it thus leading to more crime, etc, etc. These detractors are more than likely conservative and the same people who use the criminals-are-criminals-and-don’t-follow-the-law-anyway argument when it comes to the gun control measures that they oppose.

Why is it that alcohol is acceptable to use and marijuana is not? A close look at the criminal justice system will show that alcohol seemingly has a more damaging effect on society and yet it is legal.

With Washington and Colorado blazing a new trail with their legalization laws, time will tell if marijuana will create the rise in crime some believe will happen.

I’m guessing it won’t. Some people are happy drunks. Some people are mean drunks. You’ve never heard of a mean pothead.

 

Yes, it is art

Uncategorized

Game art

There’s been a long-brewing debate in recent years about whether video games fit the definition.

Many critics of artistic expression including film, music, TV and such are, for the most part, against the notion of video games as art. Their reasons vary. Most say games don’t qualify because it’s an interactive medium.

Others don’t really give an explanation. They just say games ain’t art.

My beloved, late Roger Ebert certainly didn’t think it was art either.

Many of the naysayers are quick to point out that they don’t play games often, if at all. That, I believe, is the root of their denial. I don’t think it’s fair though. If they’re going on gut reaction rather than some detailed, thought-out thesis, then I fail to see how they can declare video games art or not.

New forms of art are always dismissed when it appears on the horizon. TV was once called a “vast wasteland.” Film too was not considered art at first. Nobody doubts their art status now.

I would venture to say that if some played video games over a long period of time, not just a few days or months even, but for years, they might change their mind. If they played a shoot ‘em up or a role-playing game and that’s all they base their decision on, then I could see how they feel video games are not art.

But if the only movie you ever watched was Gigli or Grandma’s Boy could you be blamed for saying film isn’t art?

I’ve been playing video games since Super Mario Brothers (yes, the 8-bit version). For the longest time I felt video games were certainly not on the same level as any other art. But as time wore on and games improved with better graphics, better story lines and better audio, I changed. The first time I played Limbo, all I could think of was that its universe was just breathtaking. How anyone could play that game and not call it art is beyond me.

One of the things I notice about those who argue against video games as art is their methodology. Many times they negate it as art because of some aspect that games have, such as keeping score, which critics claim art should not include. I’ve read from one critic who said if video games are an art so is basketball, which would make Michael Jordan an artist. (That argument is ridiculous of course because critics themselves judge art. Hell, rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com give numerical scores for movies, TV, music and video games.)

So they point to an existing facet of video games to disqualify them. They do not, however, discount video games for anything that it lacks. This is interesting.

Like opera or film, video games contain many important elements to what is considered art: visuals, music, spoken word, text and more. How can mediums that encompass all forms of art not itself be art? If that were the case then museums are not art despite their architecture.

As some proponents of video games have pointed out, maybe it’s a waste of time to define what art is. If people can read great works like Ulysses, look at great paintings by Picasso and listen to classical music and THEN disagree as to whether they’re good or not, then I don’t see how you can proclaim any iron-clad definition of what art is.

Maybe instead of asking what art is, we should ask, “What is the purpose of art?” Why does anyone spend days creating a painting? Why does anyone spend hours walking through a museum to look at them? Why does anyone compose and produce opera? Why does anyone watch opera?

Once we can pinpoint the inspiration for creating and appreciating art, maybe then can we define it.

To me, that will never happen because people will always disagree. Views change over time. Delineating art status to me is no different than language, which also morphs. If the rules of commas, capitalization and language structures shift with the times, so then does art.

My personal favorite response to the question “what is art?”

Jack Donaghy.

“It’s paintings of horses!”

Freedom

Philosophy

cottonfield
One of the biggest inspirations in my life is James Joyce and his landmark work Ulysses.

The book is about how language can be warped and changed by our drifting thoughts. It is the quintessential “stream of consciousness” work that touched off an entire genre of similar works by writers including Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.

At the time it was revolutionary. Not just because it was a different style of writing but also because it broke the bonds of literary convention. It toyed with the art of narrative by freeing itself of simple things like punctuation, paragraph formatting and much more. It has several languages in it and even some music. There had never been a literary work like it, at least not until Finnegan’s Wake.

So much about the world has changed since the incarnation of Ulysses. Music, painting and art in general seems took off in directions thought unimaginable. I have a deep respect for Joyce because he was the first artist to stand up and tell the world that they are free to create art as they want to. He told artists they didn’t have to conform to centuries old dogma about aesthetics. Music doesn’t have to be an orchestra. Painting doesn’t have to be realistic. Sculpture doesn’t have to be lifelike.

So is it any wonder that not long after Ulysses was published, jazz music took off? Is it not strange that a young Spanish artist named Picasso took hold of the art world for 50 years?

As any type of artist can tell you, one of the happiest feelings in the world is when you create something spawned from a free mind. That did happen to me once when I was in college. I was in an art class and painting with oils. I always had an image in my mind that I wanted to transpose to a canvas but I would invariably adulterate it once it was painted, often times smearing the paint to tame the stark, broad brush strokes.

Then one day I was working on a painting that was simply a man working in a cotton field. I brushed him in a very 2-D fashion but when it came to the field, I wanted something with high contrast, extreme texture. I didn’t want to screw it up. So I tried something different. I told myself that I didn’t care how it would turn out, I would simply let go. If the painting turned out to be a mess, so what? I vowed to do what came naturally with the brush.

It turned out well. Very well actually. The rest of the class loved it and how the man in the center of the painting contrasted with the thick texture of the cotton field. More than anything though, I loved the painting because I made it free. It was a feeling that I wanted to accomplish almost more than the actual work.

I’ve never been able to do that on the keyboard though. I’m not much of an artist but I love that painting for what it represents. I desperately want to do that with my writing but it hasn’t happened yet.

I want to make my Ulysses.

Joyce shifted the world of art in ways that most could never imagine. Simply put, without him, there might have been no Elvis, no Beatles, no Jackson Pollock, no Hemingway, no Faulkner, no Orwell, no Plath, no Miles Davis, no jazz, no freedom. Joyce forged the path many refused and subsequently opened the doors for all that chose to be different. Maybe some of those things would have come along without him, but not as soon or in the manner that it did.

Anyone who enjoys rock music, wildly off-beat literature, and avante-guarde art owes Joyce thanks. Yet, sadly know one knows who he is and too many in this world deny his genius because they can’t understand his syntax. Woolf, who worked with Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness, dismissed Ulysses as silly. Yet, most literary scholars now consider it the greatest work of the 20th Century.

As for me, I hope some day that I can achieve that freedom in writing, regardless of what anyone thinks of it. Even if it is a literary mess, I hope it can reach some level of artistic freedom.

There really is no other feeling like it in the world.

How to Find a Skunk

Philosophy, Politics, Religion

Skunk

During the height of his steroids scandal, a reporter asked pitcher Roger Clemens about his opinion on those who accused him of juicing. His response was a quote from his mother.

“Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.”

This is pretty good advice, especially when it comes to social media. In the past couple days I’ve found myself soaked quite a bit in skunk urine thanks to the discussions surrounding duck caller Phil Robertson. In case you haven’t heard he made some ill-advised comments about the lives of African Americans prior to the Civil Rights movement and the sexual effect of a woman’s vagina vs. a man’s anus. Like many of the great debates in our time, the intellectual back and forth has been aired out on Twitter and Facebook.

Most of the time when there’s a controversial news topic, I shy away from the online bickering. I once lost a friend (well on Facebook anyway) about the Trayvon Martin shooting. When I do venture into a hyped discussion, I try to keep my opinions on topic and usually I stick to it.

Couple of things I’ve learned about social media squabbles 1) you never change anyone’s opinion about the subject matter and 2) you never feel better after unleashing your view on said subject matter.

My  latest foray into online debate centered on Robertson’s incendiary comments and how 1) he was entitled to make them, 2) A&E was entitled to kick him off the air, 3) Biblical edicts are sometimes relative (i.e. slavery, bacon, gays, etc.) and 4) I have a poor habit of “selective reading” as one of my friend’s friends put it.

I had a long night answering comments from people who claim 1) that Christianity is under attack,  2) that my education is inadequate, 3) that Muslims have free speech which Christians don’t, 4) that my remarks really miss the point, etc. etc. etc. etc. Luckily I think I survived the night with most of my friends and followers lists intact.

I knew what I was getting into but I just couldn’t help myself. Why do I, and others for that matter, feel the need to argue even when they know they can’t win? For me, I guess there’s this hope that maybe I can at least get others to see a different point of view. Their personal stance may not change but they’ll broaden their perspective. Hopefully.

This never happens. Ever.

I think that social media and the Internet in general fuels people’s sense of self-importance. Maybe because we feel that we can broadcast our opinions to the entire world in an instant it somehow gives those opinions some sort of credence. It’s particularly enticing when you know that your message is concentrated to people you know. (Only egomaniacs spout their opinions for everyone on a blog.)

Unfortunately though, online “debates” usually become nothing but a bunch of people sharing opinions that everyone already knows. No one becomes educated or enlightened. It just turns into a digital yelling match and the volume of your voice does not make you right. (Except for me. I’m always right.)

Word of advice though, when you see a skunk, turn around. Walking away doesn’t mean the skunk is right about gay marriage.

Old Life II

Uncategorized

type1

I was interviewing him because he was charged with murdering his wife. He shot her after an argument, one of several.

He was driving his car and she was driving hers. When they passed each other at an intersection he reached out if his car window with a gun and shot her through her window. He tried to commit suicide, putting the barrel in his mouth when police got to the scene. The cops talked him into surrendering.

It was definitely one of the oddest husband-on-wife homicides I’d covered.

He told me when I interviewed him that he was joking with her. “Playing around” he called it. He wasn’t trying to kill her, he said.

I never understood why guys confess murder to a journalist. Usually it’s for attention, I think. Sometimes I wonder if it’s to spite the detectives who they refused to talk to. He was the second defendant who opened up about his crime to me.

This guy told me he wanted to apologize to his mother-in-law. He never had a family, he explained. He grew up in a broken home, parents were never around. Neglect. Abuse. You name it.

When he married, his in-laws became his family, especially his wife’s mother.

He repeated over and over, he just wanted to tell her he was sorry about what he did. That’s why he let me interview him.

I’m not sure what that meant to her. She wouldn’t return my calls to talk to about his confession.

I did get subpoenaed. My notes were copied for the prosecutors. The guy plead out though. Fifty years. I didn’t have to testify.

Real Reality

Philosophy

I recently watched a video on the perception people have about wealth distribution in this country. Essentially they believe the richest 20 percent has more than their share of the wealth which they find acceptable.

In reality, according to the video, the richest 1 percent actually have the majority of the wealth. Ninety percent of Americans are not aware of that.

I don’t consider myself much of a class warrior. I accept the fact that America is a Capitalist system that is very much tilted towards the rich. And as CEO salaries rise exponentially and the dwindling middle class continues to lose wages, I’ve given up trying to explain to people that the system is rigged against them.

My focus is mainly on what the video deems is reality and the perception that people have. I’ve always said that reality doesn’t really exist. This is because no matter how much you relate to someone else, everything that we feel, touch, taste, smell or hear in this world is processed by our brain, ergo perception. Regardless of how much research scientists do on brain function we are not wired together. Even if we have evolved such that our survival depends on us banding together, when it comes to interpreting our senses, we are utterly alone. We all have our own reality.

There’s collective reality, whereby people share their perceptions and agree that said perceptions match up. But in the end that is all they are, shared perceptions. So collective reality is really collective perceptions. So much of our life rides on that. Juries have to agree to the facts of a case. Doctors have to agree on the results of medical research. Survival, justice, life and all action is based on comparing each other’s perceptions and moving forward.

It’s scary to think that we cannot truly know what’s really going on around us. We never know what to believe. We have to rely on our own perceptions, because it is all we have. Descartes would say that we know we exist because we know that we think. My assumption is that we can’t know anything beyond that because that thinking and personal beliefs is confined to the individual. We don’t share the same neurons.

The only thing we know with certainty is our perceptions.

Politicians, business folk and the media rely on it. Their professions are based on preying upon people’s ideology and developed perceptions. People should be aware of that but they are not. Too many of us, I believe, are on autopilot and that seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling is what’s actually going on. The senses can deceive and we need to learn to think deeper about how we perceive our environments in order to fully understand them rather than accept them at face value.

At least that’s what I think.

Extreme Christ

Religion

Jesus earring

So there’s this tattooed, progressive, vulgar woman making the lefty church rounds spouting her particular message about Jesus Christ in her own distinct way. Minister Nadia Bolz-Weber’s delivery seems to speak to today’s generation of disillusioned youth seeking some kind of spiritual catharsis from an unconventional source.

Her style is really nothing new. But lately she’s been drawing a new audience — regular folk. Turns out that you don’t have to be some violence-desensitized, angst-ridden twenty-something in order to be turned off by traditional, organized religion. It’s a rising trend that shows no sign of slowing. The most rapidly growing religious identity in the U.S.? Athiesm, agnosticism or unafilliated.

People have problems with religion, at least the traditional model be it Catholics, Protestants or Evangelicals. They’re just not filling the pews anymore. Some feel the exodus has to do with the political involvement with conservatives in government. Others blame secularization. Personally I feel there is a bit of hypocrisy in how people act compared to what they profess to believe. I also think  too many people use their religion to justify divisiveness, violence and outright avarice.

In the past maybe young people felt obligated to stick with religion despite their reservations but I don’t think that guilt is working anymore.

Movements from unconventional ministers like Bolz-Weber are growing and in different manifestations. Many of these non-denominational churches are centered on a dynamic personality, like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer. Others are based on a theme like Cowboy Church. I once went to a service crafted entirely for bikers. People are capitalizing on those seeking God in a nontraditional setting.

It bothers a lot of people. Even Pope Francis, the loose-talking Jesuit recently named pontiff, is facing backlash from traditional Catholics irate that he’s doing such cavalier things like not judging gays and granting interviews to athiest journalists.

I’m a faltering Catholic, a heavily liturgical denomination. The mere presence of a guitar at a Protestant service rubs me the wrong way because the only version of Amazing Grace I’ve ever heard was accompanied by an organ. Sadly, contemporary is just not my cup of tea. I can see why some are repulsed by Francis, Bolz-Weber and Biker Church.

Yet, so what? To me all of those who have been devoutly religious their entire lives should be happy that the prodigal children have found another path to the same destination. Even if they don’t like the way the message is presented, they should at least rejoice that the lost are found.

Some of the deniers are more afraid that the newcomers are changing the message. Legitimate fear, maybe, but I think that fear is usually based on the notion that unless someone’s worshiping the way they worship, then they’re not true believers. Ironically, this is the large part of the reason why people get sour on God in the first place — worshipers look at those who believe different and condemn them for being different. This irks me particularly with Christians because Jesus preached the exact opposite. There’s a certain instance in the Bible when His disciples walked up to Him complaining that there was a man performing miracles in Jesus’ name. He rebuked their intolerance.
“Anyone who is not against us is for us.”

-Mark 9:40

Parental Evil

Philosophy

Face

I was 8. It was my turn at the plate. I was a scrawny right fielder who only got to play two innings a game, which was the minimum required by Little League rules at the time.

But here it was, the bottom of the fifth inning, the last inning. The game was tied, there’s a runner on third and I’m batting.

The pitcher released the ball. It’s been 25 years but what I can still remember the ball coming towards me and then seeing it rocket towards the fence off of my bat. I’d hit it, hard.

I ran nervously to first then rounded second. I saw the left fielder running to the fence to fetch the ball. I kept running until I finally crossed third base. I looked up at one of the umpires and all he said was “game.”

It was a great moment for an 8-year-old bench warmer. I had the game-winning hit. As I ran to the dugout, my coach lifted me up off the ground and into the air. The other players slapped me on the back congratulating me.

Then out of nowhere, I hear a man screaming at the umpire.

“He didn’t touch the plate!”

Apparently the opposing coach thought the runner on third didn’t step on home plate and he was therefore out, making it a tie game again. The umpire told him the runner did touch home and that he needed to go coach to pack it in. But the coach was not letting it go.

“HE DIDN’T TOUCH THE PLATE!”

It was a shocking moment for me because in my sheltered youth, I’d never heard or seen an adult act like that. And he had to do it in what was then the only shining moment of my life.

This incident was a cornerstone of what I would see in parents as I grew up. Ordinary, good people can immediately shift to ridiculous, selfish tendencies when it comes to their children. They’ll lie on scholarship applications. They’ll cheat at kids’ sports. They’ll harass teachers to get their child a second chance at a test. They’ll call in every favor they have to get their kid into the right college.

I don’t remember my parents acting like that for the most part. Maybe they skirted the rules here and there for me but I didn’t know about it.

It raises an important question though. Why do adults advocate honesty, integrity and morality then turn right around and go against that code to protect, promote and gain advantages for their children? Here’s a good piece on the subject that got me thinking.

The yelling coach really colored my view about parents’ behavior with regards to their children’s lives. It makes you wonder that if they’re willing to bend their morality for their kids, do they bend the rules for themselves too? Are they really doing these unethical acts for their kids or for their own egos?

My guess is that most parents don’t realize they do it. Some may think that they’re doing the right thing and rationalize it because they feel their kid shouldn’t have to suffer from any type of setback. Some do realize it and they just don’t care.

Quite frankly, to me, it’s disgusting. I find it especially repugnant when they do it at the expense of another child who did nothing to deserve their destructive intervention. Acting selfish on your child’s behalf is no excuse. It’s still just as wrong as if you did it for yourself. Loving your child and wanting them to get ahead in life can’t justify abject unethical behavior.

Stand up for your kid when you need to. Confront a teacher when there’s a genuine problem. Call out a coach when they’re too hard on the team. My yelling coach? At least he got mad about the enforcement of a rule to the game. Maybe he went too far and served a bad example about how to behave but his protest was coming from the right place.

But for God’s sakes, don’t cheat, lie, steal, yell or hurt other people when you know your child is: a) in the wrong b) at fault or c) lost fairly.

Eventually my daughter will grow up and will join dance, play sports, take AP classes and the like. If she fails or if she doesn’t make varsity or if she doesn’t get a scholarship, I hope I have what it takes to let it happen and not flex my ethics to save her. She may not like it and she may hate me for it but hopefully she’ll see it’s the right thing to do.

Hopefully I will see it’s the right thing too.