Sorry, I've been remiss in my postings lately, friends. I appreciate your concerned e-mails, letters, cards and certified checks. What with the flu and the non-stop prank phone calls resulting from my private number being in Paris Hilton's Sidekick, I've barely had a moment's rest lately. Also, I've been quite occupied with my various inventions. The latest one is coming along nicely. Thank you.
Anyway, like most of you, the BossLady and I watched the Oscars last night. Being parents of a newborn baby, we hadn't actually seen all of this year's films because we've understandably been a little busy with the Peanut. This has been a big change for us from previous years as we normally used to average about a movie per week. Parenthood has put a mild crimp in our movie-going schedule. But anyway, as usual, I'm digressing. My point is that I've always had a life-long love affair with the movies. And despite my cynical attitude towards Hollywood and the putrid crap that they generally regurgitate, I've also always been a big fan of the Oscars. And this year was no different. I loved the pre-game hype, the red carpet interviews, the sexy outfits, the cheesy speeches and the emotional outbursts.
During this year's Oscars, I was wildly rooting for Don Cheadle to win Best Actor for his role in Hotel Rwanda. Though I was disappointed when he didn't win, I found myself pleasantly surprised at Jamie Foxx's speech when he won instead. For those of you who didn't hear the acceptance speech, Mr. Foxx gave much praise and credit to his deceased grandmother for raising him right and instilling him with the correct moral values. Towards the end of his speech, he said, "when I would act the fool, she would beat me. She would whup me hard. And she could get an Oscar for the way she whupped me because she was great at it. And after she whipped me, she would talk to me and tell me why she whipped me."
When I heard this, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I could only imagine the indignation and uproar that this would cause among irate mothers, incensed parenting groups and the American Family Association. I'm sure the ones who weren't cringing were getting their panties all tied up in a bunch. Because as the Politically Correct (P.C.) Police have mandated, spanking your child is now akin to child abuse. The P.C. Police equate corporal punishment with assault and battery. Some states have even legally mandated the prohibition of spanking in the name of disciplining one's child.
Now don't get me wrong. I personally don't think that I could ever raise my hand in anger at my beautiful little daughter. But if I had a son, I think that might be a different story. Is that sexist? Maybe. But I've always thought that our society would be a little better off if we didn't pretend that there weren't any differences between the sexes.
Anyway, speaking from personal experience, I never saw anything wrong with getting a good old-fashioned whupping when it was well-deserved. My father was a big fan of the belt. Of course, he was a terrible communicator and never really had any sort of open dialog with me or my brother. In fact, he was never a very emotional man. But one of his better emotions happened to be anger. The man had (and to a certain extent, still does have) a very short fuse. He was most definitely from the "old school" and it never took much to piss him off. But if you really wanted to push his buttons, there was no better way than to question his authority or curse in his presence. I'll never forget the first time I told him to shut up. Man, that belt flew off so fast, it must have been on auto-pilot. As a firm believer in education, he felt teachers also demanded the utmost respect. The one time he found out that I had mouthed off to one of my teachers, that belt struck my ass like the blade of Zorro. I'm talking lighting fast.
But I'll be the first to admit that my whuppings were generally well-deserved. And to tell you the truth, they were pretty effective in the sense that the mere threat of the belt was often a more powerful motivator than the actual belt. And at no time did these whuppings ever cross into the realm of child abuse. No marks were left on my body. I never got hit in the face or with a closed fist. My whuppings were more like enhanced spankings. And they really did enforce discipline in me. It was made very clear to me what lines could and couldn't be crossed. And though I may have wandered over that line from time to time like Icarus testing the limits of his wings, I knew very well that my actions were going to have consequences.
So in thinking about about all this, I ask all of you...is there really anything wrong with a good old-fashioned spanking? After all, the belt has stood the time-honored test of time. And though I'm not entirely in favor of this method as the primary means of disciplining your children, I'm not quite sure where I stand on this issue. Since I have a daughter, the point is pretty moot. My respect for women would never allow me to raise my hand in anger against them. However, I'm curious to see what other parents think. Is the belt an anachronistic tool of discipline that's better left in the past? Or do some of you still resort to spanking in order to enforce discipline? On the one hand, I obviously want to have a clear and open dialog with my child so that he knows what levels of behavior are acceptable. When it comes time to discipline or punish my child, I'm sure I'll employ time-outs, groundings, loss of privileges, and sensory deprivation (that last ones a joke, people!)
But in all seriousness, I think there's something to be said for a good old-fashioned spanking. I know we're all sensitive parents of the new millenium but I see a lot of kids out there being given completely free rein by their parents. Go to any restaurant or Broadway show these days and you'll know what I'm talking about. So many parents are letting their kids run roughshod all over the place that it sometimes seems like they're raising buffalo, not children. And aside from raising a generation of children without any manners, I often wonder whether some of these parents, in their misguided hopes to be their child's best friend, are raising a bunch of spoiled kids who don't understand that actions DO have consequences. I see so many kids in public who I think would really benefit from a good old-fashioned spanking. In a related way, I wonder whether today's kids are so coddled that they never develop the emotional toughness needed to become a fully-functioning adult. In a way, do you think that all the coddling has contributed to our society's culture of entitlement and victimization? Are we raising a generation of wusses?
I'm just thinking aloud here, my friends. What do you think? Let's hear from the peanut gallery and open the floor for some discussion.
To spank or not to spank, that is the question
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous children,
Or to take paddles against a sea of misbehavior,
And by opposing end them? To spank: to whup;
No more; and by a spank to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To spank, to whup;
To spank or not to spank, that is the question