Saturday, August 24, 2013

one well-placed sentence.

We have had a busy month here at the Snugglehaus!

My new job has started out well--I'm not accomplishing a ton, but no one's expecting me to have an immediate impact, so it's all good so far. The programming language, Scala, is quite challenging: it's probably my new Worst Language For Beginners. It's big and complex and full of things, and I don't see how you can hope to work in it without 3-5 years of deep experience with other languages. I mostly like it, though.

My new co-workers are super nice and smart, which is most of what I hoped for in this job.

After a week on the job, we did our annual trip out to Cape Cod to visit my family. My brother surprised us by bringing his family down, originally for a day but extended to two. (J's comment: "Yay!") My nieces are fabulous with him, and he loves them even though he has trouble remembering their names.

He has started ranting about sexism and racism, which is completely awesome, but also gets funneled through his sometimes limited ability to detect when something is actually sexist or racist. I was talking to my niece E and--when "talking" veered into "loving mockery"--called her a "delicate little flower."
"That's sexist, and you shouldn't say that."
"Which, calling her a delicate flower?"
"Okay. I wasn't actually being sexist, and I promise I will explain why after dinner. Deal?"
The reason it wasn't sexist, of course, is that E is the opposite of a delicate little flower, and she and I both know it, and J knows it too if he just thinks for a second. His keen eye for injustice overran his ability to hear my facetious tone of voice. This is an excellent problem to have. He knows the world can and should be a better place, and he thinks that's super important.

Fast forward to today, with a couple friends over for dinner. Disney movies come up in the conversation, and he goes into Rant Mode:
"Disney is nothing but a bunch of money-grubbing, racist, sexist... [trail off into the usual muttering]"
He's referring to Disney kids' movies, of course: I decided to save the complexity of Disney as a corporation for another time. (Racist, sexist movies for kids! Longstanding support for gay rights, starting before it was cool!) But! He's observing, without understanding.
"Yes! You're absolutely right that lots of Disney movies are racist or sexist. Your next task is to do some reading and find out why those movies got made, and why they're still so popular."
Jaw -> floor.

Does life have any greater pleasure than stunning a talkative, intelligent, strongly opinionated child into ten seconds of silence?

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