Okay, this particular topic has little to do with Art or Science--but how about a little personal history for a change? When I was a medium- to small-sized young'un my folks were still stuck in the meme that a misbehaving child should receive corporal punishment. Although my folks weren't really religious, I think this was probably a societal extension of the biblical "Spare the rod, spoil the child" B.S. If I recall correctly, somewhere around my tenth birthday, they stopped the spankings. I think they probably figured out that it really doesn't work. AFAIK, my little sister was never hit by my parents, and all three of us kids seemed to come out okay. I remember that they switched to a "timeout" system; in other words--go to your room, or no after school fun activities for some set period of time. I remember once I badly misbehaved (I think I basically destroyed my Grandmother's house) when I was about eleven or twelve. I was deprived of desserts for a whole month. Oh, the horror! In a retrospectively hilarious act of rebellion I shop-lifted no less than four ice cream sandwiches from the local drugstore during that month. Thank goodness I wasn't caught, or there would have been Hell-to-pay, and, really, I was basically an honest kid. I think the name of the drugstore was "Kiefer's." It was in Mt. Prospect IL. Let me just say that if Kiefer's (or their heirs) want to send me a bill (go ahead and add compound interest) I'll happily pay. I'm sorry.
But, that isn't what I'm writing about. Several years ago I visited my cousin, who had a young son. I learned later that, they had a new punishment, when their son misbehaved, he was NOT forced to go to his room. Of course not. In his bedroom he could watch TV and videos and play video games. What kind of punishment is that? His punishment? He was "unplugged." No video games. No TV. No cell phone. Major suckiness. But now, in this age of twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, in addition to video games TV and Email, being "unplugged" is an even more severe punishment. Kids today seem to be even more dependent on the social connectedness that is facilitated by technology. America's youth is more electronic (and fatter) than ever. I even heard a description of this new punishment of being disconnected. It is called "The Full Amish." My guess is that most kids would rather be whacked upside the head than subjected to this brutal treatment. So, my advice to teens and pre-teens. Behave yourself, or you too might be subjected to the FULL AMISH. Besides, Christmas is coming, and, although I have doubts about the existence of an omniscient god, I have little doubt about an omniscient Santa Claus.