Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Parenting Trap

Yesterday I logged onto Amazon to place a book order. I wanted to read the Marquis de Sade, not because of any strange sexual perversions on my part or anything like that, nor for the sake of learning how to possibly develop some strange sexual perversions, but rather for cultural reasons. I know that you’re probably thinking, “yeah, in the same way that I buy Playboy for the articles,” but I swear (and I mean this as an explication, not as an expletive) that it’s true. That torture has been sanctioned by my government, that it has even been a subject for debate in the United States and that it has not provoked more of a public outcry has made me cry a little inside and given me Sade thoughts. I simply wondered if I might learn something about the social psychology of torture from the master, the Marquis.

When I logged onto Amazon, before even having entered any information whatsoever about what I had intended to order, it welcomed me by my name and proffered a list of product recommendations. The marketing selections were right on the money as it is their purpose to be; until, that is, I scrolled down. There at the bottom of the screen I found a list of books on parenting. On parenting!? How did Amazon know that I was a bad mom? I had never purchased a book on parenting before (which might be part of the problem, but still). I reflected back to my last purchase—Freud. Surely that wasn’t enough to tip them off was it?

Come on! I only give my kids ice cream for breakfast once, occasionally twice, a week—a good source of dairy protein. I only “let” them play before doing their homework so that I can skim their textbooks and be ready to help them with it. Surely even Mrs. Gruber never really expected me to be able to recall my times table over two decades later! Even then the ubiquitous calculator had long since vanquished the abacus. Hell, even my grandmother had one. And I challenge any and all sentient adults to spell “sentient” without the aid of their automatic spelling corrector. I had named my son Egburtus not because I hated him but because I dearly loved my late grandfather, Egburtus.

I could go on and on with such excuses but I really shouldn’t have to. I’ve always been disturbed by data mining precisely because I feel this data is mine.


Robert said...

Thanks for the tip. I will add to this tomorrow, been a long weekend! Brain deader than ever!

Robert said...

I have not read the Marquis de S, but have come across some gross pictures used to illustrate it (for cultural reasons)!

I think we may have lost much of the Moral High Ground since 9/11.

Breakfast ice cream and reading The M de S are not necessarily synonymous with being a bad "Mom" but do not ask your shrinks, they will charge you for answering!

Is the date significant, an anniversary perhaps?

I have tried to order books from Amazon but they never turned up despite the promises. The due date would come and go and a new one would be set even longer than the one before so but the third time we gave up and they didn't take any money so I assume it must be sitting some where in your data base, in storage, under the House of Representatives like we are led to believe the Arc of the Covenant may be found. Perhaps filed under “Robert's lost books”.

Siganus Sutor said...

Blue Genes, I have something to ask you. Nothing sadistic, I can swear (at least I don't think it is). But I'm too shly to do it publicly. How canaille* send My Question to you?

By the way, when I hear "divin marquis" I cannot but think it is a brand of wine. In Kreol — you know, this alien idiom —, wine is divin ("du vin", the article being frequently agglutinated to the noun; you must certainly have an academic word for that). And we usually speak of "divin Oxenham", "divin Rozé", "divin This" or "divin That". And French wines, popular ones (i.e. not too expensive), can have names like say "Baron d'Arignac" or, why not, "Comte de Champignac". And some people would tend to call these wines "divin Baron" etc. "Divin Marquis", definitely a beverage that couldn't be drunk by any innocent hedonist...
* rabble

Blue Genes said...

Robert: I think I'll wait until I actually have kids to ask my shrink(s) if I'm a bad mom.

I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I posted on March 10--I assume that's the date you're asking about. The anniversary of the war is next week, isn't it? I'm curious to know what you had in mind.

Sig: I just added a contact e-mail under my profile. But can I handle another Question? This is the new question, I suppose. I think the ("bloody") academic word is "enclitic," to be verified if you really want to know; to be ignored if you are mocking me for being pedantic.

Robert said...

You will not need to ask them.

Forgive me, much is guess work on my behalf. The switch from real to satire is sometimes missed by me.

Quote....precisely because I feel this date is mine...

probably too deep..a birthday?

Blue Genes said...

Idiotic typo in fact. I meant it to read "precisely because this data is mine. Glad you pointed it out to me so I could correct it! Thanks!

Why will I not have to ask them if I'm a bad mom? because this will be glaringly self-evident? :~)

Siganus Sutor said...

No need to worry, Blue Genes. It is true that some people are prone to teasing others (I'm not thinking about myself only in saying so), and that sometimes it can be felt as going a bit far, but as far as I'm concerned I'll never poke fun at somebody for whom I don't have at least some degree of affection.

But anyway My Question is nothing enormous. It's just about what you said. My limited English hasn't allowed me to understand the full meaning of some of your teasing, et ça défrise mon blason.

"Enclitic"? What is it referring to? To something I said, probably, but if I now need to remember everything I said... (I suppose, however, that it refers to the abovementioned — or above-mentioned? — agglutination of the article to the noun, doesn't it?)

Robert said...

SS there doesn't seem to be much wrong with your English!

Enclitic is something to do with the end bit.

Blue Genes, stop fishing, you know my views on this!

Blue Genes said...

Sig: I only tease people I like as well. "Enclitic" was indeed in relation to the agglutination and your English is excellent.

Robert: I wasn't fishing, I swear. If you knew my mom you'd understand!

Siganus Sutor said...

Robert & BG, you're being too good to me. One may think that I moan about the "quality of my English" just to have the pleasure of hearing "Oh no, your English is excellent!". But, alas, I really doubt it very much, most of the time, usually going through a painful process of checks and double checks and fearing nonetheless, as Noetica could have said, to clumsily speak like a book. Or like the alien that I am.
Anyway, one has to practise if he wants to get somewhere, no? (So do not hesitate to point out some mistakes, as it may help the fish.)

Now, to talk about somebody else than me, me, me, what is there with Blue Gene's mum and fishing?

Robert said...

To explain fishing and BG's Mom I will need to draw a little picture one day and put it on my blog for you SS, more fun like that!

Siganus Sutor said...

All right, Robert. Just give us a ring when the cake is cooked.