The Last Parenting Book in The Universe, by… (read on)
My blog has taken on a life of its own. I feel an uncontrollable urge to post, when I should be, in fact, cleaning house, as I have guests coming over on Saturday. Being a wimp, I’ve given in to the urge.
With all the parenting discussions going on in the blogosphere lately – I have already mentioned Tulipgirl’s posts, and now Cattiva (here and here) and Reid at Orthodox Heresy have posted some great material – I figure it’s time for me to jump on the bandwagon. Here’s what I’ve been thinking. If we were told that we, meaning the humanity, are only allowed to write one more book on parenting and that’s it (because, frankly, there is far too much of that stuff floating around), who would be the best person or group to write it?
Please feel free to share your choices. I, just in case you wanted to know, choose Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Yep, the South Park guys. I’m probably very far off, because I learn from these fine men daily. I’ve read a lot of literature on parenting, but few made as much sense to me as these guys’ show.
My entire parenting philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: one day our children will move out, and that day comes sooner than we think. I know, because I moved out at 17. My parents are hard workers and perfectionists and, when raising me, they leaned on the stricter side of things. And in the first few years after I left home, I’d done some pretty stupid things just because my parents weren’t looking. Now when my boys move out, I want them to know very well how to use that round thing on their shoulders. Because, let’s face it, I grew up in a totalitarian country. I didn’t have much chance to screw up. I could get really drunk, or I could get pregnant, or I could get VD, but that was basically it. Whereas here in the US, the opportunities are endless.
Back to Matt and Trey and their show. I am a huge fan. For the longest time, I didn’t watch, because I didn’t want to go though the motions of hiding from my kids to watch a movie. I only started in 2003, right before the new season came out in the fall. Aside from a few really asinine episodes, the show resonates. It shows the kids, same age as my own boys, that act pretty much like my own boys and their classmates. The show then exposes these kids to all sorts of issues, makes them analyze what they’re seeing, and come to their own conclusions. Plus, it is really, really funny. I like that in a show!
And, as a stern warning for us parents, there is the brainless adult community of South Park. The way these people think and react is nothing short of brilliant, and, unfortunately, very often too close to reality. For parents like me who lean towards being permissive, know it, and try not to do it, there is an all-time permissive Mom, Mrs. Cartman, along with the end result of her parenting, the lovable Eric. For parents that believe in a firm hand, there is a phrase they can use: “Respect my authoritah!” Hey, I use it all the time, and I don’t even believe that much in a firm hand!
I love the show, and I will defend it to the hilt. In fact, I already have. In the past, I’ve been asked questions such as, “Would you reflect on how watching a show like South Park can be consistent with your walk in the Lord?” and I reflected and responded the best I could (in case you need the question translated, it actually means: "real Christians don't watch South Park, so shame on you", which is not technically a question, but I responded anyway). So if you have anything against the show, bring it on.
Here are my fourteen favorite eps (was going to be ten, but it was so hard to choose):
14. Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boatride – I swear, this episode has changed the way I looked at the entire gay issue. Sparky the dog is irresistible.
13. An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig – this one is just funny. Not ejumacational or anything, just very, very funny.
12. Rainforest Shmainforest – K9 was very impressed and wanted to give a lecture about it in school. I managed to talk him out of it.
11. The Succubus – just plain hysterical. “There’s got to be a morning after…” Priceless.
10. Chinpokomon – every American kid needs to see that one. “This doesn't make sense. Are those stupid things supposed to be animals or robots or what?!" - "I don't know, but I suddenly kinda wanna own them all.” So true.
9. Cartman Joins NAMBLA – funny and then there’s this piece at the end:
Lead Agent: [to NAMBLA Leader] We've been after you for a long time, buddy! Do you know your rights?
NAMBLA Leader: Rights? Does anybody know their rights? You see, I've learned something today. [Stan and Kyle look at each other] Our forefathers came to this country because… they believed in an idea. An idea called "freedom." They wanted to live in a place where a group couldn't be prosecuted for their beliefs. Where a person can live the way he chooses to live. [Stan, Kyle, and Cartman look at each other] You see us as being perverted because we're different from you. People are afraid of us, because they don't understand. And sometimes it's easier to persecute than to understand. [Stan and Kyle look at each other, then at the NAMBLA leader]
Kyle: Dude. You have sex with children.
NAMBLA Leader: We are human. Most of us didn't even choose to be attracted to young boys. We were born that way. We can't help the way we are, and if you all can't understand that, well, then, I guess you'll just have to put us away.
Kyle: [slowly, for emphasis] Dude. You have sex with children.
Stan: Yeah. You know, we believe in equality for everybody, and tolerance, and all that gay stuff, but dude, f*** you.
8. Fat Camp – funny. Just funny.
7. The Return of the Lord of the Rings to Two Towers – classic. You just have to see it. Sorry, no script available. If you liked LOTR, you're gonna love this.
6. Cancelled – my personal favorite. I love it.
5. Christian Rock Hard – so true, both about the music downloads and about the cheesy Christian rock (there, I said it).
4. All About the Mormons – what I said about using your brain. A must see.
3. It’s Christmas in Canada – very nice, very sweet.
2. Douche and Turd – best coverage of the 2004 election I’ve seen this far. It airs tonight at 10, so hurry, you may still catch it!
1. Woodland Critter Christmas – a lot to learn from this one. Let's just say things are not always what they seem.
The new season is coming out soon. I plan on posting reviews, if I can stay up that late. If I can’t, then I plan on watching the new eps on DVR some days later and posting belated reviews. That way, at least, I won’t spoil it for anyone, because everyone will have already seen them.