Home Alone with the kids: A Coronarant

One of the hardest parts of dealing with the global phenomenon known as Wuhan virus, corona-chan, and more scientific names like Sars-COV-2, is the unbearable smugness of antisocial right-wing homeschooling types on twitter. Due to mass quarantines, twitter is putting the pitiable scraps of social into social media, with thousands more people using it daily now. Anyway the upshot is that you have a handful of right-wing types who are smugging it up about all the parents whose kids are now home all day and who have to teach those same kids for several hours a pop when they previously didn’t have to. Much of the snottiness revolves around saying that those nasty, terrible (public school implied) parents just don’t lovelovelove their kids because it turns out to be really challenging to both teach and have them at home all day with nowhere to go and those parents beef some about the situation. But the smug crew just snidely grins and says “I don’t get it, it’s just such a joy to always be near my precious children, teaching and REARING THEM MYSELF ALONE AND NOT LETTING OTHER PEOPLE RAISE MUH KIDZ. It’s just nonstop joy over here. Only a coldhearted person wouldn’t want to spend all day every single day with their own children!”

The question of whether they’re lying or not is irrelevant, what matters is that they are being cruel and of the nastier sort of whited sepulchres. They’re sneering, not sympathizing. It’s not a good look, much less a good witness. And yet calling it out just gets you yelled at and told you must also hatehatehate your precious children. Whatever. The reality is that my kids, being relatively emotionally and socially healthy, need and desire to be around other kids and adults. We’ve also raised our children to respect and honor adult authority that is valid and properly ordered because we can’t and shouldn’t be the only adult authority they acknowledge. Because we’re sane, our kids had social outlets and *gasp* left the house frequently and *doublegasp* even went to school part-time.

It’s never been normal to be locked in a cabin with your kids and a tiny patch of yard and not even see or talk to other people except on a screen of magic aether. It’s a super bad ultra dumb idea for homeschooling, Christian and Christian homeschooling types to present it as not just fine, but superior and properly ordered. It is in fact deranged to present quarantine-schoolin’ as a-ok and better for your kids.

This isn’t to handwave public schools’ numerous problems at all. It’s just to say that it’s idiotic to crow about how unable you are to function around other people and how super keen it is that you’ve raised kids who can’t manage it either. It’s like parents who brag that nobody can babysit their kids, not even people they know well and who they have strong personal trust with. It reflects on you, and not necessarily for the better.

It’s rocky. They miss their friends, they miss their enrichment classes, they miss seeing other adults who love God like Mamma and Daddy do. This isn’t basically great and easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. They miss libraries (wait, I thought libraries were approved of by the Karens of Homeschooling?), they miss playgrounds without caution tape (wait, I remember something about how Good Homeschool Moms always take their kids to parks a bunch? Guess I was dreaming it!), they miss many small things we have to keep explaining aren’t allowed or available due to “the virus”. All of this is ACTUALLY FOR REAL HARD. It absolutely isn’t like this if you’re “really” “full-time” homeschooling. If it is so barren and cloistered for you and your kids, well, you can search yourself and ask why you think such sparseness of exposure to life and other people is acceptable or reasonable in home education of children.

Or you know, continue snotting it up on twitter and other social media until the lockdowns end. As for me and mine, I’m done venting about and feel much less crabby about the gaslighting now.

T.W.O.’s Dark Wizard rule of right wing rhetoric

“Everything was great in the past until the DARK WIZARD came along and ruined it all!”

It’s not an exact quote, but close enough.  One sees it over and over again on the right, the idea that there were no real problems in the past (any of them) and that things would have kept on keeping on if not for DARK WIZARDS running around casting spells on people to make them feel bad about the obvious great conditions they had.

This is a bit of an expansion of the Grain of Truth idea.  The right has a story about a dark wizard and they tell each other this story rather than admit that, say, feminism was a symptom of and response to specific bad conditions, not a cancerplaguedisease spread by, well, you get the drift.

Even the right wing people who kind of “get it” about technology and managerialism causing more expansion and complexity than people can manage without essentially going mad give in to this and start telling the story anyway rather than deal with the idea that things can sometimes get rolling beyond human control or scheming.

The left has, like, a zillion problems and issues and and and.  But they are talking about true things when they rehash past problems and poor conditions and unjust treatment that people received.  Even though all their solutions are ridiculous and most of them don’t work even in the short term, they are talking about real (bad) things that happened.  Where they stop doing that, they are in the same place as the right, telling a story about a DARK WIZARD instead of wrestling with grubby and sometimes multi-sided reality.

It’s just the right really loves that wizard story.

“A deer won’t fix it”: A few words against struggle love and romanticizing low income life.

Ripped from someone’s childhood:

It was getting towards the end of class time in Algebra I and Susanna, who’d read Little House on the Prairie to pieces, was talking to another student about how much she loved country music and how cool it was to hunt for your food even if you were poor and such.

The teacher, unusually for the free time at the end of class, cut in.  “You haven’t been poor, it’s not ‘cool’.”

“But couldn’t pa just, like, hunt deer for you all?”

“You have no idea what it’s like to really be poor. A deer won’t fix it!” The teacher didn’t have to go on.  Susanna never mentioned country music or deer hunting ever again.

The teacher was a wise woman.  A deer won’t fix the leaky roof, or serve as a winter coat.  A deer won’t fix the blisters when your shoes are worn bare and there aren’t going to be any more because your older brother ran away and you almost feel bad that your first thought was hoping he’d left his Sunday pair behind, because they weren’t too worn and only a little big on you.  A deer won’t fix it.

In one of those interesting confluences that transcends race, both the wider black community and the wider right-wing community have a tendency to romanticize poverty and “struggle love”.  That the kids coming out of many of those unions aren’t so enamored about the idea of being married and incredibly poor is waved away as them being too spoiled, somehow.

The discussion here is a good example of right-wing folks romanticizing the struggle and presenting extended periods of poverty as unalloyed good.

They were discussing, dismissively (but somewhat justifiably), this person’s wicker basket of issues around “emotional labor” that strictly speaking she doesn’t have to do and mostly isn’t labor.

Yet the problem with the emotional labor complainer lady isn’t gender, or even money.  A lot of the time, the obstacles to normal life aren’t financial, but from the vantage of those with no financial resources anyway, it can seem like “proof” that money doesn’t fix anything, so why worry about whether you have any?

A deer won’t fix the toothache.  Or the gap between your kid’s college scholarship and your empty pockets.

Poverty isn’t inherently unworthy, but there’s a difference between preparing a child for the possibility and spinning up a tale that it always works out and will in fact basically be “broke-college-student” level temporary.   It’s an ideal of struggle-life where you’re not actually lacking the roof, or the full belly, or the warm coat, or the well-fitting decent shoes.  You just have low income but all basic needs completely met.  This is pretty bitter aloes for anyone who jumps into low-income marriage on purpose without any prep and finds out it’s not very romantic or easy and that married poverty without a strong local community or regionally suitable skills to “make do” can be devastating and corrode a marriage bond to a brittle snapping point.

A deer won’t fix it.  Only frankness and realistic discussion about the tools needed to “survive and thrive” as a low income household with children could.   Not romanticism and rosy glosses on what some couple did decades or generations ago.  That leads to people seeing marriages blow up over the poverty or how bad it is for the family and mistakenly thinking that the solution is more dakka money.  But we could all make less money as married households if the sheer value of close relationships and getting along with other people were taken seriously society-wide.