In the vast majority of circumstances, I couldn't really give a shit. I'm not interested in the opinions of other people. Society has proven itself, over thousands of years of history, to be completely untrustworthy. So, I ignore it (as any intelligent person would). I never would've even thought to write this rant had it not been for some recent events. I won't go into the whole long boring story, but the ending is that the father of my little friend Meg found SnipeMe.com, read the many YR-positive things I wrote and placed a call to Meg's mom, freaked out about my crazy ass beliefs regarding "kids making decisions and shit like that." His concern was that since Meg spends so much time with me, I might "fill her head" with my crazy ideas.
Not much gets to me, but I'll be honest here, that stung. Five fucking years I've known that kid and, if I may pat myself on the back here, I think I've been a damn good friend to her. Now all of a sudden I'm a factor in her life that has to be worried about? That's fucking BULLSHIT!
God forbid I might influence her! Oh shit, what a horrible tragic thing THAT would be! Hell, we can't have a guy who sees her as an equal and treats her with dignity and respect being any kind of influence over her! Jesus fucking Christ, I might even end up filling her head with "crazy" ideas like being worthy of other people's respect and deserving to be treated not as a "stupid kid" but as a GODDAMN HUMAN BEING! Yes, yes, let's not have me "fill her head" with any ideas.
But let's be honest here. That's not what this is about. This is about the fact that I broke the grown-up code. We adults are supposed to have each others' backs no matter what. We adults are supposed to join hands and work together toward a common goal regarding kids. I snatched my hand back and ran the fuck out of the circle.
No, my real crime here is that I dared to suggest that maybe, just maybe parents DON'T have some God-given natural right to control every single tiny aspect of their childrens' lives. I had the audacity to insinuate that perhaps children, who have minds of their own, should be oh-so-graciously permitted by The Powers That Be to actually USE those minds for something *other* that memorizing and carrying out the commands of their lofty superiors. I had the fucking nerve to allude to an ideal that parents (and adults in general) do NOT have a defacto "right" to be given unconditional respect by children; that respect should be earned, not given freely whether someone deserves it or not. And, oh Heaven fucking forbid, next I might even hint that the two of you bumping uglies and spitting out a kid nine months later just might not be enough to earn you their respect.
Yes, that was indeed my real crime. I questioned the absolutely dictatorial authority that parents have over their children. I questioned the maddeningly sad fact that if you're under 18 you are quite literally your parents' property, the same as a car or house. So naturally, Meg's father freaked out about that. He's scared that I'll teach Meg to believe these things and that she'll start believing that she doesn't have to listen to her parents. She might start believing that she knows better than her parents. Yo D, I got news for ya, bro: She's gonna be a teenager soon; she'll start believing that ANYWAY!!!
That was a joke - save your e-mails, kids!
Let me put her parents' minds at ease. First of all, a major tenet of Youth Rights is that Meg has a mind and a will of her own and that it is not my place to tell her what to think. The very concept of "filling her head" with ideas and making her believe things she wouldn't otherwise believe on her own is completely AGAINST everything I stand for! Nope, sorry, but trying to mold her way of thinking and her beliefs into whatever way I see fit is not something I'm likely to do. Actually, it sounds rather like what parents the world over try to do to their children on a
Uh-oh, I can hear the angry shouts now. Every parent reading this is sending massive anger-vibes to me in the form of thought waves that translate into one power-hungry war cry: "GALEN, WE'RE THEIR PARENTS, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BRAINWASH THEM INTO THINKING JUST LIKE WE DO!"
Parents don't have rights, they have responsibilities! I can't say that ENOUGH! The idea of "parental rights" makes the parent/child relationship more about YOU. It's not, asshole! The parent/child dynamic is about your responsibilities toward THEM. One of those responsibilities is to nurture them into becoming an independent individual. I don't really see a lot of that going on from parents these days, to tell the truth! You don't have any "right" to do your damnedest to make your kids think and believe just like you do. For one, it's most likely going to fail and leave them bitter adults because of it. But mostly, because they have their own potential seperate from yours. They're INDIVIDUALS, not little copies of YOU! You will do them great damage by trying to turn them into another little you!
But what the fuck do I know, right? I'm just some crazy ass motherfucker who never grew up, or whatever other dumbass excuse you'll make not to listen to a fucking word I'm saying. Just churn out whatever makes me look bad and makes you feel better about yourself.
I should say that while I used Meg's parents as my examples in this rant, it's not all about them. Meg actually has pretty good parents, and I consider her mom and step-dad among my few friends. That doesn't mean I don't wanna strangle them sometimes, though, and I'm sure they equally would like to put a foot up my ass sometimes too. If they should ever happen to read this, I should warn them: It's only gonna get worse. She's becoming an adolescent and you'd better believe that I will almost always take her side over yours. So, you might wanna save the freak out cards, cuz you'll need to pull 'em later.
But again, her parents are just a convenient example since this shit happened recently and got me thinking about the whole thing. Any parent thinks this way. I had one mom pissed at me once cuz I let her 12yo daughter drink. Nevermind the fact that this girl was already a fucking alcoholic and a pot head and she became those things under her mom's "watchful eye." No, forget about all that, let's make Galen out to be the bad guy cuz I recognized the fact that she was already quite the drinker and let her have half a fucking shot of scotch. Yeah, I'm totally the fucking incarnation of evil - The Great Satan, lol - for letting a little drunk have half a shot. Whatever, you cocksuckers. It's not like this was some "innocent little kid" that I was "corrupting." Not like I was "filling her head" with ideas that it was ok for her to drink. I swear, I think sometimes that parents just fucking forget how the real world works.
Do I give every kid who walks through my door a shot glass? No. Do I just start preaching to every kid I see about Youth Rights? No. Because I don't treat kids as some fucking collective hive mind. They're not the Borg, they're individuals and the way I treat them as individuals depends entirely on who they are. Most adults have this dumbass assumption that children and teens don't have any personality of their own. They DO! They're individual human beings and they should be treated AS individuals, not by the same cookie-cutter template. I gave one 12yo some scotch, because of who she was (a drinker); That doesn't make EVERY 12yo in the fucking world "in danger" of getting drunk at my house, you stupid fucks!
Eh, I'm getting off topic. The topic is how being a Youth Rights supporter suddenly makes you a "danger" to children because you might "fill their heads" with your "crazy beliefs." Well I got news for all of you: Nobody forces Youth Rights supporters to believe the things they do. Go ask the hundreds of teenagers in NYRA if anybody "filled their heads" with crazy shit.
NO! NO! NO! Y'know what they have their heads filled with? Here, let me fucking tell you what those kids have their goddamn heads full of:
Do as you're told
Respect your elders
As long as you live under my roof, you'll do as I say
Don't talk back
You're just a kid
It's for your own good
I know better than you
I know what's best for you
You don't know what's best for you
You'll understand when you're older
When you have kids, you'll understand
Because I said so
I know you better than you know yourself
This hurts me more than it hurts you
When I was your age... (I had things so much worse than you)
You don't know how good you have it
You know BETTER than that!
I'm only saying/doing this because I love you
Act your age
You ought to be ashamed of yourself
Pull yourself together
Straighten up and fly right
I don't wanna hear any of your excuses
If I'd acted like that when I was your age...
Why can't you just behave?
How many times do I have to tell you...
Shame on you
That's not for you to decide
Speak when you are spoken to
Children should be seen and not heard
Have you lost your damn mind?!
Wipe that look off your face
I'll give you something to cry about
Mind your own business
Be a good boy/girl
THAT'S what their heads are full of! That condescending, demeaning, dehumanizing, dismissive, self-righteous, pretentious, FUCKING BULLSHIT, plus the ever-present threat of physical violence ("spanking", "discipline") hanging in the air, THAT'S the shit their heads are filled with! THAT IS! NOT my shit!
So, why - WHY OH WHY - would they possibly gravitate toward a philosophy that says they're not 2nd class citizens and that they deserve to be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve as human beings with a mind and thoughts and free will of their own? Why would they POSSIBLY find "I'm not better than you because I'm older" more appealing than "You'll do what I fucking say because I'm an adult and you're just a kid?!" Seriously. I just can't fucking see what would be so appealing about that.
So, ya bunch of geniuses, the fact of the matter is that we don't pull kids into Youth Rights, we don't "fill their heads" with anything, YOU push them into it! If Meg ever joins the YR movement, it'll be because she believes in the cause, not because *I* believe in the cause. The same thing is true of every other kid too. They are people with minds of their own - they don't NEED any encouragement or brainwashing by their elders to form a fucking opinion about something! THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE NOT GETTING!!!
Every single young person involved with the Youth Rights movement is there because they want to be, not because they're so fucking dumb that they just got bamboozled into believing all our "crazy" shit. In fact, I think that kids in the YR movement would be pretty fuckin' pissed off at the insinuation that they can't think for themselves. Fuck you, yes they can!
In closing, it does worry me a little bit that I might catch some heat from Meg's mom for using her and her ex-husband as my primary examples in this rant. She (or he) may read this and flip the fuck out some more. But, y'know, my favorite "shock jock" Bubba the Love Sponge, has a radio rule when doing his show: "You can't do a show based on who might be listening." The same thing applies to me and my rants. I can't write a fucking rant based on who might read it. Meg's mom knows that this site is all about hyperbole and taking things to the most extreme positions possible, so maybe she'll get the overall message that I don't have any issue with her or with Meg's father. What I take issue with is when they (and every other parent on the planet) think that I and my fellow YR Supporters are filling kids' heads with dangerous ideals. We're not filling their heads with bullshit; we're trying to empty their heads (and yours) of all the self-righteous bullshit.
And, in the end, I don't even really "blame" parents for the way they are. They learned parenting from their own parents, who learned it from theirs, etc. They're just doing what "conventional wisdom" tells them to do. It forces me to ask the question though: Who's had their head filled up with crazy ideals and who are the one's who are truly unable (or unwilling) to think for themselves? Fill your fucking head up with that question!