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Thread: Stuff you just don't get.

  1. #3691
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Anthropomorphized animals usually have legs and hands (the same limbs the real species has, with two modified to work more like ours). This gives them about the same amount of physical freedom as the child who's reading/watching the story. A train engine with a face is trapped in a body with no hands, no legs, and even wheels that only go forward & backward along a track (and the face can't even turn around to see where it's going if it rolls backward). That's more disturbing than the animals because, if you imagine putting yourself in the character's position, you find your limbs amputated and your body clamped onto that rail that only lets you go where the rail is. That's horror movie stuff.
    To this, we may add the plots of the stories. For instance, Henry is walled up in a tunnel as punishment for refusing to get his paint wet in the rain. The only things Henry could do were to run along rails and to take pride in his appearance, so they took the rails up and left him to sit there and rust, peering out of the darkness at the sunlight and the happy trains going by on the other track. This is like a Stephen King story.

    When I was a kid, it seemed that trains with giant grey faces and human emotions were probably "story world", albeit a disturbing story world. I didn't want this stuff in my head, but adults seemed to be very keen to put it in there, and to connect it to the real world - these were "stories about trains". Like hell they were stories about trains, as far as I was concerned.

    Grant Hutchison
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  2. #3692
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    Grant raises a good point about explaining important things to children. I think this is different from plain bedtime stories, I remember having to read the same stories or relate the same made up ones over and over, the familiarity was a big part of the experience. The mistake in my view is to try to switch to metaphor when there is a serious explanation required, like an operation or a move or forced separation, deaths and so on. Then it is better to be plain, like explaining to an adult but avoiding unfamiliar words. Anthropomorphisms and metaphors are just confusing or come across as avoiding the issue for the child. That's my experience.
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  3. #3693
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    The discussion has strayed (nothing wrong with that) a bit from anthropomorphic Twitter accounts. I don't think those accounts or Tweets are being done to explain the mission to young children or to encourage them to pursue science. They are a way to engage the general (adult) public, particularly those who might give anything science a "miss". And it seems to have worked really well in that. It adds a level of familiarity and approachability to the mission and the science. Whether it's warranted or not, many people find these things either intimidating or confusing. The people who find it off-putting are unlikely to drop following the science or the missions, though they may be a little disgruntled. Į\_(ツ)_/Į

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  4. #3694
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Apologies if the context didn't make that clear. I was describing my response, as a child, to stories about trains with giant faces on them, and my puzzlement as to what adults thought they were achieving with this strange artifice. I had not idea of what was or was not an "old and accepted part of children's storytelling" - I just knew that this was some pretty weird stuff and I didn't want to be involved with it.
    I understand where you are coming from. To be completely honest, as a child I probably didn't think about things as deeply as you did, and it didn't strike me as strange to see those things. But as I got older it started feeling weird. Now with the tweets pretending that the landers are sentient, it just seems inane to me too.

    In a similar vein, a thing I find difficult to fathom: people arguing about whether Hello Kitty is actually a girl or a cat, or people arguing about whether Dumbledore was gay or not. They are both non-sentient characters, and so Dumbledore has no feelings for people of whatever gender at all. It's just a name that JR Rowling invented. I don't really understand how anyone can care about what a fictional character's feelings are.
    As above, so below

  5. #3695
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    In a similar vein, a thing I find difficult to fathom: people arguing about whether Hello Kitty is actually a girl or a cat, or people arguing about whether Dumbledore was gay or not. They are both non-sentient characters, and so Dumbledore has no feelings for people of whatever gender at all. It's just a name that JR Rowling invented. I don't really understand how anyone can care about what a fictional character's feelings are.
    I don't feel one way or the other about it, but I can understand the debate about Dumbledore, since themes such as acceptance are important in the Harry Potter books (says a person who hasn't read any of them and saw two of the movies). I believe J.K. Rowling has commented about this, though I don't recall what she said.

    But the Hello Kitty thing is just silly; I didn't even know this was an issue.

    Next, a debate on the physiological and genetic impossibility of CatDog.
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  6. #3696
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Didnít NASA pretend there was a cat in the Phoenix lander sending messages home?
    A fascinating question that I believe is answered in the following website on Steve the Cat.

    http://www.stevethecat.com/

    No need to thank me, I'm here all night.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  7. #3697
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    Only a communist would claim that a great capitalistic icon like Hello Kitty was neither a cat nor a girl.

    Hello Kitty is a weasel.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  8. #3698
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post

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    As above, so below

  9. #3699
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I understand where you are coming from. To be completely honest, as a child I probably didn't think about things as deeply as you did, and it didn't strike me as strange to see those things. But as I got older it started feeling weird.
    I don't think I thought about things particularly deeply as a child. I do seem to remember my early childhood better than many people, though, and professionally I've had to think about these things as part of my job. If a child is weirded out by something (often some misunderstanding about what is real and what is not), a surprising number of adults seem to feel that cajolery and denial are the way forward - "Oh, come on, it's not frightening. Look, I'm not frightened." I can only suppose they can't recall how utterly unconvincing and unsettling it was to be on the receiving end of that approach as a child.

    Sitting down with the child (literally, on the floor at their eye level) and talking calmly about what their perception is can completely turn things around - either by finding a route around the weirdness or by correcting the misapprehension that led to the weirdness. I've lost count of the number of times I've done this in front of anxious parents, got to the root of the problem, and had them say something to their child like, "Oh, but darling, why didn't you tell us this?" (In my head the child answers, Because I'm a kid and I didn't understand the problem well enough to explain it to you.)
    I know many parents do this automatically and well - apologies if I appear to be preaching at them. But many parents, particularly the parents of the children I dealt with, do it very badly.

    Grant Hutchison
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  10. #3700
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    What "weirds out" children in those cases?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  11. #3701
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What "weirds out" children in those cases?
    How long have you got?
    Pretty much anything can be a trigger - it depends on the child's particular life experiences and how they've understood them.

    One anecdote:
    Parents watch an on-line video about "anaesthesia and your child". It features the induction of anaesthesia through a facemask. Mother works in hospital, and asks if she can "borrow" a mask to take home to show her child before he attends for anaesthesia. Child becomes upset and refuses to let the mask anywhere near him. Parents then make three erroneous assumptions:
    1) The mask is an essential part of the anaesthetic, so the have to get their child to accept it.
    2) The child's fear is simply some random idea that has come to him at the moment he saw the mask.
    3) The best way forward is to show how safe the mask is by putting it on their own faces.
    Child becomes pretty much hysterical, and on the day it's difficult to even get him to enter the waiting area in the dental clinic.

    So - I get parents to put away the damn mask (they'd conscientiously brought it with them for me to use, so that they weren't wasting NHS resources), and I talk to the child about what he's frightened of. We feel our way towards the fact he remembers his grandmother wearing a similar green mask when in hospital, and being told she "had trouble breathing". Then she died. So he assumed the mask had caused her breathing difficulties, and killed her. Why his parents suddenly want to put the mask on him, and then on themselves, is utterly baffling and extremely frightening for him.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-Nov-29 at 06:43 PM.
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    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  12. #3702
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Pretty much anything can be a trigger - it depends on the child's particular life experiences and how they've understood them.
    One similar experience I had (at least similar to me): many years ago, the park system I volunteer with had a costumed mascot called "Pete" who was a giant groundhog (link for those who might not know what a groundhog is). It was basically a giant brown furry animal costume. I got to be Pete once and it was an interesting experience. Almost no one could figure out it was groundhog (most people thought it was a bear), but most little kids seemed to like the bear and would come up and give it a hug or shake my paw or whatever.

    But there was one little boy who was absolutely terrified of the giant animal - full out screaming and trying to run away. I tried to kneel down and pantomime I was harmless, but he was having none of it. But his mom was literally pushing him toward me, yelling things like "go say hi to the bear". I wanted to rip the costume head off and yell at her "he doesn't want to say hi to the god damn bear, leave him alone!".
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  13. #3703
    They can be pesky things to get rid of.
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  14. #3704
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    My son was totally creeped out by those train characters and their stories. I never gave it much thought, but now have some understanding. I just thought they were boring stories, and was glad not to re-read them.

  15. #3705
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    If your interest in science comes from a belief in talking Mars landers, I suspect the real world is going to be a bit disappointing when you grow up. But I speak as someone who found Thomas the Tank Engine bizarre and unsettling when I was a child - I had no idea why adults wanted to stick a face on the front of a train and pretend it was a person. Who did they think they were fooling?

    Grant Hutchison
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  16. #3706
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    I'm definitely of the "talk to the kids about why they feel that way" school. Sometimes, it can be very hard not to laugh when you do that, but it's very important, because it's not funny to them. Kids' perceptions of the world is different in a lot of ways, and they don't necessarily think the way adults do or the way adults expect them to.
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  17. #3707
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    Yeah, parents laughing aloud at their child's fears - there's another thing I don't get.
    Why was I, the deliberately childless stranger, the only person in the room who seemed to be experiencing a sharp little spike of empathy when the child talked about frightening stuff? Even if the parents couldn't remember how hurtful and isolating the laughter of adults was under those circumstances, surely they should be moved by the fact that they're learning about something that has caused their child distress?
    Sometimes I used to feel it came from nervous embarrassment - embarrassment that they hadn't found this out for themselves sooner, or embarrassment that their child was revealing some "silly" anxiety to a stranger. But sometimes there was just such a big hearty belly-laugh from a parent that I found myself raising a "shut up now" palm towards them while I kept chatting to the child.
    There were days when the urge to say, "Just come with me, kid. I'll look after you," was almost overwhelming.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  18. #3708
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    I donít see how shutting down nationwide and state-level government operations shows respect for a recently deceased former president.


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  19. #3709
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    I just saw a teevee commercial for a place called "thecompanystore.com". Does no one remember what company stores actually were? As in "I owe my soul..."?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #3710
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I just saw a teevee commercial for a place called "thecompanystore.com". Does no one remember what company stores actually were? As in "I owe my soul..."?
    We have a company store at our largest local facility; they sell company logo stuff, discount theater tickets, and some stuff that would fit this (I donít get it) thread.

    I suspect the folks running the ad hope you make that connection, and not the one where your employer pays you in script which you can only spend it at the company store.


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  21. #3711
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I'm definitely of the "talk to the kids about why they feel that way" school. Sometimes, it can be very hard not to laugh when you do that, but it's very important, because it's not funny to them. Kids' perceptions of the world is different in a lot of ways, and they don't necessarily think the way adults do or the way adults expect them to.
    I embarrassed my parents when they took me to church as a tyke.

    When you are little, doors look cyclopean--the singing/chanting. Worse, my parents went behind hugedoors what to my young ears was all about bloody sacrifices. Torture to me.

    So here I am left alone with other children who didn't have their mommies and daddies--but were somehow just fine with it. That struck me as wrong, I suppose.

    I was so young as to not think "hey--I can play and not have to hear the boring preacher" but thought the kids being cool without their parents was something out of the stepford wives or GET OUT, as it were.

    All I really remember was those kids backing away from me--even the teen who was watching the nursery--and me then in the pew trying to get my parents to leave the Bad Place or something.

    Still doesn't explain the holy water burning me though

    Ironically, had little cartoons emerged from the screen--it would have delighted me--though my parents would have yanked me away in that the sudden change in physics would scare them like a furry scares kids.

  22. #3712
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    ...would scare them like a furry scares kids.
    To this day, we talk about "The Chipmunk Incident" from when my 2-year old daughter visited Disneyland.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  23. #3713
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    The thread on "comfort food" reminds me that I don't get "comfort eating". I'm a comfort walker.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  24. #3714
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    Stuff you just don't get.

    If Iím eating then Iím comfortable.

    (Hmmm, I think we just solved for x in my personal gravitational field.)


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