Patterico's Pontifications

11/30/2008

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 11:32 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

“I think it would prevent a lot of parental frustration.”

Because it’s really about the parents.

— DRJ

32 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

  1. This is sortofkindof my field of expertise, and I am outraged by any company trying to do this. Taking money from the hopeful dreams and baser drives of parents—it’s sad for the former, and enables the latter.

    The article is up front that the tests are not the be all and end all. Tru freakin’ dat.

    Isn’t it sad how often eugenics and determinism keep popping up in our society? I think of the great quote by Jung:

    You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

    But right now, we want our futures to be defined by the identity of our parents and more distant ancestor. It used to be about money only, but it’s not any different today using other criteria. Rather than, to borrow from a real hero of the Civil Rights movement, the content of one’s character.

    I like the comment in the article—just line the kids up and see who is fastest. And…oh, I don’t know…find out what kids have those interests and…well…train them?

    Sigh.

    I am a geneticist by profession and training, and I know perfectly well that genes are genes. But they aren’t the whole story (given polygenic influences, epistatic interactions, imprinting, and norm of reaction….and, as always, the environment). It all takes me back to Edmund, bastard son of Gloucester, in “King Lear.”

    This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, — often the surfeit of our own behaviour, — we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence.

    My father compounded with my mother under the dragon’s tail; and my nativity was under Ursa Major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.

    This is particularly sensitive for me right now, as I have a student waiting to hear the outcome of a genetic test for Huntington’s Disease.

    Using a genetic test to find out which child will be a good runner? Pfah!

    Eric Blair (8f93a0)

  2. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Bolt: according to our tests your son is going to be almost six and a half feet tall by the time he’s 21–and there’s never been a world-class sprinter of that height. What are your thoughts on high jumping?” ]:-)

    M. Scott Eiland (fddcd7)

  3. The day I deprive my daughter of an activity she likes because some pill-pusher told me she would not be good at it ….

    nk (5fa892)

  4. And, sadly, parents can be just as big fuck-ups on their very own, too, without any help from doctors. I bought my house from a concert-grade pianist who stopped his daughter’s piano lessons because he predicted she would never learn to play by ear.

    nk (5fa892)

  5. “Well, it looks like you son is going to be a real success as a pool cleaner. What did you say your husband did for a living?”

    Huey (c2b194)

  6. This is very troubling. From the get-go in the article, is a 2 1/2 year old in a soccer class and surprise, he’s having trouble taking directions from the coach and needs snack and potty breaks. What is wrong with 2 1/2 year olds having the UNpressured time of just kicking the soccer ball around in the backyard and discovering through such play what is fun and enjoyed by the child?

    This sort of “testing” at some level, encourages lazy non-participatory parenting. There is a process of discovery between parents and children as they interact while together participating in playtime and observing what their children naturally veer toward.

    Heaven forbid one of the parents seeking this test discover there is no sport at which their child excels. What will they do then? How will they fulfill their own vicarious need for athletic success??? Yet another testimony to the need parents have to validate themselves through their children and at their children’s expense.

    With that, what the heck is wrong with plain old commonsense?

    “Foster suggested another way to determine if a child will be good at sprint and power sports. “Just line them up with their classmates for a race and see which ones are the fastest,” he said.

    No kidding. But there is no guarantee the one who wind the sprint will love to run. Can these parents allow that?

    Dana (79a78b)

  7. “Well, it looks like you son is going to be a real success as a pool cleaner. What did you say your husband did for a living?”

    I’m afraid the fever has affected his motor skills, Mrs Griffin…”

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  8. Todd Marinovich

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  9. What a great idea! No more wasting of time & money as your kid tries out different sports before deciding which one he or she likes best. Now you can just tell them what they’re going to do from Day 1, thereby sparing yourself all the hassle of . . . uh, you know . . . letting them live their own lives.

    Sounds suspiciously like liberal indoctrination (see: the nation’s universities).

    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  10. No wonder why kids today are more fucked up than ever.

    Nyctalus Lasiopterus (49f8a8)

  11. This is hardly a surprise. Abuse of hGH (human growth hormone) by parents to help normal-sized children grow taller is expensive, but some families have done it. Being taller has plenty of advantages, in sports, in professional life (there are plenty of studies indicating that taller people, both male and female, make more money), and in people’s personal lives (being tall is considered an attractive trait in both men and women, while being short is a real disadvantage for men.)

    The Dana two inches shorter than NK (556f76)

  12. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

    This quote is typical of Jung…

    Ok, so who got that?

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  13. and in people’s personal lives (being tall is considered an attractive trait in both men and women, while being short is a real disadvantage for men.)

    Having worked for far too many male bosses who suffered mightily from the Napolean Complex, I still must admit that their short stature was one of the primary drivers behind their success – so your theory begs the question.

    Dmac (e30284)

  14. This quote is typical of Jung…

    Silly me – at first glance, I thought it might be Skinner.

    Dmac (e30284)

  15. Dana wrote:

    Heaven forbid one of the parents seeking this test discover there is no sport at which their child excels. What will they do then? How will they fulfill their own vicarious need for athletic success??? Yet another testimony to the need parents have to validate themselves through their children and at their children’s expense.

    Exactly. Worse than unrealized potential is the idea that your potential is endless to do something that, in your heart, you don’t really have interest in.

    Eventually, that indifference will make itself manifest. Every year, there are jocks who are touted as “having all the tools” that 99.44% of us don’t have, and we wonder why they are not performing better than they are. Later, we discover they never enjoyed various aspects of the elite athlete lifestyle. They didn’t quit because they couldn’t resist money beyond their wildest dreams, or in the case of some offspring of athletic greats, they didn’t want to disappoint everyone who loves them and wants to see them succeed … or become a meal ticket.

    The ultimate example of the latter is (take it away, daleyrocks) …

    daleyrocks wrote:

    Todd Marinovich

    Correct! BTW, does the test determine whether or not your child is best suited to skateboarding around the beach trying to score meth?

    But seriously … I remember the way Todd’s father Marv — a former original AFL player who obviously wanted to live through his son — screwed that kid up. What a tragedy. The saddest part is that there are athletes who still trust that guy.

    But don’t bother trying to find references to Todd on Marv’s site. He ain’t there.

    L.N. Smithee (2a141b)

  16. I just got back from the park with my 6 y/o twin grandsons. #3 daughter, their aunt, and I took a soccer ball with us and between time at the swings, the playground equipment, exploring paths in the park we also kicked the ball around as long as the boys were interested.

    They just finished t-ball season and their mom (#2 daughter) said “not again” …they were BORED by it. So time to just kick around stuff and see what they like.

    What is a 2 or 3 year old doing in a class?

    Or is this really about parental guilt of using special classes/camps/organized activities to make up for the lack of old-fashioned stay-at-home-moms (or dads) where kids played all sorts of pick up games after school in their own neighborhoods?

    Darleen (187edc)

  17. Marinovich has a brother who also plays college football.

    DRJ (a50047)

  18. Well, Todd Marinovich, the so-called robo-quarterback, really did have all of the physical tools. But sometimes you can’t train the between-the-ears muscle, and that was part of his problem.

    The other part, unfortunately, was that he played for the Raiders, my favorite team, but one that hasn’t had much luck with quarterbacks, other than Rich Gannon, since Kenny Stabler retired.

    The Dana in hiding (556f76)

  19. This whole test begs the question, why does a child have to be good at something? Why isn’t it enough for them to find something they want to participate in while simultaneously having fun, getting exercise, and perhaps to a lesser degree, learning cooperation with others? Why can’t they just be crappy at something they choose because they love it? From my vantage point of parenting, there was always more character development as a result of sticking with something that did not come naturally and working hard at it. If they loved the activity, the small successes seem to mean more to them than if it had just come naturally. But then character is highly underrated these days.

    This testing reminds me of a valiant attempt at removing obstacles from children and artifically making sure part of their life is without hardship. This can be a disservice to children whose parents adopt this mindset.

    Dana (79a78b)

  20. Who says the Soviet Union fell into the ash-pit of history?
    This smacks of the sports-testing done religiously by both the Soviets and the East-Germans
    (the Chinese aren’t too far behind, either).
    It should fit in quite well with BHO’s version of the Stasi!

    Another Drew (bb6514)

  21. Comment by Another Drew — 11/30/2008 @ 5:15 pm

    There is a creepiness to this that oddly reminded me of a cross between Sparta and the movie, Soldier.

    Dana (79a78b)

  22. It’s sad because I’m sure these parents feel like they are doing their kids a favor.

    I think part of the blame is that today’s parents have only 1 or 2 kids so we have more time to focus on each child. Add to that that we are more likely to expect each child to be perfect: Instead of pride at having one smart kid, one athletic kid, one musical kid, etc., we expect one child to be all those things.

    DRJ (a50047)

  23. one that hasn’t had much luck with quarterbacks, other than Rich Gannon, since Kenny Stabler retired.

    uhhh…didn’t Jim Plunkett win two Super Bowls?

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (b63e53)

  24. I’ll raise the ante – what about one kid who is kind, decent and respectful but not particularly good at anything? IOW, just average. That seems to be unacceptable any longer.

    Dana (79a78b)

  25. Marinovich, who’s been clean since August 2007, now works at a mens-only drug and alcohol treatment facility in Newport Beach.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (b63e53)

  26. Paul, you got me: I forgot about Jim Plunkett!

    And to think, he was brought in to back-up Dan Pastorini!

    Dana the Oakland Raiders fan! (556f76)

  27. “Marinovich, who’s been clean since August 2007, now works at a mens-only drug and alcohol treatment facility in Newport Beach.”

    The tail must be awesome there Todd!!!!

    Da'Shiznit (089453)

  28. Dana wrote: And to think, he was brought in to back-up Dan Pastorini!

    Plunkett, a Heisman Trophy winner who fell short of expectations in New England and his sole season in San Francisco, came to the Raiders with the proverbial fork stuck in him, and was patiently waiting for an opportunity for two seasons. At the time his opportunity finally arrived, Marc Wilson was “The Future,” the same way Andrew Walter was until recently.

    Al Davis has never stopped trying to recreate the Raiders in the image in which he found his first success, with Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica throwing 60+ yard passes in the air on a regular basis. IMHO, the only reason Davis has that second SB ring is because Pastorini (drafted third in 1971 behind top pick Plunkett and future legendary sports dad Archie Manning) became unavailable; he didn’t want Plunkett on the field for aesthetic reasons, similar to the way that he initially preferred the aging Lamonica over Ken Stabler, who gave him his first World Championship.

    Lamonica played in one Super Bowl for the Raiders. They lost to the Green Bay Packers, coached by the future namesake of the World Championship Trophy: Vince Lombardi.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  29. Gattaca is a superb film-length unanswerable rebuttal to this silly, stupid premise that you can direct human beings’ lives based on their supposed genetic potential.

    Because it’s really about the parents.

    mmmHMMM. You’d think that parents would understand better than anyone on Earth that life is messy and you really are in control of so little in life. Especially your children.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  30. Well, NYYK, you need to come sit with me when parents come to chat with me about their sons and daughters in college. Trust me, those parents believe they are very much in control.

    Though, as you say, they aren’t.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  31. Raiders fans? I thought most were extinct, except for the costumed die hards still stuck in Oakland. The team stinks, has for years, and will keep on stinking up the East Bay for the foreseeable future.

    Al Davis is at the root of the problem, but he sure as hell won’t step down, and no one yet can put the pointy end of a cutlass to his ornery back side and force him to walk the plank.

    Ropelight (5b609a)

  32. Eric,

    I have a daughter, USC Grad, who is interested in changing career paths and getting into genetics. Got any URLs where she can get information or can contact people? She’s reading texts on her own for now.

    PCD (7fe637)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3931 secs.