Episode 34 – Childproofing

CrockCast covers Childproofing this week with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, car seats, vaccination conspiracies, anti-natalism, and baby gates.

BabyProofing Basics

Do they have to be this complex? Two cupholders?

Childproofing is more about parental issues than actual child safety in many instances. In fact, when you look at statistics for car seats and baby gates, as Katherine did in this week’s CrockCast, you find parents sometimes make matters worse. That’s because of factors like improper use. Click the link to see a study about these frightening statistics.

Basically, car seats only work to help save your child is they’re used properly and not enough parents take the necessary precautions to do so. Check out the NY Times article linked here to find out how easy it is to be one of THOSE parents. It happens with baby gates too. Listen to Episode 34 of the CrockCast to hear all about it and learn ways to make a baby gate work better for you. Or maybe you’ll just decide childproofing is a crock… Lucky for you, this podcast already did some preliminary legwork to help you decide.

Anti-Vaxers = Childproof Corollary

Some anti-vaxers call the CDC a “conspiracy”

Next Michael explores yet another case of how overprotecting children can actually harm them. In fact, when it comes to vaccinations, the ignorance of anti-vaxers can actually harm others as well. That’s never been more apparent than now. There are outbreaks of measles in the news with fifty reported cases in Washington state for early 2019.

On the bright side, the relative impact has resulted in more people getting vaccinated. For instance, 2018 started off the month of January with 530 people in the Washington state area getting immunized. But the number for January 2019 exceeds 3,000. In other words, the very impulse that led anti-vaxers to avoid immunizing their children – fear of physical harm – also compelled them to vaccinate. Alanis Morrisette might call this phenomenon ironic but here at CrockCast we’re just glad they’re coming to their senses.

You Can’t Childproof Life

Next the CrockCast harkens back to the 90s and indie movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape starring Johnny Depp, a little-known actor named Leonardo Dicaprio, and Juliette Lewis in a pixie cut. It’s not a traditional tale in any way and that includes filing it under the theme of “childproofing” but still fits perfectly into this podcast. That’s because essentially this is a movie about how you can’t childproof real life.

Dicaprio’s character is the infinite child. He’s so severely mentally challenged that it’s unlikely he’ll ever actually learn any life lessons. That makes his character an infinite toddler. If you show him his towel and robe then leave him in a bathtub, he’ll stay in that bathtub until you come back to get him out. Even if twelve hours go by, night falls, the bath turns ice cold, and you’ve still not returned.

In this way the movie resonates how crucial learning is to truly living. This is how we grow up. Everyone has experienced that first chill of a bath turned cold and the discomfort teaches us when it’s time to get out. That’s why we don’t get hypothermic – we’ve learned. If someone’s always childproofing our lives for us so that we never learn, are we truly living? Leo’s bath is just one example of how this movie explores the theme.

Is the Answer no Kids?

From Raphael Samuel’s Facebook page

Anti-natalist Raphael Samuel would shout a resounding “Yes!” to answer this question. He thinks every problem he has originated with the fact that he was born against his will. Thus, Michael wraps up the CrockCast with a new anti-natalist in the news. This one is suing his lawyer parents for having the gall to bring him into this world. How dare they?!

No really. He believes this and the lawsuit is seemingly legit. Many think he’s just trying to get attention, including his parents. It also seems plausible from the nature of his Facebook page on the topic. Check it out to decide for yourself.

Our CrockCasters were too busy laughing and joking about the whole idea to take Mr. Samuels too seriously. We’ll all have to wait and see what the court systems decide if they are even willing to take the case after all this vapid publicity.

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Deep Thoughts

Episode 9 – Deep Thoughts

Monday, August 20th. Our best crock yet!

A post shared by Such A Crock (@crockcast) on

Are all deep thoughts “Such a Crock”? We hope not… Otherwise we might not have much of a podcast.

BUT! There are many excesses of “mental masturbation” that make philosophical and academic thinking seem distant from common sense. This week we look at some of them with a delightful mix of pragmatism and humor.

Antinatalism is Such a Crock

Michael starts off this week with a hoot he found in The New Yorker.

David Benetar is possibly the world’s most pessimistic philosopher. Benetar advocates for antinatalism, a philosophy imagining that we would all be better off if we had never been born. While Benetar would say death, like life, is problematic; we can collectively avoid a great deal of suffering by simply not having any more children.

Example excerpt:

We’re almost always hungry or thirsty. When we’re not, we must go to the bathroom. We often experience “thermal discomfort” —- we are too hot or too cold -— or are tired and unable to nap. We suffer from itches, allergies, and colds, menstrual pains or hot flashes. Life is a procession of “frustrations and irritations” —- waiting in traffic, standing in line, filling out forms. Forced to work, we often find our jobs exhausting; even those who enjoy their work may have professional aspirations that remain unfulfilled. Many lonely people remain single, while those who marry fight and divorce. People want to be, look, and feel younger, and yet they age relentlessly.

Cheery, huh?

“The Case for Not Being Born” at The New Yorker

“Fake Academia” is Such a Crock!

While Katherine’s own stories from her years as an academic are crock enough, at least her experience was real.

Unfortunately a new trend in academia is FAKE. People can buy their ways into academic journals or speaking positions at conferences for about six hundred bucks. As a test, a professor submitted a paper to a “fake academic” conference using the auto-complete feature of his smartphone.

Why might academics lower themselves to this kind of behavior? “Publish or perish.”

Professors-to-be need to publish their work and raise their profiles. Academic journals and conferences thus help them realize their ambitions… But are meant to be rigorous and lined with experts; not pay-to-play.

Learn more from “A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia” at The New York Times

“Teaching the Conflicts” is Such a Crock

In a sad turn, Michael talks about an academic model that focuses on the conflicts between different professors, rather than coming to any useful conclusions. The best example might be the student who aces an economics test and a poli sci test… By providing two wholly incompatible answers.

Michael first learned about the philosophy in a book about Pooh Bear; but the concept has since been appropriated by anti-evolution pseudoscientists an their “teaching the controversies” movement. Equal time, right?

Some basics about this from the University of Alberta

… What Makes Your Deep Thoughts so Special Anyway?

Thing is, deep thoughts are not really so precious – even children express them effectively. It could be argued that deep thoughts are best expressed in the most accessible way possible – as simple expressions about everyday stuff.

And even sometimes from the mouths of children…

Katherine points out how deep thoughts happen in our everyday life to bring us laughter even as we ponder their meaning. Then she wraps it up with some gems from the eminent Jack Handy and his SNL genius from the days of yore.

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