Bad Dads

When Poor Parenting
Gets Its Own Holiday

By all accounts, he could’ve lived his life as the son of a king, away from this mad world and having the whole universe as his playing pen. Instead, and for little reason, he was stripped of all privileges and sent to do his dad’s bidding in a hostile place where he got killed.
Sunday, 1.7 billion followers will celebrate Jesus’ life, in what looks, but no one admits it, like spite to his dad. But blatant lack of parenting skills is not a God’s monopoly, however. It just follows a long, ancient line of cruelty and child abuse powerful fathers have adopted to advance their own agenda for the world.
Not to pile up on God in such an important week, but doing it anyway, when his son called out for him, while being tortured and about to agonize to death, he was too busy to help. What father wouldn’t take his son’s phone calls in a time of need? Actually, don’t answer that.
Anyway, Jesus wasn’t even the only ‘son’ God had a problem with; remember Abraham? Leaving his own dad to serve the almighty was not good enough: to really prove his absolutely devotion, he had to get rid of his only son, Isaac. And the thing is, Abe almost did it.
There wouldn’t be a Bible today if he’d gone through it. Was God concerned about that when he stopped Abe from committing such an ignominious act? Nah. And despite claiming to love his first born, at the countdown, Abe was ready to plunge that shiny blade into his heart.
For god forbid to disappoint God. When suddenly he changed his mind, he didn’t bother telling the would-be murder; he sent an angel and a lamb to do his bidding. See the pattern? The angel broke the news, while the lamb, well, no lamb ever survived a biblical tale.

SETTING TRAPS ON JUNIOR’S WAY
Some fathers slave through life so to spare their children the misery, but see their legacy treated like an old shoe. Others, either by example or tyranny, turn their kids into duplicates. And the rich and famous are known for spawning spoiled brats, good only to suck up resources.
A few hide what and who they were, to allow their children a chance to find a path of their own. Often after kicking them out, or walking away themselves. These are but a sample of the myriad of experiences for bringing up a child into this world, father and son division.
And yet humankind usually takes their cue from particularly nasty progenitors, who enjoyed throwing son against son, took multiple wives, and demanded total dedication. Pity those closest to them, made to feel less important than the flock at large, easily swayed by arresting sermons and principled lectures.
This is not about dissing out your old man, which surely did the best he could to protect your hide. Most fathers go out of their way to assure their kids’ survival, not because they want to raise a clone, but because they see in them the fragile, vulnerable little boy they once were.

A TEMPLATE FOR MOST RELIGIONS
And yet, it seems almost inevitable that parents will crush their children’s spirit, prevent them for being what they really are, and make sure they’ll remain frightened and emotionally crippled as adults. It’s really a miracle anyone would survive what passes for parenthood.
God loved the world so much that he sent his one and only as a gift to it, said St. John, with misguided awe. Yeah, right. As if this valley of bloody tears was a garden of delights. For if he loved it so much, why couldn’t he come over himself? Or make it a lot better to begin with?
There are many altruistic stories about fathers and sons, tales of heroism, life-affirming accounts of benevolence and love. Myths that sourced most religions, however, are not about them. But given billions of believers, it’s undeniable that something about them clicks.
The myth of Christianity, for instance, from the humble birth to a virgin, in the manger, to becoming a living god, to martyrdom and resurrection, is not even original. There are several accounts of divinities that predated Jesus, born in the same circumstances, and even day of the year.
THE BOY THAT COULDN’T LIVE
Which means originality is overrated; the same idea had been tried before, apparently to public acclaim. Henry and John, another father and son account, seems to have much less takers. The fact that it appeals to us may explain why it’s a good thing we didn’t get into the business of founding a religion: no one would follow it.
In 1606, while searching for the Northwest passage, British navigator Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan, ‘the island at the center of the world‘ that birthed New York. To accompany him, he brought one of his sons, John, and left behind brothers Richard and Oliver.
It was a fateful decision that may’ve caused a ruckus among the boys, and followed the same pattern referred to above. Parents do play favorites, and no platitudes about fairness prevail when it comes down to it. And it did come down. Badly.
The discovery is celebrated as pivotal to the Enlightenment Era and all that came after. But it was the end to Henry and John. (more)
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Read Also:
* Invisible Beings
* The 2000-Year Old
* Founding Fathers

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Curtain Raiser

New York’s New Buccaneers, Colltalers

As headlines top even the goriest fiction, slapping us with the most blood-soaked, brutality-infused news, it’d be an outrage to speak about first world problems, or as it goes, New York real estate for that matter. But that’s exactly what we’re about to do.
Talk about the city is fitting, though: it became New York 351 years ago today, when the British retook it from its founders, the Dutch. Even before that, it’d never lost its international vocation, and appeal to foreigners, from the poorest to the wealthiest of them all.
But unlike the traders, the religious refugees, pirates and adventurers, and the successive waves of immigrants who’ve built it into the colossus that it is today, there’s a fairly distinct class of spoilers taking over New York this time around: global mega-billionaire crooks.
Needing to laundry their ill-earned money, they’re gobbling the city’s skyline by the blockfull, since it’s cheaper to pay its wealth-friendly property taxes, and earn archaic taxpayer incentives to build, than to withstand trial and risk losing it all in their own countries.
There’s a point in walking this rotten-tomato fire line, of discussing wealth and the spending habits of the fabulously criminal, while so many are being driven to frozen parks and street corners, or to the few unsanitary and unsafe city shelters, just to survive the night.
New York has a way of being hit first, and lately, what bad has happened to it, has spread out quickly to the rest of the country.
In fact, one of the unsung unfairness of Sept. 11 is that it hurt the one U.S. city that’s always been the most open and welcoming to ideological diversity, since Giovanni da Verrazzano and Henry Hudson landed on its shores in the 1600s. Again, it sounds flippant to accuse mass murderer Osama Bin Laden of having the discourtesy of not reading first the memo about the city before attacking it.
And it’s really besides the point that Continue reading

Ah, the Dutch

The Birthday of Two Willems,
An Excuse to Celebrate Holland

The Netherlands has a special place in the heart of New York and its role in the city’s history helped forged its profound differences from other U.S. cities. Since today is the 108th birthday of a famous Dutch New Yorker painter, Willem de Kooning, we thought we take a moment to gather some of the latest, and quirkiest, highlights from the land known around the world as the Low Countries.
Today is also the 479th birthday of another Willem, a prince known as the Silent or Willem the Orange, with a passing connection to New York. So as we celebrate these two, let’s stop by at a Repair Cafe to fix something broken, check an amazing street-making machine, choose a snack from the Insect Cookbook, and see how long is the wait for the world’s first lab-grown meat to be served.
For a relatively small country sitting mostly under sea level, the Netherlands‘ has had an admirable influence over world culture. During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment era, seminal artists and philosophers came from or made their home there, and arguably, the liberal ideals thriving in the period infused ‘the island at the center of the world,’ New York, with its diversity and unique agnostic spirit.
While most European nations were mired in bloody, thousand-year fanatical wars, Holland was the cradle of the humanities and religious pluralism. It was the defeat of William the Silent’s eldest son, Dutch governor of Brazil Johan Maurits van Nassau, by the Portuguese, and Continue reading