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922RE: [webloggerusergroup] Weblogs == Personal Web Publishing Communities?

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  • Dan Lyke
    Nov 17, 2001
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      Mahesh Shantaram writes:
      > Now I'm confused. Does "uncle" mean anything other than "parent's brother"?

      Strictly, no. Culturally, male friends close to the family will
      sometimes be referred to as "uncle", 'cause they do lots of the same
      things uncles do: Be someone who cares about the family, and
      participates, but because he's not a parent, doesn't have the same
      economic constraints or need to maintain authority, can have a
      completely different relationship to the kids.

      For instance: I've got a friend who's got two adolescent boys. She's a
      70s feminist who's coming up against the harsh reality of male
      puberty, but also a single mom who's run fairly ragged.

      So I'm willing to be much more patient when I help with homework
      ('cause I only see them once a week or so). And I don't have kids (and
      don't plan on having kids), so I don't have to pretend that I find
      kids cute or lovable, which means that we have a relationship dynamic
      that ends up being more between equals. I can give them gifts that are
      expensive, or perhaps things they really wanted rather than things
      they should have.

      When she's doing her 70s feminist "pornography is evil" thing I can't
      exactly give 'em porn, but I can say "here, read some Nadine Strossen
      or some Carol Queen, see what other people think about how that
      influences culture", or "Hey, have you seen cleansheets.com?" to point
      out that there are more variations to sex than just the image that
      their mother hates so strongly.

      And whene their mom is talking about the importance of studying hard
      and applying themselves to education, and promulgating all those lies
      about their own academic career that parents have to lay on, I'm
      saying "yeah, I graduated in the top 60% of my high school class and
      dropped out of college" and "my years as a professional whitewater
      guide were a lot of fun".

      And where parents can't have conversations with their kids about sex,
      or push the "you're too young" line (which may be true, but won't stop
      them), I can say "it's none of my business, but I had a few terrifying
      experiences before I figured out that water based lube is a necessity
      with condoms". Let's face it: Nobody wants to hear that from their
      mom. Probably not even their dad.

      Everyone I know refers to this as "playing uncle".

      > Cross-cultural Did You Know of the day:
      > In India, children often address elderly people (who are not related
      > to them) as Uncle.

      Probably a similar thing.

      Dan
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