922RE: [webloggerusergroup] Weblogs == Personal Web Publishing Communities?
- Nov 17, 2001Mahesh 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:Probably a similar thing.
> In India, children often address elderly people (who are not related
> to them) as Uncle.
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