The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns – The Washington Post

“…Digital technology professor Laura Pinto — the Elf on the Shelf is “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and” [deep breath] “reify hegemonic power.”

She writes:

“Elf on the Shelf presents a unique (and prescriptive) form of play that blurs the distinction between play time and real life. Children who participate in play with The Elf on the Shelf doll have to contend with rules at all times during the day: they may not touch the doll, and they must accept that the doll watches them at all times with the purpose of reporting to Santa Claus. This is different from more conventional play with dolls, where children create play-worlds born of their imagination, moving dolls and determining interactions with other people and other dolls. Rather, the hands-off “play” demanded by the elf is limited to finding (but not touching!) The Elf on the Shelf every morning, and acquiescing to surveillance during waking hours under the elf’s watchful eye. The Elf on the Shelf controls all parameters of play, who can do and touch what, and ultimately attempts to dictate the child’s behavior outside of time used for play.

“The whole thing with panopticonism under the Jeremy Bentham structure,” Pinto said, “is that you never quite knew if you were being watched or not and that forced you into behaving in a certain way. The elf is the same way.”

JANE JACOBS! How New York Became New York: A Love Letter to Jane Jacobs, Tucked Inside a Graphic Biography of Robert Moses | Brain Pickings


By that point, Moses has developed “such arrogance that he started to think himself irreplaceable.” Jacobs, on the other hand, operates with equal determination but from a deep place of humility and compassion for the citizen’s experience. The two titans of urban planning soon clash over their differences, exposing the disquieting fact that no ideal is without its tradeoffs and that what is most effective, more often than not, comes at the expense of what is most ennobling.



Sobering, eye-opening article. Also, of course, true of the UK. Here is an edited summary of the data:

” • EDUCATION: This is the first generation of boys in U.S. history who will have less education than their dads.

Yet male teachers are scarce. Recess and vocational education are being curtailed.

Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, drop out of school or be expelled than girls.///

• FATHERLESSNESS: A third of boys are raised in fatherless homes. This lack of a dad leads to poorer academic and behavioral results for them than it does for girls. A recent study of boys revealed that by the third grade, boys with absent fathers scored lower on every achievement test.

Most gang members come from homes without dads.

• EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Depression remains hidden in boys because of the male taboo against the showing of feelings.

Boys’ risky, anti-social or violent behavior often serve as a mask for depression. Usually that behavior is punished but the underlying depression not treated.

Between the ages of 13 and 20, BOYS’ SUICIDE RATES SOAR TO FOUR TIMES THAT of girls of the same age.”



The quote below is falsely attributed to Sitting Bull. Probably Castenada. Don’t care. Movies tell truth sometimes even though they izz made up, innit, blud?

“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who can not provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.”

I agree. Except the sacrifice bit. I have sacrificed a lot, but not actually my life. Steady on.

Andnotbut, BTW, I don’t give an historian’s toss who made it up.

Andnotbut, if you accept this definition and I do, playworkers are warriors, mothers are warriors, developers of people and software are warriors,  doctors are warriors, volunteers at food banks are warriors, people who struggle with illness be it mental or physical or both, gay people, any xxxing human who is striving to be a xxxxing good person and make the world better.

So who isn’t a warrior? Interesting that you should ask, well: not the soldiers operating drones, not the generals in the Pentagon, not most politicians, not big management consultancies, not fat cat bankers, not people enjoying inherited wealth, not self made men who don’t play nicely and don’t share…

For more details, ask a 60 year old nursery school teacher. Because back then they knew what a good person was and how to raise them and nanny wouldn’t have just given George Osborne that look, or even a red hand mark on the back of his leg, she would have punched his parents in their smug landed faces (Not actually advocating violence, speaking metaphorically)

Warriors. Go forth. Don’t forget, eat three shredded wheat (or the vegan or cultural equivalent. In India it would be three bowls of sophie dahl and yesterday’s chapatti, in Cambodia, some rice, in America steak and eggs, you get the drift).

Oh and gird your loins. Nobody likes to see an ungirded loin.

CHILDREN’S NEEDS. AGAIN! Ways to get kids to sit still in class, and suchlike

Warning: contains traces of what playworkers and forest school practitioners have been saying for years.

But didn’t have the science bit!

Here it is: children need:

daily RVI.

What is that?

Days out in a VWcamper? Recreational Vehicular Interventions?

Lots of watching screens playing video games? Repetitive Visual Instrumentalification?

Nope, they need RVI:

‘Rapid Vestibular Input’ on a daily, not weekly, DAILY, basis.

Go read the link, my children. Seek enlightenment, and a cool acronym to show off with.