Has the play movement* done it’s job? Do we even need to save it? Should we just shut up and let playful people remake the world, in a onesie, one library at a time?

Definition (extract – Encyclopaedia Ludica, 5th edition 2027)

*Play Movement, The  (UK terminology, see disambiguation)

”The Play Movement, characterised by its obsession with free play for its own sake, the garish primary-coloured clothing of its fervent early adherents and their wearing enthusiasm, was born in the squats of Notting Hill, in the 1960s. Some say that it was influenced by the Dutch ‘junk playground’ experiments, and the Arts Lab movement. Others trace its genesis to the free festival ‘Playstock’, held in a field near Bolton, Lancashire, where a massive artwork featuring a large number of small holes dug in the ground was created by participants. An early presaging of crowd-based art, that also inspired  a verse in the Beatles’ song “Day in the Life”.  Since the late 1980s, the movement, some say, took a wrong turn and became mired in the qualification structures of childcare. Meanwhile, in wider society, playfulness blossomed.”

(Authors: Fernando Pessoa and Hugo Grinmore. ©Wintermute/Geneva AI holdings SARL)

That entry forms a preamble to this interesting article:

Would More People Use the Public Library If It Had a Water Slide?

“In 2010, Poland’s National Library performed a survey to determine the reading habits of the Polish citizenry. The results were not buoying: 56 percent of Poles had not read a book in the past year, either in hard or electronic form. Just as bad was that 46 percent had not attempted to digest anything longer than three pages in the previous month – and this included students and university graduates.

But who’s to blame here: The willfully non-literate masses for not trekking to the public library? Or is it the library’s fault for not attracting these individuals, what with its classically stodgy, hermetic-cage-for-learning design?

At least one Polish architect believes libraries should bear some of the blame for a lack of reading. Hugon Kowalski, who runs UGO Architecture and Design, thinks that no matter how grand or inspiring a library’s appearance is, many people will not flock to it unless it offers amenities other than plopping down with a book. “A modern building will not attract new users to a library, at least not in the long run,” he writes. “People interested in its novelty will probably go there only once.” So Kowalski conceived of a new kind of library…“

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/03/would-more-people-use-public-library-if-it-had-water-slide/5019/

DEAR OTHER PARENTS AT THE PARK: Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you’ve just heard me tell them I wasn’t going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves

”I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn’t bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves.“

WOW. The only thing that stopped me just quoting the whole thing is blogettiquette – you MUST read every word of this!
http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/please-dont-help-my-kids

About a year ago I chided another playwork blogger for entertaining, or at least implying, that helping children is part of what we do as playwork people. This far better expresses my perspective than my querulous commenty bloggage of last year.

So I must reluctantly confine myself to a few choice quotes, those perhaps most pertinent to people who work with other people’s children:

”It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.“

”I want my girls to know the exhilaration of overcoming fear and doubt and achieving a hard-won success.“

”I want them to believe in their own abilities and be confident and determined in their actions. “

”I want them to accept their limitations until they can figure out a way past them on their own significant power.“

”I want them to feel capable of making their own decisions, developing their own skills, taking their own risks, and coping with their own feelings.“

”I want them to climb that ladder without any help, however well-intentioned, from you.“

Read the whole thing –  maybe even memorise it and quote it next time somebody asks you “why?” – read it here:

http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/please-dont-help-my-kids

New rules for fragile, vicious children

Attention, people who work with children, these are the truths you should teach your customers:

  • You can do what you like, steal or hurt others, it doesn’t matter, so long as nobody sees you, or your mate will lie for you – because guilt is dependent on proof and not conscience
  • Deny everything and call them liars. demand proof
  • Don’t apologise! It isn’t in your own interest
  • Accuse people –  it feels good and makes you powerful
  • Zero tolerance is great – they’ll assume they did it!
  • Children shouldn’t choose who they play with

What’s that? You don’t agree? Why not? You are against bullying, aren’t you? You don’t agree with bullying, do you? You support AntiBullying Week, don’t you? How dare you disagree, you bully!

Well, if you support anti-bullying, you must support those statements, because all those ‘truths’ are the consequence of anti-bullying policies. Which leads me to this article denouncing anti-bullying policies, which contains the most cogent argument I have ever read on the issue. Read these quotes, then follow the link below:

“Whether we like it or not, arguing, teasing and fighting are normal parts of childhood. Learning to tell the difference between a spat and systematic bullying should be a basic parenting skill, but our much vaunted zero-tolerance policies on bullying make it impossible. They also make it very difficult for children to reform their behaviour.

”…[W]hen every incident is treated like a potential crime, teachers’ roles change dramatically.

“She cannot simply say: stop it! Nor can she simply scold the perpetrator or propose such age-old solutions as ‘shake hands and make up’. Her job is no longer to educate, but to investigate. Once a report is being made, the accused child’s parents immediately – and quite naturally – become Jack’s defence advocates. They tell their child to deny everything and challenge every accusation by demanding irrefutable proof. …

“The process demeans the teacher’s authority, eliminates arbitration and belittles personal responsibility, as it teaches children that guilt is dependent on proof and not conscience, and that sincere apologising is not honorable but contrary to self-interest.

And children do learn. They soon learn that making accusations gives power, and zero tolerance means the presumption of guilt. Our current interpretation of bullying is entirely subjective, thus bullying occurs whenever someone feels he or she has been bullied. We have already had a case of bullying where Jack told Jill she has a nice hat. Jack thought he was complementing her, but Jill interpreted it as a sarcastic remark.

“In another case, boys who didn’t allow a girl into their game were considered bullies by way of exclusion. So children no longer have the luxury of choosing who they play with. It was not systematic shunning; but a single incident was enough.

”For those of us who still believe that children are neither as vicious nor as fragile as we are now led to believe, it’s time to realise that the over-officious anti-bullying campaigns are a part of the problem.”

Eero-Iloniemi-AntiBullying

A school, modified play, and the danger of leaves

A school, modified play, and the danger of leaves

Nothing to add to this superb blog. Go read it.

 

 

 

 

~~~ I'D LIKE TO HAVE SEEN BASHO AT…

~~~

I’D LIKE TO HAVE SEEN,
BASHO AT WORK IN 1674,
WHEN HE RAN,
THE ‘EDO PREFECTURE CHILDREN’S PLAY GARDEN #8’,
.

~~~

I’d like to have seen Basho at work when he ran ‘Edo Prefecture Children’s Play Garden #8’ in 1674.

He was only there for two years. Argument with management.

Here is a reasonably-well transliterified version of what he wrote, 300 years ago, in a different language, on the other side of your planet:

the first cold rainstorm –

even the monkey seems to want

a little straw raincoat

Basho (1644 – 1694)

That seems an apposite haiku for the cold winter of our dis-affluence and the cold winter of our weather.

Don’t read on, I talk about poetry!

  • too late!

Here is another (older?), version:

Winter downpour
even the monkey
needs a raincoat

Although, I, being both a haiku ponce and nerd, prefer the first version:

The first cold rainstorm:
Even the monkey seems to want
a little straw raincoat.

And notice that I replaced that softer colon with a minidash, to honour the ‘cutting’ of the rules of haiku.*

The first translitation gets to the point, and enables the non-Japanese to ‘get it’, sort of, but Basho is being more specific and allusive (and ill- and el -usive) when he describes the first cold rain and the onset of winter in japan.

Japan is on the same latitude —or is it longi- ?— same -tude, anyway, meaning same distance above equator as the UK, but much colder, because it has no gulf stream, is an island chain in deep ocean not on a continental shelf, and has Siberia and Alaska as cold and distant neighbours.

And Basho would never presume to know what the monkey needs or wants.

Like Wittgenstein, he wouldn’t presume to know what a monkey might say, even if a monkey could speak English (or Japanese), he would merely offer a tentative finger pointing to a possibility…

A bit like a good playworker gently deflecting a child’s request to draw her a picture of a house (except when we don’t deflect, added a wiser playworker).

He might want to make a toothpick from the straw of the coat, or, he might want want to…

This exquisite ‘tentativity’ (!) is present in Basho almost always. And in good playworkers often.

I’d like to have seen Basho at work when he ran ‘Edo Prefecture Children’s Play Garden #8’ in 1674.

footlike notational bottom matter:

  • rules of haiku.

There are several schools, on a continuum. One extreme is the ‘It has to have 17 syllables’ school: this is stupid for about 37 reasons (yes, ask me at break). The other is the ‘Just write what you feel, maan and arrange it like a poem, like’. That one is stupid as well, not in 37 small ways but in a 3 bigger ways.

I like to think I fall between two schools, because I don’t own a chair and I’m on the edge of both their catchment areas. But check out my SATs.**

footlike feetnote to the foot above:

  • SATs

My new acronym for SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY, which is my NEW management methodology.

http www ctheory net articles aspx id=479 1000…

http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=479

1000 DAYS OF THEORY

The Rhetorics of Life and Multitude in Michel Foucault and Paolo Virno

Stuart J. Murray

———quoting from it————————————————————

“Go get slaughtered and we promise you a long and pleasant life.”[1]

With no small sense of irony, Foucault here apostrophizes the terrifying voice of the Sovereign State. apostrophization makes some kind of perverse sense discourse, as political life, social life, and ethical life. What, then, is life? A “objective” and “subjective” definitions
More precisely, in a rhetorical vein I fear the fundamentalist collapse of speaking and being matrimony. The word becomes Truth, alongside Italian theorist Paolo Virno’s recent work, A Grammar of the Multitude. I demonstrate how Virno expands upon Foucault (5), adding more trenchantly “grammar”

Virno opens the possibility for a “post-political politics,”

1. Biopolitical Life in Foucault: From “Taking Life” to “Making Live”

2. Ethical Life in Foucault: The Self’s Relation to Itself

This is certainly a rather grim depiction of life, biopoliticized, mechanized, reduced to bare biological processes, to technique. But it is not Foucault’s final word on “life.” I turn now to Foucault’s late work on ethics or “ethical life” from circa 1979 until his death in 1984. I contend that these late texts a regulatory third self that would transcend space and time, we will be forced to admit that we are at an utter loss to say which “self” is really “mine” and within my power; the “two selves” never fully coincide. posits
Alcibiades, Socrates cares not just for Alcibiades, but for Alcibiades’ care of himself, Foucault’s own iteration, and our very uptake of the word. The genealogy is staggering,

———end of quoting from it————————————————————

” animals have social lives rich beyond our…

”…animals have social lives rich beyond our imagining, and that cooperation and caring have shaped the course of evolution every bit as much as competition and ruthlessness have.“

That comes from this excellent article
(thanks to Morgan for alerting me to it via her blog)
here:

”Moral in Tooth and Claw“
by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff

http://chronicle.com/article/Moral-in-%20ToothClaw/48800/

The recently deceased Lyn Margulis might well have said that, around 20 or 30 years ago. Until she came along, biology was dominated by men who believed that the story of evolution was their story; a manly story of competition, a manly story of manly fighting and war and competition and conflict and did you spill my pint. The story of evolution, according to the people who chose to misunderstand and misinterpret Darwin, is the story of ‘nature red in tooth and claw’. The first person to challenge that notion was Margulis. Initially burnt at the stake by angry men, and thrown out of the boy’s science club for being a girl and wrong, she has, in recent times, been acknowledged as the brilliant scientist what she is/was.

That is a terrible paragraph, and I’m embarrassed, I’m being as vague as 4th former who left his biology textbook on the bus.

I’m just saying that the legacy of her work is clear in this article. Anyone in biology who studies cooperation owes a debt to her. I’m such a fanboy.

“…for many nonhuman primates, more than 90 percent of their social interactions are affiliative rather than competitive or divisive…”

And in this summers riots, more than 90 percent of our feral young people, didn’t.

Isn’t it time that we stood up to the right-wing idiots who tell us that our children are behaving like animals?

(oh, and thank you Barnardo’s – here’s that link: https://plexity.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/terence-blacker-alarmism-thats-no-help-to-children-terence-blacker-commentators-the-independent/)

And isn’t it time, to stretch a point, to point out that if we really meant that children were behaving like animals, then we would, like, actually be saying that “more than 90 percent of their social interactions are affiliative rather than competitive or divisive” and that “as animals they have social lives rich beyond our imagining, and that cooperation and caring have shaped the course of their evolution every bit as much as competition and ruthlessness have?

So to labour the point and sum up:

If you tell me I’m behaving like an animal, I’ll take it as compliment, and no I didn’t threw up behind the sofa, that was the cat.