Weekly Reads: Reality TV and Kids, Racial Disparities in Child Abuse Investigations, and Creepy Fan Mail

Hello there Readers. We’re back after a spring hiatus to bring you all the links that are fit to share. But first, we seriously need to raise a pint to my adopted Premier League Football team,  West Bromwich Albion. Dead last in the table, doomed to relegation and guests on the rain-slicked pitch at Old Trafford, the Baggies stunned second-place Manchester United 1-0  on a Jay Rodriquez header in the 73rd minute. The win eliminated the Reds from contention and delivered the league title to Man City. It was interim manager Devin Moore’s first victory and a big boost to a fanbase that has suffered through a dreadful campaign.

Let’s start off on a happy note, this Dad was having trouble getting his adopted daughter to open up to him. He helped bridge that gap with improv.

Libby Anne introduces her readers to the Horrible Christian Fiction genre with a detailed and scathing takedown of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. 

Noel Murray has a list of seven great conversations parents can have with their kids about reality television. 

We don’t just do this with Survivor. We pick apart The Amazing RaceProject RunwayKids Baking Championship, and every other reality competition we watch. We’re gamers by nature. We have board game tournaments during holiday breaks and enjoy watching game shows together. Archer in particular, who has an autistic spectrum disorder, finds rules and results reassuring and likes to talk through how and why players win or lose.

Over the years, I’ve found that I can pivot off our children’s interest in reality TV and open up our conversations to talk about the people we watch on television as people, not just as competitors. Because we watch a fair number of these shows (basically everything but the “let’s follow around a celebrity” and Bachelor subgenres), the topics of our little chats have been pretty broad, encompassing everything from poverty and privilege to what a blast chiller is.

The Devonte Hart tragedy reveals a profound racial disparity in how we investigate abuse. 

Even in the unlikely case that it wasn’t (ed. intentional,) the Hart’s story is a tragic case study in racial disparity. The ways in which Sarah and Jennifer managed to continually evade the notice (or action) of officials is a luxury that is by and large only provided to white parents. All three of the states that the family lived in received reports of child welfare concerns, and yet apparently the children were never removed from the Harts’ care. The disparity in ramifications for suspected—and confirmed—child abuse is particularly striking when compared with the jail time black mothers receive for something like leaving their kids at a food court while they were doing an interview less than 30 feet away. Or for testing positive for marijuana after giving birth. Or for only being able to afford an apartment where your landlord won’t fix a rat problem.

People are sending the Parkland shooter, who murdered seventeen people mind you, FUCKING FAN MAIL!

Paul Ryan has announced that he will not seek re-election in November. Good, he is a terrible person. 

In fairness to those pundits who helped build Ryan’s reputation as a technocrat, there was little separating the extremism in Ryan’s proposals from the Darwinian hokum his party had been pushing for decades. Calling bullshit on Paul Ryan would have meant calling bullshit on the entire Republican policy agenda. It would have meant treating claims about the relationships between the national debt and the risk of inflationbetween tax rates and economic growth, and between welfare programs and social mobility not as matters of opinion, but as empirically falsifiable matters of social science. And it would have sullied the neutral press with demands for answers to moral questions about what we owe to the disadvantaged and what responsibilities wealth might confer upon the individually rich and us all as an unprecedentedly wealthy nation.

Conservative writer Jesse Kelly thinks men are “made for violence,” and has some terrible parenting advice!  He also thinks America is “heading for a divorce.” What a neat guy.

Also in the completely non-parenting news department, everyone should read Adam Davidson’s New Yorker piece, Micheal Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency. 

Micheal Cohen had a really really bad week.




Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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One Comment

  1. Should be noted that, since the days of Gary Hart and Al Gore, the term “technocrat” has meant…Social Darwinist ideas not unlike Paul Ryan’s. And those are Democrats! (In Hart’s case, he was mad at labor for backing Nixon in 1972 like the rest of the country.)

    I can tell you stories about 2016. Stories that will probably trigger some. It’s actually interesting, though; the more deplorable aspect of the Clinton campaign wasn’t really DLC deadenders. It was people who still bought into the Atari Democrats’ “post-class” hokum.

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