Hi Dutch - I deleted your comment to the My Wish List post; in line with my "you're a guest in my house, play nice" policy, and in keeping with the finest traditions of Uncle Joe Stalin, dissent is not tolerated.
However, as I strive to avoid hypocrisy (part of my 12 Step Program), here's your response to that post:
An "Imaginarium Train Table"? Way to rage against the machine, Jason, that machine consisting of a couple of bloggers merely trying provide details about some alternatives to the same old shit that every other motherfucker in America does for Christmas. I don't understand why you interpreted those posts as some effort to instill guilt.
I'm pretty sure your "shut the fuck up" was directed (at least partly) at me, and that's fine. I like that you don't mince words or act all gay and gooey like most people do in the parenting blogosphere. It's your right to get offended and pissed off and to admit that you don't like what another dad says. You don't have to like me just because I'm a dad who blogs.
I guess I just don't understand how you could write about your intentions of "helping [your son] to make sense of an often senseless world, teaching him right from wrong, and alway, always encouraging him to make a positive mark on the world through his words and his deeds" and not see that some other parents might want the same thing, parents who maybe feel differently than you about materialism/consumerism, who feel they can best help their kids make sense of the world, teach them right from wrong, and make a positive mark on the world through words and deeds by not buying into a wasteful, consumerist culture that they have deeply-rooted and very serious ideological problems with. This is not about guilt---if you've been made to feel guilty maybe that's a sign that you have some sympathy for this ideological viewpoint. It doesn't bother me in the slightest what you bought your kid for Christmas, and I would never judge you for it. I hope you all had a great Chr istmas and that he loved his thing. But it's really none of my fucking business. I just wonder why you feel so strongly about another's efforts to simply discuss alternatives to the prevailing holiday culture. It's not like I was just bitching about the evil consumerism of Christmas, I was actually providing a solution--- an alternative for myself and possibly for anyone who agrees with me. Christmas may only be one day a year, but how a parent handles it can have a huge effect on a child's values and a child's perception of the world s/he lives in.
You don't have to read about these ideas if you disagree with them. But I think it's pretty lame to say I should just shut the fuck up.
Dutch - you weren't the only posted to hit on this topic; there were plenty of others that I came across that railed on the same topic - moms, dads, and even those without kids who feel the need to opine on this. My point was not simply to tell you to shut the fuck up (and even in doing so, my tongue was, as it usually is, planted firmly in cheek). I'm not a huge fan of consumerism; as my wife and I combined barely make six figures and live in the most expensive housing market in Southern California, it's really not an option for me to be hung up on high priced things (Exhibit A: my '94 96,000 Miles And It's About To Die Ford Ranger). And I do have quite a bit of sympathy - empathy, even! - with the stance you took. Apart from the Imaginarium Train Table (big hit, by the way - tip of the cap to the thousands of acres of old-growth Amazonian rain forests and scores of impoverished Third World laborers who were sacrificed in order that it might live), the highlight of the kid's Christmas was surprising his grandparents on Christmas Day. That, to him and my wife and I, was the best part of the holiday. So I do, it seems, have a soul.
What I wonder about is the implication that eschewing comsumerism at Christmas somehow makes one a better person, and a better parent. Put one way: what are you (not "you" in particular, Dutch, but "you" in general) doing the other 364 days out of the year to battle consumerism? There's not a one of us out there who isn't taking advantage of our consumerist (is that a word?) society. How many computers do you own? Where do you buy your groceries? What restaurants do you frequent? What beer do you buy? Do you drive a car? Use electricity? Pay for your water? Unless you're living at the old Ted Kazinsky estate, you're part of said machine. I am. We ALL are.
Ultimately, as I hope you've been able to discern, I really don't take all of this too seriously. Like I said, I - we all - have enough on our plates as it stands without having to worry about the gift choices we make, for a holiday that comes but once a year.