Florida, Workman, and the Case of the Tossed Dwarves

The first blog entry I wrote for the Devil’s Dilemma was on the ethical implications surrounding a bizarre New Zealand past time known as Possum Tossing. I thought that was the strangest topic I’d write about, but I can now say that this new story takes the cake, and it’s happening right here in America.

A Florida state representative, Ritch Workman, is pushing a campaign to lift the ban on “dwarf tossing.” The strange activity is it exactly what it sounds like, and (not surprisingly) often takes place in bars or other events involving alcoholic libations. In this activity, dwarves wear some sort of padded clothing, usually with Velcro, and are then thrown (or “tossed”), usually onto a mattress or similar surface coated in Velcro. It may come as no surprise that dwarf tossing is nearly universally banned, both in America and the world. Continue reading “Florida, Workman, and the Case of the Tossed Dwarves”

Eagle Dad and Tiger Mom

A video showing a Chinese dad forcing his son to run essentially naked in the snow has gone viral recently. The boy cried for his dad to hug him and instead his father told him to do pushups in the snow. It is a “training regimen,” the self-proclaimed “Eagle Dad” told the media, for his pre-maturely born son and that he has cleared this Navy SEAL-like routine with the doctors beforehand.

Quite a regimen for a crying four-year-old.

I’m sure this immediately reminded many of the Tiger Mom, the Yale professor who published a memoir of her controversial Chinese parenting style,* she used to teach at Duke, too. I would be terrified to have her as a professor. In fact, though it is a small sample size and certainly biased (remember, only angry people go online and post), here is her rateyourprofessor profile, with a five being the highest score.

It seems clear that both the Eagle Dad and Tiger Mom want the best for their kids and are implementing measures they consider most effective. It’s just that their measures are…extreme (Chua admitted that she has called her daughters garbage at times).

This certainly draws parallels with the “Botox mom” I wrote about last year, though the botox mom turned out to be a liar and just wanted attention and money, a similar question persists: what do we do in these kinds of situations? What makes Tiger Mom’s and Eagle Dad’s cases different, however, is that the children demonstrated clear forms of resistance.

So how do we determine the “mother-knows-best child abuse?” (Tangled, anyone?)

The Eagle Dad was not teaching his son how to make snow angels, but he has cleared it with the doctors beforehand to make sure his son’s health will be okay. So how do we say “that is bad” and at the same time saying that forcing our kids to take bitter medicine when they are sick is “good?” Or when we force young children to go through the difficult gymnastics training knowing that it is better for them in the long run?

I am certain that the value judgments on these parenting styles differ in cultures as well. Though Eagle Dad has created an uproar in both China and the U.S., Tiger Mom’s book has created varying opinions in the two different countries.

Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow is the fact that these harsh parenting techniques may be working. The Eagle Boy is, as far as we know, currently physically healthy despite pre-mature birth, and the Tiger Girls turned out to be phenomenal according to multiple sources. When I really think about it, it is really hard for me to rationally tell the dad that he is wrong when every part of me wants to put him in jail.

P.S. Some other things to think about: Asians and Asian American students have incredibly high cheating and suicide rates.


*Here’s an excerpt from an essay Chua wrote:

“Get back to the piano now,” I ordered.

“You can’t make me.”

“Oh yes, I can.”

Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have “The Little White Donkey” perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.




#OccupyWallStreet (TM)

If it existed, I would imagine that official Occupy Wall Street merchandise would be the new I <3 NY – at least for a while. Everyone would have to have a t-shirt or a mug – the protesters, tourists and the people who stand in solidarity with the protesters because it’s always trendy to be anti-establishment. But doesn’t it seem strange that someone would be able to profit off of a movement started because of unfair moneymaking games?

Some people have sold merchandise online for the purpose of raising money for the movement. But one Long Island couple paid almost $1,000 to file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week for the phrase “Occupy Wall St” for their own business purposes. Additionally, Fer-Eng Investments, LCC filed an application with the USPTO  for Occupy Wall Street phrases. Fer-Eng trade is a sort of shell corporation for Vincent Ferraro, current VP for Kodak and former VP for Hewlett-Packard. (Most certainly part of the 1 percent) The couple, the Marescas, consider themselves to be part of the 99 percent, but wanting to use the protest as a (probably successful) business model is fishy. Continue reading “#OccupyWallStreet (TM)”

Botox Mom


A caring single mother in San Francisco is one upping the neighborhood soccer moms by injecting Botox into her 8-year-old-daughter to reduce her wrinkles (apparently, 8-year-olds get wrinkles). She is a trained beautician and from what I can tell, really wants her daughter to be a superstar.

Oh, she also waxes her daughter too to get rid of her body hair.

Personally, I was shocked at the mother’s action in the most negative way possible: What kind of values is she teaching her daughter? Everything she is doing just seems so…wrong.

But wait, nothing she is doing is technically against the law nor is it really “wrong.” The mother sincerely believes what she is doing is the best for her daughter, and judging from the article, the daughter seems to be perfectly okay with it too. Parents send children to learn instruments from the best of the best hoping that their kids can develop into world-class players, and what makes preparing her daughter well for a beauty pageant so different from that?

Continue reading “Botox Mom”

Beware of (Virtual) Trolls

With the Ides of March just behind us, I feel that it is fitting to issue a warning, for safekeeping: beware of trolls…on the internet.

Yes, I too thought that trolls were mythical creatures who only belonged under bridges in my childhood story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Nevertheless, I have quickly learned that they are real, and they are everywhere!

What does an internet troll look like?  What will they do to you?

Check out the following video and find out:

Continue reading “Beware of (Virtual) Trolls”