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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Family Stone, Grafton, and Lame Parents

   
Author Topic: Family Stone, Grafton, and Lame Parents
Oliver Dale
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I haven't seen Family Stone (because I like myself too much), nor have I read any Grafton (because I'm a shameful, shameful man). But, I was really shocked by the anecdote of The Airport Mother. I can remember, as a child, being in similar situations. One occured at church; my mother had allowed me to bring ONE GI Joe with the stipulation that I not be noisy with it. These sorts of negotiations happened often -- they were of little consequence and made me feel like an adult.

I remember dropping it on the floor, and after bending over to retrieve it, I decided that the cool, fort-like floor was far superior to sitting in the pew. So I plopped my keister down and my GI Joe and I began waging war against the Sign In Ledger. My mother hadn't noticed this, being on the other side of my sister (who had been blocking her view of me). One sidelong glance from a nearby adult caused my mother's attention to wander. Her gaze connected with mine.

That was it.

I knew immediately that what I had chosen to do was indeed the incorrect action. It was quite clear: this was not appropriate public behavior. I also got the message that I was to treat the mildly-scornful, if amused, looks of other adults as though they came from my mother alone. I've always been embarassed for other people when their children, who really ought to know better, behave improperly in public (all tantrums and other things aside). I assumed that everyone was this way, but I suppose I just lucked out.

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Orson Scott Card
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Bravo to your Mom and to you: You were raised to be part of a civil, considerate society, which is the only kind one can easily and happily live in.

May your tribe increase <grin>.

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LadyDove
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Regarding The Family Stone, I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but Card's description of the free spirited Stone's as
quote:
they do have rules, ironclad rules, and a religion that everyone else is expected to adhere to slavishly. But part of their religion is to pretend they don't have one, or any rules either. So they can't tell you the rules, they have to pretend that decent people already know them.

Thus your violations of the family religion must be the result of your own moral failure, so the family can smugly judge and condemn you -- even though you are mostly behaving according to a well-recognized set of rules called Polite Behavior. How quaint! How bourgeouis! How ridiculous!

sums-up my distaste for the family perfectly.

:::spoiler warning:::
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Yet I liked the movie. I didn't cry when the mother showed us her cancer scar or when she said that she was scared. By that time, I was so irritated at her for rejecting her one son who seemed, on the outside, to be exactly what her ideals had created- a pot smoking, sloppy vagabond, while embracing the other son who tried to be the antithesis of all she espoused- that I had no sympathy for her plight.

I liked the movie because I was rooting for the kids. They are such a mess and they know it. I don't count Thad, the gay son, because he never seemed real, but the others were worth rooting for.

For instance, Ben, the sloppy, pot-smoker, turns out to be the most civil and conservative of the bunch. He's decent to the newcomer, as well as respectful of the fact that she is his brother's girlfriend. His brother, Everett, is supposed to be the conservative/perfect one yet he's all about his girlfriend's sister within moments of meeting her. He treats his mom poorly, yet he's the one she has promised grandma's ring to and that she wants to be happy. He's 30 something and seems to still feels like the only way he can assert himself is by acting like an angsty, spoiled child.

In the end, you realize that the mom saw everything as a reflection of herself and never allowed these kids to become real to her or to themselves.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Ben, the sloppy, pot-smoker, turns out to be the most civil and conservative of the bunch. He's decent to the newcomer, as well as respectful of the fact that she is his brother's girlfriend. His brother, Everett, is supposed to be the conservative/perfect one...
I'm not sure how you're using "conservative" here. Do you mean it as a synonym for "polite?"
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LadyDove
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No. I mean "conservative" as a charicature. He's the stockbroker who never even loosens his tie.
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LadyDove
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Wow, I think that I need to find some new terms for "conservative."

When I describe Ben as being "conservative" I mean that he is more mindful of traditional values.

When I describe Everett as being "the conservative", I mean the uptight charicature of someone who is driven by the dollar.

The whole labelling thing fails when it causes more confusion than clarity.

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