Friday, January 4, 2008

Judith Blume, Fudge and teasing

K1 likes the Fudge books by Judith Blume. I can't say that I really cared for them. There is an article about Blume in the Washington Post and she based the characters on her own kids and her life. There was far too much teasing in the books for my taste and we have tried to raise them from doing this. It seems like teasing by kids is almost instinctive and I'm wondering if it's genetic and I'm partial to some kind of Darwinian/evolutionary argument which is outmoded in modern societies (sort of like fight or flight). It would go like this: Teasing forces the weak out of a group keeping only the strong. Unfortunately, in these times, the weak can go out an buy themselves thousands of rounds of ammunition and an AK47 and equalize the differences. I wonder how the tendency to tease would survive this type of backlash. Most likely it would survive since there aren't enough disasters to threaten the survival of the strong. So, can the tendency to tease and bully be weeded out of our genes (if it is indeed a genetic/survival trait)?

Among behaviors that have been found to have possible genetic links:
1. Risk taking: That Wild Streak? Maybe It Runs in the Family
2. Girls like pink: Sex, shopping and thinking pink. See my old post Why Do Little Girls Like Pink although the test referred to in the Economist article doesn't actually say there is a genetically based preference. Just a preference which could have been formed by being brought up on pink hues. See also this Bad Science entry: Pink, pink, pink, pink. Pink moan.

Note: An old Washington Post article on bullying Teaching Bullies a Lesson is also available here.

No comments: