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Richards' reply raises perennial questions about child-rearing: how do you weigh giving children a sense of security against preparing them for bad things that will eventually happen? At what ages do you expose them to what unpleasant realities?

For example, my wife was raised by Greatest Generation parents who were careful to never argue in front of the kids, so the kids wouldn't worry that their home and family were falling apart. I was raised by not-quite-Hippie parents who argued openly (at least about some topics) in front of the kids, but usually made up afterwards, demonstrating that adults can disagree and still love one another. Early in our marriage, it seemed to me as though my wife saw every argument as an existential threat to the relationship, while I saw arguments as normal, perhaps unpleasant but necessary, parts of adult conversation. (She will point out, correctly, that my parents separated when I was 8, while hers stayed married for fifty years.)

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Wow. I've never seen an exchange where Orwell clearly lost. And Richards is too genteel to make the obvious point that Noel Coward's ideal 14 year old boy was crazed with sexual passion for Noel Coward. Richards just sticks with 'If Mr Orwell imagines the average sixth-form boy cuddles a chambermaid as often as he grips a cricket bat, Mr Orwell is in error.'

Makes you wish Richards was right about a revival of men who did not speak muck and women with clean faces. And I've always thought 'Nay, Artifice must queen it once more' by Max Beebohm was right and girls should paint.

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I'm rather shocked and disappointed to discover Charles Hamilton doesn't even have a tvtropes entry.

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I was too young to read any of Mr. Richards' originals, but in the 1960s the British comics still had occasional stories that might well have been drawn from the _Gem_ and _Magnet_ orginal text.

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Post of the week, most edifying.

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Orwell was a very great writer of fiction and in other ways a bit of a dork. It's instructive to read about how he very nearly killed himself and his son in the Corrievreckan whirlpool after 3 years living on, and keeping a boat on, Jura. It's very hard to think of an analogy for how clueless this is. You don't (unless you are George Orwell) boat in tidal waters without permanent awareness of the tides, and the Corrievreckan is one of the top five bad tidal things that can happen to you anywhere in the world, and it's on your doorstep. It's like moving to a foreign country and coming to grief because you don't realize that they drive on the right over there.

His attack on Richards sits very badly with his adulation of Kipling. The snobbery in Stalky and Co is creepy beyond belief: in one story the upper class schoolboys align themselves with a local upper class landowner by reporting his working class gamekeeper to him for shooting at a pregnant vixen which should have been left in peace to give birth to cubs for the foxhounds to hunt, the end result being the discomfiture of a middle class school master, and serve him right. In other stories they act as bullies, thieves and saboteurs, but in an upper class sort of way. The children in Puck of Pooks Hill are, unnecessarily from the pov of the story, markedly upper middle class. And if we are talking about unrealistic portrayals of childhood just look at Kim; one of the half dozen very creepy and almost invariably unmarried middle aged men who pass him around between them during his childhood and adolescence would in practice have raped and murdered him by page 100 of the novel, but this doesn't happen because, as far as I can see, the men are posh and Kim is really white despite looking Indian, hurrah.

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