Sunday, May 4, 2008

Teaching Bad Lessons

Child psychologists agree that you shouldn't reward whining, as it only reinforces the behavior.

Well, a while back on this blog I whined about the way Amazon US had managed to screw up the listing for the US paperback release of RN Morris' Gentle Axe, making it almost impossible to find and order that edition of the book. (I whine about Amazon US a lot, largely because they did terrible things to people in the US who ordered Shock and Awe.)

To my lasting amazement Caroline Garner, the publicist at Penguin US, actually read the blog entry and promptly made Amazon fix the entries. (Anybody who can slap Amazon into shape is somebody I want on my side.) She also sent me a handful of copies of the book to hand out to my friends and relatives, as well as a bound galley of the US edition of Roger's next book, which I will hawk on eBay for beaucoup bucks when he becomes just a little better known.

This was a bad lesson. You can expect a lot more whining from me in the future.

As long as I'm having my own bad behavior reinforced, let me reinforce Jenn Ashworth's bad behavior over on her blog Every Day I Lie a Little. She Of The One Sock has a nice post listing ten lies she has told in just one day (and claims this is not an exhaustive list). It also discusses the role of lying in her childhood (and makes me wonder what the hell a "wendy house" might be).

And, while we're at it, Neil Ayres tells some Big Fat Lies about Aliya over on their blog. (But when Neil does it, it's called Magical Realism, and is therefore okay.)

So, whining. Lying. Would anyone else like their bad behavior reinforced? Perhaps a tantrum, or maybe a little burglary?


Roger Morris said...

Hi David, glad they arrived. Penguin and me are extremely grateful for your help in straightening out that bit of amazon random weirdness, though they have now replaced it with another one. They list The Gentle Axe Penguin paperback as an IMPORT, which is strange. As it isn't - not in America, that is. Ah well.

A wendy house is a child's playhouse in the garden. Our kids had one made out of wood, though I suppose they could be made out of other materials. They never used it much. In the end we stored the bikes in there. Then I took it apart and gave it away. I don't think they noticed.

David Isaak said...

Hi, RN--

The "import" label is just plain weird, but maybe it will add sex appeal to the book. We like imported things.

Wendy house. Ah. As in Peter Pan. I get it. (I think.)

Jenn said...

My wendy house wasn't made of wood - it had plastic poles that slotted together like a tent, but in a house shape, and then a cover to go over the top, which was made of the same material as shower curtains are.

If you want to reinforce more of my bad behaviour, you should know that apparently there was no cover on the wendy house on the day that I remembered it, because I had hunkered down and peed in it.

bad bad bad

David Isaak said...

Hi, Jenn--

So I gather that Wendy Houses aren't equipped with "facilities".

We mainly had tree houses, so if you wanted to pee, you could just shoot over the edge. Admittedly this called for more skill on the part of girls than boys...