I love Judge John Hodgman. It’s a delightful listen and passes the time when I’m doing my freelance work. I wish there was a new one every day.
But this one was incredible … Hodgman sounded both angry and hurt — it was surprisingly emotional (and in my opinion, absolutely right). I was reminded of his amazing interview at The A.V. Club (and part 2).
Hodgman is obviously witty and hilarious. But I think what I like even more than that is his clear compassion and thoughtfulness. That’s what keeps me coming back.
HERE IS EVIDENCE from Judge John Hodgman Verdict No. 59.
“Gail brings this case against her sister Aimee. Gail believes she and her nephew Ray are similarly sensitive kindred spirits. As a loving aunt, she thinks she should be able to comfort Ray when he’s upset, even over rule-breaking, and help him handle his feelings. Her sister Aimee believes Gail is unnecessarily coddling Ray and encouraging him to become an overly emotional child. Who is right? Only Judge John Hodgman can decide!”
This was a really difficult one. In many ways this was another Rashomom: so much about parenting (and aunting) relies on delicate context that—surprisingly—is hard to capture on a 30 minute half-comedy podcast.
It’s also the only time when I knowingly overstepped my bounds. Offering instruction to a mom and aunt about how to raise a child is monstrously beyond my mandate. And yet, as I felt compelled to speak, the only thing I could think of to make it better was to say then—and now—this:
All opinions are my own, offered for you to use if useful, and discard as the trash that they are if not. At end of day they carry no more weight than the podcast ether that carries them.
In any case, I am very grateful to both Aimee and Gail for bringing this delicate dispute to the court of a stranger on the internet. They are both brave and of good humor!