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It continues to intrigue me — the biblical point Obama raised in his inauguration speech on putting away childish things.

He seems to mean things like partisanship and political gamesmanship and their attendant ills, with self-righteousness and ideological rigor mortis being two of the biggest.

But those things are decidedly not childish. They are the sole province of adults (and adolescents, I might add). Name me a child who sticks to a course of action, no matter how foolish, based on some abstract philosophical notion.

Children may fixate on something and carry on like fools, but it’s generally over a concrete object, say a chocolate chip cookie, a Matchbox car or a pair of footie pajamas. I don’t see them crying over failed adherence to free-market principles or skepticism over Keynesian economics.

I guess it sounds clever to compare peculiarly adult blind spots to childish things. But it doesn’t do much to advance our political discourse when we seek to infantilize people based on what they may feel are important principles.

Or when we seek to explain away what is decidedly an adult problem as some sort of childishness that needs to be abandoned. Good luck with that.

I wonder if we can learn any history lessons from Madonna’s hand-up to Britney Spears, and more importantly in the divergent career arcs of the two pop-stars.

Sure, there are individual personalities at play. But what about Madonna’s Catholicism/kabbalah studies versus Spears’ Southern Baptism (and Bill Clinton’s – if I don’t mention him, the media will)? Interesting, too, that Spears recently turned to the arch-Catholic Mel Gibson.

And then what about the 1980s versus the 1990s, the different decades in which the two pop stars made their debut? Some religious and environmental factors must be playing a role in how their lives and careers are turning out. Just a thought.

I’m sure there’s a PHD thesis already in the works on this.