I told him his punishment was not for not wanting to do the homework, but for having a bad attitude about doing it, to which he countered that he didn't actually have a bad attitude, but that I had misperceived his actions and tone. "I hope that's true," I said, "but even if it is, it's important for you to learn how your actions and tone may misrepresent your intent, therefore the punishment still stands."
Ten minutes later at dinner, once crankiness had been quashed by mom's homemade pizza and moods were considerably higher, he addresses me cheerily from across the table - in front of his mother whom he knows is often uneasy about the choice of film and literature I choose to expose he and his brother to and work through with them, and who might be taking it out of my hide for a few days - about a certain visually stunning and poetically violent bit of martial ballet we'd looked at recently.
"Hey dad, you remember in Kill Bill when (The Bride) chops off (O-Ren Ishii)'s head? You know how her scalp just flies through the air and then we see her brain? Wouldn't the sword have chopped off that part of the brain too?"
"Um... Yes. Remember, it's very stylized and not a realistic depiction of violence."
- Sheepish look from me.
- Withering look (directed at me) from mom.
- Satisfied smile from the boy who'd applied the principles from the lecture on tone he'd just received.
Game. Set. Match. That'll do, Pig.