Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pop Culture, Parenting, And The Apocalypse

Pop Culture, Parenting, And The Apocalypse

I read this article in New York Magazine on the new breed of hipster parents with an uneasy mixture of amusement and horror.

For me, everything that is wrong with these people is summed up in the following quote:

“You have to have a little bit of Dora the Explorer in your life,” he says. “But you can do what you can to mute its influence.” Okay. “And there’s no shame, when your kid’s watching a show, and you don’t like it, in telling him it sucks.” Yeah! There’s no—wait. What? “If you start telling him it sucks, maybe he might develop an aesthetic.” Sorry, son. No more Thomas the Tank Engine for you. Thomas sucks. Stop crying. Daddy’s helping you develop an aesthetic. Now Daddy’s going to go put on some thunder music.

But isn’t there something unsavory in the idea of your kid as a kind of tabula rasa for you to overwrite with your tastes? Less a child than a malleable Mini-Me?

“It’s hard to say right now, because most of these kids are between the age of zero and 5,” says Pollack. “So they’re still . . . I don’t want to say accessories, but they’re still moldable. You can still sort of play with them.” Although, if you’re planning to take this parental approach, you’d better make damn sure you’ve got good taste. “I find myself arguing with dads about the music their kids like,” he says. “One guy was telling me his son was really into Wilco. And I was telling him that’s lame. Because Wilco is so over.”

The author of the article calls these people Grups, after the eternally arrested adolescents in a classic Star Trek episode. I call them selfish, self-centered narcissists.

And I should know narcissim, being a card-carrying member of the club.

Trying to make your kids into cool fashion accessories is no better than forcing them to get crew cuts, use Brycreem, and wear suits all the time while listening to Perry Como.

For God's sake, people, let the children be who they want to be. They'll have plenty of time to become consumerist conforming non-conformists when they go to high school!

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