Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 8:02 pm

On not caring so much what the children think

Filed under: Journalism,We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:02 pm

Once your kid has told you for the 12th or so time that you’re the worst dad in the world — usually because of some atrocity related to having to put down the video games, brush teeth and get in the bed — you grow inured, if not hostile, to the notion that what your kids think matters. (Just ask Samuel L. Jackson.)

So why do the media always get a case of the vapors over how parents are supposed to talk to children about supposedly adult topics? I remember this being a big deal when the Starr report on Bill Clinton’s infidelities came out, and now it’s supposedly a big deal again because of Anthony Weiner.

Funny — I don’t remember the media advising my parents how to talk to me about the Vietnam War, back when 150 American soldiers a week were coming home in coffins. And I damn sure had some questions about that, even at age 8 or 9, and I remember my mother trying not to cry as she tried to answer them.

Doug Harlan J makes the same point at Balloon Juice:


What I’ve never understood about “what will the children think” is that it is always applied to something trivial, usually to consensual sexual relations among adults. No one ever asks “what will the children think about genocide in the Sudan?” or “what will the children think about the government torturing people?”

That’s actually not entirely true. I’ve had conversations with my kids before about Big Subjects. But it is a mark of the decadence of our national media that we find it more important to talk to kids about the legal, adult antics of some congresscritter most of them have never heard of than the fact that in countries around the world our government is kidnapping, torturing and killing people, some of them innocent, in our name; that we’re fighting three wars right now, two of which are illegal and the third of which has long outlived its usefulness; and that the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans are using their money to rig the system and play the rest of us for suckers. Meanwhile, led by those mental midgets in Texas, we’re dumbing down our textbooks, shifting our educational focus to brute recall at the precise time in which we should be going in the opposite direction, and making it generally easier to foul the very air and water we depend on for survival.

In fact, when I think about it, I think it’s pretty clear we don’t give a damn what the children think.


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