Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Totalitarian Parenting

New York parents are a special breed. They are even more special, and apparently more extreme, if they have been indoctrinated in political correctness.

Yesterday, blogging on a website called The Stir, Kiri Blakeley posted a vignette about a special New York custom: “extreme parenting.”

It isn’t just that parents have become health fanatics, shielding their children from the least morsel of inorganic chicken, but they also want to shield their children from ideologically incorrect language.

You may not agree with me when I characterize such people as the thought police, but these extreme parents are trying to ensure it that their children never think a counterrevolutionary thought.

I would call it totalitarian parenting, because this level of mind control, when practiced on the young, was endemic to the great totalitarian dictatorships of the twentieth century.

Recently Blakeley attended a dinner party with, among others, a couple that had brought along their two-year-old daughter.

To Blakeley’s mild surprise, the child was thoroughly absorbed in her activities and sat quietly and calmly through a four-hour dinner party with perfect aplomb.

She was, Blakeley notes, thoroughly “well-behaved and social.”

Allow Blakeley to describe what happened next:

Towards the end of the gathering, the little girl ended up sitting next to me. So we're sitting there, chillin', and she was doing something cute with her large red bib, when I cooed, "Aren’t you a good girl?" Her mother -- a very nice woman, by the way, don’t get me wrong -- leaned over and said, calmly but firmly, “We don’t use the term 'good girl.' "

In New York City, the land of extreme-parenting, there's about a million different ways one could go wrong around a child in the eyes of the hyper-vigilant parent, and I had just bumped smack dab into one of them. In using the term "good girl," I had unwittingly crashed some parental ordinance of which I had no knowledge, but had been scolded for nonetheless. It wasn't one of those things that you could classify as obvious not to say around a child. Such as, say, "muhthaf**king crackwho*re."

This very nice mother, a woman who would surely call you out for the least hint of judgmentalism is, let’s be clear, a bully.

In the name of her maternal instinct, she is telling other people that their vocabulary must fit her political bias… in this cases, she seems to have something against “good girls.”

She has arrogated to herself the right to police how other people talk to her daughter.

Blakeley understands, as we all do, that it would be inappropriate to issue forth with a torrent of obscenities in front of a toddler. Not because the toddler would understand what the words meant, but because most parents do not want to expose their children to such crass vulgarity and its attendant aggressiveness.

We all know that you do not say just anything to a child. In truth, you do not say just anything to anyone.

Conversational decorum requires a measure of self-control, coupled with tact and consideration.

As it happens, “good girl” does not cross into the realm of the tactless, the rude, the crude, the lewd or the inconsiderate. Or, at least, it doesn’t for any normal human being.

Only an individual who is saturated with radical political ideas would correct the phrase “good girl” in order to protect a two-year old from indignity.

The mother is imposing her political beliefs on Blakely, even to the point of making her think that she might have done something wrong.

Normal language usage develops over time through a myriad of verbal exchanges. Deciding that you want to change it because it offends your ideology or because you believe that changing it will change reality reveals a totalitarian mindset.

The mother might think she is principled. She is behaving like a fanatic.

If she believes that this expression is so completely injurious how does she expect to protect her daughter from the ambient culture? Will she send a note to her daughter’s schoolteachers telling them not to call anyone a “good girl?” Will she launch boycotts of television stations that use the expression “good girl?” Will she want to have the term excised from books, newspapers and magazines?

If she really refuses to allow her daughter to be exposed to such “vile” language, she will have to mount a campaign to change the way everyone speaks.

This sounds impossible, but it has happened before. In fact, it is happening now, as we speak.

No one has yet proscribed the term “good girl” but nowadays everyone calls both men and women “persons” for fear of offending the gender neutralists, and everyone uses the generic “she” in place of the generic “he” or even the more neutral “he or she” as a sign of obeisance to the Great Mother Goddess.

Unfortunately, the mother in question is also abusing Blakeley’s good manners. If a mother tells you not to address her daughter as a good girl, you will normally respect her wishes, however totalitarian they may seem.

Dare we even speculate about why “good girl” is such a bad term? Which is more offensive, the “good” or the “girl” or the combination of the two.

But why does this mother believe that “good girl” so offensive? Is she revealing her own latent misogyny? Does this woman believe that anything is better than being a girl? Or, is she at war against goodness, as in good character?

After all, Blakeley was giving a little girl a nudge toward good character. The girl had been very good at dinner; she had behaved in exemplary fashion. She deserved a compliment, so Blakeley quite properly offered it.

For her efforts, she was slapped down.

It takes a special warp of mind to guilt-trip a friend for having said something nice to your child.


n.n said...

Individuals with an affinity for left-ideological principles -- especially generational progressives -- are typically rebels with a cause and without a clue. It's not a coincidence that their outlook on life predisposes them to fanaticism. Their principles, after all, denigrate individual dignity, and devalue human life. They were the sponsors of the sexual revolution, which has done more to degrade women and men than any perceived Puritan ideal, and they are defenders of elective abortion of developing human life.

They also like to play semantic games to marginalize their competing interests. If they now take offense in statements such as "good girl", then it can only mean they have been caught in their own well laid trap.

Incidentally, there was a news report recently, which stated that the Democrat Schumer promoted marriage and family among his female staff members. Perhaps they do understand the consequences of their philosophy, and do not adhere to it themselves. It's a good way to sabotage your competition, while maintaining integrity within your own ranks.

Anonymous said...

This is how the liberal cognoscenti is/are able to exercise power over others. You are correct, this mother is a bully. She is posturing as someone intellectually and morally superior in the way she uses language, and corrects others with impunity as a show of power. It is disgraceful condescension. Yet people put up with this by being polite, deferring to her desire to have he daughter addressed in a particular way. Fine. Grand. Swell. Ducky.

Yet I promise you such deference will never be enough. There will be other episodes around other uses of "filthy vernacular" that will be unacceptable to her. Next you get to watch the way this woman talks to/about others in YOUR house. I doubt she will be as, er, tolerant or respectful of the ways of your homestead. Because, don't you see... your ways are WRONG! Such eruptions are not about tolerance, diversity, peace, love and understanding. It's about being a revolutionary. It's about "acceptable" displays of aggression and power in parlors and at dinner tables. Good girl, indeed.

And, I might add, such an upstanding revolutionary matron will do nothing to meddle in the affairs of another country such as Egypt and its treatment of women. No, no. She will save her courage and energy for the battlefield of justice here at home, against America's clear and present danger: the Republican Party and it's "War on Women." This allows her to return to the comforts of her NYC home at night and work with her daughter on elevating her vocabulary to effectively marginalize others in social settings. After all, mother doesn't just pass down the silver...


Sam L. said...

So when this woman comes over to the second woman's house, and at such time as she offends the party of the second part, said #2 should tell the she's worn out her welcome and must now leave. "My house; my rules."

Anonymous said...

Precisely. Yet this also exposes her conceit and how the liberal game works. She's always right.

There is no objective measure to validate or invalidate her premise, hence my position on her lack of courage or principle... she stands alone, unscathed in her self-righteousness. She risks nothing herself, while validating her own position in judging others. And something must always be done! More, more, more must be done! There is no end to it. Countering her is a pointless exercise, proving the wisdom of never engaging her in the first place. There will always be some perceived suffering in the world, which fuels her sanctimony. Strikes me as smothering a sense of joy, or at least access to it. And I suspect that is what she wishes on/for others. To quote Sinead O'Connor, from her throne of narcissism and pity, "How can you laugh when there's so much suffering in the world?" It all starts at the dinner table, about silly linguistic distinctions about the oppression behind the concept of a "good girl" that we see the the most insidious factor in all of it -- the female as a victim. Alas. No justice, no peace.


Dennis said...

What is interesting here is that this young "good girl" is going to grow up and the real world will create some devastatingly difficult conditions in her life. The sins of the mother are always visited on their daughters.
For all the feminist's dreams their daughters and other women are some of the most unhappy women this country has produced. Why else are they still victims of this supposed bad country? This seems strange given all of the success feminism supposedly has had?
At some point "victimhood" becomes like the "race card," all MAX'ED out and is worth nothing.
I still say that I feel sorry for any of you who live in "blue cities." The closest I have ever come to dealing with those poor little whiners is one day I was in a store and was talking to myself while waiting for my wife to do some shopping. For some reason this woman from NYC decided that I should not do that. She said rather haughtily, "You talk to yourself?" In my best southern "aw shuck" manner I said, "Well ma'am sometimes it is the only intelligent conversation I can find." Can you imagine she was not happy with me. By the way I was not luck enough to be born in the South where people have real manners.

Anonymous said...

Evan Sayet makes the point his two lectures explaining how the left thinks that the left is in favor of abolishing all moral distinctions, because they believe that disagreements cause conflicts. This might be why this parent objects to distinctions between good and bad, right and wrong.