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CSotD: Blaming the Parental Units

My first reaction to Michael Rameriz (Creators)‘s cartoon was that I wish he’d posted it yesterday, when I was ranting about violent movies and TV shows, because forbidding your own kids from watching such things doesn’t protect them from the influence of other kids whose parents have no idea what they’re absorbing and passing along on the playground.

The best then-wife and I could do was to set standards, so that, when the kids went over to their friends’ houses and watched sexist, violent crap, they’d know it was something of which their parents disapproved.

 

Though, now and then, we had to step in like the Grandad in this 2000 Boondocks.

It’s comforting to note that parents have always complained about what their kids were getting into, like Cheaper By The Dozen superdad Frank Gilbreth a century ago, fretting over his daughters’ desire to bob their hair and go to dances unchaperoned, with boys in jalopies.

But the Gilbreth girls barely had access to radio, never mind to television or the ability to run upstairs and surf the web on their personal telephones.

“Parental Responsibility” is a blunt instrument in the current world, which fails to address the issues parents face and is chiefly used to get business and media off the hook for their pernicious influence in marketing to children.

Hey, we only scatter poisoned candy on the ground. It’s up to you to make sure your kids don’t pick it up and eat it.

And it seems that the people being constantly told to fear that some kid might use “the wrong bathroom” in school, or that — horrors! — a teacher might suggest slaves weren’t always treated kindly are also being encouraged to let social media run wild in the name of the First Amendment.

The Powers That Be want parents to uphold democracy by storming and interrupting elected officials on school boards and in Congress, to impose their views by brute force, but to leave private enterprise alone.

This message about responsible parenting is brought to you by people who think Pete Buttigeig doesn’t need paternity leave because the only thing a new baby needs is to be breastfed, preferably by a barefoot woman who can cook.

But that’s not what I’m going to rant about now.

 

Because Zits (KFS) touched off a different-though-related favorite rant, about how corporate America has been working to infantilize a generation or two in order to keep them spending rather than thinking.

Jeremy and his pals are still in high school, but that’s central to my point.

 

One of the central elements of “Leave It To Beaver,” particularly in the final two seasons when Wally, Eddie and Lumpy took centerstage, was their desire to become grown-ups.

Eddie’s schemes were often discouraged with a variation of “grow up” from Wally, perhaps even a specific warning that they wouldn’t be able to get away with such immature foolishness in another year or two.

That’s aside from the way they switched into grown-up clothes for dates and parties.

They enjoyed being kids, but they aspired to be adults.

 

And the adult world being dangled in front of them was an adult place, as seen in this 1966 beer ad.

Beer today is marketed to perpetual adolescents, who hang out in joyous, multi-racial crowds in loud bars or on sunny beaches, but not in backyards with spread boards that suggest a settled, grown-up lifestyle.

I don’t know who the cavorting kids are in contemporary ads, though I realize the fact that I hang out at the dog park and not in bars skews my point of view.

The 20-somethings I run into are starting careers, trying to buy houses in a viciously competitive market, sometimes thinking about starting a family and generally acting like grown-ups.

Bright, interesting grown-ups.

 

I haven’t seen any of them become ecstatic enough to dance around grinning widely and flinging their arms in the air, but I know from watching ads on TV that people under 30 do that a lot.

 

As for the under-20 crowd, the ones I know seem to be a lot like Caulfield in yesterday’s Frazz (AMS), contemplating a world they didn’t build, but in which the best and only answer is to keep on keepin’ on.

Though fewer of them are perusing colleges, since they can’t afford to go there.

But they’re bright enough to know that “living for the moment” will make them flame out.

Between the angry ones like Caulfield who are digging in for a challenge and the many quiet ones who are simply strategizing for survival, I’m seeing a lot more Wallys than I am Eddies or Lumpys.

 

And if they’re unfortunate to be growing up surrounded by the disasters that Caulfield correctly lists, they’re lucky to be growing up in a world of infinite possibilities, assuming they can cut through the barriers and discover them.

Anti-social adults who make a point of hostility often re-post this photo from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as evidence of those horrible, stupid kids ignoring great art in order to fool around with their horrible, stupid phones.

Anybody who has been around schools, around museums, around kids can clearly see by the way they are huddled in groups that they are collaborating, not surfing.

It doesn’t take much insight or experience to guess (correctly) that they are on a field trip and that they’re working on an educational app designed by the museum.

All it takes is liking kids, knowing a few and respecting educators.

 

Though, as Pig notes in this Pearls Before Swine (AMS), if you see it on social media, it must be true.

And social media says those kids are foolish, mindless slackers and we’re all going to hell in a handcart.

We should blame the parents.

 

Community Comments

#1 Dennis E Bradt
October/25/2021
@ 9:00 pm

I taught CDL classes for a few years. Some scary stuff happened like a bunch of the younger students did not know about how a standard transmission works(like push in the clutch pedal when stopping.) However my point is what a young man said to me. The stated that especially the good old USA was not and still isn’t ready for nor mature enough for the internet. Profound thought from a 30 year old that grew up with the WWW.

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