June 25, 2007

Bewildered Brits Stare At Park Slope Parents

All the editors at BritLit journal Spiked Online asked for was a Those Crazy Americans! article on these so-called Park Slope Parents they'd just read about three weeks ago in the Telegraph. Is that so hard?

Instead, Nancy McDermott's critique is worse than useless, criticizing parents for being parents, and contributing to the climate of paranoia that got us here in the first place by identifying exactly the wrong problems.

Some examples:

If McDermott's claim that Bugaboo obsession is a sign of insecurity and trivializing, reductive lifestylization of parenting, what does that make an obsession with Other People's Bugaboos? Are lazy writers and headline editors especially susceptible, I wonder? What does this mean for a country where the Bug per-capita ratio is like 25 times higher than the US, even though the rigs cost 30% more?

To think that all this time I've been focusing on the pressures from the opportunity to make a living [i.e., a job] and the risk of losing it when parents want to be more closely involved in their children's lives, McDermott says just the opposite:

...Most of all, the pressure to be closely involved in children’s lives risks robbing them of the opportunity to learn how to make their own way. All these are real concerns that deserve a hearing from parents and in society more broadly, but critiques that essentially criticise parents for being parents are worse than useless. They identify the wrong problems and contribute to creating the climate of paranoia that has led us to where we are in the first place.
Why does it feel like I've heard all this before?

Bugged by the Bugaboo Parents [spiked-online.com via jj daddy-o]
Day of the dad [telegraph.co.uk]

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