October 5, 2008

The Post-Modern Literalist's Guide To Parenting

The Swedish literary criticism quarterly Glanta recently published a satirical article on raising children in strict accordance with the arguments of post-modernism. It reads a bunch of tips cobbled together one night at an MLA convention, and it pales in comparison to the granddaddy of extreme baby advice, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. But still, it's nice to imagine a culture that still has bandwidth available for this kind of thing. Like how getting a ticket for jaywalking is a sign that we've finally got that terrorist threat under control again:

Be suspicious of all forms of progress displayed by the child and question its origin and the oppressive underlying ideology. Operate on the basis of necessity rather than meaningfulness, and encourage the child to renounce all outward distinctions such as cakes or scholarships. Do allow sweets from strangers.

...

Beware of vaccination programmes, both for the confidence they place in modern progress, and for their hidden agenda of constructing illness with the aim of putting a premium on health.

...

If your child grows up and writes any sort of text that can be interpreted as poking fun at postmodern doctrines, be sure to pay a journal handsomely to publish the piece. Matricide is an inevitable step in the development of artistic subversion.

Wait, matricide? So this is all advice for post-modern moms?? And that does not end up reifying the oppressive pyramidal power dialectic of the patriarchy how, exactly?

Manual for postmodern childrearing, by Athena Farrokhzad and Tova Gerge [eurozine.com via bookforum]

1 Comment

This is really great stuff.

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