You may remember the Wall Street Journal's "you're doing it wrong, America!" parenting blog from such vaguely masochistic competitive parenting advice books as Tiger Mom.
Now it's France's turn. Pamela Druckerman's article about her new book, Bringing up Bébé, is titled "Why French Parents Are Superior." I know, you can't blame the headline on the writer, right? Well, she is responsible for writing this:
Rest assured, I certainly don't suffer from a pro-France bias. Au contraire, I'm not even sure that I like living here. I certainly don't want my kids growing up to become sniffy Parisians.And then in the book trailer, she actually puts her kids in berets--berets!
So there is a demanding parenting demographic who are aware enough to buy a book, but yet also xenophobic enough to hate both the fact of the book and its subjects, and also ignorant enough to unskeptically buy into generations-old cliches and stereotypes, who are going to buy this book. That's the plan. It seems like the stupidest idea the publishing and media industry has ever come up with.
Which is all too bad because, wow, judging just from the brief excerpts Kottke pulled from Druckerman's article, the parenting advice she's giving is solid gold. All this stuff about teaching kids independence, self-soothing, self-control, and the stuff about consistency and steadiness, it sounds great. We try to do a lot of this stuff here in America, and though neither we nor our kids are perfect, a lot of it has been a hugely stress-relieving success.
Which ironically makes Druckerman's book just like France itself: it's awesome, I love it, if only it weren't for the French.
Why French Parents Are Superior [wsj via kottke]
You'll hate yourself either way, so just buy Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting and get it over with [amazon]
Ha. "Customers buy this book with French Women Don't Get Fat"