January 23, 2008

Wingnut Book: Hipster Parenting Causes Kiddie Porn

I'll give her one thing: Laura Ingraham has a sweet gig. She travels the hopelessly liberal media world, plucking up random bits of news and op-ed for souvenirs, which she takes home and buffs to an inflammatory sheen. Then she strings them together to make nonsensical, non sequitur arguments in faux populist empowerment books condemning "the emboldened cultural Left." It's a dazzling charm bracelet approach to punditry, and I'm guessing it sells like Joan Rivers on a QVC bender.

Never mind that she makes no sense, and when she talks about something I actually know about, she gets it 100% backwardly wrong. Of course, I'm talking about the evils of hipster parenting and the culture's oversexualization of young girls.

Ingraham's new [?] book, which she straightfacedly titles Power To The People calls hipster parents "disturbing" for "trying hard--too hard--to show that even if you're a parent, you can still be hip." Actually, she just cuts and pastes from David Brooks' NYT column on Babble.com:

Brooks' description nails it:
Babble is a normal parental advice magazine submerged under layers of attitudinizing. There are articles about products from the alternative industrial complex [?? -ed.] (early '60s retro baby food organizers). [??? you mean the skip*hop chow? -ed.] There's a blog from a rock star mom (it's lonely on the road). There's a column by L.A.'s Rebecca Woolf, a sort of Silver Lake Erma Bombeck. ("Who says becoming a mom means succumbing to laser tattoo removal and moving to the suburbs?")
Yeah, nothing's cooler than a mom with a tattoo.
Now comes Ingraham's own analysis, and by analysis, I mean the next random bead on the string, or The Problem With Babble:
These "new urban parents" are spending so much time trying to be cool that they are ignorant of the fact that one of the biggest problems facing families these days is what the American Psychological Association (APA calls the "sexualization" of girls. A recent APA report criticizes the sexed-up content of the music and images that are marketed to young girls, and finds a connection between turning young girls into "eye candy" and eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression in girls and women." As I discuss in more detail in Chapter 6, the glut of pornography in this culture is a big problem...
I don't know what's more indicative of the quality of Ingraham's hackwork: that she discusses Babble without even mentioning that it's owned by Nerve, one of the pioneers of making online erotic content hip and acceptable. Or that Nerve/Babble diametrically contradicts her point: hipster parenting did not begat porn. Porn begat online dating, which begat hipster parents. I'm sure she'd still be pissed about it, but she's got it completely backwards.

As for the "sexed-up content...marketed to young girls," that's not hipster parents, either, but the mainstream, mallwalking, Disney Channel-driven Club Libby Lu freakshow that the Alternative Industrial Complex [sic] was created to oppose.

Also, high five to Genius Jones, who gets namechecked in a sidebar as one of the horsemen of the kidpocalypse for selling his Mini-Mies Barcelona chair knockoffs. No mention of the fact that he got stopped by Knoll, who promptly launched an official kid-sized version of the Barcelona Chair at Neiman Marcus. No, the bugaboo is never a major corporation. And no, there's no mention of Bugaboo at all.

Laura Ingraham's Power to the People is on Google Books, so you don't have to buy it. [google books via a babble reader who will remain mercifully anonymous]


"Dr." Laura seems remarkably removed from American popular culture.

She doesn't seem to have any actual grasp of who hipster parents actually are. Aside from the window dressing, I don't think they are a demographically distinct group from previous generations of upper-middle-class parents that spent a little too much time, effor, and money fretting over their children's upbringing. If they were buying their kids clothes at Janie and Jack instead, does the faux doctor believe that they would make better parents?

Hipster parents are not buying their daughters Bratz dolls, or letting them dress like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. That shit happens at Wal-Mart, not at Kid Robot. The corn-fed accents sported by so many porn starlets point accusingly at the heartland, not Silverlake.

I'm not at all clear on how kids' furniture leads to promiscuity. Are there 2/3 size sex swings out there? If so, I don't know how Greg missed them.

[well said, though Dr. Laura and Laura Ingraham are different rightwing harpies. For one, Dr. Laura actually has a kid. -ed.]

We hipster parents dress our kids like arts and crafts projects. Unless yarn is the new lycra, I think the oversexualization is going on somewhere else.

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