Monday, September 24, 2007

Whining is Never in Fashion

Robin Givhan of the Washington Post is throwing a tiny little temper tantrum.

Ms. Givhan, the Post's fashion writer, has written an article lamenting several things which seem only loosely connected, like an ill-conceived gown on Emmy Night. Frankly, it seems as though her foot-stamping rant has only one common theme, and that is children, at least children whose presence has somehow been personally inconvenient to Ms. Givhan. But because the things she's saying are the sorts of things that east-coast elites tend to nod sagely at each other about, as if they somehow Understand Something Real that those of us out here in flyover country miss completely, let's see just what she has to say--provided she stops whining and speaks in the kind of voice that mommies can hear.

Her first complaint has to do with children on plastic tricycles being pushed by careful parents down the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan. Specifically, she complains about having to dodge such children and their careful parents which would, if she thought about it, explain the extremely slow speeds of these tricycles: this is New York. If the tricycle so much as brushes within an eighth of an inch of someone's well-pressed pant leg or splashes dirty puddle water on a new pair of Pradas, chances are that someone will sue. But it isn't the slow speed that's got Ms. Givhan's goat; it's the helmets on the tender noggins of the wee cyclists.

Silly, Ms. Givhan snorts; a child isn't going to get hurt falling off of a tricycle! Not one going so slow! Not one being pushed by parents!

Try telling that to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ms. Givhan. Better yet, try telling it to the emergency room doctor should you show up with a helmetless child who's been injured in a fall from a tricycle; when you're done getting the lecture about how you should have made sure the child was wearing a helmet, you can then deal with a full-fledged investigation from your local division of Child Protective Services.

In typical elite fashion, Ms. Givhan fails to realize that the social policies the left promotes and spreads tend to lead to this kind of nonsense. Tell you what, Ms. Givhan: if safety-gear swathed tots irritate you, then get the stupid village out of my face and let me raise my kids.

From this complaint about helmet heads, Ms. Givhan segues to a discussion about "Kid Nation," the reality show that had people upset about the possibility that some safety and child labor laws had been violated. How ridiculous was all the fuss, Ms. Givhan tells all the overprotective parents out there. So, the kids drank a little bleach, broke some laws and missed some school. So what? What's all the concern? Again, Ms. Givhan ignores the fact that a television show could get away with the sort of behavior that would put an average parent behind bars, but hey--television people are Special, like fashion writers.

Next up as the targets of Ms. Givhan's ire are those silly, selfish parents at who are upset that their children are being shown images of car crashes, gun violence, and other terror while seated on airplanes. Most passengers are over 18, Ms. Givhan points out, so why should we worry about what a handful of six-year-olds might have to endure?

She has this exactly backwards, of course: no one, anywhere, has ever suggested that the 9/11 terrorists might have refrained from their acts of destruction and mayhem if only the in-flight entertainment had been a little more appealing. On the other hand, many people have been on a flight with children who are bored stiff with the entertainment Mom and Dad stashed in the diaper bag to keep them amused on the trip (because, by the time the family has been confined in the plane which has sat for three hours on the tarmac without moving the most amusing of children's toys or coloring books have lost all appeal). As an adult, I'd much rather have the airlines show endless streams of cartoons to keep the littlest travelers content than complain that my "adult-only" world has been invaded yet again by the little parasites, which is the tone Givhan takes in this section of her essay: but then again, I am an adult, and don't rely on some cheap Hollywood thriller to keep me occupied when I'm traveling. After all, unlike the kiddies, I can read on the plane. I might even read the Washington Post (though probably not the fashion column).

I think the only thing I can do for the remaining paragraphs of the article, which spiral into weird irrelevancies, is to ignore them, as charitably as possible, as I would refrain from criticizing someone who wore dark hose with open-toed shoes. Her hysterical final sentence, "But it is a nightmare to envision a nation under the tyranny of children..." must be quoted, however, because what she's really saying here is "It's not fair! It's not fair! It's not fair!"

No, Ms. Givhan, it's not fair. It's not fair that the children get to act like children, and that you, an adult, are expected to be mature about it. But guess what? That's what adults do.

Ms. Givhan, grow up.


nutmeg said...

Ms. G needs to hear this. Please tell me you'll shorten it a bit (so they print it) and e-mail it to them!

The idiocy of these people never ceases to amaze me...


Alexandra said...

"...then get the stupid village out of my face and let me raise my kids."

Hear, hear! Not digging their village.

Jesse said...

Most people grow-up and go much of their lives thinking the world, in fact, revolves around them.

Often, it's not until you have children, and all that comes with being a parent, that we realize it actually doesn't.

It appears that this post reporter still thinks it revolves around her.

teachinmom said...

Thank you!!

Maria said...

Excellent response.

Jennifer F. said...

But because the things she's saying are the sorts of things that east-coast elites tend to nod sagely at each other about, as if they somehow Understand Something Real that those of us out here in flyover country miss completely...

I am going to laugh about that all week. That is such a hilarious assessment of so much of what we hear from the mainstream media. Thank you!