Friends and acquaintances around the net today:
-- Thanks to O-Dub for linking to this awesome moment of zen. Two kings and a Prince! Or is it two princes and a king? Either way, it's before Neverland, before Jehovah, before PCP. All three legends are on fire.
-- Douglas (congrats, by the way, on the book deal!) inspired me to read Eric Kronigsberg's New Yorker piece about Brandenn Bremmer, the eminent "gifted" rural Nebraskan who killed himself at age 14. (A good round-up of the discussion about "Prairie Fire" is here, at the New Yorker readers' blog emdashes.) Douglas identified with the kid's vulnerability and isolation and mentioned his own semi-salvation via certain "gifted programs," and I appreciate his insight. My own overwhelming feeling about the story, though, was, what a tragedy of "helicopter parenting." Who am I to judge -- I know -- especially since my Bebe's only two! And perhaps it was Konigsberg's sly slanting of the story that led me to shudder at every word from Brandenn's parents' mouths.
But their utter fetishization of this boy, including their marketing and publicization of his giftedness (they sold his New Age CD's online), s ure seems to embody the extremes of ego-driven parenting that I'm finding so threatening right now. Threatening, because I can get sucked into showing off my little darling as easily as anyone can. But while I hope she is as talented as makes her happy and able to make her way in life, Konigsberg piece made me PRAY that she not be "gifted." Or at least that we don't really notice it if she is, until she's old enough to make her own choices about how to use her particular genius.
-- Katha Pollitt rocks the house as usual in her Nation column this week. She's calling the bull on conservatives who get up in arms about the fact that more girls are in college than men now, saying that it's because of the woman-centric nature of our ed system. Here's where Pollitt slayed me:
For the record, in middle school my daughter was assigned exactly one book by a woman: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. In high school she read three, Mrs. Dalloway, Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin, while required reading included male authors from Shakespeare and Fitzgerald and Sophocles to (I kid you not) James Michener and Robert Adams, author of Watership Down. Four books in seven years: Is that what we're arguing about here?
So much of the backlash about feminism --especially as the movement is perceived culturally -- seems like that to me. So much umbrage about so little gain. What's the emoticon for rolling your eyes? I'm doing it.