Friday, July 8, 2011

Kids These Days

I'll Stick Around - Arckid (mp3)

Billy’s Razor: All things being equal, blame the adults.

If there’s a theme running through most of what gets written on “Bottom of the Glass,” and if that theme doesn’t involve kickass music, then it’s this. If children or teens are involved, and if there’s a problem, it’s very likely blame can and should be placed on adults.

Parent. Teacher. Neighbor. Preacher. Cop.

It doesn’t matter what their role or responsibility. All I know is, if you give me one bet to win a million bucks, and you give me a scenario where a kid is caught doing something wrong, I’ll put my money on the belief that an adult is somehow behind it.

The mafia in New York. The protestors in Florida. The teachers in Atlanta.

The latest Newsweek includes an intriguing story about the wife and daughter of dead mafia monster Greg Scarpa. His story has enough in it to make a reasonable person despise him, his wife, the FBI, and plenty of others as well.

But you know who gets my sympathy? The only person who seems to be keenly aware that it's not deserved. Scarpa's daughter, "Little Linda." She was raised in this fucked up family. It's all she knew from childhood. But she's grown up, and she's seen all the misery and pain that her father's lifestyle has sown, and she seems practically alone in her regret for something over which she had no control. Her reward for having a conscience? Her mother lives with her. Her mother, the wife of a man who spent every minute of his waking life figuring out how to make money, preferably while doing others serious or fatal harm.

"Big Linda's" reward is a son killed because he was raised to follow in his father's footsteps.

Blame the adults.

In Florida, a bunch of people who have absolutely nothing better to do with their lives and their passions stood outside the courthouse and protested the Casey Anthony verdict. Most of them were women, and most of them were at home trying to figure out how to pass the time once filled by As the World Turns and General Hospital. They found their new real-life drama in a murder trial, and when things turned out to be messy and lifelike rather than scripted and starring Susan Lucci, they went apeshit.

But nooooo, it's not enough to go apeshit alone. They have to drag their kids into it. You know, because they love the kids. They care for the kids. They loved that sweet little Kaylee Anthony like she was one of their own, all because they watched five home videos of her.

How many orphanages, how many homes for abused or neglected children, how many kids desperate for a Big Brother or Big Sister, are down there in Florida? How many still-alive Kaylee Anthony girls and boys could benefit from the passion and intensity of these people? But they won't get any of this do-gooder spirit, because there's no opportunity to wield the Flaming Hand of Justice! Because they couldn't get Anderson Cooper and Nancy Grace to pay attention to them.

And we don't love little kids that much until they're dead. While they're alive, they're mostly good just for holding signs about how shitty other people are.

Blame the adults.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the Atlanta Testing Debacle.

Experts scream and whine about Call of Duty raising a generation of violent and selfish kids. Talking heads warn of kids disappearing into Facebook and losing the ability to speak or interact with other real people. One fuddy-duddy after another wails and moans about the hundreds of ways kids today suck.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, 78% of schools investigated were found to have cheated on their tests. A mind-numbing 178 adult teachers and administrators were found responsible. And it’s not like this investigation was wall-to-wall comprehensive. Had more schools been investigated, more schools would undoubtedly been found with dirty hands.

Surely the kids had firearms! Or maybe entire lockers full of oxycontin! And, and, and these bully teens were threatening these poor adults with bodily harm! Surely the kids forced these adults, against their will, to cook those books!

Parents. Coaches. Teachers. Principals. School board members. Is there a single fucking adult in or around the school system who ISN’T cheating?!? If so, I sure hope we fire her ass soon, because it’s totally screwing up the statistics.

Why can’t kids learn important stuff? Why do they go year after year through school without gaining the ability to think for themselves, to patiently reason through complex problems, to read about and think deeply about scientific experiements, current events, Shakespearean dramas? Why can't they reach their potential!?!

Here’s a hint: it ain’t the kids.

It’s Billy’s Razor.


troutking said...

Billy's Razor sounds like it could also be Dr. Melfi's Razor. As in Tony Soprano's therapist.

Daisy said...

I agree with your position in this piece. I do find it a little ironic that you criticize the helicopter style of parenting while here you seem to be saying parents should be more involved. I figure my kids are doomed either way so might as well just do my best and save money for their therapy.

cinderkeys said...

Daisy: Though I'm not a parent, I'd guess that there's a lot of wiggle room between neglect and helicopter parenting. My parents managed it. Hey, you might get to keep the therapy money and run off to Hawaii when the kids are in college. :)

BeckEye said...

I just want to say...ARCKID!!!