Monday, February 11, 2013

Stuff White People Like (Hating your parents) meets Slate author lamenting that her mother birthed her in middle age

Often it can be easier to find common ground with a white person by talking to them about something you both hate.  Discussing things you both like might lead to an argument over who likes it more or who liked it first.  Clearly, the safest route is mutual hatred.  When choosing to talk about something that white people hate, it’s best to choose something that will allow white people to make clever comments or at the very least feel better about themselves. ...

This topic ties into a number of other posts, but there is no denying that white people hate their parents. What is amazing, is that as a white parent, there is nothing you can do to prevent this.

If you are a strict parent who makes your kid have a curfew, do homework, and not smoke weed – then you are almost guaranteed to have them scream at you, write poems about how much they hate you, relate to songs by bands from Orange County and Florida.

Eventually, they forgive you and thank you for the tough upbringing, but still resent you because their high school experience wasn’t a carbon copy of the OC or My So Called Life.

On the other hand, if you are a super laid back parent who lets your kid go to parties, drink in the house, and you smoke weed together, you are only delaying the hatred. Because these kids eventually end up doing something stupid with their life – dropping out of university, trying to become a painter, or spending time in a Thai prison. At which point, they hate YOU for being too lax and not caring enough.

But take note that this hatred can be used for gain. White people love to talk about how much they hate their parents, so if you are in a situation where you need to gain a white person’s trust, ask them about their parents. But under no circumstances should you try to one up them, regardless of whether or not you were an orphan, abused, or watched your parents get shot. If you bring this up, the white person will never talk to you about their problems again, and you will be unable to gain their trust.

The shoe eventually drops, perhaps, dven on the matter of the timing of having children.  As more and more people wait longer to have children the reproductive freedom that has been extolled over the last twenty odd years shows up in an inevitable whiplash, children of parents who postponed parenthood until their 40s can now write articles for Slate bemoaning the reality that now that they are in their 30s they have to take care of the parents who exercised the freedom to bear children so late in life. 

Exhibit A.

Seriously, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.  As Marjane Satrapi wrote at the end of her comic book Peresepolis, "Freedom has its price."  It appears that in the United States what we often want to forget is that the price of freedom can be established in terms of opportunity costs, options we had to reject in favor of the option we chose.  Almost any mid-life crisis seems to boil down to resenting the missed opportunities we had to skip in favor of what we did pick ... or simply denying the reality that past a certain point self-reinvention is simply not possible.  You can't reinvent yourself in the age of Facebook because no matter how many times you edit your timeline somebody saw what used to be there. 

For mothers who are having children in their 40s, congratulations, really.  Just be aware that the possibility that your children will have to care for you in their 30s or even 20s may come up and they may not thrill to the idea of getting a parental obligation to honor their parents by caring for them.  If you're fortunate they may wish to do it anyway or have rejected the ideal of the nuclear family as a vestige of an era in American economic history precicated on free credit and fiat currency.  :)

Some people think that a demographic bust is too convenient an excuse for conservatives to say women should have more babies at a younger age but then there's Exhibit A, which is a reminder that women who postpone having children and don't build families don't have any excuse to not care for Mom and Dad when they've hit their 60s and have declining health, unless the adult children are themselves too poor or remote to be of help. 

Maybe it really is just the way Stuff White People Like put it.

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