Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yeah, well, to hell with you.

Just watched Caitlin Flanagan on The Colbert Report, and one thing's for sure: there's nothing quite like a smug, self-important, facile little tripe spewer to make me want to start tossing Molotovs, be they of any political persuasion, abstraction or distraction.

One is led to believe that Flanagan is glib enough to cause one to enter some sort of mental fugue state over women's roles in society. That's funny. From where I sit, she deserves to be dismissed out of hand and never again heard from.
In the first place, she's a fraud.

Still, the peeks into Flanagan's home are worse. "Paloma, Patrick is throwing up!" Flanagan used to tell her son's nanny. "She would literally run to his room, clean the sheets, change the pajamas, spread a clean towel on his pillow," Flanagan recalls. "I would stand in the doorway, concerned, making funny faces at Patrick to cheer him up." I put my kids in day care and I can't iron. But I've never stood in a doorway when my child was puking, and I resent being lectured to by someone who has.
That's Entertainment Weekly's Jennifer Reese (if this was Ben Domenech's blog, that wouldn't have been disclosed!), and she's making a whole lot of sense to me. See, I can tell you first hand what it's like to be raised by a stay-at-home mom, and Flanagan sounds like stay-at-home SUCK to me too.

But beyond that, Flanagan's fraudulence can be seen as smoothly blended with stupidity. When Colbert quipped about her being like a "wayback machine" to the 1950s, Flanagan gaily quipped that "at [her] house, it's the today machine."

Ahh, yes. Namechecking the 50s. That old canard. I don't know what it was like to live in the 50s--but I have a feeling that Craig Finn's dad once told him: "The 50s nearly killed me, let's not recall them quite so fondly."

But as little as I know about life in the fitties, Flanagan knows even less. It's pretty clear that she's uniquely positioned in the American caste system to rock it like the millieu de siecle style. Don't believe me? Paloma--the dutiful puke cleaner who came vacuum sealed inside Flanagan's little world.

But that's not the point.
This is: Caitlinn, sweetie, the 1950s are never coming back. I mean never. I think we can all admit that all those neat little nukeyewlar families with their single wage-earner dads were totally pretty. But that shizz has gone the way of the dinosaur. Whaa happen? Well, sure, everyone basically agreed that times were ripe in the post-war period to enjoy the sweet life and give birth to the most self-indulgent generation of Americans ever. But a funny thing happened: while the top one percent of the nation's wealthiest looked upon their work and deemed it good, they nevertheless decided that they wanted to keep right on stackin' that cheddar. And so they went right along, upturning our friends and families, shaking every little piece of loose change outta their pockets. Welcome to 2006, Caitie. America can't afford your world anymore.

See, darling, you got played, probably by the very people you hold up as paragons. Nowadays, for normal Americans to even survive, you have to come to an understanding, similar to the one we have at my house: I gots to get paid AND Wife of DCeiver gots to get paid. And even then, I gots to clean up my own puke. If your household could get the switch on,
Freaky Friday steez, you'd be documenting more corrections than Johnny Franzen. Despite what you've heard, it's actually REALLY EASY OUT THERE for pimps like you.

Aww. Don't feel bad, Caitlinn. It's just that I'm smarter and I'm better at this than you. There, there. Now, why don't you shut up and go bake me some cookies.


Techne said...

I've been rolling my eyes at her stuff in the Atlantic for years. The other thing about her worldview is, the 50s never existed as she thinks of them. You're so right to peg her lifestyle as the affluent, not the retro.

A. L. Deviant said...

Its totally a Dad's job to clean up puke. Utopian visions indeed.

Castor OiL said...

Does this mean my plans to meet the gang at Arnold's and work out of "my office" in the bathroom are misguided?


You still up for taking on the Malachi brothers at the demolition derby this Saturday? I'll bring the hair dryer.

SHAC said...

Oooh! I want cookies too!

That doesn't seem to relate to my father's version of the 50's, the one where the single mom took care of seven kids in the single floor house while dad worked his ass off to make ends meet. And they ate jello all the time because it was cheap.

I'm always impressed when some rich bitch writes a preachy, backasswards book. Oh, wait--I'm not.

jordan said...

and that hair! what was she thinking?!?

DC1974 said...

I don't know about all that.

As my father always said, people seem to care a lot more about stuff now, then when he and my mom were starting out. They both worked, had only one car, they car pooled. And were able to save my mother's entire paycheck for four years. The only time they went out was for McDonald's once a week.

Then when I was born she stopped working. We only had one TV. And never took vacations. And they only had two kids, one to replace each of them (population control) and exactly 4 years apart, so they wouldn't be in college at the same time.

With my grandparents, only my grandfather worked, traveling often 5 days a week. They rented one floor of a duplex, but my grandmother still had a house keeper and my grandfather had his shirts washed and ironed outside of the house. It was tough for all of them, but they did it because it was how they wanted to raise their kids.

Of all my friends at UVa and in my hometown in suburban Chicago (of the 1980s) very few had both parents working or came from families of divorce (in my hometown to this day, 75% of all kids live with both their birth parents).

It's neat that people in DC like to be all double income and buy houses way beyond their budget, drive the most expensive SUV they can, and send their kids to $30K/year elementary schools because you don't want them in public schools.

But it's not like its a requirement to spend money like their are no consequences and your kids need to be spoiled rotten. Not that the mother has to be the stay at home parent, but something's got to give when both parents work.

jordan said...

Christopher, do you think it's neat that some people in DC have to be "all double income" just so they can put food on the table for their children and pay their bills? If "something's gotta give" when both parents work, what about all the families where "something's gotta give" every day because both parents have to work? Unless you plan as specifically as your parents did, or unless you want to put all of the blame for the poor on the poor, you might have to consider the ability for a mother to be a stay-at-home mom as a luxury for a majority of families in America.

PK said...

Christopher, your post is kinda confusing. First of all, the paragraph about your grandparents... they had a housekeeper and had clothes washed elsewhere, and it was tough for all of them. Huh? I'm just not following you.

Second of all, the whole "it's neat that DC folks" blah blah blah part. It just doesn't make sense. It's one thing to work two jobs because you want a nice house and private school, but that vast majority of those in the DC area work two jobs because it's the difference between a moderately climate-controlled two-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood where you won't get mugged very often, and a roach-infested hellhole. It's a simple fact that real wages have stagnated (and actually decreased for the bottom half) while property values and rents have skyrocketed. Do a little research before bringing that "tsk tsk, you silly yuppies" shit in here.

Jbaby said...

Supposedly she backpedaled pretty hard in her book from that Atlantic "Nannyhood and apple pie" article, Techne. At least according to the NYT book review.