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The Infantilizing of Infants: The Great American Tragedy

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 10:03 EDT
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Reading through Wonkette this holiday, I found this one post that was too good to bury the links on a holiday post. See, most conservatives feign love and heart for “Sesame Street” when demanding we cut PBS’s funding, but not Mark Steyn. He hates “Sesame Street”, because he feels it’s never too soon to teach kids that the world is a cruel place and you can’t trust anyone else, ever. He shared these feelings, and I missed them sadly, back in October:

 Unlike Mitt, I loathe Sesame Street. It bears primary responsibility for what the Canadian blogger Binky calls the de-monsterization of childhood — the idea that there are no evil monsters out there at the edges of the map, just shaggy creatures who look a little funny and can sometimes be a bit grouchy about it because people prejudge them until they learn to celebrate diversity and help Cranky the Friendly Monster go recycling. That is not unrelated to the infantilization of our society.

The infantilization of infants is truly a terrible problem! Why, back in Mark’s day, kids were forced to sleep in brambles and were rewarded with good behavior with kicks to the teeth, to teach them life’s most important lesson, which is that life is cruel and harsh. It’s the easiest, quickest way to make sure your kids don’t have an ounce of kindness in their hearts. Ideally, by the time a child is 6 years old, he’s already set permanently on a path towards beating his wife if she doesn’t have dinner ready for him precisely when he arrives home, kicking puppies for their insufferable tendency to simper cutely, and being able to rant for hours on your right wing radio show about your extensive enemies list that includes everyone but angry old white guys and submissive wives.

To prevent his children from being sucked into the pussification of America, most recently seen in people weeping like weaklings over the Sandy Hook victims and this insufferable liberal practice of gift-giving at Christmas, Mark Steyn has a program:

  • Most babies are given stuffed animals or soft blankies to cuddle in their sleep. Steyn’s children, who are expected to sleep on 2x4s (not in a row—each child gets a single 2×4 and has to figure out for himself how to lay on it), are permitted a single cuddle toy made out of barbed wire and brambles. Failure to squeeze this toy in gratitude for Daddy’s generosity until you bleed results in a night sleeping in a tub of water.
  • School uniforms have been deemed overly coddling, so Steyn’s children are homeschooled while wearing hairshirts.
  • Recess has been replaced with 15 minutes of self-flogging while admitting you looked at pictures of naked ankles.
  • There are no family pets in the Steyn home, because pets cause feelings of caring and affection. Children who request pets are given a batch of small rodents whose heads must be bashed in by dinnertime, or said rodents will be dinner.
  • Hugging and kissing of children only makes them soft. But the Steyns aren’t child-beating monsters, so they don’t just hit them when they come near! Instead, they keep children at a safe distance by applying a neck cone, designed for dogs to each child. These work surprisingly well at keeping you from touching another person, ever.

Just kidding! I doubt Steyn does any of this. He can probably pontificate about the evils of teaching children basic concepts like kindness and friendship because, I suspect, his wife did all the actual child-rearing, and thus all the actual supplying of toys and TV shows that are actually appropriate for children. One of the many benefits of being a dudely conservative wanker is being able to pontificate ignorantly about what is good for kids, safe in the knowledge that you will never actually have to put any of your idiotic theories into practice, because you don’t actually do any raising of children yourself.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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