Wimps in Snow Stay Home
Click here to skip the blather and hit the beach. (Then scroll to bottom.)
Welcome to the land of Minnesota wimps. For two days the weather yakkers have been shilling the coming storm, so the grocery stores have been jammed with people (yours truly included) filling their larders with caribou quarters and fresh blubber. Schools have closed, the evening's events have been cancelled, and probably only the poor old postman will stagger through. Now when I was a girl . . .
Well, as our local wing-nut in residence at the Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten, writes today, our new wimpdom is likely the fault of the "self-esteem movement."
I agree with Kersten that there was over-correcting for what some of us experienced as cruel and at times sadistic treatment from teachers -- competition that humiliated more than educated, felony-level punishments meted out for misdemeanor- level offenses, and in my grade school at least, ridicule and shame for things beyond our control -- the boy who smelled like swamp gas (in retrospect, clearly learning disabled) the girl with crooked yellow teeth (the only "poor" kid in my class, being raised by a single mother).
So it made sense -- and still does -- to try to make children feel better about themselves, not worse; to encourage, not humiliate. If this got taken to extremes, as most good corrective ideas do, and some simpleton teachers were pinning "I am special" badges on every student, as Kersten reports, it was well-intended nonsense. And probably explains Britney, Paris and Anna Nicole, who are decidely not special.
But Kersten, as usual, then takes a flying leap into inanity and attributes the decline of our culture -- the results of a study showing a rise in narcissism -- to this "self-esteem movement."
Well, I agree that we live in a sleazy all-about-me culture, lacking modesty and dignity, being led, or misled, by a self-serving moron-in-chief, and maybe this all came to be as a result of everyone being told in school that they were special, and that's probably why today everyone thinks they're too special to go out in this blizzard. But somehow I think there were a few other forces at play.
There's an impressive swirl of snow out there now and I'm sitting in my cozy kitchen feeling pretty special myself for stocking the larder, and grateful for the excuse of snow to indulge my inner wimp. (And aware that my kitchen is cozy due to some version of fossil fuel, linking me like a junkie to my dealer, Don't F*** With Me Dick. And BTW, who ever thought it was a good idea to send him to make friends in the war zone?)
In places like California there's no excuse for this sort of indulgence and so they hit the beach. Thanks to Bvance for sending along this clip from AlterNet. Personally, I like the specificity of "impeach" over the amorphous concept of peace.
Maybe later, when the storm in over, I'll go make a field full of snow angels. Maybe, like a ouija board, they'll spell out a message.