Did anyone see George Carlin's special on HBO, "Its Bad for Ya" last weekend?
Now, let me be clear, I find a lot of George's "humor" in his later years to be tired and... well... humorless, even though he is a keen observer of the foibles of human beings. His humorlessness notwithstanding, one section of his tirade on modern life in America caught my interest. He decries "a special kind of bullshit" that's taken hold in recent times in our culture: "Child Worship." Carlin defines this as an "excessive devotion to children by professional parents," otherwise referred to as "obsessive diaper sniffers," who are "over-managing their children and robbing them of their childhood." According to Carlin, "Even the simple act of playing has been taken away from children."
At one point, Carlin addresses one of my pet peeves, parents vicariously living through their children. In a most painful bullseye moment, he asks: "Isn't the pressure to succeed placed on kids for the sake of the parents just a sophisticated form of child abuse?" Yes, George, I say it is.
George goes on to say that the so-called "self-esteem movement" has been a complete failure because children never get beyond the artificially indoctrinated notion that they're "special," when in fact, children are "incomplete works." I frequently talk and blog about this "specialness training" as the genesis of narcissism. (Carlin states that studies show "all sociopaths have high self-esteem," a nonclinical misuse of both terms, but his point is understood.)
"A lot of kids never get to hear the truth about themselves," he continues, "until they're in their twenties when their boss fires them," or, I would add, until their love partners leave them because they don't want to be the all-praising parents for a grown-up person.
However jaded George Carlin, now 70 years old, may be, I do agree that child worship is bad for ya!