Joyce Carol Oates has a book review over here
on Steven Mintz’s Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood.
It sounds like an interesting book. But this bit here is the bit I want to go off on:
In his penultimate chapter, “Parental Panics and the Reshaping of Childhood”, Mintz examines the often hysterical reactions of adults to purported dangers threatening their children, from unfounded accusations of sexual molestation to a general fear of abduction, internet pornography, sexual promiscuity, drug taking, and the possible link between “grunge, hip-hop, and youth violence”. As American society has grown ever more conservative in the past several decades, it would seem that adults’ hostility towards youth – “rooted in fear of disorder, and loss of control; fear of ageing, and envy of life not yet squandered”, as the social critic Edgar Z. Friendenberg eloquently remarked – has been disguised as efforts to “help” the young.
Because that is the thing: that Conservative hostility toward their own children, the adversarial relationship all their child-rearing books seem to start with – to accept as a matter of course – that of course your children will be small demons who will try to cheat, lie, steal, deceive, and triumph over you if you don’t beat them into submission, that of course you must crush your children at every turn or they will turn into rapists and thieves –
Well, it goes hand in glove with this attitude toward children, doesn’t it?
For all those who believe juveniles are never culpable enough to deserve capital punishment, consider this: Not everyone in hell is over the age of 18.
(The Rev. Mark Creech, as quoted by s.z. on World O’Crap
Yep. Jesus tortures babies, Jesus burns toddlers in a lake of fires, so why shouldn’t Wingers beat them with sticks? And why shouldn’t Texas give fifteen year olds lethal injections?
Little jerks got it coming, after all.
Someone has to teach them a lesson.
(What’s that you say? Do unto others, you say? Turn the other cheek, you say? Suffer the little children, you say? Forgive your brother, you say?
What are you, some sort of damn liberal?)
Well, hatred for the other, for the criminal, for the sinner – that’s one thing, and it’s also something we need to fix.
But these folks are afraid of their own children.
These folks see their own children as the Other.
And no kidding: they really do.
Children are the enemy to conservative parents. That’s why they’re so adamant about the need to beat them. Children have to be beaten if they’re going to be controlled, say conservative parents.
(Forgive me, by the way, if I don’t use the cute word spank here. “Spank,” as defined by John Rosamund, means one or two smacks with an open hand on the clothed bottom of a child under the age of five. That’s not what these parents are talking about in any respect. These parents are talking about beating children.)
Well, what do you need to control? Do you need to control someone you respect? Someone you love? Someone you see as a member of your family, another human being?
No, you control the enemy. You control the dangerous other.
Both women and children fall into that camp, for the Levitican Christian – at least according to their rhetoric.
1 hour ago