Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Last week, I wrote a pithy item (aren’t they all!) about Christopher Hitchens drinking openly at a soon-to-be-televised children’s poetry reading. Kinda reminded me of the trope about the clown who, after working the children’s party, with makeup still on, lights a Marlboro and opens himself a Schlitz. Except that Hitch didn’t wait till afterwards.

En passant, I mentioned who else was on the panel, which brought me to Mary Eberstadt, journalist, mom, and author of Home Alone America, a very brave book on the overlooked consequences—as the subtitle has it—"of day care, behavioral drugs, and other parent substitutes." But what I said exactly was that Eberstadt was a "professional troublemaker and author of an excellent new book on day care and other ways parents escape their obligations."

Enter Mr. Anonymous, a GS reader, who in the posting section insists "You may not insinuate that I am "escaping" from my obligations because I send my children to day care. I do not believe Ms. Eberstadt's book is stating that either. Sure if we were back in the 50's and 60's you could attack child care-acquiring parents because back then it was not necessary for both parents to work. But here in the real world, it is.. . ."

Mr. Annoyed Reader then goes on to demand an apology—though first he realizes he’s been wrongly accusing Jonathan Last of having written the item in question. Oh, he says, "apologies to JV," leaving off the L, "Skinner is the weenie I am angry with. See how easy that is David?"

Easy to apologize, he means. Now, I realize the blog is pretty much a loose-tie forum. Still it strikes me as bad manners to go around calling someone a weenie and bandying about their first name, while hiding behind the "Anonymous" handle. Also having reread Eberstadt’s chapter on day care, I am satisfied that my formulation was faithful if unnecessarily provocative, for which I most certainly do not apologize. As to the rightness or necessity of day care, I will not even consider visiting that topic until Mr. Anonymous tells me who he really is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Had to be Anonymous...my password is/was not working or I just plain forgot it.

Drew is the name and yes, I displayed "unnecessary" bad manners in refering to you as a weenie. I really was trying to be polite in the midst of my uncontrolled fury.

I apologize.

But what my problem was...and I am going on a limb here because I did not read Eberstadt's book...it seemed to be your "unnecessarily provocative" opinion that fired me up. If I am wrong...again I apologize.

If it is your opinion that we are "escaping our obligations", then I would love to discuss because I find that to be very offensive and hurtful.

My obligations to my children are to provide them with unconditional love, a comfortable, safe home, food, clothing, fun, spiritual direction, and also provide the best education I can afford. Nowhere in my mind can I reconcile your opinion that mom should stay home as being an obligation to my children.

Discuss here or email me.