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November 22, 2005

When Thin-Skinned Parents Attack!

Don't you even dare suggest that a child's public behavior should meet any sort of standard, oh dear me, no. You see, if you quietly suggest that perhaps children should not run around like Speedy Gonzales whilst screaming at the top of their lungs and bouncing off display cases, then some parents take that as a personal attack and start returning fire.

The amusing part of this story is that this little culture war takes place in a liberal enclave in Chicago, described as "once an outpost of edgy artists and hip gay couples but now a hot real estate market for young professional families shunning the suburbs." The owner fits in with the area, as he has made it his personal goal to only hire people who can walk to work.

However, the owner moved his shop not too long ago, and the owner says that his new clientele is "whiter, wealthier and louder." He posted the sign about manners because "Part of parenting skills is teaching kids they behave differently in a restaurant than they do on the playground" and "If you send out positive energy, positive energy returns to you. If you send out energy that says I'm the only one that matters, it's going to be a pretty chaotic world."

The absolute best part is his description of his antagonists as "former cheerleaders and beauty queens" who "have a very strong sense of entitlement". The article also notes that "In an open letter to the community, he warned of an "epidemic" of anti-social behavior."

Thus we see what happens when self-esteem triumphs over good manners. Don't you dare criticize behavior, you'll injure Little Johnny's self-image! Lord knows, we need more untethered self-esteem in children and less genuine reason to feel good about themselves, right?

As Lileks says today, the owner "seems to be peeving the right people."

(Also note that he corrects himself on a critical matter that I posted about yesterday.)


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posted by Harry Callahan at 06:07 AM

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