Psychologizing the kiddies and twisting their minds
And setting them up for membership in the Failure Society
Well, I’ve won another Nobel Prize. I’ve got so many now, I keep the medals in a box in the basement. I mail the checks straight to the IRS, they take what they want and deposit the leftovers in my bank account.
This Prize has to do with child psychology, and more importantly, cultural psychology.
Let’s start here. Some kids do have problems.
If a kid is walking to the grocery store through a hail of drive-by bullets, that’s a problem.
If his father is beating him up three times a month, that’s a problem.
If he has no father and his mother is working two jobs to keep the lights on and she’s rarely home, that’s a problem.
If breakfast every day is chocolate Snuffles and peanut butter pressed between two slices of plastic white bread, that’s a problem.
But I’m not talking about those problems. I’m talking about the fashion trend and the cultural imperative and the outright demand that kids ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE personal problems—and if they don’t, they’re out. They’re barred from belonging. They’re weird. They’re covering up something.
Once you install the need to have problems in a kid, once you convince him he has to be on that starter page, boom, with a leap he’s off and running. Because he has an active imagination.
He’ll go with that proposition, and all kinds of invention will follow.
“I’m trying to root out my systemic racism…climate change is going to kill us all…I think I want to be a girl…my mother doesn’t understand me…I may have early arthritis…I don’t like sports anymore…I’m having a crisis and I don’t know what it’s about…how can we stop people from cutting down trees…I don’t eat meat but I want to…I have neck pains at night…I was getting taller but now I’ve stopped…I may be too thin…we’re not letting in enough immigrants…”
Badges. Badges of belonging. Gotta settle on a good problem. Which one should I have today? Not having a problem is like going to school naked.
Back in the 1940s, when I was growing up, no kid had these problems. No kid was manufacturing problems.
That was before the Age of Psychologizing.
When I was a kid, there were foods I didn’t like. Unfortunately, they would appear on the dinner table. Chicken soup. String beans. Mashed potatoes. So my mother and I would argue, I would force down a forkful and a spoonful or two, and that would be it, until the next night, when we’d go at it again.
But it never occurred to me that this was a problem.
Now, YOU HAVE TO HAVE PROBLEMS is the gateway drug into all sorts of wretched crapola. It’s a set-up.
For a life of hand-wringing.
It’s entirely synthetic.
It’s a form of magic-making. Bad magic.