January 18, 2011

David Brooks thinks Amy "Chua would do better to see the classroom as a cognitive break from the truly arduous tests of childhood."

"Where do they learn how to manage people? Where do they learn to construct and manipulate metaphors? Where do they learn to perceive details of a scene the way a hunter reads a landscape? Where do they learn how to detect their own shortcomings? Where do they learn how to put themselves in others’ minds and anticipate others’ reactions?"

Brooks is talking about the much-talked-about book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

17 comments:

Scott M said...

My sense so far is that this book does mention a few extreme parenting strategies, but those were cherry-picked for sensationalism.

On the other hand, I do believe that today's parents have been conditioned toward mediocrity by 30 years of shitty philosophy. If it takes something extreme to get parents today to step up their game, so be it.

We need little league baseball and soccer games that keep score, for starters.

bandmeeting said...

Where do they learn to construct and manipulate metaphors?

Like how the crease in a man's pants is proof of his ability to perform well as President of the United States?

I'd just as soon they not learn if that is all they can come up with.

On an unrelated note, I am getting tired of having to re-register my password with Blogger ever other week or so. Perhaps they need to find somebody with a great crease and put them in charge of remembering passwords.

Leo Ladenson said...

Is David Brooks still pretending to be a conservative? Since he has hopped on the boat with all this brain-science stuff (like, unfortunately, the great Tom Wolfe), he's simply uninteresting. What kind of conservative thinks that all this pop neurology is going to redefine society and politics, nay humanity itself? I'd be embarrassed for him--if he hadn't already beclowned himself with that particularly grating acronym "BoBo."

Triangle Man said...


Like how the crease in a man's pants is proof of his ability to perform well as President of the United States?


Don't like the cut of his jib?

EDH said...

David Brooks on Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

What about the "Battle Hymn of the Grizzly Mom"?

She's stomping out the wretches where the evil lies in store

Battle Hymn of Sarah Palin

She's a cold blast from Alaska ingrained with common sense,
She's not a Harvard lawyer but she knew what the Founders meant.
A cold blast from the north that freezes Congress in their tracks,
With God and the Tea Party, she's gonna take it back.

Sarah Palin, she won't listen to their bunk,
Sarah Palin coming South to hunt some skunk,
Sarah Palin - she'll throw 'em all in jail,
And when she gets to Washington, it'll be cold as hell.

Sarah has the wisdom to walk through an open door,
She's stomping out the wretches where the evil lies in store.
She will scrub the floors and sweep the riff-raff into cracks,
With God and the Tea Party, she's gonna take it back.

Sarah Palin, she won't listen to their bunk,
Sarah Palin coming South to hunt some skunk,
Sarah Palin - she'll throw 'em all in jail,
And when she gets to Washington, it'll be cold as hell.

SPOKEN WORD:

Congress pats themselves from some new bill they just passed
I watch as my freedom slowly runs through an hourglass
They think they spend our money better than we do
But they can talk until they're blue and old
'Cuz if they ever gave us anything
They always wanted something in return...Sarah knows!

OPERA-STYLE:

Saraaaaah's marching onnnnnnnn onnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

fivewheels said...
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ricpic said...

I don't see how you can believe, as Brooks does, that groups are better at problem solving than individuals when the members of these groups are fine tuned at picking up each others vibes...and still celebrate diversity, which Brooks does.

Of course I do understand. Keeping all those incompatible balls in the air is the only way to be a nondeviationist.

Progressively Defensive said...

Great article. Brooks is going through some kind of "chill up his leg for Obama" phase where he's totally ignoring the why of private enterprise and USA prosperity and embracing government directed egalitarianism, but he writes some good non-partisan articles on the human condition. He has a long one in the New Yorker this issue.

Progressively Defensive said...

Yeah that was unclear, the "vibe-awareness" aspect of group efficiency. I think the point is that when groups get along effectively, being agreeably disagreeable, i.e., well, engaging in civil discourse toward solving a problem, it is best. You could have a group of high I.Q.s who are not sensitive to each other and perhaps create a hostility that undermines creative thinking?

He makes the great point that brains and credentials will only get you so far in life; we are social animals.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Wait. Chua rejected her kids' birthday cards?

Oh, man, there is no way in heck my mom (who was pretty formidable and demanding) would get another card ever from me, if she refused one. That Chua woman is lucky her kids didn't get some paint from the garage and write obscenities all over her good wood furniture, because I would've. Also, I would've run away from home after that and never come back, even if it were the dead of winter. I mean, crifinently.

You don't send back or reject a gift, unless it's a valuable present from a man you don't want to lead on, or an engagement ring after a broken engagement. You especially never refuse a gift from a kid, much less your own kid.

I could go with some of the crazy parental drama, especially since a lot of that goes both ways. But that is over the line.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think there are two problems with his thesis.

(1) He assumes that her daughters did not have these opportunities, but it is clear in the book that they did. Perhaps he is arguing that there should have been more. In that case, some idea of what Brooks thinks constitutes adequate child social interaction would be good.

(2) He assumes that the only way to develop these skills is with same age peers and that such skills are transferable to adulthood. I would argue that primarily developing social skills in the artificial environment of same age peers is stunting, and that the keys to mastering that artificial social environment are not applicable to adulthood. (At least for the adults who do grow up. Also, perhaps less applicable for women than for men.)

Freeman Hunt said...

In the book, the card thing is funny. She rejects them because both girls just folded pieces of paper in half and scribbled "Happy Birthday :)" on them with ballpoint pen.

paul a'barge said...

Where do they learn to satisfy men (their husbands/lovers)?

Because after all that training and up-bringing and victory-in-competition, where are they going to learn how to submit to and satisfy their husbands?

Suburbanbanshee said...

Still, she got a card. Most mothers I know don't get birthday cards from their kids until adulthood, and then they're boughten.

Of course, most mothers I know conceal their birthdays and ages from their kids until they give up on trying to seem younger than they are, so there you go.

Freeman Hunt said...

Still, she got a card. Most mothers I know don't get birthday cards from their kids until adulthood, and then they're boughten.

What?! Not getting a birthday card from the kids is a major #spousefail. You help your kid make a card for your spouse when they're little (even if all the child can do is scribble on it), and then, as they get older, they make the cards themselves. I thought everyone did it that way.

Of course, most mothers I know conceal their birthdays and ages from their kids until they give up on trying to seem younger than they are, so there you go.

They do? I don't know even one mother who does that.

Henry said...
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Mountain said...

Freeman,
Is there anything Chua did that you didn't think was the cat's meow?