Das Krapital

Petula On Bethesda: You Might As Well Just Raise Your Kids In The Fucking Sudan

25927_340718102691_622842691_3495148_4609213_nWhen a female journalist of any distinction has kids, she faces a wrenching decision: return to writing about whatever she spent the first decade or two of her career writing about, or start dribbling out the sort of solipsistic inanities about having kids and living in the suburbs that so reliably bring home the page views for most major media outlets.

Post Metro columnist Petula Dvorak has been hailed by this newspaper for trying to "have it all," so to speak, alternating columns on things that matter with columns on playing with kids in the snow, instilling healthy eating habits in kids at a young age, obsessively volunteering at kids' schools, wondering if kids should really be denied the pleasure of being served chocolate milk at schools just because obsessive parents are so hellbent instilling healthy heating habits in their kids, wearing high heels despite being someone with kids and the attendant back pain and then suffering from bunions as a result, and a column I did not read but feel fairly confident mentioned "kids" headlined, "Blind devotion to pets not best course for all." As with most decent journalists who allow their work to degenerate into easily-mocked childrearing porn, I intended to mock her long long ago, but since she didn't appear to be an immediate threat to the country, she fell off my "priority" list.

Until today! Here's how she starts:

There are many ways to kill a childhood.

War or a personal tragedy can fast-forward a child into adulthood. And so can the crushing reality of childhood poverty. Three in 10 living in the nation's capital are feeling the weight of adult problems every day.

Those kids rarely have a carefree moment. The pressure of their situation squeezes them constantly, putting the joy of a simple exhale beyond their reach.

But wait a minute. Isn't that almost exactly what we hear from many of their more privileged peers?

They describe a life in which they aren't given the time to just go out back and play. They are crushed by their obligations and crippled by stress.

That was the theme in the "Race to Nowhere" documentary, screened last week in Bethesda by Walt Whitman High School's "stressbusters committee."

Someone put this lady on the Editorial Board!

Comments

  1. #1

    Please make Petula columns a running feature.

  2. #2

    Hey Moe, did you really write "solipsistic inanities?" You are a chump. BTW, Dvorak lives in the city. Kids are important. Parenting (as opposed to schools) is under-covered as a beat. And you are not exactly her reader. Move on. This stuff makes you look bad.

  3. #3

    The column would have been perfectly unobjectionable if Dvorak hadn't decided to compare the actual problems of poor kids with the entirely self-inflicted stresses of upper middle class ones.

    Do you actually think, Glen Justice, that kids at Whitman "rarely have a carefree moment" in the same way that kids living below the poverty line do?

  4. #4

    @Glen
    Nuh-uh. You didn't just wrap that string of inanities around calling someone a "chump." Anyway, how the fuck would you know what she wants to read about?

  5. #5

    Hey Glen Justice, I didn't accuse her of living in the suburbs or even inanity. That was a generalization, about professional female writers, and being (an albeit childless) one I sympathize. Anyway, I like some of Petula's columns -- in stark contrast to, say, Caitlin Flanagan she seems like a person with whom it would be fun to have a few beers, if she could tear herself away from volunteering at her kids' school for long enough -- but this premise was (perhaps in part deliberately?) ridiculous. From my perspective, failing to point that out would have been professionally negligent.

    I strongly disagree that parenting is an underexplored topic in the contemporary media, but to each his/her own.

  6. #6

    Cue Dvorak column on how people hate her for writing about kids AND politics in her columns in 3...2...

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