Mothers of Intervention

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A new study of mothers by the Institute for American Values (formerly the Royal Society for the Study of Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet) gets the follwing write-up in the Washington Times:

Ninety-five percent of mothers say they wish "American culture made it easier to instill positive values in children," she noted….

American popular culture—particularly entertainment and advertising—also concerned mothers. More than 80 percent agreed that society as a whole should do more to protect children from "adult" aspects of the world.

The Times summary is here. And the study itself is here.

What the world needs now is more educational TV? As a former child–and once and future parent–I hope not. Let the cultural filibuster begin.

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  1. goddamn that suck piece is brilliant.

  2. Ninety-five percent of mothers say they wish “American culture made it easier to instill positive values in children,”

    I agree. I want our culture to spend more time teaching my daughter that homosexuality is fine, sex isn’t bad, evolution is a fact, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns are a better source of moral teaching than the bible.

  3. This article is a right-wing attempt to hijack “mommy” social engineering from the loony left. The fascists are all for censorship, and the direct collective involvement of conditioning children . Why not coat it all in the warm ‘n fuzzies, and get the mommies on board?

    “American popular culture — particularly entertainment and advertising — also concerned mothers. More than 80 percent agreed that society as a whole should do more to protect children from “adult” aspects of the world.”

    Yep. It’s “society’s” responsibility to “protect children”. Can’t argue with that logic.

  4. When I look at popular culture I can’t figure out anymore what the hell it’s trying to say, except that women should be blondes and their tits should be bigger. Beyond that I’m pretty well lost.

  5. Let me get this straight: society as a whole needs to work harder to protect other people’s children from those broader elements of society that those particular parents find unsuitable for their particular children.

    Hey kids, listen up: Anyone who agrees with that hogwash sucks cock by choice.

    Quite frankly, I don’t plan on over-shielding my kids from our culture. If other parents want to go all “Blast From the Past” puritan on their little hellspawn, they’ll get no protest from me (hey, one less annoying little pissant in the theater!). However, I wouldn’t dream of asking them to help shield my kids; as such, I won’t help shield theirs if it conflicts with the freedoms of others and/or my own decisions on how to raise my kids. If you want me to help raise your little bastards, fine—my rates start at $50.00/hr.

  6. This finding from the study interested me:

    >”Mothers are nearly evenly split as to whether they want the father of their children more actively involved in their upbringing.

    Women who are poorer or single moms want fathers more involved, which makes sense. But for all the griping one hears in the media about how fathers don’t pull their share when it comes to parenting, it seems that half the women don’t want dads more actively involved. And 76 percent of the women surveyed reported that they did all or the majority of the daily care for their children.

  7. I don’t think I would win any “World’s greatest dad” awards (my house is a mess for one thing), but I have made it a point not to shy away from any topic that my daughter has asked about. What I have found is that kids are pretty accepting and seem to appreciate not being patronized. In this way, my daughter hearing a Lil’ Jon (sp?) song on her bus in the morning has led to some interesting discussions of human biology.
    If you act like things are evil and powerful, then you give these cultural elements an authority that they do not earn on their own. My daughter thinks Lil’ Jon songs are silly and she is right.

  8. These studies are garbage anyway. 2000 mothers sounds like a representative number until you consider that the country has almost 300 million people.

  9. Parenting is damn hard work and most parents are just too damn lazy to do it themselves. It does NOT take a village. I do not want and will not have the village idiots raising my daughter.

    Well, she just turned 20 so I’m about done with the raising aspect of it.

  10. David, thanks for not understanding statistics

    yes the entire country has about 300 million people, but that’s not what the sample purports to represent

    2000 mothers in the sample represent far fewer than 300 million people because the statistical population is the total number of mothers in the country

    try again

  11. as a mother of two daughters, I have the strange idea that it might be my job to protect them against such elements of modern culture as I disapprove of. call me crazy. of course, I am a democrat, so who knows.

  12. 2000 mothers sounds like a representative number until you consider that the country has almost 300 million people.

    But . . .but . . . it’s a representative sample population!

    As we’ve seen many times before, opinion surveys conducted or overtly sponsored by special-interest groups of any ilk are invariably worthless. There is so much sample selection, question phrasing and order bias in this survey that it doesn’t tell us much of anything other than that the pollsters were very good at eliciting the responses they wanted. Hey, mothers love and are concerned about their kids – alert the media!

  13. “Yep. It’s “society’s” responsibility to “protect children”. Can’t argue with that logic.”

    Uh, yeah, you’re right. Social animals organize themselves in a manner that provides protection for the most vulnerable members, particularly the young. Think of zebras herds keeping the foals in the middle of the group.

    You’re going to have to do better than “society shouldn’t protect children.” That’s what societies do. If you don’t want to be involved in protecting children, you should drop out and go all Grizzly Adams.

  14. As long as you aren’t ringing that Pavlovian bell of “Need More Legislation!” in front of Congress, I don’t think it matters if you’re a Democrat or not. In fact, I give you props for that, if that’s what you’re inferring.

    At least you recognize it’s your job, not some Hillary Clintonian “It takes a village” BS.

  15. Belle waring, being that you think you are the ultimate protector of your daughters. If you had two sons, would you let them sleep over at the netherland ranch?

  16. Ninety-five percent of mothers say they wish “American culture made it easier to instill positive values in children,” she noted….

    And would these mothers be among those supporting the largest industry in America today, the pornography business? Because somebody’s creating the demand for softporn DVDs and sex toys—and it ain’t their men.

  17. joe:

    Read the article, and tell me if you can identify anyone talking about individual responsibility. Is that concept so bizarre that it takes a Grizzly Adams to point it out? Are you saying that we’re better off acting like herd animals?

    “Zebras”.. man, that’s good..

  18. Joe,
    I think the question is, protect children from what? I think that most people would agree that children(all people) should be protected from being murdered, raped, robbed, etc. and enabled to grow to adulthood. Does watching a TV show, or listening to a CD, prevent a child from living to adulthood?

    Biologist,

    I think the spin that is invariably placed on the these studies necessitates using a larger sample size. As with other studies, the small numbers get quoted as “85% of mothers think….”. The implication being 85% of all mothers share a given viewpoint. I don’t think it helps the the study only sought opinions from mothers with kids under 18. By doing so, it leaves out those whose children have grown up healthy and stable despite such negative pop culture influences.

  19. David:

    those might be valid criticisms, but the manner in which you phrased your first criticism was not. you were confusing which statistical population the statistical sample belonged to.

    apologies for rudeness, I must have been channelling HE WHOSE NAME MUST NOT BE POSTED (Gary Gunnels)

    Mark B.’s criticisms might be valid also, we just can’t tell without intimate knowledge of their methodology

    so it all amounts to opinions at this point.

  20. The survey also showed that 88.4 percent of mothers agree with the statement “I am confident that I can raise my children to be the kind of people I want them to be despite any negative influences in our culture.”

  21. MNG,

    “Are you saying that we’re better off acting like herd animals?” I suppose that depends on what you’re defining as “acting like herd animals.” I’ll come out right now against pooping while standing in a large crowd. But on a very general level, the adults incorporating efforts to protect the young into their behavior is a necessary and innate function of any individual in a society.

  22. joe:

    I find anthropology very interesting and, from what little I know, agree that man is a social animal. That said, we generally have instincts to come to the aid and protect those who aren’t our own. Generally.

    But I see a big difference between an individual acting out on those instincts completely out of free will, and “society”, through the threat of deadly force, stealing resources from shmuck A to help raise schmuck B’s kids.

    In other words, this species-preserving “spark” you speak of is altruism if acted on through free will, otherwise it’s simple coercion.

  23. Biologist,

    Re-reading my first post, you’re right. I couldn’t find any data for mothers over 18 with children under 18, so I went with general pop, which was way too large and hurt my point. In any case, I always question the validity of studies and polls.

  24. David, there’s nothing wrong and everything right about critically questioning studies and polls.

    For the record, the children can kiss my gluteus maximus. I want to watch South Park and porn (not necessarily in that order). Their parents should change the channel, cancel their cable/ satellite service, and lock the cabinet door on their own video & dildo collection.

    Eric Cartman: “Mom, you’d tell me if you’d ever been in a German Schisse video, wouldn’t you?”

    Mrs. Cartman: “Of course, dear.”

  25. I find it interesting that only 41% of the sample worked full time, and that some parts of the report gave specific percentages and others just sort of had a summary paragraph.

    Being a stats reporting guy, whenever someone hides their numbers behind a summary paragraph, the numbers did not show the data in accordance with the author’s bias.

  26. I agree with Joe. Society has a responsibility to protect our children not only from being murdered and eaten by lions, but also from tits, beer and gay sitcom characters.

    To this end, I propose that Congress create a new TV station solely for educating children called “Zebravision”. This will feature 24 hour edutaining shows that will teach our kids to stay away from members of both the opposite and the same sex, that violence never happens and if they should ever feel threatened a state-sponsored authority figure will be ever present to protect them, that ingesting or inhaling anything not on the soon-to-be-created “Food Zebramid” will kill you, and that the only consequences for their actions will be a time-out because being spearated from the collective is far worse than an asswhoopin’.

  27. joe,
    Baby zebras watch adult zebras do it out in the open on the Serengeti, let alone seeing zebra nipples during the Zebra Bowl.

    I?m all for protecting children from predators, violence and crime. As for protecting them from images on a flickering box with a power switch and a mandatory V-Chip, I think parents can handle that much on their own. Funny how the right?s buying into Hillary?s It Takes a Village.

  28. I have a proposal.

    I’ll let them protect my children from sex and swearing if they’ll let me teach their children that there’s no God.

    Deal?

  29. Actually, MNG, many social animals utilize coercion on the occasions when an individual gets out of line.

    Stretch, “I agree with Joe. Society has a responsibility to protect our children not only from being murdered and eaten by lions, but also from tits, beer and gay sitcom characters.”

    Then you’re not agreeing with me. I didn’t put forth a position on beer and titties, just took issue with a commenter’s logic. That’s where the “you’re going to have to do better” line comes. But keep working at it.

    Same with you, Mo. There are numerous good arguments against the right’s Ned Flanders teevee regulations, but none of them – none of them – relate to the proposition that human beings have no obligation to look out for other people’s children.

  30. So much to comment on, where to begin?

    First, does the Motherhood Project see a need to protect children from Moonies?

    Second, mothers tend to be overprotective. But why stop at pop culture? Imagine all the child deaths we could prevent each year if we banned cars!

    Third, the Institute for American Values is one of the sponsors of the survey. If there was ever a Theocon organization, that’d be it. They openly admit to desiring to use the power of the state to force everybody to live “moral” lives.

    Forth, Joe… You should be careful who you’re defending when you jerk your knee. I highly doubt you would advocate a theocrat position. We’re not talking about Hilary-style TV reform. This is a Theocon project.

  31. THIS JUST IN….

    98% of mothers want their cake and eat it too.
    2% just want booze and cigerettes while their children play with scissors in the street.

  32. Joe, I was clearly being sarcastic. I realize that doesn’t always translate well to the internet, so I apologize if you thought I was actually agreeing with you or that you were actually asserting a position on beer and titties.

    Sincerely though, any decent society will of course have an interest in protecting the children of that society, propagation of the species and what not. It’s done because it makes functional sense, not because of some sort of nebulous “obligation”. Further, to equate (even if, perhaps, you only did so by ommission) the physical protection of children from harm with the desire to cloister them from all unpleasant facets of our society or, worse, to define what is and is not acceptable for others according to your own personal beliefs is pure hogwash. You’re going to have to do better than that. But keep working at it.

  33. This is a special interest group whose special interests haven’t changed in 5,000 years. BFD.

  34. And who do you have to thank for those Titties n’ Beer?! All together now: “Thank you, Zappa.”

  35. joe,
    Did I ever say that we don’t have obligations to protect our children (not to mention adults). In fact I said, “I?m all for protecting children from predators, violence and crime,” in my sarcastic comment. But even among herd animals, the final duty of protection is from the mother, not the rest of the herd.

    Plus, what Stretch said.

  36. Another way of saying this is: the mothers in this survey want to make sure their kids are never, ever exposed to any thoughts or ideas which the mommies in question find repulsive. Having been raised in the redneck part of the South, I wonder how many of the mothers I knew growing up would have tried to ban ‘Sesame Street’ for teaching kids that it’s okay to be a nigger-lover. “Respect mah Southern values, goddammit!”

  37. My fifth point: There’s a lot of underlying culture shock at work in the US. In my lifetime, numerous aspects of culture have gone from illegal to common. This takes its toll on the psyche of those unable to handle a rapidly changing environment.

    US culture is in a massive state of flux right now. A lot of people can’t accept the fact that things change.

    Also, it’s dangerous to try to tap that angst for political gain. Mobs whipped up into a frenzy are hard to control.

  38. “Further, to equate (even if, perhaps, you only did so by ommission) the physical protection of children from harm with the desire to cloister them from all unpleasant facets of our society or, worse, to define what is and is not acceptable for others according to your own personal beliefs is pure hogwash.”

    I never did any such thing, by omission or commission. I pointed out a logical flaw. You read into that a position I don’t advocate. Your bad.

    You too, kmw. I never defended anybody. I actually stated my opposition to the position you read into my comments. Your bad.

  39. I wish they’d call me when they’re calling mothers. I’d like to provide a little balance. I’d like to tell them how I’m a soccer mom and a parent of an honor student, and that I’m not at all concerned about popular culture, because EVERYTHING is open for discussion at my house. My kids are not afraid to speak their minds, and they do so often, but in the end they make pretty good decisions for themselves. I just ain’t worried.

  40. Joe,

    I started typing my comment before your Ned comment appeared. If you had qualified your statement earlier, perhaps misunderstandings could have been avoided. It’s not my bad, because I had no reason to believe this was anything other than another “must disagree with libertarians” post.

  41. Joe,

    Furthermore, I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, given your reaction to election day moral voters. Your tangents prior to the “Ned” comment looked a lot like you were ok with “for the children” arguments, which didn’t sound like the Joe we know and love.

    I don’t think anyone here believes children should be wholesale abandoned. Why make it the major point of your argument? Is that how little you think of libertarians?

  42. “Ninety-five percent of mothers say they wish “American culture made it easier to instill positive values in children,” she noted…”

    I once read a study showing that in sixty-three percent of the cases in which a man shot his wife with a handgun, the woman, “didn’t know when to quit.”

  43. Joe, we’re not really arguing in my mind. But to clarify my position…

    In response to a special interest group’s desire to regulate television, MNG wrote:

    “Yep. It’s “society’s” responsibility to “protect children”. Can’t argue with that logic.”

    Your initial response to that (and tell me if my paraphrasing, made in an effort of clarity, is wrong here) was to point out that societies, in general, protect their young from harm using zebras (why zebras?) as and example, ergo MNG’s statement was too broad.

    Of course, the omission of your disapproval for the actual topic at hand (having nothing to do with either physically protecting children or zebras)led me to make my sarcastic post, which you took as serious. Sorry. My bad.

    Of course, I can’t really expect you to make some of those “…numerous good arguments against the right’s Ned Flanders teevee regulations…” when it would force you to agree with people here. I respect that.

  44. Thanks, Stretch, for getting to the heart of the matter. Yes, I was mocking the “mommies” in the article who have everything to say about what “society” should do and say absolutely nothing about personal responsibility. I was also mocking the moony paper that, to me, is implicitly arguing that the right can bring these mommies in the fold by pushing censorship and encoding “christian” values in private behavior/decisions.

    Sorry, joe, if I was being too broad. My bad.

  45. kmw,

    “It’s not my bad, because I had no reason to believe this was anything other than another “must disagree with libertarians” post.”

    Oh, it most certainly was. 🙂 There was just some confusion about what, exactly, I was disagreeing with. The major point of my argument is, as you seem to agree, that asserting a total absense of obligation to the well being of other people’s children is not the right way to oppose these things.

    MNG, fair enough.

  46. my kid and I just watched Weather Underground (threw the sofa cushion over him during the orgy scene – no problem), a few of whose members wonder whether their knowledge of the wrongness of the Viet Nam war combined with the numbers of people killed, rolling in daily made them crazy. Just flat out drove them nuts. My kid turns to me and asks if that’s why I won’t let him have violent video games: because Viet Nam made me insane. Something else to blame on Richard Nixon!

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