Nanny State

'Childhood Itself Is Now in Crisis'

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In what may be the ultimate "Think of the Children" op-ed piece, Joel Bakan, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, expresses his dismay at the kids today, with their cell phones, computers, video games, and social networking sites:

When I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong.

No doubt my parents felt similarly about the things I did as a kid, as did my grandparents about my parents' childhood activities. But the issues confronting parents today can't be dismissed as mere generational prejudices. There is reason to believe that childhood itself is now in crisis.

Childhood itself! And the threat is clear: "the for-profit corporation," which fattens kids with junk food, exposes them to toxic chemicals, medicates them with "potentially harmful psychotropic drugs," and, worst of all, hooks them on electronic diversions that teenagers find more interesting than talking to their poor old father. In Bakan's telling, neither kids nor their parents have a choice in any of this; evidently the corporations, motivated not by profit so much as a desire to do evil, are foisting all these products on people who do not really want them but are powerless to resist. Unfortunately, "Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children." You know something is terribly wrong when "attempts to curb excesses," such as "California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors," are "struck down by courts as free speech violations."

But don't let the First Amendment get you down! Bakan, author of Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children (Free Press), closes with some encouraging words about what we, as a society, can accomplish when we decide to put the welfare of our children above the interests of the corporations that prey upon them:

The challenge before us is to reignite the guiding ethos and practices of the century of the child. As Nelson Mandela has said, "there can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." By that measure, our current failure to provide stronger protection of children in the face of corporate-caused harm reveals a sickness in our societal soul. The good news is that we can—and should—work as citizens, through democratic channels and institutions, to bring about change.

And then maybe, just maybe, Bakan's kids will put down their goddamned smart phones and pay attention to him.

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  1. Fuck. Off. Slaver.

    1. Damn. Fuckin’. Roight.

  2. “Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.”

    That’s odd. My children watch TV, get on the internet, use their computers, and play video games when I say they can.

    1. Anyway, I eagerly look forward to playing video games with my kids when they get a little older.

      1. We played WoW together for a while until I got sick of the game. I even tanked for them, so I have that going for me.

        I fully expect we’ll play Diablo 3 if it ever gets released.

        1. Knowing Blizzard, they’ll fire their development teams about 8 times before they’re happy with a game that they’re going to cancel after 5 deadline misses.

    2. Yes. I do have moments when I just can’t believe the trivial nonsense they focus on in social media (“Dude, I just stood up.”), but that’s my business, not some meddling nannycrat’s.

      1. They’re slavers!

        1. SUPERFAT!

          1. How can you see your keyboard with heller’s dick in your throat?

            1. How can you shit all over the internet with Rachel Maddow’s dick in your ass?

    3. You MONSTER!

    4. Hey, if the guy’s kids make enough money to be able to afford smartphones and data plans, they’re clearly doing something right.

      1. Those evil corporations. First they make a $4000 phone for the rich to talk on a beach then they make it so that everyone can afford one that also lets them play games, watch video, and read Mr. Bakan’s stupid book.

    5. I take it your kids don’t go to school?

      And please, please, PLEASE don’t give me the argument that if you don’t want your kids exposed to whatever crap some asshole in the outside world wants to expose them to, you should lock them in the house and close the blinds.

      1. Schools give out free smartphones now?

        And pay the monthly bill?

        AWESOME!

      2. No, don’t lock them up. But, put the fear of god into them that, if they get caught doing something you told them not to do, or they know you would disapprove of, the justice will be swift and unpleasant. I was more scared of my parents catching me than I was of the police catching me. And by the time I was a teenager, I was well aware of what behaviors would piss them off, even if they didn’t specifically mention it as off limits. That’s because they spent my entire childhood working to ensure there was a standard of behavior and that I knew exactly what it was. Turns out, I didn’t need protection from the state because I was able to protect myself.

        Or, you suck it up and pay the tuition to send your kids to private school, like I do, where I have more control over the environment because I’m a paying customer. That way, I can be reasonably well-assured that most of the other parents who pay cash money for their kids’ educations have similar values as me, and spend some time imparting those values to their kids. I can also be reasonable well assured that, when my kids go to their friends’ homes, they’re not likely to be exposed to anything I don’t want them exposed to.

        Or, you can continue to be a victim of society’s failure to take care of your kids, and raise rotten kids who grow into useless adults who will one day work for my kids.

        1. when my kids go to their friends’ homes, they’re not likely to be exposed to anything I don’t want them exposed to.

          rye instead of bourbon

  3. The humane thing to do is to round up all of the kids, explain our concerns about Childhood Lost and then kill them.

    For the children.

  4. Idiotic hand wringing shit like this should be dismissed without a second thought.

  5. Does anyone else think that the kids who really need help are Balkans?

    Seriously, after reading his drivel I can’t begin to imagine what hellish lives they lead.

    1. At the very least it explains why they spend so much time on their $ell Fonzes and intertubezs.

      1. Joel: “hey kids, who’s up for some Yahtzee? Maybe we can break out LIFE and play a few rounds! I know I broke the spin wheel last time when little Joel answered that text message but we can use dice instead!”

        Kids: “Is he talking again? Where’s my frickin adderol.”

  6. First, they can get off my lawn. Then let’s put the little buggers to work at age ten, chopping weeds along the roadside or something equivalent to whatever kids had to do 150 years ago when they had little or no leisure time to listen to any corporate siren calls.

    Doesn’t anyone want to be a parent, instead of a buddy, these days?

    1. I’m not your buddy, pal…

      1. i’m not your pal, guy!

        1. I’m not your guy, friend!

          1. Let me be clear.

            I’m not your friend, buddy!

    2. Buddies? Who’s got time for that, with all of the yelling to do at the kids?

  7. Ugh. Not to stereotype, and obviously we hear from many dumb Americans every day, but you just don’t hear Americans saying stuff like “the rise of the for-profit corporation.” Or complaining about privatization, for that matter. On this side of the border we’re still working on nationalizing industries, thank you very much.

    1. just don’t hear Americans saying stuff like “the rise of the for-profit corporation.” Or complaining about privatization, for that matter

      Respectfully, yeah, you do. Michigan, in general (and Detroit in particular) are HELL on the “ZOMG PRIVATIZATION END TIMES TEH UNIONZ HATE SPEECHZ END TIMESZ!!!1”

      We even had a HUGE debate in my town about the school board “privatizing” (I hate that word) school custodians. Really? Cause you gotta be an employee of the school district to do custodial work? At a premium?

      Anyway, spending a LOT of time in Canada since I was a kid, I always say…the US is just a few years behind, but we’re marching down the exact same road.

      When we meet, maybe we can merge the countries into Euro-West!! Cool!

      1. At least we’ll finally have the metric system.

        1. i remember my (lame) socialist teacher in 3rd grade talking about how by the time we got to college, the US would have adopted the metric system and how great europe was and…

          i wonder where he is now. buying his gas in liters?

          1. Oh, it’s coming. Any day now…

          2. Maybe drinking a 2 liter bottle of soda, restocking on 9 mm ammunition, or checking how many grams of marijuana he can carry without getting charged with intent to distribute.

            1. LOOK AT ME, I AM A GADFLY!

      2. Shit, that’s depressing. I noticed his word choice immediately just because I don’t tend to hear that sort of thing now that I’m in the States.

        Interesting you mention Michigan, as apparently although he’s Canadian, Bakan was raised in MI (check the fuckedness of his face on his Wikipedia page if you dare). I now know way more about this idiot than I ever intended to.

        1. I’d say he has a punchable face, but from the looks of it he’s been punched enough already.

          1. Living in/being born in/passing through Michigan will do that to you

            1. Present!

    2. Maybe we should invade Canada to liberate you, and Canada could invade the U.S. to liberate us.

      1. Maybe Canada will go on strike and we can send in some coupons for free meals and all the gum they want…

  8. My 5 year old gets to use the computer whenever he wants.

    If the Amazon tablet is $199 as rumored, I’ll buy him one for Christmas and he will be the obnoxious 5 year old with a tablet.

    The people who say computer use is bad for kids are nuts. Computers are still text-based. I have a kindergartener who reads like a 4th grader because text is coming at him every day. If he wants to do something, he has to figure out how to type it.

    And because it’s on the computer, that means he’s getting text all on his own, and not when one of his parents feels like reading with him. And it’s been like that since he was 2.

    The cumulative impact of all that text has to be making kids more facile with the written word than they’ve ever been before. It has to be. How can that not make the kids coming up now smarter?

    One amusing thing about liberals is one day they’re writing stories about how technology threatens childhood, and the day after that they’re writing articles about how the “digital divide” in access to technology is going to leave inner city kids behind.

    Because apparently having access to technology simultaneously elevates kids over inner city kids, and…makes them dumb. ??????

    1. If you don’t get him one, will he scream “Fuck me! Fuck me right here in the Best Buy!”?

      1. He doesn’t have to do that because he already knows how to “make a cute face” for Mommy.

        1. Forum shopping. It’s insidious.

    2. No, there is some mystical magical exact right amount of technology your kids should be getting. But don’t worry, they’re definitely going to miss that target on either the high side or the low side no matter what.

      My 19mo old son is fascinated by both the computers and the video game consoles. He loves to pretend that he is typing on the keyboard, using the mouse, and using the controllers. It’ll be neat to see how fast he learns to read with the powerful motivation of wanting to do stuff.

      Funny that this guy, who I’m sure would call himself a progressive or some such, is the one standing athwart history shouting stop.

      1. Two generations of For The Childrenz Assholes ago, the FTCA became convinced that TV was bad for kids.

        I think that because computers have screens, the FTCA are convinced that they’re just like TV’s.

        Not that I concede that TV is bad for kids, either, but even if I did – computers are not TV’s, assholes. They really aren’t.

        1. Whatever is popular with the kids at a given time is what is bad for them in the eyes of For The Children Assholes. That is why they are always plaguing us with their stupidity.

          1. Yup. Comics, RPGs, TV, rock n roll. Basically anything that is both fun and new.

        2. Actually, the new flatscreen TVs are bad for kids, because when they run into/bounce balls off of/dance around these TVs, the owner of said TV wants to rip their lungs out because he knows it’s going to break.

          When I was a kid, I liked climbing on our behemoth 26″ CRT and the only time anyone cared was when my mom yelled at me for dangling a leg in front of All My Children during a crucial plot development.

          1. pretty classic when my wife was stuck on a level in angry birds. my year old son wipes his finger across the screen,sends a bird flying and completes the level she was stuck on.

            lol

      2. My four-year old daughter has an impressive aptitude for electronic devices and computers. Has for a couple of years now. I think that’s a good thing, unless these socialist Luddites actually return us to a Medieval society. Then she might be in trouble.

        1. Burn the witch!

          1. Yes, that could be a problem. Perhaps some time weaving.

    3. Fluffy, there’s a guy that posts on here that has the handle ‘Sugarfree’ and he writes some excellent web based fiction. You should have your son check out some of his work some time.

      It’s educational, to say the least.

      1. Fluffy’s kid is five. SugarFree is for three-year-olds.

        1. That was actually good.

          1. Episiarch is a multitasker: heller’s dick in one hand, SugarFree’s in the other, typing with his nose.

    4. It doesn’t HAVE to make kids more facile with the written word. My wife taught English at an expensive private all-girls (the gender that tends to be better with words, so I hear) school, and they mostly SUCK at writing. I guess what they REALLY suck at is putting in the effort to write competently, but it shows up as pretty terrible for a lot of kids who should be doing better.

      1. I don’t doubt that’s true, but those girls probably write more words per day in emails and texts than I would have written a month when I was a teenager.

        Sometimes John and MNG write more words at this site in one day than I wrote in a semester of college in 1986.

        And all that text is being read by someone else.

        Anyone who says, “Kids today don’t read or write any more,” can only say that by deliberately not counting the huge tsunami of reading and writing they engage in socially or recreationally.

        1. Describing what goes in teenagers’ emails and texts as “words” is stretching the definition mightily. Having a command of the written word is very different from texting and composing emails consisting largely of excessive punctuation and idiotic acronyms.

          1. In other words, volume of text-character input != fluency in all aspects of the language.

          2. I have to agree with this. There’s some study suggesting that texting makes kids more articulate, but I’m not seeing it. We’re actually pushing our older kids to read more. Don’t care what medium they use, so long as it involves things that used to be books.

            1. Texting isn’t the problem — the fact that they’re not exposed to well-written meaningful content from other sources is.

              1. This is my opinion as well. I don’t care about the texting. It’s what they aren’t reading that bothers me.

                1. Any time they aren’t reading the left-wing bullshit assigned in public schools or the right-wing bullshit assigned in Catholic schools is time well spent IMO.

          3. You mean like in comic books and penny dreadfuls?

            1. No, those thicker book-thingees. I forget what they call them.

              1. Maybe they should have learned English properly in the first place. But then again, if you were their example, no wonder they can’t write.

                Are their MySpace pages black with white text?

                1. Is that directed at me? Because if it is, I’ll have you know that my kids post on the Prodigy BBS for teens.

                  1. Of course; who else would be gauche enough to, at one point, have had a black website with white text?

                    1. white on black is better for your eyes, though I use yellow on black out of civic pride.

                    2. Tulpa made me do it.

              2. No, those thicker book-thingees. I forget what they call them.

                My point was that text messages are this generations penny dreadfuls. Kids have been exposed to vacuous text for several generations.

                1. ‘Penny-dreadful’ is perhaps my favorite phrase in the English language.

          4. The reason I disagree with this is because all of those acronyms and internet in-jokes constitute a meta language.

            Most people are just too reactionary to realize it.

            100 years ago if someone routinely peppered their conversation and correspondence with Shakespearean allusions and lines from William Blake they were considered verbally skilled and witty and bright.

            Being able to virtually instantly incorporate a meta-language of Internet references into your everyday conversation may not be Wildean sophistication, but it’s something.

            1. You know, I’m reading Genius, the biography of Feynman. He didn’t waste his brain on texting as a kid.

              1. God, you sound old. Are you 83 at this point? That’s 212 in curmudgeon years.

                1. You’re only “reading” this blog thanks to 21st century text-to-voice technology.

              2. I’m reading the graphic novel instead.

            2. I will add that the students in question don’t just suck at traditional English literature writing – they suck at composition, grammar, diction, understanding much of ANYTHING used to communicate with others in the outside world effectively. Then they whine about how they’re not understood.

              If they made themselves understandable and recognized that there is a time for TXT-speak and a time for actual interaction with other human beings who want/need to understand intelligible thoughts about a subject, it wouldn’t lead to such curmudgeonly rants.

              1. A little Dostoevsky will set those ragamuffins straight.

  9. Check out some of the people praising his book. This one in particular is pretty obnoxious:

    Benjamin R. Barber, author of Consumed: How Markets Infantilize Adults, Corrupt Children and Swallow Citizens Whole.

    Wow. Talk about having it completely backwards.

    1. Right. Like the last couple hundred years of free markets hasn’t spread education, knowledge, and wealth to the largest percentage of people in the entire history of the human race.

  10. I wonder if this guy should have his kids taken away. He’s clearly so retarded that he’s an unsafe guardian, like Sean Penn in I Am Sam.

    1. Not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but he’s actually the dude behind that retarded movie The Corporation. Which, in addition to his Canadianness, would explain his irritating vocabulary choices.

      1. I thought his retardation explained that. It explains a lot.

        1. It explains that he’s trumping up some bullshit what about the children shell as a thinly-veiled excuse to talk about his favorite corporashuns iz teh evil topic and passing it off as a letter to the editor to promote his stupid book that coincidentally came out less than a month ago.

          I wonder how much money he’s made off of his books and movie? Enough to consider them “for-profit” activities? Surely not.

          1. Enough to consider them “for-profit” activities? Surely not.

            The chances that this guy cleared his advance are miniscule, so he’s probably actually in the hole for the book.

    2. I have it on good authority that he knows how to make a cappucino.

  11. We don’t have to use this stupid cunt for the drinking game,do we? Otherwise I fold.

  12. As Nelson Mandela has said,

    Everybody is on a fucking crusade, ain’t they? Every cause has to be linked to some actual struggle. Yeah, d-bagerino, I’m sure the children of Apartheid are appalled at the horrid conditions that rich, white, American kids are subjected to.

    Last night I was listening to NPR and they actually had the chutzpah to compare the Pentagon awarding green contracts to the end of segregation. Yes, you fucking soulless crap-stain the Army awarding no bid contracts to politically favored cronies is exactly the same as a watershed moment in the centuries long fight for racial equality.

    Fucking people.

    1. As Winston Churchill said, fuck you.

      1. Aw c’mon Hobie, don’t be like that. I thought we was pals.

    2. Well, TEAM BLUE expected end-of-segregation wonders from Obama (whatever those could have been, I have no idea), and now that they see he’ll never deliver them (and in fact will fuck his supporters royally), they need to make something seem hopey and changey.

      1. Say. . .didn’t segregation end, um, decades ago? I know I’m a Southerner and ipso facto an ignorant racist fuck, but I could swear I read that somewhere.

        1. Your kids are being segregated from their childhoods by the fucking corporations, man.

          Wake up.

          1. Dude. Fuck.

  13. Hard to blame Joel Bakan’s kids for choosing their smart phones over their dumb father.

    1. I think this is a threadwinner. ^^^^

      1. No Art…it’s a lifewinner.

  14. CORPORASHUNS!

    While this guy is obviously grinding several axes at once on this issue, I really do think this generation’s growing up with social networking/Web 2.0 is fundamentally different from “new things” that previous generations were exposed to. We’re not talking just liking a different kind of music here.

    For example, when I graduated from HS I had plenty of things and people that I really wanted to leave behind when I went to college. I needed to make a clean break, and nobody at college knew who or what I had done in the past. My nieces will probably never have that opportunity, since I’m sure by the time they get to college, if you don’t have 2,000 Facebook friends from your HS years, and frequent wall posts from those friends, you’ll be considered a loser.

    1. What did you do in the past, Tulpa? Depending on how old you are, it might have been any number of embarrassing trends. For some reason I want to guess you were an emo kid.

      1. I’m going to assume–and no truth will be able to change my assumption–that Tulpa was in the marching band and was president of the A/V club.

        1. I was never popular enough to be president.

          Not a band guy either, though I did have a dream once where I pleasured a woman with an old bassoon.

          1. You were the only kid in A/V club. You were president by default. And treasurer. And, of course, secretary.

      2. I think he was one of those kids who read The Vampire Lestat and started wearing black eye shadow and a cape everywhere.

        1. We’re not Emo. we’re GOTHS!

      3. I’ll continue holding my cards close to my manboobs, thank you very much.

    2. My nieces will probably never have that opportunity, since I’m sure by the time they get to college, if you don’t have 2,000 Facebook friends from your HS years, and frequent wall posts from those friends, you’ll be considered a loser.

      But your grand-niece will think having 2,000 facebook friends is totally gay.

  15. Take one look at this guy and tell me he’s not a smug sonovabitch.

    http://www.google.com/search?c…..66&bih=535

    1. He looks like a human poodle.

      1. He looks like a sensative artist.

  16. “But the issues confronting parents today can’t be dismissed as mere generational prejudices.”

    Whatever, Gramps.

  17. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.

    Yes, because before we had the government to regulate everything, we hadn’t the ability to protect our children. I mean it isn’t as if the nanny state was responsible for protecting our children for the hundreds of thousands of years before the nanny state existed.

    It’s as if these people think that the existence of the nanny state was here BEFORE we were.

  18. “When I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong”

    maybe they are trying to be a million miles away from YOU because you are a nannystate, whinging asshole!

    just a thought

    1. That was the exact selling point of the telephone 125 years ago. You can do a courtesy wellness check via 2-minute phone call and be far enough away from your unwanted loved ones that it’s too much of a pain in the ass for them to travel to YOU.

      The only difference is now we can do the insincere wellness check without even having to SPEAK to them.

  19. atari 2600 stole my childhood. if it wasn’t for that damn air sea battle, and that sweet superman game, i’d be normal!!!

    1. Adventure. With arrows and killer chickens.

      1. That damn hidden micro-dot turned me on to acid. Thanks alot, Warren Robinett.

        1. I actually found that before I even knew what it was. I was that addicted.

  20. I know everyone always says – “I know everyone always says that ‘this time is really different’ but this time it really is different”, but this time it really, really is different, I really think so.

    1. as a stock, futures, etc. trader i have done very well realizing that “it is NOT different this time”.

      every bubble, mania, crash, frenzy, etc. is always “different this time”

      except… it’s not

      it pays to be a contrarian

    2. Unless you think it’s never going to be different, the people saying it’s not different are eventually going to be wrong.

  21. Bakan’s dishonesty is really disgusting here. I’m reading between the lines, and what I see is some self-satisfied mega-ego Frasier-Crane type who’s got his silk-bamboo eco-briefs in a wad because he bores the shit out of his own kids and he knows it. That’s all there is to see here, folks. Nothing more.

    He’s a law professor, so at work, he’s got a couple of lecture halls a day full of bright young minds who at least try to feign attention to him, because they’re paying for the experience and because they need his approval to get to the next stage of their lives. Then he goes home and drones on pompously, but his own children are under no such obligation to indulge his enjoyment of the sound of his own voice.

    But because he can’t be honest with himself, and admit he’s a death-boring geezer (and that he probably thought his own old man was a similarly death-boring geezer when he was a teen), everybody gets a piece of blame except himself, and the perfectly commonplace tendency for teens to be absorbed in their own little world.

    The guy’s so saturated and pinioned by the entitlement culture that he expects the government (or other third parties) to fix the tendency of teens to ignore their parents. I wonder if he also thinks the government should change the color of the sky from blue to green plaid.

    1. “…what I see is some self-satisfied mega-ego Frasier-Crane type who’s got his silk-bamboo eco-briefs in a wad because he bores the shit out of his own kids and he knows it.”

      And regardless of his boring ‘uphill each way’ stories, he also seems to be incapable of doing his job as a parent.
      I’ve not yet seen *one* electronic gadget that doesn’t have an “off” switch. My parents knew where is was located on the TV, as do I.

  22. Crisis itself is now in childhood.

    1. Yes, and it will soon grow into catastrophe and give birth to destruction.

  23. Back when I was a teenager adolescence was the time when you transitioned from the family to the outside world. Sounds to me like someone wants to keep his youngins fixated on him, instead of letting them become part of the wider world.

    1. There are scary things in that wider world. Corporations and whatnot.

  24. If we really loved our kids and cared about their futures, we would take them out of schools and sign them on for some good old-fashioned apprenticeship programs, where they could work and be productive and gain real self esteem, and learn about the real world from the start.

    1. I’d be for this if it be coupled with property tax reductions and whatever else is thrown at the schools. Heck, I’d rather have a son who is a successful plumber than a son taught by this asshole.

    2. CE|9.2.11 @ 1:31AM|#
      If we really loved our kids and cared about their futures, we would take them out of schools and sign them on for some good old-fashioned apprenticeship programs, where they could work and be productive and gain real self esteem, and learn about the real world from the start.

      While I agree with the basic idea*, I suspect the Salon-reader types would take this sort of thing as, “AHA! SEE!! THE CAPITALISTS WANTS CHILD LABOR AGAIN!”

      * reason I think idea has merit = I was involved in something sorta similar. Well, in micro version. I attended a progressive-liberal experimental high-school (no joke), and they had a program where students had to take at least 1 month off every year and pursue a non-paying/expenses-covered internship in something that provided some insight into real-world experiences, and/or future skills… you were supposed to justify your choice of labor, and show how it provided some kind of either social benefit, or life skill… But it was a mixed bag. What people ended up actually doing varied widely. Rich-kids would sometimes go be “windsurfing instructors!” in the Caribbean (no joke). Other kids would get gigs digging ditches for the local parks department (‘holes are socially valuable!’) The whole exercise was probably useful for some, less so for others. No matter what, it probably would do more good if they took a whole *year* off and did it (and got *paid*), but that was socially/politically/economically impractical.

      I did it 3 times myself; I taught music to grade-schoolers one year, worked at an outdoor gear-supplier the next, and (worst choice) worked in the back office of a law firm once. I was definitely not the target market for this experiment, given that I’d worked after-school jobs every year since I was 12, but it wasn’t all wasted effort. The outdoor gear gig (REI) scored me part time work with them for the next 4 years or so. And I tell you, the employee discounts were *sweet*. 50% off bitch! I’ve still got piles of patagonia stuff, climbing gear, a high-end mountain bike, etc from that stint. 100% of my pay went right back at them. I have no regrets 🙂

      But again – when this idea is proposed by progressive liberals, it’s about “child development” and “giving back to the community”. When proposed by a libertarian? YOU JUST WANT CHEAP LABOR FOR YOUR COPORATE OVERLORDS!!

  25. Interesting you mention Michigan, as apparently although he’s Canadian, Bakan was raised in MI (check the fuckedness of his face on his Wikipedia page if you dare). I now know way more about this idiot than I ever intended to.

    I’ve sometimes joked that Canada would have been OK if it hadn’t been for all the leftwing American college professors who moved there in the 60s and 70s.

    When I was going to school in Saskaberia (credit to Aresen for that gem) in the 60s the American expat profs were a bunch of commies upset that the New Deal was over (and hadn’t gone far enough).

    The seventies just brought another wave of “refugees”. Apparently Bakan’s parents were in that group.

  26. Ironically… his rant on regulation works against him. There are many parents who would consider it practically child abuse to not give your child a cell phone. What if they get lost? What if someone tries to kidnap them? Your child doesn’t have a cell phone? What kind of dangerous parent are you? They’d probably send the local child welfare agency after you if you dared to take away your child’s phone.

  27. “Children’s only purpose is to be used as props in the portrayal of an anti-capitalist fantasy. We are to take our own paranoid political delusions and channel them through these innocent vessels, pretending that our only concern is for their ultimate well-being, and not of course for the promotion of a tired meta-narrative of our universal victimization by invisible capitalist forces which we amorphously label ‘corporations'” – Rule #4a of the Progressive Rhetorical Handbook

  28. Back when I was a teenager adolescence was the time when you transitioned from the family to the outside world. Sounds to me like someone wants to keep his youngins fixated on him, instead of letting them become part of the wider world.

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