Monday, August 02, 2004

Jane Brody brings smug preachiness to the Times

I have never understood how smug, know-it-all Jane Brody manages to have a place made for her at the New York Times. Her "Personal Health" column is written in the most condescending tone; her latest, "TV's Toll on Young Minds and Bodies," is of course no exception.

She begins, as she always does, by pointing out that she and her family are exemplary and that it's everyone else in the country with the problem:

"With little TV, [my sons] were two lean, strong, athletic children who grew up in a home without junk food, did not pester their parents to buy things they saw advertised, never smoked or drank alcohol..."

First off, how exactly does Brody know that her sons never smoked or drank alcohol? How many teenagers who do these things haven't found clever ways keep that information from their parents? Imagine for a second that you are the teenaged child of Jane Brody, full-of-it writer of the "Personal Health" column, and you're stoned out of your mind, 40 in one hand and cigarette in the other...not to mention you've just consumed a full bag of Cheetos. Don't you think you'd come up with some way to hide the evidence? Also, everyone knows it's always the kids whose parents don't let them eat junk food or watch TV who are the biggest fiends whenever given the opportunity.

"Unfortunately, our experience with television is rarely duplicated these days."

Unfortunately, not everyone can be perfect like Jane Brody.

"Although controversy abounds about the precise ill effects of excessive television watching on children's well-being, there are undeniable facts, some documented through long-term studies."

We don't know that watching TV is bad for kids, but it seems like it must be, so let's just assume.

Best of all: "If a child watches commercial television, explain that commercials are designed to make people want things they may not need."

Here's a question: what if the commercial in question is for receiving home delivery of the New York Times?


Lucky Jim said...

I don't want to raise a child who isn't curious about alcohol or drugs &/or who doesn't rebel against my Nader-esque asceticism. Granted my path hasn't been ideal, but one can only assume that living like that might possibly lead to thinking like that....& so should be avoided at all costs.

She's terrible. I'm not sad to be leaving her behind....(well, except for the webstuff, I guess.)

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

I'd bet Jane Brody wants you to vote for Nader; doing so would probably be unpleasant, and would thus fit well into her anti-fun philosophy.

Lucky Jim said...

That was, just to be clear, a hypothetical Nader-esque asceticism. My life has always been unsafe, regardless of speed.

I'm solidly in the anti-anti-fun camp. Keep up the good work...

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Pro-fun is better than anti-anti-fun, though. Anti-anti-fun types are the people who are vehemently in favor of other people's right to have fun ("right to parrrrtay!", if you will) yet aren't necessarily prepared to have fun themselves.

Lucky Jim said...

Think of me as being like a First Amendment attorney w/out anything to say.

It's what happens when you get old.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

But when people get old, they also get religious, and I believe that's also covered by #1.

Not-a- Generic-User-ID said...

Whenever luck or good fortune throws any successes my way and I have some adult (who I know has kids) ask me how I managed to accomplish it I always make a point of crediting either TV or video games. I figure that we all have to do what we can to offset the worlds Brodys.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Right on!