Bret Stephens: ‘Radical Parents, Despotic Children’

Students at Boston College during a Nov. 12 solidarity demonstration on the school’s campus in Newton, Mass. Photo: Associated Press

Bret Stephens writes: “Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” was the title of a 1975 book by Midge Decter, which tried to make sense of how a generation of munificent parents raised that self-obsessed, politically spastic generation known as the Baby Boomers. The book was a case study in the tragedy of good intentions.

“We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort Liberal parents, radical childrenthat is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling,” Miss Decter told the Boomers. “While you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices.”

[Check out Midge Decter’s 1975 book “Liberal parents, radical children” at Amazon.com]

Meager devices came to mind last week while reading the “Statement of Solidarity” from Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Newark, N.J., campus of Rutgers University. Solidarity with whom, or what? Well, Paris, but that was just for starters. Ms. Cantor also made a point of mentioning lives lost to terrorist attacks this year in Beirut and Kenya, and children “lost at sea seeking freedom,” and “lives lost that so mattered in Ferguson and Baltimore and on,” and “students facing racial harassment on campuses from Missouri to Ithaca and on.”

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

And this: “We see also around us the scarring consequences of decade after decade, group after group, strangers to each other, enemies even within the same land, separated by an architecture of segregation, an economy of inequality, a politics of polarization, a dogma of intolerance.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mad Men’ Inside Baseball

BN-CQ609_mad_D_20140504191601Lawyer, Supreme Court advocate, and Mad Men aficianado Walter Dellinger decodes some hidden meaning in Sunday night’s episode. Not being a sports fan, I didn’t catch it.

It involves a critical moment in sports history in New York in 1969. Only fairly dedicated baseball fans, or those familiar with the history of New York, would ever make the connection. it’s unimportant to the story, except as a background detail. But it’s the kind of clue that’s meant to reward an observant viewer, like Walter Dellinger, who sees a link between the New York Mets and Don Draper‘s future.

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Season 7, Episode 4, ‘The Monolith’

For WSJ’s SpeakeasyWalter Dellinger writes:

“..the metaphor for his (coming) revival is not the new computer, but the 1969 New York Mets.  At his lowest point, Don finds a discarded Mets banner under his file cabinet.  He drops in the waste basket.  But the next time we see Don, he has retrieved the classic orange banner and hung it on the wall.

When he awakes from a drunken stupor, he sees it from upside down and stares at it.  And he calls Freddy to take the day off (from doing no work, anyway) to see a Mets game.

And so all you Don Draper fans who don’t follow baseball need to know that there is indeed hope for Don this season, at least if this deliberate invocation of the Mets has any meaning (and what on this show doesn’t?).  The New York Mets were relatively new to baseball and in their eighth season in 1969.  They had never had a winning season, and were at that point a metaphor for futility.  But in that year they became the “Miracle Mets” winning 100 games and upsetting the great Baltimore Orioles team to win the World Series…”

TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ

If Dellinger is right, and Don Draper’s fortunes are finally about to turn, it couldn’t come a moment too soon. After a nearly unbearable string of misfortunes, a downward spiral lasting throughout season 6, unwinding into season 7, Don self-destructive personality has worn out its welcome, for his partners and coworkers, but also for the viewers. I wonder how many of Mad Men’s original fans are still along for the ride. Read the rest of this entry »