Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Red-Blather Babies

Is there anyone who paints things with a broader brush than David "I've Got A Clueless Stereotype" Brooks? Or who has less compunction about spreading his ill-informed mythos around as conventional wisdom?

This morning I pull up the NYTimes, and make the mistake of looking at his column, sucked in by a title promising yet more divisive red v. blue idiocy. What do I find? Now the red people are having babies in a fecund fit of selfless back-to-the-50s ardor, while the blue people are withered and sere and deformed by ill-gotten gains and deviant pleasures:
"They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling."
Kinda makes you ashamed that you may have wasted your life in any other endeavor other than reproduction doesn't it? Of course, those of us in cities could make the point that we look around and see plenty of kids, but a little further down, you see what he's getting at:
" You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.
In The New Republic Online, Joel Kotkin and William Frey observe, "Democrats swept the largely childless cities - true blue locales like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston and Manhattan have the lowest percentages of children in the nation - but generally had poor showings in those places where families are settling down, notably the Sun Belt cities, exurbs and outer suburbs of older metropolitan areas."

White people in the suburbs is what we're talking about. So, ok, maybe the Latinos and Asians and blacks don't count...everyone knows they have kids, but who cares? It's white people we're talking about! Those blue bastards that have let the race down, their pitiful gonads dwindling from underuse, letting those ghastly, unknowable Others get the upper hand. And God knows what may happen if they take over.

Never mind that, where I live, I see plenty of white people, and Democrats, and well-to-do people, having kids, and lots of them. Christ, the better off they are the more they seem to have! After 2 or 3 spouses, the families can get kind of---big. One of the most annoying trends of recent years has been the appearance of those damned two-, three-, and four-child strollers, veritable stroller SUVs, with wheels bigger than your head that take up so much room you have to get out into the street to pass one coming at you on the sidewalk, and God help you if you need to get to something down a store aisle where one is lurking. These contraptions aren't made for couples with only children. And the ones I have to dodge are full.

So Brooks finishes off with this:

"Like most Americans, and maybe more so because they tend to marry earlier, they find themselves confronting the consequences of divorce. Like most Americans, they wonder how we can be tolerant of diverse lifestyles while still preserving the family institutions that are under threat."
How? How, David? Well, I'd guess the same way people have been figuring it out for years, under all kinds of less-than-ideal circumstances, in ghettoes and on reservations and on farms and in trailer parks and in all the places people have always raised kids. People moving to your red suburbs aren't any fucking different. You belie your own argument about the tragedy of all this divisiveness by singing one long paean to divisiveness, and then sitting back with that smug smile and waiting for the sparks to fly.

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