02 January 2008

Where the Sun Shines

It occurred to me the other day that we are now seeing the effects of the first generation of “The Sun Shines Out Your Ass” parenting...and it ain’t pretty. Britney’s vagina, for example. Her knocked-up sixteen year-old sister for another. Mischa Barton’s sad mug shot, Paris Hilton weeping in the back of a cop car, and Lindsay Lohan having a little too much fun in Capri after how many stints in rehab last year? I lost count.

It’s easy to point the finger at these girls because they are infamous. They chose celebrity as a career. Not exactly an admirable vocation, nor are they particularly good at it outside of shopping on Robertson and courting the paparazzi. Yet, somehow, with all their access and assets, they seem to repeatedly not choose to take the sage advice of lawyers, drug counsellors or publicists. I’m all about making mistakes...as long as a lesson is learned from them. Perhaps they believe the sun still emanates from their backsides, they are bulletproof, or so damn cool that they can get away with anything and still be loved, admired and adored.

Not quite. Instead, they are mocked, maligned and bets are set on the outcome of their next faux pas or O.D. I don’t think the money is on Britney coming out the other side of this, do you?

It’s asinine; both their behavior and our attention to it. You just want to shake them and yell, “Grow up!” And then you want to shake their parents and yell, “You screwed up.” They aren’t the only ones. We are able to see their kids’ f-ups, but how many more parents are sitting there watching their twenty-somethings flounder thinking they did their kids a disservice? Too many! And they did do a disservice to them and the rest of us who have to deal with those spoilt, dysfunctional brats in the real world. Ugh. I dread going out in overcrowded public.

At the end of the day, those brats are adults now. At a certain point, they need to take responsibility for their actions and grab the reigns in their own lives to get it back on track. It is possible. We’ve all done it (well...most of us have). Take a look at the original, post-modern “Wild Child”, Drew Barrymore. Rehab at thirteen and fifteen. That was followed by starting over (hello, she did a TV movie and failed series) and paying her dues (hello, TV movie and failed series). With a steady climb back, she reached the top of her game, producing as well as acting in hit films. She may not be the Meryl Streep of her time (you never know, though; her career is far from over), but she is working and respected, and that’s more than we can say for the current crop of tabloid cover girls. Then again, Drew was from a generation who knows where the sun really shines.

These celebutards aren’t thirteen or fifteen, but in their twenties (except for the knocked-up one and that’s a column for another day...about birth control and the lack of prophylactics. Where are the rubbers, people?! HIV! Herpes! Hello?!). I have to wonder, when are they going to learn? When they overdose? Wrap their car around a pole? Kill someone? Their careers are on life support already. What is their bottom? As a clue, the sun does not shine from it.

You know, every snowflake is special, unique and beautiful, but that doesn’t reduce the likelihood that it will be trampled on, melt in a gutter or land on some poo. And I’m beginning to think that if one is raised to believe they are special, unique and beautiful, the likelihood that they will be trampled on, pass out in a gutter and end up looking like poo increases exponentially.

Parents, take note. Your kid is not special. Your child is not unique. Your brat is human and flawed and wonderful only for that reason. You have not raised a prodigy. Your spawn is not the next Einstein. Odds are your kid is annoying if not flat-out obnoxious and needs to really embrace the concept of NO. The world is not his or her oyster. The oyster is communal. It is to be shared. And the community should be respected enough not to have to hear your brat scream in public, bang its utensils in a restaurant, or run riot in a respectable establishment. I don’t like your kid when it behaves that way. I like you even less for allowing it. Take it home and let it know it proved my theory: Your kid ain’t perfect. It’s an obnoxious little creature that needs to learn some manners and respect. And the sooner you both embrace that, what a wonderful world it will be.

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