As a (American) parent this graph naturally stood out:
If you ask my eight-year-old about the Future, he pretty much thinks the world is going to end, and that’s it. Most likely global warming, he says—floods, storms, desertification — but the possibility of viral pandemic, meteor impact, or some kind of nuclear exchange is not alien to his view of the days to come. Maybe not tomorrow, or a year from now. The kid is more than capable of generating a full head of optimistic steam about next week, next vacation, his tenth birthday. It’s only the world a hundred years on that leaves his hopes a blank. My son seems to take the end of everything, of all human endeavor and creation, for granted. He sees himself as living on the last page, if not in the last paragraph, of a long, strange and bewildering book.
Heck, my 6-year old daughter believes she's going to sing and dance to High School Musical forever. And that one day Troy (the boy lead in HSM. They're all "Troys" nowadays) will kiss her - on the lips. I am not going to tell her otherwise. I don't want her growing up to marry Chabon's little weirdo either, as what kinda childhood ideals would he have to fall back on/impose on her?
If more singing and dancing, feminine ideals in other words, were perpetuated in Western culture, we might not be in some of the cultural pickles we're obviously in now. Blame it on men and their violent pessimism. I'm really starting to think that most literary giants, other than Jane Austen and Tolstoy maybe, are full of shite. And yeah, particularly Faulkner. (Like Jamie Foxx saying "nigger," I can say stuff like that since I'm a white Southerner. Same argument, eh?) Maybe Chabon needs to pull an alethiometer out of his ass.
I hope, with my help, my kid continues to sing and dance her little heart out, for life. She'd better; her first talent show is this Friday night. Sheeze, all of us women folk had better be practicing our all-American moves... really really hard.
This post put together by this song, naturally enough: