July 14, 2007

"They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games."

"As we become more technologically advanced, there's more distractions. It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it's video games or meth, it's a serious issue, and (we) need to become more aware of it."

Please. Take some responsibility. This is an old, old problem. That the details are new is irrelevant. You're not special because your selfish indulgence is high tech.

35 comments:

reader_iam said...

What the hell? Jeez. What tools.

reader_iam said...

Remember the flaps over D&D from 25-ish years ago, and what it was blamed for in its non-video incarnation?

Everything old is new again.

jimbino said...

"It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children."

That may be so, but it's grammatical for someone to get addicted to something and neglect his children.

mcg said...

Chauvinist pig!

babuilder said...

Ann,
Not as an argument but as a curiosity I wonder which component of this story is an old, old problem? No doubt there have always been worthless parents but it seems to me that it requires the affluent, contemporary society we have enjoyed since maybe the 50's or 60's to breed this kind crap.

Eli Blake said...

babuilder:

I think she means the neglecting of all responsibility due to addiction angle is an old, old story. It's at least as old as alcoholism, and that's very, very old.

Ann Althouse said...

Eli's right.

gophermomhey said...

One of the many consequences of addiction stems from a desperate need to escape. When addicts are in this mind-set, there are always casualties. People will always be on the lookout for new methods that achieve this end, be it alcohol, food, or technology.

Maybe the 'neglecting of all responsibility' is old news, but many don't understand what's happening at the core of addiction and that it manifests itself to the outside world can take many forms.

george said...

Ann, off topic, and apologies.
Re: male vs. female architectural symbols, Chartres (and all Gothic Cathedrals) are manifestly male symbols.
Female Cathedrals are beginning to appear. The Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light is notable.
Designer is from the SOM office in San Francisco. . .a world-famous design studio.
I am following the construction with interest.
http://www.christthelightcathedral.org/
This is a significant 21st Century building

Joe said...

I disagree that most "addiction" is the result of wanting to escape; it's the result of doing something fun. Short of death, how much is really too much? I've found it tends to be whatever you disapprove of.

TMink said...

"It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children."

No, not really. Most parents muddle through. Most addicts still take care of their children in terms of feeding them. These children were horribly neglected, there is more than addiction, video or otherwise going on.

Trey

Jeff said...

It does annoy that the only game mentioned is D&D. They couldn't have mentioned something else as well?

TMink said...

I bet it was really Evercrack.

Trey

Seven Machos said...

This is an old, old problem.

This actually encapsulates why I am a conservative. The industrial revolution, the this revolution, the that revolution -- none of it matters. The raw materials and the human condition are always the same, and we are almost always much better off tinkering with the complex, organic systems we have instead of abolishing the systems we have and trying new, untested ones.

I know. This post isn't about any of that. But it's what struck me.

Luckyoldson said...

seven,
that's the kind of convoluted and thoroughly nonsensical comment that gives conservatives a bad name.

the "industrial revolution...??"

good lord...

Kev said...

Guy in NYT story: "It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children."

Jimbino: "That may be so, but it's grammatical for someone to get addicted to something and neglect his children."

The Grammar Police may object to this, but I have no problem with the use of the (at least technically) grammatically incorrect "their" in this instance, rather than the gender-uninclusive "his" or "her" or the inclusive--but incredibly awkward--"his/her." YMMV, of course.

Revenant said...

It does annoy that the only game mentioned is D&D. They couldn't have mentioned something else as well?

The quote from the article doesn't make any sense, anyway. There isn't a "series" of online Dungeons and Dragons games -- there's just one. There are a whole lot of single-player D&D-based games, though, and of course most MMORPGs are at least distantly related to paper&pencil D&D.

My guess is that it was probably World of Warcraft or some other game described to the reporter as "kind of like D&D". That's how this usually works; reporters aren't hired for their brains or grasp of detail.

Mr.Murder said...

Who's been letting Executive Privilege of chats between Bush and Rummy leak out? They're playing 'blow the world up' and Walter Reed still needs an overhaul...

Let's choose our outrage fittingly, please.

Meanwhile Ann, there's a bit of a flashback(vortex ipod moment) going on for you:

"Retired electrician Bob Peck voted twice for Bush. The first time, in 2000, Democrat Al Gore defeated Bush in Cedar County by two votes, 4,033 to 4,031. Peck would not vote for him again, even if he could."
-WaPo



Ohhh the Schadenfreude...

"We're informed that this woman, Kathy Shaffer, voted for Bush twice, but now -- now! -- realizes how bad he is. (“I did vote for him twice, but I’m very disappointed in him... I have switched completely from pro-Iraq to ‘I want them home.’") You know what to think: Thanks a lot for imposing your inferior judgment on the whole country, corn lady!"
-Corn is making a comeback. Will Ms.Althouse ever reconcile her disconnect with the Heartland?(TM)


wapo again- "It's time to get the hell out. It's a holy war, and you're not going to win it, no matter what you do."
...
. He sometimes stayed past midnight, talking about life as a teenager whose parents had split up. He joined the National Guard while in high school.

Then came Iraq.

"When he left," Jennings said, "we felt that all of them were coming back, and they all did, but one of them was horizontal. That was one of the roughest times in my life. He was like an adopted son."
...
Like so many Tipton residents who saw the war delivered like an unwelcome package when the cort├Ęge passed, Pelzer realized that it took her son's death for her to focus on the war.

"I don't know that you can win," she said of the chances of victory in Iraq. "But if you can't accomplish what you need to accomplish, get them out of there. There's been enough. One is too many."


Plan B was the Baker-Hamilton, not the surge. It's been on the table for a while, anyone acting like there's no plan B really doesn't merit direct personal reply. Ignorance is no defense.

Peter Palladas said...

...is an unemployed cashier...

Yeah right. In the same way presumably that I'm an unemployed stud monkey being paid to seduce the rich, famous and libidinous. You're either out there doing it or you're not the thing at all.

There is though perhaps a valid distinction here: these were not two people who grew up, had children, and then become train-wrecks because of an addiction.

These were two people who never grew up - in part because of their childlike obsession with D&D [cause and effect will be muddled here] - and yet decided / were allowed to have children themselves.

So am I talking only 'State Registered Parents'?

I doubt it on the whole, but I do recall that the whole process we went through of being grilled by the Church as to whether we were fit/right to be marrying was an exploration of whether we had any half-decent notion of what it is to bring children into this world.

michael farris said...

"That may be so, but it's grammatical for someone to get addicted to something and neglect his children."

Please, 'their' is perfectly grammatical in the sentence in question.

Read language log (actually written by experts in language) rather than repeat this kind of nonsense.

mcg said...

Yes, indeed, only experts can be so skilled at jumping through hoops to justify such distortions of the language for the sake of so-called gender neutrality.

Paddy O. said...

Someone might want to read more about the historical use of "their" before they comment.

Ann Althouse, the Jane Austen of the blogosphere.

Michael McNeil said...

Merriam-Webster's dictionary:

their adj [ME, fr. their, pron., fr. ON theirra, gen. pl. demonstrative & personal pron.; akin to OE thaet that] (13c) 1: of or relating to them or themselves esp. as possessors, agents, or objects of an action <~ furniture> <~ verses> <~ being seen> 2: his or her: his, her, its — used with an indefinite third person singular antecedent <anyone in ~ senses –W. H. Auden> usage see they

usage They, their, them, themselves: English lacks a common-gender third person singular pronoun that can be used to refer to indefinite pronouns (as everyone, anyone, someone). Writers and speakers have supplied this lack by using the plural pronouns <and every one to rest themselves betake –Shak.> <I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly –Jane Austen> <it is too hideous for anyone in their senses to buy –W. H. Auden>. The plural pronouns have also been put to use as pronouns of indefinite number to refer to singular nouns that stand for many persons <'tis meet that some more audience than a mother, since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear the speech –Shak.> <a person can't help their birth –W. M. Thackeray> <no man goes to battle to be killed. — But they do get killed –G. B. Shaw>. The use of they, their, them, and themselves as pronouns of indefinite gender and indefinite number is well established in speech and writing, even in literary and formal contexts. This gives you the option of using the plural pronouns where you think they sound best, and of using the singular pronouns (as he, she, he or she, and their inflected forms) where you think they sound best.”

That self-appointed language police would object to usage sanctioned for centuries by writers like Shakespeare and Thackeray shows how appropriate Churchill's (perhaps apocryphal) rejoinder to that kind of thing (pedantic and incorrect objections to split infinitives in this case) still is: “This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.”

Dave F said...

I don't have kids. But I will admit that I once got so engrossed in a video game that I neglected to walk the dog and she peed on the floor.

Lesson learned.

R2K said...

Susie for President!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I play these games and know that they can be very addicting.

http://dustbun.blogspot.com/2006/10/addicted-to-gaming.html

But I think that there must be something else wrong with these people who neglected their children and themselves so horribly.

As Eli said, addiction is nothing new. Howeve, blaming the substance (the game, the drug, the drink) instead of the abuser is abdicating personal responsibility and accountability. Taking the easy way out.

Ann Althouse said...

I think in many cases children figure out how to get food for themselves and even to take care of each other well enough to stay out of the dire conditions described in the article. Doesn't work for babies -- like those in the article -- but you would think the crying would push nearly all parents to do at least the bare minimum.

mcg said...

Well slap my ass and call me Sally. I'm man enough (despite that turn of phrase) to admit when I've been l'arned. Seeing the historical references helped change my mind, something I could not easily find when looking at Language Log. Thanks for the schooling.

michael farris said...

Sally, repeat after me:

One of us, one of us....

Jeff said...

Jesus Christ, people. We've got a story where a baby's head had to be shaved because her hair was matted with cat urine and 90% of the comments are either lefty trolls or language flamewars. Sheesh. You could at least share some online gamer horror stories.

Anyway, cat urine. This takes Catassing to a new level.

mcg said...

Well geez, Jeff, excuse us for being a bit speechless on the real story! I mean my gosh what is there to say? Do we not all agree it is tragic and inexcusable?

Breasst said...

The bigger story is, why wouldn't the AMA tackle the subject of whether video addiction is a disease or mental disorder or something in between?

Pogo said...

Re: "why wouldn't the AMA tackle the subject of whether video addiction is a disease or mental disorder or something in between?"

They did.
"4. The AMA encourages organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health to fund quality research: (a) on the long-term beneficial and detrimental effects not only of video games, but use of the Internet by children under 18 years of age; and (b) for the determination of a scientifically based guideline for total daily or weekly screen time, as appropriate."

The AMA does not itself do straight scientific research. It does exhort others to do so. At their annual meeting in June 2007, they concluded "more study is needed on the addictive potential of video games", which means they thought it premature to declare certain video gamers "addicted" as yet because the science is lacking.

In any event, this case does not get any less grotesque because one can say, "Oh, well, they were addicted".

Luckyoldson said...

jeff,
what does being what you refer to as a "lefty troll"...have to do with the comments here?

Galvanized said...

Excusing inability to provide because of poverty, if it weren't internet and gaming as excuses for negligent parenting, then it would be alcohol or drugs, abandonment, or something else. The bottom line is that parents often neglect. The nature of the excuse matters not. It's sickening and heartbreaking just the same.