January 14, 2022

"Your 7-year-old has perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the moment. Righting wrongs — and there are always more than enough to choose from — is virtuous..."

"... if sometimes humorless. But inventing infractions merely to put people in the wrong is not." 

The advice columnist "Miss Manners" answers a woman whose daughter chided her for using the automatic door button when she is not disabled.

The words "Your 7-year-old has perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the moment" feel humorous, and I hope the girl has a frivolous foible that she will outgrow. Or maybe she has a sense of humor and the mother is the humorless one who's overly afflicted by the zeitgeist. But it's terrifying to think that Generation Alpha is going to be grimly looking for meaningless micro-offenses.

I've said it before — I'm investing my hope in the babies — "those who will be born over the next 5 years, and kids up to the age of 10": "What are these people going to be like — after living through the lockdown and witnessing the heightened, hysterical, hypocritical empathy of the millennials." I said: "I was hoping they rebel against the prudery and the repression of the millennials."

But what if they lean into the worst tendencies of the millennials and Gen Z?

45 comments:

gahrie said...

Such attacks are more than virtue signaling, they are an attempt at an expression of power over others.

Dave Begley said...

Move the voting age down to 7. The Dems own that demographic.

Bryant said...

Isn't the daughter just embarrassed that her mom is using the automatic door when she doesn't need to?

Growing up my parents used to embarrass me all the time and now that I'm a parent I do my best not to embarrass my own kids. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with "righting wrongs" or micro-offenses.

Wilbur said...

Hehe. My dear departed mother would not have taken kindly to such effrontery.

It may have led to a yardstick'n when we got home.

Achilles said...

Karen is going to start having a rough time.

A lot of Karens got too big for their britches the last couple years.

And I don't see many policemen white knighting for them.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Isn’t there a Seinfeld episode where the handicapped guy (can I say “handicapped”? Hell, can I say “guy”?) fuck it. The handicapped guy chides another guy for using the handicapped stall in the men’s room.

Apparently, can’t even use it if there are no other stalls available, unless you’re handicapped?

When my son was in college (5 years ago), the dorm put in place a “unisex” or “all gender” bathroom. It was basically a “one person at a time” bathroom like you’d have in your home, but they had both a toilet AND a urinal. Could never figure out why other then optics and politics.

I don’t have a urinal in either of my bathroom’s at home, but I seem to be able to relieve myself just fine…

MadisonMan said...

This required the letter-write to seek advice? Hoo boy. Wait 'til the teen years.

farmgirl said...

1st world problem…

hombre said...

“But what if they lean into the worst tendencies of the millennials and Gen Z?”

Not to worry. Their teachers will set them straight! (/s)

Scot said...

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

~South Pacific

Wilbur said...

AlbertAnonymous said...

When my son was in college (5 years ago), the dorm put in place a “unisex” or “all gender” bathroom. It was basically a “one person at a time” bathroom like you’d have in your home, but they had both a toilet AND a urinal. Could never figure out why other then optics and politics.
______________________________________________________________________

Aren't you forgetting the sink, too? I've seen it used at a lot of concerts.

Narr said...

Automatic doors are designed to operate automatically. How many times have we struggled with doors that want to pull or push back if attacked manually? There doesn't seem to be any standard, so if there's a button, I'll use it.

Let the seven y.o. find out the hard way.

tim maguire said...

My 13 year old is as woke as you might expect, but she's thoughtful and knows hypocrisy when she sees it. She knows (without any prompting from me) that people who are upset by Jan 6 but not upset by CHOP have poor judgment and are not to be trusted. She's a Star Wars nut like all her friends. One of my proudest moments as a dad came when she said she didn't understand why we were supposed to root for the rebels. What makes them better than the empire?

This is a girl who may have strong opinions, but she is fair-minded and will not automatically accept the reigning narratives of the day. I expect that she will grow out of woke before she gets far enough along in life that it matters one way or the other.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

AlbertAnonymous said...

Apparently, can’t even use it if there are no other stalls available, unless you’re handicapped?

We had a safety engineer try to tell us that at a manufacturing plant that I used to work in. She was ignored on all fronts, got quite upset and complained to management. They told her to drop it. She left the company shortly thereafter.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"But what if they lean into the worst tendencies of the millennials and Gen Z?"

Gee, given today's typical public school educator, what is likely to happen?

tim maguire said...

Bryant said...Isn't the daughter just embarrassed that her mom is using the automatic door when she doesn't need to?

I don't like to see able-bodied people using the handicapped button. Not because it should be reserved for the handicapped per se, but I think it's lazy and I don't like laziness. (My town is full of people on those motorized wheelchair scooters who can walk just fine, they're just fat and lazy.)

mikee said...

It isn't the best or worst tendencies of previous generations the next gen adopts, it is the most widespread, the easiest to continue, the ones that provide the most return on investment.

Boomers, for example, adopted the social etiquette of their previous generation and thus Woodstock wasn't a scene of mass death but instead a muddy, glorious celebration of youth.

Youth of today are being provided a template of social and political behavior very different from what the Boomers were handed. Look for more CHOPs, fewer Woodstocks.

Yancey Ward said...

How do you think the Gen Z and youngest Millenials get they way they got? I have terrible news for you- the children under 10 and the ones born in the next five years are going to be worse, not better. We are doing nothing to change the world for the better, to our eternal shame.

Yancey Ward said...

Many of these automatic doors are relatively tough to open manually-there is resistance more than just inertia- I always felt like I was damaging the mechanism, and I probably am to some extent. As a result, I usually push the button.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Is the mom a Karen, also? It's probably hereditary.

mikee said...

Who will the daughter demand to speak to, when she is complaining to her Mommy and not getting her way? Could be difficult, when Mommy is a Karen, too, and has neither a manager nor self control.

reader said...

Good heavens. I use the button when:

I’ve inadvertently sneezed/coughed on my hands
The person I’ve seen use the door before me appears to have a cold/the crud
My hands are full
I was pushing a stroller
I know from past experience it’s a heavy door

I was under the impression that the larger bathroom stalls were there to provide room and handholds for people in need of them…not so that people in need of them never had to wait in line. I have no problem with people in need of them moving to the front of the line though, otherwise their wait is disproportionately long. I always used them when I had a stroller or had my very young child with me. I wasn’t going to let my child bebop around the bathroom with strangers while I was at my weakest.

Rollo said...

By the time they are grown up it will be a different world. We won't be #1 country any more. Will that make us more censorious and puritanical or less?

Owen said...

Handicapped stalls for the handicapped? Boulder bookstore bathroom: I used the handicapped stall because it was available. When I came out I was verbally assaulted by a woman in a wheelchair --even though there were other, empty, handicapped stalls. She just needed to abuse somebody, I guess to make herself feel important.

Sad.

This Person said...

That kid didn't come up with this shit on her own.

Drago said...

Althouse: "I've said it before — I'm investing my hope in the babies — "those who will be born over the next 5 years, and kids up to the age of 10": "What are these people going to be like — after living through the lockdown and witnessing the heightened, hysterical, hypocritical empathy of the millennials." I said: "I was hoping they rebel against the prudery and the repression of the millennials."

More likely these kids will end up doing things like this......

Ralph L said...

I thought Judith Martin had died, or at least retired, but she's 83. Forty years ago, her college-age son was an extra at the opera when my mother was and showed up or got drunk at a performance. Some idiot let him hold a lit candelabrum on stage when he could barely stand. Wikipedia says he and his sister share credit on her columns since 2013.

s'opihjerdt said...

(My town is full of people on those motorized wheelchair scooters who can walk just fine, they're just fat and lazy.)


People try to put us down
(Talking bout my generation)
Just because we H-h-h-hoveround

Wa St Blogger said...

I am thinking that the push button opener is there by mandate and that there was something more expensive or harder for installing doors that simply open all the time when a person approaches like at a grocery store. I don't think there is any big deal to use the button if you don't need it. It's not like when you use it you are denying some disabled person access. Don't ever park in a disabled spot, though. As far as disabled stalls at the bathroom, fair game if you can't wait, but it is polite to wait if you can.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Just insert a chip in disabled people - the door would only open if you had the correct chip in you.

Howard said...

Another life affirmation anecdotal prior to feed the Dunning Kruger effect.

I got three old school New England GenZ grandkids. My prior says the future looks bright and that life is beautiful.

You people seem to relish shitting in your own nests, then complain that everything stinks.

smlTx said...

What kind of parent writes into a newspaper for advice on how to deal with a smart remark from their 7 year old? This says much more about the parent than the child imo

KellyM said...

Narr said...

“Automatic doors are designed to operate automatically. How many times have we struggled with doors that want to pull or push back if attacked manually? There doesn't seem to be any standard, so if there's a button, I'll use it.”

I agree, there is no standard, per se, but it may have something to do with regional environments. I discovered that doors to most businesses here in San Francisco are set to 'push to enter/pull to exit', rather than the opposite as I’d grown up with in New England. I think it’s because in places where you have snow, the door acts as a barrier - wind can’t blow it open and allow drafts and snow/sleet to accumulate, and by pushing the door open upon leaving, it automatically clears any debris from your path. This is by no means scientific – does this generally exist in other places, too?

Oh, and as for the seven-year-old scolding her mother: she’s either trying to be painfully scrupulous in adhering to rules, (because rules are important!) or she’s just your garden variety little girl bossy pants. Most of us were trained out of that by mothers instilling proper manners, but that seems to be ancient history now.

Wa St Blogger said...

What kind of parent writes into a newspaper for advice on how to deal with a smart remark from their 7 year old? This says much more about the parent than the child imo

I am more than 80% convinced that most letters to the advice columnist are either heavily curated to give them a topic they want to talk about, made up by readers in hopes of getting published, or out-right written by a staffer.

Clyde said...

‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’

--1984, George Orwell

That's what's coming.

farmgirl said...

“Is the mom a Karen, also? It's probably hereditary.”

!! Really!!?

The Vault Dweller said...

It's depressing that a 7-year old is already thinking like that. Though based on the parent's pondering reaction, I suppose it was to be expected.

rcocean said...

I'm never convinced these letters are real. Don't all these advise columnists make them up?

Narr said...

Made up questions? If so, Ann Landers (or was it her sis, Abby?) had a strange imagination.

The one that sticks with me is the virginal young newlywed, whose husband makes her take cold baths before sex, and lie perfectly still and quiet during. Is that normal? BTW, he's a mortician . . .

Stephen King has nothing.

Narayanan said...

Wait === does not automatic mean with motion sensor ? you just walk up and ....

Bunkypotatohead said...

The button doesn't care who pushes it.

I'm Not Sure said...

"I discovered that doors to most businesses here in San Francisco are set to 'push to enter/pull to exit', rather than the opposite as I’d grown up with in New England. I think it’s because in places where you have snow, the door acts as a barrier - wind can’t blow it open and allow drafts and snow/sleet to accumulate, and by pushing the door open upon leaving, it automatically clears any debris from your path."

Business egresses are typically set up to be "push to exit, pull to enter" in order to avoid the situation where an emergency (such as a fire) results in the exits being blocked because of a crush of humanity all trying to get out of the building at one time jamming up in front of the door, making it impossible to pull the door open.

Ralph L said...

I've seen outward opening doors on Scandinavian houses on TV. What do they do when 3+ feet of snow block the door?

gpm said...

Haven't seen her column/posts/whatever for years, but I always loved Miss Manners. Even bought a second-hand copy of her Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior to make sure I wasn't committing any gross faux pas in issuing engraved invitations to and then conducting my exquisite fiftieth birthday party at (OK, I'm bragging a bit here) the Harvard Club in Boston (though I think my instincts were, well, excruciatingly correct: The invitations just requested the pleasure of the invitee's company for light refreshments, with no vulgar RSVP cards or any reference to the occasion, and the HC is located on the verge of, shudder, the Fenway). The party was, BTW, a great success, despite a blizzard earlier in the day preceding the event, though I got distracted and hardly ate any of the wonderful food I had ordered and got a bit, um, tipsy as a result.

My favorite Miss Manners story of all time, though I'm not sure I'm getting all of the details right. The question posed to MM related to a second marriage and an issue about the children of the first marriage "bringing up the gifts" during the ceremony. Lapsed Catholic or no, you would immediately understand the reference, i.e., the bringing up of the communion "gifts." MM, however, freaked out and thought the parties were talking about some obscenely vulgar idea of displaying wedding gifts during the ceremony.

There was a quiet apology a few days later.

--gpm

gpm said...

For two years as an undergrad, I Iived in a dorm with unisex bathrooms. There were separate showers with separate changing rooms in front of the shower, which was nice. The toilets were in separate stalls, which all had little signs saying something like "notwithstanding any advertising to the contrary, flush NOTHING down the toilet." Not directed at us, but we all knew what they were talking about.

My first year at law school, I lived in a room in a hideous Gropius dorm that had group showers. One guy had a girl living with him in our hideous dorm rooms. If she didn't give a shit about the group showers, I didn't give a shit either.

--gpm