Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh, grow UP

So something good has happened.

Lori Drew has been indicted.

For anyone here who doesn't know, Lori Drew is the sick, twisted excuse for a human being who drove a thirteen-year-old girl to suicide by posing as a teenaged boy of MySpace, befriending the girl, spreading her secrets, then cruelly making fun of her.

Apparently drew told police she "didn't feel as guilty" as she might have, once she found out the girl had attempted suicide once before. Which makes perfect sense, really, because all feeling people let themselves off the hook when they discover the child they were manipulating was fragile to begin with, rather than simply driven to fragility by their own acts.

What the fuck is the matter with this woman? What the fuck is the matter with parents like Roseana Scaduto, who not only drove her own daughter to a fistfight, but participated? When did parents start totally abdicating their responsibilities, and start behaving as though they themselves are the same age as their children?

I know, I know. It's actually been going on for years and years. Nobody wants to be a parent anymore. They want to be "cool", they want to be a "friend." They want to shove their children into the adult world before the kids are ready, then take a step back from that world themselves. Shit like this has always happened; these parents have always existed. But I think the capacity for true harm used to be smaller, and I think it used to happen less often. So why?

I'll tell you why I think it is, at least in part. (Oh yeah, I have a LOT of theories and opinions on this one, but I'm going to focus here.)

It's because being an adult isn't fun anymore.

Remember when you were a kid? Remember your parents having adult parties, with cocktails and cigarettes and fondue? And they'd get dressed up and play music, and you wated to be at the party but weren't allowed because this was something only grown-ups got to do? So being grown-up seemed like a really big deal? One day you'd be able to drink daquiris made with Kool-Aid in the blender, one day you'd wear high heels and perfume and eat whatever you wanted, one day you'd have a cool car, once day you'd get married and actually have sex, and it all seemed like such a huge privilege you just couldn't wait?

Except now nobody's allowed to smoke anywhere, and drinking is frowned upon, and it seems like once you hit the age of about 27 you're expected to eat nothing but fruit, vegetables and bran and drink nothing but water. You're expected to be in bed at a decent hour and spend your weekends having "quality time" with your kids at some theme park somewhere. Don't have even a glass of wine in front of the children, it sets a bad example. Don't watch anything more mature than Shrek (if there even is such a thing; it seems very few good films are being made these days that aren't "for the whole family".) Watch your language. No fatty foods. Exercise. Blah blahblahblah.

In short, once you become an adult you're expected to give up all the fun things adulthood should represent. It's teenagers today who seem to get to live the lives we all wanted as kids: drinking, smoking, fucking, driving, wearing expensive pretty clothes, staying out till all hours, doing whatever they want, while the adults piddle around with bowls of cereal and bottles of water.

Adulthood used to be something people looked forward to. Now it's dullsville, baby.

I say we take adulthood back. Make those damn kids keep their parts in their pants and go to bed by eleven, make them work for their spending money, while we stay up drinking bourbon and watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin. (One thing I love about Judd Apatow; he's actually making fun movies for adults only. Aside from all the other things I love about Judd Apatow, that is, which is everything.)

Let's have parties again. Let's drink and eat whatever crap we like. Let's do what we want to do. We're fucking adults now! WE get to say what happens. Isn't that what we all wanted when we were kids? So why did an entire generation give up their right to rule their children like fascist dictators and have some fun themselves?

It probably wouldn't do much for sick twisted shitheads like Lori Drew, a woman who must feel very proud of herself for having cleverly outwitted a vulnerable young girl. I know when I tell seventh-graders that the world would be a better place without them, I feel really clean and pure and good about myself, so why wouldn't she?

But for the rest of us? Yeah, I think it would be pretty cool. Maybe if we stopped making adulthood into some sort of prison, our adults wouldn't be so eager to behave like teenagers again.

Just a thought.


Charles Gramlich said...

Hear hear. I'm with you down the line. Let's take back adulthood. course, I never did do the healthy lifestyle thing. However, I always tried to be a responsible adult when it came to my kid. That bitch who did that shit to that teenage girl needs to be publically horsewhipped, and I wouldn't mind doing the whipping.

kirsten saell said...

Speaking as someone whose aspirations towards shameless alcoholism are limited only by the economic realities of the price of booze, "Hear, hear!"

Childhood is too much fun.

I still remember the time I asked my stepson to cut the grass, and he said, "My mom always pays me $10 for that. How much are you going to pay me?"

I just laughed. "Nothing. You'll do it because you damn well have to, because that's what I get in return for letting you live here." And I'd say the same thing to my own kids, except they already know it and don't have the gall to ask me for money for doing things I don't get paid to do.

So many kids today aren't as lucky as mine. Their parents let them slack off, buy them all the nicest clothes, and pay them to do things like clean their own fucking rooms. And then when these kids grow up and realize they have ten times as much work to do and don't get paid for half of it, and there's no way in hell they can afford $60 jeans, let alone $200 ones, no wonder they move back in with mom and dad.

I tell ya, my kids turn 20, I'm sticking their shit out on the curb and changing the locks.

As for Lori Drew, I can't think of a punishment harsh enough for her. My daughter's friend's brother recently committed suicide (he was 14) and it just destroyed his family. And the sad thing in his case is the people who were largely responsible don't even think they did anything wrong. Because, hey, he was a geek, an easy target--you can't expect teenagers to restrain themselves in a situation like that, especially when their parents don't feel any need to. Makes me angry and sad and want to hug my kids more.

Seeley deBorn said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am a mean mama. My kid says his Ps and Qs, he asks to be excused from the table, he cleans his room before every night before bed, and I follow through on threats to toss things in the garbage.

My kid is not my friend, he's a human being I am responsible for, and dammit, he's leaving my house at 18 fully prepared to handle all the shit the world can toss at him.

That said, once he's in bed (at 8 o'clock weekends included) I'll break out the absinthe and...stuff...

I won't pretend to him that I don't do it, he's seen the booze, and he knows it's booze and for grown ups only (pop is too, mwahaha, mean, I am mean). The man and I have already discussed our future responses to questions about our own behaviour that we know we will have to field; The Boy will know, but he'll also know that we will know if he ever does, ya know?

Bernita said...

You hit it dead center, December!


Speaking of hives of psychotic nutjobs, how 'bout that Myspace?

I think the main thing "kids these days" are given too much of is privacy. Where the hell are parents when these things are happening? Angelic Daughter knows I'm going to be all up in her biznis 24/7. No private phone and IM and email and website. Keeps her out of trouble and keeps whackadoos from victimizing her. Win/win.

Anna J. Evans said...

I love you, I really do. I could weep with joy and feel like going out and screaming my liberation to the entire suburban neighborhood...

After I take my prenatal vitamin, make sure I don't take a bath too hot to harm the babe, avoid soft cheeses and things with mercury in them, and give up caffeine and hair dye and red wine and everything else that is fun because I must SACRIFICE for my child!!!

That's where it starts man. Pregnancy is a time when it's hard to know what is society's facist shit and real sacrifices you have to make. Then, a lot of us never reclaim our grown up mojo after the kid is no longer incubating.

But hells ya, once I'm in charge of this ship again, there's going to be some big changes acoming. I'm even thinking of reclaiming the big TV. I am so. wild.


blogless troll said...

Amen, sister. And to the other comments too. My kids don't ask for shit, 'cause they know they ain't gettin it.

And I wish we could ignore the "cruel and unusual" ban for Lori Drew's punishment. There's a lot to be said for drawing and quartering.

I'm gonna go drink beer and eat cheese fries now.

Anne Douglas said...

Hell yes!

It's 4pm (or close enough to it) and it's Friday night, I think I deserve a wine about now.

As for Lori Drew, I cackled with glee when I read about her indictment. Good freaking... sorry must reclaim adulthood...fucking job

Robyn said...

The authorities can waterboard Lori Drew in my tub while that girl's family has a barbecue outside.

Someone once said that teens used to go to movies to see adults have sex; now it's the other way around. Seriously, have people lost their freaking minds?

Anonymous said...

Whoo, darling you have that streak in you don't you?

I recently spoke with a woman on a message board who said she was tired of her bratty kids and planned to force them to volunteer at a retirement home or a children's hospital this summer to "teach them a lesson". Did she ever consider that it would be better to, I don't know, make them earn what they got instead?

My kids are treated like humans, not like sparkling treasures which must be idolized and appeased. They earn what they get and the things they enjoy the most are the first things they lose if they get in trouble. They are expected to clean up their own messes and help out with other chores as well.

I wouldn't say that I'm a dictator or anything, but I won't be bullied by them. I am their absolute best friend because I'm teaching them how to take care of themselves, how to act and not act, how to handle stress (like not getting things their way).

I don't smoke, but I do drink on occasion. And thy know which drinks they are not allowed to have. My computer is mine, they are not allowed to use it, same with Jason's computer. They have their own computer, but we bookmarked all the sites that we approve of and then took away the keyboard. Once they're old enough to have accounts of their own you better believe we'll have the right to check in. Privacy and trust are earned, not a given.

And where is it written that you have to buy them $200 jeans and nikes, and DVD players for the bus ride. Better to get used to disappointment, and not "keeping up with the jones" early in life.

Kids really need to be taught not to care what peers think. All this buying kids things because their friends have it, just puts weight on other people's opinions which contributes to situations like this.

I wonder what that Drew woman's family life was like, that she channeled all her rage to a little girl rather than doing anything to change her own life. I also wonder why the girl's own parents weren't keeping a closer watch. Thirteen is NOT old enough to have a private myspace or email address.

I'm going on far too long, but let me end with this... Wednesday we got a call from the principal of my son's school. It seems that while they were on a field trip to a baseball game they found a middle schooler from another school taking pictures of the other boys in the bathroom while they were doing their business. My son was one of the victims. I'm sure he only thinks it was hilarious (like a fart joke), but tell me, who the hell lets their middle schooler have a camera phone? I'm far too nervous about my own laptop getting stolen or broken to take it out of the house much... and I'm not talking about having a phone while the kid was at a friend's house, or a scout meeting or a camping trip. What parent thinks it's a wise idea to let an 11-12-13 year old have an expensive phone in school when they are supposed to be, I don't know, learning???

laughingwolf said...

i'm with you, hon... those 'things' that breed, then shirk the responsibilities of proper parenting, are best used as buzzard bait! grrrrrrr

ChrisEldin said...

That woman is not mentally there. Does she have children? God I hope not.

But about your other topic--yes!! I never thought about it before, but you are right! Now that my children are 8 and 10, I want to live again. Is it possible? I want to party and not invite them. I want to have FUN!

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh, have you ever hit a hot button topic! I have no tolerance for overly permissive parents, bratty youngsters or PC Nazis. Leave me and my personal foibles the fuck alone, I say! I'll screw my own life up as much as I wish, and I'm fully volitional, fully aware and fully adult enough to make these choices, so I'm going to without Big Brother telling me NO.

It's likely a good thing I never had kids, because I'd have continued to dye my hair, drink, smoke (if I smoked) and eat whatever crap I wanted while pregnant. I operate on the Darwin principle, lol!

kirsten saell said...


I smoked during my first two pregnancies and had totally normal kids. I quit a year or two before the third, and he was over 11 freaking pounds. Makes me wish I'd never given it up...

kirsten saell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pacatrue said...

Well, I wouldn't celebrate being an adult in the same way, but I agree that adulthood is the time to celebrate your life as finally a fully capable person ready to take on the world.

Elizabeth said...

I have never heard of this sad person. What a bottom dweller.

Dena said...

I was happy to hear about her sentence too. What pisses me off is also hearing her employee saying she set up the page and posted to the girl as well. I want to know why she didn't get in trouble too. When I first heard about this, I wondered why she did it and read her daughter used to be friend's with her and she was trying to see what was being said about her daughter. Kids have fights and falling out's all the time. For Lori to do this makes me sick and think what an idiot, theres no excuse for it. I agree with with post and wish she would have gotten more time.

December/Stacia said...

Hey, welcome new commenters, and thanks! Normally I respond to all comments but I fell behind this weekend and everyone had such good and clever things to say, you don't need me to come along and tell each of you individually how I agree with you. So, all of you, I agree with you! :-)

I did quit smoking during both of my pregnancies, but I wasn't nal about it either. I didn't care if peple smoked near me (although I never smoke around pregnant women or children) and I'm pretty sure at least once or twice I had a drag off somebody's smoke or whatever.

MySpace is awful. I hate it. I have a MySpace but I've been considering deleting the thing for ages because I hate it so much.

What I hate is, my daughter's school goes on the internet. I mean, in class. I don't really want them teaching my child how to use the internet, frankly. I picked it up when I was in my 20s, so can she. Children do not belong on the internet, IMO. I don't let my kids use the computer or play video games; they're 6 and 3!

And Dena, the employee was granted immunity in return for testifying against Drew. She at least had the courtesy and decency to say she feels sick about what happened, that she wishes it never had, that she'd give anything to take it back etc. etc. Not that that makes it okay, but at least she isn't saying shit like "I don't feel as guilty because she'd tried it before."

Stephen Parrish said...

Don't forget: anniversary tribute to Miss Snark on Pat Wood's Blog starting May 20th.

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, right! I'll mention that when I do today's post.

Anonymous said...

You nailed a huge part of the problem.

When I was in school, if I got in trouble, my mom shipped my ass when I got home. Nowadays, when a kid gets "in trouble", the parents go to the school to whip the teacher. -V95

BernardL said...

The great thing about being a writer is you can create what you don't have in reality, D. :)

Devon Ellington said...

I agree with all your points. I also think it has to go further and we have to stop taking medication every time life doesn't go the way we want to, and we have to stop medicating kids every time they show the potential for creativity and independent thought.

Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop foisting it off on everyone else and saying that nothing is "your fault". If you did it, take the consequences.

The most vicious people are the ones who are too cowardly to take charge of their own lives, so they have to make sure those who do are punished.

Anonymous said...

We have an internet access home. The kids are allowed to place on certain sites because the puzzle and education games there don't ever involve anyone hitting. You have to solve puzzles and such... well, if you've seen Dora the explorer the games are almost exactly like an episode. They even have one game (that is among my kids' favorites) in which you're Swiper the bad guy and you have to be a hero. I like the role turn around.

With my son the computer games started because the audio-visual stimulation would calm him and focus him when things got real chaotic. With my daughter, well, there's a game on the My Little Pony web site that only requires the player to push the space bar. At two it was perfect for her to feel involved and special, but not overwhelmed.

We find online "school" activities to do as well. My son's favorite is a hidden picture game where you are given an addition problem and you click on the box with the answer thereby clearing all the boxes off the picture.

We've also resumed our puzzle of the day from Jigzone, where we sit down and have some together time by putting a puzzle together online.

We've also experimented in the past using IMs and web cams to test if either could help my son communicate better by giving him that interaction, but without the pressure of being immediately conversing with someone else. Dad sometimes records videos for the kiddos too, which they absolutely adore.

I think the net can be a tool, but it has to be used with supervision.