Friday, March 30, 2007

Communication breakdown

Poor chuckling has a teenage daughter and the following exchange will tell you a lot about what that can be like in the year 2007:

I know you have no interest in chuckling's personal life, I only share that as a stepping-off point to discuss larger societal issues.

First one cannot fail to notice the horrible sass a parent must endure in these confused times. It'a not like the good old days when the kid would just scream or call you names. Today, it's all irony and sarcasm. It's not just the jab at my cooking skills. Subtle, am I?

Then there's the avatar. Chuckling's avatar is borrowed from conservative religious imagery, as is appropriate, but the teenage girl seems to think she is Michael Nesmith. That, in itself, is a signifier of the sickness in our society, but to top it off, she looked up Michael Nesmith after noticing he was the producer of Repo Man. She had never heard of the Monkees.

And finally, parent and child, living in the same house, are communicating by IM. We do this all the time, but last night it hit me that something was wrong with that, I don't know why, just because, so I called her on her cell phone to try to re-establish a more traditional way of communicating, but she didn't want to take my call, and I left it at that.

But I realized that I didn't want to just leave it "at that." In the coming weeks I am planning on a re-examination of our family values. That will, of course, remain private, but at the same time we will examine American values in general from a more conservative perspective. The itinerary is not yet fully planned, but I will tell you this: We will begin at the beginning of time. And there will be photos.