Saturday, January 29, 2011
Tiger Mothers, etc.
I was planning on blogging about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother today, but I'm not quite far enough along. This is the publishing sensation of the month, it seems. By exposing her wildly demanding approach to parenting, and calling it "Chinese," Yale law professor Amy Chua has made herself both a bestselling author and the Wicked Mom of the East. Not ready to write much about it, but so far I'm finding the book both entertaining and thought-provoking. It raises some good questions about what we should want for our kids and also about self-deception. When are you helping your children do their best, and when are you actually creating trophy kids to boost your own self esteem? I think the author, Amy Chua, may not be aware of that real and worrisome distinction. Fortunately, she has a sense of humor about herself, and she does allow a question mark to hang over the whole book. Is this really the way to go, she seems to want us to wonder, even as she sings her battle hymn.
More next week, maybe. Meanwhile, 'round the web. The endless conversation continues. It's been interesting at many points. Latest topic--this article, which shows (tries to show?) a spill-over effect. In regions of Europe with more religious people, both the religious and the non-religious are happier. In regions with more atheists, both the atheists and the non-atheists are less happy. Carol Graham cites this (unpublished) study in the extremely interesting book Happiness Around the World. My interlocutor (Paul W) is not impressed.
Relatedly, I enjoyed this letter from Stephen Asma, whose Chronicle Review discussion of animism has generated lots of discussion in the blogosphere.
I dropped by this morning at Let Them Eat Meat, and found post-vegan contrarianism is alive and well. The book Rhys is discussing (Meat: A Benign Extravagance) looks like one I will need to look at. Benign? Well, maybe not quite. I just discovered this very well-done video, narrated by Paul McCartney--Glass Walls. The vegetarian group for which I'm faculty adviser recently did a "pay per view" event--$1 to each person who would watch the video. Good for them! The group has a cool website too.
Last but not least: does a shaved tiger have any stripes? Thanks to my husband, who is reading The Tiger, I now know the answer.