Friday, April 11, 2008

"Do what I want, or I won't be your friend anymore."

I want to encourage you to go over to Daily Kos and read an essay that compares the conservative mindset to that of a little girl in the second grade. It's well written, funny and a bit disturbing. Here's a sample:

Of all the habits of two legged little monsters that my daughter has recently adopted, by far the most prevalent and annoying is the phrase "Do what I want, or I won't be your friend anymore." I have no idea which of the cloven hoofed little brats from Satan's personal jungle gym first introduced her to this omnipresent schoolyard concept, but my daughter has now made it fully her own, along with clever variations like "do what I want, or I won't love you anymore," or "do what I want, or I'm not going to listen to you anymore," or the minimalist, unsubtle version, "do what I want, or I hate you." My daughter considers this to be a master stroke of manipulation, the ultimate takedown when faced with any adversary who demands that she brush her teeth or stop tying things to the dog. Of course, all it actually does is enrage the recipient of the threat, convincing them that all promised decades of bitter, loveless relationship with their child will be just fine, thank you very much, if You Will Only Brush Your God Damned Teeth This Instant.

I shudder to imagine what the schoolyard must be like, with my daughter's dozen or so second-grade friends in constant orbit around each other, each threatening at all points in time the ostracism of all of the others unless their will is adhered to at any particular moment. Every child seeks to find that delicate balance between getting what they want and over-irritating all the others to the point of potential retaliation. Every child, when faced with the threat, attempts to be placid enough to not invoke resentment, but all of them are too bent on domination to stop issuing the threats themselves.
In the end, though, "do what I want, or I won't be your friend anymore" is a time-honored tradition of the highest levels of discourse. If you want to witness the interactions of eight year old girls on a school playground, you need look no farther than Bill Kristol, or Sean Hannity, or any number of devoutly conservative pundits and lawmakers.

And, yes, the author gives a great example.

You know, this helps me understand what I find so troubling about right-wingers. They come across as so very immature.

1 comment:

  1. I just got back from Minneapolis last night, after four days away. I'm having so much fun catching up on all your posts. Thanks for this link, Ellie.


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