Boomerangs can be harmful, especially if what comes back is an adult child, previously seen off with sighs of relief. A study of people over 50 in 17 European countries finds that the return of adult children to the nest-“multigenerational co-residence” in the jargon of the social scientist’s trade-causes a major decline in parents’ well-being.
The study, by scholars at the London School of Economics, found that “boomerang” children reduce the quality of life of their parents by an amount similar to developing an age-related disability, such as difficulties walking or getting dressed.
It seems that the return of the prodigal, or even the offspring simply down on his luck, “may be regarded as a violation” of parents’ new-found independence, which encouraged new hobbies and greater marital harmony, the latter perhaps, but only perhaps, a result of increased privacy. All gone when the door opens to “Hi mom and dad, I’m back.”
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Sweden has decided to attack gender differences early on. Noticing that 1- and 2-year old boys “shout and hit” while girls “whimpered to be picked up,” teachers cleared the room of dolls and cars. According to the New York Times, boys were sent to the play kitchen, and girls practiced shouting “no.” Teachers call the children “friends” rather than “boys and girls.”
It is not clear that these experiments are successful. Four- and 5-year old girls tend to draw girls “with lots of makeup and long eyelashes” one school’s “house gender expert”-yes, there are such jobs-discovered. When asked, “Don’t boys have eyelashes?”, one, er, girl, responded: “We know it is not like that in real life.” Which prompted the in-house gender expert to muse, “They are trying to understand what it is to be a girl.” The Times says she found this “frustrating.” Teachers find that they have to learn to control themselves when tempted to compliment a child’s appearance, “You have to hold back.” Life is hard in the forward trenches of the PC war.
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And not only on the Swedish front. In Britain a leading independent school has eliminated prize day to avoid upsetting pupils who don’t win anything, who the president of the United States, with characteristic delicacy, would call “losers.” Instead, awards are made at small ceremonies attended only by the winners and their families. Whether parents of the losers find it necessary to join the increasing number who are hiring life coaches for children as young as four, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, is not known.
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While on the subject of political correctness, we should note that the Toronto school board, up north where Hispanics have been invited to come seeking relief from persecution in the United States, will no longer use the word “chief.” According to the Wall Street Journal this is out of respect for “Native communities,” even though none ever used that title. Henceforth, all employees will be called “MANagers.” It is not known for certain, but it is considered unlikely that President Trump, in a gesture of goodwill to our northern neighbors, will order the military bands to strike up “Hail to the Manager!”
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Finally, hold onto your favorite DVDs lest the edited versions start to hit the stands. You remember DVDs, the round shiny things you watched before Netflix came into our lives. The proposed sale of some Fox properties to Disney has some activists insisting that a warning label about the dangers of smoking be affixed to Fox films that show characters enjoying a few puffs. The Mouse studio years ago kept its brand squeaky clean of any hint that its characters would smoke (at least not while making a Disney film). But many of what the Times calls the “sharper-edged” Fox films suffer from no such restriction.
The campaign to eliminate smoking in films will certainly spread, backed as it is by the World Health Organization and assorted activists, including one Jono Polansky, a policy consultant for Smoke Free Movies. And as with all PC campaigns, ex post facto is the rule. Which is why we should worry about the revised version of Casablanca, perhaps the most beloved movie of all time, or at least of those movies made before car crashes and relativism that would make us sympathetic to Nazi Major Heinrich Strasser.
“It is hard to imagine Humphrey Bogart without a cigarette” wrote Aljean Harmetz in a 1992 Timescomment on Casablanca. Anti-Nazi campaigner Paul Henreid, the hero of the film, also lights up as he explains to Ingrid Bergman that although frightened he must go to a meeting of the underground. Perhaps the cigs can be edited out, replaced by Kojak’s (Telly Savalas) lollypops. (Younger readers are referred to Google.) That would end worries about the sexual implications, male dominance, and other problems of those for whom a cigarette is never merely a cigarette.
But the problem would not end there. The anti-booze campaigners will know an opportunity when they see one, and it shouldn’t be difficult to replace Bogie’s lament at running into his old flame in Rick’s, his gin mill: “Of all the gin joints in all the world,” by dubbing in something like “Of all the Starbucks in all the world”. But that would be banned in California, where coffee will soon come with a cancer warning because it contains acrylamide.
Perhaps “Of all the ice cream parlors in all the world” would work, if only it could be slipped past anti-obesity campaigners.