The Finlandization of fatherhood

Gintas writes:

This guy, Steve Tuttle, writing a column in Newsweek, thinks he’s tough when he sympathizes with fathers of young ladies he dated, now that he has a 16-year-old daughter:

I tell these tales of my death-defying teen dating years for a reason: those two over-the-top dads from my past don’t seem so crazy in hindsight, because now I’m a middle-aged guy with a 16-year-old daughter of my own. Her name is Grace. All is forgiven, Boxer-Clad Sasquatch Machiavelli and Shotgun-Wielding Virginity Enforcer. My hat is off to you because now I am one of you. Fathers of teen daughters start to consider all sorts of strategies that might keep them safe and protected and forever 16. Intimidation is just part of the game. One of my friend’s fathers used to greet all of her dates with a simple but effective line: “Tonight, you should treat my daughter as if your life depends on it. Because it does.” I keep that line with me at all times now, ready for whenever the doorbell rings.

Sounds kind of tough. I’d be cleaning a gun while I said that. But we find out he’s a helpless hand-wringer:

In the end, it’s all for naught. Sooner or later all of us fathers of daughters arrive at the same place: time is fleeting, and our precious little girls are leaving, and too soon, and more than likely on the arm of some scheming longhair who isn’t good enough for our angel and doesn’t have the sense to know that the bill of a baseball hat goes in the front.

And we see why Newsweek decides to run this guy’s column: he’s a MomDad:

Like all fathers, I don’t want to be left behind, but looking back I realize that Grace had already begun to pull ahead when she was about 5 years old. I was a Mr. Mom back then, and she got mad at me one day because I stepped on her My Little Pony or some other egregious act. She yelled: “Daddy, you’re stupid!” I sternly told her that sort of behavior was just not OK and she needed to say she was sorry. She put one hand on her hip, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’m sorry you’re stupid.”

It’s a lock that his wife walks all over him, too.

LA replies:

Pathetic. Notice that he doesn’t say how he reacted when his daughter sassed him. Did he just take it? The implication is that he did.

The column seems confused and contradictory, but in reality it is a typical piece of liberal mind control, in which the writer engages in a conservative-sounding protest against liberalism, raising certain suppressed hopes in the reader, only to turn around and embrace liberalism all the more, thus sending the reader the message that any resistance is futile. (David Brooks is an expert at this device.) In this instance, the liberal media, aware of the social and sexual chaos brought by liberalism, know that their audience hankers for some gesture of traditional male authority. And Tuttle seems to provide it. But then he admits that this traditional male authority is powerless. So the net effect of the column is not to resist liberalism, but to fortify its rule over our society, a society in which the celebrated models of female behavior are Madonna and Sex and the City, a society in which girls and young women are expected to be, and are, whores.

Notice also how his two examples of fathers protecting their daughters are disgusting primitives. The possibility of a strong and protective father who is also mature and civilized doesn’t even enter the picture.

He writes:

Today she’s a junior in high school, tall and beautiful and smart and strong-willed and all those things dads are supposed to say, but in her case they’re true. She’ll manage just fine, and I’ll try to do the same. She’ll learn about the big bad world on her own now, and she’ll be ready. She got a taste this summer in Naples, when a simple stroll with friends to get gelato turned into a nightmarish robbery at knifepoint. Grace handled the trauma with aplomb, taking it as the life lesson it was.

The “aplomb” is the key point. You’re not supposed to be angry, indignant, upset at a violent crime perpetrated against yourself—you’re supposed to accept it. And he congratulates his daughter on this. She’s cool with social chaos, just as her dad is.

If, allowed to travel to a foreign country at age 16 without adult supervision, she been raped, he would have spoken proudly of her aplomb.

Didn’t we just quote a comment like that recently?

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

You wrote:

“Pathetic. Notice that he doesn’t say how he reacted when his daughter sassed him. Did he just take it? The implication is that he did.”

Did he just take it? Of course he did. He’s practically bragging about the fact that at five years old his daughter was back-talking and sassing him. If this attitude of hers towards her father had developed (by his leave) to that point at five, imagine what it is now.

Next thing you know he’ll be taking her and her online date to horrorcore rap concerts in Michigan.

LA replies:

You got it.

October 1, 10 a.m.

Gintas writes:

Finlandization? Is Finland noted for emasculated fathers?

LA replies:

Finlandization means that a country, like Finland, while formally sovereign, is effectively under the power of a neighboring, tyrannical country, like the USSR. So what I meant by the Finlandization of fatherhood was the subjugation of fathers (especially a putative tough guy like Steve Tuttle) to the anti-male, anti-authority, liberal orthodoxy.

Marco Jawsario writes:

This is disgusting. I have raised four children and Senora Jawsario and I WOULD NEVER NEVER NEVER tolerate back-sassing of any kind—at any stage of development from any of the Jawsario ninos.

I can assure you that the author’s five year old muchacha did not become a disrespectful brat at five years old. It started much earlier than that—probably as a toddler, when the child is learning to test its parents’ authority. For example, my little grandson, “Jawsito,” is not yet one year old and recently started biting his mother, my daughter, who has learned it is best to nip these things in the bud. Jawsito has gotten little smacks on his mouth and Santa Maria! The biting has become less of a problem. If any of the Jawsarios had dared to call me or mi Senora “stupid,” then before you could say “Dr. Spock Was A Clueless Idiot,” they’d be hauled into the nearest public restroom and have their butts turned red.

Your take on these pathetic liberals is spot on. It never occurs to them that parents can be old-fashioned, tradition-holding, yet smart and engaging with their children.

James P. writes:

“Sooner or later all of us fathers of daughters arrive at the same place: time is fleeting, and our precious little girls are leaving, and too soon,”

It is true that a 16 year old will inevitably soon be an 18 year old who will leave home. However, it was also true when she was five that someday she would be 18 and leave home. Does this guy therefore think he shouldn’t have set rules for her and protected her when she was five? Oh wait, I guess that is what he thinks, since he allowed her to sass him when she was five.

Then the guy says,

“She’ll learn about the big bad world on her own now, and she’ll be ready.”

Ready? How will she be ready? What has this guy done to prepare her? Martial arts classes, time at the pistol range? It is difficult to believe that the daughter of a spineless, deaf-dumb-and-blind Eloi is going to be ready for anything other than victimization at the hands of a Morlock.

The “life lesson” I would draw from robbery at knifepoint is certainly different from the lesson this fool and his daughter appears to have drawn, which is that the attacks by feral humans are natural, inevitable, and unremarkable. “Random,” so to speak. You might get struck by lightning, you might get robbed or assaulted on the street, but really, what can one do? Handle it with aplomb, that is all.

The comments to the article are utterly sickening. So many liberals chiming in with the “sophisticated” observation that if you try to discipline a teenager, the teenager will just defy you and do drugs and have sex behind your back, so it’s pointless even to try. Then you have others whining that the author didn’t say anything about protecting sons, only daughters, as if there is no difference between sons and daughters.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 01, 2009 12:35 AM | Send

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