It’s true: I’ve spent my last few posts bitching and moaning about Annoying Things I Have Read, and this is the last such tirade (for now). BUT, when I stumbled on this SFist post, titled Confessions Of A San Francisco Parent: Babies In Restaurants Aren’t A Problem, I couldn’t resist. I am, after all, only human.
I’ll say this up front, lest I sound like a crazy, kid-hating bitch: I don’t hate children. I like children! They wear adorable, baby-sized Ray Bans and sometimes say funny things! Human life! Perpetuation of the species & c!
You know what I hate? Smug parents. Smug people in general, but smug parents in particular. I also have megaqualms with misleading article titles, several of which SS and I have encountered on this very day.
The title of the
article post in question led me to believe that the author would defend parents who bring their yawling tots to nice restaurants. “Fucking A,” I thought, “another of those folks,” by which I mean folks who consider their own needs above everyone else’s.* But no: the post falls into another category altogether — that of the ill-formed line of argumentation, the absent thesis, the plague of blah-ness.
Rather than positing that, No, babies in restaurants are not annoying and here’s why, the author admits that babies in restaurants can be annoying:
To our dismay and frustration, at the next table was a little girl. She wasn’t crying or screaming. She was watching Dora the Explorer on full blast on her personal DVD player …We were livid.
The author understands (abstractly, at least) that yes, a crying child can wreck other patrons’ dining experiences. She goes so far as to say, “I understand how disruptive a child in a restaurant can be, especially when you’re paying big bucks…” One point for insight! That the author identifies the problem undermines the other half of her argument: because the crying child isn’t mine, it isn’t a problem.Whoa, whoa, whoa: back up. You’re saying that because you can block out the shrieks of kids (or that you can pretend said shrieks aren’t annoying), those shrieks aren’t a problem? I love this logic! Let’s apply it to other so-called problems:
“You know, I’ve never experienced genocide, so it’s NOT A PROBLEM.”
“My parents were killed when their car was struck by a meth-head driving a conversion van. BUT, because it’s not happening to me in the current moment, it’s NOT A PROBLEM.”
To review: the author admits that, yes, loud children can indeed disrupt a dining experience. She also claims that, unless the loud-ass kids are her own, they aren’t a problem because SHE doesn’t have to deal (“deal”) with them. Never mind those other diners who have to, uh, listen to the kids. D. Hanousek’s post could have been reduced to a single line: “The world revolves around meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
*And, let’s be honest: parents who bring colicky-ass babies to restaurants are doing exactly that. Whatever the cause — inability or unwillingness to find a babysitter, obsession with one’s offspring, desire to tote one’s kids to All Public Places — the result is the same: other diners’ needs are infringed upon.