Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Violence. Is there nothing it can't do?"

If you are still interested in the crying child in the Portland diner, Rebecca Schuman has absolutely the last word on it* (the comments are as twitter-pated as comments are anywhere on the web, an irony lost on the commenters).

I'm shocked to find out the pancakes at the diner are 14 inches across and 1 inch thick.  I agree with Schuman:  if you can't fix three small pancakes in 10 minutes for one crying (screaming?  Howling?  Again, everyone assumes their worst nightmare to accommodate their conclusion in this story, when nobody knows how obnoxious, or not, the child was) baby you need to get out of the business.  I mean, hell, this is a diner, not a 5 star Michelin restaurant known for its resplendent American breakfasts!  And even then, what kind of restaurant can't bend to serve its customers?


Schuman sums up nicely (no, the parent shouldn't have ranted on Facebook because, yes, a nameless rabble is reading EVERYTHING on the Internet, and "going viral" has a connotation of "diseased and out of control" for a reason!):

Everyone in the interminable debate about children in public is right enough—everyone except the Internet. For every parent who lets the kid jump up and down on ketchup packets and shove recently-shorn fish skin into unsuspecting diners’ faces (this happened to me when I was seven months pregnant, and boy did I judge), there are 10 who are really and sincerely doing their goddamned best. But the Internet doesn’t care. The Internet, and everyone on it (myself included), wants to pounce on teeny-tiny tyrants and their torrents of terror, and then use those moments—arguably low points in the lives of everyone involved—to invoke yet another dumb conversation that has no détente and goes on for time immemorial.
Actually, the internet wants to pounce on anything to invoke not conversation but screaming, where detente isn't even an option and nothing ever dies because it is in a timeless present until the next viral thing comes along and becomes the present.

A cautionary tale for us all, I suppose.

*I think she sums up the known facts a bit too much in favor of the diner owner but call me Rumpole.


  1. well, you know what they say about opinions and certain body parts.... after twelve or fifteen years of reading and making comments, I've come to the conclusion opinions are like appendixes- everybody's got 'em, but in the end very damn few of us can say *why*

  2. I hadn't considered before just now that lots and lots of responsible parents are too busy with their children and their, you know, REAL lives to be feeding these internet feeding frenzies of hate. I think they must be primarily a phenomenon of people who take too little responsibility to other people, who are more self-centered than the norm and who are otherwise more like the characters on the repulsive Seinfeld than they are real people with real lives. I'm entirely confident that the idiots who man the hate machines at Salon, Alternet, and the rest of the online expression of hateful ignorance from far right to alleged left are a relatively small fraction of the population and a self-selecting niche or niches of that part of the population.

    Real life is harder but it's looking better all the time.

    A pancake house that can't handle a young child acting like a young child is badly managed. I'll bet if it were an adult acting like a child instead of a child they wouldn't react like they have been, like bullies and cowards everywhere they focus on the weaker transgressors instead of the stronger ones. Going online, reading their unedited thgouths has taught me more about the thinking of people with defective personalities and low morals than I ever wanted to know, including those with PhDs and those who mistake themselves to be liberals when they aren't.