We’ve all seen the celebration of mediocrity that youth sports leagues have become in this country: everybody gets a trophy.  Some leagues don’t even keep score any more.  (You can bet that the kids do.)  We’ve heard the stories of high schools who have ceased naming a valedictorian, because it’s just not fair that one person should get all that recognition for his hard work.  But this takes us beyond saving Johnny’s self-esteem.  This is a whole new level of “MY CHILD DESERVES THIS!!” parenting.

From the Times Online:

The stage was set, the lights went down and in a suburban Japanese primary school everyone prepared to enjoy a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The only snag was that the entire cast was playing the part of Snow White.

For the audience of menacing mothers and feisty fathers, though, the sight of 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch was a triumph: a clear victory for Japan’s emerging new class of “Monster Parents”.

For they had taken on the system and won. After a relentless campaign of bullying, hectoring and nuisance phone calls, the monster parents had cowed the teachers into submission, forcing the school to admit to the injustice of selecting just one girl to play the title role.

Parents are not only pressuring teachers to give their children what they don’t deserve, they plot and scheme to do so en masse, to the extent that they force teachers to resign.  Check the article.

And as if this behavior weren’t bad enough, the reason given for it by the Times?

The sudden switch marks what many believe is the symptom of deeper social troubles at the heart of Japan, a transformation that took root during Japan’s long economic downturn of the 1990s and whose effects have only now erupted.

People are behaving like selfish brats because of the economy?  This is not a matter of money; this is a matter of the heart.  People in the US blame crime on poverty.  Really?  Our grandparents survived The Great Depression without the crime levels that we see today.  It’s not about poverty.  It’s not about the economy. 

I guess it’s easier to blame the government than take a good look at yourself, and take responsibility for your actions, no matter where you live.

I rarely post about politics here because I vent at The Mighty Righty.  Posting here seems a bit redundant to me.  But this is too good not to share with my like-minded visitors. 

In election 2008, don’t forget Angry White Man

My kind of guy. wink

H/T

This minor rant brought to you by a former smoker.  As a matter of fact, I quit 17 years ago this month. 

OK, I know that smoking is bad for you.  I know that second hand smoke is bad for you.  But why is it that the same liberal minds that advocate free needle programs for drug addicts, or free condom distribution for our children, have made smokers the pariahs of our country and have tried to ban them from every public place, even if that “public place” is a privately owned restaurant or business? 

This is the United States of America; a free country (for a little while longer, anyway).  If you want to pollute your lungs, you should be free to do so.  You don’t want to work in a restaurant where people smoke?  Go find another job.  Nobody is forcing you to work there.  You don’t want to eat in a restaurant where there’s a smoking section?  Eat somewhere else. 

Have I been annoyed by smoke from a smoking section 6 inches from my booth?  Yes.  Could I have gotten up to leave?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  I just don’t go to that restaurant as often, or during busy times because their ventilation system stinks.  

Oh, but smoking is bad for you.  It costs us millions in health care.  Yeah, so does eating that Big Mac and Peanut Buster Parfait.  Watch out, the food police would like to tax that, too. 

So be consistent…if nicotine is the horrible, evil, nasty drug that the government says it is, then ban all of it.  Oops…there goes all that revenue. 

Why am I ranting?  Because I spent the day with my mother, a 67 year old heart patient who smokes.  She’s not going to stop.  OK, fine.  You wanna die early, that’s your choice.  But when I took her to her doctor today for an appointment, she was not even allowed to smoke outside the building.  In that thing we call open air.  Alright, the hospital that owns the property can make that call.

The restaurant we visited after her appointment would not allow her to smoke inside.  The restaurant didn’t make that call; the local county government did.  The owner of the business has no choice in the matter.  I wonder how much business he’s losing?  The only reason we stayed was because I was starving and there wasn’t anywhere else we could go before getting back to my county (where it’s still ok to light up).

Do I like cigarette smoke? Of course not.  Have I told my kids about the dangers of smoking?  You betcha.  They know better.  We’ve even role played the peer pressure thing.  They tell their grandma she shouldn’t smoke.  If I ever catch any of them with a cigarette there will be hell to pay, after I first smack them upside the head. 

But for crying out loud, my mother wanted to smoke a cigarette, not shoot herion.  Oh wait…she could’ve gotten free needles for that.