I have a secret habit, one I’m not proud of. When I drive, I listen to AM talk radio. I almost wrote that I like to listen to it, but I don’t really. I find it amusing sometimes, irritating often, and disheartening always. It’s disheartening because of the number of people who think these guys (Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, etc.) are journalists/reporters, rather than entertainers. Their logic is terrible and they use every bad propaganda technique there is, yet a number of listeners think they’re smart and the only ones doing the true work the media are supposed to do.
Tonight I heard a particularly brilliant guy (not one of the usual suspects, and I regret to say I can’t remember his name) decrying a study about the safety of bouncy castles for kids. This guy claims that worrying about safety (some 30 kids a day are treated in the ER for injuries) somehow makes us weak–in his words, “sissies.” Having kids wear helmets on bikes will turn our manly men into little girls, he said. When will we stop burdening children with safety precautions that our parents and grandparents never took, in order to return the United States to its former glory? He even criticized car seats–our kids are strapped in like they were taking off in the Challenger (probably not the best analogy he could have made).
I did my share of dumb things as a kid. I once rode a big wheel sort of thing down the middle of a public road (although I was old enough then to know better). As a 5-year-old, I stuck a bobby pin in an outlet and woke up in the ER. Neither of these things made me a manly man–they made me an idiot who’s lucky to be alive.
I get that as parents we can be over-protective at times, but I am not afraid that sitting in a car seat or wearing a helmet on his bike will turn Wolfe into a sissy. Not doing those things, though, might lead to him suffering a horrible accident that turns him into a vegetable and results in him not being able to mow the lawn when he’s older. And that would be unmanly.