On Facebook I also discovered that the US hasn’t been able to win the war in Afghanistan because of political correctness.

OK, break over.

17 thoughts on “Befuddled”

  1. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It’s an important part of the American self concept that we see ourselves as benevolent users of force and a colony that freed itself from an empire, not colonizers. Once you use as much force as the “oh we’re too politically correct to bomb the hell out of everyone” crowd wants, you cannot maintain the pretense of not ruling a country. It’s also massively more expensive than whatever we’re doing right now.

    OT: Parents Who Pay to Be Watched Armed with Nest Cams and 24/7 surveillance, one company promises to fix even the most dysfunctional child — for a price.”

    This is truly… freakish.

    Shep was 13 when he started stealing from his parents. It started not long after he and his four siblings moved with their parents to Greenwich, Connecticut, from London, where the family had lived for over a decade. While his siblings settled into their new home, Shep withdrew. He grew anxious and unhappy, began to struggle in school and to obsess over the Madden NFL mobile football game, losing interest in everything else. His mother, Elizabeth, had suspected that of all her children, the move back to America would be hardest on Shep; he had loved his friends and his life abroad, the independence he’d had there. He also had a history of anxiety and ADHD that made change more difficult. She’d suspected it might be rough, but she couldn’t have predicted how quickly and completely he’d fall apart. Within a few months, Elizabeth felt as though she hardly recognized her son. The family took him to see assorted therapists, worried he was suffering from internet addiction, but none were able to help.

    The company was called Cognition Builders, and Harris explained that they would send people to a family for a period of weeks to observe everyone’s behavior and to figure out how parents could get better control over their kids. The people they sent were called “family architects.” They’d move in with a family for months at a time, immersing themselves in their routines and rituals. The family architects were the foot soldiers in the Cognition Builders team, but the most critical part of the company’s strategy involved the installation of a series of Nest Cams with microphones all around the house, which enabled round-the-clock observation and interaction in real time. At the end of each day, the architects would send the parents extensive emails and texts summarizing what they’d seen, which they’d use to develop a system of rules for the family to implement at home. Over time, the role of the family architects would evolve from observing to enforcing the rules. Through this kind of intensive scrutiny and constant behavioral intervention, they claimed to be able to change a family’s, and a child’s functioning from the ground up.

    The idea, I learned by speaking with employees and clients of the company over several months, is that if you want to truly change the way a person parents, you need to be there (in some sense) as they’re parenting, not occasionally but immersively and consistently. “We are a fly on the wall of a family’s home,” the company’s clinical director, Sarah Lopano, explained. “We take a very behavioral approach to everything we do.

    “What did you think about the people who came here?” I asked him. “The family architects?”

    “I liked some of them,” he said. “They mostly just made me write down what I had to do all the time. They helped me be able to do better in school and behave better.”

    I asked him if it was hard coming back to America from London, and how things were different.

    “In London, I could always take a walk to my friends’ houses. Here we have to drive. The only really social time is at school or on my phone or video games or Xbox. That’s where I talk to my friends the most. In London, I could see them every day, but here I can’t.”


    1. ” It’s an important part of the American self concept that we see ourselves as benevolent users of force and a colony that freed itself from an empire, not colonizers”

      Yes. it’s also a case of not realizing that different societies have different collective goals. Americans imagine that the rest of the world wants their lifestyle…. and Afghanis pretty clearly don’t.


    2. That kid just got the best education in lying to his parents that money can buy. Now he’ll know to hide any anti-social behavior and never let his parents know if he’s having issues. Well done.


  2. It’s very performative: look how much time money and surveillance we’re using to help you, the problem child. But they couldn’t be bothered with addressing the fact the kid is lonely and cut off from his friends. The only way these parents seem to understand love is lots of surveillance and money so the kid acted out by blowing lots of money online. I’m an adult and the idea of this service makes me freak out.


    1. I have a panic attack just thinking about it. Besides, things don’t exist in a vacuum. I’m sure these people have many other strange and damaging behaviors aside from this. It doesn’t happen that completely normal people just go do something this weird out of the blue.


    1. The Onion has stopped being funny since they can’t come up with anything more outlandish than what happens in reality. I wonder what comedians even do for their standup routines any more. The best they could do is read out the evening news.


  3. Even tenured professors don’t have this kind of job security. How can one be wrong about everything but still keep getting promoted?


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