Unloved Kids

I just saw a horrible video of Feinstein talking to a group of kids whose parents detest them. Nothing is sadder than unloved kids.

I grew up in the USSR at the time when it seemed eternal. My parents hated it, just hated it. It had ground up their lives, it offered not a glimmer of hope. But I thought I lived in the best society in the world and was very content with the political system. Because my parents didn’t hate me to the extent that these kids’ rich parents hate them.

I mean, some people can spare their children this kind of existential anxiety in a fucking totalitarian regime. What’s these fuckers’ excuse?

17 thoughts on “Unloved Kids”

  1. I thought Feinstein was a model of forceful dignity in that encounter. She took those kids down without raising her voice and sinking to their level. And I hate the woman’s politics.


    1. I didn’t even see her in the video because my heart was bleeding for the kids. Somebody did a number on these poor children for ridiculous political purposes. Where are the parents??


    2. “She took those kids down without raising her voice and sinking to their level.”

      Well, Feinstein is an old woman, and those kids are — children. It wasn’t appropriate to
      “[take] those kids down” because they were being used as pawns by contemptible adults.


  2. I have not figured this out. I mean, the theory that you should say to the kids that everything is fine. Perhaps I think this because when I was a child there were various kinds of turmoil and you couldn’t avoid seeing it if you left the house. People had various views. There was a big oil spill on our beach and everyone got involved in the related campaign. There were all these antiwar protests, and it was relevant because people were being drafted out of my school. There was a major riot in our very town, with the bank burned down and a university administrator, father of a classmate, held hostage for three days. I formed views. I picked a local political candidate and canvassed for him, and I leafleted for the grape boycott, being underage. My parents didn’t put me up to it, although they had somewhat related views (I am the family leftist, and they are mainstream Democrats).

    Meanwhile, have you read Postcapitalism? https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/188/188551/postcapitalism/9780141975290.html This author now says the reason the Green New Deal will not work is that it presupposes fiat money just the way Trump’s fiscal policy does. He has a very complicated projection about how capitalism is going to transform and I have not figured it out.


    1. Oh, wait — the existential anxiety. We had that in school, we kept training for what we would do in a nuclear attack by the USSR. A bomb any day. My parents said it was all ideological, national security theatre, and there would not really be a bomb. It did rather discourage planning for the future, expecting to grow up, and so on, and was more disturbing than knowing my parents had or hadn’t voted for current president, governor, etc., did or didn’t like them, had somewhat critical view of US or at least of the national security state.


      1. We were also training for a nuclear attack. I’m very well-prepared because I still remember the instructions. There were pictures of people deformed by radiation during a nuclear attack in every classroom.

        I learned to put on a respirator before I learned to tie my own shoes, literally.

        Those were weird times, eh?


          1. I grew up among all this yet I’m a lot less anxious than my students who suffer from such intense anxiety that they are all registered with disability services. Something is being done to them that’s more anxiety-producing than growing up in a totalitarian state, witnessing its collapse, and experiencing bandit wars and the inflation of 1,200%.

            I never saw anybody growing up who couldn’t sit through a class because of anxiety.


            1. And this is amidst prosperity and stability. What will happen if something bad does occur? How will they handle it if simple existence is such a hardship?

              This has gotten worse in the recent decade. Even during the Recession it was nothing like this.


              1. A lot of people have very bad economic situations though and I wouldn’t call this prosperity or stability. I grew up in prosperity and stability and with the feeling that things were improving. It was way different: housing was affordable, college was going to be free, normal healthcare wasn’t so expensive that you needed mega-insurance, AND to top it all off you didn’t need to have so much stuff (like all these electronics) to do daily business. AND there were all these city- and state-funded parks and things to go to, many of which have been shut down now or are pay to play now. Shopping and entering commercial spaces were NOT the primary activities outside of work / school.
                You could read and play games of all sorts, but they were physical games or board games or some form of adventure, and tv was not ubiquitous. But the main thing was that no form of collapse appeared to be on the horizon and one had the impression that people were working to improve whatever was in fact wrong.

                But my parents had anxiety and I think it had to do with their absorption of their own parents’ shock with the Depression — they were small, their parents were young, the shock was big, and according to my father the worst of it at the time was seeing people starving and knowing it could be you and if so, there might not be anything in your power to do about it. My father was the calmest because he knew he could work. My mother was constantly freaked out because she felt that the world could collapse at any time and did not feel capable of supporting herself, so was also concerned she could lose her means of support at any time. I think that if you have worried parents and a heavily pressured world, you get like this.

                In academia, I think all the horror stories create this and even though they are real, it is important not to scare the graduate students. This is difficult since one also does not want to mislead them. Yet it is important.


              2. If you have high-anxiety parents in absolutely any kind of situation, that’s what causes it. I grew up amidst the transition to wild capitalism, and that’s not something I’d wish on anybody. We didn’t go to parks not because they were closed but because there were shootouts in the streets and gangs roaming everywhere.

                But what’s these people’s excuse? Smartphones are expensive?


              3. Well, a lot of people do come from neighborhoods where parks are closed or unsafe, are supporting selves + parents on loans, or are supporting selves on very low wages ($7.25 for them, $3.25 for me at their age, but their rent is now several times what mine was and this is not for a good apartment, it’s for a rough share). There’s the problem of not being in a position to save enough to move to a town with a better market, too. You have to be super enterprising or have some sort of family support, and not family destructiveness.

                I really don’t know. Like them, I also have the impression things may not turn out all right. When I was growing up, it still looked as though they would and I think this was objective, not just my optimism — it was when we still intended to turn the environmental situation around, for instance, before we abandoned those plans, and when average pay could get you decent housing; it was when you didn’t need loans to get through a public university, and so on.


              4. Everybody’s savings in the USSR were wiped out in 1990. 100% of them. Just like that. 60% of people lost their jobs. The rest didn’t get paid for 6 months to a year. At all. There was no banking system, so no loans except from loan sharks who charged 10% a day. There was a 1,000% inflation overnight. Literally. There was no housing for rent because the concept didn’t exist. Buying an apartment would cost thousands of dollars with a good salary being at $50 a month. And obviously mortgage didn’t exist as a concept. We had no electricity for days at a time. No running water for 3 months in a huge industrial city. My sister worked for hours a day doing data entry starting at age nine. I got my first real clothes – not hand downs – at age 15. I still remember what it felt to wear my own clothes for the first time.

                Yet I remember this time as one of enormous excitement and opportunity.


              5. I remember visiting an American home at age 25 and being stunned by the number of towels and having no explanation for why there were so many. It turned out every family member used their own towel. And they had different ones for the face and the rest of the body.


            2. Yes, well I caught anxiety from psychotherapy and I suspect their parents taught the students similar things (and pastors, of course, and teachers). It was all about how you were supposed to be omnipotent, everything that happened, you had either caused or should control your feelings about / reaction to perfectly, YET you must be upset by everything to show you HAVE feelings, a whole series of really constraining principles that cause a crisis of guilt and also claustrophobia, like living inside a small box. I recognize the patter because I saw that psychotherapist.


  3. Excitement and opportunity, but there is so much to be said for what the atmosphere is; do you feel excitement or do things around you seem more like a tomb? Are you allowed to have a self or does survival depend upon suppressing awareness of self (not just self expression)? I think our students are inside various types of actual and also psychic prisons, and that they’re managing a lot of cognitive dissonance. Also, all the dire warnings that get disseminated all the time seem worse in some ways than actually bad situations.


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