Whining our way to greatness
At first, I thought that Katherine Kersten was “writing today” as the papers like to put it, as in “David Brooks is not writing today.” But Virginia Postrel of Bloomberg News wrote a paean to whining, published in the Strib today, that Kersten could have penned.
The complaints of the FedEx and UPS customers who didn’t get their Christmas packages on time fell on Virginia’s sympathetic ear. The customers were ridiculed for complaining about their “first world problems.” But whining is vital to our economic success and first world status, says Virginia:
[In contrast to a developing country], in a developed country, barring a major natural disaster, you can count on uninterrupted electricity, hot and cold running water, sewage disposal, garbage pickup, heat (and in hot climates, air conditioning), telephone service, Internet access and television. The roads and bridges will be in decent repair; the elevators will work; the ATMs will have cash, and you’ll be able to find a decent public toilet when you need one.
These things aren’t necessarily free, but they’re cheap enough for pretty much everyone to enjoy them. They’re ubiquitous and reliable. Even when natural disasters strike, we can expect heroic efforts to get things back to normal. Under normal circumstances, we can depend on these services to be there consistently and to work as promised. We can make plans accordingly. That’s a First World privilege.
In order to insure our status as an exceptional nation, Moms and Dads, it is critical that you raise your children to be incessant whiners. The future of, inter alia, indoor plumbing is at stake.
The best way to do this is to model whining behavior at every opportunity. Don’t be shy about it.
Minimum wage service workers will provide you with continuing opportunities to teach the youngsters with you about proper whining technique. It takes skill and experience to properly berate a store clerk or a counter employee.
Don’t expect the kiddos to pick it up overnight. Encourage them to practice on you.
Update: As a bonus, Moms and Dads, think about how much this will improve your own parenting skills. It’s a win – win!
Further update: Commenter Randy says:
First. I didn’t confuse this with something written by KK. One could read through the entire article without the getting the sense that random paragraphs had been cut out. [Well, okay, perhaps I gave Kersten too much benefit of the doubt.]
Second, how far is she willing to take our right to whine? Can we complain because our highways are inadequate? People who might live just a few blocks from our favorite brewpub are not able to afford adequate food? The new teachers dropped into our public schools are inadequately trained dilettantes (thanks so much, TFA!)? Or are those concerns too “third world” to merit her attention?
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