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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

If Kevin Drum can admit it, so can I

Posted by: Hammer / 8:43 AM

Over at Washington Monthly, the former Calpundit writes:
While I was on vacation I did a couple of things I don't normally do. One of them was to catch an episode of Nanny 911...

At first, I thought that this was merely the latest slide down the slippery slope of revoltingly meanspirited reality shows. And without much doubt, it is indeed that. Watching husbands and wives and children all screaming at each other and acting like a ravening pack of spoiled brats for an hour is pretty unedifying stuff.

And yet....by the time the show was over I was partially won over. ... [T]he show reaches a lot of people who would never read a parenting book, and does so in a dramatic way that's probably pretty effective. So even given all its sordid voyeurism, this is actually a show that might do some good.

I can hardly believe I wrote that. But there you go.

I watched Nanny 911 while upgrading my Linux distribution to Fedora Core 3. The first 15 minutes were standard reality show fare, designed to make me feel good about my life and my family. That worked. I felt superior and blessed that I was not them.

Then the show changed. Nanny Deb demonstrated good parenting skills. She worked sincerely with all members of this dangerously deranged family to build parenting and communications skills. In the end, she actually helped the family. She might have even convinced a parent or two that talking to a child solves more problems than a good spanking.

It might have been the exhaustion or the PTSD, but I found the show's ending strangely affecting. The family was better off; they knew it; and they were grateful.

It reminded me a bit of the best of Queer Eye where the show is less about looking fabulous and more about permanently changing a man's attitude about himself. And, of course, good shoes.

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