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A Conservative Halloween

[ 166 ] October 31, 2014 |

Conservatives are such fun people. They can’t let a holiday go without turning it into part of the culture war. The American Spectator clearly planned this one for awhile:

Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers kill kids rushing to become adults. Is it too much to ask of the ghoulish trio to apply their talents toward adults rushing to become kids?

The grownups who have decimated the ranks of trick-or-treaters by aborting 10 million of them in the last decade offer penance for their sins against Halloween by dressing up in place of the missing children. The National Retail Federation estimates that adults will spend $1.4 billion on their own Halloween costumes this year. That’s $1.4 billion that they could have spent on man-cave clubhouses, a huge birthday party, a collection of Care Bears, or some other pastime recently favored by adults.

Whining about adults spending money on costumes instead of doing what Real Americans are supposed to do–breed and raise new conservatives–is the height of how to connect with the broader public.

Meanwhile, this does not make sense:

Society appears beset by myriad identity disorders and too eager to label the clear-headed confused. A recent story highlighted the alleged racial confusion of well-mannered, well-spoken, well-educated Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Men now dress up earnestly as Milton Berle once did for laughs. But age, not race or sex, plays as the role that confuses the culture most.

But the real problem is, of course, abortion. Because we kill all our fetuses, we have to compensate by staying children ourselves. Or something:

The decimation of the ranks of children leaves us with fewer kids and more adult imitators. The lucky ones protected in the womb grow up overprotected outside of it. An adult-surveilled childhood responsible for structured playdates, chauffeured trips to school, and digital babysitters shielding youngsters from the fresh air may also be responsible for the delayed childhoods of adults earlier denied them. It’s also hard to not conclude that a society mired in gadgets and amusements quite naturally favors frivolity. And marriage, an institution known to quickly mature its partners, elicits more “I don’ts” than ever.

Surely the National Parent sets a bad example here. Pajama Boy, that cradle-to-grave sponge “Julia,” and the health-care act regarding 26-year-olds as dependents entitled to coverage from their parents’ insurance plans all recast adolescence long beyond its biological boundaries—25 is the new 12.

Yes, nothing shows the depravity of our abortion culture like allowing 25 year olds to have health insurance!

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  1. mpowell says:

    This is quite an impressive piece of performance art, don’t you agree?

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      If you take out the part about abortion it actually is a fairly interesting piece about the extension of adolescence later and later into life. This has been written about before. But, it certainly seems that in the last several decades that full adulthood in terms of responsibilites have been pushed into the 20s and 30s. I am of course part of this generalized phenomenon. My father was in his twenties when I was born. My daughter was born when I was nearly 40.

      • Aimai says:

        You weren’t an adolescent that entire time. People who couldnt afford children always delayed reproduction where they could, as long as they could, and worked hard with adult responsibilities until then.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          Everything in my life actually came pretty late. Looking back it seems like I spent a big chunk of my 20s being irresponsible. Whereas my parents did not.

          • NonyNony says:

            Not saying this is true of your parents, but many of my friends parents (and possibly mine too – I’ve never gotten the details and my parents aren’t really open about asking) had a small bit of irresponsibility in their late teens / early 20s and then had to eschew other irresponsible behavior because of it.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              My parents were married two years before I was born. My daughter was born four years before I finally managed to legalize my marriage with the ZAGs office on Sovetskaya.

              • Aimai says:

                I didn’t get married until 35, had my first child at 36, but I certainly wasn’t “irresponsible” during the earlier years. I worked, studied, and lived by myself. I fail to see what is irresponsible or juvenile about any of that. Adult life doesn’t begin with a mortgage and a fertilized egg.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  No, but I am not referring to you, but rather myself. A mortgage is one thing that I will never be able to have due to my youthful irresponsiblity. I declared bankruptcy 14 years ago. I am sure there are lots of people responsible in their 20s. But, there are also I think a larger number of people like myself among my generation (X) then there were among my parents’ generation (silent).

                • DrDick says:

                  My mother was 29 when she married and I was born when she was 31. She was a teetotaler and fairly conventional.

                • Aimai says:

                  Yeah–no. Class issues, race issues. Every Generation included plenty of irresponsible men who abandoned the families they did have and took off. It also included women who had children before they wanted to because of the lack of availability of birth control. The ability to save up and gain access to assets and a comfortable, secure, living from which to support a family was an artifact of the post war years in the US and as that has declined thanks to the slow strangulation of the middle class people are no longer able to support families at a young age. This just has nothing to do with who is “irresponsible” and who is “responsible” it is largely structural.

                • DrDick says:

                  Aimai –

                  My grandmother (born 1904), who grew up poor and was from a poor family, had an aunt who had an illegitimate son and an older brother by an unspecified “previous marriage” (a common usage among women of the period who subsequently married and made themselves respectable).

              • PSP says:

                J Otto

                FYI. A bankruptcy 14 years ago won’t even appear on your credit report anymore. If you come back and can’t get a mortgage, that isn’t the reason.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Nothing else will show up on my credit report either since I have taken out zero debt since then. I have not even had a credit card.

          • efgoldman says:

            Looking back it seems like I spent a big chunk of my 20s being irresponsible. Whereas my parents did not.

            Jotto, I’m pretty sure you’re considerably younger than I. I’m a barely pre-boomer (1945). For my cohort and the boomers, the formative years of our parents’ lives were the Great Depression and WW2. Of course they were forced to assume adult responsibilities earlier in life. Hardly a mystery.

            • Vance Maverick says:

              Thus, by the principles of Donner Party conservatism, doth misery inculcate virtue. Kids these days have it too easy, etc.

              I wouldn’t harp on this except that there’s a grain of truth to it. But the misery, of course, also and more seriously brings misery.

        • DrDick says:

          Average age at marriage in early Puritan New England was 30 for men and 25 for women.

          • Aimai says:

            Right–I was thinking about that. I believe that in the 17th century delayed marriage for people without property was the norm.

            • DrDick says:

              Exactly. The men had to wait until their fathers retired and they could inherit the farm to support a wife.

            • Warren Terra says:

              Until recent times it was common in many places for the wedding only to take place once the husband could afford to support a wife – and the wife in question was often a decade or two younger than the husband. All very transactional.

          • Ann Outhouse says:

            I believe similar figures were true for Good Catholic Ireland well into the 20th century. Unable to find link to data, however.

            • DrDick says:

              IIRC, you are right.

            • Ronan says:

              Timothy Guinnane wrote a book ‘the vanishing irish’ which, IIRC (and it’s been a while so I probably havent), argued that the Irish high rates of celibacy and non marriage from the end of the famine until 1914 could best be explained by the relative prosperity of the time (the famine killed off the itinerant labourer class leaving more political power among tenant farmers and the land acts made tenacies more secure and valuable. Added to this greater economic development in Ireland and a more responsive westminster , and ramped up emigration and changes in the structure of land ownership – as opportunities developed internationally for the sons who didnt inherit the farm (and daughters, though they were never going to) – meant that greater economic security weakened the need to marry)
              It’s an argument very microeconomically made, though interesting (admittedly I doubt Ive done it justice as I read the book years ago, when I was young and callow and irresponsible)

      • KmCO says:

        From a developmental standpoint, full adulthood doesn’t begin until approximately age 25. The days of considering 18-20-year-olds as adults are rightfully over.

        • AlanInSF says:

          As parent of 25-year-olds, couldn’t agree more. And yet, having not too long ago read War & Peace (Yay me!) — Twenty-year-olds were officers in the Russian Army. Weird. Back in my high school days in the South, wasn’t uncommon for kids to drop out of high school at 16 and get married.

        • JL says:

          Bleh. I’m waiting for some jackass Republican to use this line of reasoning to argue that mostly-liberal 18-24 year olds should be denied the vote. I’ve already seen way too many obnoxious parents of college students use it to justify horrible invasive behavior toward their kids (like using financial blackmail to force them to major in “marketable” fields, live in the parents’ preferred dorms, call the parents to check in every day, etc).

          • Hogan says:

            “You owe me your life!”

            “So it was just a loan?”

          • KmCO says:

            Ah yes, the “parents as bosses” phenomenon, with kids being treated as their employees: “You have to earn your worth in my eyes.”

          • KmCO says:

            Legal adulthood and developmental adulthood are entirely different things. Secondary schooling ends roughly at 18, the age at which kids often leave their home of origin for the first time, so it follows that they begin experiencing civic rights and responsibilities at this age. But it’s also a fact that their brains are not fully mature until around 25, so to expect them to begin settling down, getting married, and having kids at this age is absurd and frankly a bit dangerous.

      • Otto has a point that America glorifies youth. As does Europe, if Houllebecq is to be taken seriously.

        But damn, what a crazy article. Anyone noticed a child shortage? I haven’t.

      • Emily68 says:

        The extension of adolescence has something to do with the boomers. I remember in ~1965, when I was 15, thinking that in just a few years I’d have to stop listening to rock and roll and listen to boring music instead, like my parents. But it turns out I was wrong. And we didn’t have to stop wearing costumes on Halloween, either. But instead of trick-or-treating, we just wore them to work.

        • Aimai says:

          I don’t understand the freak out over Halloween Costumes and parties for adults. Has no one read any cultural histories of the US after WWII–or, fuck, before that? Luau Parties, Moon Shot parties–there were all kinds of parties given to express novel ideas and to permit adults to dance and drink in their homes with “exotic” themes, locales, and foods. Post war homes built with “rec rooms” and bars were built around the idea that married couples celebrated and drank together–that hospitality included neighbors and not just family members.

        • guthrie says:

          That’s what I’ve noticed though, is that as an adult you can carry on doing things you did as a teenager. In fact lots of adults I know who are in their 50’s or 60’s will make dirty jokes or comments or do various adolescent things, albeit with the syntax and grammar of an adult.
          But that has nothing to do with still being or thinking like a teenager, and a lot to do with lower social pressure to conform and be polite etc.

      • SatanicPanic says:

        This is one of the most who cares? subjects I can imagine. Is this a bad thing? Why? If anything young adults are better today than they have been at any point in history.

      • Origami Isopod says:

        I would like to forever stop seeing marriage, parenthood, and acquisition of property listed as must-haves for “full adulthood in terms of responsibilities.” I neither have nor want kids. I am not married, nor do I aim to ever be. I am an adult. Society can fucking well deal with it.

  2. Major Kong says:

    I didn’t realize we were running out of people.

  3. sleepyirv says:

    As a young person, why would I prefer being an asshole writing mean-spirited things about a generation I have little to no contact with?

    • carolannie says:

      A lot of young people are doing just that. Writing mean things about their grandparents taking all the goodies and leaving them bereft. Of course the young’uns are unaware that their grandparents have to work longer and harder to keep alive.

  4. lizzie says:

    I’m done with listening to people whining about adults enjoying harmless and perfectly legal pastimes that are culturally coded as being for children or adolescents. Any culture that sees it as normal to watch adults wearing tight pants run around after a ball has no business hectoring me about liking Harry Potter or whatever.

    ETA: OMG the derp about abortion. Shut up already. Jesus.

  5. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Is “Sexy Unborn Child” a popular costume in wingnut circles?

  6. joe from Lowell says:

    That piece is a cry for help. I’m worried about Daniel J. Flynn.

    Society appears beset by myriad identity disorders and too eager to label the clear-headed confused.

    This person is not well.

  7. elm says:

    I know you flagged it for not making any sense, but I actually got out of the boat hoping there was more explanation of the Russel Wilson thing, or at least a link to what they were referring. But, alas, no.

    So, what are they talking about wrt Wilson’s racial confusion?

  8. tsam says:

    Is it too much to ask of the ghoulish trio to apply their talents toward adults rushing to become kids?

    If your admonishment includes logically impaired right wingers who use childish arguments to present their moral scolding, then I’m all for it, bro.

    The National Retail Federation estimates that adults will spend $1.4 billion on their own Halloween costumes this year. That’s $1.4 billion that they could have spent on man-cave clubhouses, a huge birthday party, a collection of Care Bears, or some other pastime recently favored by adults.

    Spending billions on dumb shit (like bombs and bullets and Halloween costumes) is the American Way. Why do you hate America, dude? WHY?

    Also Free MarketsTM. Get a brian, moran.

  9. Manny Kant says:

    If there are 240 million adults in this country, $1.4 billion would come down to $6 per capita. Even if 3/4 of adults aren’t spending money on halloween costumes, that’s still only about $25 per person that is.

  10. DrDick says:

    John Stuart Mill now officially recants. They really are all profoundly stupid.

  11. Hogan says:

    I’m old enough to remember when the conservative objection to Halloween was that it promoted devil worship, and that shit actually made more sense than this.

  12. Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb says:

    My three kids and I did a group Avengers costume last year. I spent the most on mine (Hulk). It was adorable.

  13. Nubby says:

    Daniel Flynn should dress up as a self-trepanation enthusiast for Halloween. All he’d need to do is put a band-aid on his forehead and hand out copies of his column.

  14. KmCO says:

    I assume that, in the interests of consistency, Flynn has written screeds denouncing the GG arrested adolescents whose attachment to their games has led them to stalk and harass feminist critics of said games. Right? Right?

  15. Rob in CT says:

    I don’t like Halloween, myself, but this is nutty. The wingularity: always juuuust over the event horizon.

  16. The Bobs says:

    We must close the man-cave gap!

  17. ChrisTS says:

    So, let’s see if I’ve got this right.

    1) We need more children/bigger population – despite a booming population and many people out of work or underemployed.
    2) We need to stop adults from doing anything connected with a holiday that some old folks remember as being all for kids. (NB: My parents had Halloween adult parties, and everyone dressed up.)
    3) Somehow these two things are connected by abortion.
    4) Some adults wear tasteless Halloween costumes. This isn’t connected to anything else.

    Oookkeee. Time to dress up our cats.

  18. KarenJo12 says:

    This idiot is the latest in a VERY long line of wing nuts complaining that Kids These Days aren’t doing things exactly the way he did. I have noticed, however, that there has been a resurgence of the idea that having fun is an awful, terrible, Very Bad Thing and we should all embrace as much suffering without any relief as possible Because Reasons. My late MIL was one of those people who seriously believed that if she wasn’t a little miserable she was doing something wrong. She inflicted this on her sons, which means my husband and BIL tend not to deny themselves much of anything, even when it’s a bad idea.

    • Shakezula says:

      This idiot is the latest in a VERY long line of wing nuts complaining that Kids These Days aren’t doing things exactly the way he did.

      Or says he did. Wingers like to revise history, including their own.

      I have noticed, however, that there has been a resurgence of the idea that having fun is an awful, terrible, Very Bad Thing and we should all embrace as much suffering without any relief as possible Because Reasons the asshats saying everyone should be content to live on a crust of bread and a pannikin of water and do nothing but work and sleep don’t know how the economy works.

      Fxd.

  19. JR says:

    When we were early midddle-aged and working in the news bizness, the annual halloween parties were famed for over-the-top. One year the Mrs found a purple satin ball gown with a lace bodice, decided to go as Mae West!

    Did big makeup (never before or since, just doesn’t do makeup) dressy gown, Mae West accent. Sat and talked to perceptive co-worker for 21 hours without him figuring out who she was.

    People came as mass-murders, politicians caught in wet suits, I can’t even remember all the tasteless but amazing costumes. One slogan was “Not a good party until/unless the cops come twice to ask people to be more quiet!”

    Some years 2 or 3 groups would all do the same gig – Symbionese Liberation Party was one. Guns and headbands! Violent Hippies!

    All good! Now we still have no kids, married 43 years so far. Made a good living, have pensions (so far?!?) plan to enjoy and have fun till the bitter end. F U Republicans! Dems for fun!

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