22 April 2011

A Few Observations on Cocktails and Children

Poolside cocktails at noon. The Southern California sun shines and the drinks flow like the Trevi fountain, and yet my reveries are interrupted by the cries and panting of young people who run about the place like wild animals. It is most irritating. I do not ask much from life, but I do require on occasion some peace and quiet. I do my best work slipping away somewhere else. In fact I am almost there now.

As you know, I have no children--which fact makes me eminently qualified to comment upon their proper cultivation and training. Detachment fosters objectivity. Plus there is the fact--as difficult as it may be for some to accept--that I myself was once a child, albeit a famously good one who kept his crimes well hidden, which should come as no surprise at all.

Now back to poolside cocktails. I am reminded of a passage in the New Testament: "Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16) I like to think Our Lord did not have in mind the spoiled little brats that I increasingly find disturbing my morning tea and afternoon alcoholic meditations. Indeed this kind of religious thinking, if taken literally (as it too often is), can be quite damaging. It encourages adults to act, think, and dress like children. It inspires parents to indulge their children's naughty behaviour and to serve every childish whim. The infantilisation of society also promotes the interests of bolshevik-capitalist elites, for whom a crude, unformed populace is one that is easily managed. Childishness is the conduit through which consumers are manipulated. For our ancient foes, it is a winning formula; for us, it is a disaster. It is a situation in danger of getting out of hand. In which case it might be best to stop feeding the monster.

For this reason our children, the most vulnerable members of society, should be neither seen nor heard. Young people, especially pretty girls, do not really become interesting until they are aged 18 or so. So until then they ought to be kept in special compounds or schools, acquiring knowledge and practical skills, learning good manners, absorbing our people's traditional mores and customs, and memorising the complete works of G.K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, and P.G. Wodehouse. There is much to be said in favour of a convent education along traditional Roman Catholic lines.

Most certainly not should children be allowed to run free in martini bars like gangs of African savages on holiday, creating general mayhem, pestering handsome older drunk chaps in Persol sunglasses and Vilebrequin swimming costumes. In situations like these I always ask myself: What would Bertie Wooster do? Most likely he would remain oblivious to it all. Alas I am no BW and therefore must act determinedly with a cocktail and rolled-up copy of the FT in hand. Now excuse me while I stumble off to biff some grown-ups on the nose.

11 comments:

The Devoted Classicist said...

I absolutely love children. I have none of my own but cannot accept the supposedly genteel and educated parents who allow their children to run absolutely wild while being completely deaf and blind to the chaos. I do not blame the children, but the parents. Recently, just before the restaurant owner asked them to leave, I heard the mother tell her loudly arguing children who wanted a referee decision, "Not now, this is Mommy and Daddy Time."

Vesuvian Woman said...

"bolshevik-capital elitists", tell me how you really feel ; )

ADG said...

I can speak with some authority on this subject. I love kids. Well behaved, polite, respectful kids. Children need structure,love and discipline. And the ratio for these three must be calibrated based on the proclivities of each child.

The general decline in deportment, restraint and general civility of adults is the root cause of bad behavior in children.

Anonymous said...

Thank Heavens for your post! It seems to be the blight of the modern world that children must be reared with the adage, "If if feels good, DO IT - you'll be excused because you are a child"

It is maddening.....

Tabitha said...

I can't bear raucous children but then I was secluded in convent education for years.
Oh and in my reveries you are always scented in Sex Panther AC.

Reggie Darling said...

That is why children are best kept segregated from adults (as I and my siblings were when growing up) and cared for by governesses when young, and sent off to boarding school when older. Unfortunately, it is only in the hands of professionals that most children these days learn and appreciate discipline, manners, and keeping their mouth's shut. I am often irritated to find myself annoyed by churlish children in grownup restaurants where they have no business in being. I blame both the parents, for bringing them, and the establishments, for allowing them. That is why I am spending more and more time these days at my club, which requires men to wear jackets and ties at all times, and doesn't allow children under 12, except at Sunday brunch, where they are expected to behave like the perfectly-well brought up darlings they are, in most cases, among the club's membership.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
While I have to admit that I am sometimes at odds with your political views, it is so refreshing to see my own sentiments verbalized with such supreme skill and style. Since I have quite unwillingly been forced into the questionable position of "uncle", I have developed the position that youngsters up to the age of 18 should be brought up far apart from civilized society preferrably in inaccessible mountain regions or behind impenetrable swamps only to be allowed entrance to the world of grown ups when they no longer pose a thread or a nuisance.

Bruce said...

The Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was always my favourite character..

Ian from Downunder said...

Sorry AC, I simply don't see what the problem is. Children are an absolute delight - grilled, pan fried or just steamed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Perfect with beer wine or spirits.

Speaking of booze, you mentioned Bombay Sapphire gin recently. A wounderful gin no doubt but do try Hendricks - its very 'botanical' as the label says and a great drop.

Unashamedly Crap said...

Of course it is no surprise that as a confirmed bachelor you have no children, but I am sure you are familiar with Harry Graham's immortal lines:

'Papa heard his children scream
So he drowned them in a stream,
Saying, as he killed the third;
"Children should be seen, not heard."'

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, excellent points. I rarely sit by the pool without earplugs and very dark glasses that all but block out the too frequent chaotic scenes of Babylonian proportions. It's all down to the parents and the parenting. Not only are negligent parents proliferating a menace to polite society they are depriving their children of acquiring social skills necessary for their own prosperity.