Monday, September 08, 2008

What to do about Levi Johnston?

When it was revealed that Sarah Palin's daughter was pregnant, I, like many parent did not jump to condemn mother or daughter but thought "there but for the grace of God . . . ." I don't have daughters but it's the same thing when you hear of a son who has been caught drinking underage or smoking dope or far worse things. Until you have teenage children, I am not sure you can understand how little control you actually have.

On the other hand, I do not know a sensible parent who does have some feel for the values of the people their kids hang out with. It's impossible to police and you can call it helicoptering but it falls well short of real helicoptering -- like the mother who calls to complain about her son's grade.

So what to make of Levi that gun-toting, "I don't want kids (who thinks they do at 18), "Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass," I'm a f - - -in' redneck," maybe future son in law of the maybe future President? It is possible for a daughter to be close enough to someone so angry to be having sex and not have attentive parents notice? Or maybe Levi and the possible future first dude just hang together.

For me at least, executive experience starts at home and, if you try, some but not all things can be averted. Having your daughter hang with someone who definitely appears to be a bully and cannot find a condom suggests screwed up priorities or bad management.


Anonymous said...

People who act like Levi Johnston are the types that populate the working class. I have met many young guys from working class backgrounds that have the F you attitude. From reading your other posts it seems you dislike classism, at least as far as law school hiring goes, yet this post seems somewhat classist to me. Levi Johnston is a "gun toting redneck." We don't see too many gun toting rednecks that are also upper/upper middle class. Maybe he is an angry youth because he is a product of the working class. Maybe we shouldn't fault him for that. Then again maybe we should.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Different classes have different ways of being bullies and I think, as you state, that the macho bully type is more prevalent among the working class. It is unfortunate but to some extent understandable. But, ultimately a thug is a thug. I am not getting how your comment is responsive to my post. Is that that Sarah Palin should not be aware that her daughter is sleeping with a thug? I understand your defense of Levi but not on how that reflects or does not reflect on Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

I think Levi’s attitude is normative for the social class he belongs to. You may consider him to be a bully but he is most likely just expressing the culturally expected aggressiveness that is expected of young guys that belong to his social class. My point was to say that we can not accept Sarah Palin, her daughter, and Levi and simultaneously reject the normative behavior of their social class. If we do say we don’t want to accept Levi because of his working class behavior it is classist.

My other point was to say that maybe classism is not always bad. If we don’t like the behavior and attitudes of the class maybe we SHOULD reject the people that belong to it as well.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Obviously you are hitting me in my soft (or blind) spot. I believe that there are plenty of working class people who do not have sons who are thugs and plenty who know if their daughter is dating one. Just as I would worry about an elitist who turns a blind eye to the character of his or her children's friends, I would have to think twice about a working class person who does not know the character of her childrens' friends.

To reject an entire class based on the thuggish tendencies of some seems a tad extreme. Moreover, among elites the thuggishness takes more subtle forms but is no less harmful.

Anonymous said...

I don’t mean to come off as overly adverse to your position. I appreciate your argument, and I believe you are totally on point about not rejecting an entire class based on some of the tendencies of that class. I was playing the devil’s advocate to get my point across that if we want to be non-classist we should be sure to not discriminate against people for the normative behavior that is a trait of their backgrounds.

I think our point of contention may be whether or not Levi is a thug. When his comments on his myspace page are considered in context of his background, it doesn’t seem to me that he is a thug. Unless I knew that he had actually beat people up, as opposed to just writing about possibly doing it in the future, I would say that his comments are likely a result of his background and immaturity. I think it is a bit overly harsh of you to categorize Levi as a thug without any more facts. Especially when considering that aggressive posturing by males is a characteristic of the working class.

I appreciate your blog. It is an interesting read.