Bringing Up Bebe is a book I’m not likely to read. I’m still recovering from my two pregnancies (1979 and 1984) that have left me too tired to open another childrearing book, but a friend asked what I’ve noticed about French children, and what with being just a sneeze away from France, I’ve decided to investigate. Today we’re skipping over the border to spend the afternoon in Mulhouse.
I am too lazy to even provide a link to the book itself, but found an articulate blogger who gives a great synopsis, which, by the way, she has not read yet either.
This is something journalists like to do, judge a book by its buzz.
Shocked? I was, too, the first time I saw a veteran journalist review one of Republican-princess Ann Coulter’s books without actually ever having touched the book itself (he saw it on my desk).
I read the book and reviewed it, which, given that I was in a newsroom, was a hearty display of adherence to investigative journalism, balanced reportage and a bold statement that I did not care a fig what any of my cohorts thought of my reading choices.
This was too much for the other veteran journalist who lacquered over Coulter in his own unencumbered-by-fact and emotionally laden flame-throwing review. The dangers of such were evident early in his piece, which had a glaring gaff easily recognized by anyone who had read the dust-jacket.
Ann Coulter. Polemicist with good hair. Dissed, but not discounted. Do not be fooled by her looks; she is everything you would expect from someone who made it through Cornell's law school.
Newspapers don’t often run two reviews on one book, but the editors may have felt that I was leading the readers astray and needed to institute a course correction, however, lacking in information that correction might have been.
For those gasping in shock, I also read Rev. Jerry Falwell’s autobiography and Betty Friedan’s books cover-to-cover. Judge me however you like.
Betty Friedan, another polemicist whose illustrious career as a feminist was colored by late-life allegations that she had stayed in an abusive marriage for 22 years, making women everywhere say "What?!" Her ex denied the claims and she put out a half-hearted retraction.
But all of that is not my point. My point is to report on the conduct of French children, and to put some real observation into it. Our French-border-hugging side of Switzerland is packed with Frenchesque families, but this is not good enough. I must see real French children supervised by real French parents.
Important Note: The articulate blogger Joanna Goddard openly admits she has not yet read the book and her post about it is thusly neutral and open-ended. This is technically still fair journalism because she has hidden nothing from her readers and will probably write more once she’s had a chance to see the book (which was on order at the time she first wrote about it).
Second Important Note: The “veteran reporter” of whom I speak is actually a witty fellow who covers his regular beat with vigor, intelligence and all the diligence one hopes for in a journalist. In this incident, his brain was short-circuited by his overwhelming hate of all things politically right-of-centre.
Third Important Note: 99 days to go!