Some of you might remember Harry Chapin's delightful ditty to parent/child relationships, titled "Cat's in the Cradle." It was all about a child being neglected by his father. He then grows up and neglects him.
Might I bring you, therefore, a modern day tale of a Chapin? This Chapin--Tess is her name--has parents who don't seem to neglect her. However, she has decided to offer a potty-mouthed pout at their discipline in the world's largest whining arena: Facebook.
According to The New York Times, 15-year-old Tess Chapin was grounded by her parents for five weeks. This was a compromise, as the father wanted three months and the mother wanted just a month. So, like a remarkably decent married pair, they agreed to a point far nearer the mother's ideal.
Tess' transgressions, in case you wondered, were missing her 11:30 p.m. curfew by an hour. Oh, and drinking at a party. I am sure she is a lovely girl. The kind of lovely girl that decided that what her parents deserved for their discipline was a public diss. She created the Facebook group "1,000 to get tess ungrounded."
This very modern attempt at re-creating the Bolshevik Revolution enjoyed a very interesting description: "so basically i was grounded for 5 weeks for a MISTAKE that i didnt fully know the outcome of. my parents flipped s*** and grounded me for 5 WEEKS. thats my childhood right there."
My Mac is already suffering some teary flooding as I write this, but let us persevere. Little Tess wanted 1,000 people to join her group. The oratory that wafted from her Facebook page was truly quite moving: "lets ban together as teenagers and proove something to my parents, there are actin a fool."
Um, yes, I'm quoting quite accurately there. Those darned parents. There are, indeed, actin a fool.
I know you'll be thinking that this group has attracted untold hordes of like-minded teens and people from the human race to flood to Tess' defense and lift her up where she belongs. Of course. She has already achieved her milestone of 1,000. Almost doubled it, in fact.
However, she has not quite succeeded in impersonating victimhood to everyone's satisfaction.
Ermina Meh, who is 19, wrote: "Sweetie, be happy that all you got is 5 weeks, with access to a computer."
And Bryce Ritter, a New Jersey teen, offered her some hearty, pragmatic sang-froid: "chew some gum and maybe next time you wont get caught drinking one beer. Id feel stupid as s*** if I were you."
There is, of course, a solid argument that for the sake of social cohesiveness, collective sanity and economic progress, all teens should be grounded and forced to perform public works in silence, for a period of five years.
However, perhaps little Tess has created a wonderful template for justice. Let everyone post their grievances on the site that has its finger on the pulse of social norms. Then let the Facebook community decide. Guilty or innocent? Liable or not liable? Insane or not insane?
Wouldn't the money we'd save from reducing our pesky system of courts, lawyers and the rest be more than adequate to pay for universal health care and so many more pressing needs?