What’s this I hear about a new book by Tiger Mom and her husband? That it lists eight groups supposedly producing the most successful people in America? Two of which groups Tiger Mom and hubby just happen to belong to?
I know what you’re going to say. “You seem peeved, Gefilte Mama. But you belong to one of those groups. What do you have to beef about?”
I’ll tell you what I have to beef about. You think we Jews don’t have enough tsuris? You think we’re not already stereotyped as rich and successful, of having some sort of unfair advantage, of controlling all the banks? Do you think we need Mrs. Tiger Mom and her Jewish hubby putting this message out there yet again, giving people more opportunities to gripe about us? Thanks for nothing. That’s what I have to beef about.
No, I haven’t read the book. The only people who have read it are reviewers and, however this may astound you, this Gefilte Mama is not on the publisher’s VIP list. But to tell the truth, I’m not interested in reading it. Why? Because one, what they’re saying has been said before, and many times. Tiger Mom and hubby are not the first to point out that some cultures promote education and achievement, leading to successful children, and Jews and Asians have always been on that list. Two, I don’t believe in their so-called research, nor am I impressed with their conclusions. These groups have a superiority complex? They’re insecure? They have impulse control?
Let me point out a few things. First, guess what? Not all members of these groups are successful. Yes, it’s true: Jews (the one group I can speak about with some authority, being a member of it) do have a culture that promotes education. Yet I happen to know many Jews who would not fit Tiger Mom’s (and hubby’s) very narrow definition of success.
Second, guess what else? You know what group has probably the biggest superiority complex in this country? WASPs. Yes, WASPs. Look at all the crazy right-wing white guys yelling and screaming because we have a black president. And insecurity? Who’s P.O.’ed about so-called minorities (including some of the groups on Tiger Mom’s list) outnumbering them? Who’s stocking up on guns and ammo, convinced that our black president is going to take them away? Impulse control? Well, most of these nut jobs have not yet caused mass destruction, so they must be exerting some amount of self-restraint.
Third, maybe it’s just me, but it seems just a teeny, tiny bit arrogant and self-congratulatory to write a book that makes a case about how successful you are, and this is Tiger Mom’s second. Oh, yes, I know. That “Battle Hymn” she wrote was supposed to be about how she was humbled, but I read it, and let me tell you, she takes up a whole lot of pages boasting about the money she spent on private lessons, world travel, catered parties, and designer gowns. Let’s not dance around the truth here. Tiger Mom is obsessed with “success” and absolutely in love with the fact that she’s achieved it.
Here’s what saddens me most about this book: This and all the other articles written about it, all the chatter and Facebook posts and Tweets and discussions at the water cooler, will only drive Tiger Mom’s latest nonsense to the best-seller lists.
Forget I said anything. And I suggest we just stop talking about it. Because otherwise, once again, Tiger Mom will simply take our outrage to the bank.
Photos: Top: Triple Falls © Stevebrigman; Bottom: Triplets © Sovpag | Both photos via Dreamstime.com