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Thursday, February 25, 2010

There's a certain genre of New York Times article on social/lifestyle trends that could only appear in the Times. Specifically, articles focusing on issues that are only directly relevant to highly affluent city residents, and sourced almost entirely from anecdotes. These pieces are a bit ridiculous, but not nearly as insufferable as they sound from my description -- there's usually a grain of social trend truth, they're interesting, well-written, and usually allow readers a chance for a gratifying eye-roll or snicker at the upper-crust folks' expense.

There's a prime specimen of this genre on the most-emailed list right now, titled "Watch How You Hold That Crayon," about parents hiring occupational therapists to work with their children to improve their handwriting, often so that they can keep up with the stiff competition for admission at elite private nursery and elementary schools. I suspect part of the reason the article is on the most-emailed list is that plenty of people find the concept laughable. It also features the following passage:
"The nursery admission people tell you they want your child to be ready to learn how to write,” said the father, who spoke anonymously so his son wouldn’t run afoul of nursery school administrators. “And I knew they would take one look at the way my son held a crayon and he’d be out of the running.”

The father pointed out that many families use occupational therapists to help their children gain admission to elite schools. “Even with the economy like it is, the hottest question when we socialized at our country house this summer was not what country club do you belong to, but who is your child’s O.T. back in the city. And how can I get an appointment?”


オテモヤン said...
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Alex Starace said...

Yeah, when I was at a museum, one of my bosses was thoroughly annoyed that her child had to take a test to get into *kindergarten*. She realized the whole thing was a bit ridiculous (a four-year-old getting rejected for deficient academic skills. I mean, come on.) and yet the only good (and convenient) schools were of those type, so take the test, her child did. (I have no idea the final results.)