The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, December 03, 2003  

Michelle Malkin v. Rebecca Hagelin

Rittenhouse hasn’t discussed cat fights, real or hypothetical, in more than a year, but it looks like there could be a one a brewin’ on the right side of town, this one a kicking, spitting, hair-pulling, meet-me-in-front-of-the-movie-theater brawl that would feature third-tier conservative columnists Michelle Malkin and Rebecca Hagelin.

The controversy: Kids today.

On the cranky right, but in an off good mood the other day -- or probably just in a rush to meet a deadline -- Malkin cheers today’s teenagers for their “compassion and humanity.” The column, published in the Philadelphia Daily News under the title “TV Distorts the Truth About Teens,” will warm your cockles, whatever they are.

(By the way, Malkin’s piece, at least as published in the PDN, ran to 566 words, of which 466 by my count, or a full 82 percent, were derived from the columnist summarizing news stories written by other journalists. Nice work if you can get it.)

Meanwhile, on the almost-as-cranky-but-gosh-darn-it-I-still-have-hope right, Hagelin, writing in “Bring Back Human Kindness -- Please!”, is having none of that.

Hagelin is upset that kids from “good, decent families” (despite those bona fides rumor has it Malkin already has inquired about their immigration status, thereby sort of picking a fight) and even adults just don’t thank her enough for her good deeds, including carting the neighborhood kids around in her van, a vehicle that I have no doubt sports, or at least once did, a sign reading “Baby on Board!”

Hagelin proceeds to recommend “a show-stopping, hand-clapping rousing sing-along CD” produced by one Judi Vankevich, also known, somewhere I guess, as “The Manners Lady.”

According to Hagelin, the CD will teach those snotty little brats, none named Hagelin apparently, “good manners” including “showing respect, living by the Golden Rule, and having an ‘attitude of gratitude.’” (No word from Hagelin as to whether The Manners Lady has filed a Lisa Beamer-like, transparently greedy trademark application for the phrase “attitude of gratitude.”)

Too bad for Hagelin that the other “Manners Lady,” the far more widely known Judith Martin (“Miss Manners”), just three days ago sharply criticized what she called “instant remedial etiquette classes.” Martin wrote, “[N]othing can relieve parents of the 20-year, around-the-clock task of teaching their own children how to behave toward others. That burden is called childrearing, and there are no quick fixes.”

Nice plug anyway, Rebecca.

See you after school!

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