• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

He Was a Great Coward to Boot

June 17th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

In yesterday’s cri du père about the fascism of New York playgrounds, I quoted (as pretentious bastards do) some Thomas Mann, from his famous short story about visiting fascist Italy. Later in the day, I set aside my raw grievance against helicopter parenting just long enough to read the rest of the story, which is really just amazing. Here, apropos of absolutely nothing, is one of the great, succinct takedowns of a spoiled child you will read in any literature:

The cry was addressed to a repulsive youngster whose sunburn had made disgusting raw sores on his shoulders. He outdid anything I have ever seen for illbreeding, refractoriness, and temper and was a great coward to boot, putting the whole beach in an uproar, one day, because of his outrageous  sensitiveness to the slightest pain. A sand-crab had pinched his toe in the water, and the minute injury made him set up a cry of heroic proportions-the shout of an antique hero in his agony-that pierced one to the marrow and called up visions of some frightful tragedy.  Evidently he considered himself not only wounded, but poisoned as well; he crawled out on the sand and lay in apparently intolerable anguish, groaning “Obi!” and “Ohimè!” and threshing about with arms and legs to ward off his mother’s tragic appeals and the questions of the bystanders. An audience gathered round. A doctor was fetched, the same who had pronounced objective judgment on our whooping-cough-and here again acquitted himself like a man of science. Good-naturedly he reassured the boy, telling him that he was not hurt at all, he should simply go into the water again to relieve the smart. Instead of which, Fuggiero was borne off the beach, followed by a concourse of people. But he did not fail to appear next morning, nor did he leave off spoiling our children’s sand-castles. Of course, always by accident. In short, a perfect terror. –Mario and the Magician, Thomas Mann, 1929


Responses

  1. Conor Neill says:

    June 17th, 2011at 8:57 am(#)

    That is brilliant. What a great passage of text. What a find 😉 Thank you.

  2. Nathan says:

    June 17th, 2011at 2:44 pm(#)

    Yes, he’s got it. I think I saw that same kid at the playground a couple weeks ago :-)

Leave a Response

tips/suggestions/grievances

Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!

DadWagon

Do you show this to your kids?

AP Images

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Turkish police shot and killed the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported. Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot in Ankara, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. #APPhoto by Burhan Ozbilici

Story developing: http://apne.ws/2hRY0rH

Dec 19th, 2016 7:32pm • No Comments

"They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs."

The Children of the Opioid Crisis

wsj.com

Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again

Dec 16th, 2016 2:11pm • No Comments

Don't forget the gift receipt(s)!

A Gift for Every Type of Dad (That You Can Buy on Amazon)

nymag.com

Including cricket-flour protein bars, ice-cold beer chillers, and an air fryer that uses hardly any oil.

Dec 9th, 2016 3:27pm • No Comments

As Ryu Spaeth pointed out, the only thing worse than "Papa" is the pronunciation "paPA." PERISH THE THOUGHT.

DadWagon

“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5.

Nov 30th, 2016 5:20pm • 1 Comment