Spoiled Brat of the Year!

Teenage climate communist prop Greta Thunberg just gave a speech at the UN in which she threw a proxy temper tantrum at her parents (whom she thinly disguised as the adults of the world), spewing out her promise to hate, hate, hate them forever, and never, never, never forgive them for “stealing her childhood,” “betraying her,” and “failing her” — by making her a world famous activist who has to meet celebrities and speak to the UN about ideas that ought to have been confined to the context of a junior high school essay.

“How dare you!” she hissed at the global stand-ins for Mom and Dad, vowing that she would “not let them get away with this.”

“Change,” she concluded with vengeful wrath, “is coming, whether you like it or not!”

I have no idea who this little brat is, or how she became so embittered and hateful. I cannot help noting, however, in all seriousness, that if you read (and watch) the emotional content of her rant attentively, disregarding the formulaic references to “whole ecosystems disappearing” and whatnot, you will recognize her invective as the uncontrolled rage of a hurt child blaming her parents for ruining her childhood and wishing hellfire on them for every demand they ever made. In this case, her anger, if more honestly directed, would probably be warranted — she has clearly had her youth spoiled by exploitive and prodding parents. Nevertheless, her performance at the UN, which is naturally getting oodles of positive attention from a media only too happy to enable a stupid kid’s temper tantrum as she undergoes a very public transformation into The Omen, suggests the girl either needs a better acting coach or some serious family therapy. 

But the ugliest part of all this, if we can detach ourselves for a moment from the objective perspective of rightly dismissing everything she says as merely what she has been indoctrinated to say by the same adult generation (parents above all) whom she is vowing to punish for “what they did to her,” is that she exemplifies everything that is psychologically damaging about the cultivation of child activists.

What she is saying is no different, in principle, from the garbage spouted by millions of teenagers every day. The difference between Thunberg and the rest is only this: She will never be able to live it down. She will never have the easy escape from her childish views that is afforded the rest of us, namely the escape of time, distance, new acquaintances, adult reconsideration, the ability to laugh at oneself and think, “Whew! I’m lucky no one remembers I said that, or would care if they did remember.”

No. In Greta’s case, everyone will remember, and what is worse, she will always know they remember. Her life is being defined by this fame earned through her bitter political posturing, and her future embalmed in the ersatz seriousness with which she is being treated right now by adults only too happy to use her up and throw her away, as they have done with so many other convenient poster children before her. She will never be able to blush in private shame over her silliness of sixteen, and then gracefully put it behind her, as the rest of us do with our angry outbursts, our teenage certainties, and the undigested “wisdom” of our force-fattened youth. Psychologically, this fame and attention, however gratifying it may be now to her childish, ill-formed ego, is incentivizing her to cling to her childishness forever, rather than do what we are all supposed to do — grow up. Her childishness will be a lifelong trap. In this regard, she will be a model progressive. But a failed adult human being.

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