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Somebody needs to grow up, but it’s not Miami

I have spent the past 15 years trying to raise children who are not rude, arrogant, self-absorbed little snots, but sometimes it’s hard to do that without a real-life example to illustrate those horrifying traits.

Thank you, Pamela Druckerman, for making my job easier.

Druckerman is the self-hating Miami woman who recently wrote a xenophobic smack down of her hometown in the New York Times. 

In her snobby social commentary – “Miami Grows Up. A Little.” – Druckerman blames “vapid, slightly menacing” Miami for her childhood ambition “to marry a plastic surgeon.” She complains that the empty-minded city is “overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another.” 

She rags on upper-class Cubans for reinforcing this pleasure-obsessed materialism by worrying about all that “stuff” they left behind in Cuba and consigning conversations to just two topics: “where to get your hair done and anti-Castro rants.”

“Young Latinos,” who strangely adore Miami, don’t get off easy, either, because they “speak English with a Spanish twang,” forever reminding us that we may be international, but we will never truly be cosmopolitan.  

Oh yeah, and we lack “ideas” and “surprising interactions.” (Obviously, she didn’t drive on the Palmetto.)

Now living in Paris, Druckerman tells us that since her materialistic childhood in South Florida, she has “put Miami behind me, and tried to have a life of the mind.” 

I threw up a little café con leche in my mouth when I read that part. 

If you grew up in Miami and Druckerman’s name sounds familiar, it’s not because she was the girl in your seventh-grade class who kept stuffing her bra. It’s because she has made a mid-life-crisis career out of telling us how we are doing it all wrong. 

In 2012, Druckerman wrote a popular parenting book, “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.” She wrote a companion piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Why French Parents Are Superior.” In both, the mother of three encouraged U.S. parents to model France’s spirit-crushing parenting style (because we all want our children to grow up to be … French?)

Like her recent essay on Miami, this treatise, too, reeked of chance encounters passed off as research. A former staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal, Druckerman seems to have perfected the lazy foreign correspondent trick of cutting and pasting other people’s work, with a few hasty interviews of taxi cab drivers thrown in for color. (Or, in the case of Miami, the “Central American woman” she met at the rental car drop-off at the airport.)

I’m no globe-trotting journalist, but I’m pretty sure that flying into MIA and renting a car to visit your mom in her retirement condo in Aventura doesn’t result in a deep understanding of today’s multi-layered Miami. The only line that rang true to me in the entire 976-word essay was when Druckerman asked herself, “Maybe I was the problem?”

If Druckerman had come to me and complained about all the clueless and shallow conversations she kept having in Miami then I would tell her the same thing I tell my kids: You are the company you keep. 

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