Last week, the world was handed The Wall Street Journal piece “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” in which Amy Chua took pride in dictating what extracurricular activities her children signed up for, not allowing them to get any grades other than As, and generally deriding and shaming them. Alas, she now says the piece was meant to be “very funny, almost obtuse.” Also, it was excerpted from her book, Battle Hym of the Tiger Mother, and a blogger who actually read the book said, “The ‘excerpt’ is really a collection of the book’s most inflammatory, anti-Western-parenting portions, collected from far-flung chapters,” and the book is “provocative, engaging, and very funny.” And another thing: The book, a memoir, ends with Chua relenting when the younger of her two teenage daughters refuses to go along with her “extreme parenting,” and Chua finds herself “humbled.” In fact, Chua almost seems sort of nice now! Oh well. Publicity achieved, reputation slowly being salvaged.
Meanwhile, the Journal, seizing the moment, published a piece today called “In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom.” Next week, the piece: Parents of All Backgrounds Do Their Best.