Skip to comments.Ben Stein: Scared at 60
Posted on 03/03/2005 10:54:41 PM PST by Former Military Chick
Good heavens, I'm older than Ben Stein!
I just assumed he was well into his 60's.
There was actually more than one "incident' in this article, and neither reflected well on the son, nor were they just teen pranks. They were calculated misbehavior.
A great conservative, a good writer, a multi-talented, gentle man, Ben appears also to be a life-long neurotic in the sense he tries to do everything right and even when he does, he worries to death about it.
I think he tried to be a perfect dad, breadwinner and chum to his son, agonizing over every detail in the growing-up process and in the end, he over-achieved to the point the kid is rebelling.
Relax, Ben.....quite analyzing, doting and hovering over Tommy. And for gosh sakes, quit writing all these never-ending details of his and your personal lives which appear unduly entwined due to your doting.
Maybe at his age now, Tommy is tired of being forced to read in the media fish bowl all the personal details and warts of his life.
How many of us would like a situation like this?
Ben should recomment the kid join the Marines next year.
I once heard Ben Stein call Tommy "a god" on some tv show years ago. Right then I thought the kid was headed for trouble. Then we got the stories of his video addiction, his years at some military academy, his father buying him some expensive car so that Tommy would like him, and now? He drag races with the kid on an "empty" street!
I can only thank God my parents never treated me like their little goddess - or their best friend.
I certainly did not mean to imply that, I had noted that many have followed his writings, that included events with his family.
I wonder how many of us would write about our children. I suspect not many. Either to not embarrass the parents or knowing they have to live with the kids they write about.
I think you offer some excellent observations that not only would be helpful to Ben but to others, thank you.
Sorry Ben, you blew it with your snotty kid.
I think this article is bizarre.
Seems like a lot of boasting about his affluence and privilege.
Seems like his head was turned by an attractive reporterette/propagandist.
Seems like he is accepting his worries about his son as a substitute for parental discipline.
Seems like he is tempting fate to crash down upon him -- possibly as attonement for his great American wealth guilt.
Please add me to the BS ping list. Thanks.
Is there an e mail for Stein? I would like to give him a bit of advice, as his son is spoiled rotten!
I am happy to have your interest to expand my thoughts:
I, unlike you, do have children. Ranging from 21 to 4 years old. I've not been a perfect mother, and have made mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes a parent makes is not having boundries. Real boundries. Boundries that the parent makes clear are not to be crossed.
Although I've always enjoyed Ben Stein's columns there have always been two things I dislike.
One, although praising his wife from here to high heaven, he is often praising the beauty, grace, etc of other women with whom he works, lunches, etc. This is no big deal if it isn't to his wife, but it's always been a 'turn-off' to me.
Two, is his immature..., approval needing ..., reluctance to be a father to his son. Who, he never holds back, has become an out-of-control spoiled brat.
Did it ever occur to you that there may have been other people (not famous people) on the road who he and his son could have killed? Who does he think is going to educate his son if he himself is not willing to put in the hard work needed to raise a moral, gratification-postponing, unselfish, thankful, responsable young man?
He honestly writes of his spineless fathering techniques and therefore I honestly, although in a curt manner, offered a small bit of advice:
IF YOUR SON TRASHED YOUR HOUSE WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU TEACHING HIM BY CLEANING IT YOURSELF??
This is a train wreck waiting to happen
I wonder if a tour in the Marine Corps might not help in this regard. But then, considering what a deadbeat this kid is, probably not.
I appreciated your honest answer to militarychick, ditto as they say.
'It was idiotic to think that any 17 year old, and especially Tommy, would behave responsibly in a beach house without his father or mother there.....'
Which he then multiplied by cleaning it himself!
I agree, when a son is this age and this spoiled, (and especially with the father refusing to do the heavy lifting of parental authority), I don't see any other alternative than the marines.
see my recent post
I used to read Stein all the time and mostly like him, except when he goes on and on about his brat kid Tommy. I'd like to grab Ben by the collar and shake the crap out of him and ask him if he has any idea of the monster he is creating? Geez, that kid needs a swift kick in the fanny.
Amen to that! The kid is probably a good student, so Stein cuts him way too much slack. Being a good student is one thing; being a quintessential a hole is quite another : )
Thanks Sarah. I actually spent her last birthday fighting and fighting with her, such a donnybrook, until she saw what she'd been doing wrong since home from the 1st semester of college. Came home with a big "i'm all grown up now you're not the boss of me" chip on her shoulder, it was awful. I'm hoping that performance won't be repeated this summer.
Can't imagine going throught this with 4 (four!) of 'em. You've got my admiration, that's for sure.
He's a wonderful, warm writer and it's hard to take issue with him directly on most fronts. But his tales about buying Tommy his own boat and other misadventures in Idaho and other horror stories about indulging the kid to near pathological levels started me wondering. I was more disillusioned when he interviewed Mark Fuhrman in Idaho and seemed aghast to discover that Fuhrman was the kind of guy who did his own engine tune-ups and other "redneck" (my term) work.
The final straw came with "Win Ben Stein's Money" on TV which featured foul-mouthed Jimmy Kimmel as emcee. There seemed to be no level of toilet "humor" or politically correct stereotype that Ben found offensive. I eventually was unable to watch the show -- and I'm definitely not a prude. I doubt Stein would be willing to consdider any outside advice about his parenting no matter how well intended. In some respects I think Stein's a total hypocrite.
The kid may be too far gone even for that. The Corps can do a lot to mold boys into men, but they've got to have something to work with.
Sounds like this kid is a lost cause.
Actually, as I recall from Stein's earlier American Spectator articles, the kid is not a good student. Stein often mentioned how he had to beg and badger the kid into doing his homework and working at getting good grades. Stein mentioned many times about how the brat would spend hours playing his video games, (eagerly purchased by dad).
The old standby, "he's really smart but just won't apply himself" seems to be the nominal excuse.
Exactly...this behavior is learned, and rewarded by his dad. Man, I can only imagine the misery I would have been in if I pulled a stunt like the messy house deal.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.