A natural history
of the spoiled brat
By Daniel M. Ryan
posted September 10, 2001
There's at least one in every community. Charming, agreeable and yet
also infuriating. The only species of human known to have been born without
ears. I refer, of course, to the spoiled brat.
This variety has been dumped on us to make us see the error of our ways.
And our ways have
never been so erroneous as when we are correct about something and they
aren't: "That's not
Many vows have been sworn to get rid of this plague on mankind. Our consciences
assorted homicide statutes being what they are, society has wisely decided
to allot them certain
slots to keep them busy, make them feel socially useful, and to give the
rest of us a break.
This social decision has been made under the inspiration of various levels
of wisdom. We all
know that one of the characteristics of the mighty Brattus Botherus is
that, once comfortably
ensconced in a field of endeavor, they are convinced that they own it.
And, since new entrants
into this field occupy the same lowly status that their parents occupied
in the family home with
respect to their Precious, these newbies have the solemn duty to spoil
them as well. The usual
means by which this is done is some form of labor tax: working for the
greater glory of "ME!"
I need hardly tell you that soiling this holy transaction by expecting
either money, an honest
recommendation, or a simple compliment in return for "it certainly
has no value now" is
considered to be a species of blasphemy. Or, and this might be more accurate,
know the process, laddo, but some respect for the faith seems to be missing
Traditionally, the Spoiled Brat was a natural candidate for the aristocracy
- hence the delusions
of those living now. This was agreeable to both him and most of the peasants,
flattery kept him off your back. And there were positive goods, too, positive
cutting down the agent of Lucifer who was a little more on the ball than
one's dutiful and
But, King and Lord having been gotten rid of, a new slot had to be found
In the nineteenth century, they were dumped by their old man into the
president's slot of the
family business. That's where the fun began - and fun there was lots of.
Every company picnic,
every game of company golf, every state visit to the shop floor, brought
oodles of good feeling
to the employees. Except for the one that made the rest of them look bad
by being more on the ball than others were. That's the guy that got awarded
the Noble Order of
the Free Overtime.
And another bout of special treatment. Since the Spoiled Brat sees a
developing attitude among
anyone that's more conscientious than the average, the hardest worker
in the shop usually got
himself a bout of extra supervision. Consisting of being ordered to do
the basics of the job,
which he damn well already knows. In front of the rest.
If he remembers his dignity of labor and quits, or develops this "attitude"
as the result of being
treated like a six-year old, the Spoiled Brat passes around his usual
"Why would a man like that quit? I gave him special treatment!
"I guess he has an attitude or something!"
If labor strife has hit one of its own bull markets, you know what label
For this collective mistake of judgement, Society rained down by taking
our hard-won freedom
away. Why the hell wasn't Precious just given a trust fund and told to
relocate to Nebraska!?
But the above substitution of hopes for facts changed the times, sadly,
and so the natural home
of the Spoiled Brat. When he is convinced that society is on to his tricks,
he vamooses into
another field. This time, it was government.
Ah, yes! The Great Bureaucrat whose inner superiority of soul is not
revealed to the prying eyes
of the world by the formulaic-ness and rote-memory-level of his work!
The one who was
welcomed into the Great Halls of Government - not for his "special
genius," but for his special
attitude. Bureaucrats have feelings too, and the average one became rather
sick and tired of
hearing "I'm a taxpayer!" from the ordinary lout. So the realization
that the Spoiled Brat heard
"I'm your parent!" in this phrase, and would react according
to how his own home was
structured, was greeted with much joy. Finally: someone who could get
rid of those
This gave the Spoiled Brat much more power and influence than he would
have enjoyed being a
"worthless heir." Those old fantasies of whapping the peasant,
the kind with the "attitude" they
can't stand, began again to surface as a realistic possibility. Here,
within their sight, was a Title!
And, along with it, the now-socially-acceptable right to impose the Social
So, flush with power and optimism, the twentieth-century-Brat began packing
his friends in.
Politicians began to resemble the Brat more and more, and this was well
covered for, as the
amount of surplus "lip" was slowly removed from society.
Soon, small-scale Brats began assuming their "social duties"
in the offices of the private sector.
Which largely consisted of "socializing" on company time, but
fewer and fewer people dared to
call them on it. For the Spoiled Brat was once again coming into his own!
Just like the good old days before Social Justice was degraded into natural
But this grand roping-in of "the deviancy of socially-inappropriate
aggressive initiative" - namely,
a can-do attitude - spread to another field. I refer, of course to writing.
What better place to dump the Spoiled Brat than a field where charm with
words is pleasing to
the public! What better for the People and for the Posterity of Society
than to crowd out those
reactionaries who believe words should make sense! Is there anything that
makes the soul rebel
than having to face writings that drain the Soul of Humanity by making
sense and staying true to
More Pestilence to fumigate! In the name of Society, no less!
Finally, the Triumph of the Spoiled Brat is close at hand. Thanks to
subsidization of the arts, the
Spoiled Brat is at the top of the heap where he should be. Those at the
bottom with an ugly-
parent attitude - namely gulls that are dumb enough to interpret the charm
literally - are there,
just waiting to be expropriated! For the Greater Glory of Society!
As represented by those who merit admission to the socially appropriate
clubs, of course.
Dan Ryan is the anti-social owner-operator of www.undergroundmind.com.
This is his first contribution to Enter Stage Right.
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