To Joshua Rothman, over at The New Yorker,
“The Triple Package” might not be convincing as an argument about “the rise and fall of cultural groups in America,” but it’s valuable in another way: it offers a fascinating window onto a particular interpretation of family life. In this interpretation, parents see themselves as dangerous risk-takers (“tiger parents”) who, like Jack Bauer in interrogation mode, push their children right up to the edge (but not too far!), while children come to see themselves as hardened survivors, burdened with the ultimate decision: unleash hell upon their own kids, or give in to weak-willed Westernization? It’s a very exciting way to understand two decades’ worth of studying and piano lessons.
I think he’s spot on. here and throughout this fun, smart, funny essay. He articulates nicely a suspicion that many may hold: that
The persistent rhetorical excess in “The Triple Package” is the tip-off that the book is more of a performative self-interpretation than a sociological argument.
Take the small bit of time required to read this; it’ll pass quickly. At The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Family
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