A real laugher this morning on NPR. Alex Spielgel reports on the promotion of "the family dinner" as discouraging drug use and overall antisocial behavior. Spielgel opens the piece with this:
"....another public figure lent a familiar name to the [family dinner] cause (sound clip from a PSA featuring George W. and the mean-spirited Barbara Bush)....In this public service announcement Barbara Bush goes on to explain that children who eat with their parents are less likely to end up with a drug, cigarette or alchohol habit. Now research has shown that children who eat with their parents are less likely to struggle with substance abuse. The question at issue is only this: does the dinner itself offer some magical protection or is there something else at work."
Whoa. Wait. Stop the train. Surely Spiegel is going to skewer this asinine bit of advertising served up by the Family Day folks at Columbia University. Seriously, could there be a more laughable spokesperson than the compassionate Barabara Bush laying claim to the benefits of family dinners? Yep, the cozy Bush dinners worked wonders on keeping George off the bottle and perhaps snorting a few lines, too. It also helped set the model for Jeb's little family meals. Ah yes, the Bushes, what a fine family!
You might think Spiegel, with her work on this American Life, might have been a tad embarrassed to embed this clip in her piece without even a nod to its bitter irony, but this was Morning Edition after all.