Letters From the Issue of Thursday, April 12, 2007

What´s Sweet is sickening

Harsh but true: Your "My Super Sweet Six" cover story was deliciously mean. Yet right on the money. Kudos to the author (Robrt L. Pela, March 29).

I think these rich parents need to get a life and stop trying to live vicariously through their kids. It's purely disgusting. Imagine spending that much money on a party for little kids? Absurd!

The most interesting thing about the story was how the kids are so bored by the parties. They just want to play and be kids, but their mothers make them sit still and be hostesses to their guests, as any polite grown-up would do. It's so ironic that these parties feature everything adults think kids would enjoy!

That TV show My Super Sweet 16 was disgusting enough. Leave it to New Times to come up with a trend even more disgusting. You editors at NT are missing your calling: You should be coming up with sickening TV shows for MTV that the ghoulish public can't take its eyes off of.
Tony Gregg, Phoenix

Too much too soon: I read with interest your article on ultra-elaborate birthday parties. I just was wondering a few things about it. Are the parties being held for the benefit of the child or for the parents living their lives vicariously through their children (as they often do in sports)? I'm inclined to think the latter.

Also, how will a child be inclined to remember these über-parties 10 or 20 years down the road? Will the child remember them with fondness or (as I suspect) either not remember them or remember them as some of the most uncomfortable times of his or her life?

In my mind, this is too much too soon for such young children.
Michael Stezer, via the Internet

Poor little rich people: What a funny story! And it made a huge point at the same time. For the first time, I actually felt sorry for rich people, because all that money has made them so shallow that they must throw status-symbol parties even for their kids. These millionaires need to grow up!
Tilda Green, via the Internet

Itís their party, let them vamp if they want to: Thank you for the article about young girls'/boys' birthday parties. I am an elementary P.E. teacher. My best friend is a first-grade teacher at the same school. We have discussed the issue surrounding young girls, parties, expressing their "girliness" and so on.

My opinion is that this is a somewhat "healthy" stage. Expressing your feminine side so outrageously is juvenile and immature. So why not express it when you are juvenile and immature? The girls need to get this stage out of the way to move on to explore their academic strengths, as well as (in my curriculum) their physical ones.

As for the mothers, maybe they're acting out many feminine taboos that they finally get to celebrate.

Let the kids and parents explore and grow. Life is a learning process.
Ariana Kenny, Mesa

Social distortion: I was disgusted by your slant on these birthday parties. You basically made any birthday bash sound as if a parent was spoiling their child. It's not. I find your distortion of these parties misleading to the public.

Also, girls dressing up and putting on makeup is a rite of passage. I did it when I was little, and it didn't make me "grow up too fast." Why not have these little boutiques for girls? It's better than them going with Mom to an adult spa and being treated with products that are not designed for a child.

I wish I had parties at places like Girly Girlz or Libby Lu when I was little. Sure, I think parents need to stop and think what their children want, but I think many girls have these parties because they want them, not because their parents are trying to live vicariously.

We are in a time when both parents work. Planning a party is hard, and many of these specialty boutiques help with all the semantics like invitations, games and favors.
Name withheld by request

Caught in the trappings: I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Words escape me when trying to describe my disgust at these parties.

This is a prime example of how excess money spoils people, both parents and children. It creates greed and competition and raises the next generation with a foul sense of values. Kids grow up with a sense of entitlement and don't understand the value of hard work.

People who make enough to pay their bills and have a modest entertainment budget seem to be more humble and take more pleasure in the simple things in life. We secretly wish we made more money, but when we read stories like this, we remember the scary, paltry, annoying trappings of wealth.

Advice to the wealthy: Take some time to develop some meaningful social relationships that aren't built on transparent, empty status symbols. Or else you'll find yourselves consumed.
Name withheld by request

Damn Alliterative Albatross

Reader resents recycled rhetoric: Every time I read one of Stephen Lemons' Bird columns, I am reminded of a sci-fi short story I read years ago about a computer that learned to appreciate humor and even tell jokes but was completely incapable of distinguishing between jokes that were funny only the first time they were told and those that could stand repeated telling.

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