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There were two things this week, a tweet that dropped my jaw and a column about an old movie I have always loved, that somehow connected for me.
The movie is My Fair Lady, the Hollywood version of Pygmalion, in which Eliza Doolittle get Professor Higgins to teach her proper (Queen’s) English so that she can be “a lady in a flow’r shop, ’stead of sellin’ at the corner of Tottenham Court Road.” William McGurn observes the assumptions of Ms Doolittle’s request and study of language:
“Eliza didn’t place her hope in new regulations for street-side flower mongering. For Eliza, upward mobility was about acquiring the skills she needed to get ahead, in this case proper English and the manners that went with it.”
McGurn’s story is about the nail salon battle in New York City that followed a story in the New York Times of the difficulties of making a living as a manicurist. Like a flower monger in Victorian England, many manicurists are immigrants escaping poverty in their home countries. Even at the low wages and difficult working conditions manicurists obtain in the US, they are much better off than in the countries they moved from. Yet ‘progressives’ argue for a crackdown on abuses in NYC and they will get them. Those moms and dads working in the nail salons will be sent on their way, and their children will end up with less food on the table.
Up here in Minnesota, our governor has vetoed an education budget because it does not include money for universal pre-kindergarten for all four-year-old children. Child care facilities might be put out of business because the governor’s plan calls for the pre-k to happen in public schools. (Here’s one study of crowding out of private providers in Fort Worth.) Progressive support this, to the extend that one of them tweeted:
The author of the tweet is a “strategist” for a progressive political action group in the state which is supported by some mainline religious bodies. I don’t know him but I assume he’s a good father who loves his children. Yet it appears he is willing to send my child and yours and his to a government school because government needs to help us find a place to send our children at schools that will not help them talk like Eliza Doolittle.
But it’s awfully nice of the government to give those progressives pre-k so that they can help close nail salons or flower mongers.