If you don't already know it, the cool kids are writing about Amy Chua, author of the parenting manual -- no, make that "memoir" -- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Unless you've been hanging out on Saturn, you're familiar with the premise and the response, the outrage and the continual (and continual and continual...) backpedaling from Chua. (If you are, in fact, the last person on this godforsaken earth to not know what I'm talking about: the book, be it a manual or memoir, depicts Chua's authoritarian style of intense "Chinese" parenting versus the more relaxed, self-esteem-building focused "Western" approach.)
In response to significant lambasting, Chua has hit the media circuit hard, with an overhead slam she hoped her daughter would hone, proving orchestra was worth dropping for tennis. Her claim is that the book was not a "how to," but a "lesson learned." No matter: Chua's PR team initially went for the most sensationalist of pitching angles. As a publicist, I would love to see the emails they crafted, specifically the one that caught the Wall Street Journal's eye, as it was the first paper to turn Chua into the Choo Choo. Journalists immediately hopped on board the steam-loaded train, knowing that sensationalism sells and outrage ignites. Bloggers (guilty!) bemoaned it, reviewers ranted and talk show hosts tore it apart, but when asked "Did you read the book?" the average man and woman on the street paused and said "No," that an excerpt was enough to exhaust.
And speaking of "exhaust," have we not heard enough about Amy Chua? No, we can never get enough! Chua's book publisher's PR team (following?) worked the angles and the angles got further worked, until writers themselves got worked up in the lather that is Amy Chua Chatter. We are all taking part in a new dance called the Chat-O'-Chua-Choo Choo. Just when we think we've heard enough, a new article is spun like cotton candy of the most delicious variety. We can't seem to turn away: Chua speaks here and Chua speaks there, and she humbles herself, claiming she was wrong, grimacing at her own passages... The train keeps chugging, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..." The question is "Can what?!"
And the destination? Unknown.