Women in Opposition to Mommy Blogging: A Modest Proposal for a Mini Revolution

As a followup to Father’s Day, I thought I’d propose something: an end to Mommy Blogging. Why is this a followup to Father’s Day? I read an article yesterday about Daddy Wars being imminent, which of course made me think (a) awesome (100% of the workforce feeling there are unfair demands on their time is a heck of a lot more compelling a reason to change “time macho” policies than 50%), and (b) God, can’t we stop with the Mommy Wars before branching out into both genders?

At the center of Mommy Wars are, of course, the Mommy Bloggers: people who have decided to take it upon themselves to chronicle every piddly thing their kids do (or they do with/for their kids) and publish it. The idea is a nice enough one. The results, however, have arguably been divisive and injurious to blogging in general, women’s psyches, and kids’ futures. Let’s take each argument on a case-by-case basis:

1. Mommy Blogging is Bad Blogging:

This is a fact, full-stop. Why? Because Mommy Blogs are insanely boring to read. Who gives a shit about your kids’ every move, and about your every move as a parent? Nobody. Which is why you’re blogging, because even the kids’ grandparents are avoiding your calls at this point.

There is something fantastically freeing about being able to write about anything you want in any style you want. That is why we love blogging. But not every Courtesy www.psychologytoday.comthought that enters into your head (or your kids’ head) is worthy of being memorialized on the internet. If you want to tell someone about every little thing your kid does, get a dog and talk your fool head off all day.

Quick note: Why, you may ask, are Mommy Blogs so powerful and well-read if they’re so terrifically boring? Moms feel guilty about not doing enough, so we tend to seek out proof that we are in fact as terrible/lazy a human being as we’d suspected.

2. Mommy Blogging is Bad For Kids:

This is another easy-to-prove one. Your kids are probably awesome little people. But even the awesomest little people don’t need everything they do validated/commemorated in order to know they’re awesome. On the contrary, beginning early with a constant need for validation with your kids is one of the best ways to ensure they never grow up. If that’s your goal, great. But if you want to raise confident, independent young people, psychologists agree that constant validation of every action may not be the way to go (at any age).

Not the most interesting thing he did all day.

Plus, if your kid really requires that every meal he eats be something organically farmed at home, then lovingly prepared and presented inside a modified bento box, then you may be in danger of raising a total asshole.

3. Mommy Blogging is Bad For Women:

“But Mommy Bloggers seem so sweet! And they’re so aspirational!” Feh. Granted, some people who engage in basically any activity are nice, and then there are some assholes. But there are two problems here: (1) anonymity exacerbates the assholery (Don’t believe me? Check out Urban Baby’s message boards, on which you will find, as Tina Fey so expertly put it, “some of the worst human behavior I’ve ever seen in my life.” Really. Those boards, which masquerade as something aspirational and helpful, are just excuses for racist and classist assholes to get together and be racist and classist. And (2) the “Mommy” moniker makes it seem as though these people are all united under a single umbrella. The truth is that there are dicks who are moms, and there are awesome people who are moms. Forcing a community out of the name your kids call you is ridiculous.

As for the “nice, aspirational” sites, the problem is that they’re too white-washed. All the problems are so relatable and sweet, and all the solutions are so easy and perfect. Mommy Blogs have done for motherhood what Photoshop has done for body image in this country: it’s taken a problem and made it exponentially worse, simply by whitewashing it too much. I think of it like Botox for the internet: incapable of showing displeasure, lest it seem less appealing.

In the face of this 24-hour-a-day saccharine facade, women of my generation have been assaulted by these constant reminders that we’re not doing enough. The result has been depression rates that are not only double those of men, but also higher than women have ever experienced before. I’m not saying that this depression rate is due to Mommy Bloggers, but they are certainly part of the problem, and the easiest one to fix (i.e. don’t read them, and tell other people to stop reading them). There is no earthly reason why, after spending all day feeling like you haven’t spent enough time on your husband/job/kids/house, you should “relax” by reading about how somebody else woke up, dressed her kids in clothes she made herself from hand-dyed fabric, spent all day wowing her employees with her amazing capacity to be both a high-powered boss and a great friend, then welcomed hubby and kids home with a fire-grilled organic pizza made from home-ground wheat and tomatoes from the organic garden, spent all night painting with the kids, then sent them to bed, ran 10 miles, and blew her husband for hours. Oh, and that reminds me of an important point, all-too-seldom pointed out:

4. They’re Lying

That day above is hyperbolic, to be sure, but it is also exactly the kind of thing that people like Gwyneth Paltrow are trying to market. It’s important to look critically at these lifestyle websites, because it is 100% true that they are great publicity, but total and utter bullshit. There are simply not enough hours in the day to have completed the aforementioned hyperbolic day, and no one should therefore feel bad if they don’t. Even Dame Goop is full of shit. According to her own schedule“I wake up at 7 a.m., I get [the kids] fed, and I get them dressed in their uniforms, any bits of homework are finished,” Paltrow explained. “I take them to school. She [Apple, now 9] gets dropped off at 8:25 a.m., and he [Moses, now 7] gets dropped off at 8:45 a.m., so we have a croissant together in his school dining room and we do reading together. Then I go home and I work for one hour on all the e-mails that come in overnight from L.A. Then I exercise from about 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then I work on Goop [the digital media and e-commerce company she founded] pretty much the rest of the day until I pick up my kids and then they have various activities.”

In other words, she works (blogs) for about 3 hours every day, if she doesn’t shower. Also not included in the schedule: cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and spending time with her husband. Now I don’t mean to tear only Gwyneth Paltrow apart, but she’s really the best target, since she’s (a) not going to read this, and (b) not going to care if she does (how many people who have Beyonce on speed dial give a shit if someone thinks they’re insufferable?). But she’s the perfect illustration of my point: she’s aggressively marketing herself as perfect, and is chiding those of us who are less than that to do as she does. But she doesn’t take into account the fact that even she doesn’t do as she does.

Long story short (too late):

Mommy Blogs need to stop being a thing. Which is why I am founding the Women in Opposition to Mommy Blogging group (obnoxiously acronymed WOMB). After all, a WOMB should be a safe place, and a comfortable one, one in which no one will judge you for feeding your kids formula or skipping piano lessons because you’re exhausted after a long day.

So let’s put an end to a competition in which none of the competitors could possibly fight (or win) honestly, set some realistic goals for ourselves and our families, and stop defining ourselves by what has or has not been through our vaginas.*

*end of rant**

**for now


Strike! Strike!

Click here to protest SOPA.


Why Ron Paul’s Reaction To Racist Rants Is Easily As Disturbing As The Rants Themselves

It looks like the Not memorable???profoundly distressing his response to it is. Take this excerpt Ron Paul racism charge won’t die. And it shouldn’t. But what I find truly disturbing is that no one yet has highlighted how gravely and from one of his newsletters:

It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos. The youth simply walk up to a car they like, pull a gun, tell the family to get out, steal their jewelry and wallets, and take the car to wreck. Such actions have ballooned in the recent months.

In the old days, average people could avoid such youth by staying out of bad neighborhoods. Empowered by media, police, and political complicity, however, the youth now roam everywhere looking for cars to steal and people to rob.

What can you do? More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).

I frankly don’t know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.

And here is his response to the question of whether or not he knew about/wrote/endorsed said excerpt:

You know what the answer is? I didn’t write them, didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. This is the answer.

Let’s forget for a moment that Ron Paul’s whole raison d’etre is to promote personal responsibility. Let’s forget that, in addressing these things published under his name, he’s totally relinquished his own personal responsibility. Let’s forget that he’s claiming that it’s impossible for one person to know everything published in a newsletter (maybe why there should be…oh, I dunno…a group of people…call ’em a “collaborative” or and “agency” that keeps a lookout for stuff like this, so the publisher knows what they’re publishing, and when it might amount to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater). Forget all that. Here is what deeply troubles me, and it troubles me that no one has brought this to his (or anyone else’s) attention:
He’s treating this article as though it’s just an everyday article.
Let’s be clear about what this article is doing. It states unequivocally that the correct response for a white person to make when threatened by a black person (and, yes, it’s racially specific Is This Also "Not Memorable"??in that way) is to shoot said black person with an unregistered weapon, then wipe it down and dispose of it. In short, it is an instruction manual on how to commit and get away with a homicide. Implicit in this set of instructions, as well, is that the cops will not actively pursue the matter, but that’s a blog for another time.

For a moment, imagine this type of article were to be published in an Afghan magazine. Imagine that magazine were to say that, since American soldiers are threats to Afghan livelihood, you should arm yourselves. Then, whenever you see a soldier approach you, you should shoot him/her in the face, then dispose of the weapon.

Can you imagine the outrage and terror that would be inspired by this?

It would be national and incredible in its scale.

And it should be.

So when I see Dr. Paul respond to questions about this flippantly–when I see him, in effect, acting as though this were a recipe someone published and he’s being questioned as to whether it was oregano or thyme recommended be put in the sauce–it outrages and terrifies me.

How does an article that details how to murder someone not cause a blip on the radar? How does an article that provides a terrorist instruction manual not warrant a second read? How is an article that promotes illegal violent activity at its highest level not even memorable?

The only answer must be that this article was not seen as a threatening one. It isn’t a call to terrorist action, because the victims it would harm aren’t people.

And let’s, once again, be clear about whom this kind of terrorist vigilantism would harm. This article specifically states that you should shoot an “urban youth” who is “[walking] up to [your] car.” Disgusting.

So then what does that say about Paul’s view of black people, since they are specifically referenced as the enemy in this excerpt? And how can he claim that he could personally be responsible for helping over 10% of the population pursue life, liberty, and happiness?

“Fire!” in a crowded theater is less sinister than this article. Not remembering it was ever written…well, that’s more sinister yet.


Colbert guest editorial: Naming rights, state mottoes and the GOP primary + video – Editorial Columns – TheState.com

Colbert guest editorial: Naming rights, state mottoes and the GOP primary + video – Editorial Columns – TheState.com.


DSK, The Dodo, and The Destroyer of Worlds

I tend to harp on things I noticed as an ex-pat that I found superior to American things. Time for a reality check, though. There are a few things Americans do way better. Rap, punk, innovative art and writing and poetry and film…all of those things are things we do really, really well. OK, we often do them better than our neighbors across the pond. Ever heard French rap? It’s unbelievably silly-sounding.

Here’s something else we do better: we don’t do shit like this:

DSK’s Wife Voted France’s Most Admired Woman.

Ick. Nast.

I have never understood how it’s seen as courageous or admirable for women to stand by the men who routinely (and publicly) humiliate them. Because it’s not courageous. It would be courageous to tell them to fuck off and be a single mother. It would be admirable be to tell the world that, even though you find your husband’s personal behavior repugnant and inexcusable, maybe that shouldn’t reflect on his professional behavior. But excusing your husband’s behavior and staying with him? That’s not only weak-minded, but it reflects misandry in its purest form.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a bit of misandry now and then. Lord knows the bit that lives in the darkest regions on my own psyche grew a thousand times the day my first child was born. While the scientist in me might think Valerie Solanas was technically accurate in some of her findings (if crazy as a shit-house rat in general)–and while I might understand the scientific argument detailing the innate and evolutionary biological imperative to spread seed far and wide–there are times when cold, hard science needs to be ever-so-subtly integrated into societal life. Like the H-bomb, for example: while it may be true (and kind of a cool idea) that one can harness, and then release, the power behind the strong nuclear force, maybe it’s not such a great idea.

So while it may seem I’m being a feminazi man-hater for saying these women who’ve been publicly humiliated should up and leave their husbands, I will argue that I am actually arguing on the pro-men side. Men are, after all, people, and not merely a collective of hormonal and instinctual imperatives derived from eons of nigh impossible living conditions. Living conditions right now may not be ideal (in that I can’t afford for everyone in the family to have a new iPad for Christmas), but they’re not like they were (in that I’m reasonably certain neither of my kids will be eaten by a large hungry beast in the next couple of hours). As such, the behavior borne from those conditions can be modified. And should, if we expect both genders to coexist happily.

To be clear: if you’re into polyamory, good for you. If you’re not, that’s fine too. But conditions of a relationship
should be outlined at its inception, and then respected and adhered to equally. This notion that self control and strong will can only manifest themselves when two X chromosomes are present is absurd on its face, and repugnant at its core. And if it’s not, then what’s the implication? If only one gender can evolve-and they’ve already taken on the bread-winning role inaddition to that of child caretaker–then Valerie Solanas was right: men will be outmoded in future generations.

Granted, it may be a jump to say that, because they think long-suffering wives are something to be admired, French women are subconsciously voting for men to be an evolutionary blunder akin to the Dodo. But it’s not a huge jump.


Why Not A Nice Ratatouille?

This was all inspired by this product:

And this question:


A lifetime ago, I taught fitness classes at the YMCA. During my tenure there, I cannot count the number of people who used to ask me for weight loss advice and/or personal training secrets. My answer was always the same, “Eat less and exercise more. If you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight. If you don’t, you won’t.” Out of the innumerable askers, a very numerable minority took me up on it: one. Only one person out of the throng responded to the harsh reality that 1500 calories = 1 pound, no matter how you slice it or dress it up. Everyone else went for a gimmick (“Ooh, if I do a boot camp, I can eat whatever I want!” “If I only eat protein, I can eat as much as I want!” “If I starve myself for 10 days, then I can eat whatever I want for 5!”).

It’s a human trait to try to find the path of least resistance. It seems to be an American trait, however, to so stubbornly pursue shortcuts. We seem to have been so pampered, we’re on the verge of become imbecilic brats who can no longer understand what it is to take medicine that doesn’t taste exactly like an Orange Julius.

The dressing up of the problem, then, has become big business. Want to get into a good school? It can’t be that the answer is to work hard, be as well-rounded as possible, and let the chips fall where they may; instead, you must game the system in the specific way these handy dandy books’ll tell you. Want to lose weight? Drink this magical elixir (juice) with these magical pills (speed) and watch your appetite disappear (while your blood pressure skyrockets)! Too much trouble to dress yourself? Never fear! Now you don’t have to even go through the trouble of putting on a velour track suit; now there are Pajama Jeans!

I’m not going on another anti-consumerist rampage here. My problem is actually the lack of understanding we as a country show that sometimes medicine is medicine. And that’s not always that bad. There are ways to make it palatable without losing what it is in the first place.

To wit: a French friend of mine was talking to me about the huge business that is recipes for children’s food here. She said she’d been over to a friend’s house and said (very well-meaning) friend was showing her a trick to get her kid to eat carrots: just roast them with honey on top. My friend was perplexed and asked the best question ever: “Why not a nice ratatouille?”

What an excellent question, and an excellent response to all this craziness. Instead of going overboard on gimmicks and tricks and trying so hard to never ever have to realize that something might be unpleasant, why not use a simple method to make it palatable? Want to look better when you roll out of bed? Get nicer pajamas. Better yet, stop caring so much whether or not anyone sees you in pajamas. Want to get better grades? Go to class, take notes, then do the assignments. Want to lose weight? Keep going to the gym, then skip a meal once in a while (or cut back on the ones you already eat). Why not a nice ratatouille indeed?


Ron Paul Racism Flap Grosser Than His Old Man Neck Flap

It’s already been established that women are the only people Ron Paul doesn’t believe should be free to do anything they’d like. But wait! Now he’s attacking real people too! In short, he’s having to deal with charges he’s a filthy racist again:

A 1992 passage from the Ron Paul Political Report about the Los Angeles riots read, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” A passage in another newsletter asserted that people with AIDS should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because “AIDS can be transmitted by saliva”; in 1990 one of his publications criticized Ronald Reagan for having gone along with the creation of the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which it called “Hate Whitey Day.”

Yes, he disavowed the writings before. Yes, he said he didn’t even know they were in the publications. Yes, he said they’re deplorable.


This reminds me of a brilliant email debate a friend of mine had a long time ago. Part of it revolved around whether or not scholarly articles were more engaging if they were more conversational. One side stated that he found a convivial tone more conducive to understanding key concepts, and thought the personal nature of it (pronouns included) showed a more courageous stance by the author to take personal, as well as professional, ownership of the ideas being expressed in the work. The rebuttal was simple (and I’ll paraphrase it here):
Putting your name on the work implies your personal ownership. More resounding than saying, “I believe…” is putting your name at the top of any type of legitimate publication. The implication of the words contained therein, then, is always going to reflect on the name at the top, as will anything opined within the draft.

So what were the names of the publications in which the racist jargon appeared? Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Survival Report and Ron Paul Investment Letter.