Note: Hippie Cahier proactively assisted with a single instance of grammar in this post. The remainder of errors are, as always, solely my own. -Ed.
A teacher quipped on Twitter one day that her students made her feel “stabby.” Outraged parents, obviously, well-provisioned with torches and pitchforks, demanded that her head be removed and braised like an oxtail and served on a silver platter as a delicate amuse-bouche at the next school board meeting. Now that is justice deliciously served!
Yeah, that sounds like an appropriately-measured response. Because, yeah, I’m so sure they’re all such wonderful people and perfect parents to boot.
Fact: On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.
Source: PBS.org – Affluenza
In the world of social media umbrage, judgement can be swift and final. Make an ill-advised joke before boarding an airplane and by the time you land your employer may have already knee-jerk terminated your career. That must have been a really good joke. (I’m not attempting to evaluate the social content of the joke here.)
Sometimes the target of ire may really “deserve” what they get. I guess in some cases the downside of not waiting for actual facts can backfire. Oops. Too bad, so sad. At least you got your 15 minutes of notoriety, right?
Lest anyone think I’m judging the judgers, here I offer a full disclaimer: I love the social media pile on as much as the next guy. One benefit of claiming the higher moral ground is that I can body surf down the slippery slope like nobody’s business.
These days having a position outside the norm, even if well within your “rights” as an American, can put you in the social sights of the social mob. Bang! You’re dead.
Of course you have the right to make your own decisions and live your life the way you see fit. That is not in dispute. The rest of us have the right to flay you alive and fling poo for it.
It’s an eminently equitable system.
Take me, for example. (And why the hell not? I’m the narcissist who runs this particular shit hole.) I am proud to say that by the time I was the tender age of 18 I had already taken a vow to never reproduce. This is a fact.
I even wagered with my step-mom. I think the exact terms were something like this: “I swear I will never spawn a child as long as I live and, if I do, I’ll promptly kill myself.” You have to admit, I had style, even way back then.
Sure, some of you will point out (correctly) that I did go on to reproduce, spawning the famous gerbil. But that’s only because I fell for the “my tubes are tied” gag*. It wasn’t by choice. So I can still claim the terms of my wager have not been met.
All hail technicalities that help you avoid losing bets.
What if, however, a real person was to make a similar life decision? What if a female adult citizen of the United States was to make a similar decision? By deliberate choice? Yes, I’m talking about a woman deciding that she never wants to have kids.
What happens then?
Obviously society unleashes the hounds. How dare you be an individual and do what you want? Attack! Shame! Judge! Label! Shun! Threaten! Ostracize!
You don’t want kids? You’re “selfish.” Let’s make that viral for a while. How do you like them apples?
I call this reaction “breeder outrage.” In short, it’s the kindergarten-level response to a situation where “you are different than me.” Much like fatty, four eyes or, in extreme cases, the one kid who’s parents are not wealthy enough to afford Nike gear. All of these and more must obviously be humiliated.
You want to have kids? Go for it. Who am I to say? I do, however, reserve the right to do some judging of my own if you leave them in hot cars, encourage them to shoot fully-automatic Uzi machine guns by the age of nine or not spend any actual quality time with them because you are too busy shopping and/or playing Farmville. Because doing that shit is decidedly not procreation. Bad parenting is the deliberate manufacture of future assholes.
The human desire to instill our hate in our progeny is a strong one, isn’t it?
So go ahead and game the system and our entire way of life around you personal preference that everyone should reproduce like leporidae. Tax credits and special preferences for everyone.
Except the non-breeders, that is. Anyone who makes a choice like that must be punished. Let’s get ’em!
We will make you pay.
* Because of this particular birthing scenario, the child was born with the mother’s name. So, small consolation, the Taker name will not live on. The Gristle coat-of-arms will soon be retired.
As a non-breeder who has felt “stabby” on occasion towards my students, I thank you for this post!
Non-breeder? I salute your individuality! Good for you! 🙂
Sadly, I cannot cite my source because I’ve already put the recycling out, but there was an article / op-ed in today’s Washington Post (I think. Yes, I read more than one actual print version of news, because I am just that nerdy).
The piece was about how both television and film are beginning to offer female characters who are outside “the norm,” with one example being Angelina Jolie-Pitt’s character in Malecifent.
I’m second-guessing my style suggestion after seeing a**hole. It would seem to follow that s***hole would be in keeping with that. I’m not good at profanity. Apparently. 🙂
I had a wee problem with the “auto-save” feature of WordPress while doing emergency editing of this post. Many of my edits got clobbered. Dammit! (That’s the not-so-nice way of saying, “Oh, darn.”)
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