Airing a Repeat: On Submitting Bitchy E-Mails to Scalzi’s Attention

Someone is presently boring me in e-mail, so I thought this might be a nice time to haul the following chestnut out of the archives. This is originally from 2004.

On Submitting Bitchy E-Mails to Scalzi’s Attention

A quick note to anyone who has got it in their mind to send me bitchy e-mail: My tolerance for said e-mail appears to be very short these days, so do me the favor of front-loading whatever relevant thing you have to say, because if you don’t, it’s likely that I won’t get to it because I’ve stopped reading before you’ve made your point.

This comes in the wake of having received a ten or twelve paragraph e-mail by one of those nutbag childfree folks. As most of you know, I enjoy getting hateful mail from psychotic people, because usually nothing perks up the day like invective hurled at you by someone you don’t know. But this time around, I just wasn’t into it. The first paragraph just wasn’t there, you know? It was clear that this woman was yet another of those people incensed that the world would not give her love and chocolates just because she’s decided to make her inchoate loathing of children a cornerstone of her life. And really, I’ve been down this aisle and I’ve checked out all the specials. The prospect of wading through yet another of these formless rants just to be polite filled my brain with a lassitude the consistency of heavy molasses prior to a February thaw.

So I didn’t bother. Instead, I wrote to my correspondent:

I’m sorry, I lost interest in your message after the first paragraph and couldn’t be bothered to finish it. No doubt it was very clever and devastating and if it makes you feel good, please consider me abashed or chagrined or whatever it was that you intended me to feel after reading your brilliant, scintillating words. In the meantime, allow me to congratulate you in your decision not to breed, as clearly a person of your qualities represents a full stop on the genetic paragraph; the evolution of your line need go no further.

Please feel free to respond, whereupon I’ll be happy to ignore you again in greater detail.

Bye, now.

Now, to be fair to this person, it’s entirely possible that she made some excellent points in paragraphs two through twelve, inclusive. But her first graph just didn’t make the argument that I needed to continue reading, so why should I have? This may be rude, but we’re all friends here, and I feel I can share this with you all: I don’t feel obliged to read all of my e-mails all the way through. I’m a busy man and even after you cull away all the e-mails for erectile dysfunction drugs, lesbian MILF pee orgies and Dale Earnhardt commemorative Beanie Babies, I get a lot of e-mail.

I read e-mail from friends, and e-mail from clients, and everyone else I get to when I get to it. So if I don’t know you, you’re not automatically a high priority. And if I don’t know you and you’re planning to bitch at me, you damn well better do it in an effective and engaging manner, because otherwise you’re just wasting my time. As I’ve mentioned before, I view hate mail as entertainment. So if you’re not entertaining me, you’re going to get plonked.

This is clearly where this woman miscalculated: Like many people who are aggrieved and insensible, she labors under the opinion that I am somehow obliged to provide her mental outgassings a fair hearing. Surprise! I’m not. Does this make me a bad man? If you define bad as “not really giving a crap what you think unless you amuse me first,” then, yes, I am indeed a very bad man, a real enemy of humanity, right up there with Stalin and any three members of Duran Duran. But unlike these others, I have neither starved millions of my countrymen in a rigged famine just to teach them a political lesson nor tried to foist off Seven and the Ragged Tiger as a document of art worth $7.99 in 1984 dollars. In terms of crimes against humanity, I can live with mine.

This is not to say I’m opposed to getting mail from people whose opinions differ from my own. Many people with whom I’ve corresponded will tell you that I am more than happy to consider points, information and opinions that are dramatically different from my own. Hell, I’ve had cordial e-mail with Confederate sympathizers and creationists, and you all know where I stand on those topics. However, these people might also note that when they sent e-mail to me, they tried to be at least somewhat civil. I do try to answer civility with civility; to do otherwise is rude. However, I don’t see why I should bother being nice to people whose e-mails are transparently a proxy for a good, healthy head-shrinking. You want me to be polite when you rant, then have your health insurance pay me $150 an hour like it does your therapist. Otherwise, you get what I decide to give you, which ain’t going to be much.

Perhaps the best metaphor to go with here is a literary one. When you compose a bitchy e-mail to me, consider it a submission to a magazine called Scalzi’s Attention. This magazine, I’m proud to say, has high standards — not all who apply are accepted. There are regular columnists and contributors (friends, clients, the occasional reasonable correspondent with an opposing viewpoint), but everything else is in the slushpile. Anyone who’s been in a slushpile knows you have to be really good to stand out. Anyone who’s been in a slushpile also knows that while those who read through slush are hoping to find something good, they are also usually simultaneously looking for any excuse not to have to keep reading something, so if you give a slushpile reader an excuse not to read you all the way through, they’ll take it. Let me finally suggest that of all the material in my personal slushpile, I consider bitchy e-mails the slushiest. You want me to read all the way through, you’ve really got to work it. Impress me. Don’t bore me. Otherwise your submission is likely to be rejected by Scalzi’s Attention. On the plus side, as you can see above, we have nifty rejection letters.

Quite obviously I realize that most of the people who wish to send me bitchy e-mails won’t see why they should bother keeping me amused long enough to read their e-mails all the way through. But allow me to note this is not exactly a problem from my point of view. Rather the opposite, in fact.

130 thoughts on “Airing a Repeat: On Submitting Bitchy E-Mails to Scalzi’s Attention

  1. Before anyone asks: I’m still behind on the Hate Mail winners. Don’t worry, the announcement is coming.

  2. “I’m a busy man and even after you cull away all the e-mails for erectile dysfunction drugs, lesbian MILF pee orgies and Dale Earnhardt commemorative Beanie Babies, I get a lot of e-mail.”

    Dammit, my nose is going to be sore all day from nasal coffee outgassing! Right now I just hates you, Scalzi! Hates, hates, hates!

  3. We appear to have similar attitudes toward such behavior. I call it the King Codicil to the Golden Rule: I am always happy to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. In fact, I think so highly of my fellows, I assume they believe the same, and act accordingly. So, when someone comes on to me like a box of assholes, my conscience remains clear when I respond in kind. It’s what they wanted.

  4. $@#%% #^# !! %^ $%^$%^ Scalzi $$%%@^ bacon, #$%@^^. $!%^%! @%^%$^ cats & dogs #$%#@$ 453 #$# chang!

    Personally I thought “$!%^%! @%^%$^” was my best turn of phrase fisking as high art infact. If you disagree well then $!%^%! @%^%$^ indeed!

  5. is it really sad that i tried to figure out what Hilary’s comment meant as a regular experssion ?

  6. I’m trying to figure out why you’d be the target of a rabid childfree rant. Or do you have 20 more children out there that I’m unaware of?

    yuval: the thought of trying to parse Hilary’s comment as a regular expession crossed my mind, o! :-)

  7. So can we have another hate mail competition? The last one was a lot of fun. We’ll try to make sure that the first paragraph grabs your attention.. ;-)

  8. “Please feel free to respond, whereupon I’ll be happy to ignore you again in greater detail.”

    That, my friend, is one of the greatest form responses in the history of the English language.

  9. That, my friend, is one of the greatest form responses in the history of the English language.

    Echo and re-echo. I am seriously awed. Classic.

  10. Oh, man, that’s one beautiful scathing response. I wish I could write like that.

    It reminds me of some advice about talking with folks at conventions – “I’m sorry, but I’m not enjoying this conversation any longer. I’m going to go do something else.”

  11. So I can be as inane and bitchy as I want as long as I keep it to one paragraph of reasonable length? (ie a smallish number of sentences expressing what would be a single thought to a sane person. God knows one must clarify these days what a paragraph really is, sadly.)

    Just trying to clarify the rules, here.

  12. I’m with Lisa L. Was there a period of time where you were in charge of giving people permission to reproduce or something?

  13. As someone who is getting a lot of ranting hate mail right now (LOOOOOOOOOONG BORING STORY), this was a beacon of hope in a dark, twisted world.

    Until I got to the part where you ranked Duran Duran with Stalin. Wait, WHAT? Oh come on…everyone knows that Tears for Fears are the true Satan’s minions. Come on. (She said, civilly.)

  14. Did you notice that your rant seems to have 12 paragraphs?

    Now I want to know why you bothered to reply at all. I think one of the secrets to freedom, a happy life, and total enlightenment is in being able to delete an email without replying–even if it’s not from a listserve or spam. :-)

  15. While you are on the subject (or perhaps this could be a future post) since you have had several years of experience do you think the great mass of people on the other end of the wire is getting less civil as the years go by or more?

  16. Catherine Shaffer:

    Well, naturally I replied so I could ruin the person’s whole day. Because sometimes I’m a petty little turd of a man.

  17. I am now tempted to create fake e-mail accounts for the sole purpose of sending John long, poorly constructed rants so I can chortle at the amusing, snark-filled replies.

    Note to the clueless: Don’t actually DO this. He has better things to do than reply to a bunch of ignorant spew, and you’ll end up getting form-snark instead, which doesn’t satisfy the need for hand-crafted, personalized invective at all.

  18. Dear Mr. Scalzi,

    “Childfree” is simply a name for people who choose not to have have children (as opposed to “childless,” which connotes infertility and lacking). There’s nothing “nutbag” about that, so kindly avoid painting us all with the same brush. I don’t doubt that the woman who wrote you indeed deserves the title, but you can say that without also insulting a massive group of people who don’t deserve it.

  19. I respectfully agree with Gretchen. “Nutbag” would’ve covered it. Most childfree folks aren’t Like That. Like children and feminists, two other groups of perfectly wonderful people, all folks seem to notice are the ones who are drawing attention to themselves in a negative way. Folks use that to negatively characterize entire groups; in your case, to a large audience.

    In all other regards, I agree.

    Sorry I can’t be amusing today, as is my wont; I do hope you listen anyway.

  20. Gretchen:

    When I want your advice on how to say what I feel like saying about anything, you can be assured I will ask for it. Until then, feel free to refrain from telling me how to say anything on my own site.

    That said, entirely agreed that not every person identifying as childfree is a raving nutbag; most in my experience are perfectly fine people who have chosen not to have children. The phrase “one of those nutbag childfree folks” does not imply that all childfree folks are nutbags; merely only the portion of them that are, you know, crazy. If you search about the site you’ll see I note this in more than one place.

  21. See, John, that’s where most of us are confused. You never seem to ask for our advice, so we must jump the fence and give it to you when you are clearly in need.

    I’m just curious as to the childfree reference in the first place. Was the lunacy related to childrearing that the nutbag would have no experience in?

  22. It’s all in the mists of the archives. Back when Athena was toddler, I wrote something about her signaling concerns about one thing or another, some foamy childfree person mocked my concern in one of childfree newsgroups, so I purposefully trolled the newsgroup just to watch them get all foamy. Then afterward from time to time, one would show up to be all foamy at me some more. Basically I poked a bunch of idiots with a stick and watched them run about. It wasn’t really about these particular individuals being childfree, it was about them being a bit crazy.

  23. The phrase “one of those nutbag childfree folks” does not imply that all childfree folks are nutbags

    Actually, it does. In order to avoid such implication, you could’ve said “a nutbag childfree person.” Thanks for the nasty reply to a polite request, though.

  24. Joe Rybicki:

    Yeah. I never poke people with sticks now!

    Gretchen:

    It wasn’t a polite request, it you telling me what to do on my own site, and not many people use the phrase “kindly avoid [insert thing here]” in a polite manner. My response in such cases is almost always “fuck you, I’ll do as I please.” When you want to make a polite request, please try to actually phrase it politely and not imperatively. You’ll notice a difference in the response.

    As for the particular phrasing, your choice to interpret it in a particular way does not oblige me to care, or retract. As noted, I don’t think all childfree people are nutbags.

  25. The words “kindly avoid” signify a polite request. If I’d wanted to order you around, it would go something like “Dear Mr. Scalzi, fuck you for insulting childfree people. Cut it out now.”

    As noted, I don’t think all childfree people are nutbags.

    Which, of course, is all you need have said. I guess trying to dress me down was more important.

  26. Gretchen:

    “The words ‘kindly avoid’ signify a polite request.”

    Not as I’ve seen them used. The phrase gets used like “do you want to do [x]” often gets used, which is to say, an imperative couched as a request. My wife asks me all the time if I want to take out the trash (I don’t, usually, but I do it anyway). My wife has ranking to use such a phrase; however, in this place, people don’t get to utter imperatives without me reminding them they don’t actually get a vote.

    “I guess trying to dress me down was more important.”

    Well, yes. You appeared to be under the impression you got to tell me what to say. That shit needs to get nipped. This is covered in the site and comment rules.

    That said, if you seriously wish to suggest that your “kindly avoid” was not meant as a passive-aggressive imperative, then okay. I will take your word for it, and humbly ask your pardon for an aggressive response to your request. We’ll chalk it up to a misunderstanding and move forward, if that’s all right with you.

    CJ-in-Weld:

    They forget we’re experts, I suppose.

  27. Reading the Gretchen/Scalzi interchange is even better than the original post! :) Try re-reading it and yell, “BAM” or “POW” or your favorite 70’s Batman effect at random times. Heh heh heh…

    I have to go now. I sprained my mooby bone.

    B–

    P.S. – The author of this post cannot be held liable for lack of humor, excessive touchiness, inability to take oneself lightly, or any other moronic behavior of any kind. Thppppp!

  28. hmm. I grew up in a home where my mom ran a very busy childcare center. I hated and other peoples kids and never thought I would have any of my own. Then I met my wonderful wife and we have THREE children that run around my house like drunken monkeys. But I love them dearly and while I love my children, none of them were planned. All three of my children were conceived while using some sort of birth control, my last while using two forms of birth control. I could risk the wrath of Scalzi, who seems to be in a bitchy mood, and insert some phrase about how God plans your children and what not, but that’s not the point I want to make today.

    Despite the fact that I never intended to have children I am grateful that I did. You can’t know what it is to love someone unconditionally without having children of your own. Adoption is a close shadow, but not the same. There is something about having a biological child that changes something inside of you for the good.

    I can’t imagine my life without my children and I pity anyone so selfish to think that their life is somehow better because they don’t want to inconvenience themselves by having children.

    BTW: I still don’t like most other people’s children.

    And if you don’t want children of your own, that’s ok with me, I’ll thank you next time I’m in a long line thinking about how the world really would be a better place with fewer people.

  29. Michael P:

    “I could risk the wrath of Scalzi, who seems to be in a bitchy mood, and insert some phrase about how God plans your children and what not, but that’s not the point I want to make today.”

    I’m not sure why such a sentiment would arouse my wrath.

    And I’m not really in a bitchy mood, it’s just my standard procedure to stomp on people’s heads when it seems to be they think they can tell me how to express myself on my own site. But apparently it was a misunderstanding, so that’s that.

  30. “the wrath of Scalzi…God plans your children and what not”

    That is in reference to your feelings towards creationism and I apparently mistakenly assumed that that was geared towards all “religion” based thinking or nonthinking as it were.

    I still haven’t figured out what your take is on the whole God issue, other than the creation museum tour posting.

    Maybe that could be a topic for a posting in another time, maybe not.

  31. “That is in reference to your feelings towards creationism and I apparently mistakenly assumed that that was geared towards all ‘religion’ based thinking or nonthinking as it were.”

    As regards creationism and Christianity, this might help.

    Otherwise, I’m your basic garden-variety agnostic.

  32. Scalzi–LOL. The whole thing is highly amusing. And good on you for poking nutbag childfree folks with a stick. That’s definitely a “if the shoe fits, wear it” situation if I ever saw one.

  33. Hey, I just got back from your Why I Breed rant, and I love it. Who knew that you and I shared such sensibilities about the obnoxiously child free? May I just point out that by definition, a child free person does not get to tell anyone to adopt? The answer to that question, coming from them, is “Why don’t YOU adopt?” Conversation stopper there, for sure.

  34. Wow, a concern troll, and Scalzi gets irate. Scalzi Blows His Top must be occasions. )

    Good people, the silver back is a mellow beast, most of the time. He lounges about as the women folk run the show in their own competent way. But when he is riled even Ozark Grannies step quiet and meek, and keep the youngins out of reach until the raging passes.

    Do not fuck with Happy Fun Scalzi.

  35. @Michael P on 24 Jul 2008 at 10:01 pm:

    And if you don’t want children of your own, that’s ok with me, I’ll thank you next time I’m in a long line thinking about how the world really would be a better place with fewer people.

    Except if you conceived them, right?

    I’m not sure if that line is meant to express concern w.r.t. overpopulation of the Earth, but if that is a concern of yours, why contribute to the problem?

  36. Reminds me of an old story about the ABA before it merged with the NBA, a tiff among owners resulted in the following letter.

    F**k You. A more detailed response will follow.

  37. Are childfree people those who chose not to have their genetic material survive themselves but may also have adopted children? Or are they people who despise children (like the Baroness in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang) and don’t want more of them brought in to the world?

    @Michael P in 43 –I’m adopted and I’ve friends who are adoptive parents. From what I can tell, adoptive parents are equal to biological parents that care (there are plenty of biological parents that don’t care about their children). There is little or no discernible difference in their unconditional love for their child(ren) than that of a biological mother. I have given birth and raised a daughter (who is 22) so I do know what it is like to be a biological mother. In addition, I have a brother who is my adoptive parents biological son. We were not treated any differently on the basis of whose genes we had. And he and I love each other as much than some adult siblings who are genetically related.

  38. and to regurgitate arguments from earlier posts, ‘childfree’ is certainly not a neutral term, It implies there is something unhealthy or unwanted about children i.e. disease-free, sugar-free, gluten-free. ‘childless’ identifies a state of not having children, with no reference to cause. The term that MEANS ‘infertility and lacking’ (no connotation needed) without being clinical or judgmental is ‘barren’. IMHO.

  39. Adelheid:

    maybe you are right, I have never adopted a child so I can’t honestly say for sure that there is a difference in the the love that is felt by the parents. I am merely using my personal experience of being adopted by a family who later had biological children of their own, and my years of experience working with families with children.

    CartoonCoyote:

    That last line was supposed to be funny but sarcasm has a hard time being transmitted over text.

    Suzy:

    Yes we were using the products correctly. Although I will admit that one of the products failed during use, which is not uncommon, rendering the product useless which resulted in the conception of my third child. We have since both undergone surgical methods to prevent further pregnancies.

  40. As I understand the definitions:

    •Childfree – those who don’t want to have children (for whatever reason) (I’m of this definition)
    •Childless – those who want children but who can’t have them (usually because of infertility)

  41. Suzy, I think Bensdad00’s #54 gets at the thing that riles those who love children. There’s a difference in attitude between not having children and being childfree. (Not all states of being must be reduced to one word, after all.)

    I don’t have children, partly because I have a mass of interlocking disabilities and couldn’t be a good father, and don’t want to run the risk of inflicting the genetic part of my ill health on children. I regret this – like our host wrote in his 2004 piece, I always wanted to be a father, and am sorry I can’t.

    I have friends who could have kids, some of whom I personally think would make very good parents, with reasons that range from as serious as mine to “dunno, just don’t want to”. And in fact that last one is a good one. One of the lessons of the Bush administration is “don’t take up serious tasks when you don’t care”.

    My experience of those who identify as “childfree” has been very different. In my experience, those who choose that label tend to be actively anti-child. They don’t like kids. They don’t ever, ever want to be around them; they welcome every exclusion of children from public and private spaces. They tend to be hostile to every social convention and legal accommodation to families and children. And this is an important point: I have watched several individuals and couples I knew go from being liberal or apolitical but not interested in children to identifying as childfree, and they all ended up drifting either into movement conservatism or very vulgar libertarianism, glorifying their lack of attachments to society and seeking to break down others’ networks of concerns and support. I never saw the alternative movement, from apolitical or right-wing toward a sense that the general well-being of humanity calls for a closer engagement, a society more given to expressing constructive values via political and social structures.

    The childfree community/subculture presents itself to me less as a gathering of adults who live mature lives that happen not to include children, and more as a bunch of folks interested in perpetual adolescence. This is what distinguishes them, for me, from the many kinds of people who simply do not have children, by choice and/or necessity.

  42. I spent all last week on a beach in France that attracts a pan-European clientele. There is something beautiful in the sight of children who don’t even share a language coming together, as one, to invent silly games that seem to revolve around splashing each other–until parental units (of all colors, languages, creeds, and states of undress) descend on the scene to accuse their offspring of shrieking like howler monkeys. (“Shrieking like monkeys” was in fact the exact phrase used in the three languages I speak. I’d wager that the moms using other languages were saying roughly the same.)

    I was going to say something about childfree folks (I am 30 with no kids and no real plans to have any), but damn… those kids were cute. It gives me hope for the future of humanity. Let us all play on the beach of the world and have us a marvelous time.

  43. 57 – Bruce Baugh

    Thanks for the rephrasing and elaboration. There are far to many beautifully specific or descriptive words that fall from use for no good reason, buried in a tide of cultural simplification and catchphrasery.

  44. years ago when I ran a crew of workers we came to a point to where it became known that if you were very late, didn’t show up, etc and didn’t have a good reason for it, then you had better have an excuse that would make me laugh. It got to where these explanations would commonly be the high point of my day.

  45. Dear Mr. Scalzi,

    Just a few years ago I was driving along, minding my own business, when a man in a blue shirt cut me off and proceeded to steal my parking space. I was wearing a red shirt at the time. I’m sure you can see where this is going.

    I have since then devoted my time to trolling blue shirt communities. I believe that people with blue shirts share a hive mind- an insidious, odious, hive mind free of any variation from individual to individual. I can only hope that my acrimony towards them shows them how terrible they are (no, that isn’t hypocrisy- I wear red shirts. I’m subject to different standards).

    I cannot tolerate people with blue shirts. From the behavior of this one individual I am certain that all people with blue shirts are wastes of space, dog-paddling in the shallow end of the gene pool. Monsters who base their lives around one thing: an all-consuming hatred of red shirts. What else can I conclude? They don’t wear red shirts. And one of them was mean to me.

    You see, I may not have your eloquence, but I have a very good appreciation of irony. I just wanted you to know that your logic has so many holes that I mistook it for a piece of Swiss cheese… and ate it. Sorry ’bout that.

  46. V:

    As you may expect, I heartily support your campaign against the blue shirts. As we all know, the blue shirts have been at the heart of every single bad thing in history, from the assassination of Julius Caesar to the recent reformation of The New Kids on the Block. Also, they smell. I, for one, applaud your willingness to jam the stick of your righteousness into their spinning spokes of attempted world domination, and to hose down their musky odors. God bless you, V. May the angels guide your every move.

    With admiration,

    John Scalzi

    (who is, in fact, wearing a red shirt at the moment)

  47. As long as we’re glancing upon the topic of childfree folks and the question of their nutbaggery, I feel obligated to link to The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if they are actual nutbags or clever satirists, or some spooky quantum superposition of the two.

    It’s a movement advanced by people who care about life on planet Earth. We’re not just a bunch of misanthropes and anti-social, Malthusian misfits, taking morbid delight whenever disaster strikes humans.

  48. You’re wearing a red shirt? Watch out, dude!

    KIRK
    The mission to Omicron Zeta II will consist of me, Spock, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, and Ensign Scalzi. We’re beaming down in five minutes.

    ENSIGN SCALZI (voiceover)
    Oh boy, I finally get to use my training as a Starfleet Security officer!

  49. Re the link in the first paragraph of the Why I Breed entry linked in this post — it 404’ed. I tried to see if the entry number was just anagrammed, changing 020422 to 002422 and got this lovely piece, but I don’t think it was the entry you wanted on “my trolling of said population in Whatever”.

    Say, isn’t the motto of The Whatever “Taunting the Tauntable since 1998″? I’m just sayin’

    Thankee!

    Dr. Phil

  50. You have just written the closest thing to a perfect fark-off letter I have ever seen. I think it should be preserved somehow. Do you mind if I forward the text to some attorney friends with proper attribution?

  51. God, I love intelligent discourse. The to-ing, the fro-ing. Oy. John, can we nominate you for President of something? Anything?

  52. “# Bensdad00on 25 Jul 2008 at 12:47 am
    and to regurgitate arguments from earlier posts, ‘childfree’ is certainly not a neutral term, It implies there is something unhealthy or unwanted about children i.e. disease-free, sugar-free, gluten-free. ‘childless’ identifies a state of not having children, with no reference to cause. The term that MEANS ‘infertility and lacking’ (no connotation needed) without being clinical or judgmental is ‘barren’. IMHO.”

    I honestly think that, to a lot of people, CF is a very neutral term. As mentioned above, in normal casual speech, childLESS refers to those who want to have children, but can’t (or can’t yet) have them, for whatever reason and childfree refers to people who don’t WANT them (and don’t consider themselves LESS anything).

    On the other hand, it is true, that to some people it DOES imply freedom from a negative thing.
    But why is this a problem?
    When people are talking about being ‘childfree’, as I see it, they are talking about their OWN LIVES. the people who use ‘childfree’ as ‘freedom from something negative’ may be talking about (and defining) children as something negative, but they are doing this in the context of their own lives. They are saying that children are (or would be) something negative in THEIR LIVES.

    I don’t think that this necessarily carries over to a characterisation of children as something that is negative in general and to the lives of everyone esle. They are not necessarily saying that children are (or should be) something negative to EVERYBODY ELSE.

    To me, and FOR me, my use of the4 term childfree for myself DOES mean that I think that there is something “unwanted about children” – FOR ME. I would think that it is somehting of a truism (?) that for me, as a person who does not want children, children ARE unwanted. IMO, that sort of goes along with not wanting them!

    Since having children would be a negative TO ME, then YES, childfree WOULD mean freedom from something negative – because FOR ME children WOULD BE a negative.
    But I am talking ABOUT MYSELF – about MY OWN LIFE. The statement is about ME, NOT about the lives of any other person or even about children in general.

  53. I don’t think that this necessarily carries over to a characterisation of children as something that is negative in general and to the lives of everyone esle. They are not necessarily saying that children are (or should be) something negative to EVERYBODY ELSE.

    Unfortunately, not everyone is as sane as you are, and some of the online childfree groups are downright rabid in their hatred for those who have had the temerity to inflict their spawn on the world. I ran across a few of those people who were trolling an unrelated LJ community, and the sheer bitterness in their comments left me speechless. To think that they might have to share their world with the next generation!

    My guess is that our esteemed host was poking sticks at that subgroup, not holding forth on the irrationality of ALL childfree advocates, just as I know plenty of sane, even pleasant Christians but will still take potshots at the Hagees and Dobsons of the world for being idiots.

  54. @Chryss (#21): Re: Tears for Fears. You have my vote. I was literally ostracized as a teen because I refused to dance to that tune. I’m still bitter. (Well, /obviously/.)

    Now, look how I managed to burn up an hour trawling this slapfest for highlights. It’s already time to go home!

  55. Regarding the child free community:

    … (lots of foamy mouthed ranting removed)

    Isn’t it a shame that the parents of the child free thought differently than their spawn?

    Regarding responding to people that send you an email nasty, why even bother? Well, that said, I think your response was a good one, and could quite nicely be distilled into a form reply so as to save time – no need to craft something unique for every troll the comes by.

    -michael

    p.s. sorry about being off topic that time before.

  56. re 72 & 73

    You are both correct and I agree with your statements – when you are dealing with a rational being it is possible to use the term neutrally in a personal context; unfortunately when personal policies metastasize into such a virulent hate filled political movement, the term loses its personally imbued neutrality and takes on the public bitterness which is the now more generally accepted meaning of this particular term.

  57. Dear Gretchen @37,

    Gretchen, darling, please learn how to read and parse written English. The phrase in question is “one of those nutbag childfree folks”, which you contend performs a universal equation of “nutbag” and “childfree”. Your preferred rewording is “a nutbag childfree person” if I am not mistaken.

    “nutbag” and “childfree” are both modifying the noun (“folks”), with “those” further selecting a subset of all folks. Hence “some folks are nutbags AND childfree.”

    “One of” is selecting a generic single member of the set of “some folks who are nutbags AND childfree.” Therefore, this phrase is talking about a singular generic person.

    By replacing “one of” with “a” and “folks” with “person”, you’ve accomplished the same thing. Your alternative is semantically the same as Scalzi’s original wording. Since the meaning is the same, the choice of which wording to choose is a matter of style, which is author’s choice unless constrained by editorial restrictions.

    However, and I suspect this is the part that sticks in your craw, Scalzi’s construction points out that there are many of these folks who are both “childfree” AND “nutbags”. Your version perhaps attempts to hide that fact. Good luck with that.

    Sincerely yours,

    Devin

  58. Devin, I think the real explanation is simpler than that. Regardless of whether John’s wording implied that he believes all childfree people to be nutbags (and a lazy reader might well get that impression), it is clear that Gretchen herself is most definitely a nutbag childfree person. Reading her posts and comments on the community in question erase all doubt on that score.

    Consequently, John’s comments cut her to the quick, and she feebly attempted to parry his blows with the rhetorical equivalent of a limp noodle. No wonder she had to call for reinforcements.

  59. Hmmm. At the risk of fanning the flames in someone else’s house, I just want to say that people who actively label themselves Childfree, who go to online groups to talk about “Childfree” issues, who probably socialize with people who also self-identify as “Childfree” based solely on that identification? Those are nutbags. Because they have taken a purely personal choice and turned it into a political movement.
    There are tons pf people who choose not to have children, for one reason or another, and go on with their lives. It’s nobody’s business, and they keep it that way. Those are non-nutbag people who happen to be childfree.
    But once you go over that line, and start to alter your lifestyle and choose friends and make politicized rants about how you are better than others all because of this one lifestyle choice? You are now a nutbag.

    Also, if you consider the evangelical Childfree person, who advocates not having children for others–they are, in fact, advocating the suicide of the human race. Nutbag? No, Ueber-nutbag.

  60. re. contraceptive failure:
    My ex-gf would only get pregnant while on the pill. Apparently her hormones were sufficiently imbalanced that the pill merely compensated.

    re. childfree:
    I’m childfree, and I like children. Childless is too much like brainless, pointless, and hopeless for it to read as a neutral term. But I like children in small doses. I like ones that belong to other people and can be returned if they become annoying. I enjoy working children’s program at conventions (I specialize in Harry Potter wandmaking) and talking to smart children, which (happily) many of my friends have. But I’d be an atrocious parent, and I’ve never really been interested in being one. Also, I’m single (not husbandless, thankyouverymuch) and don’t find single parenting a very good idea, even if parenting didn’t involve pretty much destroying my vocation and life work and thus sending me into a suicidal depression.

    And – sorry, John – I do think the original sentence made it look like “nutbag” was the only species you thought “childfree” came in, though the rest of the paragraph makes it clear that the particular person in question was one of those frothing types who makes rational people look bad.

  61. People who get on the internet and tell other people not to have children can safely be referred to as nutbags. Also ‘nutbars’ is a nice variation. Also, people who feel that they need to take the lack of X in their life and print it on a T-shirt and wear it every day of their life and form support groups to talk about it and launch letter-writing campaigns and advocacy web sites and raise “awareness” of their situation–also pretty much fall into the category of nutbags, in my opinion.

    The condition of not having children does not need an identifier. People who happen not to be parents don’t need a special name to call themselves, whether it be “childless,” “barren,” “infertile,” or “joyfully childfree.” What all of this does is take something that really is nobody else’s business and make it into an exceedingly awkward topic of conversation.

    I do not currently have a ferret. This is a regrettable situation, as I have had ferrets in the past and find them delightful. However, all of my ferrets died (in horrible, ferretish, kamakaze fashion), and my husband and I have chosen to take medication that will prevent us from acquiring any new ones, as our religious beliefs limit us to no more than two nonhuman mammalian species per household. I feel no need to call myself “ferret free,” nor do I write Scalzi a twelve paragraph letter about how he must not acquire ferrets because he already has feline and canine pets. I’m okay with that. He’s okay with that. Everyone understands the situation without the identity crap.

    By the way, what exactly did this woman think he should do about the child he conceived a decade ago? Isn’t it a bit late for this lecture? If someone wrote me a letter saying I shouldn’t have had my son, there is no way I would be as nice to them as Scalzi was. I would rip their fucking heart out through their asshole. Ahem. I have strong feelings about my son.

    (Uh oh. This rant needs 7 more paragraphs.)

  62. People who happen not to be parents don’t need a special name to call themselves, whether it be “childless,” “barren,” “infertile,” or “joyfully childfree.”

    “Deliberately Barren” was of late a favoured term of certain conservative Australian politicians. Oh, how we laugh’t.

  63. Michael P:

    As a brand-new adoptive parent I think parents absolutely can love an adopted child as deeply and as completely as a biological child–but love is not the only reason people have children. You have to let go of a lot in order to really embrace adoption, and if the sense of biological connection is really important to you–or experiencing pregnancy & birth etc–then it can be harder. For me, those things are not all that important, and I thrive on a sense of destiny, so adoption has been a way to give meaning to my desire to be a parent. And because it’s an open adoption, that sense of him being meant for me is very strong–his parents chose us for him, and circumstances made us a very good fit for him, so that whole woo-woo sense of fate is there.

    Nowadays it’s very difficult to adopt an infant (despite what people may think when they say “just adopt), so adoptive parents go through a lot of training and waiting, and typically are chosen by the birth parents (in domestic adoption anyway). So there’s plenty of time to talk about the whole concept of adoptive vs. bio children and to make sure that you’re not going to feel the adopted child is “second best.” There are also a lot more reproductive technologies to address infertility. I’m sure, though, that even with all of that, it’s still possible to have mixed families (adopted and bio kids) where the kids are treated differently. You have to be comfortable with your kid being markedly different from you, in order to really rejoice in who they are–I’m sure this is true for any kid, bio or adopted, but it may be more of a hurdle in adoption. If you think you’re satisfied with the particular blessings of adoption, and then turn out not to be, that creates a very tough situation for your child.

    Sorry for the long post! Once I get going on adoption I have trouble stopping. (particularly now that I have the world’s most adorable baby)

  64. Speaking as an American leaving in Europe, in a country which has laws and rights pertaining to families which the US simply doesn’t have, I will state that I agree with several posters above. Those who self-identify as Child-Free are indeed equating children with a disease. They are, unlike the childless, voluntary or involuntary, a group with an agenda which is inimical to Society and the bonds of society. And simply saying they aren’t makes that no more truthful than Tom Cruise saying Scientology is not a religion for fruitcakes who like their money stolen.

  65. Catherine Shaffer @82:

    “The condition of not having children does not need an identifier. People who happen not to be parents don’t need a special name to call themselves, whether it be “childless,” ‘barren,’ ‘infertile,’ or ‘joyfully childfree.’ What all of this does is take something that really is nobody else’s business and make it into an exceedingly awkward topic of conversation.”

    Bingo!

    I don’t have kids, never have, never will. I don’t think of myself as childless or childfree, and I never have. Identifying myself by any such status term would give reproduction far more meaning in my life than it actually has. By proclaiming themselves “childfree,” these folks are affirming that the concept of children has great weight in their lives. Let it go, folks. Put your energy into something that actually does mean something to you. If children don’t, that’s cool, but it beats me why you would then saddle yourself with any child-centric term at all.

  66. I don’t usually have a need for a single word, such as “childless” or “childfree” to describe myself. When the subject comes up, I usually just say “I don’t have children” and leave it at that. Why I don’t have children is really no one else’s business.

    The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: “of course it is none of my business but—” is to place a period after the word but.” Don’t use excessive force in supplying such moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.
    — Robert A. Heinlein, from “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” in Time Enough For Love

  67. The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: “of course it is none of my business but—” is to place a period after the word but.” Don’t use excessive force in supplying such moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.
    — Robert A. Heinlein, from “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” in Time Enough For Love

    My dentist told me the best way to keep my teeth is to:
    1. Brush and floss after every meal.
    2. See him at least 2 times a year.
    3. Mind my own business.

  68. @79: it is clear that Gretchen herself is most definitely a nutbag childfree person. Reading her posts and comments on the community in question erase all doubt on that score.

    Really? Wow. I would love to hear what, specifically, Mr. Hackard thinks I’ve said that constitutes nutbaggery. All this time I thought I was just a person who doesn’t want children, and firmly believes that people who don’t want children shouldn’t have them.

    If people didn’t go around suggesting that the voluntarily childless are immoral, selfish, denying their femininity or capacity to love and so on, I doubt many childfree communities exist. Like atheists (about whom some of the same things are implied), the childfree seem to find comfort in venting together. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

  69. @ Scalzi:

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I’m sure my initial request was passive-aggressive, but I was attempting to be miffed and polite at the same time and apparently failed. Probably should’ve waited to post. If we agree that some of the childfree are decidedly nutbags (the ones who actively wish harm on children or their parents, for example) and yet many others are not and simply wish to go through their lives with neither children nor harassment for said lack of children, then I’ve got no beef.

  70. Thank you, Gretchen. I’m glad that we have that sorted out. And again I apologize for our misunderstanding. Please stick around if you like, and I will try to be on better behavior.

  71. Mary Dell:

    I apologize for my poor choice in words earlier. I really do feel that you can love an adoptive child unconditionally. I still maintain that the biological connection of carrying a child and going through the birthing process does potentially enhance that love to a new level that is unachievable in any other fashion. There are even fringe adoption groups that recreate the birthing experience to help with the bonding for the families.
    My words are coming from being adopted myself then watching my family have biological children of their own. They will never admit it but there was a major difference between how I was treated and how my “brothers” were treated. My words also from from over 20 years experience working with families with children of all sorts, foster, adopted and biological. I strongly support parents who choose adoption over having biological children. Anybody can have kids of their own, only special people (in a good way, not riding the short bus to school) choose to raise someone else’s child.

    Please forgive me for not being more clear earlier.

  72. @ Scalzi again:

    Wow! I hadn’t even read the posts you made subsequent to this one, and the comments made in reply. That’s a lot of discussion over what I thought was simply a brief disagreement about blog etiquette with someone I don’t know. I’m kind of afraid to read it, but I’m glad it gave you guys good fodder.

    For the record: Yes, you’re absolutely right that the First Amendment does not give anyone the right to comment on anyone else’s blog. Thank goodness. What I was thanking the LJ poster for was noting that allowing comments on one’s blog implies a tacit invitation for people to voice their opinions. This of course does not require the blogger to accept those opinions or even allow those people to comment in the future. I suspect that the continued appeals that some make to the First Amendment on blogs and discussion forums is a form of that ridiculous “You can’t deny me the right to my opinion” mentality that so often comes out of mouth (or keyboard) of someone whose beliefs have merely been challenged. “How dare you challenge me! I have a right to my opinion!” No shit. Nobody said otherwise. You have a right to an opinion, and I have the right to the opinion that your opinion is crap. Amazing how well that works.

    Regarding the childfree hardcore community on LJ: I’ve joined very recently, so I don’t know much about their background. But they seem like decent folks so far, and I kind of like the commiseration– if somebody brings a squalling 2-year-old to a 10pm showing of Dark Knight, it’s a good place to vent. Like all communities of people who are like-minded on a certain issue, however, there are inevitably comments that go over the top. I direct this not really to you (it seems you’re quite aware) but to some of your readers.

    Apologies for further flogging a dead horse, but I felt the need to clarify a few things. I hope it’s not too boring to discover that we mainly agree.

  73. Gretchen:

    “I hope it’s not too boring to discover that we mainly agree.”

    Heh. No, it’s not. And otherwise I think we’re on better footing toward understanding each other now, which can only be a good thing. Thanks again for your further comments, and for being the stimulus for some interesting conversation — although I could understand if you hope not to be in the future, at least not in the same way. But do continue to comment if you feel you’d like to.

  74. Uh, you don’t have to be childfree to find bringing a child to ANY showing of The Dark Knight appallingly stupid, bad parenting and rude to all others attending the movie.

  75. Gretchen: From your comments on the infamous LJ thread:

    I dislike children– I do not fawn over them; the sound of them crying makes me want to jump off a cliff, etc. On the other hand, I do not relish the thought of any child suffering. I wish no ill on children or their parents– I simply prefer that neither they nor their interests prevent me from living a happy life.

    Crying children can be annoying, but to say they make you want to jump off a cliff is a pretty strong aversive reaction. And I’m not really sure how children or their interests could prevent you from living a happy life. That statement reminds me of the evangelical conservatives who think that allowing gays to marry somehow tarnishes their own marriages.

    “Nutbag” may have been a strong term, but you do have to admit that your dislike for children is on the extreme end of the curve.

    I am in complete sympathy with your desire to stop getting the “when are you going to have children?” question. As an unmarried guy, I get the “when are you going to settle down and get married?” question occasionally, and it definitely CAN be annoying. But I don’t know what I’d gain by calling myself “spousefree” and joining a community of other spousefree people to rant about all the irksome features of a world that’s geared toward couples and families, not singles. Seems to me that spending all one’s time looking for reasons to be pissed off is a pretty sad way to live.

  76. Andrew Hackard:

    “but to say they make you want to jump off a cliff is a pretty strong aversive reaction.”

    I read it as hyperbole, myself.

  77. Hyperbole, yes. I’ve baby-sat many children, including my nieces, and at no point has their crying actually made me venture near any dangerous precipice. And not just because I’m from Kansas.

    “Nutbag” may have been a strong term, but you do have to admit that your dislike for children is on the extreme end of the curve.

    Abnormal, sure, but extreme? I don’t think so….unless, of course, your definition of “extreme” is very different from mine. I have no desire to start abortionsforfun.com, if you’re wondering.

    Seems to me that spending all one’s time looking for reasons to be pissed off is a pretty sad way to live.

    Yes it is, which is why I would never do that. You might as well say that people who get together and complain about anything are spending all of their time looking for reasons to be pissed off. They’re not, are they? They’re commiserating with like-minded people. That makes people feel better, as opposed to being upset about something alone. For some people this is helpful, for others it isn’t. I don’t see why members of the latter group should slam the former.

  78. Patrick M @97: I acknowledge that women are, perhaps, under more societal pressure to have children than are men, but my point remains the same: the decision to have or not have children is one’s own business and no one else’s. People of either gender should feel free to remind busybodies of that fact.

    From the same page in Heinlein’s TEFL:

    “Go to hell!!” or other insult direct is all the answer a snoopy question rates.

  79. Hmm.. I was just trying to be funny, not imply that pressure to have children is more for women.

    Damn, I need to work on my humor more…

  80. OMG, a Smurf reference. I laughed out loud, almost fell out of my chair and now my coworkers are staring.

  81. Gretchen, I’ve clearly read more vehemence into your comments than you intended, and I apologize for misstating your position. Pax?

  82. Wow. I’m glad I read down this far. Gretchen turns out to be pretty damned cool. (If I’d been in her position, I would never ever have come back here…)

  83. Bruce Baugh:

    The childfree community/subculture presents itself to me less as a gathering of adults who live mature lives that happen not to include children, and more as a bunch of folks interested in perpetual adolescence.

    Apparently those who “love children” see what they want to see in the childfree movement. I happen to see people who are trying to broaden the term “families” beyond your use of it, to include families of two; to deal with parents and other relatives who refuse to see them as living worthy lives because they’re CF; to obtain some workplace parity in the face of bosses and co-workers who think that not having children means one has no life; and to combat doctors who refuse to honor a choice not to reproduce.

    And, yes, we’re tired of parents who don’t parent, or who want everything in the world to be G-rated.

    It never fails to amaze me how many people can’t wrap their heads around the concept of a rant community. And those who lurk on childfree boards always seem shocked at the rhetoric, but they never seem equally shocked at how much flak CF people take from others around them just for the simple act of not wanting to follow the herd.

  84. “..people who actively label themselves Childfree, who go to online groups to talk about “Childfree” issues, who probably socialize with people who also self-identify as “Childfree” based solely on that identification? Those are nutbags. Because they have taken a purely personal choice and turned it into a political movement…”

    So do you think the same about people who join online groups and socialize with people based on religion (or atheism), or on gender issues, or on sexual orientation, or on financial or other lifestyle decisions are also ALL nutbags?
    Or is it somehow just less OK for us CF people to do this?
    What is inherently ‘nutbag’ about somehting becoming a movement?

    “There are tons pf people who choose not to have children, for one reason or another, and go on with their lives. It’s nobody’s business, and they keep it that way.”

    There are also people who choose to be atheist and keep it to themselves. It doesn’t mean that the ones who don’t are insane.

  85. “Crying children can be annoying, but to say they make you want to jump off a cliff is a pretty strong aversive reaction.”

    *shrugs* well different people have different adversive ractions to different things I guess. Personally, I have this reaction to LAUGHING babies more than to crying ones. On an airplane, if I had to choose, I would far rather be near the crying baby than the one that is making those ‘laugh shrieks’. The crying I can put up wiht for a while, but the laughter, squeals and shrieks make me feel like someone is stabbing me in the ear with a knitting needle. (I have rather poor hearing, but for some reason I am super-sensitive to shrill and high pitched noises, not to mention the earaches I get on an airplane – the combination of hte two is actually physically painful).

    “And I’m not really sure how children or their interests could prevent you from living a happy life. That statement reminds me of the evangelical conservatives who think that allowing gays to marry somehow tarnishes their own marriages.”

    Well, this could come in a lot of ways. For instance, to name only a couple, there are many poeple who face personal and instituational discrimination at work in favor of ‘families’ (quite often only socially defined in terms of people who have children), there are multiple cases of things like property tax hikes which have financially threatened homeowners.

  86. Um sorry about the double whatever that was – I ganked the link and intro from a message board and seem to have wound up with a bunch of intro soup – is there anyway that first post can be deleted?

  87. Electric bonzai, in the future, please try to aggregate all your responses into a single post; multiple sequential comments from the same person bothers me for some undefinable reason.

  88. mdc @ 108

    >>And, yes, we’re tired of parents who don’t parent, or who want everything in the world to be G-rated.

    Even as a parent of a 4 and 8 year old I have to say I heartily agree.

    >>It never fails to amaze me how many people can’t wrap their heads around the concept of a rant community.

    I think it should be pointed out that this whole thing started because someone decided to leave the rant community and tried to tell someone not of that community how to run their life.

  89. Michael P, even as you step back and attempt to clarify, you are still trying to posit an objective “whole new level” of love that only parents of their own biological can experience. I don’t think I really need to identify as an apdopted child (but I will) to tell you that I’d really prefer you refrain from generalizing your personal experience to a universal. Your corner of the universe is just that, and your anecdotes do not a sample set make.

    It’s really hard to stay civil about this, because your posts–the original and the followup both–have pretty much asserted that my parents love me less than you love your children. And, personal failing though it may be, I take insults to my parents very badly.

    Also, as a voluntarily childless person, I’m also not particularly appreciative of your pity. Condescension is not my favorite breakfast food. It gets stuck in the craw halfway down.

    It doesn’t seem a stretch to assume that I’m not the only one in an adoptive family, or the only childless person, who takes serious objection to your thoughtless generalizations.

  90. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I still stand my my beliefs and experiences, as they are clearly my beliefs and experiences. As this thread has already shown, too much emotion and pigeonholing has distorted this into a “us vs. them” argument. I can only assume that you did not objectivity read my post since I clearly stated that those are my personal beliefs based on my personal experience. I believe that adoptive parents can love their children unconditionally. I believe that biological parents can be worthless.

    I was going to continue to write more I just don’t have the desire to fight over this topic any longer.

  91. I’m at the point where I feel like we should agree to disagree about the whole having children topic. The problem, I feel, is that the difference between a “nut bag” and anyone else who holds on to a very emotionally charged fringe belief is the response to dissenting opinion. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t agree with you, here’s why and offer some thoughts.” It’s quite another to attack and flame a person over the issue. That is not rational discussion and only adds fuel to the argument that they are, in fact, nuttier than a squirrel’s pantry”.

    Patrick: Your right, I am not nearly as lovable as my brothers, I think they are part bunny.

  92. I’m not getting involved, at all, but would like to thank you all for amusing me this lunchtime thanks very much.

    Andy/Rabbit

  93. It never fails to amaze me how many people can’t wrap their heads around the concept of a rant community.

    It never fails to amaze *me* how many people think of the whole wide world as their personal rant community.

  94. you get amazed by that kind of stuff… thats amazing…

    The things that amaze me are things like the view from the top of a mountain and the incredibleness (is that I word, I guess not) of my nieces…

    you might guess that I’m a childless nutbag…

  95. I read some of the childfree rants. My first impression was similar to some posters here – the rants were so vehement that the people came off sounding like nuts. The jokes they made were violently anti-child, or anti-parent.

    But their complaints about careless, indifferent or worthless parents who nevertheless consider themselves superior to people who choose not to have children garnered some sympathy. I’m sure many of the people on that group do feel pressured to have children, and put-upon when they have to deal with the children of others. Hell, I feel put-upon sometimes too.

    And the sound of crying children can make me a little crazy too…. Being a parent is no defense.

  96. Anyone else have the urge to mail a thousand greeting cards with the sounds of laughing babies to Electric Bonzai?

  97. zzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzz I skipped most of this because it bored me….besides, who cares what your self-important but pointless self has to say?You obviously immagine yourself to be witty, clever, amusing…nope, you FAIL , dude. You are overpopulating my planet with more useless resource sucking humans, which is indeed worse than anything Duran Duran has ever done.
    Unlike you, I can make my point in a couple of paragraphs, and unlike you, I have better things to do than bother to spellcheck or reitterate.

  98. If you got as far as the Duran Duran reference, you’ve already exposed yourself as a liar re: skipping most of the entry. But thanks for playing.

  99. Catherine Shaffer, your response to those members of the childfree community who exhort others to adopt rather than have biological children made me laugh. Didn’t you know that people who preach from on high to do “A” rather than “B” rarely do “A” themselves? It’s like an ex-boyfriend of mine who chided me for spending money on my cats when I could have donated it to starving children. I asked him to get back to me when he gave up his marijuana and cigarettes and donated the money he spent on those things to charity.

  100. Just a question: I wonder why parents of only children haven’t set up any rant communities. Perhaps there are some, but I haven’t seen any (if anyone knows of one, please let me know, not that I would want to join it, but I’d be curious to know if they exist). After all, we’re called selfish, denied sterilizations, told we’re going against God’s will, etcetera. So I would just want to know why societal disapproval hasn’t pushed parents of only children by choice to set up boards where they denigrate those who have chosen differently.

  101. Late to the party, but I feel the need to point out to Bensdad00 that “barren” is not nonjudgmental and lacking connotations. It’s gendered and by analogy to barren fields or barren land has a whole host of unfortunate implications. At least, unless the Australian politician mentioned later in the thread is male, I’ve never seen or heard the word applied to a man. The politician’s sex was not specified, but I know there’s women in Australian politics now, and see no reason why that wouldn’t have been the case when the comment was made.

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