Trolling the Childfree
Posted on April 22, 2002 Posted by John Scalzi 13 Comments
The chum monkeys of alt.support.childfree are hooting over this Whatever, in which I admit that since becoming a parent, I find e-mail hoaxes about exploding babies less amusing than I used to. Since this particular Whatever has been loitering unnoticed in the archives for a couple of years, I was curious as to how it came to their attention at all. Turns out one of the childfree folks entered the words “exploding babies” into a Google search (this is apparently something you do when you spend a lot of time in alt.support.childfree), and that Whatever is the first thing that pops up in the search list. There’s a Google distinction for you: When you think of exploding babies, think of John Scalzi. Thank you very much.
Anyway, this fellow posted a link to alt.support.childfree, and encouraged people to send me mocking e-mail; of course, I went in and seconded that emotion, since we all know how much I enjoy a good pointless screed in my direction (to get them started, I even called them “smug, self-selecting genetic dead-ends” — I know they love that sort of thing coming from us breeders). Alas, no e-mails of any sort have been forthcoming, although I note that the alt.support.childfree rabble have been happily trashing my reply in their newsgroup (most of their comments concern a mistyped URL). I actually think this is a positive thing; Like the good little monkeys they are, they only fling their crap in their own cage. Everyone loves a well-trained primate.
James Lileks recently commented on the “childfree” types over on his site; he was far too nice to them. Leaving aside the issue of childless people in general, most of whom are perfectly nice folks, the sort of evolutionary cul-de-sacs who vent about the evils of breeding on alt.support.childfree are exactly the sort of people that I want to see smeared with the rhinovirus-infested mucus of an out-of-control three-year-old at the mall. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have the lot of them trapped on a cross-country bus trip surrounded by progeny of Jerry Springer viewers, hyperspastic white trash pupae sustained during their journey with squirtguns, noisy toys and enamel-eroding doses of cola and Butterfinger BBs. I snort in delight at the idea of one of these child-despisers owning a malfunctioning Tivo that only records episodes of Dora the Explorer and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The reason for this is simple: Anyone who hates children and a culture that accommodates them that much should be served up the absolute worst that culture can dish out. Eat it up, pal. You asked for it.
Ironically, I’m not at all unsympathetic at much of what the alt.support.childfree types bitch about. Lots of tots are out of control and probably should be taken down with a tranquilizer gun from time to time; lots of clueless parents take kids to places they should not be, and should be beaten for it. It’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask what sort of flaming moron takes a two-year-old to a 10:15 showing of Panic Room; it’s also perfectly reasonable to expect the parent of a screaming kid at a restaurant to remove the kid until it calms down. These aren’t issues of the child-bearing versus the childfree; it’s a matter of having a clue about what’s minimally appropriate public behavior.
Krissy and I are fortunate that Athena is well-behaved in public more often than not, but we’re also fairly sensitive about how much is too much. We don’t take her places we wouldn’t want to see other people’s kids, and when she does act up (and she does; she’s three), one of us deals with her before she becomes everyone’s problem. It’s what you’re supposed to do, and parents who don’t tend to their children are a legitimate nuisance. If you childless people think you’re hard on stupid parents, you should hear the rest of us parents talk about them.
This, however, does not equate with being at all sympathetic to alt.support.childfree posters, or being sympathetic with the sort of contempt they have for parents and kids in general. Again, let us posit that there is a substantial difference between choosing not to have children, as many people do, and actively hating those who do choose to have children, which is how many alt.support.childfree folks function.
People without children, I have no beef with; three of the best teachers I ever had were childless by choice and each of them was the sort of intensely admirable person whose influence was felt far beyond a mere transfer of genetic information. I don’t think any of them felt they missed anything by not having children of their own, and they were right about that. They were engaged, they were active, and they were loved by friends, students and colleagues. I don’t suspect that most people who choose not to have children resent those who do, and certainly don’t resent the children themselves.
People who are childless and hate those who have children (and the children too), I say unto you: Suck it, pal. You whine like crybaby preschoolers told by the teacher to share your toys. This whole “Oh, poor us, we’re oppressed by the breeders” line is crap; Like you, I was childless once, and for nearly 30 years. I don’t really recall the scrog-poppers going out of their way to oppress me; in fact, I remember more or less getting away with murder. I can’t imagine why you’re not doing the same. Maybe you’re doing it wrong. You must be doing it wrong, since the only other explanation as to why you obsess on how the breeders are screwing you over is that you’re sort of virulently dislikable loser who can’t feel happy unless you think that society is ramming you up the tailpipe. In any event, you’re certainly not superior for not having children. You’re merely increasing the odds that you’ll eventually die alone.
Which is fine. Anyone who can look at an infant and have oh, great, another drain on resources as their consistent foremost thought deserves to die alone. I mean, I don’t find exploding babies very funny any more, but that — well, that’s worth a chuckle or two.
I was doing some research on post-structuralist theory (go figure?) when I came across some “childfree” crap and decided to give it a google.
As you stated in your blog, even as a parent I can see that there is some validity to a miniscule portion of their arguments. Are bratty kids and negligent parents annoying? Sure. Is my neighbor’s barking dog annoying? Sure…but I don’t make it my life’s mission statement.
What I find so disturbing about these people is twofold:
1) They don’t just want to not have children. They HATE children (and defend this position by saying that there is a line between hating and harming…I’d argue that that line is a little too thin to be toyed with) and HATE pretty much anyone who has children (sure, they supposedly distinguish between “breeders” and parents. Yet, when I did a little snooping I didn’t find anyone referring to someone who had a child as anything but a breeder..which would make sense because one site listed anyone who doesn’t agree with her manifesto as a “breeder”). They pretty much blame the children for their own existence and qualify their hate with the assumption that in order to be “good parents” one must be omnipotent and omniscient so that we can predict EVERY move our child makes in order to avoid even a moment of ill behavior.
2) There are so damn many of them – and they are organizing! It makes me shudder to think that one of these jackasses might be stealing precious oxygen from the human race – much less my son. You know how you watch television and you see all those ads for medications waiting to be removed by the FDA in 6 to 8 months and you think about the organizing that it took to get that kind of garbage on television? These shit-monkeys are next.
It is often said (among people who think) that it is rarely a good idea to create a revolution that exists solely to be “against”. It is reactionary. It is defined by that which it struggles against. It begins to become indistinguishable from that which it fights against because the dichotomy is established, a binary opposition grounded and one thing begins to exist only in relation to the other.
Why decide that the mantra of your life should revolve around a class of people you don’t like? Wouldn’t your energy be better spent somewhere else? I mean…seriously…you think spending time internet bashing a four year old and calling a helpless child disgusting names is a NOBLE pursuit?
If you do…I have one word for ya…sterilization. The world doesn’t need more of your gene pool.
If only a few more parents had decided to be childfree…most notably Mr. & Mrs. Hitler, Mr. & Mrs. Stalin and the parents of any shite-wad who is a member of Childfree.
Although I’m childless (currenttly), I love children–apparently, I was one at some point. I like to see cute kids, knowing that after I’m dead there’ll be others to carry the [DNA]code of our species. I’m an unapologetic ‘speciesist.’ It disturbs me to see demented species-traitors fuss over their ‘fur people’ (coprophile canines and crotch-licking cats) whilst ignoring children. IMHO, the lack of a paternal/maternal instinct is the mark of a defective human. God bless your child.
[deleted for being pathetic and lame]
I am childless, maybe considering a child in the future. I do not understand why you have to be so harsh to people who do not have children. What is the big deal?!?! So what, they don’t want kids!! What is it to you? I work in public service, and have to deal with ill behaved kids all the time. I can understand, why childless people may become irritated. But, so do you. When a teenager acts out to you or maybe your community, it upsets you. Childless people just are ordinary people concentrating on their goals, careers, and relationships. GET OVER IT!!!
As noted in the article, I haven’t the slightest problem with people who don’t have children; I used to be one of them myself. I have a problem with hateful psychotics who despise children and wish them ill. A subtle yet telling difference.
Hi John, I just came across these comments when doing a google search. You gave me a much needed chuckle. Have you read this article? http://msnbc.msn.com/id/14136994/
I did a response: http://www.thecowgoddess.com/?p=448
to which I’ve already received letters from the childfree crowd (also my statistics show they’ve amped up their interest in my site. Man, what a bunch of dirtbags…
I’m in agreement with Vanessa. Besides, not ALL childless/childfree people hate children. Many do not have children for various reasons. If you don’t like the opinions of the CF, please respect the ones that do. This is typical of parent vs. non-parent wars.
On the otherhand, I’m just as sick on some people forcing the world to evolve around his/her little baby. I been there with my niece. They expected me to do as much (if not more) to provide for her than them (and they ARE the parents) and they get pissed when I set my limits.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my niece, but, the parents need to stop demanding.
I am in total agreement with Bob. I am childless and am constantly being criticized by both of my sisters that have children. They want me to be more involved with their children. I care about their children but my world does not revolve around them. Can someone explain why people with children expect so much from people that do not have children?
As soon as you explain why you think all people with children behave like your sisters, sure.
I have no children of my own, nor do I want any of my own. I do not hate people for having children, not do I hate kids. I teach. I spend over 10 hours a day with them. I help them grow, I coach, I try to show them the joy in the world.
However, I do not feel that I could function as a mother, and resent the ridicule I get from others who dismiss my views. Just because I do not want children does not give others the right to criticize me for it. I really, honestly, have no maternal feelings. I can take care of babies, play with them, enjoy their company, yet have NO desire whatsoever to go through the process. I don’t have it in me. I spend so much of my time working with them, that I need a break during the evenings to do the adult things I like to do. Many parents get a ‘break’ from their children during the workday (excluding stay at home moms, and I know that parenting is a full time job, you are always thinking about being a parent) – but you aren’t in the proximity, and you spend your time with other adults, having adult conversations. I, however, have to spend my entire day trying to convince 130 teenagers that I’m challenging their minds for a reason and that they’ll thank me later. My break when I go home is my sanctuary. I don’t think I could do that all day and then come home and do it again.
So, don’t dismiss the views of ChildFree. Some of us are perfectly normal people. We just don’t have kids.
“Some of us are perfectly normal people. We just don’t have kids.”
Perfectly sane childfree people are a delight to know and be around, to be sure.
My husband and I have chosen to not have children. Recently I was starting to feel somewhat alone and wondering if perhaps there was something wrong with my lack of “maternal” instincts – whatever they may be (I’m not exactly sure, since I don’t have them). I went to some childfree sites and message boards to try to find some support. I have to admit that I was shocked at some of the views expressed. I don’t hate children or people who have them. Those people are not good embassadors for the childfree. I’m also shocked by statements like the one above “IMHO, the lack of a paternal/maternal instinct is the mark of a defective human”, as I’m pretty sure I’m not any more defective than the average human. The only question I have is why do people (acquaintances, co-workers, even strangers) often try to convince me that I really, really should have kids? They speak as if I must have made the choice to not have children because I am under the impression that it is a wholly unpleasant experience, and that I would change my mind, if I could only understand how wonderful it is. I DO understand that their lives have been profoundly impacted in a positive way by having children. I am capable of understanding that. I spent two years living in Japan, and it was an amazing, life-enriching experience for me, but I realize that it’s not for everyone. I think it would be ridiculous of me to tell others that I don’t think their lives will be complete, unless they drop everything and go live in Japan (or any foreign country) for a couple years. I also wonder if the people who have expressed how much they think I should have kids, have ever reversed the situation in their minds. How would they feel to have someone spend a great amount of energy trying to convince them how much their lives would be better if they had not had children? Now that would just be rude, wouldn’t it?
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