Because CNN Asked

CNN.com’s lead story at the moment is demanding to know how I would talk to my child about Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy. This is how: I raced down the stairs, confronted my child as she was consuming a bagel dog, and uttered the following words:

“Young’n! That there Jamie Lynn Spears from Zoey 101 done got herself all pregnified!”

To which Athena responded with the following look:

And then went back to having her dinner. Because you know what? She doesn’t care. And you know why? It’s not her business.

Funny that my eight-year-old is so clear on this when CNN, presumably jam-packed with adults, is not.

If you really feel the need to talk to your children about Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy, here’s a simple test: Are you or they a member of Miss Spears’ immediate family? If the answer is no, please talk to your children about something else. Possibly something actually pertaining to them. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that refreshing change. It’s just a thought.

112 thoughts on “Because CNN Asked

  1. And with just 12 days left in 2007 Scalzi comes up with the best Athena pic for the win! My personal take on the situation was acctually a little sad. While I really could care less what JLS does with her personal life, I kinda wished out of the Spears “talent” powerhouse she’d be the one to walk the straight and narrow. Not to say having a kid is a dishonerable action, but when your sister is the Curly Howard of crazy, you sometimes have to wonder.

  2. There were two women discussing this in front of me at the grocery store tonight. One of them said, “I wish my damn kid waited that long.”

  3. And just think by time she’s fifteen the look of derision as it appears now on that face will be “improved” by seven years practice on dad.

  4. I mentioned it to my cats. They answered that they are both male and neutered, and assured me that there would be no problems on that front.

  5. I first had to ask myself who Jamie Lynn Spears was. Then I had to ask my kids if they knew who Jamie Lynn Spears was.

    None of us knew. I think I’d just as soon keep it that way.

    But…bagel dog? Heresy!

  6. I dunno, there’s a delicious irony about her mama’s book on parenting being delayed ‘indefinitely’. Though in Loosiana if both daughters have children by men who aren’t related to them, I believe that makes her a good mother. Glad to see that Christianity is still losing the war against teenage hormones. I think I’ll go put on Frank Zappa’s ‘Catholic Girls’, just to remind me of my own faith’s success in the matter.

  7. Dave Weingart:

    “But…bagel dog? Heresy!”

    It’s worse than you think: It’s a bagel dog with cheese.

  8. Jamie Lynn Spears who?

    Nevermind.

    Can’t talk now, the boy and I are watching the CNN update on Pam Anderson’s divorce, I walking him through it. Then I’ve got to update him on the whole OJ thing. And Britney’s drinking problem (ooooh, that Jamie Lynn Spears), and Paris Hilton’s little dog has a cold. Goddamnit, there just not enough time in the day! Oh woe is me.

  9. I have met Athena Scalzi exactly once.

    John was signing The Book of the Dumb III and brought Krissy and Athena. I was sitting next to Athena who said, “I’m in this book.”

    I said, “You are? But you’re too smart!”

    Smart kid, she pointed at the dedication.

    I, of course, was too busy wondering if then 21-year-old Britney Spears was old enough to drink a beer.

  10. Somehow the notion of a pregnant 16-year-old celebrity fails to press my scandal buttons. Now, if she had been 14, or 12….

  11. I’m less inclined to speak to my non-existent children than I am to speak to my congresscritters about yet another example of a reason to shun abstinence only sex education.

  12. I’d like to point out to anybody who feels like it is their business that a mother who has starred in a TV show is unlikely to need to drop out of high school and work at McDonald’s to support their child.

  13. In the two previous generations of my family, she would have had two kids by now. So, me, I’m going with Nathan’s comment up at #4.

    Personally, I don’t care. I don’t know why I should care. It’s not like she doesn’t have the financial resources to support a child.

    Janiece, it’s like I told you, prime fodder for your next issue of Who Cares???

  14. *sigh*

    Scalzi, it’s all in the timing and delivery. Try it this way: wait until Athena’s eating a scone, then declaim, “I say, blessed progeny, things are as black as Newgate’s knocker. All my eye and Peggy Martin, that darling innocent Jamie Lynn Spears is up the spout, bo-ther.”

    She will freak. the-hell. out.

  15. I blame CNN for this. Not the story specifically, but the general worsening trend of tabloid news in otherwise respectable news sources.

    CNN is burdened with producing 24 hours of news, but its not actually possible to do 24 hours of meaningful news without spending a lot longer than that producing it. What this inevitably leads to is a preponderance of puff pieces, stupid throwaway news meant to fill airtime and do little beyond that. Does anyone really care that Britney is in rehab, or her sister is pregnant? No, but it lets them eat up a couple hours of air time. This same problem leads to the screaming pundit shows, which are even more deplorable because they masquerade as actual news.

    Oh, for a world in which the staff of CNN were magically fired and replaced by the staff of NPR, with the same depth of research and willingness to call in experts and let them speak at length on matters of substance. Unfortunately, I suspect that they would fall victim to the same pressures. It is a problem of format, and not of execution.

  16. Churins watch other non-nickelodean programs. And bitches get prego on all of them. Who really takes the time to think about this crap? I mean, if you really dont want them to know about penis and vagina, I suggest the parental unit take the Santa Claus route..make up a wild fantastic story involving elves and unicorns. Children will believe fuckin’ anything. Anything!

  17. I had never heard of Ms. Spears’ show, so I looked it up on my on-screen TV Guide. Tonight’s episode (I am not making this up): “Zoey’s favorite author is making a local appearance.”

    I wonder if it’s the author of Zoey’s Tale?

  18. Finally, a chance to test my own offspring against the expressive prodigy that is Athena.

    When subjected to the same test I am happy to report that while my eldest is somewhat inhibited, my younger child (7), is fully up to Athena’s fighting weight in the “unbridled scorn” category.

  19. Okay, by reading the comments I figured out this is a very young woman on a tv show who’s having a baby.

    If I had a kid really, really involved with the tv show and asking about what it means that the star is having a baby, I’d say, “Well, that’s a bit young. Don’t think you have to do that young it too.”

    Otherwise what is there to say? Some garbage about how the child should take a moral not to have sex ever? Why? Sex is nice, and having babies is nice, though there’s a lot to be said about not having babies too early or too often.

    Creamy Boris #22: what is added by writing your otherwise sensible comments in a fake black accent, besides perpetuating the misconception that all it takes to sound dumb is to put on a fake black accent, and the other misconception that all it takes to sound black is to mush up some words and use the word “bitches” inappropriately? Or was that supposed to be a “redneck” accent? Either way, it didn’t enhance your comments: it made me
    embarrassed on your behalf.

  20. Well, Hallie my 11 year old just called to see if I could help deliver her bowl of punch for the Christmas party at school tomorrow. The JLS story didn’t get mentioned (yet). My daughter reads the paper right after she finish her paper route. I know I will hear about it after I pick her up from band practice at 3:30 ADT. She will ask me what is a mistake? I will be able to tell her that her or her sister where not mistakes!

  21. I’m not a big tv watcher, but every now and again I just get this urge to flip through the channels. I have no plans to watch anything, I just flip through. When I do I’m surprised to find just how much space and time can be taken up talking about celebrities and whatever their current drama is.

    Presumably it’s done because people want to watch this kinda thing, but I always wonder how people manage to care.

    I’ve got a niece about that age and based on my experience with her I’d translate that as the “I can not be related to this person look”. I get it at least a couple times a visit.

  22. Lars:

    Jamie Lynn Spears is the 16-year-old sister of pop star Britney Spears. She has her own sitcom on Nickelodeon. The father-to-be is 19, which introduces all kinds of fun legal ramifications to this ring of the circus.

    Also fun: the girls’ mother, Lynne, was to have a book on effective parenting published by the Christian book company Thomas Nelson. It has been put on “hold.”

    Now, if anyone can explain to me why American’s continue to give half-a-shit about the UK’s royal family, we’ll be even.

  23. It occurs to me that this is the REAL tragedy of the writer’s strike:

    With The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on hiatus until the producers cave in and realize writers’ royalties are not there to pay for their cocaine-and-hooker habits, we will be forced to watch CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Some of us might even start to consider MSNBC real television. And we can’t have that.

  24. If I asked my daughter about this, should would say “Who is Jamie Lynn Spears?”

    I would say the same. And I would also say “who cares?”. Seriously. Who cares? The apple doesn’t fall far, etc.

    All that matters is that I’m taking the time to talk to my daughter about everything, working with her on homework, etc. So I’ll be confident she can talk to me in the future and start off with a good base of knowledge and ethics from her boring old parents.

  25. Wait, the Spears Family is not the well adjusted, totally together, living in the new century family we all thought they were? I’m shocked. I mean, it’s not like there were any precursers or indications that all might not be swell in the family, none at all.

  26. I can’t think why parents would be running around in a tizzy anyway, if they had already been discussing sex with their kids. My parents told me the basic basics at age four, and as we got older, they explained more and more. While my parents were very much of the mindset that you should wait to get married (they’re Mormon), they didn’t freak out when my little sister ran into the house one day at the tender age of sixteen, stamped her foot, and screamed, “I want sex!” Because they knew she was only venting in frustration. (She went on to not have sex until she married at the ripe old age of 22. Which coincidentally was the same age I had sex at–although I wasn’t married.) Basically we all waited until we felt we were adult enough to handle it.

    Anyways, as Scalzi says, the news is really none of our business. (But seeing as how it leaked its way into my life, my first response was to be kinda bummed for the poor girl.)

  27. Well, I’m pissed because in the responses someone said this:

    “I hope the little baby lives in a happy and loving environment, but as past cases like the little “Baby Grace” story show us, all strikes are against the child when born to teenage parents.”

    I felt like saying: To hell with you. My mom was 17 when she had me, and I have had a great and wonderful life and I am extremely happy. Strikes against me? Bullshit.

    People should really just stick to their own business. I am so sick of the cult of celebrity.

  28. Well, Jon Hansen, I know that I was looking forward to it, in the same way I look forward to all books that give a steadfast example of how not to do things.

  29. Ever the voice of reason in the turbulent world in which we live.

    My attitude was eh!

    My little girl being 8 weeks old and not a big TV watcher doesn’t seem to care about the news. But we keep getting told that we need to have the old sex talk with her as early as possible. I figure 10 weeks is probably about right, I guess I was a little early.

  30. This was exactly my first initial response!

    Of course my second response was “CNN makes money writing this garbage?”

  31. That expression is priceless. It says absolutely everything that could be said scornfully, not only at JLS but also at CNN for being so abominably stupid as to report this as bona fide news.

  32. I got all amped about this for about half an hour. I told my wife and she shrugged her shoulders and gave me a look that said, “Big Whoop! Help me with the groceries.”

    I thought about forbidding the watching of it in the house. I thought about telling the kid about it and having a “discussion.” But I realized I didn’t need to as we’d had the sex talk for the past couple of months or so and she’d realize lil’ Spears had made some severely poor choices.

    Oh, and the bit about her mom writing a parenting book? Priceless. I’ll buy that one along with Saddam’s “Guide to Anger Management.”

  33. I managed to get my hands on a preview of the parenting book by Momma Spears. (No, not Jamie, err or Britney)

    Excerpts are below:

    I have found the most effective parenting is the ‘silent’ kind. We have made our own version of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” here in the Spears household.

    That whole advertisement campaign making parents worry where their children were at 10:00 p.m. was just a fear tactic. I knew exactly where both JLS and BS were. They were having unprotected sex, duh.

    You do what you can to parent your children. Sometimes they just grow up stupid and there is nothing you could have done differently.

    Seriously.

    *****
    *rolls eyes* I could care less about this whole fiasco, although when I did read the story, I’ll tell you the first thing that I didn’t think: “Gee, she’s such a great mom with such beautiful and intelligent children.”

  34. Athena’s expression = priceless!

    “…pregnified”? I am SO glad I wasn’t sipping a beverage at the time I read that…

    Madame Spears’s book would be nowhere near my list of things to read, but I imagine that at this point, it’s equal parts unintentionally comedic and frankly tragic.

  35. Now, if anyone can explain to me why Americans continue to give half-a-shit about the UK’s royal family, we’ll be even.

    They got crowns. And jewels. And velvet robes. And stuff.

    \And the late Princess of Wales was the prettiest thing ever and I sat up in bed with my husband a week after our honeymoon to watch her get married and I may have cried a bit and possibly bought the book\

    ::whistles nonchalantly::

  36. Actually, it looks as though Athena was just a little miffed at having her dinner interrupted more than anything else.

    I first saw this story in The Courier-Journal, and the story began, “Oops doesn’t even begin to describe this one.”

    Maybe I should be surprised, but I’m not. Britney has become the poster child for questionable judgement, and Jamie Lynn has obviously chosen to use her older sister as a role model. I think both of them need to find better role models. Like the Osmonds. Or Miley Cyrus (and dad Billy Ray). Or Danny Bonaduce . . .

  37. lots of young girls look up to Jamie Lynn because of her TV show (zoey 101) so, I understand some parents having issues; although its no need to over react.

  38. CNN and FOX are STARVING for stuff to cover – so they jump on anything that resembles “news” –
    Silly really, considering the thousands of legitimate stories that are out there…
    NCN

  39. I am soo sick of this story, and I feel the same way. There does not need to be stories on every god damn channel. Why do they have a panel of “experts” analyzing every part?

    The worst part is that Spears SOLD the story.

  40. I am 18. I have a 13 year old brother, and a four year old brother. Both of them watch the show ‘Zoey 101’. What are they going to think of “Zoey” getting pregnant??

    Maybe your daughter doesn’t watch the show, but CNN has a story to talk about. How are parents (and siblings) supposed to explain this to younger children? My brother will be in high school next year. My four year old brother learns a lot from television. Maybe he watches too much, but still, what does this teach him?

    soooo, calm down, just because it doesn’t relate to your family. Obviously me and my parents aren’t going to tune in to CNN for all of our answers, as we weren’t even aware of this story, but a lot of families are affected by this. Just like Vanessa Hudgens putting out nude pictures. Its all the same.

  41. I just want to say that I will not run up and point this out to either of my brothers; however, they aren’t cut off from the world, and they know about the situation.

  42. Once upon a time it was bread and circuses, now it is the cult of celebrity. Whatever. Some pawn gets hacked to death for the diversion of all. Sometimes it is ten years on.

    Sigh. Happy Christmas to one and all.

  43. When I mentioned this to my 9 year old daughter, who occassionally watches Zoey 101 (her heart belongs to Hannah Montana) Her reaction?

    “She was smart enough to get on TV. She should have been smart enough to use a condom.”

    Which was a little more insight than I was ready for her to have, actually, thank you very much.

  44. yuck. why were you watching CNN? And why were you not joining your daughter in eating something healthier for dinner? I hate myself for asking those two things, but aren’t they legitimate?

  45. Somehow, I think that reaction is PROBABLY not mainly because she doesn’t care about Miss Spears. Lol.

    I think the reason that everyone at CNN and every other news source seems to think this is such serious business is because while we’re being brought up, the news and television, and sometimes even our parents, teach us that because someone is famous, it IS our business. It’s great that you’re teaching your daughter that celebrities don’t actually rule the world.

  46. I couldn’t agree more. Just because she is a celebrity does not give us the permission to invade their privacy. Her being pregnant is nobody’s business but the immediate family. For once, the news channels should actually *gasp* report real news! Every day they become more and more shallow.

  47. Yes the news should not report it, however if your daughter were 16 and saw Jamie as a role model she might say well…..getting pregnant didn’t stop Zoe 101, gee dad she’s a star plus i like babies….but hey maybe grandparenting is more your style than parneting….

  48. Jared:

    “however if your daughter were 16 and saw Jamie as a role model she might say well…..getting pregnant didn’t stop Zoe 101, gee dad she’s a star plus i like babies”

    The likelihood of my daughter saying something that incredibly stupid, save out of outright sarcasm, is so small as to be barely measurable with modern instruments. But thanks for your concern.

  49. What I want to know is if Ms. Spears Jr. can afford to support and raise a child (that’s a laugh, the kid will be raised by nannies) why couldn’t she afford birth control? Is she stupid? And if big sister Britney’s parenting skills are anything to go by, this kid doesn’t have a chance in hades of having anything remotely close to a normal life. I feel sorry for the kid!!

  50. I giggled when I read this, because a couple of days ago I sent cnn.com an email which said essentially the same thing. (Although I also said that I hoped there weren’t too many parents out there who were waiting for a teen celebrity to get pregnant before talking to their own kids about safe sex.)

  51. Well said…one mentor of mine suggested I imagine myself with a hula hoop around me…everything within the circumference of the hoop was MY business, everything outside the hoop was NOT.

    Good advice.

  52. Use the pregnancy to springboard to another topic. “Miss Spears got pregnant because she had sex. Sex is fun but it absolutely requires the responsibility of an adult. So YOU will only have sex when you are an adult. Which may never happen if you keep eating these damn bagel- dogs.”

  53. It really is not so hard to figure out. CNN uses irrelevant stories to distract viewers from the critical issues that our country faces. You will never hear them tell us about the Zionist ideology that essentially places the interests of Israel above that of the US. A good example is the bogus story of WMD,s that Saddam had, and were creating “an emminent danger to the USA”. They would never tell you that the danger was to Israel, and Israel only. We have sent over 3000 americans to defend Israel. Thats what they should be telling us..but CNN is owned by…well,…..you get the message..

  54. Just goes to show the average 4th grader is smarter than the staff of CNN. And its viewers.

    All hail the Gods of Market Share!

  55. How friggin dare anyone out there make fun of Jamie after all she has been through.
    She lost her aunt, she went through a divorce. She had two friggin kids.
    Her husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now shes going through a custody battle. All you people care about is….. readers and making money off of her.
    SHE’S A HUMAN! What you don’t realize is that Jamie is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about her.
    She hasn’t performed on stage in years. Her song is called “give me more” for a reason because all you people want is MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE.
    LEAVE HER ALONE! You are lucky she even performed for you BASTARDS!
    LEEEAVE BRITTTTNEY ALLLLLONE!…..Please.
    Perez Hilton talked about professionalism and said if Jamie was a professional she would’ve pulled it off no matter what.
    Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publically bash someone who is going through a hard time.
    Leave Jamie Alone Please…. Leave Jamie Spears alone…right now….I mean it.
    Anyone that has a problem with her you deal with me, beacuse she is not well right now.
    leave her alone

  56. Where to start……First of all…….SIR!!….You have restored my faith in humanity. Just when I was convinced there were no parents out there who were intellectually qualified to reproduce…..and yet…..when I read some of the responses from people who have COMPLETELY missed your point…..I’m again saddened. However….I like your kids name…..and I, too, am a huge fan of “Bagle Dogs”. Keep up the good work. We’re all counting on you!!

  57. I loved it. While I spoke to all three of my daughters about sex, drugs, peer pressure, etc, and still do as often as they seem to want to discuss it, our conversation about JLS pregnancy was about 5 seconds. While watching TV, I remarked that she was pregnant.

    They didn’t really seem to care, either, other than my 10 year old who remarked that she thought Jamie was a bit young to be having a baby. That was the end of it.

  58. we would be ok if the rest of america is as smart as your child…
    isn’t anyone else tired of society’s obsession with celebrity and wealth?

  59. If I had a kid, I sure as anything would not tell him or her ANYTHING about celebrities. Because they don’t matter. I love watching them in movies, I’ll even watch an award show or two. But it doesn’t make a bit of difference who they’re dating or what they’re eating, or where they buy their groceries. I’d rather focus on something more important.

  60. ok
    as a 15 year old, who has seen “zoey 101” a few times I promise that no intelligent kid old enough to understand how to get pregnant is going to use Jamie as a role model. I think that abstinence only sex education is the cause of teen pregnancy as it is because it doesn’t teach us how to protect ourselves. CNN shouldn’t be reporting this shit when the Iraq war and other important political events are happening. It’s much more important to have a couple kids not get pregnant then end a war killing thousands?

  61. Personally, I don’t like any news coverage of celebrities. Or politicians for that matter. Ok, the politicians to a point, but not their private lives. Clinton for example, I don’t care if he cheats on his wife, thats his business. Half of America cheats on their significant other with the other half. Britteny spears going bald, not interested. It’s like the south park episode where the boys are trying to get there Okama Game Sphere back from those two different groups. I think the most spoken phrase in that episode was “i don’t care”

  62. Vuntz I had a kendy store
    Bizniss was so bad
    I asked mine vife what to do
    and dis is vat she said:
    Take yourself some Kerosene
    pour it on de floor
    Take a match, give a scratch
    No more kendy store! HEY!

  63. That was hilarious! But personally I agree, not because this girl got herself pregnant do we suddenly need to walk around like all our kids are gonna want to copy cat her. The media coverage of the celebs today is just scary.

    PS that look on ur kid’s face is priceless, reminds me of my younger sister.

  64. Hahaha, thanks for that post. Great picture, great point, and great brief, witty writing style.

    I don’t really understand the fascination with celebrity beyond possibly the fact that they fulfill something that other people want to be doing as well, but don’t have the drive or the sense of self-worth (among probably tons of other reasons) to pursue themselves. Alison Jackson did a great talk at the TED conference a few years ago talking about her pop-culture-based, paparazzi-inspired photography, and how she was ridiculed on one side and complimented on the other, and really the ridicule of misportraying celebrity was the best press she could get (this is off-topic now, sorry about that…but here’s the link: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/210). Glad you took it seriously though, and you posted here to make the point.

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