You know...when I was about 16 years old, I wanted to be a wildly famous and rich artist or film maker. When I got a little older, I began to learn that the desire to be famous is related to wanting to be "like God" or "close to God" after all...God is famous and known all over the world. The craving to be famous is unresolved spiritual or philosophical peace of mind. By the time I was a single mum and a practicing artist...fame seemed like a curse and a terrible thing to want...
I can wholeheartedly say that I am SO HAPPY I didn't have a film crew or cameras following me around when I was a young single mum and a young club partying dance freaking woman.
When my daughter was a baby I used to take her to Beacon Hill Park, in small town Victoria, B.C. and I would stretch out a blanket and fall asleep while she slept in her stroller. I was absolutey exhausted and was always trying to catch up on sleep. The idea of falling asleep in a public park with my baby beside me is quite ...well...horrifying...isn't it? I would never do it now and I can admit to being very naive and trusting. I just kind of give myself a quick cross when I think of it...I can see the headlines now "Single Mum Sleeps Through Kidnapping". Today it would be as bad or worse than say, Britney Spears holding her kid on her lap while driving around a parking lot.
I can only think of one thing worse than having cameras follow me around and that is...if someone publically asked my parents whether they thought I should have children on a major tv network...about me being be a single mum. I can tell you what they would have said...because they nagged me about it over and over and their opinions will probably never leave my memory.
They were dead against the idea! My father begged me to get an abortion. I can only imagine how awful it would have been to have one's parents on tv talking about this kind of stuff. Yikes!
On todays' Oprah her guest was the father of Nadya Suleman. I found him to be rather sympathetic and in shock about his daughters choices but also a fairly dedicated father...to some degree. He said he didn't want his daughter to have all these kids...but he also said and he seemed to be terribly sincere that he loved all his grandchildren and that their birth and life was God's will. He even believed that his daughtes decisions were part of God's plan. He intends to make as much money as he can till she finishes school and gets employment. He also wonders about her emotional health but says she is an intelligent and good mother.
I found this fascinating. Yes, there were audience members who were very judgmental, one woman called Nadya "reckless"..but two women had the perspective, it's done, now lets show some compassion and help the mother.
Dr. Oz described Nadya's decision as "selfishly delutional". I can't say he is wrong...I feel perhaps Nadya Suleman is a little over enthusiastic heh heh and quite likely..."selfishly delusional".
But no more selfishly delusional than anyone else in the world who drives a car, buys food that isn't organic, eats too much, buys too many clothes or houses, eats wheat, or noodles, or has a lot of animals or abuses substances...etc etc
Isn't the very nature of capitalism and the American Dream a kind of selfish delusion? Eat more for less, get more gas for less, big deals on lots of products...we have restaurants that offer deals on extra starches, Red Lobster, like many U.S. restaurants, would go out of business if it didn't have it's all-you-can-eat slogans. What about shoe stores "buy one get one" and two for one sales.
Is it any wonder an allegedly crazy fertility doctor could take advantage of a citizen who is subjected to this kind of economic doubling and layering philosophy to life? On every level we could take any persons lifestyle in North America and see how conspicuous consumption was appearing to rule the decision making of most of us.
Most people at some level in their lifestyle make decisions that are selfishly delusional. We all know noodles and bread and baked goods are processed foods and make us gain weight...but we still eat them: selfishly delusional. Our excuse: it's cheap and easy to eat these processed foods like bread and noodles...and they are "comfort foods"
We all know that the environment is affected by driving our cars...but we all still drive our cars...selfishly delusional. Our excuse: we are not able to find a way to work or shop without our cars, it's easier than taking public transit etc etc
A few days ago...when I posted this here...I was very surprised at the views towards family planning (or not) and the comments gave me much to think about and offered a wide berth of perspectives. On Oprah today...Dr. Oz said that people are reluctant to help Nadya because they feelthey can't trust her..."Will she take any donations for the children and go get a manicure?"
Meanwhile we do have all these magazines rejoicing how Heidi Klum, and Julia Roberts, and Kate Winslet, and Kate Hudson lost their baby weight. Famous images of Hollywood mums with manicures on the beach,with whole make overs after having a baby. Then...we trash Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears for shaving their heads or gaining weight.
(I am of the camp...that it's good for mothers to take care of themselves, dress clean and have manicures...so I say give Nadya donations to cover BOTH caregiving and clothing and food for the children...and her own hygiene and allowance. Why shouldn't a mother go get a hairstyle and some new yoga pants? It's common sense as far as I can tell...every other mother does!)
When I was a single parent...there were times of prejudice and hurtful comments at parent/teacher meetings...my daughter came home crying once because the kids at school had called her mum a slut. (oh they said way worse sometimes too). I had thought that the hate towards women and especially single mums (on welfare or not) had ben cleared up since Murphy Brown. Remember when Dan Quayle said a derogatory remark about the sit-com? TIME MagazineIF FOR NOTHING ELSE, DAN QUAYLE DESERVES POINTS for audacity. In modern America taking on a popular TV character, even a fictional one, is politically more precarious than taking a clear stand on a substantive campaign issue.
It seems that we still have many ideas and issues to struggle with the more science gives us...the more variables we are not expecting...outcomes that make us think. And it seems that gay parents, single parents, and poor families will continue to be the sitting ducks for attack regarding social taboos and intolerance for some time to come...rather than addressing the issues behind "get more for less" and our own delusional selfishness.
Thank you to L.M. at Digital Media Treefor the following article from The Toronto Globe and Mail
February 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM EST
LOS ANGELES — It seems so long ago now, but for just a day or two last month Nadya Suleman was known as Miracle Mom, the amazing woman who did what had never been done before: gave birth to the longest-surviving set of octuplets.
But in short order the public learned that Miracle Mom was also Single Mom, Unemployed Mom and Welfare Mom. And as fast as you could Twitter “I hate Nadya Suleman,” scores of Web sites were dedicated to denouncing the so-called Octomom, others to making fun of her, a rap music video lampooned her (“pops 'em out like a toaster/needs a pacifier holster”) and angry citizens threatened to kill her publicists.
“In terms of reaction to her, I would say not in my experience have I ever seen anything like it. And I would add that I was involved in public relations for Three Mile Island after the accident,” said publicist Mike Furtney, who quit representing Ms. Suleman after receiving death threats. (Lest anyone forget, the Three Mile Island accident of 1979 involved the partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor that for a time threatened to prompt the evacuation of a wide swath of Pennsylvania.)
Not that Ms. Suleman is the first person to go radioactive overnight. Don't forget O.J. Simpson. But as pop culture historian Leo Braudy points out, Ms. Suleman has never been accused of killing anybody.
“This is not something that is usually considered a crime,” Mr. Braudy, who teaches at University of Southern California, said of giving birth to children. “It's something that in the past was celebrated. People would say congratulations.”
Of the nearly 50 Suleman discussion groups found on Facebook this week, however, not one was headlined “Congratulations, Nadya!”
Instead there were titles like, “Nadya Suleman Should Be Sterilized,” “Nadya Suleman Disgusts Me,” and “Stop Idiot Moms Like Nadya Suleman.” (And those were the printable ones.)
To be fair, there were also a handful of pro-Suleman groups, although the “Leave Nadya Suleman Alone” one had only 61 members on Monday compared with the 3,478 people who had joined the “What Nadya Suleman Did Was Totally Wrong” group.
Although never venerated as a candidate for mother of the year, Ms. Suleman was, for about two days after the Jan. 26 birth of her octuplets, more the subject of curiosity than of ridicule and scorn.
That began to change as it became known she was a single mother with 14 children who was living on a combination of food stamps, student loans and disability claims while her elderly mother, who was caring for Ms. Suleman's six older children, couldn't make her mortgage payments.
It didn't help, either, that Ms. Suleman's own parents have publicly criticized her decision to have so many kids, or that Ms. Suleman bears a striking resemblance (some speculate a plastic-surgery-enhanced one) to that other famous mother, Angelina Jolie, and that she's been said to be looking for book, TV and movie deals.
Elsewhere on the Web, Jodie Rivera, a popular YouTube parody singer known as VenetianPrincess, put up a video of herself looking eerily like Ms. Suleman. As she sang, a doctor in scrubs (also Ms. Rivera) used a baseball glove to catch flying newborns.
“It was all in good fun, to bring a laugh to a situation people are taking very seriously,” said Ms. Rivera.
The site momlogic.com, which provides both lighthearted and serious reports on motherhood, also got into the act, offering eight suggestions for reality shows Ms. Suleman might do. One example: “Fear Factor: Octuplets Edition,” in which contestants are lowered by harness into the Suleman home.
“Whoever can demonstrate the guts and determination to endure one round of octuplet diaper changes wins the grand prize — a lifetime supply of birth control.”
Some people have offered to help Ms. Suleman, including a church pastor, a non-profit and even the man who says he was a sperm donor for her when they were dating in the 1990s. Although Ms. Suleman has denied that Denis Beaudoin is the sperm donor who fathered her children, he told ABC he still stands ready to help.
USC sociologist Julie Albright says Ms. Suleman was caught in a perfect storm of events guaranteed to outrage the public, some of her own making, some not.
“First, we're in particularly sensitive economic times, people are losing their jobs,” Ms. Albright said. “Second is that physical resemblance to Angelina Jolie.”
Whether it's coincidental or not, Ms. Albright said, the resemblance has led many to think Ms. Suleman is a “copycat” trying to elicit the goodwill much of the public feels for actress Ms. Jolie, who with partner Brad Pitt has adopted three of their six children from other nations.
People might normally overlook that as just silly if they weren't already worried about losing their jobs and their homes and if the state of California wasn't broke and facing the prospect of paying more than $1 million in medical bills for Ms. Suleman's babies while the state issues IOUs instead of tax refunds.
“If someone isn't stressed and something happens like their car breaks down, that's just annoying,” Ms. Albright said. “But if their parent has just died and they lost their job and their kid's in jail and then their car breaks down, that risks a nervous breakdown. ... That's what's triggering this angry, emotional response in so many people.”