Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Newsweek Deems Dads As Interesting As the Jeff Gannon Story

Listening to: PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love

There's no doubt in my mind that Judith Warner's "Mommy Madness" cover story from the latest issue of Newsweek is linked on the Poopy Diaper Corner of Blogotopia like Magen David on mamaleh's charm bracelet, pro, con, and my-god-I-don't-have-time-to-read-this. Then there's me, loathe to follow the Madding Crowd (Be the Obscure) but compelled to because, well, being hoisted by my own petard is my mid-winter ritual. The moms who read the article may be screaming for my blood after they read this review.

In my own defense (having a distinct affection for my few pints of blood), my purpose here is slamming the article and not moms. So chill, ladies, you'll probably agree with me that although Warner raises a few good points in the article, she keeps the focus limited to moms.

Thing is, if you check my resume, I think all the qualities of "mom" are included in the "skills and abilities" section. Except, according to the Newsweek article, I'm a Barbie Mom - anatomically incorrect. Stale if-I-had-THAT-I'd-never-leave-the-house cracks aside, the article had me feeling isolated. Many of the issues that Ms. Warner identified rang true to me: lack of decent childcare in this country, corporate apathy to the plight of parents, economic stressors, and yep, the thud you hear is my head pounding the wall. However, most of the article had me feeling like Marvin the Martian peeping through his humongous telescope, "They're so naughty and so complex. I could pinch them."

Indeed, Dads were barely mentioned and if they were, they were summarily dismissed as stone-age stereotypes oblivious to the weight of wifey's cape and codpiece. If there are SAHDs (much less, like myself, SSAHDs) dealing with the complexities of modern parenthood, they slipped well beneath Warner's radar. Tell me if I missed a dads-as-moms mention (between the bazillion calls for juicy boxes and the mountain of dirty laundry, my attention-span is shot) but the article might as well have been a piece from the Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell cover and ads for the Edsel included. According to Ms. Warner, it's women brining up baby while dad naps on the couch, calls for a beer, and complains about Y.A. Tittle not starting often enough for the Giants.

However, not all my issues were gender oriented. Ms. Warner's examples of stressed-out Super-Mom wannabe's might as well have been characters from an Ayn Rand novel (had Ayn a heart instead of a hunk of kryptonite). An anchorwoman. A Dartmouth grad. A writer for a major weekly magazine. A Ph.D. candidate. If any of those women were at the park this past Monday, they weren't sitting at my bench. If the article was meant to appeal to heartland America, the author forgot that Wal-Mart isn't just a name on a to-boycott list.

Are these girpes minor? I don't think so, considering that the article should have shed a little light on the travails of PARENTING in modern society, ability to lactate or not besides the point. Was the article a waste of time? Unless you're looking for an excuse to hang from a cross and gripe about your sagging boobs, oh yes, the article's birdcage bound. Considering that my life doesn't suck and it's a helluva lot harder than the women quoted in the article, it's hard to sympathize with congenital whiners. Considering I'm a dad and a mom and my type was not deemed worthy of two words in the article, it was nothing short of an insult.

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UPDATE: Warner's article gets bashed so more on elfling's diary at DKos but with more of a left stab, of course.

AND HERE: M.A.D. Woman also slams the article, nicely (see comments).

AND HERE: Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life says, "Kwitcherbitchin'!"

AND HERE: Wendy at createahome also has problems with the yuppiefied pissing and moaning.

I went onto to the online discussion (transcript HERE) and was completely ignored. Apparently, unless you were kissing her ass or asking her for a good cookie recipe, Judith Warner didn't want to hear from you. Let's hope shilling and shameless self-aggrandizement is not a quality she's passing onto her brood.

7 comments:

Chip said...

Excellent review! Thanks. When I started to read the original article I started getting that stressed out and pissed off feeling, and I wasn't in the mood for it. But you've satisfied my curiousity and expended all the energy, so I get to enjoy the bile vicariously. Thanks!

greenfeather1 said...

Hey, I read that article too, and I wrote a blog at madwoman1.blogspot.com . Actually I agree w/ you that the professional women they profiled were very un-typical of the average desperate wage-earner, and frankly who can feel sorry for people who have Great Careers!! Nyaa Nya. Believe it or not, my hubby & I raised our kids on one & 1/2 very modest incomes. Secret: we bought everything at yard sales & lived in an OLD house. And it was worth it! I was home for my kids' early childhood, and today I brag that I have the greatest kids ever!!!

greenfeather1 said...

Hey, I read that article too, and I wrote a blog at madwoman1.blogspot.com . Actually I agree w/ you that the professional women they profiled were very un-typical of the average desperate wage-earner, and frankly who can feel sorry for people who have Great Careers!! Nyaa Nya. Believe it or not, my hubby & I raised our kids on one & 1/2 very modest incomes. Secret: we bought everything at yard sales & lived in an OLD house. And it was worth it! I was home for my kids' early childhood, and today I brag that I have the greatest kids ever!!!

barbara curtis said...

We're coming at it from different angles, but I found that to be one of the most irritating articles I've ever read. See my blogjob at http://megamommy.typepad.com/mommylife/

barbara curtis said...

We're coming at it from different angles, but I found that to be one of the most irritating articles I've ever read. See my blogjob at http://megamommy.typepad.com/mommylife/

weniki93 said...

Jim,I am a mom, and am in total agreement with you!! I've been blogging my irritation about this article for two days and I am not done yet. So relax, I have no intention to draw blood, at least not yours.

Boots the Tabby cat said...

Reading the article I kept wondering who these women where? Here was my take on the article.


http://spaces.msn.com/members/bootsontheground/Blog/cns!1pCekyAyWgxo3cTV4mul_oKg!105.entry