Yep, still angry.

Well.

I was going to take a quick few minutes to update the blog on Friday morning, and then, well, you know what happened. I decided to wait through the weekend, just to see how it went. A few things are coming clear:

** Ginni Thomas was the draft leaker, maybe even without her husband’s knowledge (although probably not). Getting the opinion out weeks earlier pushed Kavanaugh into the majority. As someone said on Twitter, we’ll know it was her when no one else is publicly named (or the name leaks, ha ha) and punished for it.

** Speaking of Boof Kavanaugh, how amusing that his opinion had that air of brushing off his hands and walking away, having left abortion “to the states.” :::imagine another bitter chuckle here::: Not for nothing are the Republicans talking about national anti-abortion legislation. Already.

** Meanwhile, we know who the real victim is. Yes, Rudy Giuliani.

Photo editing mine. But you gotta love New York City, where a guy picking up a few essentials at the ShopRite can get a chance to lay hands on one of the biggest assholes on the planet (at the moment, anyway):

The ex-mayor told ABC the slap felt like “somebody shot me,” and, “Luckily, I”m a 78-year-old who is in pretty good shape.

“If I wasn’t, I would have hit the ground and probably cracked my skull.”

The former federal prosecutor told The Post he felt it was his duty to call the cops — likening the decision to his tough-on-crime policies as mayor.

“I say to myself, ‘You know something? I gotta get this guy arrested,’ ” he said. “I talk about ‘broken windows’ theory all the time. You can’t let the little things go.

Jesus, what a douchebag.

I was listening to some NPR egghead today when my inner feminist rose up and growled. It was the eighteenth mention of “pregnant person” that did it. Look, I know this is the new term of art, that trans men might need abortions someday too, but goddamnit: THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN. Uterus-havers, who may have sex with sperm producers, whether by choice or force, and get pregnant when they don’t want to be. Women, in other words. Sorry, I’m just not in the mood for language policing right now. We’re here arguing about incrementalism, and Republicans incrementaled a constitutional right right out from under us.

Fuck all this shit. Yeah, I’m still pissed. And will be, for a while.

Posted at 8:50 pm in Current events | 43 Comments
 

They planned what?

I see the comments on Tuesday’s hearings are starting to come in on the previous post, so here’s a new one:

OMG these fucking hearings.

For me, the record scratch was when the former chair of the state GOP said this, of the Michigan fake electors:

“He told me that the Michigan Republican electors were planning to meet in the Capitol and hide overnight so that they could fulfill the role of casting their vote per law in the Michigan chambers, and I told him in no uncertain terms that that was insane and inappropriate.”

The He here was a lawyer working with the Trump team. Under state law, they have to cast their votes in the Capitol building itself, and that was their plan. I am happy with the headline I wrote for this brief I banged out about it: Sedition Sleepover: Michigan Fake Electors Considered ‘Hiding In The Capitol Overnight’ To Get Inside

One of these clowns was 81 years old. It would have served this crew right to have him get chest pains in the middle of it all. As it was, they didn’t sleep over and instead walked as a group to the Capitol and asked to be admitted. The state trooper at the door told them they weren’t on the list, and to get lost.

The Freep dug up its old video of that priceless moment. I don’t think I’ve heard the word “constitution” spoken so much in my life.

Later this week I take my training for the next election. I asked to be moved to the absentee counting boards, which I predict will be less action-packed than in 2020, but you never know. We’ll see what they tell us in training.

Beyond Laura Cox’s mic drop on the sleepover, I think the most excruciating part was listening to Trump harangue Raffensberger about Georgia. The depth of this man’s willful ignorance is mind-boggling. Unfortunately, he has so many enablers, reality doesn’t penetrate his thick skull.

I owe thanks to whoever posted the story about Marvella Bayh the other day, which I finally got around to reading yesterday. Marvella was the wife of the late former senator Birch Bayh, a Hoosier Democrat and maybe the very last Hoosier Democrat (although his son, Evan, served as governor and senator himself, but voted like a Republican). Bayh Senior was instrumental in passing Title IX and two count ’em two constitutional amendments. Imagine that: A U.S. Senate that actually passes laws and gets shit done. The mind boggles.

I think Title IX would be a non-starter in today’s climate. I really do.

OK, midweek blog update done. I should talk about the Texas police cowards, but I don’t have the spirit for it right now. You guys, feel free.

Posted at 5:57 pm in Current events | 74 Comments
 

Rich people on film.

I think it was during the first year of the pandemic, all of us spending too much time on our phones and devices, that Fathers Day came along and Kate said, not entirely seriously but maybe not, that she felt bad about her gift, which was something like a home-cooked dinner and time together.

Why, I asked. He’s delighted to spend time with you, and the dinner was lovely.

“Some girl on Instagram wrote a song about her father, recorded it and put it to a slide show of pictures and videos of them together as she was growing up,” she said.

Ladies and gentlemen: Social media.

This morning I had the weekend shift for Deadline Detroit, and I aggregated (summarized, basically) a story based on the Instagram posting of a swimsuit model who became engaged to the Lions’ quarterback. I was struck by how…Instagrammy the whole weekend seemed to be; he popped the question on vacation in Cabo, and arranged to have all her friends flown in (PJ, natch), and they partied and celebrated and took 10 million photos and videos and it all came together in a very photogenic fashion.

I guess because I have worked with photographers my whole career, I always imagine what’s behind the fourth wall. I can understand wanting to memorialize a significant moment, but knowing the way photographers can bark orders, I can’t understand inviting one to a fairly intimate moment. Like this, say:

Honestly, I see this sort of thing everywhere, life not lived so much as lived for some fantasy audience, who will see, admire and envy you on social media. I also know, for public people, that social media is in some sense inescapable, but I hate to see people who can’t afford aspiring to what is, frankly, an unattainable life for nearly all of them.

And of course, the kings of tech not only brought this plague upon us, but now they’re ruining other things, too. Our newspaper carrier gave us a copy of the Wall Street Journal on Friday by mistake. We used to subscribe, years ago, and I remembered the Friday features section as a somewhat amusing catalog of rich people problems, and indulgences. Sometime before 9/11, there was a story on people who book name-brand entertainers for private parties, for example. I always looked for the YOLO quote, which was something like, “Yeah, it cost $100,000 to book Tom Jones, but mom and dad only have a 40th anniversary once.”

Anyway, for some reason the Friday features section was called Mansion, yes really, and the lead story was about the ruination of Malibu. People think Malibu is exclusively rich people, and it is, but it wasn’t always. Seriously:

About three decades ago, Beverly Hills native Andy Stern moved to the nearby beach city of Malibu to raise his young family. He quickly came to know all his neighbors, he said, recalling block parties with children pouring onto the streets to play together.

Now Mr. Stern—a two-time Malibu mayor and Coldwell Banker Realty real-estate agent—said he barely sees his neighbors in the Broad Beach area, because they are rarely there. The families that once lived in the neighborhood have largely been replaced by celebrities and billionaires, such as the Chicago-born real-estate billionaire Sam Zell, Miami Heat President Pat Riley and Torstein Hagen, the Norwegian billionaire founder of Viking Cruises, property records show. Mr. Stern said many of his neighbors own two, three or even four other homes, visiting Malibu only periodically while their houses there sit empty for much of the year.

This was the problem people talked about when I wrote about subsidized housing in Aspen, back in the day, for Bridge.

If it weren’t for the housing program, there wouldn’t be a single bartender, teacher, ski instructor or even doctor who would afford to live there. What’s more, the town would be empty all but a few weeks a year — maybe even two weeks, since that’s when the rich people who own houses there come in for skiing, around the holidays. And now Malibu is the same way? You don’t say. They don’t live there because they live everywhere, and can’t possibly live in a hotel when they’re somewhere. Rich people ruin everything.

Not to bring you down in the waning hours of Fathers Day. It really was a nice weekend, even though I spent a fair amount of it cleaning up construction dust. But there was also strawberries, bike rides, a boxing class and a haircut. A good haircut, too. No pictures, though — I have terrible Helmet Head at the moment.

Let’s go into the week and enjoy it best we can.

Posted at 9:16 pm in Current events, Popculch | 31 Comments
 

Mike F*ing Pence.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, or has read me for 10 minutes, that I hold no great regard for Mike Pence. I will always think of him as a haircut and an empty suit, and remember him primarily as a talk-radio host, because that’s what he was when I lived in Indiana.

He had a late morning spot on WIBC, the big talker in Indianapolis, and occasionally I would hear his show in my car in Fort Wayne, if atmospheric conditions are right and I was on the right side of town. He has described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” but that means nothing — he was at least as far right as Limbaugh, but maybe couched his views in slightly, slightly more polite language.

That he made it to Congress was mainly a matter of name recognition, etc., and to the governorship, ditto. Indiana’s Democrats are thin on the ground, and once Evan Bayh stepped aside, that was pretty much the bench. But still, Pence barely beat — Googling… — John Gregg to win in 2012, and was on his way to defeat in 2016 when he was saved from obscurity by Donald Trump.

I will never, ever forget the images burned into my brain from early in the Trump term, of the shameless bootlicking, led by Pence, at every public appearance. How could we forget that first cabinet meeting? Sickening.

So while I am not inclined to do a 180 after all we’ve learned about the one good thing Pence did in his four years as vice president, I will say this: What a crazy-ass world we live in, when it’s saved by a boot-licking toady like him.

Yes, I just watched the Thursday hearing. Is this not the rancid cherry on the shit sundae, or what?

Eastman emailed Giuliani to ask that he be “on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” after Herschmann warned him to get a criminal lawyer.

If this is the reputation laundry that eventually makes Pence the 2024 nominee, and he is helped into office by Trump worshippers now serving at the state level, why, wouldn’t that be ironic, eh?

It’s 91 degrees outside, what else was I going to do this afternoon? The heat is supposed to ease, somewhat, tomorrow, and even more so on Saturday, which is good-good news, if you ask me.

Then back up into the 90s next week. Ah well, it’s summer in a time of catastrophic climate change. Can’t have everything.

Sorry I’ve been scarce this week. We’re having work done on the house, and it’s…loud. Also disruptive. But I’m still here, reading comments, glad to see all your smiling faces there. Keep it up. And have a great weekend.

Posted at 4:20 pm in Current events | 48 Comments
 

More notes from Crazytown.

Well. That was something.

I’m talking about the J6 hearing, of course. I couldn’t hear every word, because the contractors are finally here — after a 10-month wait, more or less — to do our bathrooms, and today was demo day. But between the jackhammers? Unreal, even though I didn’t learn anything really new. Rudy Giuliani is a drunk. (Everyone knows that.) Every person with two brain cells to rub together in the Trump inner circle knew he lost the election fair and square. (Another thing everyone knows.) Bill Barr’s testimony in particular should do damage, but won’t. The people who most need to know this aren’t paying attention. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

Imagine if you’d been one of the chumps who actually sent money for the “election defense fund.” It would be hard to admit you’d been conned. So you would stick your fingers in your ears and say NAH NAH NAH as loud as you could.

Gannett, which owns the Freep, has decreed that it wants to de-emphasize opinion journalism. Very very bad idea, that, reminiscent of the time a Knight Ridder executive told me he didn’t think people wanted restaurant reviews, but rather news about restaurants. (They want both.) He thought a critic shouldn’t talk about what they thought of the food, because after all, everyone has different taste, but rather what the decor was like, the prices, the parking situation. This would be a terrible mistake, in my opinion, because it would probably reduce the appearance of columns like these, which correctly points out that while we now know virtually no one other than the president believed the Big Lie, all of the surviving Republican candidates for governor of Michigan…do:

Earlier this month, when Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta asked GOP candidates participating in their party’s first gubernatorial debate if they’d “accept the results of the August primary and the election in November as a fair and accurate reflection of the will of the voters,” only one committed to do so.

The rest agreed it’s too early to say whether the candidate who gets the most votes in those elections should be considered the legitimate winner.

…Now, less than two years later, impugning the legitimacy of the electoral process has become the Republican norm. The presumption is that any Democratic victory must be the product of electoral fraud, administrative error, or rigged voting machines.

This heads-I-win-tails-you-cheated mantra belies the confident attitude Michigan Republicans like to project as they approach this year’s mid-term elections. If a GOP comeback is as inevitable as GOP leaders assert, why are they so busy concocting excuses for defeat?

Exactly.

One piece of bloggage today, because I guess I’m working today after all. David Hogg grows up:

Hogg has learned that conservatives are more disciplined and proactive than liberals, and they tend to stay focused on a single goal rather than try to do everything at once. He and his fellow liberal activists too often find themselves reacting to outrages, he says, “timing the market” rather than building new political structures from the ground up. He cites conservative organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Federalist Society, and the Heritage Foundation. “Liberals are organized the way that a bunch of six-year olds doing a group project together with a bunch of crayons are,” he says. “Conservatives are organized like SEAL Team Six.”

Hogg now thinks that curbing gun violence is going to require a multi-year, three-pronged strategy: focusing on state-level activism; expanding the movement to include responsible gun owners and moderate Republicans; and changing the culture around gun ownership in the United States.

‘fraid so, kiddo. Good luck anyway.

Also, on edit: Wow, Yellowstone.

Posted at 2:28 pm in Current events | 42 Comments
 

Another crazy week.

Well, that was something, last night, wasn’t it? Unfortunately, when I look through my various news feeds and contacts, looking for evidence that even one MAGAt watched, I get crickets. There was a brief shower last night, followed by a double rainbow, and I see copious evidence that everyone ran outside to get a picture, but pay attention to Liz Cheney? Not much.

I didn’t see the whole thing in real time (Kate had a gig, a repro-rights fundraiser.) But I listened to as much of it as I could on the radio and reconstructed the parts I missed afterward. My favorite moment was Ivanka’s hostage video, which apparently put her back on a first-name-last-name basis with dear ol’ dad:

Yesterday was wild all around. One of the remaining five GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in the race was arrested on J6 charges. I’m confident this will put him way out in front of the field.

Whattaguy:

Earlier this year, he appeared at a meet-the-candidates forum, and told the crowd that they should pay attention to what’s going on in their polling place, and if they see something they don’t like, to just march over to the tabulator and yank the cord out of the wall. As the person who ran the tabulator the last couple elections, I would add: Don’t do that.

It seems there is plenty to talk about, and I have a podcast taping to prep for. (This prep involves taking a shower.) Carry on. And have a great weekend. Here’s a picture of a hummingbird perched in one of our backyard trees to get you feeling weekend-y.

Posted at 9:13 am in Current events | 50 Comments
 

John v. Amber.

I paid zero, and I do mean zero attention to the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. I don’t have cable, for one, and while I understand that the trial was live-streamed over the internet, I refused to engage. Depp is one of those celebrities who, if I saw them in an airport, I wouldn’t think of engaging with; I mean, I’ve seen him here and there in this and that, but I’m too old to think about him as a lust object, and I can’t think of a single question I might want him to answer.

As for his ex-wife, I wouldn’t even recognize her as famous. Pretty and blonde, because so many actresses are, but otherwise, a tabula rasa.

As such, I welcomed the chance to ignore, completely, a news event and not feel guilty about it.

I’m starting to gather this was a mistake.

I should have known when I started seeing #JusticeforJohnny trending among a few MAGA accounts I keep tabs on. I should have known when, late in the trial, the role of certain so-called Influencers began getting MSM coverage. I should have known when I finally did pay attention, and learned this was a defamation trial, based on an op-ed Heard wrote that didn’t even mention Depp. I should have known.

Then the verdict came in, and well, now I know. Anything TikTok plays a leading role in should be assumed moronic and toxic on its face. These damage awards are fucking insane, like the time a Columbus jury found one pornographer defamed another pornographer and awarded him $40 million.

It was later knocked down to $4 million, and Bob Guccione’s plans to use the settlement money to build an Atlantic City casino were stopped at the steel-girder stage. I’m sure someone else took over the project, which was notable also for the fact it was constructed around a single residential house, the proverbial stubborn homeowner who wouldn’t sell for any reason. Googling…and someone did take over the project. None other than Donald Trump. Speaking of pornography.

I hope Amber gets her award knocked down on appeal.

Sorry I’ve been scarce of late. No time, no ideas, rather stare at the horizon and wait for some Eastern religion-type enlightenment wash over me.

So here’s this, for Monday.

Posted at 1:56 pm in Current events, Popculch | 27 Comments
 

Faithless.

A year or so before I signed on in Fort Wayne, the News-Sentinel ran a long investigation of a religious group called the Faith Assembly. They were a cult, I guess, with one charismatic leader, Hobart Freeman. They were at their peak in the early/mid-’80s.

Their weird kink was, they rejected medicine. All of it, from an aspirin to insulin, and even eyeglasses. It was all evil. Just pray harder! they believed, and if someone died, it was God’s will.

And they did die, a lot of them, something like 52 preventable deaths among the congregation. The diabetics went first, of course, followed by the heart patients. Indiana authorities decided hey, you can believe whatever you want, folks, enjoy the other side. Unfortunately, adherents applied these beliefs to young children, and they died, too, often of very painful illnesses like meningitis or pneumonia. That’s when the prosecutors said Enough, and began taking parents to court and charging them with negligent homicide. The trials had started by the time I joined the paper, and it seemed a week didn’t go by without a photo on Page One of crying white parents hugging one another in court one last time before being taken away to separate prisons.

After a while, Freeman died, of a preventable illness if I recall correctly. Ah, yes, here it is, and thanks Wikipedia: “Freeman died at his Shoe Lake home of bronchial pneumonia and congestive heart failure complicated by an ulcerated gangrenous leg, which in the weeks preceding had forced him to preach sitting down. He had refused all medical help, even to the removal of the bandages so his leg could be cleaned.” He was 64.

Gross. Imagine what that guy smelled like at the end.

I’d read that story before I joined the paper, months before. In a weird twist, I was working night cops on a Friday and making the rounds of the police station, which was still wide open for the most part. I walked into the juvenile division to check the reports and overheard a detective talking to a judge on the phone. They’d received a call from a woman who had just given birth at home to twins, prematurely. One was dead and the other struggling, and she wanted to know if it was legal to bury the dead one in a shoebox in the back yard. The police wanted an emergency order to take the other one to a hospital. The couple was in an Ohio offshoot of the Faith Assembly, with a different leader, but the same beliefs.

Anyway, I was reading the New York Times magazine story about the anti-vaccination movement, which has snowballed since Covid. It did not make me feel better:

Although it is convenient to refer to anti-vaccine efforts as a “movement,” there really is no single movement. Rather, disparate interests are converging on a single issue. Many reject the “anti-vaccine” label altogether, claiming instead to be “pro-vaccine choice,” “pro-safe vaccine” or “vaccine skeptical.” For some, there may be a way to make money by pushing the notion that vaccines are dangerous. For politicians and commentators, the “tyranny” of vaccine mandates can offer a political rallying cry. For states like Russia, which has disseminated both pro- and anti-vaccine messages on social media in other countries, vaccines are another target for informational warfare. For conspiracy-minded private citizens, vaccine misinformation can be a way to make sense of the world, even if the explanations they arrive at are often nightmarish and bizarre.

There was a long section on Robert F. Kennedy Jr., of course:

Kennedy’s current position has moved away from scientific claims toward an even more unsettling assertion. Vaccine mandates and government efforts to manage the pandemic, he argues, are a form of totalitarian oppression. “We have witnessed over the past 20 months,” he said in a recent speech, “a coup d’état against democracy and the demolition, the controlled demolition, of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

…“What we’re seeing today is what I call turnkey totalitarianism,” he told his audience. “They are putting into place all these technological mechanisms for control that we’ve never seen before.” He continued: “Even in Hitler’s Germany you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.” But no longer, he suggested: “The mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so that none of us can run and none of us can hide.”

And the movement’s skill with manipulating social-media platforms:

California-based anti-vaccine groups had long used the hashtag #cdcwhistleblower on Twitter, a reference to the spurious claims of C.D.C. malfeasance that would be central to Wakefield’s conspiratorial documentary “Vaxxed.” But the hashtag only occasionally traveled beyond the confines of the anti-vaccine crowd. So different hashtags with broader appeal — #TCOT (top conservatives on Twitter), #2A (Second Amendment) and even #blm (Black Lives Matter) — were included in tweets. The tactic paid off. According to an analysis by DiResta and Gilad Lotan, a data scientist, there had not been much overlap between what they call “Tea Party conservative” and “antivax” Twitter before 2015. But around this time, a new space emerged between the two realms, a domain they labeled “vaccine choice” Twitter. Its participants were obsessed with the ideas of freedom and government overreach.

These online groups, quite small in number, proved to be very adept at leveraging the viral potential of social media to make themselves seem large. Although surveys have repeatedly indicated that the great majority of parents support vaccination, these activists fostered, DiResta says, “a perception among the public that everyone was opposed to this policy.” To her dismay, some California Republican politicians adopted this new rhetoric of “parental choice,” despite the fact that SB277 had several Republican co-sponsors. They seemed to have sensed a wedge issue, she says, “an opportunity to differentiate themselves from Democrats,” who held a majority in the Legislature. “It was pure cynicism.” Many of their own children were vaccinated, she points out. But the rhetoric galvanized people in a way that previous anti-vaccine messaging hadn’t.

And I thought: We’re there, aren’t we? The Faith Assembly is no longer a lunatic church in Nowhere, Indiana. It’s everywhere. From Hobart Freeman’s gangrenous leg a thousand poison blossoms bloomed, and wave among us. I think of this bag of meat lying in intensive care for seven weeks before dying, and am awed by the patience of those who had to care for her. As I write this, four candidates for governor are on Mackinac Island, preparing for a “debate.” All oppose vaccine mandates of any kind (but all support making abortion illegal, in all cases).

It’s stuff like this that makes me want to just give up on this stupid fucking country. Instead, I intend to meet a couple of friends for dinner tonight, and de-stress a little. It’s almost Friday. And I don’t belong to the Faith Assembly.

Have a great weekend, all. Keep your sunny side up.

Posted at 4:10 pm in Current events | 48 Comments
 

Child abuse.

I was reading the story Alex posted earlier, about the Indiana pastor who confessed “adultery” to his flock, and was rewarded with a standing ovation, until another member of the flock took the mic:

The woman, now in her 40s, also added an important detail.

“I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do,” she told her longtime pastor, describing herself as “a victim.”

The dateline for this story is Warsaw. It rang a bell, and a moment or two of recollection, and it came back: Hephzibah House, a “Christian” “reform school” for girls that would occasionally attract attention from media, but, astonishingly, managed to stay open until just two years ago.

One of my colleagues did a piece on Hephzibah House, on the abuse that happened there – the corporal punishment, mostly, but also the “modest” clothing, the nutritional– I don’t know what to call it, but I recall some of the girls were given only some weird drink in lieu of food, as punishment. It had zero impact. Read the story linked above, and you can see they skated through many state inspections, even though they basically held young women prisoner for months or years at a time, while they beat the “worldliness” out of them. And they lasted until 2020. Apparently it was an episode of “Dr. Phil” that finally did them in. (Laugh, serious journalists, at your vast influence.)

Anyway, who is surprised that a preacher in the…what was it? Oh yes, that a man of the cloth in the New Life Christian Church & World Outreach would rape a teenager on the floor of his office? No one should be.

Note the comments on that story, too: I too am a survivor of this shit-hole. It was to be a 14 month program but at the end of my 14 month pastor Ron told my parents I was still to worldly to go home. I was kept there for 4 years. This place was ran by Christian slave owners who whores their own daughters out to the other pastors sons.

So that put me in a sour mood to confront the late-afternoon horror of another school shooting. Jesus Christ, fourteen eighteen nineteen kids. I just can’t, anymore.

Posted at 7:13 pm in Current events | 98 Comments
 

Travel is very broadening, part 2.

Best story from Kate’s Euro tour: The government-owned venues they played had the best food, and some even had chefs who would come in and make the artists a four-course meal before they went on. Also, they did a quickly arranged two-song pop-up at a sunglass boutique in Paris and all came away with a new pair of shades as payment. Also, Jean-Baptiste, their tour manager, knew all the best places to eat and even a secret swimming hole outside of Marseille.

They had a great time. Transformational, even.

So. The U.S. is having a baby-formula shortage. As usual, it’s complicated — a plant closed blah blah and supply-chain issues blah blah, you know the drill. Normally this is the sort of problem I’d pay polite but disinterested attention to. I want babies to be fed, but there are no babies in my current immediate orbit, so I don’t feel the urgency. I certainly don’t want any to be malnourished or die.

But it’s been kind of horrifying, given the other big event surrounding women’s bodies in recent days, to hear how many men are utterly. Clueless. About breastfeeding.

Not all of them. Those whose wives breast-fed generally get it. But a disturbing number of men have taken to social media to say, “Hey, just breast-feed!”

And this was one of the better ones. There were others that were far, far worse.

I breast-fed. It was a rough start, but we worked it out. And I kept it up. Kate weaned herself the week of her first birthday, and that was that. I didn’t realize at the time how rare that was, what a luxury it was, but let me tell you, I had a LOT of support. A long maternity leave, a breast pump, a lactation room at work, flexible hours. That’s almost unheard-of. Just having a job makes it insanely difficult for a working mother, unless you can take your kid to work, and hardly anyone can do that. Plus it requires good nutrition and, mostly, time. Newborns eat more or less constantly, which means you spend half your life sitting in a chair, nursing. Then they get a little older, and you spend a third of your time there. Then they get older still, and new complications ensue. All of which can derail something like breastfeeding.

What every parent should learn from parenthood is that no one has the perfect answer. Whatever works for you may not work for the family next door. And I remember one member of my nursing mothers’ group, who cried because she simply couldn’t make enough milk and her child was medically diagnosed as malnourished. An affluent, educated woman. She was crushed. So if you think “just breast-feed” is the answer, and you don’t support things like long paid parental leave to accommodate, take a long walk in a different direction.

God, this stupid country.

OK, then! On that cheery note, have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 9:55 pm in Current events | 38 Comments