I normally consider it to be beneath me to have an opinion on a matter pertaining to celebrity gossip, but the story of Olivia Wilde’s hissy fit regarding pregnant women on the train is worth exploring.
Wilde tweeted that people who don’t give up their seats on the train to pregnant women are “selfish.” When it comes out of the mouths of breeders, the word “selfish” (like the false charge of racism in other contexts) is used to shut down all debate and critical thought when one is losing an argument. “Selfish” is a favorite word among breeders, as in, “People who don’t have kids are selfish.” This is their way of turning their misery into something heroic. They regret their decision to have kids, but now that they do have a child (or more than one child, because the best way to justify a poor decision is to make that bad decision a second time) they feel heroic for enduring it. After a while, after reality puts up a good fight, the only way to hold onto this delusion of heroism is to cast a villain. After all, if what you’re doing is “heroic,” but all it feels like is a major pain in the ass, then something must be wrong, correct? And instead of blaming their “darling little children” as the cause of their misery (which isn’t the children’s fault but is nonetheless accurate), they blame those who are childfree. It doesn’t matter to them that those who are childfree bear no responsibility for their bad decisions; every hero needs a villain as a counterpart, so those who are smart enough to enjoy life without having to deal with a screeching crotch banshee are “selfish.” By the way, parents don’t do this. Parents don’t refer to the childfree as “selfish.” Breeders do. Parents don’t feel that their five-year-olds have a right to get into any and every restaurant, and then misbehave while they’re there, annoying other diners. That’s what breeders do. Parents demand to know from their children why their report card is so bad. Breeders demand to know from their children’s teachers why their child’s report card is so bad. Parents don’t expect special treatment. Breeders do. In short, parents are happy with their decision to have children, and they act accordingly. Breeders aren’t happy with their decisions, so they become “heroic” and the childfree are “selfish.” If you have kids, whose side are you on?
I think we can surmise whose side Olivia Wilde is on.
I know whose side George Clooney is on. He’s on the side of the victims of genocide in the South Sudan. Just last week, the organization that he co-founded, The Sentry, published a two-year investigation following the finances of South Sudan’s corrupt leaders.
I know whose side Leonardo DiCaprio is on. He’s on the side of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. They’re the ones who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, along with DiCaprio.
Matt Damon helps to provide clean drinking water to those who don’t have it.
My ex-wife Jessica Alba has done print ads for Declare Yourself, which promotes voter registration, and she has also worked with Habitat For Humanity.
Sean Penn continues to help Haiti after their 2010 earthquake.
Olivia Wilde…wants a seat on the train.
It’s nice to see that she’s using her celebrity status for such a worthy cause.
It sounds a little selfish to me.
It’s a cheap tactic to compare those who don’t give up their seats for pregnant women to those who don’t give it up for the elderly and disabled. Pregnancy is not a disability. It’s just a really bad choice. And yes, it’s a selfish one too. You’re bringing children onto a planet that is rapidly dying, all so that you can pass down your love of the New York Yankees (or whatever other bullshit you’re into) to the next generation. What are the physical symptoms of pregnancy that entitle a woman to a seat on the train? Sore feet? A stiff back? Fatigue? I have all of these symptoms during my commute. I have these symptoms because I spend my days working. I know that stay at home moms think they’re heroic for doing “the world’s toughest job,” but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to real work. Speaking of real work, there are women all over the world who work in rice fields while they’re seven months pregnant. Then they give birth and repeat the cycle, all without complaining. But Olivia Wilde, a multi-millionaire who is only riding the subway to convince herself that she’s a “real New Yorker” (and taking up even more space on an already packed train) can’t bare to stand while commuting from West 4th Street to 14th Street. If pregnancy is a disability, take care of that disability and have an abortion.
If Wilde wants to pretend that this isn’t about entitlement, but simply about a lack of consideration on the train, then why doesn’t she complain about about all of the other ways in which riders are inconsiderate? Why doesn’t she complain about how, when two people are traveling together and can easily sit next to each other and have a quiet conversation, they choose instead to sit across from each other and practically shout? Why doesn’t she complain about those who listen to their music without headphones? Or those who play games on their cell phones without turning off the volume? Everyone on the train, male or female, pregnant or non-pregnant, is in some way effected by these types of passengers, but Wilde only mentions an issue involving pregnant women because she’s pregnant.
That sounds kind of selfish to me.
Those who attempt to push forward the casuistry of “common courtesy” need to explain to me why, all across America, there are now designated parking spaces for heroes, er, pregnant women. I don’t drive, but if I did, I find it hysterical if these “heroes” think that I wouldn’t park in “their” spot. If this issue isn’t about entitlement, then why did a hero write this on a parking ticket?
This isn’t about entitlement? Tim Lott recently wrote an article in The Guardian titled Today’s Worship Of Children Borders On The Perverse. In it, he writes about how people are now commonly giving up their seats on the train to children (and not toddlers either; he wrote about how he and his wife witnessed someone giving up their seat to a seven-year-old). He writes, “Once upon a time, it was normal practice for children to give up their seats for adults.”
If this isn’t about entitlement, then can you explain why, just last month, fifty women got together in a tapas restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida with their babies in tow, and then attempted to go to a 7:45PM screening of the film Bad Moms (an R rated film), with their babies? They weren’t allowed entry, and one breeder told reporters, “No one had communicated that children under 6 were not allowed in R rated movies. We had breast-feeding moms with infants, one four weeks and one seven months, and they refused them entry.” Breeder Julianna Valverde told reporters (without shame, apparently) that when the manager asked them to leave, she began to cry. This begs the question: where the hell is Aurora, Colorado shooter James Holmes when we need him the most?
It’s not about entitlement? Union Hall is a bar located in Park Slope, Brooklyn. A bunch of breeders started to show up there very week, with their babies. The owner had enough common sense to know that one place that children definitely don’t belong in is a bar. And this particular bar has a steep staircase. Of course, as the “heroes” gathered for their cocktails, they would completely ignore their little fuck trophies, so the owner, who apparently cares much more about the children’s safety than their own “parents” do, instituted a child ban. Well, the breeders went berserk. After threatening to boycott the bar and taking to the internet, the owner actually relented and lifted the child ban. When he first instituted the ban (and I had a feeling that he would eventually tergiversate) the website nyeater.com reported on this story, and opened the article with the words, “In what can only be considered a bold move…” Let that sink in for a moment. We live in a culture where it is now considered a “bold move” for a bar owner to ban children from his bar, all because he might piss off some worthless, unemployed mommy blogger?
Not long after that, a Brooklyn newspaper had a story about how Park Slope breeders were upset because, when they took their toddlers to Prospect Park, some of the older kids had left broken balloons on the ground after having water balloon fights. The breeders were upset because their babies were putting the balloons in their mouths while they were busy talking to their fellow breeders. Not wanting to be burdened with the tedious task of having to actually watch their children (that’s the job of bartenders, apparently) the breeders demanded that the city put up signs ordering people to throw away their broken balloons. The article included a picture of a breeder with a look of disgust on her face as she held up a broken balloon as if it were a used condom (which is something that her husband should have used instead of impregnating her). The photo’s caption mentioned that she was upset because her daughter Calliope–she actually named it Calliope–almost choked on it. I’ll say it again. Watch your fucking kids. It’s not the duty of the city or the Parks Department to post a sign. Watch your kids, no matter how unpleasant that may be. There is a very strange dichotomy among modern breeders in which they teach their kids that they are the center of everyone’s universe–except for theirs. Their “thinking” goes something like this: “YOU KIDS ARE SPECIAL, GOD DAMN IT, AND I WILL FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL TO GET YOU INTO A BAR! AND ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT YOU DON’T BELONG THERE IS SELFISH! But while we’re in that bar, don’t bother me. Mommy is drinking with her friends. AND I WILL TAKE YOU TO THE PARK, AND IF ANYBODY LEAVES A BROKEN BALLOON ON THE GROUND, YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT ME AND MY FELLOW MOMMY BLOGGERS WILL FORCE THE CITY TO PUT UP A SIGN! But don’t bother me if you’re actually choking on one of the balloons. Mommy is busy talking to her friends.” I’m baffled as to how these kid’s psychiatrists are going to deal with those issues twenty years from now. By the way, I don’t know if the Parks Department obeyed the mommy blogger’s ridiculous ukase, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they did.
Understand though that it’s not just “mothers” who behave this way. The unfunny hack writer A.J.Jacobs once wrote an article in Esquire magazine about ways in which he can be a better father to his three young boys. In a casual, “aw shucks” kind of tone, he mentioned that he needed to be “restrained” when a performer stopped juggling in front of his kids at a street fair in order to answer his cell phone. I read that sentence a few times to make sure that Jacobs was implying that he was verbally restrained. Nope. He needed to actually be physically restrained because a street performer had the “audacity” to briefly stop performing in front of his kids. This was not in his home. Jacobs was not paying this man to perform. If he had been performing in Jacobs’s home, there would still be no excuse for violence. This was on the street, where many children other than Jacobs’s children, were watching. But Jacobs, who has written extensively in the past about how he’s a “wimp,” and how he’s anything but the high-testosterone, easily angered, quick-to-resort-to-violence type, needed to be restrained from attacking a juggler who had the nerve to stop juggling in front of his kids. The only thing worse than this story was the manner in which he told it, which was like,”Yes, I know I should probably work on that, but it’s completely normal, right?” No. It’s not. Or maybe it is. But it shouldn’t be. It’s worth noting that this occurred in Park Slope.
That’s not to say that self-entitled breeders only live in Park Slope. My wife and I were walking through Carroll Gardens one day when we came across a brother and sister with a lemonade stand. We carried on with our conversation and ignored the little crotch droplets, who obnoxiously kept repeating, “Lemonade! Lemonade! Lemonade! Lemonade!” I saw their sign. And their lemonade. They didn’t need to keep on shouting, “Lemonade.” Since their “father” was standing right there, I expected him–silly me–to tell them that. That’s not what happened. Instead, what happened was the breeder shook his head in disgust and said, “Unbelievable.” I didn’t hear him say that because I was talking to my wife at the time. She was smart enough to not tell me that he said that until we were a few blocks away. That was a smart move, because if I had heard him say that, I would’ve set him, the lemonade stand, and their three million dollar brownstone on fire. Apparently, I was supposed to find it so God damn precious that his kids were selling lemonade that I was supposed to go into a state of cardiac arythmia. My wife and I then had to empty our wallets, regardless of how much money we had on us, and then make a special trip to the ATM so that we can purchase even more lemonade (“Damn! I only have eighty-six dollars on me! Luckily, there’s a Bank Of America around the corner. PLEASE don’t stop selling lemonade until I come back! Holy fucking shit, you’re precious!”). I’ve always had an interest in Constitutional law, so as soon as I got home I went straight to my bookshelf to confirm whether or not I had a right to walk past their lemonade stand without purchasing a cup. It turns out that I do have that right, for now anyway. Mark my words. If our culture’s narcissistic child worship continues at this rate, in twenty years, I will be arrested for not purchasing lemonade. I try to keep things in perspective though by being grateful for the fact that the lemonade stand didn’t belong to the kids of A.J.Jacobs. If that had been the case, Jacobs would have hit me for not buying lemonade.
So, yes, there is more than enough reason to believe that Olivia Wilde’s demand for a seat on the subway is an entitlement issue. And if I’m wrong, if it really is a matter of “good manners,”my schiamachy needs to be forgiven. Either way, I’ll make a deal with pregnant women. Once they shit out their precious little bundle of carbon, if they can promise me that it won’t swing around on the subway poles as if the train were it’s own private playground, I’ll give up my seat. If they can promise me that they won’t take it to a restaurant that it shouldn’t be in, or an R rated movie, or a bar, I’ll give up my seat. If they can promise me that they won’t immediately take their dog or cat to a “shelter” and have it murdered (not “euthanized”) in anticipation of the pointless baby’s arrival, I’ll give up my seat.
Actually, no I won’t.