August 31, 2015

Slate's education columnist Rebecca Schuman flaunts a series of photographs of herself giving her infant the finger.

"Sometimes, it takes longer to put the little tyrant to sleep than she’ll deign to remain asleep. It is on those days that I celebrate her hard-won unconsciousness by taking a nice little selfie in which she’s conked out, and I’m flipping her the bird. Then I share that selfie on social media, because otherwise it doesn’t exist. We’ve now got quite a little gallery."

The column quotes a number of philosophers — Aristotle, Kant, Mill — and, having absorbed their lessons in ethics, ends:
For now, I can definitively say that creating my baby bird gallery achieves happiness for me. As long as she keeps refusing to sleep... I will continue expressing... my simultaneous victory and frustration.... It remains to be seen whether my daughter will be too sensitive to take that kind of joke, once she learns what it means. And if she is, I’ll consider the experiment a failure, and I’ll gladly stop doing it. On camera, that is.
Did you find that funny... or are you too sensitive? The daughter only arrives at the personhood inherent in getting power to control her own image on the internet after she learns what giving somebody the finger means. The finger means "fuck you" (or "shove it up your ass"or "go fuck yourself"). When is Schuman going to teach that meaning? When she does teach her that and when the girl sees what she did with her way back when she didn't know what it meant, if she gives mother the finger, will Schuman take that joke? Will Schuman take all that will follow on as the girl challenges her and taunts her with too sensitive and can't take a joke? The "little tyrant" who now frustrates Schuman with crying and difficulty getting to sleep will have far more complicated and active challenges in these experiments that lie ahead, including, perhaps, photographs of Schuman, expressing hostility and posted on the internet.

ADDED: I think what's going on here is Mommy Blogging, the late years. I haven't been a Mommy Blog reader, so I don't know what all has gone on in that genre. Edgy stuff becomes the norm, as women cue other women that it's okay and really helpful and funny to show those feelings that otherwise made them feel alone and ashamed. What can a Mommy Blogger do to surprise and excite readers now? Compare porn.

AND: One question is: Is she a good mother? But another is: Is she a good comedian? Clearly, she thinks she's hilarious. She's a prop comic and the prop is her baby.

63 comments:

damikesc said...

All she's showing is that she's a total shit as a mother.

My youngest didn't sleep great, either. I managed to avoid flipping him off...you know, because he was a baby and all.

But I guess that's mansplaining or some such bullshit.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The woman is an idiot. A self-absorbed moron. I feel sorry for her daughter.

Humperdink said...

Class.

Mark said...

Click bait journalism.

I refuse to click on refuse.

Curious George said...

Someone fucked her?

amielalune said...

Let me guess....Obama voter.

Bobber Fleck said...

"Foisting obscene gestures upon my unconscious baby is also, if you can believe it, a lifestyle choice. It’s a conscious cultivation of my household’s gleeful and expressive cursing culture."

She chose poorly.

I suspect the baby will mature before the self-absorbed mother.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Unloving and bad manners, to be sure, but small potatoes insofar as these child abuse things go.

One of the problems with having a certain kind of sense of humor is you can get to the point where you readily say to yourself, in one way or another, "This one doesn't count." A good hard look at yourself will tell you that you got that way because you wanted so badly for other people to like you.

Avoid bad influences would be the standard motherly advice.

whitney said...

It's so ugly

chuck said...

Baby needs a safe space.

rhhardin said...

It means "I won."

MartyH said...

Give her a break. She has solved one of life's enduring questions-if a tree falls in the forest and doesn't post the selfie it took on the way down to Facebook, the tree never even existed.

sydney said...

I foresee rough times for the mother and daughter ahead. Poor child. It's so hard to come to terms with the fact your mother doesn't like you.

MayBee said...

I think it's best to not get into the habit of expressing hostility. Once it's something you do, it seeps out.

MayBee said...

When my babies wouldn't sleep it was exhausting. But watching them sleep was my recharge. It was when I looked at my babies and thought, "this is all so worth it". I guess I can't imagine flipping the bird (or making any kind of angry gesture) to my sleeping baby.

MadisonMan said...

There really is nothing more frustrating than a baby so tired and cranky that it won't sleep. And you know that sleep is exactly what the kid (and you) needs.

I hope she takes some parenting classes. I think she needs them.

Mrs Whatsit said...

She'd be the first one to yell about bullying if it was some other big person taking advantage of the helplessness of a small person and laughing about it and using the other person's vulnerability to show off to everybody else how big and powerful she is.

Scott M said...

"Horrible person" isn't a big enough concept for this woman.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Sounds like that poor kid has a future of emotional and verbal abuse to look forward to. Her best bet may be a parental divorce where dad uses the pictures as evidence he needs sole custody.

I mean, SHEESH. Who curses out a baby? Maybe someone needs to go to therapy for her anger issues and depression. Mentally healthy mothers don't see their kids as the 'adversary,' especially when they're too young to deliberately make you crazy!

MayBee said...

I also think someone has to be pretty mature to appreciate a joke about your mother expressing hostility toward you. Babies and little kids and even younger kids need to know their mom is always there for them. I mean, that's kind of the foundation of a healthy childhood.

Zeb Quinn said...

Did you find that funny... or are you too sensitive?

I find it incredibly immature.

EMD said...

White people.

Jim said...

Just wait til the little girl is 13. Having half of Mommies genes I'll bet she will be an easy teenager, not!

pm317 said...

Who publishes this garbage and what a way to treat your own child?

Ann Althouse said...

This reminds me. My mother, when she was over 65, got into the habit of gesturing disapproval by using her hand as a gun — pointed index finger and thumb movement to indicate shooting. She did it humorously, and it was a shortcut for speaking and a compensation for a speaking impairment. After a while, I saw fit to let her know that I didn't like it. I was tolerant but only up to a point.

Michael K said...

More leftist child rearing. It takes a village to really fuck up a child. Thank God they abort most of them.

bgates said...

having absorbed their lessons in ethics

s/b having been exposed to their lessons in ethics

Bob Boyd said...

She could take a child rearing tip from James McMurtry and give the kid a little bit of vodka or Benadryl in a cherry coke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPBMupQ9CKI

Bay Area Guy said...

Wierd, but honest expression of how Leftwing Moms actually feel about babies.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Her baby troubles made her FEEL a certain way and her FEELINGS had to be EXPRESSED, but not just EXPRESSED, SHARED with everyone else on SOCIAL MEDIA--and those actions and that SHARING was so transgressive and interesting and praiseworthy that she needed to SHARE about it with an article. This is a very important woman; she's hip, she's unconventional, don't you wish you were like her?

Kids in the Hall: He's Hip He's Cool

Peter said...

"Things are different today/I hear every mother say/they just don't appreciate that you get tired ..."

So in days of old, baby got some opium-laced soothing syrup (and then Mommy got a respite).

mikee said...

Kids grow up fast. I recall spending an entire summer with my toddler son trying to convince him to say "BOAT" instead of "SHIP" whenever he was frustrated.

He'd heard me say something like SHIP a few times when I stubbed my toe, and picked that word up real quickly. Took months to get him to stop saying it.

So the selfies need to be kept from her child, likely forever. Won't happen, though, and mom will have the joy of watching her child give the bird to everyone on earth and know it is her fault.

CatherineM said...

I can understand the frustration of a baby not sleeping, but her behavior and calling the baby a tyrant suggests that she believes the baby is not sleeping just to piss her off. That's bizarre.

damikesc said...

I can understand the frustration of a baby not sleeping, but her behavior and calling the baby a tyrant suggests that she believes the baby is not sleeping just to piss her off. That's bizarre.

That's narcissism for you.

She could invest a bit of time in finding out what puts the child to sleep and work with that --- but no, easier to just be a cunt to a baby.

damikesc said...

I hope somebody sends those photos to her local DSS.

In act, I might just do that.

Have her explain to one of our bureaucrats how flipping off a baby is really charming.

I'll assume she's in NY and just send it to the DSS there. Anonymous tip and all...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It's childish and tacky for Mom to flaunt this behavior on social media to show how COOL and EDGY she is, but really, I'd rather she defuse her frustration through humor by giving the baby the finger, than shake her until her retinas detach.

And Deidre--really? It's better for that baby to have divorced parents and no mother than a mother that who is a little silly but otherwise seems harmless? I have to say that seems like curing a splinter with a sledgehammer.

Can't wait to see what Renee has to say about that! :)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

And re the criticism of her "little tyrant" comment--no one here has ever affectionately called their child "generalissimo?" I guess it's just me.

LordSomber said...

Quite a lot of immature parents these days.

Eric Landgraf said...

At a future time and place said daughter discovers her aged mother asleep on the couch. The daughter remembers the photograph and decides to wreak her long delayed revenge. With a stout pillow in hand she lays it on mom's dear face and presses down firmly. The dutiful daughter only stops when 'Mommy Dearest' has ceased moving her limbs in protest.

Revenge is sweet.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Emotional abuse is actually incredibly damaging for kids. Look, do you really believe she's only expressing this rage when the kid is asleep and she has iron self-control the rest of the time? No. It's going to come out in every aspect of her parenting.

Mothers who send the message "I hate you and you ruined my life" are actually worse than no mother at all.

I have friends who grew up having to live with that. They'd have been better off with divorced parents and Dad with custody. Sadly, what to often happens is dad leaves b/c he can no longer deal with crazy-rage-mom, and kid gets stuck alone with crazy.

Divorce is an acceptable solution to child abuse.

Phil 3:14 said...

In a few short years daughter will reciprocate.

The Cracker Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

Currently the child is merely a prop in her one woman improv psychodrama. In a few short years the kid will be a co-star, and each will be fighting for top billing.

The Cracker Emcee said...

What a punk. Being a parent doesn't automatically make you a better person, but it's a great opportunity to show what a shitty one you are.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's not surprising that an exhausted, frustrated person would misfire a joke. Later, when she thinks better of it, she can delete the collection.

Renee said...

This where olderwhite educated married mother's get their privilege....

Imagined if a young less educated single mother of minority status did this???

Please someone call the authorities. She needs a parenting ASAP with a parental aide to visit in home.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Tweeted some years ago by John Gruber (no, not the Obamacare guy, this one's a technology blogger):

"Let's bring back the two-arm gesture for "fuck you". Just the finger is so lazy."

Which inspired the following video of colleagues and friends:

https://vimeo.com/7345725

cold pizza said...

You can take the white trash out of the trailer park, but... oh, wait. No, obviously you can't. Gutter is gutter. Toxic remains toxic. And she's a product of her generation.

The collapse can't come fast enough (as I type from my mountain lair in the intermountain west). -CP

lgv said...

Is she a good mother? One cannot make that judgment based on this one event. The concept of a good mother has to cover a much longer period of time and shouldn't be tainted by one bad call. She is clearly not a perfect mother, but no one else is either.

Is she a good comedian? No.

How about this. What she is has done is mistake. One which many of us can foreseeably predict she will regret. When her child sees all this, the child may shrug and laugh it off, but maybe not. Maybe this will open the flood gate of "fuck yous" and fingers from child to mother. What's good for the goose....

She has traded the risk of damaging her relationship with her child for a having a source of mateiral for a comedic story.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Deidre, I always appreciate your sensible commentary, but I think you're off the mark here. The silly finger-thing does not rise to the level of emotional abuse, and there is no evidence given other than your personal speculation that flipping the bird is going to lead to same.

Jonathan Graehl said...

The joke is fine. The only thing that disgusts me in this is her "Then I share that selfie on social media, because otherwise it doesn’t exist." What? So you have enough trad-contrarian edgelord friends out there that you'll get a chuckle.

There's no need to draw attention to or explain the obvious act of public attn-seeking unless you can make a *good* meta-joke of it, and this "haha nothing is real unless I share it right? we're all such exhibitionists!" theme is neither insightful nor clever. Over-vocalization.

Or was this really supposed to deflect anticipated criticism?

There's no serious excuse for public-sharing damaging baby/infant pics. You do it if you want the buzz now and are willing to choose for your non-consenting future teen/adult child the consequences.

Interesting,not crazy said...

Bob Boyd said... [hush]​[hide comment]

She could take a child rearing tip from James McMurtry and give the kid a little bit of vodka or Benadryl in a cherry coke.


NyQuil. Zip 'em up in a garment bag until they cry themselves to sleep. extra benefit, takes up less room than a crib.

Interesting,not crazy said...

If ya hafta leave 'em in a car foe a couple of minutes while shopping, put 'em in the trunk or some busybody might break your window.

Rusty said...

One question is: Is she a good mother? But another is: Is she a good comedian? Clearly, she thinks she's hilarious. She's a prop comic and the prop is her baby.

Whadja have a baby for if it just pisses ya off. Get a dog lady. You can give those away.

Bill Peschel said...

If my daughter is any model (she proved equally difficult at sleeping), Rebecca Shuman is going to have a terror for a daughter. Willful, outspoken, angry, bitchy and wanting to rule the household.

Exactly what she deserves. Class is as class does.

Cynicus said...

It's not the middle finger that's troubling. It's her pride in swearing and losing her temper that is disturbing. You teach your children by example and they absorb everything. Her child is a person not a prop. Also one child is not that hard. She can take a night off and let dad put the angel to bed if she needs a break.

Jim S. said...

I don't know...when my first child was born and they handed him to me in the hospital, the first thing I said to him was, "It only goes downhill from here." I thought it was hilarious.

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Freeman Hunt said...

Jenner switched back?

Freeman Hunt said...

Look, some people might be angry about undoing the whole transition thing, but I have to believe you can find a better job.

Freeman Hunt said...

With all the treatments and going back and forth, you lost your English?! What have they done to you? The monsters!

Zach said...

Maybe not the worst sin in the world, but I think it's a bad idea to act out aggression against a baby that, after all, isn't capable of standing up for itself.

Flicking off a baby as a joke is still flicking off a baby. You're giving voice to an emotion it might be more healthy to suppress. Remember, babies don't understand irony, but they are really good at observing and reacting to emotions.