Try for twelve next time

Eh? Really? Really?

It was a midwinter miracle; eight babies born to a single mother and every one of them delivered alive. For a nation enduring its deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the tale was a welcome relief from bail-outs and bankruptcies. But this weekend, as the journalistic pack chases an altogether darker dimension to the story of Nadya Suleman, the feel-good factor has suddenly vanished.

What ‘miracle’? What feel-good factor? What welcome relief? Was everybody turning handsprings and throwing confetti off the roof last week just because some fool had decided to whelp eight children at once and thus put them and herself at great risk and use up who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care that could have been more usefully spent on something else? I know I wasn’t; was anyone?

The BBC World Service was, to be sure. I did hear their coverage and I did frown in puzzlement at their exuberant tone. What on earth are they so pleased about? I wondered. But I thought it was some stupid journalistic thing, not a universal thing. I don’t know anyone who thought it was cute or clever or a good idea or ‘heart-warming’ – but perhaps that’s because I know only cold secular urban coastal nerds? Were all the Real Folks out there in the Authentic parts of the world weeping tears of joy over the (shudder) octuplets?

Far from being a heart-warming tale of wonder, the more that becomes known about the Suleman family, the more it seems something very disturbing has occurred. Public reaction has quickly turned from joy to shock and anger.

This guy is out of his mind. A heart-warming tale of wonder! Because a woman tries to imitate a dog and have a whole litter of humans! What is heart-warming about that? It’s freakish, it’s unusual, it’s somewhat disgusting, but what’s heart-warming about it? Who felt any joy about it, and why would anyone feel any joy?

[I]f the American public was looking for hope and inspiration in the face of tough times, the Suleman octuplets will have provided little in the way of light relief.

Well duh, but I have a hard time believing that anyone apart from reporters ever thought any octuplets would provide any hope and inspiration. What a dopy idea.

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