Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Buggy-Pushers

The street on which I look out on while writing this is a busy one. Lined with cafes and boutiques and antique shops, it’s rarely quiet. And needless to say, one of the most common types I see is a parent pushing a buggy (mainly women, but one does see the occasional man). I have to admit that at this point I need to calm myself from launching into a tirade, but there’s no denying that the smug expressions on the faces of those buggy-pushers taps into my worse feelings of contempt and anger. The expressions of pure self-satisfaction and moral self-righteousness on display irritate me beyond belief. What exactly is it that these people believe they have achieved? Once again, a man has ejaculated into the vagina of a woman and, lo and behold, nine months later a helpless screaming creature is discharged into the world. And we are all meant to feel joy at this? We are supposed to congratulate the progenitors? Worse again, society appears ready to grant superior moral status to those that have reproduced over those who have not. Doubtless, there is a form of evolutionary explanation (the genes of the tribe are reproduced etc.) but on a moral level, it’s abhorrent, and screw evolution anyway.

I sometimes wonder if the pleased expression on the faces of parents comes from the fact that apart from semen and eggs they’ve also discharged their existential burden. They no longer need worry about purpose and meaning. They’ve escaped from angst, however, in the worst possible way: by dumping the burden on someone else, ie. their offspring. How often does one hear the nauseating expression ‘I never knew the meaning of life until I became a parent’. Or in other words, ‘I’ve played by the rules of nature like every other sap, and now I’m being rewarded by receiving the validation of my fellow-drones and, furthermore, I’ve got a contrived purpose in my life now’. Thus Nature plays on with her mindless game of birth, reproduction and death. As the great Louis-Ferdinand Celine said, we are indeed the dupes of infinity.

26 comments:

  1. I suppose that for many having a child signifies the transition into 'adulthood'; sort of like joining an exclusive club (that's really not all that exclusive).

    "I sometimes wonder if the pleased expression on the faces of parents comes from the fact that apart from semen and eggs they’ve also discharged their existential burden. They no longer need worry about purpose and meaning. They’ve escaped from angst, however, in the worst possible way: by dumping the burden on someone else, ie. their offspring."

    I think this is very profound. Not only have parents 'discharged' their duty whilst simultaneously achieving 'purpose'; they've also accomplished their vicarious immortality, so everything seems to be wrapped up in a nice little package, yes?

    On the other hand-and maybe this just reflects the socio-economic status of where I live- most of the mothers I see on the street remind me of little girls pushing their dollies around in toy strollers. It's typical for the glow of new motherhood to wear off rather quickly once it begins to compete with hanging out with friends, and many if not most will soon be dropping the kid(s) off at Grandma's so they can be about the business of making more of them.

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  2. Jim, thanks for the comment. You yourself are, of course, the honourable exception to the people I describe in the posting, and I was going to mention as much, but felt it might distract somewhat from the general thrust so my apologies. Hope no offence was unintentionally given!

    And yes, for many the novelties of parenthood wear off pretty quickly and someone else is left to pick up the parcel. And then there are others who do it for monetary reasons. A girl once proudly declared to me that she had three children whom she referred to as "her little goldmine". She then asked me on a date. I declined....

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  3. No offense taken, Karl. Great quote at the end, btw.

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  4. Expecting to see such post in a longtime.
    The logic! The bile! The angst!
    Kudos, Karl!

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  5. This is kinda mean, but those smug expressions tend to disappear when you jog by with a very visible set of healthy abdominal muscles.

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  6. Even worse: men who carry babies on their chest with a harness, ugh.

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  7. Oh c'mon Karl. Your last name isn't Pilkington... is it? ;) Don't you have any appreciation for our benevolent benefactors? You just need to grow up and have some little rugrats of your own and you'll completely understand the ways of the world. Life will suddenly be beautiful, and all around you - the world will rejoice with your almighty testicles! :D Very well said, dude.

    Sister, that's not mean, that's hilarious! Please tell me that you've actually done that :)

    You guys and gals are freakin' heroes... every one of you. You know that, right?

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  8. Of course -- we save millions of lives every day that could otherwise, with some stretch of the imagination, have existed.

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  9. Karl,

    This is one of your best best posts ever!
    Your'se so right! The world is crawling with ugly buggies containing Rosemary's babies and big, fatty, self-satisfied expectant bellies. And you have to be compliant and polite with them: open the doors for them, dodge them when they block the sidewalk, smile when their infants are yelling, suffer all the time those disgusting "Baby on Board" signs...

    "You guys and gals are freakin' heroes... every one of you. You know that, right?"

    Yes, Garret. Heroes martyrs and saints. It's the only alternative to becoming fratricides and infanticides :)

    Dali,

    Men who carry babies on their chest with a harness remind me of David Cronenberg's "The Brood".

    Jump to 2.56...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eozIVFeUtBo&feature=related

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  10. Thanks, Plague D! Something to watch during postpartum depression :)

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  11. "Pregnant woman are Smug" I love this song and this duet!

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  12. Folks, thanks for all the comments, I am genuinely moved by the appreciation.

    Shadow: Yup, the bile. I juust can't help it, man:-)

    Sister Y: Yeah, the effects on the female body are unfortunate, to put it mildly.

    Dali: Couldn't agree more. Men with baby harnesses are a truly pitiful sight. Haven't they debased themselves enough already?

    Garrett: Thanks, man. We can all only try our best to fight the rising tide of procreation:-)

    Josep: Thanks also, man. I can only heartily concur with your wonderfully accurate picture of how we are expected to grovel before Mother Nature's emissaries. And thanks for the clip.

    Plague Doctor: A wonderful song! Let's hope neither of the two girls ruin everything by getting boxed someday!

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  13. The Plague Doctor26 May 2011 at 03:49

    Josep,

    Life is a postpartum depression.

    (My thought for the day.)

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  14. Another tremendous piece Karl, which has elicited excellent comments! The miracle of life is that people perpetuate it:)The individual's miserable state drives them on to propagate the species;a horrible paradox which is at the heart of the horror of existence.

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  15. Thanks, lifehater. Much appreciated. Great line about the miracle of life:-) And yes indeed, as you once put it to me in an immortal oneliner, 'Life becomes so unbearable that the only way people can make it tolerable is by perpetuating it.' Worthy of Wilde!

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  16. Would like to think we have a symbiotic life hating relationship:) Keep up the great work, and that goes for all the other wise contributors!

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  17. Cheers, lifehater. I'll continue to fly the black flag with your support and those of the other comrades here on the dirty road to oblivion!

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  18. I think Karl and Jim are dead on about how reproduction allows people to feel like members of an exclusive club/high achievers without actually having to do anything. I was once asked why I didn't have kids (in a very sanctimonious tone) at a strip club by a dancer while she was grabbing my boob. It was a truly mind-boggling experience. I fully expected her to produce a picture of her spawn and start lording it over me. I think the only reason she didn't was because her outfit didn't leave enough room for a picture.

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  19. wow... to be told about having kids when a striper is grabbing you... that must be ... wow... I have no words.

    people are f... insane.

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  20. Ahh, most of us are nature's tools indeed. Thankfully, a few of us use the cerebral cortex instead of the R-complex to decide (although even here it takes some pretty hard knocks to motivate us to do so). Oh well, at least my potential descentants won't be among the unlucky few such potentials that become actual.

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  21. "I sometimes wonder if the pleased expression on the faces of parents comes from the fact that apart from semen and eggs they’ve also discharged their existential burden. They no longer need worry about purpose and meaning. They’ve escaped from angst, however, in the worst possible way: by dumping the burden on someone else, ie. their offspring."

    Though this particular passage has already been singled out by the commenter before me, I feel I should reiterate how singular it is in its effect.

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  22. Thanks, Barry. Appreciate the comment and the fact you dropped by. Yeah, it must be an amazing relief to have dropped the burden of angst. "I'm a parent", another phrase used by the self-righteous when looking to gain the upper hand. I find it particularly hilarious when I see people prattling on about saving the environment, and then registering the fact that they drive a massive car or jeep to transport their three or four kids around.....

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  23. Karl: yeah, the inconsistencies are abundant!

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  24. As for the part about men carrying babies...

    ...I don't agree that it takes away the "manliness" because a real man would care for whatever children he has. I'll post more about this on my own blog, but suffice to say that I find that mainstream, popular definitions of "manliness" are ultimately meaningless and ultimately contradicts itself at its core. So on this particular topic, I part ways with Dali and Karl.

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  25. Filrabat, good point and well taken. Obviously, if a man does acquiesce in procreation, it's better all round that he is an enthusiastic and loving father than otherwise. I guess what I was trying to allude to was the clearly large number of men who view child-minding as a chore and a trial.

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