Friday Ephemera
Your Host’s Idea of Hell (3)

Her Loveliness Revealed

Here’s an idea! Change your parents’ bad voting habits by refusing to breed.

In the pages of Slate, Christina Cauterucci, whose enthusiasms include “gender and feminism,” wishes to share her wisdom:

The prospect of harnessing one’s sexual and reproductive powers for social good is a tempting one. So, I’d like to present what I humbly consider a much better proposal: Instead of a sex strike, let’s try a grandkid strike.

It’s a “brilliant new weapon of progressivism,” says Ms Cauterucci, and “exactly the kind of radical response today’s radical threats to equity, justice, and humanity demand.” Specifically,

It’s time to demand that baby boomers and Gen Xers decide which they’d rather have: their vague attachments to policies that have poisoned the earth and will soon make it difficult for anyone but the obscenely wealthy to live healthy, happy lives, or a pack of adorable munchkins in itty-bitty suspenders ready for unlimited tickle fights and cookie-baking sessions.

This is followed almost immediately by,

I’ve already decided that I’m not having kids,

Which, for the purposes of Ms Cauterucci’s article, is somewhat convenient. This reproductive decision was, we’re told, arrived at because,

Child care is extravagantly expensive, and paid family leave is a rare luxury. Bringing a new set of chubby cheeks and wonderfully incomprehensible babblings into the world is the most destructive thing one couple can do to the planet. It seems certain that today’s babies will be tomorrow’s survivors of famine, water shortages, unprecedented natural disasters, and refugee crises.

And furthermore,

It’s unethical, what with climate change and all. And it’s too dangerous—you’ve seen the news reports on school shootings and know how easy it is for violent men to get their hands on guns.

Um, okay then. Apparently, the thought of becoming a parent immediately conjures mental images of famine, earthquakes, shootings and death. Proof, if more were needed, that the exquisitely woke are just like thee and me. Not unhinged in any way.

One person’s decision to have a child or not have a child won’t make the difference between cool breezes and boiling seas. But you know what could make that difference? Lots of people dangling their potential future snugglebugs in front of the noses of their right-wing, centrist, or politically complacent parents to cajole them into supporting policies and candidates that have a hope of redeeming this planet before it becomes one big overheated sandbox.

Those “right wing, centrist, or politically complacent parents” - the parents you love, presumably - must be purged of their “ill-informed allegiances,” and made to conform politically, with the threat of never seeing grandchildren. Which is how well-adjusted adult offspring behave, of course.

Just imagine: Your Republican parents are lukewarm on Donald Trump but will probably support his re-election, or maybe they’re Democrats who’ve sworn they’ll never elect a “socialist.” They’ve been bugging you and your partner to have kids for years; perhaps they’ve even kept your old sandbox and bedtime books in their basement in hopes of breaking them out again when you decide to breed. You sit them down and break the news: You’re not going to make any grandchildren anytime soon.

Yes, a world in which unhinged lefties don’t reproduce in order to spite their own parents. Imagine the horror.

Your parents pause to envision the lonely quarter-century ahead, a far cry from the years of trumpet recitals, slumber parties, and trips to Disney World they’d long imagined. They ask what they can do to ensure their own legacies in the form of a pudgy little sweetums in a romper. They plead with you, promising to do everything in their power to help ease your concerns. Lucky for them, you have an answer: radicalise.

At which point, it occurs to me that the words cult-like behaviour may not be entirely inappropriate. If Ms Cauterucci’s fantasy scenario isn’t sounding sufficiently like the rambling of someone in need of specialist help, it continues,

It’s up to you to set the parameters of your own grandkid strike. Maybe you’ll be satisfied if your parents prove to you, via voting booth selfie or supervised completion of an absentee ballot, that they voted for the sufficiently progressive candidate of your choice.

This goes on for some time.

Maybe you’ll give them a coupon for a weekend with your hypothetical child for every lobbying day they attend on Capitol Hill or the nearest statehouse.


Maybe you’ll have an extra kid for every act of highly visible civil disobedience they perform, like chaining themselves to the Statue of Liberty or scaling a flagpole to remove a Confederate flag.


Maybe you’ll promise them one FaceTime session with your spawn for every call they make to a legislator.

Ms Cauterucci’s parents are no doubt proud of their daughter and her charming, terribly enlightened fantasies of coercion, in which children are imagined primarily as a form of political leverage, a tool of rather sadistic emotional punishment. And all in the name of progressive piety.