September 2, 2008

Fertility Freakout rolls onward

A female reader calls my attention to a minor article about Bristol Palin's fiance attending the GOP convention on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, a fairly minor big city newspaper. And yet, in the ten hours that the article has been up on the SF Chronicle's website, it has garnered (let me check the latest) well over 1000 comments. This story isn't some exclusive scoop for the SF Chronicle -- they just took it from the AP feed, so it's reasonable to guess the same scale of reaction is happening nationwide.

My reader adds:

I've never seen anything quite like it. BTW, I get comments w/ my five, but, let me "wear" my baby in a bjorn carrier w/ my four in tow and strangers make scenes...

Offhand, the only political whoop-te-doos that I can recall to compare to this in frenzy were Monica Lewinsky and Anita Hill. Hmmhmhmm, what did they all have in common?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

20 comments:

Danindc said...

Not to mention your post today about the Palin/fertility matter has 49 posts already.

Steve Sailer said...

Hmmhmm, does that mean there isn't much interest in the long post I've been planning on trends over the last 14 Olympics in times among high hurdle vs. low hurdle medalists?

Soul Searcher said...

Thumbsucking at its best. I'm usually conservative to the core, but this behavior is just prole and low-class as has nothing to do with "heartland" America. It's just people spinning partisanship into some moral tale. This wouldn't happen with Mitt Romney's kids, and you'd be all over it like fire if Chelsea Clinton did something so dumb.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of funny that some have questioned if Palin was properly vetted by the McCain campaign. If Karl Rove was behind this, everyone would be accusing him of selecting Palin because she has a pregnant teenage daughter. Anyone who has ever taken a glimpse at TMZ, Access Hollywood, National Enquirer, etc knows that nothing fascinates the public (well, females anyway) quite like pregnancy. Even Steve's excellent VDARE column on Obama and corrupt Chicago politics has only generated a dozen commments.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it wouldn't happened with Mitt Romney's kids, but I think we've been lulled into believing that teenage conceptions don't happened that much; we just don't want to think about it. Our biology primes us to be ready, and to desire, procreating in our teens. There is a class divide on how we deal with those "surprises" and it is morally outrageous that the Palins are condemned as "white trash" for getting pregnant and not aborting.

Condemn them for not supervising their daughter better, but please don't call them trash. Remember that many "enlightened" people are able to save face because of primal, savage violence they commit afterwards.

rast said...

Steve, that post about Olympic hurdle times sounds absolutely fascinating and is definitely something I want to read before the next Summer Olympics. About two weeks before it.

Sorry, the only way you could get people to care about the Olympics right now is if somehow draw a connection between underage Bristol Palin and underage Chinese gymnasts.

Bill said...

SF Chronicle needs some copy editors.

Love this line:

"Just days after she was picked as McCain's running mate, Gov. Palin has become a lightening [sic] rod for attention."

Outsourcing editing to Mumbai doesn't seem to be working too well, I guess...

Statsquatch said...

Best election ever!

When the declawed Black Panther wannabe picked the lamest white man in government (from Delaware the lamest state) I thought the laughs were over. But then Yosemite Sam picks palin, people started talking about her cubs and the whiter people start freaking out. I thought the only thing Alaska had to offer America was porn, whiskey and government jobs. Palin for supreme leader!

Anonymous said...

Nancy Pelosi has 5 white children too! Where's her fertility freakout?

Garland said...

Lewinsky and Hill? Where was the fertility angle? There was sex, but no fertility. Unless you're saying sex=fertility, in which case all you've been saying in the last 2 posts is that sex sells.

agnostic said...

Lewinsky and Hill? Where was the fertility angle?

I think it was that they were young: Lewinsky around 22 to 24 for the duration, and Anita Hill around 25. Same thing with that Spitzer (?) guy and his 22 y.o. hot but horsefaced courtesan.

We freak out the most when they're near their peak fecundity (the mode is age 20), because they have the most to win or lose.

That's why you have a heart attack when your 16 to 24 y.o. daughter leaves the house in a skimpy outfit, but just feel pity for your 26 to 34 y.o. daughter who does the same.

Anonymous said...

That's why you have a heart attack when your 16 to 24 y.o. daughter leaves the house in a skimpy outfit, but just feel pity for your 26 to 34 y.o. daughter who does the same.

You're definitely not a father. That never goes away.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you know that Palin would be a terrible president if McCain bit the bullet. Her nomination gives Blue staters just enough rope to hang themselves by going insane over her five kids and blue collar life. By coaxing such people into publicly proclaiming how much they hate babies, hunting, fishing, and pregnant women who don't get abortions they will cause Red Staters to vote Republican in droves.

Anonymous said...

I get jealous, personally, when I see women with five kids. But outside of Alaska, where are the men who want to get married and have five kids?

Mark said...

I think we've been lulled into believing that teenage conceptions don't happened that much; we just don't want to think about it. Our biology primes us to be ready, and to desire, procreating in our teens. There is a class divide on how we deal with those "surprises" and it is morally outrageous that the Palins are condemned as "white trash" for getting pregnant and not aborting.

Indeed. Kaiser puts the overal teen birth rate at about 1 per 25 teenagers. Keep in mind that "teen" includes 18 and 19 year olds and that some of those teenagers actually got married before they got pregnant.

I think one thing we miss when it comes to discussing teen pregnancy is - suprise - race and class. Not that blacks and Hispanics have higher illegitimacy rates - everyone knows that (in Utah the white teen birth rate is 26 per 1,000, the Hispanic is 105 per 1,000). I mean how we're primed to assume that teen pregnancy is a "bad thing."

Part of the reason we think getting pregnant so young is bad is because so many of the girls who get pregnant come from lower class families, and are disproportionately black and Hispanic - and are completely unprepared to raise a child.

I submit to you that if every teen mother came from middle & upper middle class families we'd have, 20 years from now, a substantially different perception of "teen pregnancy." I've known quite a few couples who got married because they had to, and they've all turned out very well - still hapily married. Likewise, my best friend's mom had him when she was 16, and he's currently a VP for a high-tech firm. The difference is that all my friends came from middle class families who could support them.

It's about race and class, not age.

Granted, the teen years are not the ideal time to become a mother -
but I'm not sure it's much worse than our current celebration of extended adolescence. Holding off marriage until your late 30s may make great comedy - Scrubs/Friends/Seinfeld/Etc - but in the real world it's nuts.

(And with 1 in 25 teenage girls ages 15-19 giving birth each year, we all know good and well why we don't hear about more politician's teen daughters getting pregnant - and it has little to do with high quality parenting. Perhaps DC's high abortion rate has less to do with its black population than we've assumed.)

Anonymous said...

The posting is not accurate. If you look at the dates on the comments, many of them predate the article. Apparently they were carried forward from an earlier Palin article. Still a huge number of comments by sfgate standards, but they were not generated in less than an hour.

teacher.paris said...

In the oil rich Middle Eastern country where I live, five children would be considered a small family.
Moreover, when I compare the children in the Arab world with the children I encounter in the USA and France, the Arab children are much happier and much better behaved than the children in the decadent west.
The Palin children look more like children here than in the west.
Of course, the concept of unwed pregnancy is unthinkable here.

Anonymous said...

the Arab children are much happier and much better behaved than the children in the decadent west.

Ah yes, that is what Arab children are well known for: happiness and good behavior.

And inbreeding.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980DE0DF1F3DF932A35756C0A9659C8B63

aj said...

> I get jealous, personally, when I see women with five kids. But outside of Alaska, where are the men who want to get married and have five kids?

I'm right here, in Toronto.

I originally wanted six, but I had a hell of a time convincing my pediatrician fiancee of that (a mild irony, I think) who only wanted two.

After some perseverance and other stuff (thank you Eric, David and Eban!) I got her to settle on four, but I know I'm going to need to keep pushing her on it to prevent backsliding.

When I met her she was completely blue... but she's purple now. I think the change will be completed when when we have our first child. Married women with children tend to get more conservative for obvious reasons.

I think the *real* question is "where are all the high-SES *women* who want five children".

miss marple said...

"Granted, the teen years are not the ideal time to become a mother -
but I'm not sure it's much worse than our current celebration of extended adolescence. Holding off marriage until your late 30s may make great comedy - Scrubs/Friends/Seinfeld/Etc - but in the real world it's nuts."

Where I'm from, most women my age had mothers who were in their late teens or early twenties when they had their first child. Yet none of my friends got married until their late twenties/early thirties and started families even later. It didn't take long at all to change social norms. Interesting, that parents as role models doesn't seem to be the determining factor in the choice to delay marriage and parenting among the middle class.

I'm not so certain the reaction to Palin's children has to do with jealousy as much as conditioning. Very subtle but effective influence of popular opinion has convinced the last few generations of middle class whites that only losers have children before finishing college and establishing a career. Otherwise, you would be poor, your husband would beat you and you'd have to live out the rest of your life in a trailer.

When you did wait until the appropriate age to marry, then you should only have one or two children because you couldn't possibly afford to send more than that to private school then good colleges. Also, the mother must not be too distracted from her career goals by having to tend to the demands of three or more children. This isn't written down anywhere but I swear if you interviewed women in their 40s and younger, you'd get a similar list of prohibitions on having children at a young age.

Palin waited long enough to have her first child but not only did she keep having children, she embarked upon a successful political career as well. Having a fifth child in her early 40s and being able to get pregnant at that age without fertility treatment just adds insult to injury. Bristol getting pregnant at 17 is evidence of the mother's sins being visited on the daughter ;0). Too many children to supervise, daring to be fertile over age 40, see what can happen...

"Moreover, when I compare the children in the Arab world with the children I encounter in the USA and France, the Arab children are much happier and much better behaved than the children in the decadent west.
The Palin children look more like children here than in the west.
Of course, the concept of unwed pregnancy is unthinkable here."

Dealt with by stoning the mother before or after the birth of the child?