caution: contains a sentimental talk about children feeling good about themselves

one of these days, i’m going to write an update about positive, happy things that i’m just ecstatic about, but until that time, we’re going to keep raging at all this goddamn nonsense i keep seeing on this here internet. it’s a mess, people, quite a mess.

ecstatic dog and some red pandas
meanwhile, this dog is waiting on a red-panda-funded payday that is PROBABLY never going to happen

Couple are ordered to pay surrogate mother £568 a month for the baby they will never see

sometimes it’s nice when i can produce a story wherein the legal system does something COMPLETELY ridiculous… and then it turns out that it’s not the American legal system we’re actually talking about. i know, i know, this is something that can be hard to believe, and yet it occasionally happens. this is one of those rare occasions:

“A couple who lost custody of their baby daughter to her surrogate mother have been ordered to hand over more than £500 a month maintenance for the child.”

now, the matter of being a surrogate mother is a complicated one, and to be totally fair, i am sure it’s weird and ridiculous for everyone involved. being a surrogate mother who’s too attached to a child she’s carried to give it up may be one of those circumstances where i really cannot relate, but can attempt to academically appreciate it, right?

“Today they spoke of their disgust that they would be forced to pay for someone else to raise the child they will never see. The father, a leading chef, said the decision by the Child Support Agency ‘added insult to injury’ and that he would appeal against it.”

hmmm… so this doesn’t seem EXACTLY like one of those “last minute thoughts” situations… but again, i’m sure there’s a lot of emotions involved, and maybe everyone’s just extra tense… and a little sensitive… and the hurt feelings are coming out? maybe?

“He and his wife, who had suffered six late-stage miscarriages including four sets of twins, used a surrogacy website to find a single mother of two on benefits who was willing to carry the baby they longed for. They made an informal agreement to pay her £10,000 in expenses.”

ouch. well, okay, the miscarriages thing is pretty bad as well. but what really makes me wince is the notice of the phrase “informal agreement.” seriously, i wouldn’t recommend you loan your good friends money without something approaching a formal agreement; i would damn sure tell anyone about to pay a woman to have their baby inside her to get SOMETHING on paper before everything got so serious.

“But halfway through the pregnancy she decided she wanted to keep the baby and a judge ordered that the woman, who was also the biological mother, could keep the child despite her earlier promise.”

but of course.

“The couple … later relinquished their contact rights because they said it would be too difficult emotionally and that it was unfair for the baby to be split between two homes [and] allowed the surrogate, known as Miss N, to keep the £4,500 they had already given to her. But now Mr W must also pay £568 in child support every month as the biological father of the eight-month-old girl.”

which is something like, if i do the math correctly, $924 a month for a baby that the man has a) no contact with and b) would certainly never have had with this woman were it not for the surrogacy arrangement. which is surely the unfair rub that a court HAS to recognize, right? that this woman should essentially not be able to back out of the agreement –and remember, the court didn’t dispute the agreement, but rather, simply said it was cool to back out of it– AND still claim support for the child, right?

“She cannot say, “I am keeping your child and now you must pay for it,” he said.”

well, that’s where you appear to be wrong, reasonable-thinking dude. although i am going to be honest: writing and requesting “a change in the law” does not seem like the most efficient way to handle this situation.

“Mr W said he now suspected it may have been Miss N’s plan all along to have a child with a wealthy man from whom she could claim child support over the next 18 years. ‘We should have seen the signs when she started asking for more than we had agreed. I don’t think this was ever about her suddenly wanting to keep the baby, I think this was about getting an income.'”

well, okay, perhaps we’re being negative and, despite the fact that this was very rough on Mr. and Mrs. W, there really was a deeper level of attachment between Miss N and the child? tab this remark, because we’re going to need to refer to it later.

“After she and her husband contacted her via a website, Miss N agreed to be inseminated with Mr W’s sperm, meaning they were both the baby’s biological parents.”

let me also note that, in my humble opinion, meeting a surrogate through a website ranks right up there with “informal agreement” on my list of “things that are likely to become serious problems for you later in the process of hiring a woman to carry your baby.”

“But the relationship between the two parties turned sour after Miss N apparently began asking for more money. Three months before the baby was due, she sent a text message to the couple to say she was keeping the child.”

see, and that’s just mean. if you’re going to tell someone you’re keeping their baby despite your prior agreement and you still expect them to pay for your beer and cig- i mean, to pay for your baby’s clothes and food, you should at LEAST give them the courtesy of not doing it through a text message. at LEAST pick up the phone and let them hear your voice as you extort them for more money, you know?

“In July last year she gave birth to baby T and a bitter six-month custody battle ensued.
Miss N accused Mr W of being violent towards his wife, which the couple denied. They accused Miss N of neglecting her sons and of living in a filthy home.”

oh… i see… Miss N already HAS multiple sons. huh. and of course, and forgive my sexism, but i also note that having multiple sons has not encouraged her to become anything approaching a MRS. N. huh. still, surely a woman with a house full of dirty sons wouldn’t be so callous as to get impregnated by a random couple purely to extort money out of them down the line, right?

“At the time, Mr Justice Baker warned that the risks of entering into a surrogacy agreement were ‘very considerable.’ Surrogacy agreements are not legally binding in court, even with a formal written contract.”

so then i guess when we said “informal agreement” earlier, we actually should have said “infor- eh, actually, as formal as it gets, given the weird law” instead of implying there was more this couple COULD have done to get legal support for the arrangement. not that THAT matters. anyway, call me bitter, but i have to be honest: i expected something like this to be happening in San Francisco, not the UK. not my precious UK!

but let me not stop my outrage with the poor decisions of people with only British people…

seven-year-old girl getting plastic surgery
plastic surgery: now you too can solve all of your children’s problems in life with a simple medical procedure! oh wait…

girl has plastic surgery to prevent bullying

i should have known when i ragged on that one article where the woman got plastic surgery that she didn’t need so that she could wear designer shoes that this circumstance of “poor plastic surgery decisions that anger janklow” would continue. maybe next week we’ll discuss all those random ladies who keep dying after wanna-be medical dudes shoot their asses full of mysterious chemicals for cosmetic purposes? anyway, let’s focus:

“How far would you go to spare your child from being the victim of bullying?”

now, i would think that the correct answer(s) should be limited to “letting your child go to a different school” or “beating the hell out of the bully’s father to even the karmic balance of the universe,” or at least things along those lines. it’s true that some of us don’t have the upper-body strength or assortment of powerful kicks to just go around beating up poor parents… although luckily i don’t have that problem! anyway, you know where this is going; this kid’s mother went for option C:

“One South Dakota mom allowed her seven-year-old daughter to get plastic surgery to have her ears pinned back after she was teased about them.”

once again: how is this not taking place in California? or even New York? really, South Dakota? my understanding of your culture was that you were composed primarily of Native Americans and hearty pioneer stock the size of Brock Lesnar… but apparently you have decided to surprise me with a healthy dose of disappointment. but besides that, my MAJOR objection is that this whole thing is counterproductive for many reasons:

“Telling her story on Good Morning America (and thereby subjecting her daughter to further scrutiny)”-

01. it simply exposes her child to a GREATER amount of bullying.
and actually, i don’t think it will increase that much, as the percent of kids who are sincere assholes is probably not going to increase, nor will the percentage of not-truly-mean kids who are just going with the flow. but this IS going to make her more widely known as “that little girl with the huge ears.” good job, caring mother!

“-Cammy Shaw acknowledged that her fellow adults actually tended to be meaner than their kids, but defended the operation: “This was a preventative way, so she wouldn’t get bullied.””

02. this doesn’t seem to address the larger problem. and also…
03. this doesn’t stop any bullying by any kids that are already aware of the situation.
so for one thing, if parents are being mean, this doesn’t address that at all, since they’re fully aware of what’s going on and will PROBABLY be making fun of both mother and daughter now. and for another, won’t the kids just continue to bully her on the grounds that she’s “the girl that used to have big ears, but now had plastic surgery because her fat mom was embarrassed about how ugly her daughter was?” see how easy this is?

“Samantha, all cheerful sweetness with her blond bob, tells the camera, “I really don’t like people asking about my ears.”

good thing that’ll be nipped in the bud by your mother taking you on NATIONAL TELEVISION regarding this matter. oh, anyway, we were giving reasons.

04. it sends children the wrong message.
full disclosure time: i am a short guy. now, i wasn’t much bullied, if at all, as a child, partially because i had some larger friends and partially because i would like to believe that i am a fairly likeable guy. but the thing is, you get bullied for reasons like “being short” sometimes. and you can’t just run out and get plastic surgery for THAT, not like you can for ears, anyway. instead, you appreciate the fact that you’re you, and you have good qualities DESPITE your shortcomings, and that some kids are just going to be fucking assholes. oh… now we’re getting all sugary and sentimental in here…

“Statistics show that plastic surgery is on the rise for teenagers. And studies suggests that young people seek out plastic surgery most often to help boost their self-esteem or to avoid bullying.”

05. this is not really even about bullying, but about all that self-esteem nonsense.
which is my largest beef with American society. look, cosmetic plastic surgery is fine and well for the free man and woman who can afford it, but we should draw the line somewhere, and it should PROBABLY be around the point where kids, who are still fucking GROWING, are getting it to boost their self-esteem. i am assuming that there’s a legion of parents buying into this ‘self-esteem is the most important thing’ garbage, but not being able to make their sad kids feel better, and not wanting to put in the effort, and just resorting to cutting a check for the surgery. fucking disgusting.

oh, and let’s not forget…
you have no idea what your daughter will look like when she’s older. her ears might have been totally fine. but now we’ll never REALLY know, because you’ve decided to have a medical professional chop and alter them because you’re afraid a bully might call your daughter “jug-eared,” and you lack the intellectual ability to explain life to her, or make her feel better, and you’re too fucking stupid to know any better. NOT THAT I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS.

okay, let’s end on a slightly lighter note:

Louis Farrakhan
actually, if anyone on Earth HAS actually been on a UFO, i could see Farrakhan being that guy

Nation of Islam looks to UFOs to save the world

let me be honest: i think the Nation of Islam got Malcolm X killed, and i do not hold them in particularly high esteem. and i think Farrakhan is a crazy person, although it would be fair to say that in the mix he and the NOI have occasionally espoused decent ideas (self-discipline, for example, is a great concept for everyone to have) and sold me tasty bean pies. so i’m not going to pile on or make this a big “the NOI sucks” diatribe; i just have some questions about their UFO theories… and there was this recent article…

“And on top of all that, UFOs are an important aspect of the teachings of the NOI. Elijah Muhammad gave detailed accounts of a gigantic Earth-orbiting “Mother Plane” equipped with many weapons, but it’s never been clear what takes place on board this ship.”

i mention this to mainly give you a taste that this is not merely some “we think aliens may have propagated the earth with original life” type of theory that i might find personally unbelievable but also difficult to disprove. we’re going to a whole other level of “what the hell is going on here.”

“But it’s not aliens flying around in these things, they say. Nation of Islam mythology teaches that the circular craft were somehow built by humans on Earth, many centuries ago, reportedly under the guidance of God. According to the story, the original “wheel” was built by scientists on what is now the island of Japan, at a cost of $15 billion in gold. And, so the tale goes, these original UFOs were used to create mountains on Earth.”

oh, well, this makes sense, what with ancient Japanese black dudes making this ship to make mount- NO, IT FUCKING DOES NOT. anyway, that’s the deal: it’s likely that some of this stuff was originally tossed out there as a self-esteem move (in line with the whole “achievements by blacks have been hidden or stolen for years” idea, but with WAY more crazy) and then was embellished from there until people were talking about gigantic magical “mother planes.”

“Part of the problem with all of this is that it raises more questions than it answers:”


“Who really had the technological know-how millennia ago to make circular craft that could perform impossible aerial maneuvers? What happened to these ships? Are they the UFOs that are reported today? Why build these things just to make mountains?”

the last one is actually the best, because it’s basically saying, “we’re not going to argue about ancient Japanese black dudes making them… we’re not going to argue about them hovering in space… we just want you to explain why the fuck you’d make them to make mountains.”

“Referring to the countless UFO stories over the decades that people have dared talk about, Farrakhan told a huge group in Chicago at the recent annual Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day, “Many have died or have been killed to keep from sharing what they have seen.””

yes, Farrakhan thinks there’s a vast conspiracy to cover up this Mother Plane… despite the fact that something so powerful would hardly be able to be easily suppressed. and yes, he thinks the UFOs will destroy the world on Judgment Day because, let’s be honest, when you believe in a more out-there religion, you kind of HAVE to expect such a dramatic end to the whole mess. and sure, they see to think that the FBI “took all of the files that he had, including detailed diagrams on these UFOs.” but it can get even crazier!

“During a speech from last year’s Saviours’ Day convention in Chicago, Farrakhan spoke of a 1985 vision or encounter he claims to have had with “the wheel,” or UFO. He told his followers how he’d been taken aboard the craft where he heard Elijah Muhammad talk to him.”

and yet none of this can be proven thanks to a carefully orchestrated government conspiracy. that’s lucky.

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