Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Runaway Mom

Remember the Tiger Mom? A stern disciplinarian, a demanding perfectionist, Amy Chua spent an ungodly amount of time doing everything she could to ensure that her girls would be and do their best.

Remember the reaction to the Tiger Mom? American mothers and their defenders denounced the Tiger Mom for not allowing her daughters to have enough fun.

You would have thought that piano lessons were an exotic Oriental torture, a new form of child abuse invented by an authoritarian culture.

As Tiger Mom’s daughter was playing the piano in Carnegie, righteous Americans were horrified that the girl had learned the value of hard work and discipline.

Clearly, Tiger Mom hit an exposed nerve. Faced with a different culture that held different values and that brought up children differently, Americans reacted defensively. They were not going to abandon their own self-esteemist parenting because some Confucian in New Haven was raising her children differently.

As was clear from the debate, Americans do understand that their children are falling behind their peers in East Asian countries. For now they have chosen to respond by defending the transcendent virtue of the American way of education.

Of course, the picture of American mothering is not entirely as easy going and laissez-faire as the debate over the Tiger Mom would have you believe.

Before the Tiger Mom there was the Helicopter Mom. As you know, this term of derision was invented to cast aspersions on mothers who were actively involved in their children’s lives.

The New York version of the Helicopter Mom has placed her children in a private school whose homework requirements often surpass what the Tiger Mom demands. Just like the Tiger Mom, the Helicopter Mom hovers with vigilance over her children because she distrusts the messages and the values that the culture is transmitting to them.

Both the Tiger Mom and the Helicopter Mom received a good measure of scorn and contempt.

But what about the Runaway Mom? I am referring to the case of Rahna Rieko Rizzuto, a woman who abandoned her children, aged 3 and 5, to go to Japan for several months to interview survivors of the atomic bomb. Link here.

As it happens, most people do not approve of Runaway Mom. Abandoning your children does not sit well with most normal human beings. Especially when done by a mother.

Yet, feminists like Anna North at Jezebel have seized on Rizzuto’s unhappy experience to advance their cause. You see, they are unhappy that society is casting aspersions on Rizzuto, even stigmatizing her.

North, and, I suspect, other feminists, never miss an opportunity to attack basic human values. Anything to promote their ideology.

So, while the world wants to stigmatize the Tiger Mom and to ridicule the Helicopter Mom, feminism wants to destigmatize the Runaway Mom.

Seen through the feminist lens, there is no fundamental difference between mothers and fathers, or men and women. Somehow one imagines that little children do know the difference. Rizzuto’s children are brave, but they feel abandoned. They might know that she has left them to pursue a project that could, after all, be done by an awful lot of other people. And that would have been done better by someone who spoke Japanese. Rizzuto did not.

If marriage is a patriarchal plot and if motherhood is nothing but a social construct designed to prevent women from fulfilling their true human potential, then Runaway Mom must be something of a feminist heroine. She is, after all, putting her career ahead of her family.

For feminism this seems to be yet another lifestyle choice. For non-feminists it feels like pure self-indulgence.

Rizzuto defends herself on the grounds that her husband encouraged her to go to Japan. As Rizzuto tells the story, when she, living in Brooklyn, was offered the opportunity to spend a few months in Japan, her husband encouraged her to go, even insisted that she go.

One needs to say it clearly, because the thought does not seem to make its way into Rizzuto’s consciousness, but she is responsible for her actions, regardless of what her husband said.

Apparently, her husband was also a feminist, and had bought into feminist gender bending. Neither was sufficiently aware of what happens in the real world when a woman abandons home and hearth and children.

If you don’t mind a little moral philosophy, the fact that two or more people agree than an action is right and good does not make it right and good.

Values do not just dissipate into the ether because a couple of people have chosen to ignore them. Values have a life of their own, and they do not much care whether your advanced consciousness believes that it is no longer bound by them.

We have all heard, too often, of couples who decided that it is good to have extramarital affairs, of various sizes and shapes, only to discover, often too late, that said actions provoke a flood of negative emotions that they cannot control. These negative emotions often end up destroying their relationship.

However you want to explain their existence, these negative emotions do not care that both members of the couple, sentient adults as they are, agreed to do this, that, and the other thing, with this one, that one, and the other one.

As for Rizzuto‘s marriage, it survived exactly one month of her sojourn. Agreements and encouragement and insistence made no difference.

The marriage floundered on the shoals of a new, therapy induced, value system. In that system, right and wrong are bogus; responsibility and duty are ploys designed to keep women in their place. The only thing that really matters is how badly you want something.

You may not believe it, but that is what Rizzuto says. When it comes times to rationalize her actions, she claims that she never wanted to have children anyway, and besides, the said children are no longer inside her, so she, as an independent, liberated woman can do as she pleases.

She did not want to have children, but her husband did want them. She just went along for the ride. As soon as they passed through her birth canal, her responsibility ended.

She can abandon them without concern, because there is no substantive difference between mothers and fathers; the only substantive difference lies in who wanted them more.

You can see that mixing feminist principles with the therapy culture produces a witches brew that causes people to make some very bad decisions.

At no point does Rizzuto ask herself what is best for the children or whether she has any responsibility toward them.

The great thing about ideology is that nothing can possibly disprove it. If you live your life according to feminist ideology and things turn out badly, the fault cannot really be with feminism, and besides, things did not turn out badly.

With an almost Panglossian naivete feminists who make a hash of their lives tend to declare that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

In Rizzuto’s world, and in the value system that Anna North is peddling, she ended up being a better mother.

One might say that considering where she started, it was not too much of a challenge. Yet, her story is being published and disseminated in order to tell women that they can abandon their children as they wish, that there is no moral imperative to being a mother to her children, that a woman can go off to find herself regardless of the effect it has on her marriage or family, and that, none of us should judge her ill for her decisions.

In a way that is the worst part of the story. People will actually believe that following one’s bliss and being an irresponsible parent is going to make you a better parent.

Unfortunately, Rizzuto has now announced to the world that she did not really want her children, and that she had no real compunctions about abandoning them. How do you think that that little piece of information will affect her children as they grow up? And, not to be too judgmental, but what kind of mother announces in public that she never wanted to have her children?


Anonymous said...

when is the legal profession going to find a way to monetize the damage to lives being done by feminism?

it can't be far off, can it?

JP said...

Stuart says:

"Yet, her story is being published and disseminated in order to tell women that they can abandon their children as they wish, that there is no moral imperative to being a mother to her children, that a woman can go off to find herself regardless of the effect it has on her marriage or family, and that, none of us should judge her ill for her decisions."

I think it's being published, in part, to drive up hits on Salon and excite the letter writers.

That one had over 100 letters, which is a pretty good for Salon. I enjoy reading Salon letters far more than I enjoy reading Salon articles.

Anonymous said...

TO: All
RE: Well....

....Rizzuto has now announced to the world that she did not really want her children, and that she had no real compunctions about abandoning them. -- Stuart Schneiderman

....I guess it's a good thing that she didn't just outright KILL THEM before taking off. As some other infamous 'runaway moms' did their children.

Some woman in North Carolina puts her children in a car and drives it into a lake. One in Texas drowns them, one-by-one in the bath tub.

How do you think that that little piece of information will affect her children as they grow up? -- Stuart Schneiderman

They'll likely need a LOT of therapy in order to be good parents themselves.


[You know you were a good parent if your grand-children turn out alright.]

Anonymous said...

Good moms, bad moms, tiger, helicopters, runaways. Wow, they are so powerful. So this woman is vilified for "running away" for a few months to do an article in Japan. I had a friend who as an HR exec, spent 180 days a year away from home; I have a cousin who works in Ohio from Monday through Friday (he lives in CT). Are leaves unnatural fathers, supported by the cabal of rabid, masculinist extremists bent on destroying moral values? Why are women singled out and men ignored in this debate? Either it is negative for both or acceptable to both.

Anonymous said...

TO: Anonymouse [the Feminist]
RE: Soooo.....

....tell US all when you're going to go down to your local recruiter and take a 'burst of six', as we call it in the Army, to go over and defend all of US against the Islamofascists that want to perform 'female circumcision' on you and your daughters.

Hope that helps....


[Sleep well tonight, knowing that rough men are prepared to do violence on your behalf, so you and your family can do so.]

Anonymous said...

P.S It's a 'dirty' job.....

Ever try to run an amoebic dysentery ward in the middle of a triple-canopy jungle? It's 'messy'. You really don't know—for sure—WHAT you're 'shoveling' while trying to make a latrine.

Looking forward to your 'enlistment'.....

Anonymous said...

TO: Anonymouse [the Feminist]
RE: Example of Runaway Moms

My second wife 'runaway' literally. when our daughter was two years old.

I took her and my elder daughter, from a previous marriage, on a ski trip with friends. The younger, unable to ski, was given to day care at the resort.

One hour into my skiing with my elder daughter, I heard my name being called over the resort's PA system.

Checking in with the Information Desk, upon getting off the slope, I was told to go to the Day Care Center. THERE, my daughter was suffering from CRITICAL FEAR OF ABANDONMENT. No mother. No father. NOTHING the staff could do could distract her from the trauma she was experiencing.

We spent the rest of the day in the lodge drinking hot cocoa (mine with peppermint schnapps) by the fire, until the rest of the group had finished for the day.

I doubt if her mother had been around—enjoying the skiing expedition—the Day Care experience would have been so traumatic.


[The Truth wil out....not that feminists will enoy it.]

P.S. What did you think of that YouTube item a couple of doors back down the hallway from here?

Anonymous said...

P.S. Additionally....and more sucinctly....

Americans in 1950 rediscovered something that since Hiroshima they had forgotten: you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud.

The object of warfare is to dominate the earth, with its peoples, for causes just or unjust. It is not to destroy the land and people, unless you have gone wholly mad.
-- T.R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War

Anonymous said...

[Continued from previous posting....]

T.R. Fehrenbach was a high school teacher of history when the Korean War broke out. He was also an officer in an infantry unit of the Army Reserve component. His unit was mobilized. He spent the entire war 'in theater'. When his unit was demobilized after the cease fire, he went back to teaching and decided to write this book.

When I was attending the Infantry Officers Advanced Course (IOAC) EVERY GENERAL OFFICER who came to address the assembled classes at Benning School for 'Boys'—IOAC and IOBC (the Basic crowd)—said, "READ THIS BOOK!"

And they were RIGHT!


[History repeats itself. That's the problem with History.]

Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman
RE: [OT] Blogger....


More to follow....if I can get it to show up.


[Consistent user-interface is the hobgoblin of a good operating system.]

Anonymous said...

TO: All
RE: Heh

ANOTHER 'Blogger' foul-up. The previous post—the one before the previous P.S.—didn't appear. So here it is AGAIN.....

TO: All....Especially Anonymouse
RE: History Lesson of the Day

I like the way T.R. Fehrenbach puts it....

Pushbotton war has its place. There is another kind of conflict—crusade, jihad, holy war, call it what you choose. It has been loosed before, with attendant horror but indecisive results. In the past, there were never means enough to exterminate all the unholy, whether Christians, Moslems, Protestant, Papist, or Communist. If jihad is preached again, undoubtedly the modern age will do much better.

Americans, denying from moral grounds that war can ever be a part of politics, inevitably tend to think in terms of holy war—against militarism, against fascism, against bolshevism. In the postwar age, uneasy, disliking and fearing the unholiness of Communism, they have prepared for jihad. If their leaders blow the trumpet, or if their homeland is attacked, their millions are agreed to be better dead than Red.

[Continued in next comment....]

Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman
RE: [OT] Blooger OS

If the preceding disjointed presentation irritates you, blame it on Blogger. REAL blogging operating systems don't experience this sort of 'issues'.


[Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Geniuses remove it.]

Dennis said...

You are trying to have a dialogue with a woman who has already abandon any responsibility for her actions. Her answer to every question is that men did it.
Boo Hoo that one might spend sometime in the jungle doing their job. I am trying to think of anyone I know in the military who spent any time trying to make doing their job heroic.
Being a feminist is never having to take responsibility for your actions and always blaming men for your incompetence or failures.

Dennis said...

I meant and/or. Expecting responsibility from feminists is like expecting Eric Holder to understand equal justice under the law. Neither Holder nor feminists have the capacity to embrace or wherewithal to understand.

Anonymous said...

TO: Dennis
RE: As I Was Saying....

Expecting responsibility from feminists is like expecting Eric Holder to understand equal justice under the law. Neither Holder nor feminists have the capacity to embrace or wherewithal to understand. -- Dennis

....Psychosis, n., a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

Or even worse, deliberate, willful action.


[Insanity takes its toll. Please have exact change ready.]

Retriever said...

Hi Stuart, and co. Started to comment then Just posted this.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Retriever, for linking a great column. For those who do not read through all the comments I just reposted your remarks separately. They give us a much needed perspective about how it feels to be the child of a runaway mother. Clearly, the runaway mother herself did not really give the matter too much thought.