Monday, February 19, 2007

Fur Children--UPDATE

UPDATE: Quick note--the picture was taken on my Sony Digital at the Houston Zoo and through a window. When my kids act like beasts, I remind them of the Orangutan mama and say something to the effect, "You know, she seemed like a really nice Mama. I'm sure she'd take good care of you." To which they cry, "No, no! Mama! We don't want to live at the Zoo!" See, you can't do that with Fur Children.

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I've talked about "breeders" before--that lovely name given to women who have children and "waste" their potential. Well a new term describes those who have forgone human breeding to raise "alternative children": Fur Children.

What are fur children? Well, here's some and here's some more. And here is some estate planning for your fur children.

In lieu of human children, how about Fur Children? You know, like Oprah!

Oprah and Stedman have a deep, dark family secret: They have a daughter! She has "issues" and Oprah thinks it's her fault. Only one man can help!
Ed Driscoll titles his post about this issue "And Thus, Mark Steyn's Next Column Writes Itself" and says:
In the Bay Area, I remember hearing the phrase "fur children" to describe pets as far back as 2000--or maybe even the late 1990s. And it's not at all a coincidence that while the number of "fur children" in the area may be rising, in 2005, AP wrote that "San Francisco has the smallest share of [human] small-fry of any major U.S. city", adding, "Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under."
Glenn Reynolds is uncomfortable with the term "Fur Children":
Great science fiction plot: Hostile aliens infect humanity with a virus that causes us to lavish parental attention on animals instead of human offspring, as a means of extinguishing the human race without a messy invasion. But it's just a science fiction plot. Isn't it?

UPDATE: Stephen Carter emails:

I spotted your item today about "fur children". In P. D. James's novel The Children of Men, set in a world in which no children can be born, there are two scenes involving women caring for pets as if they were babies -- not only walking them in strollers, but actually having them baptized -- and the narrator tells us that this is common behavior. I suppose the symbolism (to say nothing of the psychology) was too complex to risk trying to put this in the film.

What's funny is that behavior intended to symbolize an apocalyptic state has now become semi-normal.

Does anyone see the irony of people intent on leaving huge legacies to the world, but they literally have no progeny to continue them? I've always thought that was one of the great things about having children: they are a form of immortality. Plus, you don't have to be rich to have them or a legacy.

And, having dearly loved my pets, I can assure you that my perspective dramatically changed once I had a child. How silly to even give a pet the appellation "child". They are no such thing and it demeans human children to approach animals that way. More monkeying with the language, but also an indication of a child's status in this society.

2 comments:

Christy're said...

I think in the absence of children, pets can fill a vital emotional role in a person's life. My husband and I joke that our dog is our "test baby," as we became more parental with the responsibility of caring for a being who couldn't talk to us. I think we are much more prepared to be real parents than we were before we got our dog--if anything because we now tend to hurry home, organize our lives to spend time with the dog (and each other), and pay a nanny when we go out of town without him. Obviously our dog is not really a child but I think having him first gave us a chance to prepare ourselves a bit for the parenthood we knew would come.

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