I have been reading all of the responses to TIME Magazine’s “Childfree Life” cover story and recently came across one written by Chris Jeub, a father of 16 children. Rebuttal to Lauren Sandler’s “Childfree Life” Out of all of the reactions to this article, I think this one bothered me the most due to his gross misinterpretation of what the author was trying to say. Starting from the opening paragraph, Chris set the tone for the rest of the article and it just gets worse from there.
He begins with this bit of arrogance:
I’m a bit offended. TIME didn’t call me for a rebuttal. I have 16 children — and I’m a debate coach to boot — and would have loved the opportunity to rebut Lauren Sandler’s article “The Childfree Life.”
Do you really think so highly of yourself that you are offended when TIME magazine doesn’t give you a call? Why would TIME want a rebuttal from you when one is not warranted? The author is telling stories of people living happy lives without children. It is not an article weighing the pro’s and con’s of having children nor was it intended to be a debate. I wonder how many childfree couples Chris and his wife interviewed during their period of writing “extensively about the joys of more than one” child?
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might will definitely turn into a long and somewhat off topic post, but it’s something I feel the need to talk about here and I promise tattoos are a part of it. I believe this will also lead to an expansion of topics I cover on this blog.
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a website giving advice to women in their 30′s looking to get married. What lead me there was the discovery that one of the people commenting on the article was claiming that “…women that don’t want kids either cant or are lying.” My wife and I have decided not to have children, and I’m an active member of an online childfree (CF) community. I have spoken with and interacted with quite a few women who say they never had the desire for children and knew it even at an early age, so I wanted to set the record straight by telling this guy that his statement was blatantly false.
What followed was one of the longest, most ridiculous and entertaining debates I have ever participated in with topics ranging from having children, abortion, tattoos, atheism, childhood abuse, marriage, divorce, to the downfall of ancient Rome and society in general.
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This is not related to tattoos at all, but very relevant to some of the comments I have been receiving on the blog lately.
Click here for a more detailed description of each of the levels of the hierarchy.
If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:
This is the lowest form of disagreement, and probably also the most common. We’ve all seen comments like this:
u r a fag!!!!!!!!!!
But it’s important to realize that more articulate name-calling has just as little weight. A comment like
The author is a self-important dilettante.
is really nothing more than a pretentious version of “u r a fag.”
Over the last few days I have noticed someone named Elijah Greenleaf has left this comment, or some variation of it, in response to almost every single tattoo article I read.
Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28. Tattoos are on the people who didn’t get the word of the Lord!
I have come to expect someone to quote Leviticus every time tattoos are mentioned, so this isn’t really a shock to me. But the latest article he responded to was a very touching story of a family who lost a 6 year old child to cancer and all got tribute tattoos. You can read that story here.
The first and only comment so far is from Elijah, spouting his coveted Leviticus quote, condemning tattoos. I cannot think of a less appropriate time to shove scripture down someone throat. I find this complete lack of compassion to be absolutely disgusting. A family is mourning the death of a child and you think the appropriate response is to condemn them for getting tattooed, all in the name of the Lord?
Would you show up to a funeral and harass everyone wearing a suit made from 2 kinds of fabric?
“‘Keep my decrees. “‘Do not mate different kinds of animals. “‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. “‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. -Leviticus 19:19
There is a time and a place for everything. Throwing the bible in the faces of a family in mourning is NOT the time. Show some respect, because you are making yourself and your religion look bad.
What happened to this passage:
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. -Leviticus 19:18
Oh, I must have forgotten about the fine print where it says that says this rule doesn’t apply if your neighbor happens to be gay, has tattoos or believes in another god. How foolish of me.
I think it’s time that the old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” needs a revision. I just can’t agree that you should be silenced if you have nothing nice to say. As long as you are capable of making an intelligent argument, the message doesn’t necessarily need to be a nice one.
I’m always up for a good debate and try to base my arguments on information that is accurate and truthful. While sitting in front of a computer, there is no excuse for posting “facts” that can easily be proven wrong with a quick Google search. So, why is it that the comment forms on internet news columns always seem to attract the self-proclaimed experts on everything?
I recently came across this comment in an article discussing the outrage of Lisa Khoury’s recent column.
As for tattoos and piercings: The reaction of people who don’t like tattoos and piercings is a visceral fact of the human condition that tattooed and pierced people will have to accept -they will never win. That visceral reaction is a force of nature, an instinct greater than any “righteous” claim to self-expression. The friction goes back to the human epoch of tribalhood. Tattoos and body piercings were warnings to outsiders that you are looking at the enemy.
My first reaction was, “where the hell is he getting this nonsense from?”, so I posted the following response.
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