Baby Gucci and the Death of Self-Governance

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Because nothing sells like contempt for other people's consumption choices, Pamela Paul has written a book called PARENTING, INC. How We Are Sold on $800 Strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Language, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers — And What It Means for Our Children. From Kate Zernike's New York Times review:

As Pamela Paul chronicles in her occasionally frightening account, "Parenting, Inc.," my generation of parents has fallen into the grips of Big Baby. Pushed by a host of factors — the guilt and exhaustion of working parents, the dispersion of family networks that once passed knowledge from generation to generation, the pressure of admissions from preschool to college, and a culture that worships all things celebrity (including its offspring) — we are intimidated or bamboozled into buying all sorts of goods and services that we not only don't need, but that may harm our children…

"It may sound like a leap to go from baby toys to the death of democracy, but it's a valid concern," she approvingly quotes a child advocate saying. "A democratic populace relies on people who know how to think critically, who are willing and able to take action."

The pictured diamond-studded, democracy-killing faux nipple can be had for a mere $17,000.

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82 responses to “Baby Gucci and the Death of Self-Governance

  1. Looks like something Janet Jackson would wear.

  2. The fact that the author exists and people are buying her book is evidence that there are people thinking critically and can take action. Where do I sign up to write a book that’s very publication and success defeats the message of the book?

  3. And this is different from 10 years ago how?

    Or 20, 50, 100 years ago?

    Besides the fact that every child coming into the US today are truely wanted by their mothers.

  4. Some consumption choices deserve contempt. But as far as I can tell, the only people buying that overpriced, unnecessary junk are people with money to burn on overpriced, unnecessary junk. Paul would have done better to write a self-help book on avoiding dumb parenting fads and being a smart shopper than a jeremiad on the fate of democracy.

  5. Whats her beef with baby sign. That stuff is extremely cool, i mean the kid can tell you what he wants instead of just screaming and making you guess. What’s the downside?

  6. we are intimidated or bamboozled into buying all sorts of goods and services that we not only don’t need, but that may harm our children

    Who is this “we”? Oh yeah, rich folks with too much money on their hands.

    Ever hear of freecycle? Or your local recycling center? Or yard sales? Buying new stuff for kids is a sucker’s game.

  7. And don’t even get her started on pets.

  8. Yeah, ever since the common man could afford to buy more than the one suit of clothing a person truly needs, democracy’s been going straight to hell.

  9. “It may sound like a leap to go from baby toys to the death of democracy…”

    Yep.

    “A democratic populace relies on people who know how to think critically…”

    Well, I think you’re full of shit, Ms. Paul. How’s that?

  10. Besides the fact that every child coming into the US today are truely wanted by their mothers.

    Read that back to yourself and ask “Does this sound vaguely true?”

  11. Kerry,

    You’ll feel differently about the diamond-studded, democracy-killing faux nipples once you have children.

  12. There are many parents today who freak out way too much about their kids and providing them with every stupid fad that comes along, like Mozart Effect shit.

    It’s their money and they should do what they want. They are also idiots. Sorry, I won’t be feeling bad for having a little contempt, seeing as I would never attempt to control how they spend their money.

    I have contempt for people who play the lottery, too. I guess I’m just a jerk.

  13. Consumerism (in combination with special, low introductory rates) is the opiate of the people.

  14. I once had a conversation with a co-worker about my ex boss, who was very much into buying things like this. (She had paid $60,000 for some doors in her house, over $1,000 for a toaster, and $900 for some shoes.)

    My co-worker was incredulous. My point to her was that It’s all about proportion. Her husband was a doctor making > $1MM a year. If you’re making a million dollars a year, those $900 shoes are like $36 shoes, and the $1,000 toaster is like a $42 toaster for someone making $40,000.

  15. When the upper middle class start losing their over-leveraged homes, they’ll stop buying expensive shit for their children.

    Market Correction, coming to a neighborhood neaar you . . . .

  16. Epi – the Mozart effect parents at least get to listen to Mozart. If all they’re out is the money for a few CD’s, I don’t think that’s on a level with “I bought oceanfront property in Tennessee”.

  17. Perhaps she could have picked a shorter title, to reveal the re-writing of the same old Leftist ideas? Something like The Effluent Society perhaps?

  18. “Paul would have done better to write a self-help book on avoiding dumb parenting fads and being a smart shopper than a jeremiad on the fate of democracy.”

    Jacob, I’m looking for a ghost writer to write a book about people who buy stupid books about other people’s buying habits of buying stupid books.

  19. For all the histrionics behind the article, the overwhelming majority of parents out there figure out by month 4 of kid #1 that they have not the time, money or energy to waste on that crap.

    According to a recent news article, 1 out of 50 infants are neglected or abused.

    Neglecting kids is more of a problem than excessive doting will ever be.

  20. Jacob, I’m looking for a ghost writer to write a book about people who buy stupid books about other people’s buying habits of buying stupid books.

    Didn’t Colbert do a bit just like this a few months ago?

  21. I guess I’m just a jerk.

    Surely you have more certainty by now and aren’t just guessing.

    Making the leap from baby toys to the death of democracy makes Ted Gunderson look sane by comparison. At least Ted usually goes in small increments.

  22. semm: Whats her beef with baby sign. That stuff is extremely cool, i mean the kid can tell you what he wants instead of just screaming and making you guess. What’s the downside?

    Amen. Having seen that in action, my only guess is that she’s complaining about how much people pay experts to teach them baby-specific sign. However, most people without money to burn can spend a bit of time and teach their baby themselves.

    Another good example is the Dunstan Baby Language deal. You can spend $40+ bucks on their DVDs or you can just read what’s right there on the Wikipedia page. My aunt gave us the DVDs after we’d already read the information, and the only thing the DVDs do is make people who need to have a genial “expert” present them with new information feel more comfortable. For the record, I think the baby language concept is a good one, even though it mistakenly shoehorns the idea of “language” into what are essentially the infant’s audible reflexes.

  23. “Didn’t Colbert do a bit just like this a few months ago?”

    Not sure. I got nothing against the guy, but he’s just not funny.

  24. A democratic populace relies on people who know how to think critically, who are willing and able to take action.

    Well yes, those would be the people who brought us the “$800 Strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Language, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers”. Long live the peoples’ choices!

  25. Jacob, I’m looking for a ghost writer to write a book about people who buy stupid books about other people’s buying habits of buying stupid books.

    I’ll do it!

  26. Not sure. I got nothing against the guy, but he’s just not funny.

    But Lamar, if you made the exact same joke as he did, that makes you not funny, by default. Or was your delivery better? It’s hard to tell on the internet.

  27. I’ve always wanted to create a business based on the absurdity that people will actually buy the product I’m selling. Like a coffee shop with ridiculous names for drinks that has no respect for and openly mocks its customers… Or you know, something like Apple.

  28. We have a seven-week old daughter. The only thing I told my wife to register for was a diaper wipe warmer. Fuck democracy. 🙂

  29. “It may sound like a leap to go from baby toys to the death of democracy, but it’s a valid concern,”

    A leap? No, more like a jump into hyperspace and emerging a few billion light years out.

    I’m more concerned that there are people like you who are concerned.

  30. Madpad has the right idea here.

    The professional classes are having less children and they are having them later in life when they have large amounts of disposable income. The birth of a child has become a very big thing to these people because they often only have the one.

    When it comes down to it, children themselves are a consumption good these days. Does anyone really think that their kids are going to take care of them when they are old anymore? How many parents need children to help them run the farm in America these days? Not anyone in the referenced book. That diamond pacifier isn’t nearly as expensive of a luxury item as the kid is.

  31. “But Lamar, if you made the exact same joke as he did, that makes you not funny, by default.”

    I’m sure Colbert is not the first person to create a sentence with deprecating internal self-references that create a logical loop for comedic value.

  32. I’m sure Colbert is not the first person to create a sentence with deprecating internal self-references that create a logical loop for comedic value.

    See, now you’re not being funny again. I’m worried that this is a trend. Snap out of it, man.

  33. That diamond pacifier isn’t nearly as expensive of a luxury item as the kid is.

    We don’t NEED kids.
    No.
    We’ll do just fine without them.

  34. The only thing I told my wife to register for was a diaper wipe warmer.

    My two year old hasn’t had a warmed diaper wipe, and doesn’t seem to miss it. You may be able to put the cash for that minor luxury to better use (I reccomend Maker’s Mark).

    But baby sign language has been a life-saver. I knew a couple dozen signs from working with developmentally delayed children a few years ago, and the signs help not only the baby communicate with the parents, but the parents to communicate with each other instead of shouting “I think the baby pooped! Can you change him or shall I?” in church.

  35. “See, now you’re not being funny again. I’m worried that this is a trend. Snap out of it, man.”

    Actually, in my original post, I was highlighting a problem in the author’s logic. Maybe I should have been less colorful….

    Of course, Colbert is funnier that I am. That doesn’t mean he isn’t unoriginal, unfunny and popular for reasons aside from comedy.

  36. The baby wipe warmer is actually a green product.

    If you turn the thermostat on your house way down at night, when you get up to change the baby the wipes are cold as shit. It’s only “frivolous” if you aren’t the one having a 55 degree wet napkin dragged across your balls when you’re half asleep. To some people, it’s worth the couple of watts electricity the baby wipe warmer uses to be able to turn your heat way down in a guilt-free way.

    Complaining about baby wipe warmers is like complaining about sweaters or slippers. It isn’t the direct expense, lady.

  37. I dont do the Baby Gucci ( can’t/won’t afford it and wouldnt buy it regardless) but I do do the Baby Sign language thing. Have like a $5 book on it and it seems to work. What that has to do with diamond nipples and shit I don’t know. I guess it goes against the “traditional values” of beating your baby when she cries and to keep beating until she stops.

  38. “It may sound like a leap to go from baby toys to the death of democracy, but it’s a valid concern,”

    Maybe not, when you consider that the person who thinks that they’ll be bad parent if the don’t buy a baby wipe heater is also the type who demands laws to protect their children from every possible threat, no matter how remote.

  39. I dont do the Baby Gucci ( can’t/won’t afford it and wouldnt buy it regardless) but I do do the Baby Sign language thing.

    We watched a friend’s kid learn to sign…then do six months of speech therapy. Funk that. No sign language, so Mozart, no other new fangled crap for our kid. She’s just fine so far.

  40. fwiw, lamar, i wasn’t trying to insult you, just make conversation.

  41. KARI

    You don’t have to worry about one single thing, Mrs. Parr.
    I’ve got this baby-sitting thing wired. I’ve taken courses and learned CPR and
    I got excellent marks and certificates…

    HELEN (ELASTIGIRL)

    Kari.

    KARI

    I also brought Mozart to play while he sleeps to make him
    smarter because leading experts say Mozart makes babies smarter.

    HELEN (ELASTIGIRL)

    Kari…

    KARI

    And the beauty part is that the babies don’t even have to
    listen ’cause they’re asleep! You know, I wish my parents played Mozart when I
    slept because half the time I don’t even know what the heck anyone’s talking
    about.

  42. Because nothing sells like contempt for other people’s consumption choices

    On that subject, I just bought the most recent issue of adBusters. Here are some quotes; the theme this month was how “being cool” was hijacked by corporations. (You know, coolness? That thing you stopped caring about when you turned 12?)

  43. JH,

    One of my favorites along those lines are the folks at 2600 Magazine and their Off the Hook radio show, “the Libertarians just want the government to get weak enough for The Corporations to take over.”

  44. This is how the comment threads of the anti-organic food posts read, in Bizarro World.

  45. “fwiw, lamar, i wasn’t trying to insult you, just make conversation.”

    But you said I was less funny than Colbert, which means I need a defibrillator. And now everything I write will be taken for its lack of comedic value….

    Anyhow, these books that say “people are stupid drones” but are written and bought by people who are ostensibly NOT stupid drones but really are because they buy into the book fads…….somebody stop this.

  46. Warren, I spent too much time in the other forum defending my college degree. Can you explain your last post? I don’t get it.

  47. Lamar, see the Incredibles (and the short JackJack Attack). Best animated movie in the last decade or so.

  48. Of course I should probably say that it runs neck-and-neck with Ratatouille as the best two animated movies . . . .

  49. One of my favorites along those lines are the folks at 2600 Magazine and their Off the Hook radio show, “the Libertarians just want the government to get weak enough for The Corporations to take over.”
    oops, I never actually posted the quotes;

    “Even before you baby is born, a diaper arrives on your doorsteps, courtesy of Pampers. Once he opens his eyes, his childhood will be a whirlwind of logos and ads. School will be themed with endless commercials from sponsors. His heroes and role models will encourage him to buy products, By adolescence, he will have lost most of his original thoughts and emotions; he will look for his cues from the marketers who have been with him from the beginning of his life to decide how is to look, act, and feel.

    “We went to Costco to procure supplies for a big party. We had an extensive list to satisfy; grub, booze, etc. As we were navigating the crowded aisles, my stress was skyrocketing. Costco’s massive excess – food, electronics and clothing – was in total contraction of how we want to lie our lives. All of these people pushing their overflowing carts and trailers about with blank expressions: it was depressing. Not to mention the awful choices we were making – paper plates, plastic cups and imported Mexican beer [wait, what?]. Every item on our list was irresponsible. I was humiliated
    No amount of justification -and we tried -could assuage my guilt when measured against my hypocritical regard for people with trophy homes and SUVs. Wrong is wrong, no matter to what degree. We need to do better.”

    “Six months ago…a friend showed me the undercover factory farm videos at Meat.org. They painted a different picture than the one I was taught by the “farmers” who visited us in the third grade and held a petting zoo so we could see the chickens pecking with their whole beaks still atached and pigs happily grunting and rooting in the stray. The farmers handed out coloring books and fun facts about where our food comes from.
    BigAgra starts brainwashing from a young age; eat your meat, eat your meat, eat your meat. Every commercial break, a hamburger or meat sandwich. And milk? It does a body good. Got milk? Here’s my favorite celebrity with milk on her face. She’s smart. She’s not going to get osteoporosis. I want to be smart too. Why would Seventeen Magazine lie to me?
    I’m in my at the deceptions of corporations and big industries. They’re poising the food supply, telling me what I have to consume and selling me my own identity. I didn’t think marketing affected me. I didn’t see how the messages were sinking in. Normalizing the abnormal
    Justifying the absurd.

    and, my favorite;

    “Dear Adbusters,
    I had the pleasure of reading the Big Ideas (Adbusters #75) by candlelight while spending a few days alone in the rainforest we’re working to regenerate.”

  50. that post was kind of longer than I thought it would be :embarrassed:

  51. Jonathan Hohensee –
    If you’re trying to sell the book “Adbusters” on a libertarian blog, you just got a sale. What code do I put in when I order it so you get your commission? 🙂

  52. Amen on you animated film choices there, kinnath

  53. the theme this month was how “being cool” was hijacked by corporations.

    Breaking news from 1952. Those Adbusters guys are all over the bleeding edge, aren’t they?

  54. Drudge has a link to a Washington Post article by Ms. Paul on how having a third child is now seen as completely wasteful.

    Bitch!

  55. I live in northern Vermont. I have no heat in the bedrooms upstairs. They are typically in the low 50s in the winter. My kids would have loved the diaper wipe warmer.

    Would the adbusters dude say I’m a good parent or not?

    I feel so guilty…

  56. When threads get to the silly stage, I head for the real news…something to brighten my day.
    Lo and behold:

    PARIS – Security officials canceled the final run of the Olympic relay through Paris after chaotic protests Monday, sending a snuffed-out torch to its destination on a bus in a humiliating concession to protesters decrying China’s human rights record.

    The bus stopped right outside the final stop, a stadium, so a runner could finish the last 15 feet of the relay.

  57. I live in northern Vermont. I have no heat in the bedrooms upstairs. They are typically in the low 50s in the winter. My kids would have loved the diaper wipe warmer.

    Would the adbusters dude say I’m a good parent or not?

    I feel so guilty…

    Don’t, it’s not your fault; you where brainwashed into becoming a mindless consumer zombie. Feel free to wander the aisles of Wal Mart with glazed over eyes knowing full well that you don’t have responsibility over your actions or choices.

  58. PARIS – Security officials canceled the final run of the Olympic relay through Paris after chaotic protests Monday, sending a snuffed-out torch to its destination on a bus in a humiliating concession to protesters decrying China’s human rights record.

    The bus stopped right outside the final stop, a stadium, so a runner could finish the last 15 feet of the relay.

    It was snuffed out? Doesn’t that mean that the Olympic dream is now dead and the Olympics are officially over?

    /worse episode of Doctor Who ever

  59. ed,

    So there is a country more despised by the USA? How did Mr. Rove engineer that one? (last part is not directed at you)

  60. Amen on you animated film choices there, kinnath

    My kids are 32 and 29. Most of the Pixar movies came out after they were adults. I don’t even bother to tell people we get them for the grandkids. Pixar’s worst movie is far, far better than 90% of what shows in theaters today.

  61. It’s only “frivolous” if you aren’t the one having a 55 degree wet napkin dragged across your balls when you’re half asleep.

    I just laughed so hard I shit my pants a little bit.

  62. Speaking of silly people pointing at “excess”, a couple of weeks ago I was in Suffolk, VA behind one of those silly Honda “greenie” cars.

    License plate: “Peak Oil”
    Ron Paul bumper sticker.
    Some silly hippy bumper sticker trashing subdivision construction.
    Blue metallic, IIRC but can not be sure at this point.
    Slowed me down laughing.

  63. License plate: “Peak Oil”
    Ron Paul bumper sticker.
    Some silly hippy bumper sticker trashing subdivision construction.

    Should have an additional bumper sticker: “I’m not sure what the fuck I think about stuff.”

  64. To guard against people cutting me off, I load with my car with as much contradictory political bumper stickers as possible.
    My theory is that if my “You Can’t Hug Your Kids With Nuclear Arms” bumper sticker pisses someone off then my “Honk if You Love Fetuses” would even things out.

    And of course, if all else fails I also feature the most universal political affiliation of all; “Mean People Suck”

  65. It was snuffed out? Doesn’t that mean that the Olympic dream is now dead[?]

    Yes and no. They always keep one burning close by. And the Official Flame burns on in Greece. Not to mention the Double Secret Flame in Dean Wormer’s office. But the Chinese are Red. Faced.

  66. How We Are Sold on $800 Strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Language, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers – And What It Means for Our Children.

    Hey, I have contempt for these choices, too. But I’ll defend to the death your right to make them.

  67. Pixar’s worst movie is far, far better than 90% of what shows in theaters today.

    True dat. I’m eagerly awaiting Wall*E.

  68. True dat. I’m eagerly awaiting Wall*E.

    Just googled it. Looks so cool.

  69. My two year old hasn’t had a warmed diaper wipe, and doesn’t seem to miss it. You may be able to put the cash for that minor luxury to better use (I reccomend Maker’s Mark).

    Maker’s Mark is not a luxury.

    It is a staple in my house.

  70. “That diamond pacifier isn’t nearly as expensive of a luxury item as the kid is.”

    “We don’t NEED kids.
    No.
    We’ll do just fine without them.”

    But everything mk said is right. Kids are a luxury item. But how do you get from that statement to the idea that no one will have any? Diamonds are luxury items, and lots of people have them.

  71. Diamonds are luxury items, and lots of people have them.

    Not for Batman. He needs the Bat Diamond to run the Bat Computer. BTW, proven fact, he can kill Superman no problem.

  72. But everything mk said is right. Kids are a luxury item.

    Kids are not a luxury item. Anyone who’s ever had one knows there’s no luxury in it at all.

  73. And this is different from 10 years ago how?

    You don’t understand. We are, each of us, assigned to a pre-designated “generation”. Like the invention of interchangeable parts, making it possible for the press and pop-culture authors to produce thought-provoking books and articles for mass consumption.

  74. Paul,

    Your kids must not behave as well around you as mine has. I consider him a luxury, a bargain luxury at that.

  75. Whats her beef with baby sign.

    Yeah, I know. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s kinda fun. And no consumption involved, unless you want to buy a book or two on the topic.

  76. ….. every child coming into the US today are truly wanted by their mothers.

    Well, I get your point, but you obviously don’t know anyone who works at Social Services……

    On a slightly different note, of course those people Ms Paul is writing about should be laughed at, they’re idiots, but hey, it’s not my money.

    Now, I went for the specially designed stroller so that when I pushed the babies through the casinos I could hide a bottle of Cabernet underneath in the luggage compartment.

  77. Oh, yeah, the stroller was great for smuggling our little dog into hotel rooms. He was a small dog, we could also use a beach bag or an overnight bag. The dog was muy co-operative and just happy to be wherever we were.

  78. Whats her beef with baby sign.

    Sorry, you got me thinking Chinese menu for a second.

  79. “I’m sure Colbert is not the first person to create a sentence with deprecating internal self-references that create a logical loop for comedic value.”

    I don’t if he’s the first, but it’s certainly not traditional humor, nor is it easy to write.

    If comics would just tell jokes the traditional way, then we might get some originality back…in comedy.

    I guess?

  80. oooh that go..

  81. Before my first kid could say “That’s sooooo cold” he did not realize the coldness of the baby wipes. He may well hate freedom.

    And unless you want to give up hiking or even walking the dog until all of your kids can walk by themselves and not require a ride back down the mountain, the most expensive stroller at REI is an investment you’ll appreciate for years.

    /smash the system.

  82. Hi,Thanks for ur information about Pushed by a host of factors – the guilt and exhaustion of working parents, the dispersion of family networks that once passed knowledge from generation to generation, the pressure of admissions from preschool to college, and a culture that worships all things celebrity.I like this article and it is very intresting.

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