The Baby Jesus is laughing.

sad

I know, I know, making fun of crying little girls isn’t very nice. But it’s kind of funny, isn’t it?

via Chicklet in the comments.


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160 comments for “The Baby Jesus is laughing.

  1. November 9, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    The kids made me laugh because I”m an evil bastard, but what really rocked my world is the total deranged look on Mrs. Santorum’s face. She looks like she’s about to literally crack.

  2. Chicklet
    November 9, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Yep, I’ve booked my ticket on the Hell Express.

  3. Chicklet
    November 9, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    And the expression on the boy’s face is one generally reserved for captured serial killers.

  4. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Is it just me, or does the crying face look about as fake as the one I used when I was eight?

  5. November 9, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    And what, in God’s name, is she wearing???!!!

    Yeah, I’m going straight to hell.

  6. November 9, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    It sure is funny. Especially, while watching his concession speech, I was wondering why the hell she was acting as if her dog just died. It’s totally real, saw it with my own (four) eyes.

  7. November 9, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    does the crying face look about as fake as the one I used when I was eight

    For me, it’s the face in combination with the hands. Seriously, what is up with the Church Lady hands??

  8. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    And what, in God’s name, is she wearing???!!!

    One of my mom’s old Catholic-school uniforms? Just like her doll?

  9. November 9, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    And the funny thing is that lil’ Ricky looked totally relaxed…almost relieved!

  10. Dianne
    November 9, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    What I found not very nice was forcing a crying child to go stand in front of a bunch of cameras just to make a cheap political point. What kind of psychos would exploit their child that way?

    I have to say though that I agree with Amanda that Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum does look a bit relieved that it’s over. Note that he’s smiling, apparently not in the least concerned about his child’s distress.

  11. Bitter Scribe
    November 9, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    If my dad was a U.S. Senator and he just got defeated, I’d be at least a little happy, because it would mean I’d get to see more of him. I mean, I’d feel bad for him, sure, but I’d see the upside.

    Unless I didn’t want him around…

    And yes, the matching little girl/doll outfits were totally creepy.

  12. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    If my dad was a U.S. Senator and he just got defeated, I’d be at least a little happy, because it would mean I’d get to see more of him. I mean, I’d feel bad for him, sure, but I’d see the upside.

    Unless I didn’t want him around…

    Yeah, the logic works until you apply it to Rick Santorum.

  13. November 9, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Um. Way to make me struggle not to crack up in the middle of science class.

    Yeah, I’m not a nice person. I once called a friend who drunk texted me just to make him try to talk.

  14. November 9, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    One of my mom’s old Catholic-school uniforms? Just like her doll?

    Yeah, I saw that…

    what is up with the Church Lady hands??

    And that…and was totally creeped out. What are they doing to that poor child, and why does it seem she’s getting it the worst?

    I mean, sure, the boy looks like he just got a cold, rectal surprise, but this poor girl looks like she’s being aimed squarely at making church basement hot dish for the rest of her life. I’d be cryin’ too!

  15. November 9, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    That…is…awesome.

  16. November 9, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Nope. Not funny.

    One dad’s opinion.

  17. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    My dad thinks it’s awesome, so there.

    If the little girl in this picture had an actual problem, or if she weren’t being used as the family-values equivalent of a teacup chihuahua, then I’d feel bad about mocking her. Since she doesn’t, and since she is, I don’t.

  18. TC
    November 9, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Given Santorum’s obsession with dogs, he probably told her just what he’s do to her puyppy if he lost….

    Yeah, it’s wrong, but using a little girl as a weep-on-command phot-op stage prop is wrong in so many more ways.

    And if The Drugstore Cowboy can call the Frist Daughter a dog, I think Ricky’s spawn may be fair game.

    Hopefully she starts her Goth years next week.

  19. November 9, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    I agree with the commenter on Pandagon. There’s a girl who’s going to have serious issues when she’s older, and realizes just how much her parents used her as a prop for their own political games.

  20. November 9, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    She has an actual problem. She’s really really sad.

    I’m not sure how I feel about candidates’ children appearing on stage for their parents’ concession speeches. I suspect that when I was a teenager, I’d have wanted to be by my father’s side for a moment like that, and that when I was eight, I wouldn’t want to have been excluded if my (hypothetical) older siblings were included.

    Santorum is a malevolent freak, and I’m thrilled beyond words that he was sent home. But mocking a distraught eight-year-old? Nah.

  21. a
    November 9, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I feel terrible for this girl. She looks genuinely sad. She should not have to be up there at all.

  22. j swift
    November 9, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    And yes, the matching little girl/doll outfits were totally creepy.

    Whew, for a sec I thought she had a pet toupee’ stuff in the front of her dress.

  23. Ellie
    November 9, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    I’d be crying too if Rick Santorum was my dad. Every single day.

  24. November 9, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah, it’s mean to mock this little girl, but I have to pile on. Isn’t she a bit old to be holding a doll? In fact, I had some dolls as a kid, but I don’t recall ever carrying one around in public, at any age.

  25. November 9, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    I agree with Dianne. When I saw this live, I giggled a little, then I slapped myself and realized that the poor kids are just props. That said, my daughter goes with me a lot of places incl political gatherings, so one could say she’s my prop as well. I say she’s stuck to me. And if I ran for anything when she’s 8, I bet she’d cry like this girl as well. But I’d keep her in the backroom with her Daddy.

  26. Josh
    November 9, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Doesn’t it depend on why she’s distraught? Getting distraught over an election is stupid.

  27. DAS
    November 9, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Hopefully she starts her Goth years next week. – TC

    From the looks of it, the older daughter may already have started those years. I wonder what kind of concessions she was able to get for appearing on stage with her family — she doesn’t look to happy at the very least. Maybe the younger daughter is crying ’cause she wasn’t able to strike as good of a bargain?

  28. November 9, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    Getting distraught over an election is stupid.

    I cried on election night in 2004 and I’m not related to John Kerry, nor was I even all that fond of him.

  29. November 9, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    Tears roll down my face, my abdominal sore to the point of sickness, teeth clench due to a hurting jaw, yet the laughter continues, I have never laughed to death before, we only get one chance to laugh to death.

  30. November 9, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    Count me in the “not appropriate to make fun of” category.

    I’m the same age as Amy Carter, and I hated what the media did to her. I hated what the media did to the young Chelsea Clinton. And I don’t like making fun of Santorum’s kid. Yes, she’s dressed very conservatively. Yes, her dad was our bete noire, and now, thank God, he’s gone. But he’s by all accounts a devoted father and husband, and while that doesn’t count for a hill of beans in an election, it does mean that it makes sense that a family values guy would be surrounded by them, win or lose.

    His daughter is weeping because her Dad lost, her parents are sad, and life as she knows it about to change. I’m glad we got rid of the S.O.B. But his kid is off-limits to me.

    Jill, you know I adore you. But putting this up was, I think, stepping over a dangerous line. This little girl had no part in her father’s mean-spirited politics, and rejoicing at his defeat should not mean laughing at her hair style, her frock, or her pain.

  31. Magis
    November 9, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    The Stepford family. How….quaint.

  32. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I hated what the media did to the young Chelsea Clinton.

    “White house dog?” That’s a whole different animal.

    Jill, you know I adore you. But putting this up was, I think, stepping over a dangerous line. This little girl had no part in her father’s mean-spirited politics, and rejoicing at his defeat should not mean laughing at her hair style, her frock, or her pain.

    All of those things–daddy’s little girl’s tears included–are part of her father’s political front.

  33. karlyn
    November 9, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    You know, I didn’t even notice the girl when I saw this live Tuesday night. The feed I saw was head on, where one got to witness the elder son, who can be seen just behind Santorum, barely holding it together. How do you do that to your children? It’s not like his loss came as a surprise.

  34. November 9, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    All of those things–daddy’s little girl’s tears included–are part of her father’s political front.

    And since little girls are the property of their fathers, it’s appropriate to treat them as though they were their father. We don’t have to worry about the feelings of Sarah Maria Santorum, or treat her as though she were an individual human being with her own life, because we don’t like her dad and she belongs to him.

    Right?

  35. November 9, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    She’s being used as part of Santorum’s political image, and as part of that picture, we have the right to call it into question. If they’re such good parents, why are they trotting their eight year old out to stand right up front and cry for the cameras? If they were really worried about the kid and her feelings, she wouldn’t be on that stage in the first place, but because she’s part of the construction that is Santorum & family, that good, wholesome image, she has to be brought out in her conservative garb, clutching her doll, and crying for the cameras.

  36. Kim
    November 9, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Oh, it’s totally mean.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious though.

  37. j0lt
    November 9, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Pity for the kids when I saw this live was my reaction – and irritation at Santorum and the camera people. First, RS knows how to handle these political moments – his kids don’t and he and his wife shouldn’t have done that to them. And the camera people could have easily narrowed the camera angle.

    I think the poster in Jill’s post would still be funny if only RS was in the photo and you kept the first sentence of the caption.

  38. November 9, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    Aren’t the Santorums the family that had a stillborn baby, and brought the body home and made the kids hold it, and still celebrate it’s birthday every year? And And other creepy stuff like that?

    Maybe now that Dad doesn’t have a day job, there will more such creepiness. And that’s why the little girl is crying.

  39. November 9, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    If they’re such good parents, why are they trotting their eight year old out to stand right up front and cry for the cameras? If they were really worried about the kid and her feelings, she wouldn’t be on that stage in the first place,

    Let’s say it was time for Santorum to go out and concede. She was freaking out a bit. The older kids wanted to be with their dad. Her mom says, “it’s up to you, Sarah. If you want to stay here, I’ll stay with you. If you want to go up on stage with your brothers and sisters, I’ll go with you.”

    Is that bad parenting? Really?

  40. November 9, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Even if it was her decision to go out there, that still doesn’t account for her being right up front. The other kids are much further back, so I find her placement suspect. You can tell me it’s because she’s shorter or whatever, but she did not need to be that far up.

  41. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    And since little girls are the property of their fathers, it’s appropriate to treat them as though they were their father. We don’t have to worry about the feelings of Sarah Maria Santorum, or treat her as though she were an individual human being with her own life, because we don’t like her dad and she belongs to him.

    Right?

    Give me a fucking break. This is a publicity shot; her emotions are being presented for public consumption by her parents. The little girl’s anguish is as genuine and as profound as eight-year-old political disappointment gets, I’m sure. That doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from deflation as the subject of crass exploitation, or that the people reacting to the shameless pandering hate the little girl herself or are incapable of seeing her as a separate entity.

    Also, nothing bad actually happened to her, remember? Her dad lost a political race. He didn’t die in a fire.

  42. November 9, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Aren’t the Santorums the family that had a stillborn baby, and brought the body home and made the kids hold it, and still celebrate it’s birthday every year?

    The baby wasn’t stillborn, according to the Washington Post. It was born prematurely, with a serious congenital heart defect, and died a few hours after birth.

    And yes, they brought the body home, and let their other children hold it. Santorum has a photograph of the boy in his office.

    Everyone grieves in their own way.

  43. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Everyone grieves in their own way.

    Right. Like some commenters are saying on the other thread, there’s nothing untoward about any reaction to a child. It’s Santorum’s beliefs about other women’s reproductive lives that are chilling.

  44. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Sorry. Dead child.

  45. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    …Okay, so I’d like to rephrase entirely; I meant to make a more general comment about miscarriage, terminated pregnancies, stillbirths, etc.–Emotional reactions to those outcomes vary widely, and are appropriately determined by the mourner. Santorum’s family’s decision to grieve for this child in that way is not gross; his apparent belief that an aborting woman is a moral and emotional monster is.

  46. November 9, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    This is a publicity shot; her emotions are being presented for public consumption by her parents.

    I’m assuming it’s a news photo, and a few minute’s Googling doesn’t indicate otherwise. Am I wrong?

    The little girl’s anguish is as genuine and as profound as eight-year-old political disappointment gets, I’m sure.

    “Political disappointment”? Her dad just got repudiated by the voters. He’s failed at a project that’s been consuming his life for years. How is that not legitimately a big deal for a kid?

    I’m glad her dad was defeated. But of course it’s really sad for his family. He lost his job.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from deflation as the subject of crass exploitation, or that the people reacting to the shameless pandering hate the little girl herself or are incapable of seeing her as a separate entity.

    I’m objecting to the idea that her presence onstage is itself “pandering.” Specifically, I’m objecting to the suggestion that her presence onstage is proof that her parents don’t care about her well-being.

    I’m also objecting to the idea that it’s okay to make fun of an eight-year-old because of how she dresses, or because she carries a doll.

  47. November 9, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Piny, I am as appalled by Santorum’s politics as you are. But why are you so sure that this man arranged his family on the podium for maximum political effect? It may be true, but it is equally likely the family just piled on and stood close to him in a difficult time.

    I’ve watched people close to me go through miscarriages and still births, and I’ve watched good people and their children grieve over dead babies. It makes all the sense in the world to me. We may not all believe life begins at conception, but most of us think it begins sometime prior to actual birth. Grieving one who died shortly before birth is not evidence of some kind of perverse worldview.

    I just hate, hate, hate, personal attacks on politicians and their families. Why should we rejoice Santorum lost? Because he was a right-wing social conservative, and his replacement is an imperfect but substantial improvement. Why go after him as a human being too? Why drag his family in? It’s beneath us and it’s wrong.

  48. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    I’m assuming it’s a news photo, and a few minute’s Googling doesn’t indicate otherwise. Am I wrong?

    It’s still a publicity shot: they’re up on stage to be photographed.

    “Political disappointment”? Her dad just got repudiated by the voters. He’s failed at a project that’s been consuming his life for years. How is that not legitimately a big deal for a kid?

    I’m glad her dad was defeated. But of course it’s really sad for his family. He lost his job.

    Sure. Just like, say, losing the state basketball finals. “For a kid” is the operative phrase here, really. And he might have lost this job, but they’re not going to be destitute. It’s legitimately sad for Rick Santorum, too; are we not allowed to ridicule him?

    I’m objecting to the idea that her presence onstage is itself “pandering.” Specifically, I’m objecting to the suggestion that her presence onstage is proof that her parents don’t care about her well-being.

    Not inherently, as your Ron-Howard-esque dialogue shows. Just in this situation. And that last bit is a strawman. I’m sure they don’t want her to die in a fire. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t willing to use her to present a public face.

    I’m also objecting to the idea that it’s okay to make fun of an eight-year-old because of how she dresses, or because she carries a doll.

    Right, because when I was eight, my parents had no control whatsoever over my wardrobe, possessions, or activities, particularly the ones that appeared in public or at special occasions. There’s no reason to suspect any Pat Booneish influence on their part at all, just because she’s dressed out of the American Girls catalogue.

  49. Casey
    November 9, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    My father spent 7 or 8 years building a successful industrial company in southern California. When I was about 6, his business partner decided to dick him over and pull ownership of the company out from under him. My mother didn’t work and we lived quite comfortably in Huntington Beach. Losing the company meant losing the only source of income and a drastic change to a way of life. There were lengthy court proceedings, and not once, NOT ONCE, did my father bring me into the courtroom to parade a little girl with a doll around, in the name of “supporting” him, and maybe earning some sympathy.

    I feel sorry for that little girl. I feel sorry that her father sees her as property. I feel sorry that she’ll probably be raised with a skewed worldview, a low self-esteem, and probably be married off to someone just like her daddy. I feel sorry that someday this picture will come back to haunt her. I feel sorry that before her father went to go concede the election on national news, her parents made sure to dress her like an Amish girl and put a matching doll in her hands and probably prodded her to cry in front of the cameras. I feel sorry that her parents are such self-righteous people that they’d parade their crying child out in front for a cheap ploy.

    But that picture is fucking hilarious.

  50. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Piny, I am as appalled by Santorum’s politics as you are. But why are you so sure that this man arranged his family on the podium for maximum political effect? It may be true, but it is equally likely the family just piled on and stood close to him in a difficult time.

    Because (a) member of the GOP and (b) Rick Santorum and (c) come on. His family have been an accessory throughout the campaign, not just during difficult times, and his “family man” schtick has been a huge part of his campaign face, this guy who wrote It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. It’s not equally likely. It’s naive.

  51. Sarah
    November 9, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    His daughter’s name is Sarah Maria?? Good heavens… that’s MY name!

  52. November 9, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    Everyone grieves in their own way.

    Still kinda creepy, though. Guess that’s just ME.

  53. November 9, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    His daughter’s name is Sarah Maria?? Good heavens… that’s MY name!

    If your father is named “Rick,” then put down the keyboard right now and run. Run!

    That aside, I agree with Brooklynite and Hugo. The “suck it up, crybaby” and several of the comments are making fun of the little girl – not her father, and not how her parents are using her. It might be funny, but it’s not right.

  54. Hestia
    November 9, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    If you aren’t amused by the photo, don’t click here. Really, don’t. It’ll shred your heart.

    When I was young and upset about something, I would’ve thrown the biggest temper tantrum in the universe if someone tried to make me get up on stage in front of God in the world and cry my eyes out. This is why I feel sorry for the poor kid but still believe the photo is a callous political ploy for empathy. She’s probably weeping because they made her stand up there when she’d rather be anywhere but front-and-center as her dad concedes the election.

    (To be honest, at first I thought the girl had been Photoshopped into the picture to make it funnier.)

  55. November 9, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    You know, I’ve enjoyed reading Feministe for a couple of years now, and I’ve especially enjoyed reading Jill’s observations. But I think this post goes over a line, and I think quite a few of the comments are downright repugnant.

    Part of the reason for my strong reaction, I suppose, is because my daughter is only a year older that Senator Santorum’s. When I first saw that picture, I had the same stab of discomfort that I always do when I see politicians drag their families out on stage with them (I’m electing you, damnit, not your kids), but at the same time, I felt nothing but sorrow for the little girl.

    At that age, it is possible for a kid to have some level of political consciousness (my daughter, for example, followed the 2004 Presidential election quite closely, and was genuinely angry when Senator Kerry was defeated). It’s not a sophisticated political consciousness, but I think we’re not giving kids enough credit when we set forth across the board implications that they are incapable to caring about and trying to learn about what’s happening in their world.

    Setting all that aside however, when I looked at that picture, I didn’t see a little girl who was upset by a political defeat. I saw a little girl who was heartbroken because people had rejected her Daddy. That’s something that strikes pretty deeply when you’re that age. And that’s something I know from my own experience. I remember all too well being in grade school (about the same age Sarah Maria is now) and hearing over and over again on the news about the “fact” that single mothers and the children of single mothers were creating all of societies problems, that single mothers couldn’t raise kids who weren’t criminals, and all of the rest of the crap that came out of conservatives during the decade of “welfare queen” rhetoric.

    Now, my Mom – who I loved deeply and continue to love with all my heart – was a single Mom, and every time I heard one of those comments, all I heard was some jerk saying my Mom was a bad person. I cannot even tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep at night over that.

    So, yeah, having people reject one of your parents is pretty damn painful for a child.

    But what’s the appropriate reaction for us, as thinking, feeling, presumably moderately compassionate adults? Well, questioning Senator Santorum’s decision to let her come out on stage is completely within bounds. Inveighing against politicians’ habit of using their children as political props is totally above repute.

    But making fun of a little girl? Acting like she’s some hardened operative shedding fake tears? (Sorry to break it to you, piny, but as someone who’s seen that exact same face, and seen it more recently than you have – my daughter is a bit on the soft-hearted side -, that’s not an eight year old faking. That’s an eight year old trying her hardest not to cry and failing.) That’s just rude as Hel. And then going on, as some commenters on this thread have, to make fun of her clothes?! Are you kidding me?!

    Those are school yard bully comments. I wouldn’t accept them coming out of my daughter’s mouth, and I certainly think that – as adults – we should do a damn sight better. If we don’t, we are no better than the Freepers.

  56. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    I didn’t say it was fake. I said it looked fake. And it does. This is also a strawman:

    At that age, it is possible for a kid to have some level of political consciousness (my daughter, for example, followed the 2004 Presidential election quite closely, and was genuinely angry when Senator Kerry was defeated). It’s not a sophisticated political consciousness, but I think we’re not giving kids enough credit when we set forth across the board implications that they are incapable to caring about and trying to learn about what’s happening in their world.

    I didn’t say that she couldn’t be interested in politics, let alone in a Senate race that affected her family. I said that she was eight, and that she has not suffered any kind of catastrophe. Plus, the political consciousness of a loyal Santorum is probably a bit less reality-based than your daughter’s.

    And then going on, as some commenters on this thread have, to make fun of her clothes?! Are you kidding me?!

    Again: this is not like, oh, mocking Katherine Harris’ eyeshadow. “Her clothes” is a different thing for someone in the third grade than a voting adult. If her family is anything like most families, she doesn’t get to choose what she wears. And most of the eight-year-olds I know who do have some say don’t independently decide to dress in outfits that their grandmothers wore to Sunday school.

  57. November 9, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    It’s still a publicity shot: they’re up on stage to be photographed.

    It’s not a flattering photo. That’s why people are making fun of it. To me, it reads as a photojournalist’s “gotcha” moment, not as a reflection of how Santorum wants his family to be seen.

    I’m glad her dad was defeated. But of course it’s really sad for his family. He lost his job.

    Sure. Just like, say, losing the state basketball finals.

    Oh, come on. Santorum moved his family to the DC area when he was elected. That kid may well have to move away from all her friends as a result of this defeat. That doesn’t happen when you lose a basketball game.

    But on a deeper level, I think it’s just wrong to say that an eight-year-old is unlikely to “get” what losing an election means, or to be personally invested in it. I think Armagh’s exactly right about that.

    And he might have lost this job, but they’re not going to be destitute.

    I’m not sure how that’s relevant. I’m not saying that her sadness is going to keep me up nights. I’m just saying it’s not something to be made fun of.

    It’s legitimately sad for Rick Santorum, too; are we not allowed to ridicule him?

    If he’d cried, and folks had ridiculed him for crying, I’d be uncomfortable with that, too. But are you honestly saying you don’t see a difference between making fun of a Senator and making fun of an eight-year-old?

    That doesn’t mean that they aren’t willing to use her to present a public face.

    They sure are. And I took my three-year-old down to Baltimore to do campaign work with me this week. We spent four days knocking on doors and leafleting. Part of that was wanting to involve her in what’s important to me. Part of it was wanting to introduce her to activism first-hand. And part of it, yes, was because three-year-olds make great leafleters. Nobody turns down a flyer from a kid.

    Now, you may find what I did as objectionable as what Santorum did. But tell the truth — if a right-wing site put up a photo of my kid melting down at the end of a long day of campaign work, and teed off on what she was wearing and how she looked, would you consider that fair play?

    Right, because when I was eight, my parents had no control whatsoever over my wardrobe, possessions, or activities, particularly the ones that appeared in public or at special occasions.

    I don’t know how the Santorums negotiate their daughter’s dress and toy choices at public appearances, and neither do you. I assume they exercise some control, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they let her pick which of her favorite dress-up dresses to wear for any given event.

  58. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Inveighing against a politician’s desire to use a child as a political prop does extend to inveighing against the way that prop is used. What if, say, Rick Santorum’s cryptodyke daughter appeared on stage in an Ellen-before-she-was-out pastel pantsuit and the salmon lipstick you know she wouldn’t wear without a hefty dose of emotional blackmail from the family? Carrying a tiny purse, even. What if she wiped tears away while her father ate crow for his man-on-dog obsession? Would it be mean to say some harsh things about the meaning of her presence on stage in that way? Would it be heartless to mock her gesture towards conventional femininity? Would it be bullying to note the artificial components of that picture, and the shameless manipulation of whatever happened to be genuine?

  59. liss
    November 9, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    I love and deeply value this blog, but here’s another vote for the poster being inappropriate – and more importantly, the comments on her clothes and face being completely out of line.

    It seems to me that there are two possibilities here, and neither of them make it appropriate to mock her:

    a) she chose the clothes herself and chose to be onstage – in which case you’re saying it’s acceptable for a bunch of adults to rip the piss out of an 8-year-old.

    b) her parents dressed her up like this and marched her onstage – in which case, even if you are, as you claim, attacking the parents, you’re choosing to make your attack through the body of their (female) child. Objectification roolz.

  60. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    It’s not a flattering photo. That’s why people are making fun of it. To me, it reads as a photojournalist’s “gotcha” moment, not as a reflection of how Santorum wants his family to be seen.

    Actually, I think that people who don’t think that the Santorums are phony and morally bankrupt would have a different reaction–I think it and the elements in it are a reflection of Santorum’s public face. That aside, it’s a photojournalist’s “gotcha” angle on a staged event.

    Oh, come on. Santorum moved his family to the DC area when he was elected. That kid may well have to move away from all her friends as a result of this defeat. That doesn’t happen when you lose a basketball game.

    But on a deeper level, I think it’s just wrong to say that an eight-year-old is unlikely to “get” what losing an election means, or to be personally invested in it. I think Armagh’s exactly right about that.

    I replied to her, and I’ll reply to you: that’s not what I said. Still not a catastrophe.

    If he’d cried, and folks had ridiculed him for crying, I’d be uncomfortable with that, too. But are you honestly saying you don’t see a difference between making fun of a Senator and making fun of an eight-year-old?

    No. I’m saying that this legitimate sadness thing is a red herring.

    They sure are. And I took my three-year-old down to Baltimore to do campaign work with me this week. We spent four days knocking on doors and leafleting. Part of that was wanting to involve her in what’s important to me. Part of it was wanting to introduce her to activism first-hand. And part of it, yes, was because three-year-olds make great leafleters. Nobody turns down a flyer from a kid.

    Now, you may find what I did as objectionable as what Santorum did. But tell the truth — if a right-wing site put up a photo of my kid melting down at the end of a long day of campaign work, and teed off on what she was wearing and how she looked, would you consider that fair play?

    I wouldn’t consider it reprehensible if they pointed out your advertising strategy. What if you used her as a stick to beat other parents with? Would that be fair play on your part? You’re treating this as nothing more than a family political outing. That’s a decontextualized reading, and an inaccurate one.

    I don’t know how the Santorums negotiate their daughter’s dress and toy choices at public appearances, and neither do you. I assume they exercise some control, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they let her pick which of her favorite dress-up dresses to wear for any given event.

    I know that it’s unlikely in the extreme that they let her buy clothes for herself, and I know that the contents of her closet will show a pretty heavy selection bias already. Weren’t you the one a few comments back attempting to argue actual dialogue from the Santorum family?

  61. Marian
    November 9, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    It’s not funny to make fun of little kids, but It looks staged to me, or like the kind of “cry face” kids put on when Mom tells them they can’t play with a toy, and they want to appeal to her to let them have it. In fact, this looks almost like a cross between a cry and a smirk. (aka, not genuine crying). My first thought was “photoshop,” then I was surprised to find it was real.

    If that’s just the way the little girl’s face is, then I apologize, but something about it just says “fake.”

  62. Marian
    November 9, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Also, from this view, it almost seems like she’s being “nudged” toward the other camera. Maybe I just have “office brain” right now.

  63. November 9, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Again: this is not like, oh, mocking Katherine Harris’ eyeshadow.

    For the record, I’m completely in favor of making fun of Katherine Harris’ eyeshadow. But Katherine Harris is a grown-up and she makes her own choices about what she wears. As you pointed out, Sarah Santorum, like most elementary school kids, likely doesn’t have much control of her clothes, which makes mean comments about what she’s wearing or the doll she’s holding all the more mean-spirited.

    What if, say, Rick Santorum’s cryptodyke daughter appeared on stage in an Ellen-before-she-was-out pastel pantsuit and the salmon lipstick you know she wouldn’t wear without a hefty dose of emotional blackmail from the family? Carrying a tiny purse, even. What if she wiped tears away while her father ate crow for his man-on-dog obsession? Would it be mean to say some harsh things about the meaning of her presence on stage in that way? Would it be heartless to mock her gesture towards conventional femininity? Would it be bullying to note the artificial components of that picture, and the shameless manipulation of whatever happened to be genuine?

    There is a huge difference between commenting on – and even saying harsh things about – the way in which someone is being used and making snide comments about the person who is being exploited.

  64. November 9, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    I laughed. And then I felt like an asshole.

    That’s schadenfreude, kids. The “shameful” part is just as important as the “joy.”

  65. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    For the record, I’m completely in favor of making fun of Katherine Harris’ eyeshadow. But Katherine Harris is a grown-up and she makes her own choices about what she wears. As you pointed out, Sarah Santorum, like most elementary school kids, likely doesn’t have much control of her clothes, which makes mean comments about what she’s wearing or the doll she’s holding all the more mean-spirited.

    Not if they’re directed at the people who are making those choices.

  66. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    There is a huge difference between commenting on – and even saying harsh things about – the way in which someone is being used and making snide comments about the person who is being exploited.

    Yes, but you’re conflating them in order to read the latter into the former. And you’re pretending that none of this manifests in personae, which pretty much renders the language of this picture and all the others gibberish.

  67. November 9, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Yes, but you’re conflating them in order to read the latter into the former.

    So the phrase “Suck it up, crybaby.” in the original graphic wasn’t directed at the only person in the photo who was, you know, crying?

  68. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    So the phrase “Suck it up, crybaby.” in the original graphic wasn’t directed at the only person in the photo who was, you know, crying?

    No, of course not. It was directed at Rick Santorum, whose platform amounted to “God’s on my side, and you’re all degenerate.” He’s the one people hate with the fire of a thousand suns. Her presence in the picture on that level was about as much a diversion from the Santorum rage as a teeny tiny photoshopped violin.

  69. November 9, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Not if they’re directed at the people who are making those choices.

    But they haven’t been directed at the people making those choices, at least not until about three quarters of the way through the thread, after people started getting called on the mean-spirited comments.

    Go back and reread the first several comments to the post. Can you honestly say that those aren’t out of line? Can you honestly say that the posted picture isn’t mean-spirited? Or did “Suck it up, crybaby” suddenly become sweetness and light? Where, in all of the early comments mocking her clothes, her doll, and the mere fact that she was crying, did anyone say that the problem with the clothes and the doll were the result of the parents choices? That thought didn’t enter the thread until y’all got called on the earlier comments.

    Yes, but you’re conflating them in order to read the latter into the former. And you’re pretending that none of this manifests in personae, which pretty much renders the language of this picture and all the others gibberish.

    I’m not one to act like I can’t possibly be wrong, so I went back through the thread a couple of times, and I honestly can’t see where I’m conflating anything. It seems pretty clear to me, especially in the first two thirds to three quarters of the thread, that the comments were focused on mocking the person who was being exploited.

  70. November 9, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    So the phrase “Suck it up, crybaby.” in the original graphic wasn’t directed at the only person in the photo who was, you know, crying?

    No, of course not. It was directed at Rick Santorum, whose platform amounted to “God’s on my side, and you’re all degenerate.” He’s the one people hate with the fire of a thousand suns. Her presence in the picture on that level was about as much a diversion from the Santorum rage as a teeny tiny photoshopped violin.

    Santorum may be the one people hate, but when you note that his daughter is the only one in the photograph actually crying, then it’s pretty hard not to conclude that folks are taking their ire with Santorum out on his kid.

  71. November 9, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    The guy is a dick, but I agree that making fun of an eight-year-old is pretty pathetic. If you really think he doesn’t genuinely give a damn about his daughter and just used her tears as a prop, well, fine. But questioning whether or not those are “real” tears is about as roll-your-eyes as you can get. Because sure, eight-year-olds, they’re great conspiracy partners, always able to act on cue, just like the movies tell us they are.

    I think this picture makes people want to make fun of her because of overall image the girl projects herself. If any of you ever went to any kind of “adult social functions” or, you know, a religious service or hundred as a kid, then the outfit she’s wearing is NOT THAT REMARKABLE. It’s REALLY NOT.

    The doll? NOT THAT REMARKABLE. At that age, I carried around a doll or stuffed animal whenever my parents dragged me to some social event where I would likely be A) bored, B) around no other children my age, and C) up past my bedtime.

  72. piny
    November 9, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Go back and reread the first several comments to the post. Can you honestly say that those aren’t out of line? Can you honestly say that the posted picture isn’t mean-spirited? Or did “Suck it up, crybaby” suddenly become sweetness and light? Where, in all of the early comments mocking her clothes, her doll, and the mere fact that she was crying, did anyone say that the problem with the clothes and the doll were the result of the parents choices? That thought didn’t enter the thread until y’all got called on the earlier comments.

    It didn’t enter the thread explicitly until then, because no one else has argued as though it’s a controversial idea. Who wouldn’t assume that all along? What eight-year-old’s clothes are not a result of the parents’ choices? Since when does a shamelessly superficial family-values-ticket Senator not control the public connection between his campaign and his family, or decide whether or not his daughter gets to appear with him? You’re alternately castigating us for focusing our hatred of Santorum in the wrong direction and pretending as though hatred of Santorum is not the subtext here.

    “Suck It Up, Crybaby” is a parody. It lampoons the image Santorum sustained right up until his concession speech. It lampoons the photo of the happy family from Mayfield–with the smiling daughter front and center–that would have accompanied announcement of Santorum’s victory, the one that would have carried the implicit caption, “VINDICATION: Because God Obviously Loves Us Best.” That is what is being mocked here, not an eight-year-old girl.

  73. Tally Cola
    November 9, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    I understand people defending the little girl and Santorum, but I don’t agree. I don’t think there’s anything remotely offensive about the picture. I feel really bad for the little girl, but not about this picture. We weren’t the ones who put her on stage to begin with.

    I do have to say that mom’s hand on her shoulder looks so… cold? Distant? Give her a HUG, goddammit!

    And I laughed out loud at Chicklet’s comment that the son has the expression of a captured serial killer.

  74. November 9, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I found it quite moving, actually, that the kids were as visibly upset as they were. Maybe it’s just because I was on my way to getting drunk (in celebration after an election, for the first time fucking ever since I’ve been able to vote, thank you very much), but I thought it was a level of emotion you’re never really allowed to see in the political process.

  75. SMM
    November 9, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    Wow; I had no idea.

    How very disapointing, disturbing and sad. I expect this kind of viciousness out of right wing crazies–but here?

    She’s a human being, did you forget that somehow?

    Hope fades already.

    SMM

  76. November 9, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    Whether or not you think the picture is funny, this is hilarious–Hugh Hewitt’s comment on Santorum’s loss:

    “Senator Santorum is now available for a seat on the SCOTUS should one become available.”

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  77. Kim
    November 9, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    And I laughed out loud at Chicklet’s comment that the son has the expression of a captured serial killer.

    Elijah Wood in Sin City!

  78. November 9, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Chuck, I found the picture moving as well.

    Look, Santorum was a complex figure. I wanted him gone, mind you, but in addition to some appalling social views he also was one of the best advocates for Africa in the Senate. And though Bono’s politics are not always mine, his genuine admiration for Santorum — based on personal experience with him in poverty discussions — indicates the senator wasn’t just consumed by hatred for gay folks and feminists.

    I don’t think Katherine Harris’ eye shadow is fair game. Or Henry Hyde’s pompadour. Or Hillary Clinton’s hair. Folks in the ‘sphere can be vicious on the subject of appearance (something Jill surely remembers from January.); the fact that someone is a public figure doesn’t render their looks, their kids, their dress fair game.

    When I saw the tape of Santorum conceding, I didn’t say “Bye, bye, asshole” like some drunken fan at a basketball game yelling at the opposing player who has fouled out. I did say “Yee Ha!” and “Thank God”, but I didn’t take pleasure in his disappointment. Enjoying someone else’s disappointment is always ugly; we can rejoice in our victory without seeking to sweeten it by focusing on the discomfiture of our opponents.

    Win or lose, people, let’s show an abundance of grace and charity.

  79. November 9, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    It’s well known that the Santorums deliberately prod their children into crying in public. It bothers me to no end because that means that they put their shit on their children, and the children stress out. I found it funny, but darkly so. I don’t think most people are laughing at this girl per se, like they were at Chelsea Clinton or Amy Carter. They’re laughing because the Santorums are so over-the-top manipulative that it’s startling that more people don’t see how calculated it is.

    That said, I cropped the kids out. I think the Santorums use them as a distraction. I find Karen Santorum fascinating, not in the least because when she met Rick, she was living with an abortion doctor at the time and the three of them were thick as thieves before she and Rick broke away…..and became anti-choice nuts. Think the first boyfriend might have something to do with that?

  80. November 9, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    Of course, rereading these comments, it’s clear that even liberals fall for the way that the Santorums grab the most heart-wrenching child and shove them up front for the cameras. So I guess it’s not that obvious that it’s pure manipulation.

  81. November 9, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    “Honey, you’re just fighting sleep now.”

    Sorry, didn’t read the first 80 comments.

  82. Laurie
    November 9, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    FWIW:

    Late I know, but my 2 cents. I honestly thought the “Suck it up” comment was directed at Mr. Santorum. I didn’t really notice his daughter until I took a second look at the picture. And I can’t tell if her expression is real or staged — the picture is neither big nor clear enough on my monitor. But I can tell you one thing very certainly: if MY eight year old daughter was breaking down like that on stage in front of God, the Press, and Everyone Else, I’d be getting her backstage and comforted, and “image” be damned.

    And the fact that neither parent seems to be paying any attention to her distresses and angers me, and makes the cynical part of me wonder if she was coached.

  83. PhoenixRising
    November 9, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    I don’t give a damn if her parents really are exploiting her. Those who are actively mocking an eight year old for crying, as if it mattered that her parents’ excuse for abusing her is political gain, make me wonder about your ethics. Her parents are mean, crazy oppressors; we knew that before Tuesday.

    If her parents were abusing her for any other reason, and weren’t themselves repugnant, you’d be the first to ask the obvious question, Where the hell is the social worker who clearly ought to be supervising this visit?

    What can you be thinking to join in the exploitation of this harmless and vulnerable child?

    And what the fuck is wrong with a second grader having a doll with a matching outfit?

  84. evil fizz
    November 9, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Funny, I thought that the “suck it up, crybaby” was directed only at the daughter. The whole thing would bother me far less if it were just the first sentence.

    BTW, Hugo, this: I did say “Yee Ha!” and “Thank God”, but I didn’t take pleasure in his disappointment. Feels like a distinction without a difference.

  85. November 9, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    The last sentence bothered me too, but I didn’t know how to crop it out.

    That said, yes, I feel like an asshole for laughing. For everyone who’s criticized me posting this, you’ve all made valid points. You’re probably right. And at the risk of pissing everyone off, I’ll just say that I still think it’s funny.

  86. November 9, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    Eil_fizz, taking pleasure in another’s disappointment is a world apart from taking pleasure in a political victory. I’m glad Santorum lost his seat in the senate. That makes me happy. The fact that he is unhappy about it doesn’t make me happy. To me, those are utterly different things. YMMV.

  87. November 9, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    I’m sorry, but I agree with Jill. I’m the one who made fun of the fact that she’s holding a doll. But the reason I made fun of it is because to me it looks like an obvious prop (and so does she). If I saw a girl her age walking around somewhere holding a doll, it’s not like I would point and laugh at her (or even notice at all). It’s just that in this context it looks completely staged — “let’s shove our sobbing daughter out here in front, and oh honey, don’t forget your dolly!”

  88. exangelena
    November 10, 2006 at 12:28 am

    I feel sorry for politicians’ (and celebrities in general) children. While their parents choose to seek the limelight, the children didn’t ask to be born in the public eye.
    I don’t really know what’s going through their heads in this picture – maybe she’s really tired and she’s probably been going through a lot of stress. I’m 19 and I’m sure that I cry over sillier things than this if I’m in a crappy mood. The only thing is that I’m not a famous person’s daughter so no one takes pictures of me and puts them on the internet.
    And I agree with everyone who doesn’t like kids being used as political props. It’s exploitative and unfair, because kids don’t have the same judgment skills as adults and also, it can sometimes be quite daunting to say no to your parents, especially at such a young age.
    I’ve never felt any guilt about giggling over politicians’ gaffes at youtube or wonkette, because usually they’re in a bad situation because of their own nefariousness/stupidity (paging George Allen) or both. I wouldn’t devote too many brain cells to it, but I don’t feel bad making fun of Ann Coulter’s or Katherine Harris’ appearance because *they* are the ones making an issue out of it. But I can’t make fun of the girl in this picture because she is where she is by no fault of her own.

  89. MARes
    November 10, 2006 at 1:10 am

    House of Mayhem, I agree. Adults grieve in their own way, but for the Santorums to force/pressure their kids to interact with the dead fetus? If not sure how healthy that is. I think I would have been traumatized.

    I think this discussion is interesting, just because people seem to have really extreme negative reactions to children crying in public. I can guarantee that if that kid were making that face and any type of noise in the supermarket, in the parking lot, on the street, anywhere in public for any reason, a huge proportion of bystanders would be appalled and making a lot of rude comments about it. I don’t agree with it, but I don’t see the reaction as unusual or much different.

  90. November 10, 2006 at 4:27 am

    I was 9 when my father lost his first election. I still played with dolls, I still loved frilly dresses, and I cried and cried. It was only a small local race but that didn’t matter to me. My daddy had wanted this so much, he was sad, and all the people who said mean things about him (including my classmates at school) were sure to make fun of him/me even more.

    For the record I intensely dislike Santorum’s politics. But, being one myself, I firmly believe the children (under 18) of politicians are *never* fair game unless they are directly involved in the parent’s campaign.

  91. November 10, 2006 at 4:31 am

    Sorry, I didn’t read my comment carefully enough before I posted. I meant to say that a politician’s family is never fair game unless they are directly involved in the politician’s campaign, and that children are never fair game, ever

  92. November 10, 2006 at 4:59 am

    The laughing stock

    proves that the world is

    made of rock…

    yuk.

  93. Raging Moderate
    November 10, 2006 at 5:01 am

    No, of course not. It was directed at Rick Santorum

    Yeah, right. That’s why the crybaby (who needs to suck it up) is in the centre of the pic.

    And at the risk of pissing everyone off, I’ll just say that I still think it’s funny.

    Good for you. Funny is in the eye of the beholder. I like it, but it would have been much funnier if the pic showed Santorum looking glum.

    It’s well known that the Santorums deliberately prod their children into crying in public.

    That’s horrible if true. But I doubt it is. Where did you hear that?

    shamelessly superficial family-values-ticket Senator

    I disagree. In one sense, I have respect for Santorum. Call me cynical, but I believe that most of the Republicans who are in bed with the religious nuts are there for the votes, not because they share their beliefs (see David Kuo’s “Tempting Faith”).

    I think that Santorum was a Genuine family-values-ticket senator. Unfortunately, his family values are demented. He’s an actual religious nut; he’s not just playing one on tv.

    I admire those who consistently stand up for what they believe in, even if they believe in some really crazy shit. But I wouldn’t vote for them.

    an Ellen-before-she-was-out pastel pantsuit

    Now, that’s funny.

  94. little cabbage
    November 10, 2006 at 5:24 am

    Piny, I respect you and I really like this blog and your posts, but I’m sorry, I don’t agree with your whole “it’s not a catastrophe” thing. To an eight-year-old girl, her father losing his job and being rejected by the people of his state, which means her life is going to change enormously, is a huge catastrophe. Just because her father’s views are odious and the world is better off because he’s no longer a Senator doesn’t mean that she’s not allowed to love him, or be upset that he’s hurting, or be sad that her life is going to change.

    Making fun of a crying child is reprehensible, IMHO. I don’t care why she’s crying. I don’t care if she’s the daughter of a mass murderer and she’s sad because he’s going to go to jail and she won’t get to see him anymore. A child’s sadness over a life-changing event isn’t funny.

    If you’re going to criticize someone, criticize Santorum. Maybe criticize his wife, for being a fellow adult who contributes to his image and his views. God knows they’re highly deserving of it. But making fun of his children, who have no agency in the matter and had no choice as to who they were born to – ripping on his daughter for crying, and his son for NOT crying; seems they just can’t win, these kids – is beyond the pale, IMHO.

  95. November 10, 2006 at 7:01 am

    Jill wrote:

    You’re probably right. And at the risk of pissing everyone off, I’ll just say that I still think it’s funny.

    I’ve never understood the “is it offensive or is it funny” argument that crops up so often. Obviously, things can be both at once.

    So yeah, I think the graphic and some of the comments clearly are making fun of an 8-year, and that’s reprehensible, but that doesn’t make it not funny.

  96. November 10, 2006 at 7:26 am

    Even eight-year-olds have (at least theoretical) access to the internet.

  97. zuzu
    November 10, 2006 at 8:20 am

    WHY DO YOU HATE CHILDREN, PINY???

    Fifty bucks says Karen’s sticking a pin into that kid to get her to cry for the cameras. Or she told her that if she doesn’t put on a good show, the doll gets it. Karen looks pissed.

  98. zuzu
    November 10, 2006 at 8:24 am

    As for the outfit: could very well be a Catholic-school uniform (though I thought the kids were homeschooled, though no longer on the dime of their school district in PA despite not actually living there, what with them getting busted on that). If it’s not a school uniform, it’s no less stage dressing than Jack Robert’s little shorts suit, bow tie and saddle shoes.

  99. November 10, 2006 at 10:06 am

    I cannot believe that a blog that I have loved so much has allowed itself to turn into a place where it is ok to mock a child. The photo has a clear and large shot of an 8yo crying. The “suckit up baby” comment looks clearly meant for the 8yo. this blog just went to the bottom of my reads, not just for the post, but for piny’s comments.I dunno who said it, but this type of action is what I’d expect from the fundies, not us, not feminists.

  100. Chicklet
    November 10, 2006 at 10:36 am

    I thought it was funny as a parody of the despair.com “de-motivator” posters. Yeah, not nice. But after years of hearing politicians like Santorum invoke God for everything from their elections to justifying ignorance and bigotry, I think a little schadenfreude isn’t the end of the world.

  101. Ledasmom
    November 10, 2006 at 11:35 am

    What’s amazing is that, at this angle, you totally can’t see Mrs. Santorum’s arm stuck up Rick’s ass. Why, she doesn’t look like she’s moving her lips at all!

  102. November 10, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    It’s likely that 20 years from now, Sara will look back at that very picture and say to herself (or possibly out loud), “God. What a little freakin’ dorky crybaby I was!” and have a good laugh herself. If she manages to avoid the self-righteousness that can come from being part of such a family (not that it only comes from that), she may get the humor herself.

    This doesn’t indicate that laughing at her/her family now isn’t ‘mean’. But it does indicate that she is a person–not just a kid–a developing person, sure, but somebody who likely won’t be destroyed by some ridicule of her/her family by people who have good reason to have some anger toward not only Rick, but everybody who supports him, including his family.

    Hugo, I don’t quite get your that there is a hard and fast line that exists between a person and her/his politics. Rick Santorum has a set of political beliefs, and he has a set of personal beliefs, and they are likely intertwined to such a degree such that *he* can’t differentiate them.

    And what’s so wrong about enjoying the unhappiness of a man (leaving aside the argument about making fun of his family) who, through both his private and political views, causes unhappiness for so many? I wouldn’t wish him physical harm, but I think there is something like justice in him having some emotional pain right now.

  103. Lya Kahlo
    November 10, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    “It’s well known that the Santorums deliberately prod their children into crying in public”

    It’s also well known that he’s used the dead baby during election years as well in an apparent bid for sympathy votes. Whether or not the child’s emotional is real, I don’t know. I feel for her either way because she clearly should not be up there front and center. Though, it is not appropriate to mock HER. Mock her shamless father all you like.

    But given the shameless, manipulative way Santorum’s gone about his politics in years past I wouldn’t put it passed him to put his crying daughter on stage as a message to the country: “Look at what you did! You made my daughter cry because you didn’t vote of me!”

  104. November 10, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    On a lighter note (ahem) isn’t it weird to wake up and find the House over-run by Democrats. Of course, John Kerry’s hogging the remote control…

    http://markdaycomedy.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/the-democrats-have-taken-control-of-the-house/

  105. blondie
    November 10, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I watched Santorum’s concession speech live (on MSNBC, thanks Keith Olbermann for some of the best election night coverage in awhile). Santorum came across surprisingly sane.
    Older son (over Santorum’s right shoulder if you come across the video) looked like he was barely keeping it together. At first, little girl looked completely normal, then a little sad, then crying a little, then sobbing. At that point, Mom touched little girl and leaned down and spoke to her. Little girl instantly stopped crying. Shortly after, little girl leans into Santorum’s arm, seeking his attention, while he’s still speaking.
    From this observation, draw your own conclusions.

  106. (the other) Em
    November 10, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Well, I was

    that commenter at Pandagon

    who said that I felt sorry for his kids. And I do. But the self-righteousness of the people proclaiming that they’ll never again read this blog is astounding.

    I’m sorry, Edith, but you’re wrong. 8 year olds can most certainly cry on command. I haven’t verifed if Amanda’s claim is true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. When dad is your hero, you’ll do any fucking thing he wants.

    I was a sycophantic, sympathetic plot to my dad’s little schemes, too. I was a brown-nosing, straight-A, tattletale brat, and for a long while I thought I was in the right for acting as I did. I was not a popular kid.

    Let me clue all you offended folks in on something: I don’t blame the people who laughed at me and disliked me. I blame my dad for teaching me messed up ideas about right and wrong and putting me up to the world as his little example of fucked-up ness while he had me believing it was virtue.

    People are laughing here b/c the kid looks ridiculous. I look at her and it’s like seeing how ridiculous I must have looked. Good lord, I would have laughed at me too, my dad a flaming closeted asshole (closeted in the sense that he thought no one could see he was an asshole, not that he was gay) and me, an obviously birght and otherwise interesting kid, making excuses for him time after time.

    And you know what? I grew up and realized who the real meanie was, and it wasn’t the laughing people.

    I make no judgements as to how much of her performance was manufactured by exploiting her dad-worship and how much is genuine child sadness callously trotted out as a sympathy ploy. I do think the “Suck it up, crybaby,” ruins the joke and turns the poster from irony to schadenfreude. I don’t think laughing is automatically a sadist response here, but I wonder how many people laughing have considered which of those reasons why they find the picture funny.

    Even rarefied, lofty, enlightened liberals have base urges to laugh at ridiculous things. What that kid probably goes through I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the end result is bitterly, tragically humorous. For the offended people here, I really have to ask why you are more appalled at strangers on the internet than you are at Rick and Karen Santorum, the people responsible for turning this child–this child into such an enormous tool that even normally empathetic people feel the urge to laugh at her. As a survivor, I think you’re going after the wrong evil here. Stopping the hurt from the bullies at school doesn’t do a blessed damn thing to stop the hurt from the bully at home.

  107. CatatonicLindsay
    November 10, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    The older girl looks like she’s thinking “Oh my God, dad, shut the fuck up. Gosh, I’m so bored, I’m glad this shit is over!”

  108. kxo
    November 10, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    Wow. Totally not cool to make fun of a crying little girl. Seriously, what made you think this was okay?

  109. November 10, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Jeff, I don’t want to raise the argument we’ve had many times before around here and at my place: whether our politics reflect our truest selves or not. Still, for me, loathing the positions and liking the person is entirely plausible and consistent. It’s like when my brother wears a really bad sweater. I can hate the outfit, and love the guy wearing it. And yes, I do think our politics are rather like our clothes, and that’s not a popular position.

    To delight in another’s unhappiness is wrong, I think; it is the opposite of the highest ethical commandments in all major religions — the commandment towards love and compassion. Hating the politics does not require hating the man; indeed, I think it’s a huge mistake to allow the two to get muddled in one’s mind.

  110. November 10, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Here’s a better question: why in the everlasting fuck should I give a shit whether Santorum is unhappy? And what does it matter if I hate him (I don’t); as long as it stops at the action of getting him the hell out of office so he can’t inflict any more damage on people, and not egging his house, what does it matter what animates it? All ‘major religions’ aside?

  111. November 10, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    toooooo funny.

  112. Chicklet
    November 10, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    The spoofs of the de-motivators are getting popular:

    http://static.flickr.com/83/249183761_29d5c9e6ed.jpg?v=0

  113. mustelid
    November 10, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Of course the poor girl’s crying. Her folks probably told her beforehand, “Daddy lost his job ’cause the godless people in this state hate him, and btw, you’re always gonna be known as Daughter of That Man-On-Dog Guy.” Heck, that’d have me crying at age eight. Seriously, hopefully the kids grow up capable of thinking for themselves. And I’m obviously a total asshole, ’cause the pic still seems funny to me, in spite of the meanness.

  114. FemNYC
    November 10, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    I think this picture’s hilarious. People should let loose a little -it’s been a good week and we all need a few laughs. As for people who think this is “genuine” and not a publicity shot, think again. Santorum thrives on media attention. He’s the one who made a legend out of the premature baby story, and then tried to use it as an example against abortion? That’s what I’d call inappropriate. An eight year old with a doll on stage (wearing matching clothes too)…that IS funny and meant to be laughed at!

  115. November 10, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Still, for me, loathing the positions and liking the person is entirely plausible and consistent.–Hugo

    I can see where it could be plausible and consistent in some cases–a person could, for instance, hate chinchillas and still be worthy of praise as a person.

    But does this work (in your view) In all cases? Hating gay people the way Santorum does–and trying to legislate accordingly–is a deal-breaker for me (one among many, regarding him) regarding him personally, as well as politically. I would guess that there are *some* political positions that would be deal-breakers for you, too–if Santorum’s position was that gay people should be killed, for instance, would there be any reason to like ‘the person’ in the face of ‘the position’? Are there *no* political positions which are so horrendous so as to make you dislike somebody personally? Sure, who he is personally amounts to more than his feelings regarding that one position, but that one position overrides my liking him as a person on any level but the most basic human-rights level. I mean, Pol Pot had horrible political positions, sure, but he was also (and in part because of those positions) a horrible person, right? And as such, worthy of condemnation.

    I think *entirely* separating ‘the person’ from ‘the positions’ ignores the people (at least sometimes) choose their political positions based on deeper convictions–and that those convictions are part of what makes a person worthy of praise or condemnation. If hating gay people isn’t worthy of such personal condemnation, what *would* be, for you? Nothing? Howabout advocating lynchings? It just seems like an untenable position, if it’s left unqualified.

    Perhaps we just differ on when a political conviction bleeds over into a personal one?

    Which is not to say that every human being doesn’t deserve a basic moral status based on being a sentient being and all that–I’m not advocating torturing Santorum, for instance. I just don’t think that such a moral status means that we have to never feel good about his feeling bad…

  116. November 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    cast my voice as one who thinks it is not appropriate to make fun of a crying child, regardless of her parents politics, the reason for her crying, whether she’s suffering a catastrophe, the tears are real or fake, or whatever.

    it’s bad form and besides, dont’ we have anything better to do?

  117. Louise
    November 10, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    It’s just utterly mean-spirited to poke fun at an 8 yr old kid, for ANY reason. There’s no justification for such a pathetic act. What- no parents out there? All single, happy-go-lucky folks who have never had to tend a scared, sad or sick child at 3am? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? Why does picking on a kid make YOU feel better?

  118. zuzu
    November 10, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    What- no parents out there? All single, happy-go-lucky folks who have never had to tend a scared, sad or sick child at 3am? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?

    I think it’s been well-established in previous discussions here that single, childless people are awful, awful people who probably also hate Jews, blacks, the disabled, and are just itching to send Grandma off on an ice floe at the earliest opportunity.

    What, just me?

    Please, let’s not pull out the “You’re not a PARENT! You can’t POSSIBLY understand!” card again. The air is already thick with eau de sanctimony.

  119. November 10, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    eau de sanctimony

    Thanks for saying that zuzu. Sheesh.

    I would hazard a guess that lots of people with kids better understand why it’s ok to laugh at an 8-year old sometimes. Some 8-year olds are people; they make mistakes, they do good things; they can be praised and blamed for things. Not exactly like an adult can, but they are already people. Heck, when I was 8, I was, in some ways, a little *jerk*.

  120. Louise
    November 10, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    That wasn’t where I was going at all- just got pissed at the glib viciousness towards a kid by adults. Apologies if the comments stepped on previous stubbed toes.

  121. matttbastard
    November 10, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    I laughed, long and hard – no regrets.

    Count me in with the childless/godless/heartless bastards.

    (PS – my Evangelical mother also laughed. Of course, she also thinks the scene in Pulp Fiction where that schlep in the backseat gets his head inadvertantly blown off by John Travolta is the most hilarious moment in American cinema…)

  122. November 10, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    I think it’s been well-established in previous discussions here that single, childless people are awful, awful people who probably also hate Jews, blacks, the disabled, and are just itching to send Grandma off on an ice floe at the earliest opportunity.

    Let’s not forget that they also hate pilots.

  123. zuzu
    November 10, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    Let’s all just take a deep breath here and look at the — ooh! — nuance here.

    Why does this photo inspire laughter? On one level, it’s just the over-the-top expression on the kid’s face, particularly given the fact that she’s clearly at a press conference and she’s the only one looking directly at the camera. She’s also at the center of the composition.

    Then the context starts to come in. Hey, isn’t she a little old for the doll in public? What is she wearing, a school uniform? Hey, that’s Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum at the podium. Oh, it’s his family at his concession speech. Gee, he looks pretty relaxed for a guy who just got booted out of the Senate. The older kids look either bored or shell-shocked. The wife looks pissed. Bet she’s not happy he lost. Hey, isn’t she the one who got Little Ricky into the fetus-worshipping? Looks like some serious thwarted ambition there. And they’ve always used their family as political props for their fetus-worshipping agenda. Speaking of fetus-worshipping, they’re the ones who made these kids hold their dead fetal sibling. Ew. And now they’ve marched this kid onto a stage to act as a prop, and they either shoved her in front of the cameras when she’s legitimately upset or they’ve prodded her into putting on a performance for the camera.

    So, yeah, the kid looks ridiculous, but it’s not her doing. It’s entirely possible to both laugh at the ridiculous aspects and feel sorry for her because her parents are using her as prop.

  124. November 10, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    Not only that her parents are using her as a prop, but that her appearance in her uniform is an odd but pertinent metaphor for those who *are* upset about the outcome.

  125. Julie
    November 10, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Can I go middle of the road and say I think it’s inappropriate and also hysterical? Like Jill, the last line bothers me the most, but I’m still laughing.
    Also, on a non-related note, I have pictures of my son who passed away about a half hour after birth, as do most people I know who have lost a child either directly before or after childbirth. It’s not really unheard of or wierd. Bringing the baby’s body home is probably a touch on the bizarre side, but until you’ve been there I’m not knocking them. Creepy monster though he may be, nobody deserves that sort of tragedy.

  126. Raging Moderate
    November 10, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve never understood the “is it offensive or is it funny” argument that crops up so often. Obviously, things can be both at once.

    Absolutely.

    Just look at Borat, Colbert, the Man Law ads, Andrew Dice Clay, Monty Python, Peter Sellers, Dennis Miller, Chris Rock, The Kids in the Hall (my faves), Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jackie Mason, Andy Kaufman, South Park, Dave Chappelle, SNL, Dennis Leary, The Man Show, Lennie Bruce, etc.

    All have been criticized as being offensive and therefore not funny.

    I’m glad to see some people here seem to have grown a thicker skin in this regard. I’m filing away some of these comments for future reference. I hope the skin doesn’t become thinner when the tables are turned and those who saw the humour in this case fail to see it in others.

  127. exangelena
    November 11, 2006 at 12:49 am

    I don’t agree with Santorum on virtually *anything* politically, but I’ve never liked making fun of him for the way he coped with losing a child.
    I’ll try to put myself in the little girl’s shoes – I would probably be extremely upset if someone posted on the internet a bad picture of me when I was obviously having a crappy day (or night), and I hadn’t really had a free choice in having my picture taken, since my parents had compelled me to be there and I hadn’t really told the camera to go off when it did.
    And Raging Moderate, those people you mentioned are comedians. They’re choosing to be in the public eye and choosing to say outrageous things. As I’ve said, the girl ended up in this picture due to an accident of birth. At age 19, I’d personally feel like a bully making snide comments about an unflattering picture of a grade school kid who probably didn’t want it there in the first place.

  128. exangelena
    November 11, 2006 at 12:51 am

    Oh, and for the record, this doesn’t involve any political stuff, but I was really torn up when I was 14 and my dad told me that he and his friends made fun of a series of not very photogenic pictures of me. And that was just a few people I knew – not a bunch of random strangers on the internet.

  129. Kay
    November 11, 2006 at 1:24 am

    I agree with Hugh and the others–making fun of some kid for her parents’ poor judgment is not fair to her. She’ll have to have a lot of therapy as it is.

  130. Chungking Express
    November 11, 2006 at 1:28 am

    I’m the person who came up with the words in the caption. I am quite gratified that so many people enjoyed them. However, since there has been some controversy about them, I thought a bit of explanation was in order.

    First, this may seem a bit odd, but I had no idea that the people in that photo were Rick Santorum and his family. I do not watch television, and I generally avoid reading articles about offensive Republican nutjobs, so, as improbable as it may seem, I had never actually seen a picture of Santorum before this.

    But that still leaves the question of, what the hell was I doing in saying such a thing?

    Chicklet posted the picture on a discussion forum I frequent, only with a different “demotivator” text below it. I thought it was pretty funny. I had glanced at the picture fairly quickly, again, not knowing who the people were, but noticing the conservative appearance, the whole “yes, we are a nuclear Christian family God bless us” vibe, and the fact that this was happening the day after a big GOP loss at the polls. I also couldn’t help but notice that the whole scene reeked of phoniness–if not staged outright, then most likely (it seemed to me) a group of people engaging in the sort of faux histrionics that some congregations are famous for. It was easy to imagine what these unknown people might be saying, perhaps something along the lines of “Laaaaaawd, why have you forsaken us, your faithful Christian servants, and allowed these eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevul sinner fornicator Democrats to win this election etc etc?” The scene in the photo appeared to be the exact flip side of the attitude that people like this often have, namely that God loves them more than He loves other people, that that’s why their great Republican heros are always winning at the polls, and that the rest of us should just suck it up and be thankful we’re living in such a righteous Christian nation. It’s an attitude I find absolutely despicable (especially since I’m an atheist), so the “sometimes God just loves someone else better than you, suck it up crybaby,” quip seemed to be poetically just. The comments were certainly not directed at Rick Santorum’s daughter, since I didn’t know who she was, nor at Santorum himself (ditto), but rather at what the people in the photo appeared to represent: self-righteous prigs getting slapped in the face with reality. Frankly, if I had known it was the Santorums, I probably would have had a different reaction (and it probably wouldn’t have been even half as funny).

  131. Ursula L
    November 11, 2006 at 8:50 am

    I think the “suck it up, crybaby” part interferes with the joke. Focusing on the crying child, rather than the larger family picture, misses the best point.

    The “Sometimes God just loves someone else better than you” is a great comment on the whole religious-right’s claims of divine mandate, and the way the family was presented as a badge of legitimacy, defining what a “Christian America” should look like in their minds (white, heterosexual, children isolated from the outside world and subservient to their parents’ goals.)

    If the family believes the political success of their patriarch was evidence of divine blessing, and that they were working God’s will, then political loss is not just a shift in legislative power, but a sign that they have lost God’s grace. Sadness indeed.

  132. Ursula L
    November 11, 2006 at 8:55 am

    And as for the Santorum parents having the girl on stage – disgusting. If a child of that age is that upset, you don’t even ask if she wants to go on stage, you comfort her and keep her in a private place.

    At the very least, behind her father with her mother’s arm around her, not front and center.

  133. ginmar
    November 11, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Gee, who knew the Man Law ads were funny instead of assholish sexism? Not to mention the fact that all your comics are male and include some incredibly sexist assholes. I mean, I could be tactful and say they hvae issues with women, but in fact these guys don’t—-they have subscriptions. Who could possibly need to toughen their skin? Could it be that snide little remark is directed at the perpetual object of these ‘girls have cooties’ guys?

    Yeah, thanks,until Roseanne Barr is used to tell supersensitive guys that they need to lighten up, I’ll abide by my own judgement. Dennis “Nancy Pelosi has girl cooties!” Miller? Andrew Dice Clay? Bill “Men are assholes; we’re sick of apologizing for it” Maher? Dennis Leary, who just put a classic rape apologist fantasy in his TV show? Where’s the rad lesbian man-hating feminist comics on your list, RM?

    Surprising how easy it is to tell the people you’re mocking that they need to hide their distress while you’re doing it.

  134. zuzu
    November 11, 2006 at 10:16 am

    RM, in order for something to be both offensive and funny, it needs to be FUNNY. And Dennis Miller, among others, ain’t. He’s too busy pissing himself about the terrorists under the bed.

    I’ll try to put myself in the little girl’s shoes – I would probably be extremely upset if someone posted on the internet a bad picture of me when I was obviously having a crappy day (or night), and I hadn’t really had a free choice in having my picture taken, since my parents had compelled me to be there and I hadn’t really told the camera to go off when it did.

    But you — and your parents — wouldn’t be expecting your picture to be released publicly.

  135. Raging Moderate
    November 11, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Surprising how easy it is to tell the people you’re mocking that they need to hide their distress while you’re doing it.

    I could say “Suck it up, Crybaby”, but I won’t.

    They don’t need to hide their distress. They just need to refrain from criticizing those who do not share their distress (as many here did to those who found the pic funny).

    RM, in order for something to be both offensive and funny, it needs to be FUNNY. And Dennis Miller, among others, ain’t.

    I don’t think he’s funny either, but others do. I wouldn’t tell those people that they are wrong for finding him funny.

    Funny is in the eye of the beholder.

  136. November 11, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    I think the urge to protect Santorum’s daughter from teasing—in blog comments that she will most likely never read—stems from holding a romantic view of the child. The romantics’ understanding of children (which, thanks to advances in psychology, is outdated) is that they are innocent, cherubic, close to nature (aka the sublime) and free of malevolence and sin.

    It seems to me that in order to scold those who were mocking the poor little girl (or actually her outfit, her crying and her doll) none of us have met, one would have to reject that idea that she could be an obnoxious, exasperating brat. She could be the kind of kid who throws tantrums to get attention (and isn’t a stage a perfect place to do that)? She could be crying because someone instructed her to do so. Or because someone offered to reward her with a team of ponies or a birthday cake competition populated by anxious chefs. Perhaps she is crying because she just crapped her pants and she doesn’t want everyone to see. She could be crying because her dad lost his seat in the senate, and you know what? We’re all GLAD he lost.

    Cry on, all those who support him!

    Of course, I’m not suggesting any adult should ever actually do or say something mean to a little girl (in person). I don’t think anyone would be justified dropping an anvil on Santorum’s youngest kid. But, really, who cares if a bunch of bloggers vent their rage at the disgusting senator by mocking how staged his daughter’s tears or outfit seem to be? I’m sure her parents have already explained to her that we feminists are in league with the devil anyway. So why not be devilish sometimes, then?

    ——————————————————

    Hey fellow Savage Love readers, I just said Santorum a bunch of times and so did the rest of you. Ha ha ha.

  137. November 11, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    I think the “suck it up, crybaby” part interferes with the joke. Focusing on the crying child, rather than the larger family picture, misses the best point.

    Yeah. If it hadn’t included that last line, I would have put the graphic down as fucked-up-but-still-funny.

  138. November 11, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    Agreed, even though I’m the one that posted it. I didn’t particularly like that last line — but I thought the first line, in conjunction with the picture, was hilarious.

  139. ginmar
    November 11, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Wow, RM, are you TRYING to miss the point or what? Let’s see you pick some comments that poke fun at whtie guy pretenses—like, you know, raging moderation and shit like that. Funny how so many of your out there comics were blatantly sexist men—and also funny how they were ALL men.

    Jeez, it might be subtler to wear a frickin’ sign.

  140. November 11, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    On one hand, it IS mean to make fun of a little kid. On the other hand, it was a funny picture. Ideally, we’d all be nice people who would never let our baser instincts control us for the sake of a laugh. But hahaha, who are we kidding? I even laughed at the vagina: not a clown car picture.

  141. November 11, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    Jane said:

    I think the urge to protect Santorum’s daughter from teasing—in blog comments that she will most likely never read—stems from holding a romantic view of the child. The romantics’ understanding of children (which, thanks to advances in psychology, is outdated) is that they are innocent, cherubic, close to nature (aka the sublime) and free of malevolence and sin.

    Oh, gods, nothing could be farther from the truth. As I mentioned in my original comment, I have a daughter who is just a year older than Sarah Santorum, so my view of children is hardly romanticised. It probably was when she was born, but she long ago disabused me of the notion that children are “innocent, cherubic, close to nature” and all of the rest.

    That being said, I also know – again, from experience with my own daughter – that kids deal with enough from their peers (children are incredibly cruel to each other) without having adults think it’s dandy to pile on.

    It seems to me that in order to scold those who were mocking the poor little girl (or actually her outfit, her crying and her doll) none of us have met, one would have to reject that idea that she could be an obnoxious, exasperating brat.

    Hardly. Whether a kid is or is not an “obnoxious, exasperating brat” (something, in my experience) all children are to one degree or another, plays no part in producing my belief that it is inappropriate to mock a child for crying or for wearing something dorky, or for carrying a doll. That’s the sort of nonsense that kids shoot back and forth at each other on the playground. Grown-ups should be past that.

    But, really, who cares if a bunch of bloggers vent their rage at the disgusting senator by mocking how staged his daughter’s tears or outfit seem to be?

    The strength of my reaction, though, also has a lot to do with the fact that I expect better from our side. The snide comments I’ve seen here are the sort of thing I would expect to hear Freepers say, not the sort of thing I would expect to hear from the “good guys.” Nothing like a shattered illusion to bring out the outrage in a person.

    As far as Mr. and Mrs. Santorum and what they’ve done to their children are concerned, well, they’re grown-ups, and they chose to make their lives in the public eye, so if they can’t stand a little heat, I’m not exactly going to feel sorry for them.

    Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. But if I get started on what I think of their parenting skills – or, more accurately, the lack thereof – I likely will rant for several paragraphs.

  142. November 11, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    The “Suck it up, crybaby” is completely different from calling Chelsea Clinton a dog. I find it only marginally meaner than Lauren’s picture of a crying little girl with the caption, “No, you can’t have a pony.” Gloating after winning may be childish, but it’s funny, and as long as it doesn’t make undecideds you need on your side sympathize with your target, it’s not that bad. Let me put it this way: in a world where 24,000 people starve to death every day, the Democrats are a conservative party, the liberal blogosphere alternates between being a shrill choir and being a circular firing squad, and Kos gets more readers than Feministe, using Santorum’s daughter to gloat is the very definition of the expression, “a tempest in a teapot.”

  143. November 11, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    (PS – my Evangelical mother also laughed. Of course, she also thinks the scene in Pulp Fiction where that schlep in the backseat gets his head inadvertantly blown off by John Travolta is the most hilarious moment in American cinema…)

    Um, that’s because it IS the most hilarious moment in American cinema.

  144. LK
    November 12, 2006 at 2:23 am

    I got the impression that the kids thought that the world had ended, god had forsaken them, satan was taking over the world, etc. They’ve been brainwashed by dad their whole lives; they probably believe that he’s god’s gift to the US, and the US has now turned its back on all that is good and right in the world.

    Maybe now they’ll be disillusioned enough to take a critical look at that.

  145. November 12, 2006 at 3:37 am

    Umm, seriously? People are upset over this?

    Is snark dead?

  146. Donna Darko
    November 12, 2006 at 5:05 am

    We won! No more need for snark.

    /snark

  147. Raging Moderate
    November 12, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    Funny how so many of your out there comics were blatantly sexist men—and also funny how they were ALL men

    Where’s the rad lesbian man-hating feminist comics on your list, RM?

    Way to miss my point.

    I don’t know any rad lesbian man-hating feminist comics, but my point applies to them too. If some men find them offensive, good for them. But just don’t tell me I have to be offended too.

  148. November 12, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    I think when using a photograph of a child – a real child who is still close to that age and recognisable – you owe it to human decency to think “Would I have been happy to find this photograph of myself when I was that kid’s age?”

    Sure, this girl is probably not allowed unsupervised access to the Internet, and her supervised access won’t include blogs like this one.

    But it’s still mean. And the comments in this thread are meaner.

  149. dream_operator23
    November 12, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    For a long time I was a Christian fundie and my daughter sometimes wore clothes that looked like that. She also has an American Girl doll that she has taken to church or homeschool group before. I can see the need to discuss these things maturely…about the stereotypes these things reinforce about what little girls should aspire to be. Laughing at the little girl who is dressed this way and carrying a doll is not appropriate. I just try to think how I would feel if a bunch of adults were laughing at a picture of my little girl dressed like Laura from Little House on the Praire and carrying her doll (and I have some). I would be mad, but I would also think that is awfully childish of them. For the most part these people do try to be awesome parents to their kids (I could never live up to their standards though I tried) and there are many reasons that they dress their kids this way and encourage them to play with dolls. Now all of those things should be questioned and discussed, in fact thinking long and hard about this subject helped spur me to feminism, but laughing at the little girl in question is in my opinion out of line and does nothing productive.

    Dream

  150. November 12, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I only feel sorry for the kid herself (mostly because she has to grow up with Santorum); but i gotta say, that is a deeply strange photo. for one thing, dad sort of absently putting his hand on the weeping girl (faced front, ahnds knitted just so) as he smiles out at his own close-up. Mom seems to be gritting her teeth. And the other two kids just look bored out of their skulls to me.

    who knows why she’s doing that, really. she’s clearly more manipulated than manipulating; who ultimately is doing the manipulating, well, history will tell. or, you know, not.

    per the fetus thing: call me a cynic, but i still find it kind of ghoulish. maybe it did come out of deep grief; just, you know, it’s -really- hard to tell what is and isn’t sincere with that particular politician on account of he comes off like an Addams Family waxwork most of the -rest- of the time.

  151. November 12, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    as per radical feminist comics:

    “I have no problem with kids!! Kids are people too, y’know!!” G’BANG G’BANG G’BANG

    –Hothead Paisan, smashing the living crap out of a stereo-carrying (playing misogynistic rap) small child who’s just called her a “faggot ass dyke” and told her he’s “going to rip yer pussy out.” With a baseball bat (her, not him).

    ‘course, unreliable narrator there; the kid’s T-shirt in the previous panels reads, variously,

    “Don’t blame ME”

    and

    “What’s a pussy anyway?”

    then again, cartoons do get away with a lot more…

  152. November 12, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    What- no parents out there? All single, happy-go-lucky folks who have never had to tend a scared, sad or sick child at 3am? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?

    I’ve just heard too many people go on and on about what a huge sacrifice it is and realized I’m not the sacrificing type.

  153. ginmar
    November 13, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    The point is, RM, that when you want to talk about offenderati, the people you like to offend aren’t both men and women. You pick just men, and quite a few of them are conservatives in radical clothing. So what’s radical about Andrew Dice Clay? Dennis Miller? Any of them? Their schtick amounts to “OMG girl cooties!” Meanwhile, Roseanne Barr can’t get away with nearly as much nearly as successfully.

  154. Raging Moderate
    November 14, 2006 at 5:57 am

    the people you like to offend aren’t both men and women

    That’s not true. I like to offend all people equally.

    You pick just men

    That’s true, but only because I couldn’t think of any women who were considered too offensive to be funny. Thanx for reminding me of Roseanne. Again, if you are offended by her, good for you. Just don’t tell me I have to be offended too.

    Meanwhile, Roseanne Barr can’t get away with nearly as much nearly as successfully.

    I dunno about Roseanne specifically, but I agree that’s true regarding women comedians in general. But it’s not because of people like me. I’m not one who tries to convice others about what they should be offended by when it comes to humour, regardless of the gender of the comedian.

  155. CLD
    November 14, 2006 at 7:48 am

    Oh shit, I peed. That’s hysterical.

  156. Ursula L
    November 14, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    And that…and was totally creeped out. What are they doing to that poor child, and why does it seem she’s getting it the worst?

    I mean, sure, the boy looks like he just got a cold, rectal surprise, but this poor girl looks like she’s being aimed squarely at making church basement hot dish for the rest of her life. I’d be cryin’ too!

    Well, for the adults, this is a political loss, but probably seen as a temporary setback. The same for the older kids, they have a better grasp on the idea that there are other ways to live.

    But for her, she’s never known a life when her father wasn’t a senator, when they didn’t live in the odd social bubble of traveling back and forth between the home state and Washington, and the various other odd things that come from being a political family. This is, in a very real sense, the end of everything she’s known and lived and been told was important.

  157. pmoney
    November 14, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Oh, Hotehead Paisan. I miss her SO!

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