Keeping the World Safe from Comedy.


I know, you all think that the life of the freelance working mom means going back to bed after the kids are sent off to school, drinking pots of coffee in our bunny-feet pajamas, and, possibly eating bagels at our computers while we wait for inspiration to strike. Well, okay, fair enough. But that’s only half the fun. Sometimes inspiration is not all that easy to come by. We might, just to shake things up, go into the kitchen for more coffee. We might Google ourselves, or check Amazon for readers’ reviews. Sometimes, while engaging in the latter, we might come across a thoughtful missive from a dear reader, much like one recently posted, who felt the need to unburden herself of this, regarding my book:



“…As if her contempt for children isn't enough, she puts the cherry on the sundae by displaying her contempt for cats and dogs. Her venom is particularly strong toward cats. I came away from the book feeling as if she hates any creature under five feet tall. I feel sorry for her family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else who must endure this woman's selfish attitude toward life. Don't waste the money on this book. I'm astounded that it even got published…. Dreadful!”


So, well, what can I do? The books are already written, and to really put the cherry on the sundae (I love that) my family, friends and neighbors will sadly be forced endure me for longer than they can imagine. And pity the poor cats, for I accused of them of arrogance. How cruel do those words sound to me now. Forgive me, tender-hearted kitties. Oh, that’s right. Cats can’t read. But people can, and do, and even when they hate a book, often insist on finishing it to the last dreadful drop and hammering out a scathing review. Inexplicably, this same reader felt the need to read my second book, and post a similarly nasty assessment on Amazon. There is nothing to be done about those people. But then, I received the following, forwarded to me from my very nice Mommy Track’d editor:

“…I'm quite concerned to find an essay
updating the meaning of the "N-Word," or rather making
light, or ironic use of it in a recent issue of
Mommy Track'd, which I have come to love. As I'm
sure you know, that word comes with such a long,
bitterly painful history, as painful today as it was
before the civil rights movement, that I find its use
as a catchy title to call attention to the importance
of saying no to children both shocking and morally
repugnant…I know you would
take an editor's pen to "The N-Word" if you'd had a
chance to think about it - which is why I'm writing
you about it."



I think most MommyTrack'd readers are well aware that Christie meant to use "the N word" to refer to euphemism. That's not the point, though, that the original objection was making. Rather,I think that particular reader, with whom I must agree, worried about "no" in the mouths of parents being equated as a euphemism with "the N word" we're more familiar with and, of course, its history. The equating of one with the other, while meant as the stuff of comedy was, as the poster suggested, rather more insensitive than comedic. I think Christie's posts are terrific in their effort to point out ways in which iconoclastic comment serves us really well. Such an approach isn't really at odds with sensitivity to the potentially hurtful (as opposed to eye-opening) effects of telling things as they are.


It's a difficult issue -- I understand the true need to support the First Amendment and say what you feel, but I think the website may have done the right thing to be more sensitive to the reader who posted the concerns about the original "N-Word" title/article. Thank you for continuing to be frank, but thank you for also understanding the ultimate need for sensitivity. I love reading your column and will continue to do so religiously!