Sunday, June 15, 2008

Now, Child-Free!

Not usually having an occasion to watch television for obscenely long stretches--I can't seem to concentrate for real reading with a temperature--I find real immersion in the Evil Medium to be an eye-opener. What's up with the PBS talking-heads shows, anyway? A few times in the course of the morning, there was reference on various shows to childless adults (in discussions of gay marriage, Social Security, etc.), except on PBS it's consistently "child-free adults." What?? Who thought "child-free" was some kind of neutral term? When does the "-free" suffix indicate anything except a bad thing of which one would wish to be rid? Error-free, bug-free, disease-free ... child-free.

Oh well. At least they're showing a terrific peformance of Swan Lake right now. This is what I like to see my tax money used for.

4 Comments:

Blogger Emma said...

Hi. I'm one of those childfree people you don't think should be called "childfree."

As succinctly as possible, here's the explanation: We consider ourselves childfree instead of childless because childless has the connotation of wanting children and, for whatever the reason, not being able to have them. You know, kind of like being hopeless and penniless.

We are "free" of something we do not want. I have friends who are carfree. They don't believe cars are evil, they just don't want to own one. Some people are debtfree. I don't view debt (think of a mortgage) as a terrible thing. Debt is only bad if it gets out of control and you can't manage it properly.

12:07 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

You prove my point. We say "hopeless" and "penniless" because hope and money are goods. For all your finessing, debt is a bad thing, not a good, and so we say "debt-free" rather than "debtless."

Children, likewise, are natural goods: not neutral items whose value or lack thereof depends on whether an individual happens to desire one. A person who is childless is lacking an objective good, whether it be by choice or not.

The made-up word "child-free" conveys to a normal English speaker the idea that children are undesired burdens. And I resent a taxpayer-supported network choosing to attempt that cultural shift.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

Wow. Who said anything about attempting a cultural shift? I'm not trying to convert anyone. I'm simply trying to explain something...have an intelligent dialogue.

I'm of the opinion that it's good that people who don't want children (for whatever reason...there are many - genetics, finances, psychological fitness, etc.)shouldn't have children. Do you think it's better that we have more people like Andrea Yates, Diane Downs, Susan Smith, Mary Beth Tinning, etc.? Or perhaps you would prefer to have more abused and neglected children languishing in foster care?

The word childfree conveys to a normal English speaker that someone is free of children - by choice, not by circumstance. You're the one who apparently thinks children are a burden. I never mentioned that once. Nor do I think they are a burden...if you want them.

Forgive me for attempting to have a civil conversation. Since you brought up the topic of childfree, I mistakenly thought you might be interested in learning a bit about us. I was obviously mistaken.

Interesting that you claim in your tag line to be Catholic...yet I see no compassion, understanding, or fellowship in your response. Just judgmental nastiness.

Peace be with you. I'll not darken your blog again.

7:27 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

1. I wasn't aware that you were a taxpayer-supported network.

2. I agree that those who don't want children shouldn't have them. Peanuts are good, but those who are allergic to them shouldn't have them. It would be very strange if I were to say "peanuts are good" and you were to go off on a rant about my desire to see the peanut-allergic dead.

3. Thanks for dropping by.

8:23 PM  

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