While I do not have kids, I am a white male. People like us are good at dispensing advice when we shouldn’t.
We white dudes love nothing more than chiming in when it isn’t our place. Talking out of turn. Judging before learning the facts.
Behaving this way makes us feel richer.
You have the patriarchal-sounding dudebros who cry crocodile tears over the absence of Black fathers in homes. (Keep in mind that not all of these lecturers are dumb. Some are rationalizing their investments in the private prison system.) Then there are those fellas who like to inform immigrant laborers that nobody works as hard as the passive-income-earning investor.
And who hasn’t encountered the sheltered caucasian who looooooves to tell women that women have it easy—that nothing they endure, including childbirth, is as excruciating as that moment from the male’s youth when the main authority figure really, really screamed at them…as in really screamed.
Just like these guys, I am straight and white and male. Talking about shit when I don’t know shit about that shit? On top of being made out of XY-bro-genes and white privilege, I’m also a fiction writer. I got this.
Here’s my idea, maybe a pitch to the publishers:
Yes, I am single, never married, childless. But howzabout I write a fatherhood guide for the Petting Zoo Bourgeoisie? Yes, I would offer tips to PZB moms as well, but its primary focus would be dads.
Fuck it. Why not?
Those who benefit disproportionately from the worsening inequality rate, while believing they don’t benefit enough, need an instructional manual telling them how to raise future versions of themselves. Those chips on their shoulders must be passed on.
While not nearly as powerful as the wealthy, the PZB believe in their power. 19th-century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said this about the Petting Zoo Bourgeoisie’s predecessors, the Petty Bourgeoisie:
Devoid of imagination, as the petty bourgeois always is, he lives within a certain orbit of trivial experiences as to how things come about, what is possible, what usually happens, no matter whether he is a tapster or a prime minister. This is the way the petty bourgeois has lost himself and God. The petty bourgeoisie is spiritless.
The modern versions, just as spiritless, also possess this knowledge-hating, victim-blaming vibe. Shrewdness is in. That’s why the PZB love financial games. The easy money that comes from pulling off good ol’ boy poker-tricks in real estate dealings or the stock market stimulates a base-level personality.
These folks don’t need no smartie-thinking. But they might need a well-written parenting manual.
If you are a white, upper-middle-class mother or father and you are beyond-pissed at me right now because of these words, cool those jets for a sec. You may not be an actual member of the PZB. You might be human.
Here’s a quick test. I’ll say a phrase, you respond. Here goes:
I think Elon Musk takes a lot more than he gives.
If you’re not losing your chili, flinging your possessions around the room while crying tears for Elon’s delicate feelings and cursing my name at the same time—congratulations!
You may earn at the PZB income level, but you are not PZB. This isn’t about money, but a way of looking at the world. People who say things like, “Yeah…850,000+ Covid deaths, sad…But the stock market is doing great…” should let others dispense life-building advice to the next generation.
In terms of creating this child-rearing book, many of my previous blog posts provide me with a head start on the subject matter.
I would use series like Bros: America’s new Jews. and The era of anti-Semitic tightwaddery. as knowledge bases for helping to explain the tight relationships we white men have with our money and our tired cultural stereotypes. So many nuances play into the phrase, “I am mega-amazing because I worship money but all Jews are bad because every one of them worships money.”
Of course, there are also those bad-faith, manipulative techniques that help the Petting Zoo Bourgeoisie get ahead in business. I wrote this blog post about the differences between gaslighting, concern trolling, sealioning, and tone policing. The content could easily be expanded upon.
Military lore factors into the PZB-dad ethos. My series, Metrosexual ammosexuals, ammosexual metrosexuals, and the tax-avoiding rich-guys who love/hate them. explores this aspect of the male psyche.
Fuck customers. The investor is always right. examines the economic system the PZB is helping to create. Whether they are corporate or more private equity-leaning, the parents working to achieve this investor-centric vision for the future put in longer hours as they discover new ways to take from the working class.
These hardworking, job-killing moms and dads need parenting advice.
All of the other books come from different eras. Back in times when, say…if a pandemic hit, those Petit Bourgeois types would have heard the whole “vaccination is good and we all can together reduce the virus’ spread” spiel and not have had much trouble following along with its logic.
Yes, I’d be a white guy talking out of turn if I wrote this fatherhood how-to. But the Petting Zoo Bourgeoisie loves white guys who talk out of turn.
In the spirit of however the Fyre Festival happened, I would attack this assignment with the same gusto.
Okay, enough snark.
Let me switch gears to communicate a crystal-clear insight: upper-middle-class white Americans tend to be the creepiest people that an unknown fiction writer can meet these days.
And the parents? I’ve met too many of them who give me the idea that they view their children as little more than possessions. I don’t like hearing, “The only reason you get to write is that you don’t have kids” from people who love their expensive toys and besides that, aren’t really fiction readers—much less writers—in general. Those sullen looks as they get speechy about their wealth don’t seem fatherly or motherly.
The only parents who use their kids as an excuse are white and make more than the median income.
Back in those days before I tackled my first book, I never envisioned a person comparing their own children to my writing. Not a connection I ever made. Once America’s most privileged made it for me, I got an icky feeling about the future of the country.
If anything, this crowd should get a tax increase. The super-rich need a giant, giant tax increase.
Even if I never write a parenting guide, I will write the words, “TAX THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS ALREADY QUIT BEING BITCHES” and I will write those words proudly.
Who knows? If a tax hike happens, something tells me that the parents might like it.
No. If we remove their sense of entitlement—that responsibility that they place upon their own shoulders—it could free them up to discover new joys in life.
Like…wait for it…spending more time with their families.
I’ll end this post with another serious thought about the Right wing’s whole fatherhood narrative: childless men like me are not the primary target for their messaging. When JD Vance, Elon Musk, Josh Hawley, and other sheltered fellas make negative comments about childless people or single-parent families, they are turning the American Patriarchy Dial up to eleven and directing those mean-spirited words at childless women and single moms.
Dudes like me? I don’t matter to these bros. Which is fine. This crowd and I share a mutual lack of respect for one another.
They are getting their jollies from reminding women that they don’t have a man in their life. The words hurt and that is the intent. But these dudes only do it because they and their rich owners are desperate.
All of us need to be better at reminding them of this fact. That desperation, the insecurity—they don’t want people talking about those types of things.
They’re freaking out. We know it. We outnumber them. Let’s put the haters in their places. It’s 2022. We humans need to leave that John Wayne thinking in the past and save the planet.
Because, you know, saving Earth would be good for the kids.
Riffing off of earlier posts:
• The New Einsatzgruppen wants to talk fatherhood. Oh, boy!
• The Petting Zoo Bourgeoisie went to the polls.
• Discover how miserable America’s top earners are. Self-publish.
• Operation Week Off.
• The 2010s: billionaires bitched, their racist bitches died off early.
• America will so rock at this fascism thing. Trust me: I released four books during the 2010s.
• A hypothetical experiment. Two white guys who overuse the word “successful” are its test subjects.
• Open letter to a selfie of my drunk-ass self, taken on August 11th, 2001.
I write fiction and have two dark comedies available, Fearkiller (Volume 1) and Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2), as well as Revolutionizer Alpha, the first book in a sci-fi series. I also wrote a story about God. It was weird, but then I decided to make the story and its sequel free. And all of the sudden, it didn’t seem as weird. Writing about God is much less weird when you write about God without charging money for it.
Here’s my professional site, my trade. Follow me on Medium.