Like Mae West, when Mark Latham is good, he’s very good. Witness his eulogy to Gough Whitlam.
Unlike Mae West, when he’s bad, he isn’t better. Witness his garbled article stating that left feminists hate children.
After several reads and re-reads of this, I may have worked out the gist of what he’s saying.
He opens with a critique of Lisa Pryor who wrote an article about parenting invoking coffee and anti depressants. She didn’t say what the anti-depressants were. They could be sugar or milk for her coffee for all we know.
She wasn’t writing about anti depressants. She was writing about the vulnerability of being a parent.
Latham initially misses that. He first makes the point that if you don’t want to have children, don’t have them. As a parent I won’t shirtfront Mark Latham on that.
Then surprisingly Mark Latham also writes about the vulnerability of being a parent.Clearly he has had a good experience parenting and the joy in his words leaps off the page. He’s lucky and should be sharing that joy more often. That’s where he should have stayed.
He then somehow he crosses the chasm in two leaps. He follows up with an incredibly withering critique replete with psychological generalisations that feminists are child hating complainers. Where are these feminists that hate children? Are there any at all? If I’m a feminist then does that mean I’m a bad parent?
He labels women and/or left wing feminists and/or Lisa Pryor who want more choices in raising families as child haters. He labels women and/or left wing feminists and/or Lisa Pryor showing vulnerability as complaining and avoiding responsibility.
Unfortunately, his article assumes that anyone else who has had a different experience to him is wrong. His first assumption is that as parenting has been good to him, it should be easy and joyful for others. As Lisa Pryor implies, it ain’t necessarily so Mark. His second assumption is that to admit that vulnerability is a bad thing and that you should harden up. It ain’t necessarily so Mark, showing vulnerability is actually courage in itself.
And that last assumption means he completely misses what Lisa Pryor’s article is all about. Perhaps he didn’t read it to the end.
What’s quizzical about all of this is that funnily enough Mark Latham and Lisa Pryor have more in common that one might think. They’re both parents and they both write about the vulnerability and the required courage of being a parent.
And I’ll leave the final word to Mae West , ““I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” Pity Latham didn’t focus on that more.