May 4, 2012

JAMES TARANTO: The Lonely Life Of Julia:

At 31, the story tells us, “Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.” In due course she bears a son named Zachary, the only other character in the tale. . . .

The most shocking bit of the Obama story is that Julia apparently never marries. She simply “decides” to have a baby, and Obama uses other people’s money to help her take care of it. Julia doesn’t appear to be poor; at various points the story refers to her glamorous career as a Web designer, and it makes no mention of her benefiting from poverty programs like Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

In 1999 Lionel Tiger coined the word “bureaugamy” to refer to the relationship between officially impoverished mothers of illegitimate children and the government. “The Life of Julia” is an insidious attack on the institution of the family, an endorsement of bureaugamy even for middle-class women.

The Insta-Daughter’s take was that “they didn’t want to offend single mothers, so they couldn’t mention a husband — instead it’s like the baby came by spontaneous generation.” She wasn’t impressed with the tale, and thinks that a retirement of volunteering in a community garden sounds kind of . . . unambitious.