Thursday, November 09, 2006

Unfunny

Pennsylvania Republican candidate for the US Senate Rick Santorum concedes the race to Democratic challenger Bob Casey while his daughter Sarah Marie cries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES)
Some people seem to think the photos of Santorum's concession speech are hilarrrious, because what could be funnier than sobbing children?

May I briefly step outside the "Princess Sparkle Pony" persona? These photos don't fill me with glee; they fill me with horror and loathing. They bring several things to mind:
  • If the children were that upset, why did they drag them onto the stage with them? What kind of unfeeling jerk subjects his children to such public stress?
  • Santorum obviously failed to prepare his children for the possibility of his electoral loss, hence their heightened shock and dismay.
  • The Santorum family's emotional investment in this race seems to border on the psychotic.
  • Why are the children that upset? The Santorums are famous for home-schooling their many children, and their exaggerated response to Daddy's loss seems to point toward a complete disconnection from what most of us would consider to be the "normal" way to behave in public. How will these sheltered, bizarre children fare in the "real" world?
I could go on and on. But, finally, why are so many people amused by this tragic, terrible scene? It makes my skin crawl. From The Hill:
Most of the reveling was of the fun, slightly inebriated variety, but the Dems did show they could, on occasion, go negative. When the big screens in the ballroom showed Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) surrounded by his crying kids while making a heartfelt concession speech to Bob Casey, partiers did mock the poor Santorum tots.
That's not funny, that's sick.

Sorry about that. I'll get off my high horse and back on the Pink Pony as soon as I stop vomiting.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a rare serious PSP moment I agree with you 100%... wow. There really are no words. What words there were, you said perfectly. franonymous

Anonymous said...

If you recall how Rick and Karen Santorum exploited their apparently still-born son, whom they named Gabriel, to boost their cred with the anti-choice crowd, their use of their living children in their campaign and as a back drop for Rick's concession speech is perfectly consistent and consistently horrifying. Being parented by these two shallow opportunists is a terrible burden.

Anonymous said...

argghhhhhhhhhh... i had forgotten about that awful debacle. as a catholic (albeit a liberal, often angry and PSP-lovin' one) it so offends me at every level. franonymous.

drew said...

certainly, rick santorum pushed them into the national narrative by using them as props for his talking points. but they are still children, and when they wander into the street we can wonder at the principles of their parents, but first we must be certain they do not get hit by a car.

Jess Wundrun said...

I think that these kids have wrapped dad, politics and god so tightly together that at this moment they are asking their creator 'why have you forsaken us'.

It may take a family, but some counseling and oversight by social services seems to be in order as well.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Casey celebration in Scranton on election night and heard no mocking of Santorum's children by anyone.... the TVs were on, but the sound was not!!!!

samael7 said...

"The Santorum family's emotional investment in this race seems to border on the psychotic."

Jess got it right, I think: I suspect he really does fill his children's heads with unfiltered rhetoric and dogma, as in, "I will win because God wants me to."

Defeat = Forsaken by the Lord.

And I certainly do pity any children brought up by narcissistic fundamenatlists. They didn't ask to have whack-job parents who will probably screw them up more than average. Who continue, even in defeat, to use them as trophies or pawns in a public spectacle.

Fictional crying children can be funny, especially ones like Veruca Salt (although I think she merely swelled up and turned blue...or was that Violet?). Real ones as the object of scorn they didn't ask for or want? Well I don't like the "sins of the father" crap no matter who pulls it.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Jess, I think you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

just so you know, home schooling can produce some functional - even enlightened - people (I'm reading your blog after all)....

puritani said...

PSP - I thought you'd comment on the attire that that poor child is sporting. I've been having nightmares ever since I saw it. Is that some home-made jumper-blousie thingie. Ohhh, it looks like something that my mother made my sister wear when we were young in upstate New York, being raised as Republicans. I'm sure that's a McCalls pattern. And the poor son - not shown in this photo. His face positively could not have been longer and more distressed. Now, they can go make some clothes or something.

txyankee said...

puritani - did you notice that apparently the doll she is holding (I assume that's a doll's head of blonde hair) is wearing a matching dress?

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Glad to hear it, anonymous, but I suspect that's not the case in some of the more conservative households.

And Puritani, I'll post some more of these pics when I get home, because they are really nightmarish.

And yes, the doll is wearing a matching outfit.

Anonymous said...

the kids are crying because now Daddy will be home all the time...

Jess Wundrun said...

About the matching dresses: American Girl (subsidiary of Mattel) makes matching clothes for kids and dolls. You can also purchase dolls that look like you (sort of). It's big biz. American Girl is located on 5th ave across from Sak's, and is on the Miracle Mile in Chicago and now LA, too.

I have young girls. This subject I know.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Princess, while a big fan, I disagree with you. RS used the children just as they should have been used---part of society. When you do that, you get them pushed forward warts and all. While it may seem they were props, my guess is that the parents wanted to include them in the family experience. Growing up in a big Catholic Family with lots of dinner time discourse--and with me turning out gay--I was grateful for the experience. I think it is wrong to dis the children in this setting. You put yourself forward in a 'Count Olaf' or 'Esme Squalor' persona (see Lemony Snicketts books or however they are spelled). The kids may be a prop, but they are part of all of our families gay or straight and they should be included in our collective experiences.

They may be gay, straight, conservative, liberal--whatever. Let their parents be the focus of their teen years, not the blogs. Sorry Princess, I love you, but the children should be off limits. I know you think the kids are props, but after growing up in a big family l can tell you that kid are not props. They are part of who the candidate is and you get the candidate as they are--family included.

I just think you should go after a candidate, not their family. While it was tacky of him to bring them forward, you don't need to point it out. The vision is painful enough without you poking the children with a stick.

Again, I love you princess, I am just taking your stick away for a couple of days and making it an adults only stick.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Um, I thought I was defending the children and saying that making fun of them was distasteful?

dpgnome said...

Nothing like good old double edged satire, PSP. You step out of the cloak, pull the knife out of your boots, and slice quickly.
You have to admit that the picture of them that's been the most widely circulated is funny - just as a picture.
It is sad to see kids crying, but that picture is teh hilarious.

sfmike said...

Dear Princess: I think your outrage over the public humiliation of the crying children quite becomes you. That doesn't mean I particularly share your horror.

Their grotesque ex-senator father is partially responsible for lots of bloody, crying children in Iraq right now, and it's those photos that get my outrage going off the meter. Santorum's kids? They'll get over his loss and at present they're not orphans or crippled or blind, so I'm not really feeling all that sympathetic.

Mr. Blackwell said...

The inconsolable Santorum girl and her doll/fetus are wearing matching outfits.

Pretty Arctic Tori said...

Mr A nony mouse,

I see your argument about how children should be involved in the family and experiences, good or bad, that might come to that family. Its a good argument but I find I disagree with sharing 100% of your working experience with your children.

For example, my father does arctic research and yet he dosen't bundle me and mummy up and drag us to the arctic to chill out in a make-shift plywood building, to go pee in temperatures so cold that the stream freezes before it hits the ground, and to have fun battling the curious polar bears who smell the food in the flimsy make-shift plywood buildings. (love me a good run-on sentance) There are certain things about his job that he protected me from as a child. And while I heard stories about what he did and we talked about it, he didn't drag me there and it would have been exceedingly irresponsable of him if he had.

Mr. Santorum should not protect his children from the realities of life by pretending he won the election, but they should be told in a safe environment so that they can learn how to effectively deal with it.

David from Toronto said...

There is involving your kids and exploiting them. It's a matter of degree and figuring out how much they can handle. The children have a right to know about death and to express their loss, maybe even sit with the body. They don't have to hold a five month old fetus, or spend the night with it.

Other candidates bring their children on stage to share their victories and defeats, but they prepare them for it. If the kids are upset, they don't need to be on stage.

This fucker uses God and his children to agrandize himself and his ideas. If the kid cries, great: he garners more sympathy. If he loses, well, we who voted against him must be against God.

To be honest, when I saw the girl crying, my first thought was: Is that baby Gabriel she's holding, or did they tell her it was Gabriel to make her cry so we'd feel bad for Jebus daddy. They have no shame.

wildwoman said...

Your are so articulate! Outstanding commentary on this one!

Anonymous said...

PSP- is this the most commented upon entry or am i just thinking that it is?
and what a plethora of comments as well.
that's what its all about, right.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

It's certainly right up there, and will probably become the most-commented post with this comment.

I certainly enjoy getting comments, but no, that's not why I blog. Interestingly, the most read posts are generally not the most commented upon. I've had posts featured on Metafilter and Wonkette which have generated enormous traffic but few comments.

This one certainly seems to have struck a nerve!

isabelita said...

Santorum exposed his children to the public eye. As he sowed, so shall he reap. And just laughing at their idiocy is a far cry from abusing them, as Rush Limbaugh did with Chelsea Clinton, saying that she looked as if she'd been hit in the face with a bag of nickels.
Screw the Santorums. They have done absolutely nothing to improve this world.
'Course, one or more of his kids could grow up and be a real productive human being, despite him.

Sadly, No! Research Labs said...

Hey, we sink pretty low on occasion, but those Santorum kids have enough to worry about.

Frank IBC said...

Another photo:

Junior Graciously Concedes On Behalf of Daddy

Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel said...

She's probably worried that the family will move back into that two-bedroom shack in Penn Hills that serves as his Pennsylvania "residency."

Karen Zipdrive said...

Yikes- that kid's face looks like it was carved from cornbread. And what's that hair ball she's holding?
Creepy, man.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

[Had to split this post, nowadays Blogger is getting racist towards long comments.]

I must concur with David : there's acknowledging the existence of one's children, and there's plain chutzpah exploiting them and commercialising people's feelings.
I've just realized why the photo you posted makes many people laugh: it's not that it's funny, but in fact it's grotesque. As Conal Doyle so aptly pointed in I forget which Sherlock Holmes investigation related to voodoo, "grotesque easily transforms into atrocious". And then the laughter stops. The same thing may feel laughable or pathetic, to the same viewer sometimes. This ridiculously sobbing girl dressed like some Amish, and her pretentious bilious-faced daddy, look like living caricatures of the stereotypical fundamentalist Americans.

"Boo-hoo-hoo, Daddykins lost, this is the end of the world"? GROW UP, ya whiny brat! It's just an election, a popularity contest. Wussy yankees and their "so the drama" if they're not popular enough in high school! While half of the world's children don't have any potable water to drink. In part thanks to the international politics practiced by the likes of Rick Santorum, viewing all the "lesser members of humanity" as mere chess pawns to establish and maintain their own luxurious lifestyles in their ivory rook. And Americans still wonder "why does the whole world hate us?" Now THAT's something truly nauseating, IMHO.

I was four when the Lebanon war started. Just old enough to be aware of the all-encompassing surrounding madness I'd be diving in head first for the next 34 years (and counting). Don't kid yourselves: war movies or not, you don't know what it's truly like if you haven't LIVED it by yourself, my "dekadent kapitalist" friends. We were lucky every day the cannon shells, phosphorus bombs and other rockets or random snipers narrowly missed us. (I've lost count of all my narrow escapes from the Reaper, between the very first day of the war up to last summer.)
And we were VERY lucky when a month went by without us missing a single school day (I think the record was three months straight of school being out). Oh, and we were constantly on the edge of poverty.
But did I turn into a soggy waterbomb of burbling tears?
Let my own blog's tone answer for me. I'm too busy caring for others who have it worse than me. It's called self-respect, yo.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

[Second half of comment]

If all the children were as spoiled/misled as these bigot-brainwashed Santorums, the whole planet would be in a constant state of war until all the survivors were Presidents of their countries, and then of the World.
By the looks of their despair, you'd think they're just bidding farewell to the baby brother's chopped remains retrieved from a sadistic pedophile's cooking pots. Michael Jackson had a truly cruel childhood, and was all but manly, but even he never sobbed in public to beg for moved pats.
This "desperate sadness" spectacle? It's the whining of a spoiled brat howling because he wants it all and was just told off by real life.
Grotesque.
Draws some mean laughs, yes. But fully asking for it. "See my sad children, I did it all for the children, feel sympathetic for me, and then let's go lynch some homosexuals."

The first and main author of the public abuse inflicted to the Santorum children, is their manipulative politician of a father.
I have faced daily racist rejection and taunting in school for 11 years because of my origins. But I don't whine about it. I used it to learn about human nature, and as an incentive to grow up a spine.

I won't attempt to tell you the first thing of the real dramas I witnessed or went through in a GENUINELY tough life. Why? Because I'm not a narcissic drama queen. I'd feel shamefully immature to step on a public stand in front of a crowd and start weeping to beg for some sympathy. Even though my arguments are a teensy wee bit more serious than "my Dad lost a popularity contest and won't be Prom King, so now I can't gloat hysterically on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace".

I just feel grateful that I don't live in Iraq, because I get the feeling they have it even worse than I did.
I'm one of the lucky ones. No reason to cry over it, hardship mostly made me aware of my relative luck. And when I was the age of that chubby brat dressed in a bag, I was already fully aware of it. Every day that my father came back from work alive and well was a blessing.

But that hapless doll, trapped in Elmyra's fat wet arms, has my heartfelt sympathy.
"Won't somebody think of the Cabbage Patch Dolls?"

My apologies if I sounded more angry and ranting than I intended. But "let them eat cake" always gets on my hot oriental nerves. A bit like a GeneralMotors minimal wage "economic laid-off" worker when the CEO sobs over his lost golden parachute and 3rd yacht.

Anonymous said...

It's been 4 1/2 years since this photo was published after Santorum was defeated, and every time I see it, I have to shake my head in disgust. This entire family sickens me. The only reason Santorum's daughter is crying is because that Daddy lost a chance to convert millions of Americans by force in some way into brainless fundamentalists. And also Daddy losing his big paycheck as well. This guy and his family represent the most toxic faction of America simply by trying to force their beliefs/opinions down the throats of others. And to think that Santorum is now contemplating a Presidential run next year?

angie said...

@anon 2/12/11 4:52 PM, as much as it pains me to say it because I'm a Catholic too as Santorum is, I have to agree with you. It's the slips, intentional or not, that power hungry politicians inevitably make in their overly zealous quest for it that give the darker side of their personality away. Former Virginia senator George Allen's Macaca comment told the real story behind his smile, just as Santorum's ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money” statement to Iowans belied his. In a state where over 91% of the population is white, he sold his soul to get their vote, ignoring the fact that 86% of all food stamps distributed to Iowans goes to white people, just as white Americans account for the largest percentage of welfare payments each month.

Jamie0S said...

Here's a thought (someone may have made, behind on all this and haven't the time to read all the comments), she may be crying because there are a bunch of cameras being flashed in her face - I notice she rarely appears on other photo-shoots. While dragging kids into your job application is frankly weird, if not selfishly cruel, the media have a habit of ignoring their effect on a situation and seem oblivious they are even there.

Anonymous said...

Oh calm down everyone. I find this hysterical. I nominate Santorum's daughter for best supporting actress in a drama. I nominate her doll for best actress supporting the best supporting actress. Look, I was home schooled. My mom forced me into plaid jumpers for my first 15 years of existence. I liked dolls until I was 16. The best thing for the Santorum children is if their parents pay attention to all the mocking they are receiving and allow them to join the rest of "normal" society. Mock away. It is for their good.