Understandably unhappy professional father Neal Pollack is understandably unhappy that yesterday we called his four-year old son Elijah the worst and predicted that in a few years he'll be a full-grown horror show. Why did we launch this "disgusting sneak attack," he asks, in an email blast to his "Friends, Colleagues, Supporters, and anyone else who might be interested."
We did this because, he tells his fans, "I wrote an innocent little blogpost about how he likes to eat cheese." Well, Neal, not quite.
Try this: "Because I understand that if I fashion a literary character out of my son—regardless of whether I bracket him as fictional or nonfictional—I thereby expose him to criticism; because if I make that character particularly irksome, as I have, Elijah blowback is then inevitable; and because I have spent this latest iteration of my career milking my son Elijah for material."
To have your son do all the heavy lifting in your career! There outta be a law against that kind of thing. Oh, there is: Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA, ch. 676, 52 Stat. 1060, June 25, 1938, 29 U.S.C. ch.8). Heh.
Dear Friends, Colleagues, Supporters, and anyone else who might be interested:
Today, the gossip website Gawker.com launched a disgusting sneak attack on my four-year-old son.
Why? Because I wrote an innocent little blogpost about how he likes to eat cheese.
I recognize that, largely by my own design, I'm a public figure of sorts. And when I say something obnoxious in public, or even just appear in public, I'm fodder for snarky websites like Gawker. I may not always like what they say, but for the most part I don't mind the press. And I've certainly slung enough snark in my time to warrant some payback. But when they start calling my sweet, innocent son a "horror" and "the worst" and barely even mentioning me at all, then I start minding.
This is the kind of treatment that the media tends to reserve for the children of the truly famous. And even then, they rarely attack the children. Why? Because they're children . I may be a relatively
well-known writer, but I'm not rich. I'm not famous. And I don't live in New York. Why is Gawker going after a middle-class four-year-old from California? What purpose can that serve? The post isn't satire.
It isn't relevant. It's borderline insane. And I've had enough.
I don't know what recourse to take here. Maybe none. Maybe I brought this upon myself by trying to make a living telling silly parenting stories.
Honestly, I don't know if I'm asking you all for help, sympathy, both, or neither. I just know that I'm appalled, sad, and even a little sick about this, and that I'm obligated to defend my son.
Thanks so much. I hope this finds everyone well.
PS: Here's the link again, in case you missed it the first time: