Courtney Love, Donna Simpson, embarrassing parents, fat people, Guinness Book of World Records, Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara, people of size, Rajo Devi Lohan, reality television, Spain, Victoria Lacatus, waddling grotesquery, world's fattest mom
Across time and culture it has long been the accepted practice of parents everywhere to embarrass their children. Historically this has taken many forms, with parents finding some way–a dead-end job, an embarrassing religious or social affiliation, or being personally grotesque–to mortify their offspring. So it has gone since time began, and so it was assumed until recently, it would continue. But the current era’s tendency toward both permissiveness and cynicism means that parents must work increasingly hard to humiliate their jaded offspring.
The era of confessional reality TV ensures that parents can no longer rely upon being overly confessional (i.e., “Did Cindy tell you she was born with a vestigial tail?” or “No, I haven’t always been a woman . . .”), as today’s youth take any attention as a positive thing.
Nor does fringe-level employment scar children like it used to. In this age of unemployment and diminished expectations, no one is likely to be embarrassed that their father’s primary source of income is as a plasma donor.
Once upon a time having parents who were gay, super-religious, ultra-strict, nudists and the like was enough to mortify a child. But with society’s increasing fragmentation and constant search for meaning, a parent who embraces all of these characteristics is hardly unusual. Conventional wisdom says the era when parents could count on embarrassing their children is over.
But there are those who are still trying. These brave parental pioneers, or as some call them–holdouts, resist the defeatism of popular wisdom strive instead to find that thing which will induce shame-cringing in their offspring.
Advances in medical science coupled with lapses in medical ethics are making it possible for old ladies to have children. The world’s oldest first-time mother,72-year-old Rajo Devi Lohan,* announced recently that she is dying from complications following the birth of her son, now eighteen months old. To her credit, Lohan has no regrets.
But there has been no comment from the eighteen-month old child she leaves behind to be raised by an even more decrepit husband. Similarly there has been silence from the orphaned 2-year-old twins of Spain’s Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara, formerly the world’s oldest mom. Bousada holds the distinction of having a name which takes more time to say than she actually spent with her children.
While having a ridiculously-ancient mommy delivers a massive dose of humiliation over a short period of time, some pro-humiliation parents are choosing a more measured approach: obesity. While obesity can lead to an early death, the human body is usually resilient enough to shoulder the load during child-bearing years, often keeping the parent alive well into their child’s adulthood. Furthermore, an amazing amount of posthumous humiliation is inflicted upon fatty’s children when several walls must be removed from the home before the corpulent corpse can be extracted.
532-pound heifer Donna Simpson is striving (figuratively speaking; the woman can barely walk) to become the World’s Fattest Mom.** Simpson, whose daughter Jacqueline will no doubt make her talk-show debut sometime circa 2025, claims that the Guinness Book of World Records is prepared to recognize her “achievement.” This claim could not be verified, and is most likely false.
Mothers like Simpson or Lohan demonstrate that the conventional wisdom is pretty conventional after all. Parents interested in continuing in the humiliation tradition would be wise to emulate either one of these women or better yet, to strike out on their own to discover wild new frontiers in mental scarring. And for those rare individuals who wish the psychic assault to ruin not just their children, but also generations of children yet unborn, can do their best to become Courtney Love.