Thursday, May 11, 2006

Marrit takes on AlternaDad, and the culture of money

There really is an alternative parenting scene, and alternative writing about parenthood, and I'm proud to be linked up with that. As Marrit Ingman, one of my fave alterna-writers reminds us, contra New York Magazine, the idea of alternative parenting wasn't and isn't all about having lots of money to afford all the toys. With her, I too wonder: when did 'hip' become synonymous with 'affluent'? When did hip become something I could no longer afford? When did hip stop being about rebellion?

Well, it's no news that Marrit Ingman is a favorite here at the playground, so run, don't walk, to her latest post "Reinventing the Neal," where she takes on Neal Pollack, aka AlternaDad, and claims
a) that he may have plagiarized some of her writing, and
b) that he clearly felt no need at all to read any of the many, many alterna-moms who plotted the way before him. Women and mothers are just so invisible.
c) He's wrongly making "cool parenting" into a competitive and judgment-driven sport. As Marrit writes, with her characteristic humanity and grace:

"Therein lies the problem for me. I simply don'’t tolerate pitting parents against each other. Not mothers against mothers, not fathers against fathers. When I meet other parents, I don't run down a list of how we're different and I am better. Alternative parenting isn'’t about being the coolest kid in the room. It's about coalition-building and rejecting the ready-made, not about bragging and slagging."

So go and read.

1 comment:

Neal Pollack said...

I am not a plagiarist. Marrit and I happened to use similar cultural reference points in pieces that were written two years apart. I never read her piece, and didn't know it existed.

As for the accusation that I didn't read the many alterna-moms who were writing about this stuff before I became a dad: That's just not true. I was a big fan of Ayun Halladay's East Village Inky stuff. The fact that I didn't refer to it in my piece doesn't mean I'm unaware of its influence...but the main point here is that I will not allow myself to be accused of plagiarism. Again: I am not a plagiarist. Thank you.