Story pick: 'The Mommy-Fight Site'
Around the time my son was born a couple of years back, I found myself trolling the Internet in search of information about child-care options. My search led me to the D.C. Urban Moms and Dads message board, which, as I quickly discovered, was a rough-and-tumble place where anonymous commenters are always at each other's throats about their parenting practices and lifestyles. I thought it was a pretty ridiculous place, so I didn't stay long -- and I rarely went back, except to rubberneck.
Journalist Kathryn Masterson spent significantly more time on the site during a recent month of research for her first child, due in March -- and also for an excellent City Paper story about the absurdities of the site, on which people's positions in life are a frequent source of debate and ridicule. As the story's subhed says: "Welcome to the D.C. Urban Moms message board. And by the way, your kid's stroller sucks."
Writes Masterson: "Flame wars are common wherever the Internet grants people anonymity, but the fights on DCUM have a uniquely Washington flavor to them. With all that ambient worry about where we live, how much money we make, and how gifted our children are, it’s a place to ponder what it means to raise a child in America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area. DCUM might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis."
It's a great read -- a wonderful bit of journalism as anthropology. And and it turns out, it's inspired some of the same sort of commentary that makes D.C. Urban Moms and Dads such a wild place, with a near-riot erupting in the story's comments section.
J. Freedom du Lac
| January 28, 2011; 9:19 AM ET
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