Monday, November 14, 2005

We bloggers are entirely too powerful

aka What do the media, blogging, ART, race, and given names have to do with high order multiples' endorsements?

I was doing some reading yesterday and happened upon this article:
Few Answering Quintuplets' Needy Cries
By C*urtland Mill*y

It seems that new parents of quints, Jennell and Noval, aren't getting the loot that other quint families have supposedly gotten in the past. (Other details first, then I take up the issue, below, where The Post's author hypothesizes several reasons for the lack.) The family lives in a one bedroom apartment and the father is now unemployed. They'd like diapers, formula, and a van, the usual stuff.

Here's the address if you want to donate:
Dickens Quintuplets Fund
M&T Bank
University Hospital Branch
22 S. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Attn. Tamara

Jennell, the daughter of Floryn and sister of Sharita, took clomid to overcome what I figure was PCOS. She was a stellar responder to her medical jump start.

Very fortunate, Jennell performed the miraculous by staying pregnant with 5 babies past 30 weeks, but, as anticipated, her babies came early: JaMir Amare, a boy, and his sisters, Si'ani Ritay, NaRae Dimetria, Jade Na'Liyah and Rayne Anye. They weighed in at 1 lb 12 oz to 2 lb 13 oz. Three have already gone home and two more are expected this week. They were only born about 8 weeks ago, so they are already overachievers, coming home before their due date.

You can probably sense an undercurrent around here. I do have a beef concerning the "whys" this family hasn't received donations according to the author, who writes:
Companies usually donate all the baby products and volunteers step in to provide services from housecleaning to nursing care.

But none of that has happened for Dickens and Davis. Except for the help of a few family members and friends, they are pretty much on their own.

Part of the problem was the initial media coverage of the Sept. 21 births. A 22-year-old woman has five babies after taking fertility drugs. As word of the births spread, some bloggers who monitor births online -- supposedly for the purpose of helping to find resources -- began mocking the names that Dickens had chosen for the babies...

I didn't realize bloggers were quite so powerful! We can stop commercial endorsements with the blink of an eye or tap on a keyboard.

I wondered who these mighty and snarky bloggers were, so I looked through Technorati (what The Post links to for searches), Google Blogs, and Blog Search Engine and found only one blog entry referencing them - and it wasn't even me, even though I readily admit that I contemplated a post 8 weeks ago. That sole blog entry must be the one "blogger(s)" responsible for the Dickens plight.

We need to blame Blogging Baby for there being no van in the Dickens' driveway. Thanks a lot, Sarah Gilbert. You crashed that party, rained on that parade. The family is hard up b/c you wrote an article questioning the kids' names. Further, this almighty article was read by all endorsement-welding PR people who collectively decided it would be too difficult to market something based on Si'ani or NaRae.

This does not add up for me. If people like Sarah are going to make fun of select names (and have authors like C*urtland Mill*y blame those same names), they are missing the multi-seat boat. There are a mighty lot of higher order names to make fun of. Just look at this list of 'famous' ones. There are bland names and ridiculously made up ones, too. I wonder the breakdown of freebies going to Jonathon, David, or Molly vs. Shipley, Rhealyn, or Shira. Do their endorsements differ?

What about a mixed bag, one sibling group (notice, I have not said litter) containing both a Matthew and a Genesis? [Oops, pro baseball player there who didn't even use fertility drugs. I'd hope he doesn't want baby endorsements, but then again Star Jones got endorsements to pay for her wedding. Humph.] Okay, then Jantzen and Briley vs. sibling Zachary. Did only the traditionally named one get endorsements? Does Zachary alone ride in the new van?

Or is it different if a surrogate carries the fantastic five?

I doubt it.

And, people, I really doubt that a lack of endorsements for the Dickens had anything to do with their children's names, or (what the real implication is, faulty as that might be to make inferences about) their race, or the media, or bloggers, or that she took fertility drugs. Or even the otherwise overlooked fact that they're not married.

One could say there are too many strikes against the Dickens for endorsement recognition, but I think the reason Jennell got no endorsements is b/c there are too damn many people having the likes of 5 babies at once. There was another set last week. (Sorry, but I cannot find that link again to the new set in Indiana - and that itself is a clue about media coverage, or the lack thereof, for moderately higher order multiples, if there is such terminology. People are much less enamored with the phenomenon. It has become almost commonplace.)

Most of us around here are in baby underload, but most of the world is in baby overload. It's not our fault, nor is it the Dickens. So don't blame any of us, CM.


Anonymous said...

Very compassionate.

Cricket said...

Well, gee, if you're so compassionate, have you used the donation address I so kindly provided in my own space after you chased me down to find me?

I thought not.

Obviously, I was not compassionate, Anon, but you must realize that my goal wasn't compassion. In case you missed it, my goal was to point out the author's faulty reasoning about why Ms. Dixon has been lacking in the donations.

Yeah, check out that donation address, Anon. You're overdue for another dose of self-righteousness about now.

Orange said...

Is it a race thing? The cable news media loves to get in a tizzy about a missing white woman, but not a missing non-white woman. Is this family perhaps African-American? I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of what sort of freebies have been bestowed on families with higher-order multiples, looking at the family's socioeconomic/racial profile.

Cricket said...

I looked for stuff like that, but couldn't find it. It would be interesting data to analyze.

As far as business contributions go, you'd think that Black businesses would get on the band wagon. Then the Dixons could have their race work for them. The author has written newspaper pieces on the DC area African-American community for a couple decades. That's his slant, his meal ticket. Seems like he'd have good knowledge of support within that specific community, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi - came here from Julie's site. I wasn't going to post but your Caveat made me scared :) I love your take on this. I agree. I also wonder if watching the post-Katrina outlash of feeling like the unemployed may get more than those who work is having any influence on this case...

Anonymous said...

I also found your blog from Julie's link. Perhaps corporations don't get all that much out of supporting poor parents with lots of kids. Maybe the bar has been raised and quints are passe--septuplets are the new rage. I mean c'mon--you don't even need a van for 5, you can fit them all into a mini-van.

Cricket said...

There are always so many causes. The author was essentially trying to beat the bushes to eek out something else for this family in need. Admirable. Noble. Worthy. However, I felt like his tactics were narrow and misguided.

I am also highly suspicious that the first Anon poster was probably the author. I believe the Post's sites has feeds which pinged that Northern VA commenter, as well as two or three visits from Baltimore. I believe they were people closely related to the article. I only got about 3-5 hits total off the Bloggers Bloggings sidebar at The Post, the one from Anon coming after I removed The Post link here and changed the title so as to change the URL to the piece. They had to want to read it to find it. So, they had a vested interest somehow.

Without a doubt, the family really does need help; I hope they get it. If they lived closer to me, I'd consider being an extra set of hands while my son's in school. I could have never handled it at age 22. I hope it works out for them.

Anonymous said...

Well put Cricket. Thank you for the thoughtful post.

Unknown said...

Oh, if you say the names outloud they sound pretty normal. I think it's cool that the smallest baby shares my name. She's only the third Rayne I know of incuding myself. Richard Prior's daughter is the other I think. And Jade, I know plenty of Jades. And hello! I'm totally whitebread midwestern milkfed blah blah blah.

I'm sorry the family is not getting the help they need. I've always wondered how long companies would continue to pony up with the increasing sets of multiples.

Suzanne said...

Here's a thought, perhaps people were a bit overwhelmed this year and made donations to tsunami or hurricane relief since the victims of those disasters were left with absolutely nothing. Or maybe they were preoccupied with their family members fighting in Iraq and hoping they don't get blown up by a terrorist. So maybe in the scheme of things a couple with 5 babies didn't seem like a major human tragedy needing our urgent attention.

Anonymous said...

I have been following the story of these quints as well.
I liked your entry, and also thought about race/post hurricane economics effecting their lack of donations. I think a lot of women on Triplet Connection did donate old clothes/etc. but some formula sure would be nice, Similac.
I can't imagine doing that. I nanny for quadruplets and their parents are wealthy enough that although buying 6 cases of diapers at a time is expensive, it doesn't break them by any means.

Anonymous said...

I also came by way of Julie. I also got pg after several years of infertility and treatment - thanks to the great help of very skilled REs. For those of us who have gone through ART, one thing that may seem out of wack here is that this woman was put on a fertility drug and NOT monitored. I think putting a woman on a fertility drug for acne and without being monitored - even if she wasn't TRYING to get pregnant is irrisponsible for her caregiver. WHen going through ART, if I ever become overstimmed, my cycle was cancelled to prevent high order multiple. I am pushing 40 and was very aware of the risks as I was TRYING to get pregnant. At 22 and with an acne problem, I wouldn't have known the risks of taking Clomid without my Dr helping me understand how much of a risk it would be. Shame on her Dr.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the makers of the drugs which bring about the multiple births should pony up? They're not hurting, for sure.

As for the names, well, it's an unfortunate trend.


Kristen Hanley Cardozo said...

Excellent post. I got here through a baby names site. I was wondering about what roles post-Katrina fatigue and race played as well. Both seem more likely than "Bloggers made fun of their names and doomed them for life! Cruel, cruel bloggers with the power to keep large corporations from committing the acts of charity they so desperately wish to perform!"

It's an unfortunate fact that fertility treatments resulting in many pregnancies of multiples has led to higher medical costs all around. The solution isn't obvious, but I think the point you made that such pregnancies have become much more common is also worth noting. Quints were a Very Big Deal when they only happened every so many years. When there's a new set every month, it's much harder to get worked up about them, right or wrong. There's going to be a very unpleasant public discussion about this in the years to come as the public, never very big on paying medical costs, starts to question these methods.

Compassion is needed, but so is a little perspective. Thanks for providing it.

chris said...

I have to agree with the above poster who noted that she might not have been monitored or even fully aware of the possibility of high order multiples. If so, that's a shame. I mean, at 22 and new to the infertility game, how many of us would have known about those risks?

RB said...

Just wanted to say Hello (as instructed)! Good post, and I think you are right. When a medical oddity becomes a medical normal, attention stops.

Anonymous said...

Great entry. Its important to realize that companies that offer endorsement deals to multiple births, etc. do so on a voluntary basis. No one HAS to give you anything-and I say this as a black woman. I'm not sure that race had any part of it at all. It seems that our society has this belief that something is owed to everyone, and that's just not the case. You have a lot of babies at once-good, God has blessed you, move on. I hate to hear that anyone is struggling, and being a mother myself, I can only imagine the costs associated with 5 new babies-I wouldn't want to be on the check writing side of that deal and my heart goes out to them-that said, I still don't believe that Chrysler is obligated to show up with a new van for them.

Anonymous said...

To everyone who came to my defense when ignorance was near, thank you. FYI, I haven't asked anyone to take responsiblility for my decisions (read any article). Yes I am 22, but my age doesn't mean anything. I had 2 good jobs, a decent place to live, and a nice car. Do any of you think I expected for my life to be completely bent out of shape?? But you know what, I'm still 22, have a good job, have 5 beautiful children, a home, 2 vehicles, very little corporate help and no one in my home wants for anything at all. If you want to talk about something, talk about that. And leave my children out of anything negative you have to say or write. If you can't pronounce or understand someone's name you should leave it alone, commenting only puts your ignorance on display for the world to see!!!

joann said...

hi im a mother of 2 and i thought i was going through menpose but found out im having twins i have some clothes and a few bottles if any one has baby stuff like beds of car seat strollers please send them my way im so stressed help!