Octo-Gone

Octo-Gone

Octo-Gone

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 20 2009 4:33 PM

Octo-Gone

Jess , I am hyper-susceptible to Octo-empathy right now, having just returned from a long overseas trip with just two squirmy boys who often behaved and sounded like at least eight. The part of me that can’t believe the quantity of potty talk a 4-year-old can generate on a transatlantic flight almost weeps for the Nadya Suleman whose 2-year-old called her " bitch " when she attempted to discipline him in the documentary. Mary Elizabeth Williams is right about one thing: Parenting ain’t easy and had the cameras been trained on me during hour seven of the flight last week, the New York Times would be pouring out their parenting wrath at me as well.

But the reason I find Suleman unwatchable actually has less to do with her parenting (or even her freaky dislocation from human reality) than her weird contempt for everyone around her. In the documentary, she excoriates her mother -the woman who cared for her kids as she was delivering more. She derides the same paparazzi she has invited into her life and her delivery room. She somehow finds time to slam poor Kate Gosselin -whom she creamed in the ratings wars last night-even though both she and Gosselin are more or less the same person with different bangs. She even talks a stream of trash about herself . In the end, the only thing sadder than watching the whole world judging Nadya and finding her wanting is the spectacle of her own judgment that everyone and everything has let her down.

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus.