I have a newsletter! I sometimes even send it! An excerpt from one of my longer opinion sections:
Your dog is not a baby. Nor your cat. Your book, for sure. Dear God, I’m serious – your book or album or Masterpiece Theatre teleplay is not a baby. The analogy isn’t even false so much as belittling to every feature of the analogy. You don’t need a baby. That’s the better, empowering truth. Your car, your plants, the thing you care for which is not a baby, is not a baby. Jokingly calling something a baby off the cuff is fine. Even fun! Calling yourself a mom because you have a cat is akin to a disorder. You’re not a cat-daddy. Your cat has a daddy. It probably abandoned him. Cats are like humans that way. All this baby talk used to drive me crazy because it minimizes babies; now that I have a baby I find it insulting to all my friends who don’t want babies. Especially if you’re in the Christian church, where we have one of the greatest traditions of spiritual friendship and celibacy in the world. Having a baby is probably the best thing in my life, but also I was happy before I had a baby. Babies, to be clear, are great. Have babies if you feel so inclined! Also, the opposite. And if the opposite, do not succumb to the group-think, normalizing pressure of calling anything you love a baby, as though without baby-love your non-baby life is somehow void. That’s false. Not so false as calling a dog a baby or yourself a daddy if all you parent is a goldfish, but false all the same. Dogs are great because they are dogs. Thank God they’re not babies, you guys. Come on.
Clarification: my mom always jokingly said if you can keep a plant alive, get a pet; if you can keep a pet alive, you’re safe to have a kid. One, good joke. Two, puppies obviously need you to care for them with benevolent selflessness in such a way that may foreshadow other obligations. But this is merely a lesson on the common-sense order of what should be given dignity and love. If you’d willingly feed your baby to a dog in some extreme survival situation, then and only then can you call the dog your child. But also, that’d be insane.
In conclusion: Dogs and babies and cats and plants and your book are great, but different.
This newsletter is my baby.