A month ago, I posted a clearly labeled opinion piece (Rants and Raves was the actually listing) about a Brooklyn, New York, performance artist planning to give birth in front of a live audience. I didn’t get a birth announcement, but on October 25, at 10:17 a.m., Ms. Kotak gave birth to a healthy, nine pound, two ounce, 21 inch long baby boy who has been named Ajax.
Yesterday, we received the following from “koinsf”:
“There was no where to post to the article directly so I am writing you. Did Linda C. LaVictoire bother doing ANY research on the background of (as she puts) in quotes of the “artist” before writing such rubbish? My understanding of a journalist is that they report on the who, what, when, where and why and avoid making the story about themselves. Is Linda C. LaVictoire a journalist or some hack blogger who was able to post? This “article” is ridiculous. Obviously the author did no research and interjected her own personal experience and making this story about herself and not about Marni Kotak giving birth. In the future, a bit of quality journalistic ability would be much appreciated!”
I checked with our editor and we had received a comment from this person, but it was so incoherent, it was dropped.
Commentary is the opinion of the poster. The ethics of journalism requires that when a journalist posts his or her opinion it be clearly labeled as such. That is what makes Fox News so irritating. They have a logo that puts the word “news” on the screen with their purely opinion shows like Hannity. Lezgetreal is a blog. We make no secret about our very liberal, progressive perspective and do not hide the fact that we have a perspective. There is no attempt to make people believe that our opinions are hard fact. We do research our factual information. In fact, doing the research is one of the reasons we don’t just put out hundreds of cut and paste stories a day.
Now, having addressed the complaint, let me state very, very clearly THE FOLLOWING IS MY OPINION:
We are pleased that Ms. Kotak had a healthy baby. The success of this performance does not change our opinion that it was a very risky choice. Fifteen random people were notified that labor had begun. IN MY OPINION inviting fifteen random people to a birth is naive. There were, according to the reports in various newspapers, at least three others who showed up. No one involved in the birth had any idea what kind of people they had invited or what risks they might have posed to the mother or child. Marni Kotak’s world may be filled with wonderful, supportive artists, but the rest of the world has far too many lunatics capable of causing harm.
One last thought on the choices being made by Ms. Kotak and the father of Ajax, who is identified as both her “partner” and her “husband,” Jason Robert Bell…..
Ms. Kotak has announced that her on-going, eighteen-year performance piece is going to be Ajax’s life. That little boy’s life, every bit of it, is going to be recorded and put out for the world to read about. As people follow the raising of this boy, they are encouraged to make donations. We have seen what social media can do to children and adolescents as a tool for bullying, but we haven’t yet seen what is going to happen when all the posts and pictures and gushes from adoring parents who are posting their children’s lives for friends start being circulated among their classmates. And Ajax’s life won’t be limited to sharing with friends.
I have an acquaintance who spent years fighting with her mother over one black-and-white photograph, taken almost 60 years ago. It shows a beautiful little girl with an adorable expression on her face, sitting on her potty. She has a blankie draped over her lap and the angle hides her chest, so the photo doesn’t actually approach the level of child porn. Nonetheless, my acquaintance has been embarrassed her entire life by her mother’s decision to enlarge that snapshot, frame the 8″ x 12″ print and hang it in her hallway, just outside her bathroom.
Now, extrapolate that to a 12-year-old in middle school finding that his mother’s post about potty training him is being spread all over the school.
Yes, my opinions are formed from the experiences of my life. I raised a transgendered, learning disabled child. I taught school. I sincerely hope that Ms. Kotak and Mr. Bell are planning to home school their son before they find out just how vicious children can be.
By the way, Ajax looks beautiful. Congratulations. I do sincerely wish the three of you a very good life together.