Monday, 20 July 2009

In which Oliver James rears his lipless head again

Dear Oliver James,

Ah, Oliver. Oliver, Oliver Oliver. I can call you Oliver, can't I? After all, we have history, you and I.

Oliver, here we are again.

In one way, I should be grateful to you, for you regularly provide me with some of the most entertaining keyword searches to this blog "I hate Oliver James", "Oliver James cunt" "Oliver James wanker" and with each one I send a silent message of affinity to my google searchers. My people! You have found the right blog!

I read your recent piece on maternal stress in the Guardian with interest. By interest, obviously I mean 'rising levels of apoplectic fury'. It is another meisterwork from the NoLips stable. So. Mothers who are stressed in pregnancy have terrible broken children. Cortisol, blah blah blah. You are the Calvin of perinatal cognitive science. Everything is ordained, mainly before birth, we are all damned by our poor lifestyle and childcare choices. I note the reoccurrence of your favourite phrase "cortisol levels are jammed high". Funny, this happens to me whenever I see your byline. I think you and I have been here before, have we not? But if you will insist on repeating yourself, then I must do the same.

Oliver; imagine, if you will, the following hypothetical situation. Imagine that in the sixth month of a second pregnancy, the mother - already parent to an 18 month old - loses her own mother in an accident. Imagine next, that she spends the next four days on the phone to Italy, trying to get her mother's body repatriated. Factor in the grisly and inaccurate press reporting that gives her recurring nightmares. Hypothetically, you might also imagine dealings with the undertakers and coroner, the 18 month old going a bit crazy at the change of routine and environment, the house full of warring relatives, the exponential loss of sanity of one member of the immediate family. The funeral for 600 people - venues! Catering! Tricky coffin choices! All manner of fun. Next we are going to add into our hypothetical example, the sectioning of the aforementioned member of the family under the Mental Health Act in a famous South London institution. The consequent adoption of another family member - a completely devastated family member - into the pregnant mother's household. The torturous bus trips across London to the loony bin. A month after this, we must incorporate in this case study a snap decision required virtually overnight to move to another country. All this between the 6th and 9th month of pregnancy. Let's not even go into the first year of this poor, damned child's life, or his older sibling, exposed to the savage, cortisol flooding effects of childcare - gasp - outside the home.

I am only including the case study as it is one I am glancingly familiar with. But my point is this. Oliver, we cannot all exist in your cosy middle class bubble of smug solipsism. Events get in the way, even for those of us who do normally live in your bubble. And as for those outside of it; what about those for whom "stress" is an inevitable consequence of not enough money, or housing insecurity, or ill health or any number of unavoidable life events that you would appear to believe we can somehow prevent if we are sufficiently, what? Clever? Devoted? Loving? For them, and indeed for all of us, what does your conclusion that maternal stress is not optimal for child wellbeing contribute to the sum of human knowledge? Could you not devote your vast mental faculties to something that would actually NOT make mothers feel like shit about the situations they have been placed in, and the choices they have made?

So. Oliver. What I thought we could do next is this. I will send round my damaged, aggressive, ADHD stressed foetuses, those for whom "the harm is already done" (dickhead, February 2009).

Look, here they are:

So scary! And tragic.

And they could use their untrammelled violence and innate aggression to kick you in the balls. If you have any.




exromana said...

i loved your post; your story made me sad. your children are adorable. my sister is in her 8th month and having a high risk pregnancy, she is far away from her husband, who is in pakistan, while she is in washington. she is extremely stressed out. may oliver rot rot rot.

Iheartfashion said...

Well said!

fabhat said...

If I didn't have enough to worry about with staying indoors until the swine flu pandemic is over, or until my unborn spawn hits five - whichever is sooner) the lovely lipless mr James adds in stress as another thing to errr, worry about... May he suffer from many kidney stones and dry rot of the soul.

Titian red said...

Not a regular reader of Gruniard/Observer so this wanker of the first order has been below my radar. What a vile sanctimonious tosser. How dare he make judgements that have the potential to damage the mothers and children he writes about ? If you want to raise a rabble to torch this mans pronouncements I will be in the vanguard.
Phew - rant over - hugs, he is a mean, poisonous creature.

katyboo1 said...

Good for you. He's a pompous wanker who has clearly wandered through life being blithely ignorant and uncaring of other people and their situations and instead of helping what does he do? He makes it worse. Nice one.

vw is colemic - sort of how he makes me feel.

nappy valley girl said...

Very well said.

I spent the last month of pregnancy with Littleboy 2 incarcerated in hospital, terrified I was about to lose baby/haemorraghe to death/have emergency hysterectomy. Sharing an overheated, noisy room with three others (and their visitors), getting no sleep, crying into my pillow every night.

The result? Littleboy 2 was one of the sunniest natured babies imaginable.

OJ is a wanker, pure and simple.

Marie said...

Hurrah! Three cheers! Not for the story but you know what I mean.

L. said...

Ah, my Twitter vote paid off. Thank you, I was too incoherent with rage to come up with anything good to say to Mr. Lipless. I am American so I had not heard of the man (I should put that in quotes--"man") before. Blargh.

vw is efleball, which is much cheerier. Moving on!

Completely Alienne said...

I have to say that if I see his byline I turn the page - I can't be bothered to waste my time reading the sanctimonious git.

Hope he gets to read your post though!!

Mrs Jones said...

This sort of complete bollocks is one of the reasons why we cancelled our papers at the beginning of the year.

We're much happier (and wealthier) for it - I commend it to the house.

reen said...

I, too, hope he reads this. We have copious replicas of his worthless type here in the US, it's disgusting. Your boys are absolutely adorable!

Red Shoes said...

I hate that you had such a horrible, horrible, stressful time. It sounds truly crushing. You are a real survivor.

Mwa said...

Hear hear!

justme said...

I ,really hope that this sad excuse of a lipless man readss your blog entry and our comments.
I do NOT read him. Why would I? He is ignorant, smug, and boring.
If we all think about it at once, mabe we can send a message to Oliver.....
All together now....WE DON'T LIKE OR RESPECT YOU, WE THINK YOU ARE VERY BORING, and.....frankly, being in your own company all day, is probably revenge enough......
Emma is MUCH more fun.
end message.
PS to Jaywalker.......your children are fabulous, a credit to you, and if you ever put them up on E Bay, let me know.

So Lovely said...

I had no idea who he was or is until you enlightened me. What a freak! Doesn't he have better things to do with his time or column and to project his vileness onto innocent and very possibly, struggling mothers.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I read and follow you, I'd do neither for him - Hell, I might not even pour tortoise piss on him were he on fire!

Love to you and your so obviously devastated and damaged, but ever-wonderful family... It takes one to know one, that's why we're al here - And what is sanity and 'normal' anyway, and why would we want to go there if it's peopled with The Unlipped?! xox

Persephone said...

I rank articles such as this one right up there with:
1) The sanctimonious twits who say that children on the autism spectrum are the direct result of their mothers' failure to breast-feed. (For the record, she is and I did.)

2) Parents who are blissfully certain that their children's success in school is due to their own magnificent parenting and not due to the genetic lottery and economic and educational opportunities. (Apparently those of us with learning-disabled children just haven't tried hard enough, although I also have a gifted child which means, I suppose, that I succeeded with one and failed miserably with the other?)

The Wrath of Dawn said...

Clearly he is not famous enough to be known in The Colonies, as I have never heard of the man. After reading this, I believe that may be A Good Thing.

What a pompous ass. As if any of us controls what circumstances life throws at us. We are not immune from stress just because we're pregnant.

Poor, dear, sweet, demented Mr. James would, of course, not realize that, esconsed as he is in his male ivory tower.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You simply kick ass in every way.

Lauren said...

Hope you're actually sending this to him. But I guess it wouldn't penetrate whatever bubble he lives in. You are amazing in so many ways and I hope there's lots of sunshine in your life in the not too distant future.

tragicanon said...

here, here! this is why i had to stop reading the guardian/observer... there is always, inevitably someone, somewhere doing it much better than you could ever hope to - but the guardian manages to drag them all onto one broadsheet to harp on at you over your cornflakes about how crap you are and how you should just pack it all move to the country and open a cheese farm where you children can run about with your demented free range chickens in garden free from the drudgery of REAL LIFE either that or give up and become a dry husk of a person because clearly you are so incredibly insufficient you're not worthy of being like the rest of society...
god, i didn't realise how much i hated them... and excuse me, when was the last time mr james gave birth? am i missing something here or is he totally unqualified in his particular field of expertise?!

Chantal said...

I am actually going to have to go back and read your post properly in a minute because I feel the need to comment right away - I HATE that column!!

I read that particular one this Saturday too with mounting levels of fury and I don't even have any children (yet). He is revolting. Why on EARTH have they signed him up?

Family is the first section I read in the Guardian Weekend and for the last few weeks he has seriously put me off my pinko rag. Ugh.

Chantal said...

...I have read your post properly now. It just serves to highlight what a blinkered tosser he is.

Your boys are so lovely btw :)

Completely Alienne is right though, he isn't worth the (cheap, smudgy) ink he's printed on. Bleh...

Where to from here? said...

Dear Emma
Hear hear
What a twat is Oliver James. I read the article in the Guardian and wanted to throttle him so thank you for putting it so articulately.

The more I see photos of your kids the more I'm convinced that you are a great mum.


Juci said...

'Children whose mothers drank a lot during pregnancy are generally at greater risk of a low IQ - but not if the mother is emotionally sensitive and mentally stimulating.'
Oh, that's good. So I can drink as much as I like as long as I will stimulate my baby sufficiently when it's born. Bring out the tequila then! Guy's a genius, no?

redfox said...

What a monstrous idiot he is, truly. On top of all the other idiocies, I like the way that his triumphant conclusion -- Psychotherapy instead of Ritalin! -- does not, as far as I can tell, follow in any way from the blather that precedes it. Yes, Oliver, QE fucking D.

Grit said...

he is very annoying. and i bet if you were to fall into an argument with him he would claim you just envied his penis.

Anne said...

Ah sure Oliver James hates us all - don't encourage him. My weekends have improved 100% since he stopped writing for the Observer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if his theories are that accurate. Many ongoing factors could correlate with very high stress loads during pregnancy (ie. money issues, poor social support, poor nutrition, environmental toxins, useless spouse and poor housing) and these continual influences, and not high cortisol during pregnancy, could be causing these "damaged" children. Throw in genetics and it's just pot luck.

Wot a nutcracking, shitsucking load of old barnacles he is.

livesbythewoods said...

See, this is why I read the Telegraph. I get to harrumph about the military and enjoy Graham Norton's advice column. And no wankhead OJ to annoy me.

Jaywalker said...

exromana - your poor sister. She must never hear of OJ.

Iheart - thank you dearest

Fabhat - oh, you're doomed. Welcome to doomed parenthood! Yay! High five?

Titian - well said darling, you do good ranting!

Katyboo - I ought to stop letting him needle me, but he does every time. Pah.

NVG - poor you. His 'work' is a sterile, pointless exercise in assigning blame.

Marie - I do. And thank you.

L - efleball! I love that. It sounds like a CFO curse.

CA - you are more disciplined than me. I am inexorably drawn to read his nonsense, even though it's total masochism.

Mrs Jones - yeah, but the Guardian is practically part of my identity! I can't just give up on it, can I? If they keep paying OJ to make us feel like crap I might have to.

reen - do you? How vile. We should put them all on an island. Peopled by hungry Komodo dragons. Then film it.

Red Shoes - well, you too about a million times more. xxxxxx

Mwa - thank you!

justme - thank you angel. I promise to give you first refusal on them...

So Lovely - I waste far too much time trying to work that out. Pah.

Woman - huh. My nightmares are peopled with OJs.

Persephone - well, exactly. Thank you for your so very excellent and rigorous science Oliver. Now, fuck off.

Wrath of Dawn - he's doing it for our own good, you know. VOMIT.

Lisa - why thank you!

Lauren - in my small way I hope to continue to people the internet with the words 'Oliver James wanker'. It's my contribution. Also, thank you.

tragicanon - chickens smell anyway. And I don't like cheese. I'll just keep corrupting and destroying my children right here, thanks.

Chantal - I KNOW. WHAT is the Guardian doing giving him column inches? Yet again. Is he sleeping with the editor? (Poor editor).

Where to from here - ha, yes. The involuntary twitching fingers when reading him.

Juci - ooh, yes please. Cortisol chaser?

redfox - I know. Non-sequitur corner Oliver? WTF.

Grit - you are undoubtedly right.

Anne - ugh, I know, but I'm powerless to resist the tide of rage that consumes me whenever he opens his lipless mouth..

Anon - I love your last sentence more than anything, and your point is so right. Shitty science.

Reenie said...

My sons mainlined maternal cortisol and we are all still functioning, despite the best efforts of O. James to increase my pregnancy stress levels with his faux-concerned digests of the journal data.

The only motivation I had to get to the end of his tired misogynist male-privileged-doctor toss-fest was the hope that you would eviscerate him on the blog. And you have made that wasted two minutes of reading worthwhile with this post, so a heartfelt thank you for that.

Kate Lord Brown said...

OFFS I'm amazed he doesn't write for the Daily Mail. Just want to give you a big hug now. The proof is in the pudding (or the children) - beautiful. I loathe LOATHE the fascistic 'experts' who write on pregnancy, articles we obsessively read when most vulnerable and hormonal (the press changes every day anyway ...) Life and all it throws at you happens whether you are pregnant or not. OJ should back off. Perhaps a picket of pissed off pregnant women outside his colour co-ordinated study might work? Some people will not be happy until we are permanently bovine, barefoot and banged up ... As you say, trust a man with no lips? Non.

Anonymous said...

Love that he's getting called OJ (as in Simpson) and we know what a misogynist he was.

I spent my pregnancy in deep depression convinced that I was going to give birth to a monster because of all my past 'sins'. Guilt and neurosis was a legacy of my education as the only jew in the convent.

My daughter now who is 20 is the most balanced person I know.

Fuck OJ and his crap

FlossieT said...

Sent here by Mrs Trefusis. I think I love you. Every week Oliver James reduces me to whimpering foetal ball of I-have-broken-my-children-ness. But you kicked him back. Hurrah.

BluePixo said...

Some children suffer from more serious disturbances. They are murderous in their jealousy, violent in their hostility, and relentless in their sexual preoccupation. These children need and must receive psychological help if they are to grow up to become normal and productive people.

BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood

HelenSparkles said...

I don't know how to say this without sounding like I am defending Oliver because actually I don’t think he had enough words to explain the neurology properly. The children whose brains he is talking about have usually emerged from neglectful or abusive families.

The very important element of brain development is that it is really complicated and nobody understands how the brain works. What we do know is any stressors are ameliorated by subsequent nurturing. You have built resilience into your children in a whole myriad of ways that children in those families don’t experience.

I work with children in care, who experience not only the separation from their parents (because whoever those parents were their children grieve for their loss) and who do present with behaviours symptomatic of the damage caused by their early year’s history.

A lot of damage can be done, but most people (even the people you don’t think are good parents) do enough for their children to be able to thrive.

Anonymous said...


i think someone missed the point

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