Slightly Offspring

Sometimes we in the media become cynical about celebrities, what with their carefully crafted public images, and their teams of spokespersons, and their refusal to wear supportive undergarments at the Oscars. Sometimes we start to lose sight of the truth, which is that celebrities should be treasured as our most precious natural resource.

I was reminded of that fact this week as I examined some news stories about celebrities and their children. Gone are the days when everyone assumes celebrities make bad parents because of their (the celebrities’) inherent selfishness. Nowadays, we realize there’s no one better to raise a child than a famous person with a limited sense of personal responsibility.

As with most matters of importance, we can look to Madonna for guidance. Newsweek reports that she is strict with her kids, 9-year-old Lourdes and 5-year-old Rocco, going so far as to give them stupid names in order to keep them humble. She also doesn’t let them watch TV or read magazines, or eat ice cream or drink milk.

“When Daddy gets home, they get chocolate,” she says. “I’m the disciplinarian.”

In Madonna’s world, chocolate and milk are in the same category as special fun-time treats. And what kid doesn’t rush home after school and ask Mom for a big ol’ glass of milk — which she’ll gladly give, assuming the child is deserving of such a luxurious reward! Also off-limits at Madonna’s house: carrots, apples and affection.

Madonna has a keen method for ensuring tidiness at home, too. If Lourdes leaves dirty clothes on the floor, “we take all of her clothes and put them in a bag, and she has to earn all of her clothes back by being tidy,” Madonna tells Newsweek. “She wears the same outfit every day to school until she learns her lesson.”

Now, if the years 1983-1991 taught us anything, it’s that Madonna has no idea how to dress in public. But no matter! Her method of disciplining young Lourdes is admirable. Is rounding up all of your child’s clothes and putting them in a bag because she left something on the floor a pretty elaborate, time-consuming punishment for such a minor infraction? Yes! Yes it is! Which is why it’s so effective. Soon little Lourdes will realize what a sadomasochistic dominatrix her mother is, and she will begin taking notes for when she writes her tell-all biography.

But the most important story of the day has to do with a lucky child who hasn’t even been born yet. Of course I’m talking about the fetus currently gestating in the microscopic womb of cult hostage Katie Holmes. She and Tom Cruise are expecting a BABY! A baby what? Why, a baby human, of course! Or so they say. We’ll see. Anyway, despite the obvious obstacles (e.g., being gay and infertile), Tom Cruise has apparently managed to impregnate his zombie girlfriend, first with the doctrines of Scientology, and now with his offspring.

What will a Cruise/Holmes baby be like? Will it have a million-dollar smile and earn Oscar nominations? Will it achieve worldwide fame and stardom? Will it be the worst thing in “Batman Begins”? Only time will tell, and possibly also the tabloids.

One thing we know for sure is that the actual birth will be a mellow event, like going to a funeral for a Quaker mime. Scientologists favor births without the usual screaming and wailing, because they believe all that mayhem first thing out of the womb can psychologically scar the baby. You holler and moan when you push the little parasite out, and later in life he’ll have irrational fears and troubled emotions, or so says Scientology.

This is the sort of reasoning that seems really smart until you actually think about it, whereupon it seems stupid. Nearly everyone currently living was born to a mother who screamed like a banshee during delivery — and yet nearly everyone currently living also manages to function in society despite the trauma of his or her birth. There are a lot of screwed-up people in the world, sure, but if mothers swearing and demanding epidurals during childbirth were the cause, there’d be a lot more of them, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Whether the logic is sound or not, Katie Holmes has pledged to follow the “silent birth” procedure as much as possible, though considering she stands at 4’8″ and weighs 60 pounds, I wonder. It’s possible that delivering a baby will actually tear her in half. And being torn in half would make ANYONE scream! Especially a girl.

So it’s clear Tom and Katie care about their baby, wanting to give him or her a peaceful birthing process. They are also concerned about the child’s reputation, as indicated by their decision to hurry up and get married before the child is born. England’s Daily Mirror quotes a source as saying, “Tom’s old-fashioned. He wants his child to be born in wedlock.” Apparently, knocking her up out of wedlock is no big deal. It’s the wedding that’s the important thing! Take note, theologians, with your crusty old morals!

I hope you can agree, from these examples and from the others that I thought about but didn’t mention, that celebrities are caring, considerate creatures, among the most gentle in all the world. We should not mock them or begrudge them their opportunity to be parents. We should definitely keep our dirty clothes off the floor when we are around them, though, or we’ll get no milk for dessert.

What's this column about? Meh, nothin'. Just a few jokes and a little sarcasm. Nothing special. Go on about your business.