Everything about America I’ve learned from Pogo

The Internet, at least for me, is the modern-day equivalent of reading the dictionary. If one took a look at my Google search history they would likely think me schizophrenic, as the searches range from current Boston Red Sox players (hello, Josh Beckett) to seventeenth-century feminists (hello, Anne of Denmark). But just as everyone else does, I need to play. For that I go to Pogo. Sometimes a good round of Lottso! or Turbo 21 is just what’s needed to calm the soul, plus being partially Scottish and therefore part of the lost tribe of Israel I need to get my gamble on without, you know, losing any money. Pogo is fairly large, having bought out a few other sites to become the gaming juggernaut it is now, and for the most part it is thoroughly American. As a rule I do not participate in chat unless I’m trying to keep track of my progress on a badge, but when I do I am reminded just how much the “women are only good for having kids” line has been sold. Depending on the game easily 70% of female screen names are derivations of “(someone’s)mom/mommy,” “mom/mommy of (insert trendy name here)” or “(whatever grandmothers get called these days) of (number or trendy name).” I’ve been recovering from yet another dental surgery-seriously, with the amount of money that’s been poured into my mouth I should look like a fucking Osmond by now-so being somewhat drug-addled I’ve been on Pogo a lot lately. Yesterday afternoon I was playing for a badge so I had the chat on, and a conversation took place that took every bit of my will not to butt into and say, “Excuse me, but WHAT THE FUCK?!” Sad to say, I’ve seen it before, but I will share with you (names changed and punctuation corrected, of course):

MOM OF TRENDILY NAMED KID: (Sister) just found out she’s pregnant again.
MOTNK: She and hubby have been separated for a couple months but they went out drinking at Xmas and hooked up.
GO5: How many children do they have?
MOTNK: This will be number four.
GO5: Well, these things happen for a reason and children are always a blessing.
MOTNK: He has a girlfriend and she’s pregnant too, due around the same time.
GO5: Well, maybe he can have the girlfriend give the baby to his wife and they can all be raised together and he’ll see his sin and come back to his wife.
MOTNK: He was at church on Sunday and asked to be baptized but he wants to marry the girlfriend.
GO5: I will pray that he sees the error of his ways and do the right thing and keep both babies.

That’s as far as I got because I literally felt like my head was going to explode.

Screw “All My Children” and “Days Of Our Lives”-if you want to see a soap opera go on any internet board that caters to the “flyover zones.” And kids are ALWAYS caught in the middle. So many look at children as relationship souvenirs, complain about trying to collect child support, visitation rights. But here bearing children is seen as a duty, no other options available. You fuck, you pay. No-you fuck, the children pay. The right-wingers whine about the “erosion of the family”, not realizing that they contribute just as much. It’s not about abortion, not about birth control-it’s about telling women “you have worth other than being someone’s girlfriend/wife/baby mama. You ARE something without a man.” And it’s just not the barely-high-school-educated Nebraskan-it’s the Ivy-League-educated New Yorker, the Sorbonne-taught Californian. Love yourself first, put yourself first, and you will be a better lover, a better partner, a better parent.

Goddammit, I just want to play blackjack, not read someone’s latest ignorance-fueled tragedy. I am pro-choice, but others need to know there ARE fucking choices.