Unspecial

I’ve been glued to Twitter for the past couple of days. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’ve been enthralled by the Royal Birth. I can’t explain why. I wasn’t this fascinated when the miracle of Kimye Junior was bestowed upon the world. Perhaps it’s because I’m a die-hard Monarchist? Perhaps it’s because I had a crush on Prince William for 3 weeks when I was 15? Perhaps there’s another reason I haven’t yet figured out yet? (My mind is a very cluttered place right now – seriously, a thought couldn’t move in there without bumping some dusty old memory off a table and breaking it.)

There has been a lot of talk (mainly from my Husband, the evil Republican who believes that Australia’s Head of State should be a president) that the Royal Baby is no more special than any other baby. I have to say, I kinda agree with him. (But not about the whole “Australian President” thing.)

Call me cold-hearted, unsentimental, uncaring or just really fucking weird – but I don’t think any baby or child is special. Special to their parents and loved ones, absolutely. But not special-special. (You know what I mean, don’t you?)

If Husband and I have a baby, I don’t expect it to be a huge event. I don’t expect to be showered with gifts. I don’t expect my own Twitter hashtag. I don’t actually expect anyone to care (apart from Husband, obviously). Having a baby is nothing special. It’s a biological function. It happens thousands of times a day in Australia.

I’ve been noticing, as more and more people I know have children, that many parents are trying to make their children special. Not just special to them, but special to everyone. A baby is no longer called by it’s name – it’s Princess Georgia or Prince Joshua. The baby gets its own (very expensive) photoshoot with its own designer wardrobe. (And don’t get me started on the quarterly professional photoshoots many children now get!) Birthday cakes are elaborate affairs involving at least six layers, two different kinds of frosting and a three-figure pricetag and the associated birthday party has its own party-planner. The child has a FaceBook page, a blog and a brand before it can even talk.

Why? Why are parents trying to make their children super-special? Is it a need for attention? A desire to be seen as being a better mum or dad than other parents they know? Maybe a need to have a child who is popular or perfect or both? Or is it simply to give their child a better childhood than they had? (And if that’s the case, I don’t think throwing more money at a child means they have a better childhood.)

If we have a baby, I don’t want the child to be special to anyone except those that love it and want it to be special to them. Perhaps I really am unsentimental or cold-hearted. Or perhaps pregnancy hormones haven’t kicked in and marinated my brain to the point where I believe my child will grow up to become a super-popular super-star super-special kid?

If kids are in our future, then we plan on giving our child a fairly normal (to us) childhood – I plan on baking unelaborate birthday cakes myself. I plan on us using our trusty old camera to capture the candid moments of our child’s life. I don’t plan on allowing them to have a FaceBook account until they are well into their teenage years. I definitely don’t have a logo and brand in mind for them.

Parental love and affection aside, a child is not special simply because they were born. A person becomes special by doing something special with their life.

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PS: Did anyone else find the Duchess of Cambridge’s choice of frock as she left the hospital slightly eerie?

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The Line

{I’ve been a bit hesitant to press the ‘Publish’ button on this blog post after the events of the weekend. But I’ve decided to go ahead with it.}

I hate pranks of all kinds – I find them cruel. They can begin in good humour and quickly turn bad. I’ve seen pranks end with people feeling humiliated, embarrassed and hurt (both emotionally and physically – one prank I know of ended with a trip to the hospital and a dislocated knee). When I hear a prank call come on the radio, I always change the station – they make me uncomfortable. I find them in poor taste and as unfunny as slapstick humour. But of course, humour is subjective.

So when I heard of the prank phone call to King Edward VII Hospital regarding the Duchess of Cambridge, I thought it vile. Not only was it a tacky “joke”, but a group of people (in this case, two radio DJ’s, their producer(s) and other 2DAY FM station staff who were aware of the phone call) attempted to invade the privacy of another person who was in hospital receiving medical treatment. Whether the person was a duchess, president, Grammy-award-winning singer, D-list reality TV “star” or just the average person like me is irrelevant. It was wrong. It was an invasion of privacy. And the invasion of privacy is not a joke – it shouldn’t be something we laugh at as we eat our breakfast or drive home from work.

I can’t comment on whether or not the nurse (the second nurse who divulged the medical information) involved in this incident has done something wrong. I don’t know the privacy policy of the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment so I’m not going to speculate. But the two DJ’s and the radio station who then broadcast what that nurse said (ie: confidential medical information) to the world are, to me, immoral, unethical and repulsive.

I know a lot of people say we shouldn’t treat the Royal family like gods, but it’s not about their position or status or title. It’s about privacy and not invading it. It doesn’t matter whether the patient is fighting cancer, passing a kidney stone, being treated for hyperemesis gravidarum or getting a splinter removed from their finger – a patient receiving medical treatment should be granted the right to privacy.

I know there’s a market for gossip magazines and websites. I’m cool with that – if you want to read about which celebrity couple are possibly getting married, see the photos of that singer and decide if she’s pregnant or not, discuss who looked better than who on the red carpet of some award ceremony, then read away! I’m as nosy as the next person and enjoy reading the occasional trashy gossip magazine.

But there should be a line and it shouldn’t be crossed. Photographs taken of famous people in a private place, private emails made public by a hacker, confidential information obtained in a devious manner, etc. – they are an invasion of privacy. I don’t like private information being made public without the consent of the person or people involved and I think that should be the line that the media (or anyone, really) doesn’t cross – famous (and infamous) people are still human beings and should, in my opinion, have the right to privacy no matter what their title is, how much money they earn or what country they live in.

I think sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that the private lives of other people are none of our business.

{The number for Lifeline is 13 11 14.}

{Also note that if you’re going to comment on this post, keep it respectful. By all means agree/disagree and have your say, but any comments which include hate-speech and death threats to anyone involved in this incident will be deleted.}