It seems that the mean, cranky, vile majority who populate the infamous alt.support.childfree newsgroup (read the newsgroup for yourself) have decided to harass blogger John Scalzi this week. Read back through the childfree newsgroup and you'll see that this bunch is always outraged by something someone somewhere has written about parenting or family life.

A few years ago, a couple of them decided that I was the target du jour after I had written something at hipMama.com and then asked a few questions about their philosophy at their newsgroup. Within 48 hours, I had been inducted into the 'Breeder Hall of Shame' along with the mother of the McCaughey sextuplets (even though I myself have only given birth to three "odious liitle spawn" -- that's what my children were referred to on this particular childfree website). One enterprising alt.support.childfree website creator took a photo of me from my book jacket PR shot and altered it so that I had 666 inscribed on my forehead, plus horns. I sent it to everyone I knew. It was hilarious. I wish I had saved a screenshot but I think the site is gone now.

Please note that these people are not just folks who have decided not to have kids. They are also not people who simply prefer adult company and become annoyed when parents allow their children to bother other people in public places. They are people who HATE children and amuse themselves by spending their time posting disgusting, often-violent fantasies of what they would like to do to babies and kids on their newsgroup.

Not long after I first encountered the alt.support.childfree gang, writer Kymberly Seabolt wrote a
terrific article
on the subject. Also, after being referred to as breeders in a pejorative sense by the alt.sopport.childfree pundits, a group of very clever writermamas I know decided to claim the meant-to-be-insulting moniker as their own. They published a terrific anthology of parenting essays in 2001 called Breeder: Stories from the New Generation of Mothers (Seal Press). It has been a big hit.