Michel Odent, another old white male mansplainin’ childbirth to us womenfolk

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Heeeee’s baaaaack!

Michel Odent is back with another of his wacky, entirely fabricated theories about childbirth.

Michel Odent has moved from being the benign natural-birth pioneer to a doomsayer predicting that caesarean sections will increase autism spectrum disorders and change humanity on an evolutionary level.

And the doom he foretells?

The Birth of Homo, The Marine Chimpanzee theorises that the way babies are delivered could be one cause of increased numbers of developmental disorders, psychological problems and addictive behaviours. He has interpreted epidemiological studies that show that a high number of children born by caesarean section or induction go on to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in support of his theories.

I beg to differ, Odent hasn’t “moved.” Natural childbirth has always been about preaching doom for those who give birth using technology.

Natural childbirth has always been about old white men insisting that women must suffer agonizing pain or “bad things” will happen.

It’s always been about old white men, mansplainin’ childbirth to us poor, benighted womenfolk, insisting that we must suffer agonizing pain or “bad things” will happen.

And it’s always about controlling women and their bodies.

It started with opposition to the use of chloroform in childbirth. Both religious leaders and doctors opposed the use of pain relief as a violation of God’s wishes that women suffer in childbirth to atone for Eve’s original sin. The only thing that has changed more than 150 years later is the nature of the “bad things.”

The father of childbirth mansplainin’ was Grantly Dick-Read, a eugenicist, who freely admitted that his claims were intended to get white women of the “better” classes back into the kitchen and pregnant, instead of agitating for political and economic rights.

Odent is also a eugenicist. He claims:

One effect of modern obstetrics is to neutralise the laws of natural selection – the laws that foiled us all [in the past]. We have neutralised those laws. It means that at the beginning of the 20th century, a woman who could not give birth naturally would die, whereas the one in the village who could give birth easily would have 12 children. Today, the number of children one has depends on other factors than the physical capacity to give birth.

Like most eugenicists, Odent betrays a fundamental misunderstanding about evolution. Natural selection does not lead to survival of the perfect, but rather survival of the fittest. Fitness changes when the environment changes. Those who are best able to exploit the environment in which they live are the fittest. In a highly technological society like ours, the ability to exploit technology is a key to fitness.

The graph below vividly illustrates the truth of this:

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The acquisition of technology fueled explosive population growth, the ultimate measure of evolutionary success. The use of technology does not “weaken” the human race, it strengthens it.

This is not Odent’s made up nonsense. That includes his famous lie that childbirth pain is necessary for maternal-infant bonding and his fear of attending the births of his own children:

As it happens, at the exact moment our son arrived in the world, the midwife was on her way down the street and I, having made my excuses realising he was about to be born, was fiddling with the thermostat on the central heating boiler downstairs.

My partner did not know it, but I had given her the exceptionally rare, but ideal situation in which to give birth: she felt secure, she knew the midwife was minutes away and I was downstairs, yet she had complete privacy and no one was watching her.

It is easy for to understand that Odent’s “theory” of fathers at birth is nothing more than a projection of his own anxieties. His other theories are no different. They reflect the standard misogyny of old white mansplainers: women are meant to suffer, men must tell them how to give birth, and prejudice can be dressed up as the “science” of eugenics, masquerading as concern for the future of the human race.

According to Odent:

…So if we say that everyone can have a baby, from a short-term perspective, that is positive. But I am not talking about the short term, I am thinking of the future of mankind. There have been human beings on this planet for millions of years and how long can humanity survive now? It’s probably a negligible number of years in comparison with the past.”

The truth is exactly the opposite of Odent’s eugenics. When technology allows everyone to have a baby, and technology protects every baby’s health and brain function, the result is not an epidemic of feeblemindness and genetic weakness, but vitality, longetivity and accomplishment such as we have never known.

  • Cynthia

    So, he’s actually saying that the human race would be better off if Girl 2 and I had died during childbirth, because the fact that she was breech with a cord wrapped 3x around her neck somehow made us both unworthy of living and reproducing?

    Fuck that.

  • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

    It is so baffling how this misogynist, eugenic movement took off so hard on the left. I suppose having the trappings of being woke doesn’t make up for being shitty deep-down.

    • MaineJen

      Because it’s all packaged as “empowerment.” I could never wrap my head around how enduring mind-blowing pain with no relief, with no medical help in sight, could possibly be empowering.

      • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

        It is empowering because it proves that your genetics are amongst the “fittest”, so you really ARE better than everyone else and not just privileged.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Of course all this assumes your husband (which -of course- you have) isn’t sterile.

  • Sue

    This Odent quote is even more odious and self-centered:

    “The final question I would like to see answered is what, if a man is present at birth, will be the effect on the sexual attraction he feels towards his wife over the long term?

    When men first started standing at their partner’s side during labour, I remember my mother’s generation saying, very matter of factly, that the couple’s intimate life would be ruined as a result.

    And, given that the key to eroticism is a degree of mystery, I am left believing they had a point.

    There are many things we do in private in order to preserve a degree of modesty and mystery.

    And, for the benefit of our sex lives, it may be worth adding childbirth to this list.”

    • Heidi

      Uh, what’s the mystery? I think men know how babies are born, no? And men are still getting erections and having second and third children after attending a birth!

      • Heidi_storage

        Heh, heh, my husband had to watch a video about the birthing process when he was getting EMT certification. He texted, “Birth is disgusting.” (He’s not wrong.) But then we had three kids, and he doesn’t shy away from me in revulsion, oddly enough.

      • Lilly de Lure

        Clearly they are supposed to imagine we can beam them out a la Star Trek transporters lest their poor little sensibilities be unduly damaged. Makes me think though – how (and why) did someone with this kind of hang up around women’s bodies become a OB in the first place?

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Dunno, but I do know my male ob has 3 kids with his wife, so he doesn’t seem bothered.

    • AnnaPDE

      Just how awful hang-ups about sex must someone have to hinge their sexual attraction on something like not really knowing that someone whom they chose as their life partner, with enough commitment to embark on making and raising a new human together?
      Odent should really work on his own issues with relationships and how he’s scared by his own sexual desires, guilt and performance amd general masculinity, instead of talking out of his ass about issues he’s clearly clueless about and uncomfortable with. Right now his stance is that the world should rearrange itself even at the price of dead women and children so he can avoid confronting his own fears and discomforts.

    • Kq

      My husband – like many – peeked over the curtain during my csection and saw my innards. He still manages to find me sexually appealing. So whatever.

    • mostlyclueless

      Odious Odent. Has a nice ring to it.

      • Sue

        More Odious Odent:

        “I usually claim that pregnant women should not read books about pregnancy and birth. Their time is too precious. They should, rather, watch the moon and sing to their baby in the womb.”

        “Let us imagine, for example, that a mother is still in such a state of consciousness that she has forgotten the rest of the world while discovering her baby; suddenly somebody appears with two clamps and a pair of scissors in order to cut the cord. This distraction is a dangerous interference with the physiological processes.”

        “When you are in hard labor, remember that the length of labor is usually proportional to the number of people around. Avoid the presence of anybody who might release adrenaline.”

        Ugh.

        • Merrie

          Oh, so that’s the problem. I went into labor in the middle of the night at home and immediately had contractions two minutes apart, and my son was born after only a little more than 3 hours of labor. That was actually pretty much terrifying and I was worried that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. As per this reasoning, clearly my labor was so short because there weren’t enough people around! I should have been induced to avoid this problem. 😀 (We are definitely not planning on any more kids, but if we do have another one I fully intend to get induced at 39 weeks to avoid a repeat of this situation.)

    • Sheven

      “For better or for *what*?”

    • MaineJen

      “Like seeing your favorite pub burn down.” I forget who said that, but it’s always cracked me up. Seeing as how most men eventually see their way to making second, third and even more children with their partner, I call bullshit.

    • Daleth

      “There are many things we do in private in order to preserve a degree of modesty and mystery. And, for the benefit of our sex lives, it may be worth adding childbirth to this list”

      This is just a very French attitude. It’s pretty normal for French couples not to let each other see them going to the bathroom, brushing their teeth, etc. It’s not specific to childbirth or sexist or anything.

      And when I was first pregnant, before I decided on a c-section, I told my husband MANY times that in the delivery room he was not allowed to stand anywhere below my shoulders. He can see the baby being born without actually seeing weird things happen to my vagina.

      • Sarah

        Which is absolutely fine and a 100% acceptable decision for you to make in the context of your own relationship. That’s entirely different from deciding to apply your own preferences to the general population, as Odent does here.

        • Daleth

          Yes, Odent has no business prescribing his own personal views for the entire population.

      • Are you nuts

        Standing above the shoulders and letting your wife go it alone while you “fiddle with the thermostat” are very different scenarios!!! I’m having our bathroom remodeled so we can add a private toilet closet, but I would have been life alteringly mad if my husband missed our child being born because he was fiddling with the thermostat.

        • Daleth

          I agree there.

    • Roadstergal

      “The final question I would like to see answered is what, if a man is present at birth, will be the effect on the sexual attraction he feels towards his wife over the long term?”

      And that is a question to be privately answered by the man (or woman) in question and his (or her) wife, and addressed between them as to how the biological mother can best be supported at the birth in a way that works for everyone involved.

      And Odent can keep his fuse-fiddling nose out of their business.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Besides, what if, after seeing his wife and the mother of his child go through that experience, it makes the man desire her even more?

        I mean, maybe they fell like Paul Anka….
        https://youtu.be/SFHWl-ZyRAg

        (Lord, I apologize for that. In some places, referencing Paul Anka is a bannishable offense)

        • Roadstergal

          Totes mcgotes. It’s like what Daleth notes, below. Sure, some people might get sexually turned off by seeing their partner pee – but some might get sexually turned on. And that’s their business – as long as they’re honest and open, go to town! Same with birth. It’s not wrong to be turned off or turned on! It’s just wrong to be dishonest and manipulative. And really wrong to shame, in either direction.

          *steps off soapbox*

          *donates soap to fire relief folk*

          • Heidi_storage

            OT: Any chance the fire’s getting under control at all? I have The Google, of course, but we East Coast folk aren’t talking about it like you Bay Area people. Last I heard, the situation was grim.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m having a hard time getting any information at all. My friends who live up there have all evacuated. :/

            The air quality is horrendous. I took the dogs to the shore yesterday because the wet air and mist had cleared out the smoke right at ground level, but the smoke just a little over our heads was still making the light all freaky.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/84852cca1dd485c9721ff1eeefd4378b504ba1337514f204012671a4238d348d.jpg

          • Heidi_storage

            Beautiful, but awful. I grew up in Felton and have fond memories of the wine country. I sure hope the area isn’t totally destroyed; the loss of home and livelihood (and wine) won’t be easily restored.

          • Squillo

            There has been progress on the largest fires, but they are nowhere near contained yet. It’s going to be a least a few days, if not longer, before the danger is past for the folks in the North Bay. There have been several new evacuations in the past 24 hours, and likely more to come. 🙁

        • Sue

          Thanks for the perfect pop culture reference!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s what I do….

    • Sarah

      We should, of course, prioritise what men find sexually attractive above absolutely everything else. Better dead than not fuckable, even for a moment.

    • Are you nuts

      And yet my second child was sired by the same man who watched me give birth to our first.

    • Eater of Worlds

      I wonder if we’ve made a return to standing by our partner’s side.

  • namaste

    Hi guys,

    I usually use the handle namaste863. I’ve been a regular for years. WWWAAAAAYYY O/T, but my house is in Sonoma County. Just evacuated a few hours ago. Good thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Sue

      Hope you do OK. Sending good thoughts.

    • Heidi_storage

      I’m so sorry. I hope the best for your house. My friend in Santa Rosa was evacuated Monday.

    • Heidi

      You’ll be in my thoughts. Hoping for the best.

    • Box of Salt

      My thoughts are with you.
      Check in some time when you can.

    • Lilly de Lure

      Good thoughts sent from the UK – hoping all goes as well as it can for you and let us know as soon as you can!

    • Who?

      Good thoughts and stay safe.

    • Definitely. May you return to soon to an untouched house in safety.

    • MaineJen

      OMG. I’m just glad you’re okay! Good thoughts going your way today…

    • StephanieJR

      Hope everything is alright. Stay safe.

    • MI Dawn

      Stay safe! Will be thinking of you!

    • Roadstergal

      Oh hells. Be safe! I live right on the other side of the Golden Gate and have been watching the sullen smoky sunrises – if you need anything, message me.

    • namaste

      Update: Thanks for the warm wishes, guys. As of right now, my entire family is safe at a farm in Kentucky. Left yesterday with the full compliment of pets. Everyone is at least safe. So we will see what happens.

      • Sarah

        Well that’s good news. Whatever else happens, you’re all ok. That’s the main thing.

  • Casual Verbosity

    I have tried to compose an intelligent and witty response to this 5 times so far, and I’m coming up empty. If he truly believes that women should die if they can’t give birth ‘properly’, then quite apart from the blatant hypocrisy of using medicine to preserve life in any other case, he is just an awful person. And how any media outlet can give his views airtime with so little critique is beyond me.

    • AnnaPDE

      I do hope he never had a potentially life saving intervention. Wouldn’t want crappy genes to be passed on, right?

      • Azuran

        If he’s ever found to have a illness he might have passed on to his kids, does that mean we should sterilize them?

        • Casual Verbosity

          Well obviously. We can’t have these unfit genes being passed on.
          P.S. I feel like there’s a bit of a gap in his logic. Either he thinks that the only traits worth removing from the gene pool are the ones that are directly weeded out by the birth process e.g. small pelvis and large heads; or he thinks that the birth process weeds out ALL genetic unfitness… that’s a head-scratcher!

        • AnnaPDE

          He should do it himself, for the greater good.

  • Emilie Bishop

    It’s easy to say all this crap in the abstract. I’d like him to listen to my crazy birth story and my own road to motherhood and tell me that my mother, me, my younger brother, and my son don’t deserve to live. Given how he treated his wife, he’d probably be able to say it, but it’s the principle of the thing. Tell me to my face that four people in my family should have either died at my birth or not have existed so I can tell you to your face what an idiot you are. Also, news flash: there’s ALWAYS been a whole host of reasons some women had 12 kids and some had one or none. Modern women just decided that if they want to deal with 12 kids at the same time, they can teach school and get paid for the privilege instead of going through all those labors.

    • Roadstergal

      Ha!

      And he also nicely elides over the reason why women regularly had 12 or more kids. LOTS OF THEM DIED IN CHILDHOOD.

      Stupid technology, making sure that you have more or less the same number of children as the number of adults you want to eventually have.

      • Sheven

        If they died in childhood, they should have for the good of humanity. Natural selection doesn’t begin and end with birth. Anything that takes you out before you’re mature enough to reproduce is natural selection. I doubt he’ll make that case, though.

        • Heidi_storage

          It would not improve my opinion of him if he did make that case.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Also, they had no birth control. Sounds like he’d be fine with that. If you’re Annointed by Evolution, it’s your duty to pop out as many little übermenschen as possible, ladies.

    • LaMont

      He’d *probably* say that even being in the same vicinity as medical help is what caused the problems in the first place? That everything would have been fine if only you’d had the “elect” fortitude to stay away?

  • Russell Jones

    Speaking as a lilywhite old geezer myself, the urge to mansplain is something of a mystery. Maybe I’m defective — a result, no doubt, of being born in a hospital. Then again, maybe it’s just my good fortune in being married to a woman who’s much smarter than I am.

    Anyhoo, this clown is a knob’s knob, to be sure, but hey, at least he’s quasi-honest about the eugenics thing. Tell an anti-vaxxer who sings the praises of natural immunity that s/he’s advocating a form of eugenics, and s/he’ll instantly develop a case of The Vapors and take to the fainting couch at the very suggestion. Odent at least acknowledges that he favors women dying in childbirth for “evolutionary” reasons. That places him in the “I’m a morally bankrupt shithead and I goddamn jolly well know it” category.

    And what is it with dumbass cranks and autism? Is there a manual somewhere that requires cranks to pontificate about a link between whatever it is they don’t like and ASD? It certainly appears that way.

    Finally, I hate to break it to you, Cochise, but “the future of mankind” is not especially bright and never has been. Forgive me for going all Gary Johnson here, but the planet is something like 4.6 billion years old and has been hospitable to life forms such as ours for only a tiny percentage of that time. It’s not a question of if there’ll be another mass extinction event; it’s a question of when. If Odent actually thinks we can stop or delay that by sacrificing women on the altar of natural childbirth, then he’s even stupider than he appears.

    Personally, I’d like to see Odent demonstrate more concern for the present of humankind, a present he can best serve by following the simple maxim STFU.

    • Sue

      Well said. It’s easy to pontificate about ASDs because kids aren’t dying in childbirth or of infectious diseases much any more.

  • Gæst

    She had complete privacy…to hemorrhage to death without anyone noticing.

    • Russell Jones

      Which, I suppose, would have been better than having some misogynist fool standing right there yammering about how her imminent death will serve “the future of mankind.”

      • Sarah

        Probably. Just about the only circumstance in which I’d choose to freebirth would be if the alternative was him.

  • Heidi

    I can understand some men don’t want to witness childbirth, but no, you don’t abandon a woman giving birth when the midwife hasn’t arrived. That’d be grounds for divorce for me. Oh, you’re kinda scared? How do you think your wife felt?! I can promise you it was much scarier for her! I guess if she bled out or the baby needed assistance out or resuscitation, they weren’t meant to survive. You think he’d have refused to give his child formula and sacrificed his child for the “greater good” if his wife had died while he was fiddling with the furnace? Odent is a shitstain.

    • kilda

      “You think he’d have refused to give his child formula and sacrificed his child for the “greater good” if his wife had died while he was fiddling with the furnace? ”

      well it depends. Was the baby a girl? I mean, if it had a penis he’d probably think it was worth keeping, but otherwise….

    • Casual Verbosity

      I’m confused. Isn’t this guy from the school of ‘you only feel pain because you haven’t mastered your fear, you silly woman’? So his wife has to master her fear of birth, but he’s free to just give in to his. Or am I confusing my wack-jobs?

      • Heidi

        I’m not sure if Odent believes that or not, but I think that was a Grantly Dick-Read belief (I think I screwed his name up in another comment…I’d prefer to call him Grand Dick-Wad anyway).

        • Casual Verbosity

          Ahhh you may be right. There are just so many wack-jobs frolicking around it’s hard to keep them in their respective pens.
          I always misread ‘Grantly Dick-Read’ as ‘Grant Dickly-Read’. I feel as though that’s quite appropriate because he seemed to treat women in a ‘dickly’ manner.

      • AnnaPDE

        Nonono, you see, him giving in to his fear was actually the right thing to do and really brave, because he’s not a woman giving birth.

        • Casual Verbosity

          Thanks for clearing that up!

  • fiftyfifty1

    Even his book title. Please. “Homo: The Marine Chimpanzee” — are we supposed to take him seriously?

    • Roadstergal

      He couldn’t even come up with “Homo Aquatis” or some bullshit?

    • Lilly de Lure

      I’ve always wondered about this bit of the aquatic ape theory with regards to the argument that it suggests ancestral humans gave birth in water. Even allowing (for the sake of argument) everything they say about the benefits of water birth is true, surely someone would have noticed that in nature any body of water our ancestors could have chosen to give birth in would also be the prowling grounds of crocodiles, sharks and other such undesirable additions to the birthing environment? Birth pools in the West might be a potentially dangerous waste of time and money but at least they are pretty guaranteed to be free of large predators – our ancestors would have had no such guarantee. I mean, OK in reality these points are answered by the fact that the Aquatic Ape theory is pure bull, but I don’t understand how proponents failed to spot this fairly obvious hole in their theory (you’d think that the fact that all aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals and reptiles that are physically capable of coming up on land at all do so to give birth/ lay eggs would be a hint that this part of the theory had a weakness but apparently not).

  • mostlyclueless

    Wow. What a total piece of shit.

  • crazy mama, PhD

    “ideal situation in which to give birth […] she had complete privacy”

    If I hadn’t been so tired from pushing, I would’ve laughed at the complete lack of privacy I had when my second kid was born. It was the perfectly stereotypical picture of hospital birth: doctor right up in my business; nurse holding one of my legs, spouse holding the other; two other nurses ready to care for the baby; and several other people coming in and out of the room and getting a full view of things while they spoke to the doctor. And it was great. For me, the ideal situation is being surrounded by a bunch of experts who know what they’re doing.

    • MaineJen

      Amen. At that point in labor, you don’t effing care who’s in the room. I had all of the above plus a med student to observe and a nurse in training; they asked me if it was okay to have observers in there so they could learn, and I believe my exact words were “…sure, okay”

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Sounds similar to the birth of my one and only kid: OB, husband, OB nurse, OB resident, NICU people, respiratory therapist. Who gave a crap about privacy, I wanted a breathing baby with all her brain cells.

    • lsn

      I was in the ideal situation too, with roughly 15 people in the room plus me and my husband. I survived, son survived. Yeah we screwed over the evolutionary process but if it pisses off these morons all the better.

  • kilda

    “One effect of modern obstetrics is to neutralise the laws of natural selection – the laws that foiled us all [in the past]. We have neutralised those laws. It means that at the beginning of the 20th century, a woman who could not give birth naturally would die, whereas the one in the village who could give birth easily would have 12 children. Today, the number of children one has depends on other factors than the physical capacity to give birth.”

    He says that like it’s a bad thing….

    • Squillo

      Of course, every medical advance that has allowed people to live to be old enough to reproduce “neutralizes the laws of natural selection.” Apparently, it’s only problematic when it allows women to make decisions about their reproductive lives.

      • Casual Verbosity

        You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Add to that the fact that many cases of fetal or maternal demise in childbirth have ZERO to do with genetic factors: my mom had 2 perfectly boring deliveries followed by a complete cluster f*ck that would have killed her(previa). My niece had two perfectly boring deliveries followed by an 11 lb baby(shoulder dystocia BAD Should have been a C-Section), My sister had fibroids with her first and a prolapsed cord with her third, the second and fourth practically delivered them selves(her babies come out FAST).

    • Casual Verbosity

      Apparently he’s trained as a surgeon, so clearly he’s okay with neutralising the laws of natural selection by cutting a sick person open and fiddling with their insides to stop them from prematurely dying of something they would have died from at the beginning of the 20th century. Then again, he doesn’t seem like the brightest crayon in the box. He probably doesn’t connect other types of surgery and modern medicine to genetic fitness because they don’t have the words ‘maternal’ next to them.

  • MaineJen

    So he, like…flat-out SAYS that women who can’t give birth naturally should probably just die?

    Nice. Very nice. Is he divorced yet? Because WOW

    • Anj Fabian

      Dying in childbirth is natural. Natural is good.
      Says a man who has no chance at all of dying from anything pregnancy related.

      I fully expect that he recommends men not get screened or treated for prostate cancer because it’s natural.

      • Sheven

        How much you want to bet he takes statins?

    • Gæst

      He’s no different that a domestic abuser who says the victim was “asking for it.” Natural selection, yo – if she was fit to live she wouldn’t have angered her partner.

  • guest

    I feel so sorry for this man’s poor wife.

    Then again, maybe he is at least partially right. If I were her, I probably would not want that assclown standing over me while I gave birth.

  • Mel

    I’m always amused that men are allowed to use technology freely to make their lives better – tractors, cars, stents, erectile dysfunction medication, that boiler that was heating Odent’s house – without having to worry about destroying the evolutionary path of the human race….but a woman giving birth by C-section – Oh, God, look out! We are doomed!

    I’d love to see Odent chop enough wood to heat his home over a winter, secure enough protein using a wooden bow and arrow and gather enough carbohydrates using stone diggers. Once he can do that for a few years, I’ll humor him by listening to his “C-sections are ruining the world!” – if he’s still alive.

    • BeatriceC

      Nah. He can’t chop wood for a heating fire. That would require an axe and fire. Primitive technology, granted, but technology nonetheless. When people decry technology they forget just how long humans have been manipulating our environment for survival, and just how basic our manipulations really are.

      • Roadstergal

        A cooking fire is excessive technical intervention that ruins a truly natural existence. :p

        • Gæst

          And this is why I roll my eyes at people who advocate raw food diets.

          • Roadstergal

            Canned food is a miracle of technology that reduces food waste – a huge issue. I can’t stand that people turn their noses up at it. That’s my personal shitfit.

          • Gæst

            I had a friend who wanted to be a locavore, and we lived in a place with a fairly harsh winter and she couldn’t figure it out. And I was like…dude. Canned fruit and veg, obviously. But that doesn’t have the same romance that fresh boxes of CSAs does.

          • Heidi

            I’m pretty sure some of our local, organic farmers at the farmer’s market are racist, sexist Luddites, and I don’t find that surprising really. Not that it’s exactly relevant, but maybe she won’t feel so bad reaching for some unlocal frozen and canned produce.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Or she can learn to grow or can it herself.

          • Gæst

            Can, yes, but you can’t grow enough to feed yourself in winter when you live in an apartment.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            No, you would have to buy enough over the spring, summer and earlier fall and can it for the winter. Or buy it from some one local who cans their excess. And then there is storage space…eating local is often expensive. In money, time and space.

          • Roadstergal

            I love this comment because the two definitions of ‘can it’ both work properly.

          • Heidi

            I think the anti-convenience foods, even when they are still whole foods and still nutritionally sound, is backlash against women getting rights, no different than Odent/Grantly-Read wanting to keep women pregnant and in the kitchen or ardent supporters of attachment parenting. I can’t stand Michael Pollan and his ilk. We all know who the bulk of food prep falls on. And we have the technology to make food prep quick and tasty without sacrificing nutrition. But noooooo! Something, something microwaves and radiation! Slow food movement!

            When I’m watching TV shows from the 50s in the morning, I sometimes feel like we are actually moving backwards in some ways. *Gasp* June Cleaver used TV dinners when she didn’t want to cook a homemade lunch and Donna Reed had the audacity to feed her children cornflakes and canned soup on weekdays!

          • fiftyfifty1

            ” I can’t stand Michael Pollan and his ilk”

            Yes, Pollan is such a jerk. One of his follow up books gives food rules such as: It’s not food if it comes into your car through the window (i.e. fast food.) What a serious classist, racist jerk. I would love to see this guy starving, offer him a burger and fries and then pull it away and say “sorry, it’s not food.” Here’s another: It’s not food if your great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognized it. So I guess he means don’t eat quinoa or salmon or sushi or jicama? Food prudes are the worst.

          • Roadstergal

            You can get a tasty and filling veggie burger through the window at our local Burger King. When I’m tired and dragging and low on time, it’s a great option.

            My great-grandmother would definitely not have recognized kale or black bean burgers or, as you note, quinoa. Or curry. She definitely didn’t get exposed to curry, poor thing.

            My favorite response to Pollan was when he was doing his shtick about how many ingredients maximum one should have for something to count as Food for his Pollanness, and Paula Poundstone declared Twinkies as counting. “Two ingredients, yellow cake, creamy filling.” He tried to argue, and she shouted him down with “C-r-e-a-m-y creamy filling!”

          • MaineJen

            Wow!! I wish all fast food places offered veggie burgers. Not only would it be healthier for the customers, it would be less complicated and probably cheaper for the restaurant itself.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Not to mention a lot of gen xers and millenials still have living grandparents. Grandma only died this summer, at 87, and she was a pretty cosmopolitan person. Her grandkids range from 10 to 40. Her great-grands range from 1-10. (my grandparents were so adorably excited 10 years ago).

          • Sarah

            Same, but my great grandparents were all born poor in slums and probably lived off snot and coal. I’m not 100% sure they knew what food was.

          • Ozlsn

            “It’s not food if your great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognized it.”

            Dammit, pizza and lasagne were exotic foods to my grandmother! Guess I’m stuck with meat and three veg then.

    • Sheven

      I’d love to see him talk about denying a child asthma medication or emergency appendectomies, or tonsillectomies. I mean, anything that hits a child before they’re old enough to breed also affects the human race, right?

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      He also seems to be saying my greatnephew who is autistic would be better off dead. So he really can f right off. Yes my niece had a C-section, due to her sons giant head.

      • Casual Verbosity

        If there is any argument to made about the connection between autism and C-sections (and I’m not sure that there is), wouldn’t it be that emergency C-sections are caused by foetal distress, foetal distress is often caused by oxygen deprivation, oxygen deprivation affects the brain, oxygen deprivation may cause/trigger autism? Surely that would be the more logical argument?
        Then again, he probably thinks it’s because they missed out on the mystical vaginal flora–there’s a combination of words I never expected to string together– and their ‘gut’ is irreparably damaged.
        Edited to add: On a semi-related and highly-flippant note (because this guy has really riled me up), I wonder if this guy would advocate swabbing my sister with a healthy woman’s vaginal flora to cure her Crohn’s Disease? My sister was born vaginally, but obviously she didn’t get enough of the mystical vaginal flora at birth to save her from a lifetime of gut problems.

        • Roadstergal

          It’s well-known that the microbiome is dysregulated in IBD.

          Which lead to people getting all excited about fecal transplants for IBD.

          Which didn’t really help.

          What’s cause, what’s effect, what’s simply correlation… these things are rarely as straightforward as they appear.

          • Casual Verbosity

            I can only imagine the look on my sister’s face if I suggested a fecal transplant. Bloody hell.

          • Charybdis

            Have you seen the folks that use breastfed baby poop for facials?

          • Casual Verbosity

            Oh god no. Really?!?!?

          • Sarah

            I think a foecal transplant would probably improve Mr Odent no end. I’ve a few ideas.

          • Casual Verbosity

            I actually did suggest a fecal transplant to my sister yesterday… I wish I took a picture of her face.

    • Azuran

      Bow and arrow? That’s technology that allows those who are too weak to hunt the real natural way to survive. That’s not allowed. Only bare hands are allowed.
      Neither is firewood.

    • Russell Jones

      That’s a fine point. Can’t help but wonder how long this guy took Cialis to compensate for his … ahem … natural deficiencies. Moreover, dudebro is in his eighties, which means there’s serious questions regarding how his continued existence benefits “the future of mankind.” I think ol’ Mike should sack up and eschew all the amenities of modern life. If he can’t hack living as nature intended, then the evolutionary processes of death and decay will take care of business.

    • AnnaPDE

      Does getting strangled by a pregnant when you say some stupid crap like Odent spouts to her count as natural selection?
      You as in general you, not Mel obviously!

  • Roadstergal

    “Natural selection does not lead to survival of the perfect, but rather survival of the fittest.”

    And ‘fittest’ for what? If you bred exclusively for humans to survive childbirth, you might end up with wide-hipped women who give birth easily and small-headed babies who come out easily – but would be mal-selected for any number of other scenarios unrelated to that one short event in everyone’s life.

    I’ve heard some speculation that children on the autism spectrum are more likely to be breech – if that turns out to be the case and we ‘select’ for them to die a la Odent, we’ll end up losing some neurodiversity that can be very useful in a technical society.

    If we select away from ‘ease of natural childbirth’ these days via induction and C-sections, so effin’ what?