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November 19, 2007

Burn her! She has a NANNY!

Burning_manRight now fur is flying because Pamela wrote a post about firing her nanny.  I'm not sure how it reads if you don't know Pamela at all, but as someone who does know her, the post was about personal growth, about learning to take the reins more in parenting, about weighing the benefits and disadvantages of a breakup, and deciding that you would really miss someone, but that you realized that it was time for you to stand alone.  In short, the post was about life.

Except... Pamela has a nanny.  So (let me get this right), she has GOT to be an entitled be-yatch, who probably steps all over the other mommies in her designer shoes while trying to dash out of her chauffeur-driven car and get some designer cream for the baby.  Or something like that.  Do I have it right?  In short:  Stay at home mom with a nanny = terrible, nasty person who must be badmouthed and shunned by other women.

Boy does our culture suck. 


In the last 15 years, our country seems to have forgotten how to hold conversations.  From the left side, women with (oooh!) nannies are jumped on merely for this fact, regardless of their opinion, by a bunch of short-sighted, short-fused, righteousness-driven pulpit seekers.  Same with the right side, except please add the phrase "slavering Christian right-wing" to the list of adjectives.  And the myriad hate-mongers out there are allowed to exist  without being collectively shunned in the name of common decency. Amazing.

Why?   Why not just listen to someone who is from a different socioeconomic bracket or has different priorities in life, and hear what she says?  (And incidentally, Pamela might be a little weird about fashion (e.g. she likes it), but she's really not dripping with jewels.)

I live in an extremely wealthy neighborhood.  It's kind of weird.  I write about it sometimes.  Most people don't write about alienation and the values differences/lifestyle differences between middle and upper middle classes.  But it's interesting stuff.  And it exists.  Ruby Payne, an educational consultant, has done a lot of research about the invisible boundaries between poverty and middle class in our country. It's fascinating stuff.  Nothing like that exists about the boundaries between middle and upper classes.

In the olden days, the massively rich people who built railroads were called "robber barons."  Although many of them turned into powerful philanthropists, the way in which they made their original money remained suspect, and underlined the great class chasms of America's past.  Today's massively rich in the silicon valley are ... middle class people.  They were raised in the same neighborhoods, went to the same schools as many people who are still renting their houses.  And it's important to them that, just because they have made money, they don't have to throw their lives away.

In the silicon valley, we live cheek by jowl with multimillionaires.  It is our peers who will determine what to do with their riches, and this is interesting stuff.  Hopefully, the people in this valley who have been able to make massive amounts of money will be able to step forward, out of the morass of new social responsibility and confusion between classes. They will be able to do the right thing, to use the money that they have earned with their luck and hard work to better the world.

I was personally raised by wannabe hippies.  I am now surrounded by multi-millionaires.  And a bunch of people who earn far, far less, some of whom really struggle to pay the mortgage, etc.  This is the silicon valley.  Any group of friends here in the silicon valley includes a cross-segment of people from different socioeconomic brackets.

Foaming at the mouth  with "Burn her, the witch!  She DOESN'T SHOP AT MERVYNS!!" posts are just ... stupid and boring.  I would suggest that you go to http://www.dontshavemylegsandproud.com or http://www.hateveryonewithmoney.com for those types of comments.  (And yes, before some of you start foaming at the mouth, I spent YEARS not shaving my legs. So there.)

And for those of you out there in the "must be a bitch, she has a nanny camp," watch us here in the valley.  It's pretty impossible to tell the millionaires around here.  We all schlep around in our jeans and our t-shirts. We all look like crap.  We clutch books and talk geek stuff, and we all manage to stay friends.  No matter HOW much money we have.  Might be a lesson in that for the snipers out there.  Because you see, if you're talking with people, if you're still having conversations with people, it gives the world a much better chance of getting along.  (Yes, the valley is too expensive for a lot of people. I know, but there are still socioeconomic differences between valley denizens.)

If you're trying to be so damn nasty to your neighbors, to people who are pretty much just like you, (more money, but same country and all), what does that say for your ability to reach out across the world and have a dialogue with people that you don't have so much in common with?


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