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Jewish World Review Feb. 5, 2001 / 12 Shevat, 5761

Michelle Malkin

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Consumer Reports

Ally McBeal’s trophy baby -- IN THE 1990s, the Oxford English Dictionary added "trophy wife" to its official lexicon. The term refers to "a wife regarded as a status symbol for a usually older man." It won’t be long before "trophy wife" spawns a new linguistic offspring:

"Trophy baby" – a newborn child regarded as a status symbol for a usually young, single, and wealthy Hollywood starlet.

The latest such acquisition is a one-month-old boy named Liam, adopted at birth by Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart on New Year’s Day. I spotted a picture of the pair in a celebrity magazine last week. Liam looks healthy and cherubic, but Flockhart looks thinner than a crib rail and whiter than a freshly-bleached burp cloth. Mama Flockhart’s bony wrists appear ready to snap as she hoists the baby’s car seat. The bags under her eyes look like they weigh more than little Liam.

There is no question that Flockhart, unmarried and unattached, possesses the hefty income to support a child. She makes millions of dollars a year and owns a four-bedroom, Cape Cod-style home in Los Angeles. But money does not a good mother make. The issue isn’t whether Flockhart can afford baby Liam, but whether baby Liam can afford a lone parent whose health and judgement seem so alarmingly feeble. The larger question is whether we as a society can afford to encourage such photo-op adoptions as normal and acceptable.

"I'm completely enchanted and awestruck," Flockhart said in a press release after Liam’s birth. Let’s hope she’s not too overwhelmed. Taking good care of a newborn requires the stamina of a triathlete. But less than a month ago, Flockhart was admitted to a local hospital after collapsing on the set of her hit show. She received intravenous fluids and treatment for exhaustion. Flockhart’s publicist blamed the breakdown on her famed workaholism – she puts in 17-hour days, three to five days a week.

The latest collapse adds to long-held public suspicion that the 5’5 1/2", 100-lb. waif suffers from a eating disorder. "Am I anorexic?" Flockhart asked in an interview defending herself. "I guess my answer would have to be no." She "guesses?" After past physical collapses, Flockhart reportedly explained that she simply "forgot" to eat. Which begs an obvious question: If this woman can’t remember to take care of herself, how fit is she to take in a newborn?

"There are many different ways to be a family," Flockhart told USA Today. "I think being a parent, no matter how you do it, is challenging and wonderful." It does matter how you do it. It matters that Flockhart will be dumping her adopted baby in a day-care trailer on her Hollywood set for 17 hours a day while she works until she drops. It matters that she selfishly chose not to provide her son a father figure. It matters that there are thousands of married couples waiting to adopt – couples who, unlike Flockhart, are willing to make personal and professional sacrifices to give children the time, attention, stability, and security they deserve.

Flockhart is only the latest in a series of unmarried actresses, including Rosie O'Donnell and Diane Keaton, who are adopting children. It has become such a fad in Hollywood that one agent told a Los Angeles magazine writer: "Babies are the BMWs of the '90s." The article boasts that the "concept of the traditional mom-and-dad-and-child nuclear family as a representative norm has been blown to bits, and some of our most popular faces are helping deconstruct the paradigm."

Now that no family arrangement is better than any other, why not accept lonely single starlets who want to role-play parents? Because moral relativism and make-believe mommyhood have dire consequences. Babies should not be exploited as trendy accessories, draped across an actress’s shoulder like last year’s pashmina shawl. These are real lives, not stage props. What will happen when Flockhart tires of her trophy baby and realizes she can’t just park him on the mantel next to her Golden Globe award?

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.


02/01/01: Mel and Bill: Bosom buddies
01/29/01: Gun shows under fire
01/24/01: American citizenship for sale?
01/22/01: Look who supports AmeriCorps
01/17/01: Some questions about Elaine Chao
01/15/01: What America owes me
01/10/01: Temptation and trash TV
01/05/01: Cop-haters welcome in Hollywood
01/02/01: Ignoring a hate crime in D.C.
12/26/00: Use ultrasound to combat abortion
12/26/00: Pardon Clinton? Just say no!
12/21/00: Smacking down free speech
12/18/00: Brace yourselves for Floridation
12/14/00: Blame enviros for electric mess
12/11/00: UNICEF's deadly mission
12/06/00: The Amish vs. the feds
12/04/00: Downey and the Drug War
11/29/00: Let the sun shine on the Supremes
11/22/00: Peace prize for a murderer?
11/20/00: Baby Boom parents are asleep on the job
11/15/00: Fog horns of the Fourth Estate
11/10/00: Who cares about election fraud now?
11/08/00: Ms. Houston, you have a problem
11/03/00: The Million Mom Murmur
11/01/00: GOP revolutionaries head for the hills
10/27/00: My impeachment referendum
10/25/00: Gore’s Good Daddy Gambit
10/23/00: Tribulations of a dubious 'tribe'
10/20/00: Pharmaceutical butchers of Beijing
10/16/00: How the West was seized
10/12/00: Fight the anti-pesticide pests
10/10/00: Moochers at the multiplex
10/05/00: Pay for your own day care
10/02/00: Not every senior demands a handout
09/27/00: Racial hype at the Olympics
09/25/00: Watch the other Washington
09/20/00: Textbook case of media arrogance
09/18/00: New York: Land of medical pork
09/13/00: Voices from the womb
09/11/00: No cure for generational pain
09/08/00: Notes on a West Coast wilding
09/06/00: Race matters at Washington Post
09/01/00: For those who labor 24/7
08/28/00: There's something about Rudy
08/25/00: A conservative case against Napster
08/22/00: Death Row Marv mocks justice
08/18/00: The party of Maxine Waters
08/14/00: "Make-A-Wish" shoots down dreams
08/10/00: Who will stop Bill Lann Lee?
08/07/00: Emily Dickinson's lesson for rude drivers
08/03/00: Leave the slogans behind
07/31/00: Hey, GM: Build cars, not quotas
07/28/00: Stop milking The Juice
07/24/00: Silencing Jeff Jacoby
07/21/00: Score another one for TV execs who want to keep us brain-dead
07/17/00: Can somebody say McStupid?
07/12/00: Beware of Ugly Building Syndrome
07/10/00: The miracle of a lead pencil
07/07/00: Partying on the people’s dime
06/29/00: When "Indians" exploit their own
06/23/00: Kids in a public school daze
06/21/00: Fed up with Fannie and Freddie
06/19/00: D.C.'s gag order for Christians
06/16/00: Dads, daughters, and PETA's spoilsports
06/13/00: Tune out Eminem's pitiful "poetry"
06/07/00: "Pained" Dem leader Torricelli deserves to feel some; Why hasn't he?
06/05/00: Tom Green's hidden health-care lesson
06/01/00: Farming out the pork
05/30/00: The perils of medical quackery
05/26/00: Awarding medals by race is a disgrace
05/22/00: Have Simon & Schuster execs lost their minds!?
05/17/00: Sports plebes vs. plutocrats
05/15/00: Whitewashing Red China's record
05/12/00: Our mothers' hands
05/08/00: Focus on the real Waco
05/05/00: An Internet victim's sad story
05/03/00: Phony pooh-bahs of journalism
05/01/00: Zoo tragedy triggers dumb reaction
04/24/00: Ecoterrorists on the loose
04/19/00: Beware of Elian's psychobabblers
04/17/00: The truth about Erin Brockovich
04/13/00: In defense of an armed citizenry
04/10/00: Playing hardball with taxpayers
04/06/00: Read W.'s lips: More new spending
04/04/00: The liberal media-in-training
03/31/00: Sticking it to the children
03/28/00: Declaring war on HOV lanes
03/22/00: Clinton and the Echo Boomers
03/17/00: Is Bush a Liddy Dole Republican?
03/13/00: Katie and the politics of disease
03/10/00: Maria H, Granny D, and the media Z's
03/07/00: Bubba Van Winkle wakes up
03/03/00: Double standard for day traders?
02/28/00: Sluts and nuts --- and our daughters
02/24/00: Zoning out religious freedom
02/15/00: The Baby Brain Boondoggle
02/10/00: Buddhist temple untouchables
02/08/00: CDC: Caught Devouring Cash
02/04/00: Hillary's poisoned poster child
02/01/00: Corporate welfare on ice
01/28/00: The silly sound of silence
01/26/00: The Old Media meltdown
01/20/00: The pied pipers of KidCare
01/18/00: Our imperious judiciary
01/14/00: Tune out Columbine chorus
01/12/00: Dying to be an American
01/10/00: Time for smokers' revolt?
12/30/99: Reading, writing, PlayStation?
12/27/99: Fight money-grubbing mallrats
12/23/99: Christmas for Cornilous Pixley
12/20/99: Who will help the Hmong?
12/16/99: Shame on corn-fed politicians
12/13/99: EPA vs. the American Dream
12/09/99: Look behind the Pokemon curtain
12/06/99: Amateur hour in Seattle
11/30/99: Stop the Ritalin racketeers
11/23/99: Welfare for a sports fatcat
11/19/99: Jeb Bush's political ploy of the week
11/16/99: Ben & Jerry serve up junk science
11/12/99: A monumental waste of our veterans' resources
11/10/99: Tax-and-spend schizophrenia
11/05/99: Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line" (or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes

© 2000, Creators Syndicate