Is it wrong to make babies cry?

The story seems to be, babies are given a lollipop, which is then snatched away from them — and great photographs are taken, to convey the sense of desperation, sadness, frustration that society is enveloped in.

The photographer defends this idea, stating, “The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset…It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation.”

This series has sparked a controversy in the art community: is it okay to make babies cry for the sake of art?

I know it is only a lollipop, I know that parents often do much worse.

I also think that maybe we are a bit too sensitive when it comes to children.  In a bid to rise up against abuse and poor parenting, I have found that people have actually just gone shit balls over board.  Everything you do as a parent is micro-examined and you need to constantly on the looking for the “parent police” – usually disguised as know it all, hemp wearing, organic eating, people with questionable body hygiene talking to you about breastfeeding until your child is at university, co-sleeping, never letting your child cry ever, and well lots of things …… but I digress.

Suggesting that taking a lollipop away from a child is a good idea, is just enough to get you lined up next to Hitler and that guy who locked his daughter in a cellar, as Not the Greatest Parents of the Year.  Just not a good idea.

Last night I sent Isabelle to her room for 2 minutes as she had drawn with a pen on a table cloth.

I forgot about her, and only realised she was still in her room screaming her head off about 10  minutes later.  It was also her birthday, so the fact that I had made her blow snot bubbles and cry huge crocodile tears was even further down the scale of “bad parenting.”

I think the images are amazing.

I think the images can be used to make a comment about pretty much anything – in this case it is the artist’s frustration about politics and christian fundamentalists in the United States.

Is this worse than strapping bombs to your children and sending them out to blow themselves up as martyrs in the name of religion 0r for a political party?

Is this worse than children who are sold by their family as se.x slaves or servants?

Is this worse than taking children along to demonstrations that are clearly going to end in blood shed and with a few bullets being thrown around?

Is it worse than parents who drag their children through beauty pageants and apply layers of really good for you yellow spray tan?

Is this worse than children who are allowed to watch WWF and South Park?

Part of me wants to say, hey, its not nice to take lollipops away from children — it is okay to take lollipops away from fat children, or children with tooth decay, or children who have already had 5 ….. but not nice children like these appear to be.

The other part of me wants to say “Its a lollipop for goodness sake, get a grip.”

I guarantee Liam, Noah and Emily  in these photographs are going to be far more pleased with being part of a kick arse art exhibition, and having these images of themselves, than they ever are going to be upset by the lollipop thing.

Blankie seems to be fine.  And he got hung out of a window.  If that kid can bounce back from the one leg dangle out of a hotel window, then we really are under estimating how resilient our children are.

Angry Country by Jill Greenberg


Prayer by Jill Greenberg


See more of the images by Jill Greenberg at

Just so that we keep this lollipop thing in perspective — here is a “not so bad” versus “yep that is pretty bad” sliding scale



Leave a comment


  1. Alexandra

     /  June 13, 2013

    You make me laugh… a lot.

    I have to admit that I have forgotten my daughter in time out before.

  2. I mostly agree with you… but you do know that ‘Blankie’s’ siste Paris tried to kill herself the other day…?

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 12, 2013

      But she wasn’t hung out of a window …… Blankie is fine.

      • Touche… who know’s maybe she was upset that she WASN’T dangled out the window!? 😉

        • reluctantmom

           /  June 12, 2013

          Sibling rivalry is sometimes a strange creature. I have always been jealous that my brother was nearly shot through the head by a loaded shotgun — which was left in kitchen. He received way too much attention —– I would have gladly had a double barreled sawn off shot gun waved at me.

          Yes, we had a wild family set-up.

  3. Nicky

     /  June 12, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more – much ado about nothing!


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