Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009


To her detractors (and there are many), Nadya Suleman represents everything that is wrong with American culture, in vitro fertilization and the so-called Golden State. As details trickled out about the California woman who gave birth to octuplets in January — that she is single, lives with her parents, has six other children and receives food stamps and disability payments — congratulations quickly turned to outrage. That Suleman, now commonly referred to by the villainous-sounding moniker Octomom, bears a striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie, herself a mother of six, made the questions about her parenting choices even more troubling. Octomom fascination has spawned thousands of websites, an Octo-doll (complete with eight detachable babies), a disturbingly sexy Halloween costume, a musical and a two-hour Fox documentary. In April, Suleman inked a $250,000 deal with a British production company, granting it exclusive access to her home for 11 days. But she insists her decision to put her children on TV is survival, not a stunt. "It's a catch-22," she told the New York Times in November. "I'm damned if I do what I need to do with the media to support my kids, and I'm damned if I don't. If I don't, I can't take care of them."