Why I Must Reject Your Baby Pictures

Hi, thanks so much for submitting your baby pictures to social media! Unfortunately, I’m unable to like them at this time. Normally, I just send out form rejection letters, but since you and I know each other personally, I felt I at least owed you an explanation.

I can’t bring myself to click that little thumbs-up icon for your baby pictures because it would be a betrayal of a responsibility I take very seriously: never to give false praise to merely mediocre online content.

It’s not that your baby is ugly, not at all! Ugly babies are forgivable. They come out of the womb looking like red, drugged-up little lizards–more of a first draft of a person than something that’s really ready for publication. Still, there’s a grace period we all recognize before newborns turn a normal color, unclench their tiny fists, and begin to exhibit those qualities generally regarded as “adorable.”

But your baby has now had the time to develop into a fully fleshed-out piece of content, and yet it still has failed to meet those criteria. It’s hard to say why, exactly. It may come down to the fact that babies are a little played out right now. You’ve positioned your baby in a variety of classic (one might even say “safe”) scenarios: baby at Christmas, baby at Halloween, etc. But what really earns my heart emoji is a baby who subverts those tropes–eschewing the toys to play with the boxes, hurling off-color remarks at the neighbors, greeting each new experience with an explorer’s wonder, a demon’s energy, or an alcoholic’s profound melancholy. Your baby just seems to play with all the toys in the manner prescribed by the box. Which is fine, but I think we’d all like to see some pizazz!

When I see baby pictures, I want to either feel that my life will be incomplete until I have one of my own, or feel so determined not to reproduce that I want to reach inside myself and tie my own tubes. It’s those extremes of emotion that really get my fingers clicking, and with the news cycle like it is right now, you’ve really got to do something spectacular to stand out from the pack.

I’m not saying this to make you feel bad, of course, (although it’s tempting to speculate that you might have produced more impressive offspring had you decided to procreate with someone other than your frankly unspectacular spouse). But I thought maybe you’d appreciate some notes, so your next post stands a better chance. Starting with: wardrobe. I’ve seen that you dress your baby in a lot of pun-heavy onesies, and that’s not going to win you any likes from this quarter. Likewise with the “nerdy” fan apparel. I don’t think your baby should get to piggyback on your taste in pop culture until it is capable of picking its own favorite era of Doctor Who.

I’d love to see you and your baby get there, I really would. Nothing makes me happier than to judiciously bestow a unit of social media approval on truly deserving content. It’s just that if I start handing them out to every up-jumped zygote that pops up on my newsfeed, it cheapens the overall value of my brand. I hope you understand, and that you and your baby put in that little bit of extra effort so that I can, in good conscience, offer you the bare minimum of encouragement for your your precious creation.

Or, you know, try posting more pictures of dogs. I will always hit like for a dog.


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