It would be one thing if women were buying “reborn dolls” out of morbid curiosity or a passion to collect them (like Hummel figurines). But women are taking their dolls out in strollers (no kidding) and strapping them into car seats for trips to the mall. Fortunately, they don’t actually believe their “babies” are real. That would be a true psychotic delusion. But they are able to suspend disbelief and play with them as though they are real—kind of like believing in a movie while you are watching it..

While this may seem like a harmless fad, when taken with other evidence that we prefer fantasy to fact, I see this as the latest symptom that our species is losing its grip on reality, in a wholesale fashion. Increasingly, we are loath to accept our own life stories, and work through the inevitable painful chapters, in order to achieve real personal growth. People who are dissatisfied with who they are can now pretend they are entirely different people on secondlife.com. Children who might otherwise have to establish real relationships with pets, can adopt animated ones on clubpenguin.com.