Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Reveiw (and then some): Baby Mama
I was in Vancouver WA and Salem OR last weekend visiting family and friends. More on the trip itself soon. If you've never been to Salem, you might mistake it for the Biblical Eden. It was absolutely gorgeous. But, to be honest, the small town life does have it's drawbacks. There isn't much of a nightlife. Luckily, there is a movie theater.
Baby Mama stars Tina Fey as a 37 year old business woman who has finally been hit by the maternal urge. She wants a baby and wants it now. There are a few biological prerequisites for this, but with modern science, those can be readily supplied to any high bidder. No male counterpart? Not a problem! We have "bank" that can take care of that. Broken uterus? Don't worry! You can hire a, shall we say, pre-natal caretaker. In fact, as long as your bank account is full, offspring can be ready in nine months flat.
That's essentially how Kate (Fey) ends up teamed with Angie (Amy Poehler), facing the challenges of unconventional team baby making.
Short review? It was funny. Really very funny, if a bit crass.
The long review will be harder to explain. I think Baby Mama is a breadcrumb on the trail to the end of civilization. Simply put, it's a sign of end of the world. Let me explain.
WARNING: The rest of this is not a film review, but is pertinent. From this point on, I'm going to be covering some pretty unpleasant topics. I include them because they are serious topics that our society has no choice but to face and deal with. Parents, don't let your children read this. I'm not kidding.
When Kate (Fey) talks with the director of the surrogate center, the director ends their conversation with this bit of wisdom:
"There's no wrong way to have a family."
That, in the end, is the underlying message of Baby Mama. It's all laughs and lessons about learning from each other, making friends, forgiving and getting along, but the constant thread throughout is, "there's no wrong way to have a family".
I submit to you that anybody with any decency or hope for humanity has to concede how wrong this stance is.
In the current climate of P.C. hyper-sensitivity, it's not very popular to have any stance against single parent families. They used to be called broken homes, but that's just too insensitive today. True, nobody should do anything to set back a single mother (or father) and their unfortunate child, but nobody should make the mistake of thinking one parent is as good as two, no matter how strong that one parent is. 'Nuf said.
A more headline issue today is gay marriage. I am opposed to the practice and policy, and at the end of this post, I hope you'll understand why. The loudest argument today is, if two consenting adults love each other, then who are you or I to tell them they can't enjoy their love in marrital bliss? The short answer is because marraige is more than love. Marraige is a legal recognition of a societal unit, specifically, the family. The family is arguably the most basic unit of society, just as an atom is the most basic unit of any chemical or compound. And just as an atom is made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, the formula for family is just as consistent, made up of Mother, Father, and children. The designation single parent family is a misnomer, really. That's what a family is, plain and simple, Mother, Father, children.
(The voice of angry detractors) Austin, you're just bigotted, out of touch, and can't see past your scriptures. There isn't any wrong way to have a family! What's wrong with a child having two daddy's or two mommies?!
Hang on, let me make my point. Remember, I said that anybody with any hope for humanity has to concede how wrong this stance is. Aren't you curious how? You have hope for humanity, right?
So a gay marraige is just as valid as a straight one, you say? There's no qualitative difference? Forgive me if I draw that premise out to it's natural conclusions. I'll play devil's advocate for a moment.
Have you ever seen a gay pride parade? In person? Neither have I to be honest, not a place I want to be, don't think I'd be very popular there. But I think they serve as an apt model. It's my understanding that gay pride parades frequently have a recognizable progression from beginning to end. Think of this literally and ideologically.
The parade starts with (hopefully) decent looking people holding banners, walking hand in hand, glad to stand up for what they believe to be their right. Shortly thereafter, you would see what has made gay pride parades so famous, the flamboyance and festivity, colors and costumes. I'd like to say these stay clean, but more often than not, they are characterized by public nudity, S&M paraphernalia, and other highly sexualized features. Seems to be a hallmark of the movement. But sadly, that isn't the end of it. Again, this reflects the ideological progression as well as the literal progression of the parade. Bringing in the end of the celebratory caravan are those who were probably not invited, but knew their opportunity when they saw it. These are people who engage in any number of forms of sexual deviancy. Pedophilia, bestiality, and weirder things I can't even make up. Hedonists and perverts, probably admittedly so. They come marching right on up behind, knowing that if society opens the door to homosexuality, they'll have a hard time closing the door for the end of the parade.
Not convinced? How about this. Suppose a few people decide they want to have a family by marrying one man to several women. Suppose they decide it also doesn't hurt if the women aren't adults, more like young girls. Sound familiar? Look in recent headlines. The mania regarding the "YFZ Ranch" and followers of Warren Jeffs is a clear example that there are wrong ways, very wrong ways, to have a family.
Once you acknowledge that line, that there are wrong ways to have a family, you have to begin to consider where that line lay.
Suppose another group decides they want to have a family sans children plus more partners. Like swingers, only official. This hypothetical group wants official recognition for a marraige of, say, three men to two women, all to each other, no particular "pairs". They all get fixed, for lack of a better term, and live and "love" together. Or worse, they actually want children in the arrangement. Is that a family? Where is the line drawn, between what constitutes a family and what does not? Does any of this sound healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually)? We won't even go into the social ramifications. How do you tax a "family" like that? How do they share finances or responsibility? How do these people cooperate as a family? If the strongest bond they have is primarily sexual, can they trust each other, support each other in other meaningful ways? Does the arrangement promote any kind of virtue that makes a person good? In this kind of society, what is "good", anyway?
Baby Mama doesn't come anywhere near directly espousing any of these lifestyles. But it is an indicator of shifting societal values, in this case the broadening definition of "family". Popular media will always serve that purpose, even if you or I don't personally find it entertaining at times. Think back fifty years ago. Ricky and Lucy couldn't even share a bed. The Bundy's proved a game changer for what could and couldn't go on broadcast television. Cable television threw open the floodgates. And now, what was once unthinkable is now hardly noticed. The change has happened in a very short time. And it's not done, it's accellerating. I'm quite sure if we graphed this all out, we'd see an undeniable and unslowing trend. There are ups and downs, it's true, but I think the overall direction is clear.
Use your imagination and extrapolate. What was reflected in popular media only a few short years ago (full acceptance of homosexuality) has gained steam and is now becoming legislation, state by state, and country by country the globe over. The sexual exploits of popular media have become simultaneously more and more crass and celebrated. Thirty years from now, what kind of movies will pull in big at the box office? By that time, something like The 40 Year Old Virgin will seem like quaint, good ol' fashioned family entertainment. I dread the day when people are lining up to laugh at the comedic genius of The 14 Year Old Virgin, but I don't think we're too far off. You can already see it happening. We've got decades, maybe less, till the moral fabric of the country is completely shredded.
You may think I'm sick and/or crazy for all this. I hope you're right.
Breadcrumbs on the trail to the end of civilization.
There's no wrong way to have a family.
I hope you'll forgive me if I'm not excited about marching in the parades and where they're headed.
P.S. These opinions may be very unpopular in coming years, maybe they already are. This may all come back to bite me, but so be it. I'm just being honest.