As I grow older and witness the world as it changes, there are things that make me proud. The election of a black President in the United States, something that I never thought that I would see in my lifetime, the gradual but consistent decrease of power of organized religion, which has and will continue to have a windfall of benefits, and the overall greater emphasis on understanding and accepting other people's differences. However, there comes a point when attempting to accept every person and everything that person does, crosses a line from being compassionate to being a dumb ass.
Consider Mars Attacks! when the aliens arrive to a red carpet welcome. A symbolic dove is released as the aliens deplane. The aliens fry the dove and everyone in attendance. The President, played by Nicholson, concludes that perhaps the dove was offensive or threatening to our unwelcomed visitors. Nicholson sends a message to the aliens that the United States will not seek retribution for the slaughter of bystanders. The aliens laugh whatever passes for their balls off, as they should. You see, even if a person finds a flying dove to be offensive or threatening, mass murder is probably a bit of an overreaction, whereas seeking understanding of the aliens in this case should be slotted behind the task of protecting one's own ass.
My philosophy on this matter also applies to matters smaller in scale.
The other night the television was on. I had been watching something and was busy typing away at the computer as it ended. Next up was some movie with Mandy Moore, How to Deal. She's cute, and I was busy at the computer so I didn't bother to change the channel. Occasionally I would glance over and I could hear the basic framework of the story as it unfolded. For those that don't know what it's about and don't know where I'm going with this, allow me to get to heart of my concern. One of the characters is a sixteen-year-old girl that gets pregnant, her boyfriend dies, and she chooses to have and keep
I would like to be politically correct; I would like to be diplomatic. However, I feel that I must at least start by telling you the first thing that I think when I see a pregnant sixteen-year-old: I hope that the baby isn't retarded, as it is clear that both the mother and her parents must be.
So let's go through this. Sex is great, like freaking Oreo-cookies-and-milk great, though as a grown up, I am acutely aware of how ridiculous is the preoccupation of hunting for sex, just as I'm acutely aware that I was preoccupied myself through my mid-to-late twenties. I don't expect teenagers to be any smarter than the generation in which they followed and, contrary to my parents' generation's denials, I suspect that getting busy on Mom and Dad's couch or in the back seat of a car is an age old tradition all the way back to a time when people were probably doing in on horseback or in the chariot that little Timmy borrowed from Pops. The only sure things in this world are death, taxes, and that teenagers will have sex.
Teenagers, by definition, are stupid, at least enough of them that it's a fair stereotype. Many of the parents that I've met over the course of my life, including my own, are in denial about Daddy's little muffin getting plowed Friday night after the game (the double standard that parents are far more concerned with daughters than sons is another matter for another time and did not apply to my mother). So on one hand, you have stupid hormones gone wild. On the other hand, you have in-denial parents whose most common response to the question of teen pregnancy is the age old epic fail of abstinence; might as well not neuter your dog and just tell it that it's more special when it's with a collie they love.
So we have sex, parents that would bury their heads in the sand rather than acknowledge that their kids are doing it doggy-style, which leads to the converse of passing on one's knowledge to their children and instead passes on, well, nothing. This stew leads to the
higher likelihood of unprotected sex. So aside from fun sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, the last time I checked – oh yeah! – babies come from sex too.
This is your lovely daughter... and she no longer exists.
Now all the single mothers out there, especially those that had their first under dubious circumstances or at an irresponsibly young age, are going join in a chorus of how thankful they are for the 'blessing' of their baby. Well, of course they are; we're talking about a person now. I'm not saying throw your baby back in like it was a fish that didn't meet the standard. In fact, I always thought that Family Man was one of the saddest movies ever because Nic Cage has the "glimpse", which constitutes pretty much the whole movie, of what his life with super-Milf Tea Leoni could've been, including children that he learns to love very much only to have them wink from existence. You're supposed to want to have babies in the same way that guys want to get nookie everywhere all the time; it's how mother nature kicks us in the ass to propagate.
My point isn't that once babies are here were should berate single mothers, my point is that every fertilized egg isn't a baby, and if we truly care about the potential babies-to-be and the girl or woman carrying said potential baby, then birth control should be practically freaking mandatory and abortion should always be the advised course of action when discussing a teen pregnancy. If you're against abortion across the board then your beliefs are stupid. Sorry, were you looking for something more political?
Anyway, I don't object to the message set forth in Riding in Cars With Boys, which is based on the autobiography by Beverly D'Onofrio who was herself a teen mother that went on to have a very successful life, the idea being that having a child isn't an excuse to stop doing anything else. That being said, it's not a freaking blueprint for success; having kids and doing anything else is hard, and too often teen pregnancy is made a comical (Sugar & Spice) or magical
thing (Saved!) where everything is going to work out at the end of the two-hour rough patch. Ironically, a film that is seen in the same light as Porky's by many people, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, features a teen girl that has the maturity to recognize that having a baby at her age is irresponsible and even deals with the matter herself when her loser boyfriend bails.
Sorry, still thinking about the lovely Tea Leoni. Who needs teens?
It seems to me that the social trend is merely rebellion for rebellion's sake. Back when "the man" was saying that abortion was illegal and naughty, it seemed to be the in thing. Now that abortion has gained a certain level of widespread acceptance, it seems that the in thing is to have the baby in the face of adversity. The fact of the matter is that having a child when one is still a child themselves is like starting a football game having spotted the other team a 14-0 lead. It's not that it can't be overcome, and I believe that adversity does breed the best people... and also the worst, that for every person that overcomes adversity there are two or three that are full of hate and anger at their lot in life and take it out on everyone around them or simply fail to survive at all.
Life's tough enough for a child when it's born to a middle-class home with a mother and a father. Why would we want to perpetrate the myth that it's okay to bring into this world a child when you know that they're going to be starting behind the eight ball? Because people are selfish narcissists that want little bundles of unconditional love. Babies can't cheat on you, talk back, disagree, or run away, and for the first few years they'll believe whatever you tell them.
I may understand it, but I refuse to accept it. And don't even get me started on this creeping idea of teen marriage. "You've just made the stupidest choice of your life by choosing to have a baby as a teenager! How could you make matters even worse? Get married as a teenager!"
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Thom is both a maker and lover of films. He loves, and makes, films of all kinds. He is often as surprised by what he likes as by what he creates himself; Thom entered film school with a distaste for silent, black and white, and foreign films, yet left having made one of each. He likes what he likes and make no apologies for his opinions.|
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