Wednesday, January 30, 2008
We seem to be in a rash of movies about girls and women choosing to have unwanted babies (Juno, Knocked Up, Waitress) which disturbs me a little -- the movies themselves are sometimes quite good, but the message rammed down women's throats is not. That's why I was so relieved to see Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days. The movie charts the progress of two girls, one pregnant, attempting to get an illegal abortion in the waning days of communism in Romania. Before communist dictator Ceauşescu, Romania had some of the most liberal abortion laws on the books. The movie traipses through a gloomy gulag of black market humiliations and miseries -- even getting a pack of cigarettes is complicated. The bargain they make with the abortionist is brutal, the aftermath even more so. Nothing sugarcoated here. And nothing overtly political either -- we are stuck in a world of naive girls and bad choices, one after another all set in a place that makes Detroit look cheery.
I read the other day that there were less abortions in the United States last year than any other since Roe Vs. Wade came into being. The pro-lifers say that it's because woman have more respect for when life begins, the pro-choice movement claims there is better birth control. Neither one, I suspect, is true. Our rights, not just abortion, but all of them, are being gradually eroded without our notice. Now we live in a culture that makes it tremendously difficult to do anything. It's like the old story about these wicked little vampire bats that suck the blood out of the cows at night. They take just enough to weaken the cows. The cows stay alive for a long time, getting sucked dry and then die without knowing what hit them. To go back in time and long for simplicity is the stuff of nostalgic fiction and the purview of movies in which nobody does anything offensive. The harder reality we leave like the aborted fetus on the bathroom floor in Four Months, and like the friend of the pregnant girl, we'll be left not knowing what to do with it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
“We're just tough, man.” Chauncey Billups, Detroit Piston extraordinaire
Drinking music suggestion: The Missing Years John Prine
Benedictions and Maledictions