Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Black Markets


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 Ceau┼čescu, 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

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: The Missing Years John Prine

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

11 comments:

Brian in Mpls said...

I have got to see that movie. I agree I hated the unlying message of Knocked-Up etc..

Lana Gramlich said...

A good post. Unfortunately true & sad.

Sheila said...

What an amazing post Michelle. and it is so true. And although I thought Knocked up was a good, funny movie, the underlying message that movie and those like it are quite disturbing indeed.

Anonymous said...

A bunch of loosers sitting around trying to develope a website that pinpoints all the nude scenes of their favorite stars. They can't even complete that because they're drunk and high all the time. She gets pregnant, you guessed it, while drunk.

They should have chosen abortion so they could have continued to sit around drunk and high until their late 40s when overcome by depression they committ mass suicide. Now that might of won an Oscar.

Did any of us actually watch a movie called Knocked-up, staring Seth Rogen, for the message?

Pope John Paul 2 said...

God wants all babies. He created them.

Scott said...

Normally I don't comment on your pictures because I think they do a great job of speaking for themselves. But, wow, that looks cold.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great analogy about the bats and cattle.

As for the picture, now that's just cold.

robthefob said...

can someone tell me what the 'disturbing' and 'sad' message is in these movies? not being glib, just curious since i saw 'knocked up' as being about two people taking a curveball in shitty/inconvenient circumstances and trying to make it work. kind of hopeful and encouraging for people struggling in the same situation if you ask me. you don't see them ten years down the road. the guy did step up to the plate though...

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Rob,

I like all the movies I mentioned -- my only reservation is that we've seemed to cast back to a time where abortion can't even be mentioned as an option as mirrored by the unrelenting attention to celebrity baby bumps, films in which everyone tries to do the "right" thing in pregnancy which is defined by the pro-life movement. But Knocked Up itself is fine as are the other two even if it does portray women as nags and men as stunted adolescents. But that's one person's vision to which I take no offense. Comedy by its nature is meant to be offensive.

George Costanza said...

I try not to offend. That's primarily why I where nice plaid shirts. Have a nice day ;O).

George said...

I apologize for my spellling error. It should be "wear," not "where." Thanks, and have a nice day. ;O).