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Octo-Mom and the Oscars

March 3, 2009

This is getting serious, folks. Here I am worried about “Jon & Kate” spawning another reality show and instead it spawns an indefensible reality.

In the case of this I-want-to-be-famous-mother of fourteen the public dialogue has turned to the hard-dollar costs we are about to incur here in California. A not-for-profit agency estimates the monthly cost of supporting these octuplets at $135,000.00 per month.

Per month!!!

Add this number to what the taxpayers of California are already paying for the six other siblings, three of whom are disabled, and we’re talking very serious money indeed. Yet, I say to you that the true cost cannot be measured in dollars and cents. It’s our very society that is imperiled, our values, and most important of all, our children…the ones who always pay.

Nadya Suleman is holding up a mirror on our culture, both in her perception of what is acceptable behavior in today’s America, and worse, in her shameless quest to be found worthy via a television series. Her attitude itself, so filled with self-esteem it actually hurts to watch, is absent any concept of consequences and personal responsibility. Where did she learn that children are simply commodities?

“I want, therefore I am.”

Rene Descartes’ famous declaration, “I think, therefore I am” has been twisted beyond recognition as rationality is replaced by emotionalism. I am reminded of the 60’s phrase, “If it feels good, do it,” only now we have transferred this attitude onto what passes for entertainment these days. Heaven forbid that we should actually think about the process and people and potential for harm being dished out to us across the entire spectrum of the media.

Speaking of propaganda, and we are, what are we to make of the frenetic damage control teams insinuating their message throughout the media as to the welfare of the kids in “Slum Dog Millionaire?” Every expression of concern, however tame, generates a vigorous defense.

Kids underpaid? Why, they got three times the local wages.

Kids are still living in slums? Why, their education is paid for right up to age 18, and now they have new houses.

The thematic thrust is transparent. The Industry is saying, “We care. We are taking steps to protect these wonderful little actors.”

Oh really?

I’ll bet hard-cash money that there will be several changes of address among the principals of this film due to its success, but if these “Slum Dog ” kids are not removed from their surroundings by hundreds of miles don’t be too confident in their future. Their paid-for private school has a graduation rate of 50% and I don’t think the odds of a coin flip are the way you protect children exposed to this sort of fame.

It’s an envious neighborhood. Thousands of children are used and discarded by India’s film factory, “Bollywood,” every year. Most are returned to the slum without remark, a few rupees to the good, no damage done. But what is the future for the Slum Dog kids?

Anyone who saw the father slapping around his off-spring after a triumphant return from the Oscar telecast has cause for worry.

The lives of these children, kids from the meanest streets in the world, have been forever changed. Half-measures will not work. They are not Stars, my friends, but damaged goods.

Paul Petersen

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March 8, 2009 - Posted by | Reality TV | ,

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