Thursday, June 28, 2007

This column in the Sunday Troy Record bothered me. I only read this columnist's writing occasionally. The few times I have read it, the focus has been on being pregnant and having kids, subjects that don't interest me. I'm not sure why I read the column this week, but last time I read it was when she announced the naming contest for her second baby. Readers won't actually be choosing the name; they will be recommending what she should call the baby in her column. I see she is referring to the baby as "Thing 2" in this column, which I guess is only the placeholder until the contest results are in. Still, it strikes me as dehumanizing. But maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. This column is about her anxiety over the baby's health shortly before he was born, since there was a chance he would have a chromosome disorder. You'd think that would be deep, but in what I suppose is an effort to be funny, instead it comes off as trite.

She writes that she'd been sent an article from the New York Times that "claimed that roughly 90 percent of mothers who are given this information early on abort the fetus." I remember reading that article and thinking "how sad." Does everyone in society have to be the same? It is as scary as the movie Gattaca. The Record's columnist writes "It makes sense, but it also does something else. It changes the face of our society. With fewer children born with Down syndrome, there will likely be implications such as fewer services available to those individuals as well as a shrinking social circle." She believes "it makes sense?" (I guess she is living in the plastic, shallow 90 percent world. Once again, I think "how sad.") Her only thought was about the fewer services available to people with special needs since most are now aborted? Faced with the prospect and the article, she must have something more philosophical, more thought-provoking than that to say. She continues "I'm not sure which made me more melancholy: that we could have a special needs child in a few hours or that this child's circle of support would be shrinking from year to year." Melancholy? Is that really an apt description of the emotion? Maybe so, in the land where going to the mall is a good way to spend Sunday, watching TV is a good way to spend every evening, WalMart is a good place to shop, and fast food is a good thing to eat.

Added: One more thing from this column is bugging me. She writes, on the subject of the uncertain health outlook for the baby, and the fact that her new furniture hadn't arrived "...the lack of furniture doesn't rise to the level of "bad" anything. (Unless of course the dresser or bookcase falls on you, and then THAT WOULD be bad.)" That rubbed me the wrong way, so I did a little hunting around. "From 2000 through 2005, CPSC has reports of 36 TV tip-over-related deaths and 65 furniture tip-over deaths. More than 80 percent of all these deaths involved young children. Additionally, CPSC estimates that in 2005 at least 3,000 children younger than 5 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TV tip-overs." I'd say that is more than just "bad." And it certainly is no joke.

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