11 February 2010

The problem with mothers

I remember watching one of those nauseating American news affairs show à la 60 Minutes years ago, except it was one of the worse ones, like 20/20 or Primetime. One story was about kids from South California going down to Mexico to party and the mothers who tried to stop them before they got to customs. They weren't the partying kids' mothers, they were just other kids' mothers telling other people's kids what to do. When the journalist tried to intimate that other people's kids over the age of eighteen were maybe none of their business, one conservative mother turned all Earth Mother (for one brief moment reminiscent of anti-choice groups and their temporary love for unborn babies) and proclaimed she was mother to all the earth's children.

Remember we are talking about the US here, the place where kids being allowed to drive at sixteen, own guns at eighteen, but drinking???? Wo, baby, hold this off until the age of... twenty-five! No, actually the legal drinking age is twenty-one, but either way is it any wonder American youths are off to Mexico for a bit a dancing and tequila?

By midnight the night the news story aired, I was at friends getting ready to go out clubbing. I told them about the story and we talked of creating a fictional, repressive, activist group to be called Concerned Mothers Against Fun©.

Of course, one understands the instinct toward conservatism as parenthood beckons. That pink/bronze/yellow bundle is frail and it needs protecting from all manner of temptation and evil. Of course, that's the beginning of fascism, but one can sympathise with the instinct to over protect. Protection though also comes from strength in numbers. Many parental/family/mother groups oppose gay marriage and gay adoption. That may make sense from a purely bigoted point-of-view but zero sense in the forming of a stable, safe, conservative (with a small "c") community.

Married people who have kids need space and often move to the suburbs, or, heck, the country. Suburban and country folks by and large don't remain as liberal as free wheeling city dwellers. Assimilating homosexuals into the mainstream is the best way to nudge them to the right. But right wings groups seems to lack any ability to grasp that concept.

Enter OneMillionMoms.com, a site for activist moms. Today, their website is waging a campaign against the television show, Two and a Half Men. Star of the show Charlie Sheen was recently arrested for beating his wife to pulp. It's true, OneMillionsMoms could have waited for the case will unfold. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, but, wait a minute, no.... OneMillionMoms wants Two and Half Men off the air because...

"this past episode included excessive alcohol consumption, sexual innuendos, the reference several times to male body parts and foul language. We are outraged when characters on the show who love one another say, "Go to hell!" and "Drop dead!" to each other. 

The sitcom starts off with the family discussing Charlie Sheen's character being engaged. He has become excessively jealous of his fiancée whom he lives with. Then he is made to sleep on the sofa like he does often after a fight. 

Charlie and his disrespectful, teen nephew have a brief discussion about his relationship and Charlie states, "I will not take advice from someone whose current girlfriend is a gym sock."

Because of Charlie's jealousy he gets drunk. The following day while in a coffee shop and recovering from a hangover, he tries to make up with his fiancée and ends up vomiting on a baby in a carriage nearby. This disgusting behavior is not funny."

It is the soiled baby carriage that clinched it? One shudders at what OMM would have to say about the Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin.

Of course, I have never seen more than one second of Two and a Half Men whilst switching over to another channel and this particular OMM campaign although ludicrous doesn't inspire much ire in me. It was a NYmag article about OMM criticising Armani's Share the Love campaign for Valentine's Day that alerted me to the group's existence. The ad campaign is a triptych, each panel with couple, two men, two women, one woman, one man. One could accuse the ad makers of being literally heterocentric since it is the heterosexual couple which is the central focus of the ad. One feels, however, that OMM would remained unmoved by such an argument.

"Malls, where teens hang out, have retailers whose window displays poison our children with 10-foot posters that are nothing but soft p*rn. In particular, Armani Exchange has recently displayed Valentine's posters with partially dressed "couples" holding one another. These couples consist of two men, a man and woman, and two women. The women are scantily dressed while it is questionable if the men have any clothes on at all. Two of these models are used a couple of times to represent bis*xuals. If it could get any worse the text written is "SHARE THE LOVE." (An asterisk '*' is used to ensure our emails get through to those who have signed up for our alerts. Otherwise specific words referenced would be blocked by some Internet filters.)

Not every local mall has an Armani Exchange, but we need to take a stand since A|X is one of the fashion leaders and this is becoming a popular trend. You may view these on their website at www.armaniexchange.com. WARNING! Pictures are offensive."

Erratum.: OMM isn't so against homosexuality, it's bis*xuality that troubles them. Well, that's better.

OMM thus follows in the oppressive footsteps of another group of mothers, MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The group has been lauded widely for having changed the culture when it comes to drunk driving and they were right. Just watch Mad Men and cringe. What's less acknowledged though is how the group doesn't stop at drunk driving.

MADD raged against PETA's anti-milk industry campaign, Got Beer. They get mad when a company that produces alcoholic beverages sponsors absolutely anything. Drinking and getting behind the wheels after having had a drink are two entirely different activities which MADD does not seem capable of discerning.

The question beckons, why can't activist moms be more like activist grandmas? Look at The Raging Grannies! Created by Canadian women of a certain age in the 1980's, raging grannies are fighting for peace, the environment and justice with chapters around the world. Just last week, as reported by The Advocate, the South Florida Raging Grannies wrote a no nonsense song to protest CBS airing the antigay ad by the group Focus on the Family during the Super Bowl.

In a way, it is fitting that the let-it-all-hang-out attitude belongs to the generation that is older and wiser whilst uptightness and control-freakdom rests with the mothers. One would hope though that (corset-less) mothers with cooler heads would reclaim motherhood from more repressive strata of mainstream activism.

Fascist moms, we're tired of your bullshit!

Sorry about the offensive language, I learned it from granny.

[The Advocate] [NYmag] [Got Beer

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