Friday, June 29, 2007

Things That We Care About And Shouldn't

First up: Will Ferrell's The Landlord.
The Landlord
I thought that the video was hilarious. The Post-Chronicle, and others subtly, or in Bill O'Reilly's case, not so subtly, suggest that it's child abuse.

This seems a bit silly to me. After all, who hasn't played with a small child in ways that might be considered demeaning? I know that when my baby brother was an infant we moved his mouth to make him say all sorts of ridiculous things, all that we lacked was a video camera and youtube. Did this scar him for life? Probably not. We also dressed him up in silly ways, and took embarrassing photographs. In fact, a set of photos exist from when I was 2 or 3 where I am wearing a cowboy hat, my mother's boots (they are thigh-high on me), a handkerchief, and underwear. And I did that to MYSELF. Fortunately my parents did not follow through on their threat to show those photos to my prom date. Thank G-d.

Adam McKay (the director and father) says that Pearl is at an age where she will say whatever she's been directed to, but doesn't remember it. I remember when my youngest cousin was at this age. We were teaching him to talk and he'd repeat everything you said (example: My parents love me the least), unless he couldn't pronounce it, in which case he'd clap, as if to show appreciation for your amazing diction (example: flotation device). Were we abusing him? I'd say not. Was it really entertaining for the older cousins? Of course.

When someone calls this type of behavior "Child Abuse" it bothers me. By lumping the two together it cheapens the actual abuse that thousands of unprotected children in the United States alone are subject to every day; starvation, beatings, neglect, and the list goes on. It makes the term "child abuse" seem far less sinister and damaging than it actually is, and on the other side of the same coin is an easy way to heighten the severity of a seemingly harmless incident. Was the video in poor taste? Probably. But if you watch the outtakes you can see that Pearl was not harmed during the film, nor will she, in all likelihood, suffer any lasting negative effects.

So really, get over it.


The Pedant said...

Is this still an issue?

Don't people have better things to get angry about than a YouTube clip from a couple months ago?

Annie said...

They just posted a new one "good cop, baby cop" with Pearl, so it revitalized the debate.

sarah said...

2 almost-relevant points:

1. Justin now wants to have children, more than ever (there was a phase of about three months that apparently ended last week where he absolutely did not want kids. Before that, he wanted 5). I support this idea.

2. His parents used to dress him up as "baby New Years," with the diaper and top hat and sash. Which I think is totally bizarre, good fodder when I wish to publicly embarass him. I mean...right. Why do parents like to show these pictures around?

sarah said...

By "now," I meant, "after seeing this video."

curlygirl said...

hi -- I just wanted to let you know that my blog has moved from mens rea to

have a good Shabbos!

Jacob Da Jew said...

I agree, Annie. The media has nothing better to do than harass the one guy actually funny.