Monday, June 11, 2007

Hollywood is Anti-Choice? [Jay]

This article in The New York Times on-line by Mireya Navarro talks about the perceived hesitancy of Hollywood to make a stand on the issue of abortion in mainstream high profile studio productions. It is an interesting read.

Abortion is not an issue that makes money for Hollywood. The economics of filmmaking are such that it would be unwise to invest a large amount of the studio’s money to make a big budget movie designed to irritate a large percentage of your audience. According to the article, that is what independent films are for. The anomaly that Navarro points out is that Hollywood is not more realistic in its representation of how often women choose abortion as an option. It is odd that the Dream Factory is not more prone to champion the pro-choice position, or at least dealing with it at the realistic level at which it exists according to Navarro.

Here is one excerpt I wanted to share:

But an executive with a Hollywood film production company who spoke on condition of anonymity, unauthorized to speak for the company, noted that the film industry has other tough questions to worry about aside from commercial considerations.

“At a time when women’s reproductive freedom is under attack in the courts, why wouldn’t it come up as part of the conversation?” the executive said. “Are you making a statement by assiduously avoiding the discussion?”

Some on the anti-abortion side seem to think so. Many conservative bloggers have claimed “Knocked Up” as an anti-choice movie, in part because the movie never presents abortion as a serious option.

I am one who is often irritated by how abortion is handled by the entertainment industry. Their effort to present all sides is the very definition of the pro-abort position. “There are all of these equally valid opinions and everyone is free to hold to their own conscience and conviction. You may think the unborn are babies and you may think they are growths that need to be excised. Either point is valid.” That is not balance that is the relativistic mantra of people who say, “if you do not like abortions then don’t have one.” Nonsense. They also have a tendency to celebrate the movies and shows that have the “courage” to tackle the issue head on.

But to call Knocked Up “anti choice” because it does not specifically take the abortion option center stage is a bit ridiculous. To demand that every film dealing with unplanned pregnancies ought to make certain that all of the movie goers understand that these characters have the right and the legal option to end this pregnancy if they so choose (as this reviewer seems to endorse) is to create an extreme burden to politically grandstand. It is not that the movies and television shows proclaim the sanctity of life or the humanity of the unborn. They just do not show enough women getting their abortions and weighing that specific option. Very troubling indeed. Contrariwise, I think it a bit foolish to perceive a pro-life victory where there is only outright avoidance to protect revenue.

I will say one thing in support of the theme of the article. I encourage the entertainment industry to do more films that portray abortion honestly and realistically as well. Then even if everyone still chose to be unmoved by the enormity and monstrosity of the issue, we could say with certainty that they were without excuse.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with someone after Sunday school yesterday. We were discussing why Dr. William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, and other Christian philosophers were so strong in crafting their arguments and defending their views in debate. In addition to the fact that they are brilliant and careful scholars with a tremendous work ethic in their preparation, we both concluded that it helps that they are right. If Hollywood were to produce movies that realistically portrayed the widespread practice of abortion in our culture, perhaps that would help. The more our position represents the truth, the better it is served by honest exposure. I somehow doubt that is the point of this article though

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