October 13th, 2006


(no subject)

What's up with celebrities getting babies in third world countries?

When Nicolae Ceauşescu's regime fell in Romania, a lot of people in the US, and my relatives in particular, were mobilized by a wave of sympathy by the plight of children abandoned in orphanages. I should mention that said relatives are devout Mormons, so the way they expressed this sympathy was to go to Romania and adopt them. My grandmother famously said "those poor little babies, laying in their own urine..." My uncle Steve went over and adopted two very young boys and brought them back to Arcadia. My cousins, Cameron and Chance turned out to be the worst -- or best -- sort of "Ransom of Red Chief" hellions. They famously finished their careers as students of the Suzuki violin method by smashing their violins to tindersticks on the side of the garage.

My Uncle Steve does nothing by half measures, travels regularly to Romania where he has lasting friendships with Romanians, and apparently a part interest in the first Pizza Hut in Bucharest. He also became the go-to Mormon fixer for people who also wanted to adopt children, as the bureaucracy there is famously corrupt and Kafka-esque. His daughter Melissa studied ballet there. My elderly relatives go over and buy lace -- Romania is famous for its lace-making -- and hang out with the newly established Mormon community.

Which, aside from being a digression about my family, is the long way around to saying I don't in principal oppose adoption out of foreign countries. But, when a fabulous wealthy and famous woman can swoop down and in a matter of days leave with a baby, my first thought is what the fuck? Aside from changing that one kid's material surroundings from desperate poverty to absurd wealth, how does it make the world better? Has she done anything to make life better for the people of Malawi?

Third world countries are as poor as they are as a direct result of the conscious, deliberate policies of the first world countries. Madonna is one of those whose talents are absurdly over-rewarded by first world capitalism. What she does in her private life is her business, and maybe she can be the perfect sort of mother for that child. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, her reputation as a sort of hip Cruella DeVille notwithstanding. But the whole thing smacks a bit too much of noblesse oblige.