Sunday, May 18, 2014

If Planned Parenthood Had a Super Hero… Oh Wait, They Do.

In the post below I offer an analysis of the above Planned Parenthood infomercial/Saturday morning cartoon from hell. Be sure to watch it before reading, for one can only really appreciate the bizarre brazenness of it by observing it first hand. All I can say is either they meant this to be honest and in your face, or they did so subconsciously. But whatever their reasoning, be forewarned that much of what you are about to see is stunningly cynical and crude, and frankly reveals precisely what Planned Parenthood is at its core.

Beyond all the pious talk about mammograms and other kindly services which may or may not be provided by Planned Parenthood clinics, there are also informational videos like this one. This is not a spoof or a satire as it would seem, but rather a video that was released a few years back. The truth is I could have selected one of any number of their videos (I decided to pass on the one on sado-masochism), but I figured that this one captures in a particular way the jadedness of their worldview.

The first time I ever saw this short film, I felt that it was outrageous, but I hardly paid much attention to any of the intimate details. Nevertheless, as I viewed it on subsequent occasions (particularly as a conversation starter with my students about the organization in general), I slowly began to observe some of the more subtle (and not so subtle) propaganda. Moreover, even my students began to point out things to me that I hadn't noticed.

For example, one of them commented; "Boy, she sure murders a lot of people for a superhero!" Another pointed out; "Aren't heroes supposed to save lives? I didn't actually see her save anyone." Indeed, like a birth control add distracting you from the dangerous side effects of the drug all while presenting sexy images of women sitting poolside with umbrella drinks, so you might also miss the fact that this super hero has gone on a remarkably "subtle" killing spree (if one can use that phraseology).

The video begins by attempting to draw an analogy between one's every day choices (like "choosing to eat organic vegetables" or "stopping at a red light"), and choices like whether or not one should terminate a pregnancy. Because we all know that aborting a child is exactly like choosing your favorite produce. Thus begins the epic journey of our so-called heroine, the woman whose murderous pogroms make us question why anyone would root for her at all.                    

Her first victim is a creepy abstinence preacher. From what I can gather, he is supposed to remind us of some sort of 70s style cartoon drug dealer, while she is supposed represent the everyday hero who protects the children from the peddler of lies. More importantly, she is meant to come off as someone who is "with it" (though her cultural references are not), while he is meant to appear smarmy and small in every way.    

Yet as this 70's style super hero goes around disposing of those with whom she disagrees, her rationale for doing so is more than a little disconcerting. In the first case, she ultimately drowns her adversary, filling a garbage can with water and shoving him in it; "It's time to take out the trash." I will not even get into the disturbing parallel that can be drawn between what she does to this man, and what Planned Parenthood does to fetus' in general. Ironically, once she disposes of this creepy abstinence preacher, she is the one (not he) who actually gives the children a "safety kit", which may or may not contain "emergency" drugs. In others words, who is the drug dealer here anyway? Then as our "hero" leaves the scene of the crime, the children all nod in unison, declaring like a bunch of brainwashed sheep; "Because we have a choice".

Arriving at her second stop, our superhero encounters a bunch of zombie-like pro-life protesters, holding up inchoate signs; "Under the constitution they are permitted to protest," she says, "but mostly I just wish they would go away." After stating this, the woman abruptly pulls out her "condom blaster" and covers them up with a giant condom. Moments later the zombies explode in smoke and flames- presumably never to be heard from again. In response to this she declares; "That's more like it! Open for business!" Hmmm, how does one even begin to address the many ways to interpret that one? But whatever the case, making undesirables "go away" seems to be part and parcel of the original Planned Parenthood philosophy.

Next this "superhero" makes her way to Washington D.C. where we see a helicopter (for some reason) drop a giant condom on the Washington monument. The memorial itself is meant to represent the nations gratitude to our first Founding Father, George Washington. What is meant by this action? Who can say exactly. Seeing the Washington Monument as a phallic symbol is one thing, but add to that the bizarre inclination to shroud everything in latex, and what you have is an obsession with sterility that defies all explanation.

While in D.C. she encounters a lawless senator (as seen below) who has no regard for the Constitution, and who is apparently fond of cooking "I can do whatever I want to stew." Enraged by his actions, she decides to take the senator and plunge him into the boiling green stew. Eventually she allows him to surface again, but once he has re-surfaced he has been transformed into a stuck pig who simply parrots back what she wants him to say. Thus, only after he has been boiled and lobotomized in this stew is he found acceptable by this all-conscending and superior super hero.

Lastly, the woman flies all the way to Ethiopia, hoping to bring her saving wisdom to the four corners of the globe (particularly to the poor). However, when she arrives, a Western doctor (presumably from Planned Parenthood) has already arrived and indoctrinated the people. Surrounded by huts, and a host of one child families, this doctor explains how she wants to make sure that "every child is a wanted child." We can only speculate as to the fate of the children that were ultimately determined to be unwanted.

At the end of this stunningly paternalistic scene, we discover that "coffee grows on trees in Ethiopia". Yet the purpose of this statement is not merely to highlight the fact that coffee is important to Ethiopia's economy, but rather to point out that "family planning" will bring "Morebucks" (as the brand is called in the video) to any nation that implements it. Previously our superhero promised the conservative Senator in Washington that there would be billions for him to spend if only he would support "women's reproductive health", so also we are informed that Africans will have more far more revenue if they will only follow this regimen. Yes, she admits in essence that one of the best arguments for abortion and contraception is that it puts more money in your pocket. Some might be inclined to call that blood money.

Lastly, it is worth at least pointing out the unusual nature of this superhero's costume/appearance. First of all, before she even puts on her "super gloves," we observe that her finger nails are more like talons or tiny knives than normal nails. And then when she transforms into her super hero persona, her mask, especially when seen from behind, looks like a set of devil horns. OK, maybe I have an overactive imagination, but I can't help feeling that there is a certain level of blatant mockery going on here.

In any case, as the cartoon infomercial comes to a conclusion we are told that Planned Parenthood "welcomes everyone, regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or income." Practically everyone imaginable is mentioned here. Yet there is a glaring omission. Indeed, amidst this universal embrace of all people, there is no mention of children born or unborn, nor is there mention of the weak and handicapped. And of course we have already seen with what dignity she treats her opposition. One of my students cleverly quipped after watching this final scene; "Where is her sidekick??? Oh that's right, she probably killed him too…" Some people will dismiss this cartoon as a joke, and they would be right to call it a joke. Still, there is one thing that is essential to remember about humor- there is always some truth to it. Tragically, there is more than a little truth in this video, and what is most terrifying of all, the people from Planned Parenthood are barely even trying to conceal it.                

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