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Monday, March 2, 2009

Octomom I -- Coming to a theater near you?

Fox News reported this last week, "Vivid Entertainment has offered Nadya "Octomom" Suleman $1 million to star in a pornographic video." I didn't know whether to shake my head in disbelief, nod my head as in "I knew it had to be coming," or turn my head away in total disgust from any more of the media frenzy over this freak event. By the way, Nadya was reported to have declined the offer for now. What is below any trace of standards in the sleaze market? I'm sorry. Why do I even ask this question? We all know the answer. Have you noticed all the outrage and all the concern over this pregnancy involves the number "8"? "Duh," you say. But, I have thought about this. "8" is so utterly excessive that the number begs us to pay attention to the details and to respond to the consequences of such an event. Nadya Suleman was not a celebrity with her previous six children, yet I bargain she is about the same kind of mother to them that she will be to her now fourteen famous offspring. It's "8" born at once in an irresponsible manner of transferring six embryos that most bothers people. Perhaps as important although most definitely viewed by many as secondary concerns include Nadya's ability to single parent such a brood, the health of the mother and the future health concerns of her babies, the financial stability of the mother, the possible identity of the sperm donor, and all the ethical consequences of such a pregnancy that seem to center around the number "8." To be fair, without a doubt the number is excessive, yet equally to be fair how many others should be mindful as they "cast the first stone"? Without IVF octuplets, Nadya would not be a notorious celebrity, but just another mother in a sea of millions. Ms. Suleman did not invent these problems, she like many others, made the decision to give birth within an already flawed society. Her problem is the unlikely, but admittedly probable, healthy delivery of a number: the number "8.* What if several of her children had died in delivery? Would the public have grieved? So, who is responsible for the "8"? Nadya, the lab, the doctor, the sperm donor, the flawed system? And, truly, how much impact will "8" more newborns make on society and the massive problems faced in our times? After all, Ms. Suleman rolled the dice, but how many others given the same opportunities would have been happy to achieve the same consequences? Nadya's stroke of luck or lack of fortune, however one may view it, is guaranteeing and will continue to guarantee a quite substantial flow of income most may well envy. Her interviews, her book, her movie, even her autograph will generate her fortune all due to the number "8." She will attract attention until nonuplets ("9") living babies replace the oddity of her delivery. "8" is just a number, in Nadya's case, an excessive number of babies born in a questionable manner, a manner made possible by scientific technology that often begs to break the barrier. Like Hester Prynne of old in The Scarlet Letter, who was made to wear the letter "A" on her dress for being an adulterer, should we label Nadya Suleman with the number "8" for her equally unforgivable modern-day sins? For the time being, I just want to have a little mercy for the "8" babies because very soon their lives will be ruined by the contantly circling media vultures.
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