Thursday, July 09, 2009

Warner Bros. “Orphan” Film – When Grown-ups Attack

Bethann Buddenbaum is a freelance consultant who moved back to her home state in the Midwest after living in Los Angeles for over 20 years. She is the mother of two daughters who were adopted from the Zhuzhou Social Welfare Institute in Hunan, China.

Six weeks ago, my friend Jill and I started a Facebook group to "boycott" the Warner Bros. film "Orphan". The group, which was started as a test of the power of Facebook, has reached an audience larger than either one of us expected. The members of this group now number almost 4,200.

The purpose to starting this group was specifically to get an offensive quote ("It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own") removed from the trailer. We also wished to encourage Warner Bros. to market this horror film appropriately -- i.e. avoiding exposing kids. Within a week of starting the group, Warner Bros.' Sr. Vice President of Corporate Communication, Scott Rowe, contacted us and advised us that the offending quote would be removed from the trailer. To his credit, he was apologetic and completely understood the position of the adoption community. Unfortunately, the trailer continues to air at times when children are exposed, and the poster is popping up everywhere causing some children distress.

Not everyone is so understanding of exactly why this movie premise is offensive to some. Comments run the gamut -- "It's just a movie," "Your priorities are in the wrong place," "You need to teach your kids to be tougher," and the ever-present "I'm sick of everything having to be politically correct."

It's this last comment that continually gives me pause. Being politically correct in this instance specifically means avoiding causing harm to some of the most vulnerable of children -- those who have lost their birth parents and who are working to find a place where they feel they belong. Getting down to the nitty gritty of that ridiculous statement, these people are saying that it's OK to cause children grief because, hey, it's all in sport.

With adults putting their own desire to spend $8 to be scared of things that go bump for two hours above the emotional well-being of children, it's no wonder the world is in the state it's in today. I'm left to wonder, what exactly is wrong with political correctness? It involves awareness of self and others, thinking before you speak, kindness, compassion, and the all-important treating others as you wish to be treated. Are these not the same moral tenants that children have been taught for centuries? What a sad state we are in when the dollar value of compassion is less than the cost of a matinee.



Cathy Doheny said...

Well said, Bethann! The comment that really bothers me is the "It's just a movie" one. If that's really true, then why would folks not choose to forgo it, if it would be for the greater good of innocent children. Where are our society's priorities? What have we become when we are placing "just a movie" (our entertainment) above our most vulnerable children? It makes no sense to me.

Unknown said...

I think the reaction from the adoption community really shines a very bright light on the overall attitude the United States citizens have on adoption in general.

I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of people who just speak down on adoption and more specifically international adoption.

Carolyn Tinsley said...

In my grandma's day, it was called being polite and respectful, not 'politically correct'. For her, it was enough to understand that an action or a word upset someone and that was a good enough reason to avoid don't always have to understand why.