Sunday, July 12, 2009

We repeat: Every sperm is not sacred

As we have ranted said here and here, WB is unimpressed by babies in multiples. Twins are cool (and cute, especially if they're the boys of a favorite WB associate), but when the numbers start sliding upwards to four and above, and those numbers are due to fertility treatments run amok, then we roll our eyes. When Monty Python sang "Every Sperm Is Sacred" in The Meaning of Life, they were joking. It was commentary — the visual element of the song, with two miserable parents and a hundred dirty, starving kids, was a big clue about the Pythons' intended meaning.

And still.

Today, college students everywhere taking Art Appreciation 101 are shown slides of the Venus of Willendorf, the stone goddess of fertility with pregnant belly and ample bosom for nursing and nurturing. Likewise, Isis was famed and revered as a fertility goddess, especially since she gave birth to gods. The reverence for fertility wasn't just an aspect of ancient pagan cultures; it crossed over into Christianity with the story of old, barren Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and then to Mary, Mother of Jesus of Nazareth — a particularly complex narrative wherein God miraculously impregnates a virgin to give birth to His Son, Who is also His Father, and thus is God giving birth to Himself — a stunning display of showmanship as a way of saying Hey, pay attention here.

Two thousand years later, both Mary and Elizabeth have their praises sung on Sundays by millions around the world, and their stories are recited in creeds of faith. Which leads WB to wonder, what might anthropologists in the year 4009 say about our culture and its continuing reverence for and obsession with miraculously, wonderfully, overly fertile women?

Behold, the woman was named Kate, and she did bring forth into the world eight children, and so great was her power that it was broadcast into the whole world, and even into the entire galaxy, on magical electron beams. And Kate did herald the arrival of Octomom, whose powers of fertility were the mightiest in all the land. Octomom was at first worshipped, then reviled in a great backlash, but still the Keepers of the Electrons did offer her a reality show so that her powers could be shown to the galaxy, like Kate's.

And there were lesser Goddesses, too, like Joan Lunden of the Electron Keeper called ABC, and she did produce four children but only as two sets of twins, and so she was cast down from the pantheon of Greater Goddesses and became the spokesmom for Oral B, promoting good dental care for children.

And lo, there was even an organization called MOST — Mothers of Super Twins — dedicated to the celebration, care, and preservation of women whose wombs did produce triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, and even seventuplets. (Beyond seven, even MOST understood that overkill was involved.) Understanding the meaning of Monty Python's
Meaning, MOST did also set up a charity seeking donations of wealth so that the Super Twins and their exhausted, impoverished parents could purchase the implements necessary for good dental hygiene, so that the Goddess Joan would be well pleased.
Or maybe not. Maybe scientists in 4009 will only shake their heads sadly and say, "Look, even after thousands of years, these people remained primitive and stupid. Their planet was dying, crushed under the weight of fourteen billion feet, and still they went gaga over multiple googoos."

Oh, the insanity of humanity.
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