Humor and Satire– Shmatire!

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Like everyone else, we at the Perpetual Post mused about the infamous ‘Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad’ before it aired. It’s since been revealed to be pretty anticlimactic, but our musings were interesting anyway. Read Jeff Morrow’s side here.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The already-infamous ‘Tim Tebow Anti-Abortion’ Superbowl ad hasn’t even aired yet, but it’s already stirred up plenty of controversy.

The ad purportedly involves Tebow’s mother telling the story of how she became ill while she was pregnant with him and was urged by doctors to have an abortion for her own safety. As the legend goes, she chose not to listen to their recommendations, and gave birth to a baby who grew up to be named Florida’s Mr. Football, which is every mother’s dream.

The subtext of this ad demonstrates a relatively new approach for the anti-abortion set, and I have to say I’m impressed. Their normal tactics are usually about as subtle as a slap in the uterus. But the premise of this Mother Tebow ad appears to dig a little deeper, at least on the surface. Its view is a bit more nuanced; more thoughtful. It shows the consequences of an enormous and difficult life decision, and demonstrates one situation in which a woman’s choice to go through with a pregnancy results in a positive outcome. At least, if your definition of a positive outcome involves the existence of Tim Tebow. I’m on the fence there.

It should be noted that Tim Tebow’s mother ostensibly wanted to give birth so badly that she was willing to risk her life to carry her pregnancy to term. This places her apart from a majority of women who seek to terminate their pregnancies because they did not plan them and either can’t afford or do not want to have a child. It should also be noted that Mrs. Tebow already had four children when she was pregnant with Tim. It is unlikely that the ad focuses on the fact that she would have left four children motherless if she had died as a result of her commitment to bringing Tim Tebow into the world and thus into the Florida Gators.

No, the brilliant part of this ad is not what it glosses over, but that it targets with laser precision a dread that I have come to believe lurks in the reptilian brain of every anti-abortionist, and even some who are pro-choice: the irrational fear that if their mothers had had the option to choose not to give birth to them, they wouldn’t be alive today. Scary, right? Makes you think? Not really.

I personally am a very analytical person. I tend to over-think everything, from what I should do with my career to what I should have for lunch. But I do not now, nor have I ever, nor WILL I ever wonder what the world would have been like if my mother had aborted me. Because really, what’s the point? Obviously I was born. That’s that. Why pursue such vague and disturbing and ultimately useless what-ifs? Either you’re born, or you’re not, and if one happened, there’s no way to know what it would have been like if the other had happened instead, so why waste your time thinking about it?

Yet many do. The fact that their mothers held incredible power over their lives and could have made a choice not to bring them into this world haunts them. It keeps them up at night. They may not even realize it, but by picketing planned parenthood clinics and harassing young pregnant women and creating pro-life propaganda, they aren’t only fighting to save unborn babies they know nothing about; they’re fighting, in some strange way, to save themselves, and to take away the choice that every mother should have to carry a child to term or not, so that they can rest assured that their lives never hung in the balance, the way Tim Tebow’s could have (but ultimately didn’t).

The flip side of the coin of course is that for every Mrs. Tebow there was also a Mrs. Dahmer. It’s hard to argue that the world is a better place because Tim Tebow is in it, without also reflecting that the world would have also been a better place if Pol Pot’s mother had had second thoughts during her first trimester. This pointless line of thinking; this attribution of some greater design to past incidents which relied heavily on chance and circumstance, leads to murkiness, not clarity.

I’ll be curious to see reactions to this ad once it finally airs. Although I find every argument against allowing women the freedom to choose to be unconvincing, I’ve got to give this ad credit for tapping into an inexplicable and profound dread of the anti-abortionist movement. Tim Tebow, not only did you grace the September 2008 cover of Men’s Fitness magazine, but you’re also about to become the poster child of our deepest fears. Do your mama proud!

We took on the Super Bowl over at the Perpetual Post this week. Find other view points here! (But mine is the rightest one).

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I tend to forget about the ‘Super Bowl’ part of Super Bowl Parties until I walk in the door, and by then it’s too late; I’ve got a beer in each hand and my face in a bowl of bean dip and it would be too awkward to back out the door again. So every year, someone I know invites me to a Super Bowl Party, and like a Peanuts character, all I hear is “I’m having a wuh-wah-wuh Party this weekend, you should come!” So I always do, and I always suffer.

Part of the problem is that Super Bowl Parties are deceptively titled. The ‘Super Bowl’ part of the phrase is a tarted-up euphemism for watching football that is easily glossed-over. If people instead invited me to, ‘Come over to my place and watch some football,” as they do sometimes, I would do what I usually do and laugh in their faces. I don’t do “watch football”. Football bores me to tears. Any time I ‘watch football’, what I’m actually doing is marveling briefly at the glint of shiny spandex on giant undulating male buttocks and thighs, and then sinking into a coma. Watching football crushes my gentle spirit, scores a touchdown on my will to live and does a victory dance in the barren end zone of my soul.

But the thing is, I LOVE parties. And I understand that they come in many shapes and sizes, although as a rule, most of them involve snacks and drinks. I personally am fairly liberal when it comes to my definition of what constitutes a party. In fact, you could invite me to your “Watch Me Do My Taxes Party”, and as long as you promise nachos, I will probably show up with a noisemaker. But a Super Bowl Party is a nationally-recognized event that does not meet even my generous requirements of a party, and that is a tragic thing indeed. In this way, the Super Bowl Party is my Trojan horse. It betrays me on a yearly basis.

True, Super Bowl parties usually deliver on the food and booze. That is one thing they have going for them. They also have lots of yelling, which is sometimes fun. But they almost always lack sparkling conversation. Most conversations I have at Super Bowl Parties go something like this:

Me: “So what do you do for fun?”
Person sitting to my left: “Well, sometimes I like to EEUUEUAARRRGGGHH GO GO GO WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! RUNNNN!!!”
Me: “Oh…sorry. Let me wait until commercials are on.”
Me, Later: “So, what kind of dip is th—“
Everyone around me: “Shhhhh! Commercials!”
Me: “This party sucks.”

May I add, that any party whose highlight for some involves watching commercials is frankly a sad affair.

Sometimes I wonder if I am not the only one out there who is suckered year after year into spending four hours of my Sunday night drinking Miller Lite and stealthily picking the peanuts out of the Chex Party Mix. When I look around at most Super Bowl Parties, I like to imagine that not everyone there is swooning over field goals and eagerly anticipating the half-time show. There must be others like me—maybe there are even quite a few of us. A covert army of nonbelievers hovering over the Doritos and masking our yawns with suspiciously ill-timed and half-hearted cheers. If only there were some way we could band together and create our own celebrations, far from the mind-numbing infographics and repetitive trumpety theme music of the blaring, omnipotent football game.

Except…Sunday evening is kind of a terrible time to bother having a competing party. Maybe next year they’ll hold the Super Bowl at a more convenient time. Let’s wait and see. And in the meantime, I’ll console myself with beer and maybe a few more hot wings. I guess things could be worse.

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