Friday, January 14, 2011

And when you just want to escape....

I've had this conversation on several occasions recently with friends, about how even when you are not trying to think of donor conception or being donor conceived, that it somehow slaps you in the face.  Either it randomly comes up in conversation, or a crude joke is made on a TV show or movie.  Which is why it is so hard to forget about, no matter how hard you try, and why so many of us suffer from burnout trying to be active and speaking out.  Because it's always there.  And there are always people who are too immature or too block-headed to comprehend what we have to say.

For example, a few weeks ago my mom was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother (that I had seen when it was first aired as well).  It's one of my favorite shows, but unfortunately the episode that came on that evening was the one where Marshall and Lily were trying to get pregnant and when they discovered that the problem was not Lily, Marshall had to go and have his sperm count tested -- at the end of the episode it turns out that they're both okay, though sadly Marshall goes to call his dad to tell him the good news and learns that his dad had just passed away.

But it was the obscene jokes about sperm donors that really upset me even more than the issue at hand.  The idea of infertility does not necessarily always equate to donor conception.  However, I was sad to see that the producers at CBS [Edit] took the low blow and decided to crack the sperm donor joke, it made me really lose faith in network TV to NOT offend people.

Now, I suppose if this episode had come on during one of the points in my life where I did not feel emotionally strong enough to handle thinking about and dealing with donor conception, it would have been very distressing for sure.  Luckily I was not in one of those times.  But the end does not justify the mean.  The idea that these jokes are made so blatantly and without regard for those whom they might offend is what concerns me.  Minorities that have large lobbying groups are able to be heard when any racist/sexist/etc joke is made by the media.  Often there are lengthy apologies to be made.

But when it comes to children......

Apparently there's nothing stopping them.  Adult adoptees find themselves in a similar arena, with adoption jokes make frequently in movies and TV.  There was a particularly crude adoption joke made on Rules of Engagement, around the same time that the sperm donor joke first aired on How I Met Your Mother.

Since we are eternally infantized, it's easy to crack these jokes.  We have no lobbying power, at least in the USA, because we are in such small numbers, and we are up against such huge adversaries who have all the right numbers (in people and in money).  The majority of Americans have never met an adult donor-conceived person - that they know of - and the prevailing attitudes are sympathetic to the infertile, since most Americans know of someone who has dealt or is dealing with infertility.  Therefore, the jokes will continue.

So what made me decide to blog about this topic tonight was I was chatting online to a friend and he sent me this link to a website that has created stuffed animals of microbes (http://www.giantmicrobes.com/).....from one nerd to another.  I was getting a huge kick out of the cute little cartoon recreations of everything from the pimple, to your general Staph infection, to the Black Death and Cholera, and nearly every STD known to man.   They even had the "good guys" such as red and white blood cells, platelets, and stem cells.

They also have sperm and egg cells, which I have to say were quite adorable.  However, when I clicked on them I realized that it was yet another joke....

Our little man's man is the stuff of legends. You can bank on it.

Our egg cell would love to be the newest member of your family -- or get donated to someone special!
Now, I'm sure some of you are like, get a grip, it's a website devoted to wise-cracking about microbiology.  I get that.  But what I fail to understand is why it is so funny to make jokes at the expense of another person.  I was very amused until that point.  Heck, I thought it would be entertaining to buy infectious diseases for my friends and relatives....hehe.  But that did me in.  I don't want to support a company that finds humor in infertility and in donated gametes.  It's not funny.  For anyone involved.  I'm sure most people who have suffered from infertility wouldn't tell you it's all fun and games and hilarious.  And those of us conceived from these technologies surely do not.

But I guess I'm not a comical person........

7 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh wow, that would have rubbed me the wrong way too. Such as "adopt a highway" signs irritate me and Cabbage Patch Dolls. Cabbage Patch Dolls allow you to send their birth certificate back, rename them, and get a new birth certificate, riddled with the use of the word "adoption" to describe the process of buying the doll. It's using the adoption process and amending and sealing of birth certificates as a marketing ploy. It disgusts me.

Anonymous said...

I know that we've had this conversation before (and the conversation that you just so eloquently blogged about!), but it always helps me to see it written here. You just hit the nail right on the head every single time.

Ugh and i was so upset by that HIMYM episode too :(

Caity

Lindsay said...

Amanda,
Unfortunately I think there are even more adoption-related references in our culture - but adoption is a much longer standing practice. However, donor conception and the processes that are necessary for ART are apparently much more humorous. At least for those with the maturity level of a high school boy.....

I've never thought of all the dolls and toys that you "adopt". Build-A-Bear for example. As well as CPK (a personal favorite of mine being a child of the 80s....). What about pets and pet adoptions??

Lindsay said...

Caity - YES! I was thinking of our recent phone calls when I wrote that. I think with your situation it's even more "in your face" and frustrating though.

I'm glad my blogging about it helps you, and I hope it helps others. Phone calls and hugs are great, but seeing it in black and white can be just as validating :o)

kamagra said...

Interesting post thanks for sharing.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay, I fell upon your blog and started reading. I think you have a lot to say and you obviously know what you're talking about. It's really quite impressive that you can not only research all of this, but also be comfortable talking about all of this. Mad props to you all around.

I also checked out that website - it's really interesting! I'm not a microbiology person, but it was still pretty enlightening to see.

However, I have to make a point. You say “I was getting a huge kick out of the cute little cartoon recreations of everything from the pimple, to your general Staph infection, to the Black Death and Cholera, and nearly every STD known to man.” I mean this with absolutely no disrespect, and I truly mean that, but isn’t that a little hypocritical?

“I don't want to support a company that finds humor in infertility and in donated gametes. It's not funny. For anyone involved.” I understand this. It’s not fair to you, because you didn’t choose this for yourself and you don’t appreciate being made fun of. But are you really being made of in this particular instance? “Our little man’s man is the stuff of legends – you can bank on it.” Is that really being mean to you and other children of cryogenics, or is it like the song ‘Wordplay’ by Jason Mraz, and really just a play on words? Beyond that, though, what about these other microbes that you openly admitted to being amused by? Surely the media (as well as this website) cracks more jokes at STDs than cryokids? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone clap, just to make a joke? Even I’ve laughed at those – and I have an STD. I was raped a year ago, and contracted an STD. Like you, it was not something I asked for, it just happened.

And my sister, she’s a diabetic. I can’t tell you how many jokes are made about diabetes. My sister’s profile picture on facebook is a comic making fun of the very disease she carries. It doesn’t mean she likes it anymore, and she’s still doing everything she can to help research a cure (she is a researcher, like you) but that doesn’t mean that she can’t take what the media dishes out at the expense of a few cheap laughs.

The thing is, the media makes a huge crack at everything in today’s world, including minorities with large lobbying groups, without making huge formal apologies. HIMYM (also one of my absolute favorite shows – good choice) is no exception. Neither is Rules of Engagement. Hell, look at the musical Avenue Q – the whole show (I know, this is an exaggeration) is racist and sexist, and yet – it comes to Cleveland and sells out! It’s like the song says, “Everyone’s a little bit racist, it’s true, but everyone is just about as racist, as you.”

Again, I’m not writing this to offend you. If anything, I want to tell you that your writing is intriguing, stimulating, and well thought out. You know what you’re talking about and you’ve definitely done your research. I just think that maybe I could pose a different view of opinion for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay, I fell upon your blog and started reading. I think you have a lot to say and you obviously know what you're talking about. It's really quite impressive that you can not only research all of this, but also be comfortable talking about all of this. Mad props to you all around.

I also checked out that website - it's really interesting! I'm not a microbiology person, but it was still pretty enlightening to see.

However, I have to make a point. You say “I was getting a huge kick out of the cute little cartoon recreations of everything from the pimple, to your general Staph infection, to the Black Death and Cholera, and nearly every STD known to man.” I mean this with absolutely no disrespect, and I truly mean that, but isn’t that a little hypocritical?

“I don't want to support a company that finds humor in infertility and in donated gametes. It's not funny. For anyone involved.” I understand this. It’s not fair to you, because you didn’t choose this for yourself and you don’t appreciate being made fun of. But are you really being made of in this particular instance? “Our little man’s man is the stuff of legends – you can bank on it.” Is that really being mean to you and other children of cryogenics, or is it like the song ‘Wordplay’ by Jason Mraz, and really just a play on words? Beyond that, though, what about these other microbes that you openly admitted to being amused by? Surely the media (as well as this website) cracks more jokes at STDs than cryokids? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone clap, just to make a joke? Even I’ve laughed at those – and I have an STD. I was raped a year ago, and contracted an STD. Like you, it was not something I asked for, it just happened.

And my sister, she’s a diabetic. I can’t tell you how many jokes are made about diabetes. My sister’s profile picture on facebook is a comic making fun of the very disease she carries. It doesn’t mean she likes it anymore, and she’s still doing everything she can to help research a cure (she is a researcher, like you) but that doesn’t mean that she can’t take what the media dishes out at the expense of a few cheap laughs.

The thing is, the media makes a huge crack at everything in today’s world, including minorities with large lobbying groups, without making huge formal apologies. HIMYM (also one of my absolute favorite shows – good choice) is no exception. Neither is Rules of Engagement. Hell, look at the musical Avenue Q – the whole show (I know, this is an exaggeration) is racist and sexist, and yet – it comes to Cleveland and sells out! It’s like the song says, “Everyone’s a little bit racist, it’s true, but everyone is just about as racist, as you.”

Again, I’m not writing this to offend you. If anything, I want to tell you that your writing is intriguing, stimulating, and well thought out. You know what you’re talking about and you’ve definitely done your research. I just think that maybe I could pose a different view of opinion for you.