Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Did you hear about how Obama's stimulus bill includes $17 billion dollars for high-speed rail? Have we gotten excited enough about that yet? It may mean NY-Chicago in a few hours; SFO-LA daytrips--and energy efficiency!

But this post is not about that.

It's about Nadya Suleman, the mother-of-fourteen-including-recent-in-vitro-octuplets that everyone from Keith Olbermann to his nemesis Billo the Clown have been attacking without mercy.

The last word I used was "mercy", as in "have some".

I watched her NBC interview prepared to find much to loathe in a person who seemed almost limitlessly self-centered and irresponsible. I came away hoping the Suleman family gets all the help it needs, because it is going to need plenty.

That Nadya is broke, and possibly a delusional Jolie-wannabe (what's with the puffy lips you didn't used to have?) is almost beside the point. Operating on a consistent, if perhaps ruinously misguided inner logic, Ms. Suleman has executed a plan the results of which she seems almost preternaturally thrilled. How many of us can boast either the plan or the guts (in her case literally) to make the plan real in the sense that eight babies and six other kids are real?

She comes off as an unlikely heroine of sorts. Taking the notion of female empowerment and not only turning it on its head (who'd a thunk it might involve extreme fertility of all things?) but playing it out to its logical extreme, she has almost created a baffling, troubling new paradigm for the so-called "culture of life". Both liberals (all those babies--eww!) and conservatives (who's going to pay for this!!!) seem completely put off their game by her actions.

My next question is: where are the Christians when they are clearly called for?

Let's go back to that "culture of life" stuff for a moment. Here is a woman who literally refused to let even one potential embryo die--who instead wanted all of them to enjoy what she calls "the gift of life". How is this so very different from Christian dogma? Or are they going to quibble with her use of technology to build those babies? Or are they standing off to the side because her name sounds Muslim and that she's probably bonkers?

I am guessing Ms. Suleman will somehow make out okay with her ridiculously large brood of future executives and philanthropists. Just as she figured out how to build the nation's most famous family of fatherless children, she will somehow stumble into the money to keep them all fed (and apparently obtain a graduate degree while doing so!).

In a weird, unfathomable way, she has impressed me--hats off, I guess.

Christians? Time to make it real. I am sure you know how to get in touch.