Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Offensive commercial?

We return now to that timeless adoption question: How easily offended are you?

Does your blood pressure rise when you see signs that say "Adopt a Highway"? Does your hair stand on end when a story differentiates between someone's adopted children and "children of their own"? Do you whip off a letter to the editor every time a cartoon makes a joke that could be construed as adoption-insensitive? Do you fail teachers who give family tree and baby picture assignments? Are you forever looking for trouble?

Personally, I'd have to say -- nah. My skin is thick and getting thicker, and I have to save up all my righteous indignation for child study teams and clueless professionals and relatives who want to give my children television sets. And anyway, my personal hope is that adoption will one day be such a normal and unexceptional way to form a family that it can be as buffeted about and ridiculed as any other type of family unit.

However, if you're offended by offhand and disrespectful treatments of adoption and disabilities, then here's your outrage du jour: an olive commercial showing a child in an orphanage who is told he can never be adopted because he has olives on all his fingertips. Some folks are irate at the implication that children with disabilities are less desirable for adoption. Some folks are pleased at the implication that, since a woman with olive fingertips turns up at the orphanage, there is somebody for every waiting child. And some folks think the whole thing is just too ridiculous to think deeply about. (Count me in categories 2 and 3.)

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