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Dr. Aronson on the film “Orphan”

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Dr. Jane Aronson

Dr. Jane Aronson

Our beloved doctor is on NPR’s Tell Me More today discussing the new horror flick Orphan. I heard a bit of it when I was riding around in the car with the Kid, and I hope to hear the rest on the NPR website later today.

Dr. Aronson has done, as you know, a fabulous job addressing the Kid’s medical issues and shepherding us as new, first time parents. What is even more awesome about her is her passion for her non-profit organization, the Worldwide Orphan Foundation, wherein she takes medical professionals to different orphanages to help train staff, sheds light on the plight of orphans around the world, opens schools (in Ethiopia), works with kids and families who have HIV/AIDS, sends groups of families on service projects throughout the world, etc… etc… etc…

Today, though, she spends time on NPR talking about how this movie perpetuates stereotypes of orphans, especially older foreign orphans, as risky, scary, unlovable–the ultimate Others. We can’t trust them. We can’t trust the countries they came from. They might try to kill us. Aronson recounts the numerous phone calls and emails that she has received from families whose adopted children have merely seen the trailer for this movie. One child asked her parent, ‘Is this what I am? Is this what other people think about me?’ and that kid was 5 years old.

We debated on this blog before about the line between funny and offensive in comedies. I am sure there is a debate to be had about the entertainment value of horror movies as well. However, in this case, because the subject of the movie is a child, an orphan child from a place unfamiliar to many, with no voice of her own, I think we must be the ones to be the protectors that shout loudly with our privileged voices that this is unacceptable. I think this one very clearly crosses the line.

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