Monday, March 06, 2006
Hmmm. It's certainly possible that it'll be good entertainment, but... On the heels of the whole gay marriage issue and the 2004 elections, is it really the best time to be launching a show that will depict polygamy in some kind of positive light?
Bush appoints two justices and states start banning abortion to test Roe. States start allowing gay marriage and Hollywood says 'hey, check out polygamy.' Tossing molotov cocktails into a munitions factory seems to be the best description of the behavior of an awful lot of people on all sides of the culture war right about now. Provocation might be the word for 2006.
On a seperate note, this feels a bit like turning the terrorists in the Tom Clancy movie into Germans. Let's not talk about polygamy as it's actually practiced today. Instead we'll talk about a tiny group of people that no one's ever heard of, as a way of dancing around any real discussion. Real discussion gets people stabbed in the street.
From an anthro perspective it's not at all surprising that the justifications for polygamy from both Joseph Smith and Mohammad are almost identical even though they come fromvery different cultural and historical places. 'Gee we're short on guys because of some misfortune and there are all these poor women and children around... God says it's ok for a man to have more than one wife.' Notice that all of the justifications are predicated on the vulnerability and second-class status of women.
It's also funny to watch how both religions have tried to back away from that once the crisis was over. Islam tries to say that yeah it's permitted but it's better to have just one wife. The mormon's theological explanations are contorted to say the least, because they were essentially forced to quit it or else Utah couldn't join the union.
Generally polygamy, absent an external reason for it, is destabilizing and harmful to women and children. Lack of resources and lack of normal sex-ratios in the population sometimes necessitate it, but for most people polygamy runs contrary to the way we're wired. Of course obviously there are exceptions to every rule for how to structure a family, but in general...
Not a good idea, despite the attempts to make it seem feminist. Turn the discussion of the 'benefits' of polygamy to discussing the possible greater benefits of a group marriage involving more than one male... and watch the faces go pale. Two or more breadwinners/ male role-models/ bedmates/ would provide much greater protection and stability to those wives and children, but... that's not really what it's about is it?
It'll be interesting to see how it gets portrayed.
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