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Morning Sun
  • OKIE IN EXILE: Children of Men Revisited

  • Children of Men was a 2006 movie based on a novel by P.D. James. People I know who read the book hate the movie. I’ve not read the book, but one of my daughters has and the impression I get from her is that it is disturbing.  In that, at least, it is like the movie whose premise is that at some point in the “not too distant” future, women have stopped becoming pregnant.

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  • Children of Men was a 2006 movie based on a novel by P.D. James. People I know who read the book hate the movie. I’ve not read the book, but one of my daughters has and the impression I get from her is that it is disturbing.  In that, at least, it is like the movie whose premise is that at some point in the “not too distant” future, women have stopped becoming pregnant.
    Before I go any further, let me warn the gentle reader that this is one of those dystopian things.  You don’t watch it for a steam of chuckles interspersed with the occasional belly-laugh.  You watch it like watching a painter adding line after line to a picture until a certain point you see what is being drawn.
    I did like the movie.  There are perhaps innumerable differences between the two versions, but one is invariably pointed out by those who hate the movie.  At one point, a pregnant woman is discovered. She is being held in secret and fought over by various factions.  When she gives birth, in the movie it is to a girl and in the book it is to a boy.
    And one might say, boy or girl, what does it matter?  And indeed the movie is very moving as I imagine the book is too.  Here’s the thing. In the book, it was men who are infertile.  The women are all fine. In the movie, it’s the other way around.
    What gives?
    It is made more mysterious by the fact that every single writer of the movie was male and P.D. James is a woman.
    Even through the lens of the movie, one sees very clearly that this child being born is a savior.  It is the last hope of the human race. Read through a Christian lens, that savior is Jesus Christ.
    While guessing at another’s motives is always--always--problematic, it was felt by some that the filmmakers were trying to show our savior could have been a woman.  Those who are are upset hold that maleness was an essential characteristic of Jesus.
    The case of the latter group  goes like this:  Satan tempted Eve into disobedience who then encouraged Adam’s disobedience; Adam was disobedient which brought death into the world. Mary was obedient to God; Mary gave birth to Jesus; Jesus was obedient and conquered death.  The story of Christ’s life and Passion is a retelling of the Fall of Man with Man’s failures fixed.
    That having been said, there is a more down to earth and practical reason to be dissatisfied with this particular change. The math doesn’t work.  A single fertile woman being born into a world of fertile men cannot have the same effect as a single fertile man being born into a world of fertile women.
    Page 2 of 2 - Childbearing is quite labor-intensive (no pun intended) for women. For men, it is a bit less, to say the least.  A woman can give birth at a max of about once a year in theory.  Even allowing for multiple births and stellar health, this couldn’t match the opposite situation.
    I find this interesting.  It is an example where you absolutely must have both of the elements--male and female--in place for an event to occur, but the roles in this basic case are asymmetric.  You can’t just switch them around willy-nilly and get the same results.  Can we argue that one is more important than the other? People argue about anything.
    When I read the story of Man’s Fall,  it looks to me that if either Adam or Eve had done what they were supposed to, then it would’ve been different.  When I look at the life and passion of Christ, if anyone hadn’t done what they were supposed to, it would’ve been different as well.
    To think that any of this is important, you have to believe that the sex you are is important. You have to believe that each sex has something special to offer. That each can do a least one thing that the other can’t.  For women--as a collective--this special thing is clear. For men it is much less so. Yet I do hold out there something that is ours alone beyond burping the alphabet and writing our names in the snow. It is something to think about anyway.
    Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. You may contact him at okieinexile@gmail.com.
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