Following the Academy Awards telecast, Mike Huckabee told radio host
Michael Medved "I'm very happy to say that I missed it because usually it's about the most boring waste of several hours that I've ever experienced."
I can't disagree with the former governor about the dullness of most of this year's broadcast, but I dotake issue with what he had to say next
about Best Actress winner Natalie Portman. The former and perhaps future GOP presidential aspirant disparaged the star
for being a poor example by encouraging women to have "out-of-wedlock
" children (why not just call them "bastards
Like Huckabee, I missed Natalie Portman thanking the Academy
and the special gratitude the notably pregnant movie star bestowed on her choreographer boyfriend Benjamin Millepied, who in addition to training Portman on her award-winning ballet moves, is the daddy of her baby due sometime this spring. Suggesting that raising her baby-to-be would be her most imperative portrayal, Portman said Millepied has given her "my most important role."
My colleague Lizzie Skurnick has implied that Natalie's boyfriend is essentially a full service "sperm donor"
albeit on a much more intimate level than the character played by Mark Ruffalo in the competing film "The Kids Are All Right
." In that Oscar-nominated movie, Annette Bening (also nominated in the Best Actress category) plays one half of a lesbian couple with co-star Julianne Moore. Their characters conceive two children using sperm samples from the same donor. In a key scene Moore tells the teenagers "the bottom line is marriage is hard. It's really f---in' hard. It's just two people slogging through the s--t, year after year, getting older, changing - f---ing marathon, okay?"
I love my husband but I must agree.
While some feminists chafed at Portman's use of the superlative
, and wondered whether reproducing is truly "the greatest thing Natalie Portman will do with her life?" my colleague Joanne Bamberger countered
, "the experience of motherhood adds, not subtracts, from the full picture of being an accomplished woman."
Portman at 29 has worked as an actor since she was 11 years old, is literally and theatrically a beautiful girl
, and is indisputably an inspiring creative talent. Portman loves her profession and has delivered sustained theatrical excellence for 18 years. Disciplined in both work and school, she is also a stellar role model for studious science-oriented girls. In high school her "environmentally friendly" project to convert waste into useful energy
, was a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search
and she later graduated from Harvard where she studied neuroscience and the evolution of the mind.
Disclosure: I walked out of the theater last fall during Darren Aronofsky's film "Black Swan" (I have low tolerance for self-mutilation images). Nonetheless, for first 20 minutes of Natalie Portman's on screen performance, I found her character persuasively sober and damaged, (especially impressive, since we now know, the actress was having a great romance with her dance instructor and was presumably swimming in oxytocin
As she has proven to be in so many other areas, Portman will no doubt be a successful mother. Huckabee, a conservative family values proponent who has written a book
declaring "The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, Mother, and Children," nevertheless used her winning moment to insult "most single moms" who he described as "very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care."
In my family, we are particularly fond of moms who make it on their own. Until our now adult daughter was 13, I was a husbandless mother. I was also "uneducated" but I was a quick learner, loved my daughter and worked hard. Rearing a child, like marriage, is a marathon. Portman will soon find that with or without a baby daddy to help in the wee hours, and even with "nannies, and caretakers, and nurses," caring for and protecting her new tiny human, she will have moments, both humbling and thrilling, like nothing she has ever rehearsed.
(I might also add that as able and loving a father my husband has been to both our children for the last 26 years, there is never a guarantee a partner will be a worthy co-parent. All reproducing women should at least be prepared to shoulder the job alone.)
My daughter did not starve to death and coincidentally is now herself a member of the Motion Picture Academy which votes on the Oscars. As she cast her ballot for the Bening/Moore film, she joked she was in solidarity with the sperm donor. In political elections and film industry awards, people vote based on their bias, emotional reactions and strongly held belief
in their candidates' abilities. Little things sway the results.
Although he has not officially decided whether he will run in the 2012 race, Mike Huckabee has apparently been looking to sway some votes of his own.