Monday, August 01, 2005

Every Sperm is Sacred; or, Does Nick Cannon Masturbate?

So I finally saw the video for Nick Cannon's song "Can I Live". I'd heard about it, but hadn't seen it for myself until recently. It's pretty outrageous.

It opens with a scene of a protest at an abortion clinic. The camera follows a young African American woman as she runs the gauntlet towards the door to the clinic. So far, so good. It's a realistic portrayal of the insanity that goes on outside clinics across the country every day.

But then, you start to realize what the lyrics are about. Turns out that the woman in the video is supposed to be Nick's mother, and he is singing to her, as her 8 week old fetus, not to kill him:
"You see me in your sleep so you can't kill your dreams
300 Dollars that's the price of living what?
Mommy I don't like this clinic
Hopefully you'll make the right decision
And don't go through with the Knife Decision"

Later on he sings, with an incredible amount of ego:
"That's a life inside you look at your tummy
What is becoming ma I am Oprah bound
You can tell he's a star from the Ultrasound"

OK, here's something I've always wanted to point out to people who say "what if your mother aborted you?" Well, you know what? I wouldn't know because I wouldn't be here! It's such a ridiculous argument. If Nick Cannon's mother had had an abortion, he wouldn't know because he wouldn't be here, and we wouldn't know either! Or as Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, the former chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice would put it, in any situation, you have a series of choices, but you don't get the opportunity to live each one out, so you can't know if you made the "right" decision, only if it's the best one for you at the time given the circumstances.

Anyway, back to Nick's video.

The woman, about to have an abortion, runs from the clinic still wearing the paper gown, in tears, and the song moves to the chorus, sung in the video by a choir of children wearing t-shirts that say "life" or something like that:
"I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You
I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You

The song ends with Nick hugging a woman who seems to be his real mother, and saying"
"I ain't passing no judgment
Ain't making no decisions
I am just telling ya'll my story
My love life
I love my mother for giving me life
We all need to appreciate life
A strong woman that had to make a sacrifice
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening
Mama thanks for listening"

But in reality he IS passing judgment. By recording this song, and making this video, he is making a strong anti-choice statement, one that is surely having a big impact on his fans. When I saw it, my reaction was, "well, there goes a whole new anti-choice generation." I taught sex ed for six years, and many of the youth I taught were very anti-choice, even those girls who had had abortions. Their attitude is "you made your bed, now lie in it". I can see many of them quoting and referencing Nick's song to justify their anti-choice opinions.

Now I am not saying that Nick's mom should have had an abortion or not. I support her, and all women's, right to have a child, as well as to have an abortion. What I find troublesome is Nick taking on the persona of an "unborn child" and essentially saying "mommy, don't kill me," a favorite quote and sing of many clinic protesters.

Evidently, this video is getting played on TRL on MTV. I can guarantee that a video in which a woman chose abortion would be censored by MTV as too controversial. Rarely, if ever, do you see a woman choose abortion on TV (Maude, Six Feet Under). More often, a woman might consider abortion, but then have a miscarriage on the way to the clinic (Party of Five), or she decides to keep the baby after all (Dawson's Creek). Occasionally, you will see a woman talk about an abortion she's had in the past (90210). But that's a topic for a future blog!

Click here for Sunsara's take on the song:


Anonymous said...

Haven't seen it. Did he use a fetus finger puppet or something? Has there been a pro-choice video before that you know of?

Chris Hartman said...

And a couple of other good posts on this video and other foetus songs from my hero and feminism mentor Amanda Marcotte:

Chris Hartman said...

Whoops, let me make those live links...
And a couple of other good posts on this video and other foetus songs from my hero and feminism mentor Amanda Marcotte:

MTV pushing anti-abortion propaganda

Turns out there's a whole slew of singing fetus songs

Anonymous said...
Eve, I think you may like this guy, too.

Chairman eDog said...
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