out on a limb

When I clean – sometimes when I just need to sit down – I occasionally turn on the TV.

OK, more than occasionally.

It’s on right now, tuned to “The View” mostly because I love Whoopi Goldberg, and they’re having a discussion of how young is too young to have kids.  They’re coming down on the side of “have them when you’re young” for various reasons.

But I think they’re missing the point entirely.

One Rosh Hashanah when I was 18 or so, my family was sitting in Temple, in our family pew – yes, Jews have pews – me at one end, my soft-spoken, noncombative, lovely mother at the other.  We listened to Rabbi Cohen expound on Genesis I:28, the centerpiece of which is “be fruitful and multiply.”

Think about it.  God was talking to Adam and Eve, the only two people on the entire planet.

There’s even a commandment [one of the 613] that a eunuch shall not marry a daughter of Israel [Deut. 23:2].  May I say, Oy.  But I digress.

In the semi-quiet after the sermon, in the rustle and shift, my sweet, passive mother leaned over and said in the most carrying voice I ever heard escape her in all the years we both lived on Earth, “Did you hear the Rabbi, Deb?”

I’d already come out in favor of ZPG, a radical move since I was the youngest of three and wouldn’t have existed had my folks espoused the ZPG ethic.  I’d already made it clear to my folks that childbearing wasn’t in my future.  I tell this story to make clear which side of the argument I’m on.

Yes, this is a theater blog.

One of the best things theater does is foment discussion and even change.  So I’ll go on.

We live in a society without enough jobs to sustain folks.  There are food and housing shortages and crises in Education.

So why are we making more folks?

Our society is automating everything in sight, ostensibly to make life easier.

For whom?  For the people who can’t find work?

There’s been a lot of talk and media coverage – deservedly – about the Aurora, Colorado male who shot up a movie theater and killed at least 12 people.  Folks are crying out against the NRA and gun laws, decrying the lack of morals in this country, weeping over the senselessness of the crimes.


But I’m wondering about overpopulation.

Today, is there a larger proportion of the disenfranchised to the rest of the American population?  Or is it the same percentage as usual, but that there are so many more people?

I find myself wondering, after all of the studies and papers on how crowding and overpopulation were bad not only for the planet, but also for society, why we’re still having the “is it too early/late to have kids” discussion.

How about, is it time we behaved like responsible adults instead of randy teens and basically stopped having kids for a while?

There would be economic impact going both ways – less money spent because fewer goods were needed – less money needed so less stress and, possibly, longer lives.

We’d need fewer teachers – but we’re making them obsolete anyway with the digital classroom – and fewer make-work jobs, of which we don’t have enough already.

We’d have more time for each other – how many parents do I see walking in my neighborhood ON THE PHONE while their kids whine and pull at them for attention.  Which brings me to, why did they have them in the first place, if they want to pay attention to anything else when they have time together?

There is more crowding and less intimacy in today’s world than ever before.  No, I don’t have statistics to back that up, just my own close observation.

Again, what has this to do with theater?

Every theater I know is begging for audience.  But there are more people in the world, the country, the city!  And fewer who want to spend time engaging in group mind.

Make no mistake, without group mind, theatrical experience isn’t worth a plug nickel.

I’m thinking I’ve unleashed enough provocative thoughts to start a lively discussion.

And fodder for at least one play.

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One thought on “out on a limb

  1. I hope that none of my grandchildren have children. I have only three grandchildren, and hope that is the end of them, although my son recently remarried, so they may decide to have a child, which I hope they don’t. I’ve been concerned about overpopulation since 1970, and had a falling out with my sister back then, which was stupid of me as she was already pregnant and not going to have an abortion. Why isn’t overpopulation on EVERYONE’s minds? I don’t understand.

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