Return of the storkists

storkI wrote about storkists once before.

It’s time to bring the topic up again as an evolutionary distortion of that line of thinking has slipped into auto advertising. KIA, the automobile company headquartered in Seoul, began an advertising campaign during the Superbowl that features – no, not storks – parachutes delivering babies. And not just human babies … ALL babies. Well, not all, I guess because although the sky in the commercial is filled with parachutes, I didn’t see any baby scorpions or crocodiles or termites or storks suspended from a parachute.

I get it. You have this huge audience comprised mostly of men watching other men give one another concussions. You’re selling cars. The driver is a man. Mommy is a passenger. A male child has a direct question, about where babies come from; the boy already has the straight story from his friend, and he’s looking for confirmation. We don’t know where Daddy works: perhaps his name is Joel Kotkin and he writes such nuggets as the following for Forbes:

But overall the biggest demographic problem stems not from too many people but from too few babies.

Or maybe he teaches creationist science in Tennessee. Dad, fearful of telling the truth, creates a fantasy planet Babylandia and the babies travel from there to earth via rocket, then are jettisoned with baby blue and pink parachutes; Mommy does not correct the story. Boy says that His Friend has told him another version and Daddy, ever decisive, cuts the child off from stating the truth and leads Mommy into a spirited rendition of “The Wheels Go Round.”.

Boy looks at his baby brother and thinks, “where the fuck did HIS parachute go? Where is mine? How come I didn’t break my legs when I landed? How did I know which hospital to land in?”

It’s possible that South Korea’s declining birth rate is at fault for such drivel. Maybe many South Korean men actually do not know where babies come from because the birth rate there is dropping. In 2003 the BBC reported:

That country may have the lowest birth rate in the world as new figures suggest the average South Korean woman has less than 1.2 children — well below the 2.1 level needed to maintain a stable population.

The idea for the commercial probably didn’t originate with KIA executives, however. I suspect that the NFL, knowledgeable as ever about what a man wants, might have pitched the idea.

Perhaps you’ve seen adults get panicky or concerned or confused when parents dressed a child in the “wrong” color for his or her gender. A few years ago the Smithsonian Magazine printed a very interesting article about the evolution in infants’ clothing (written by Jeanne Maglaty). Jo B. Paoletti, a historian and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, says:

What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted.’

According to the article, today’s colors didn’t get locked in until the 1940s, so the boomer generation was the first to get color-coded. I wonder if that is what is behind the political rigidity we experience nowadays?

Proof that Alabama Ranks 45th or 46th in Education

Alabama state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin:

When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body. That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.

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