Friday, September 30, 2011

Grey's Anatomy, Sandra Oh, Good Values, Abortion, and Me.

Today I was listening to a radio interview with television and movie actor, Sandra Oh, a star of Grey's Anatomy and the first Korean (or Asian) actor to get a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.   On October 1, 2011 she along with Dr. Roberta Bondar, Burton Cummings, Daniel Nestor, Russell Peters, Ryan Reynolds and Mordecai Richler will be inducted into the "walk".

But here's what I found interesting.  Sandra said her parents instilled some good values in her and central to those was the idea that we are not here for ourselves, but that we must "serve society".  I thought about that for a moment.  It sure sounded good and I'm glad people like her (though I never watch the show) are trying to help society by serving it.  Oh says that's what actors do.  They feel for us, they laugh for us, they help us understand ourselves.  

Then I thought again.  I don't know about you, but as I think while Sandra Oh is thinking she is serving society (and she may well be), she's getting pretty close to handsomely serving herself -- her need for fame and attention and money, although she adamantly tried to say "au contraire" on this interview.

I also thought that there is a big difference between instilling in a child the need to serve society versus the need to serve God.  To serve society may well be fruitless as one ends up catering to a society that may not have its best interests at heart.   To serve God on the other hand requires us to love others and help them to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, not at their expense, but at ours.  Our reward, save for the joy we feel in actually helping a fellow human being while we can, is delayed until the time God's Son says to us, "well done, thou good and faithful servant".

Later on in the interview, Sandra Oh talked about the character she has been playing on Grey's Anatomy for the last seven years.   In year one, Christina Yang gets pregnant but the network would not allow her to have an abortion.   It just wasn't right back then to do that on network television.  Now, seven years later, the character who says she was not meant to be a mother, makes the "difficult" decision to have that abortion.  Oh says this was very hard for her to play realizing so many women and young girls follow that program religiously.  She wanted them to know that having an abortion is a difficult decision that impacts not only the woman involved, but also the father of the child.   Not much was mentioned about the child being aborted of course.

All very nice, Sandra, but your character went ahead and opted for the abortion.  The bottom line message your show delivered was this: it's a difficult decision alright, but it's one you can make.   Now tell me again about all these good and possible moral values your parents instilled in you?  And by the way, I'd prefer if you and your acting colleagues let me do my own feeling, laughing, and discovering.

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  1. It's not a 'message', it's the portrayal of one possibile scenario, they've done every other kind
    already: happly keep baby, conflicted but keeps baby, keeps baby as a single parents, keeps baby but manages to keep career, 2 characters opting for adoption, 2 miscarriages, one character having an hysterical pregancy. They've done it all, they're just portraying possibile elements of life, without sending the message that any is the right one...

  2. Thank you Juls for that input and perspective. It's always good to know the bigger picture. I guess it would have been "fair" had they made as much of a fuss over that as they did about this one possibility.