I don't want to slag off the US film industry too much, because I know everyone's broke and the only films that do well these days are Blair Witch mockumentaries about Iraq and bromedies by Judd Apatow. But if you're the kind of person who believes that at least some small sliver of a nation's mood, or cultural climate, is still reflected in the movies it's making, then the new anti-abortion film produced by Pattie Mallette might mean that America is completely and utterly fucking done for.
For those not in the know, Pattie is Justin Bieber's mum. The film she's made – a short called Crescendo – has been endorsed by all of TWO American pro-life groups, but that number will surely grow if this big-budget anti-abortion ad gets anywhere near Ma Bieber's stated aim of raising $10million for "pregnancy crisis centres".
So that's Justin Bieber's mum, who gave birth to the kid that teenage girls adore most on the entire planet, making a film warning teenage girls not to abort kids of their own. Because they could all turn out to be pop stars, yaaaaaaaay! Or they could turn out to be unbearable economic burdens/in the mandatory education system at the same time as their own mothers/constant visual reminders of rape, but I guess Christians have never really been big on context.
As you can imagine, the jokes about how Pattie should have terminated the foetus that turned into the world's biggest pop star – and, according to her, it was a very real possibility – are stacking up across the internet. But they ignore the real issue here: that someone is cynically exploiting their kid's unique cultural position to massage the life decisions of vulnerable people. The jokes also suck – like, they're not even as funny as a joke you might make about the fact that Crescendo is a period drama, which is a joke so obvious my own mother wouldn't bother making it. (Hi Mum, thanks for keeping me!)
Here's the weird trailer:
Normally I find it very hard to care about this pro-life propaganda, but this is Justin Bieber's mum, you guys. I don't care how many times you argue that it won't filter through to his INSANE fans, you're wrong. You're as wrong as the soundtrack they picked for the trailer. Don't belieb me?
Back in February 2011, Rolling Stone magazine asked Justin – pretty unfairly, I'd argue, given he was only 16 – about his position on abortion. He told them that, even in cases of rape, he didn't "believe in abortion". This is pretty confusing, because I'm pretty sure that it does exist (though only in the darker, sluttier recesses of the world, obviously). But what's really worrying is the number of times that two-year-old quote's been tweeted recently. It's starting to freak me out.
Currently, Justin Bieber is, according to internet trend calculators, the second most famous person in the world after Barack Obama. According to Facebook, there are 50 million people in the world who "Like" Justin Bieber. The vast majority of those people are young females. The vast majority of people sat alone in their bedrooms at home, weighing up the relative merits of getting the surprise human growing inside them aborted, are also young females. What are they gonna take away from this?
Is this film going to make the thing they're hiding from their parents any easier to deal with?
What happens when they all get to voting age? Does it make me selfish to wonder that? About what effect this might have on women's rights in the US in the next, say, five to ten years?
What does Justin think now? Does he still "not believe in abortion"? As a 16-year-old, was he old enough to arrive at his own, informed position on the pro-life/pro-choice debate?
Or, as his young fans appear to be doing, was he just parroting the opinions of the people he loves and looks up to?
Fuck, maybe there are more important things to worry about. Like where are all the cool, intelligent teen heart-throbs these days? Why can't the world have one of those, too?
I'll be honest, I have no idea how to answer these questions, because I have no way of knowing what the future holds. And what sort of irresponsible asshole goes around telling other people what to do with their lives, when they too can have no idea what the future might hold?
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes
Catch up on last week's Pretty Girl Bullshit: Please Don't Make Me Hate Women, Huffington Post