A Little Off The Top: Return to Sender?

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Tennessee woman returns adopted Russian kid back to Motherland

Yes, you read correctly.

An American woman sent back an “unruly and violent” Russian orphan back to Russia after the family decided that it was in fact dangerous to house the child because of threats of violence and graphic, gruesome pictures he drew, which included a burning house with the family inside. According to the story I read, it wasn’t even the adopted mother who sent him off at the airport! Good ole grandma had to do it!

It appears that this family might have started an international firestorm, as Medvedev and the Russian foreign minister were “furious” and the actions were considered “the last straw.” So, until further notice, or at least until a full investigation is conducted, you cannot adopt Russian orphans- just in case that was on your “To-Do” list in the next month or so. At least we were able to come to some sort of diplomatic resolution with the Russians regarding a slight nuclear disarmament… who knows what might have happened.

So, we’re good about the nukes, right? Ok well, I’d like to make a return… what’s your policy on that?

In all seriousness, I feel that this story brings two issues up for discussion. The first is the actual ability to return a child to an orphanage, let alone to their original country, if the arrangements don’t go… as planned. I can assure you there are PLENTY of moments where our own parents may have thought the same thing… I’ve heard it a lot. But it’s all in good fun, usually. It’s part of the developing familial dynamics that go along with raising kids. But didn’t you make the same choice that mothers made, to bring/take a kid in this world?

I know their defense is “safety” and perhaps they indeed weren’t fit for the situation. Indeed, being a foster/adopted parent is a tough calling, and certainly a responsibility which isn’t celebrated enough. Should adopted parent have the right to do this? I mean, it’s a kid, right? It’s not like you went down to the humane society, pick out a great dane to live in your one room 50 square foot apartment and then return it because you can’t handle the responsibility. I assume that there is an extensive interview and screening process for international adoptions. And well, I’d also have to assume that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, so I’d hope there is some sort of return policy if the parents see that they cannot handle the responsibilities.

Should be required viewing for anyone thinking of adopting/having children

All in all, I can see both sides of the argument here, but you can decisively conclude that the family definitely handled the situation incorrectly. They should face neglect charges since they are the legal guardians of the child, just like my parents would have faced sending me on an airplane by myself at the age of 7! As to the severity of the punishment, I don’t know. What is your opinion on the matter?

My second concern with this story is this. I know that many most countries are FAR worse off than us. I also know that in these other struggling countries the number of orphans/ abandon children is astronomical, and that the quality of life in their native countries is low. And I can certainly understand that through international adoption, you are saving a kid from a tough life and a potentially dangerous one. Saving a child breaks the cycle of poverty and lack of education, whether if it only for that one kid. There are may people who partake in this, a God bless their souls.

But don’t we face these problems at a domestic level as well? Wouldn’t it be more practical and perhaps even more beneficial to gradual improvement of quality of life in our own country to adopt children from the United States? It’s a problem that I think is bigger than one might fathom. For all sorts of adoption statistics, check out the following link: Adoption Statistics (Very in depth reports on orphans/adoptions in the US as well as internationally.)

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The Heap Reviews “Bruno”


Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest character to make the jump from the famed “Da Ali G Show” to the silver screen is Bruno, a flamboyant homosexual fashion reporter. Cohen’s film Bruno makes it a point to incessantly and shamelessly flaunt the main character’s sexual orientation while trying to create some semblance of a plot.

The previews for the film almost assured a laugh-fest, much like Cohen’s runaway “mockumentary” hit Borat was in 2006. Though admittedly, I must have wondered more than a few times how funny can a movie about a gay fashonista prancing around in revealing clothing be funny. Or perhaps more appropriately, how long could it be funny?

The audience is introduced to Bruno, a successful Austrian fashion reporter as the movie begins. A montage of his ironic, self-imposed social status ensues, as we see situations in which he is able to gain access to the best shows, seats and exclusives with celebrities. Public life was good for Bruno.

And then the “fun” begins. Within the first 15 minutes of the film, Cohen makes it very clear that Bruno will have no problem crossing the lines of public humiliation, interaction, and exploitation that Borat did a few years ago. In fact, in those first 15 minutes, Bruno easily exceeds the level of gross, bodily humor that made Borat so funny. Unfortunately, it was too graphic and shocking, taking away from a semi-decent premise.


Like its predecessor, Bruno aims to expose American (and even global) portrayal of the homosexual. The audience experiences painfully awkward scenes where the only viable reaction is to laugh or just shout in amazement of what has just occurred. In an ironic twist, when Bruno tries to pitch a celebrity interview show in Hollywood, the board of reviewers asks, “What kind of sick person came up with something like this?” You’ll ask yourself this question numerous times.

Bruno succeeds in addressing the conservative beliefs still held by many Americans today despite the extreme methods in which Cohen chooses to expose these behaviors- assuming that these parts are not scripted. It also examines and exposes social “machismo,” by having Bruno try vigorously to shake his homosexuality by being surrounded by overly straight men. It is much more evident which parts are scripted and which are not in Bruno. There is simply no way Cohen could get away with the stunts he pulled in Bruno without prior scripting and warning. It’s much harder to discern these moments in Borat, as it was much more believable- at least to me anyway.

The primary concern of the film, however, despite strong homosexual overtones, is the caricature of the American celebrity. The audience is given the impression that becoming a celebrity in the US is kind of easy, since Bruno attempts this immediately without a second thought. He seems to be toying with what has become a reality in our society- ANYONE can have a reality TV show or blog and achieve celebrity status by simply being extreme, having some sort of a gimmick, or just mimicking the actions of current celebrities. (Swipes at Perez Hilton anyone?) The adoption of a child from Africa was particularly genius.


Overall, the movie doesn’t meet expectations. It was more astoundingly shocking that funny. You were almost forced to laugh, just because there wasn’t any other appropriate reactions to what was going on in the movie. The plot is there, but it is mostly just short bits loosely tied together by an attempted storyline. The extreme and graphic depictions of homosexual acts and male genitalia detract from an other wise smart, biting satire of the American celebrity and sexual conservatism. It’s enjoyable, but only a one time view, and it is hard to justify spending 9 or so dollars to go see it.

The Heap gives it 6/10 Bags


smallheap.jpg image by jmooser