I should be fired up. I'm a movie buff who's big into superhero movies. Not dress up and go to Comic Con into it, but easily excited at the idea of people flying through the air and smashing things.
I should be fired up. Decades of comic books and movies are about to collide on the big screen in the form of Batman vs. Superman. I own every movie in both franchises.
I should be fired up. Instead, I'm kind of annoyed.
Gotham and Metropolis are going to merge universes and rather than my friends and colleagues sending me trailers and teasers of this monumental moment, they send me a photoshopped poster.
The poster is simple; Superman on the left, Batman on the right, about to do battle. The title reads; "Orphan Fight".
No big deal to you. Not that big of a deal to me either. But I run the nation's only monthly foster care magazine and let's just say folks are less than pleased with this particular meme.
I rarely give my opinion on anything other than the weather but since over 50 people have sent me this seemingly harmless attempt at humor, I suppose an opinion is warranted. Here goes nothin!
I don't care. I really don't. But I understand why others do. We're a sensitive bunch, we former foster kids. Sparing you the thousands of horribly depressing stories out there, life's been tough for most people who come from the system. Justifiably, the topic of foster care is a sensitive one for them. Maybe it's because every third perp on Law & Order gets tagged with a background in care? Or maybe it's because we always seem to end up as killers when we get older like on the show Dexter? There are hundreds of examples that I could site that would leave you fuming if you had spent time in foster care. Sure, there are plenty of reasons to be mad at the world of entertainment if you were in care, but let's stick this particular picture.
I'm going to give you a couple of bullet points to shed some light on why this meme doesn't bother me. Let's take out the idea that the person who made it was trying to get a giggle with the "Orphan Fight" line. Humor is subjective. Even in a world that's easily offended, this one isn't so bad. They were, after all, orphans.
The quick definition of orphan is; a child whose parents are dead (harsh, but that's the definition). Superman was sent to Earth when his planet and parents were evaporated. Batman lost his parents in a robbery gone bad. They were orphans. So no fault in the meme's logic there. You'll hear the argument that Alfred raised Batman and the Kents' raised Superman. True. That would make them foster kids and still orphans.
Let's push that to the side. We are talking about fictional characters here. Hell, one of them is from outer space! I've met thousands of former foster kids, a handful are millionaires, not one of them used their money to create a weapons arsenal, with matching costume and vehicles to fight crime. So we're talking about characters that aren't even relatable to our community of offended alumni of care.
I've watched the same movies you have (truth is, I sit in front of this computer working everyday with films playing in the background so I've seen hundreds of movies you didn't even know existed), I've rolled my eyes when the cop says that the suspect grew up in care, yet I don't get worked up like a healthy portion of the community I serve. For every Law & Order bad guy, there's been a Punky Brewster. For every Dexter, a Michael Oher. We've got Joe Dirt for crying out loud! Doesn't get more positive than that mullet wearing ray of sunshine.
We get the good and the bad. Why? Because normal is boring. People don't come back week after week to see a kid from a nuclear family get good grades and stay out of trouble. They don't care if a person grew up in a traditional setting, leading an unimpressive life. People like adversity. They like things they know nothing about. They are wide eyed children when it comes to foster care. Have a bland storyline? Write in a foster care background. Instant flavor.
Fact is, I could have easily gotten upset. The point of the meme was to take a jab at parentless kids for the sake of a laugh. Not a big laugh mind you, but a chuckle just the same. I could have plastered the meme all over social media to shame it's creator. But I didn't (I guess I'm kind of doing that now, not to shame the anonymous creator, but to inform. Sorry anonymous person.). I'd have very little time to do anything else if I were to get worked up every time somebody thought they were funny or creative at the expense of foster care.
Instead, what I'd like to see happen...oops, tripped over this soapbox. What I'd like to see happen is the foster care community come together over issues that matter more. Aging out, homelessness, mental health treatment, the minimizing of medicated foster kids and more reunifications or swifter adoptions, are all areas that deserve our outrage and attention.
A couple of make believe guys in capes are the least of our worries. We are a powerful group. We have our hands in every area of life. Of course Hollywood wants our stories, real or not.
Joe Dirt says, "Keep on keepin on!", maybe that should be our approach when Hollywood or the world doesn't paint us in the best light?
Rage when they go too far. Shout from the mountain tops when they try to categorize us as evil or a group of people who should be feared. But when some knucklehead with some free time tries to get a rise out of you by poking fun at the way you came up? Just keep on keepin on.
We've got bigger fish to fry.
That was a little ditty I wrote for the Huffington Post. To the untrained eye, it would seem as if I’ve been in one hell of a bad mood lately. Maybe I have. I’ll take the easy way out and blame it on the seasons changing here in Pennsylvania.
To snap out of my funk, I’ve put together a more light hearted issue of the magazine for you.
Quick backstory; Last year for the movie Unfinished Business, a batch of free stock photo style pictures were put out featuring the cast. Not sure I’ll ever get the chance to have Vince Vaughn or Dave Franco in the mag and the picts were free to use...so long story short, you’ll find some funny pictures throughout the issue.
A good laugh never hurt anybody.
A fast Thanks to all the Social Workers in the world. For your month I decided you deserved the cover. You’ll never be thanked enough for the work you do, the huge caseloads you manage or the lives you change, but I thought you deserved a moment in the sun. Thanks for your hard work and I hope you enjoy this issue of Foster Focus.