Is Kourtney Kardashian the new Murphey Brown?

Farrah Abraham, Kourtney Kardashian
Do you remember Murphey Brown from the early 1990’s? Is Kourtney Kardashian the new Murphey Brown?

It’s a war between reality TV moms.

After Kourtney Kardashian revealed her pregnancy last week, Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham tweeted, “Im Shocked Kourtney Kardashian is pregnant again, Did she not learn anything from TEEN MOM? Maybe its a fake pregnancy like kims wedding. SAD.”

Kourtney Kardashian Pregnant With Baby No. 2

Kardashian, 32, and her boyfriend Scott Disick, 28, both shot back at the 20-year-old MTV cast member.

“Why would I have anything to do with teen mom? I’m 32 years old! I may look young, honey, but don’t get it twisted. :)” wrote Kardashian, co-star of Kourtney and Kim Take New York. Disick followed up by writing: “We’re not teenagers ya [bleep] moron.”

Abraham later “clarified” by tweeting, “4 all who misunderstood: regards to kourtney K.~ I hope she takes her relationship w/her boyfriend more serious 4 their children-takecare.” She later added, “caught wind of these dramatic articles, w/ loser scott disick or some boyfriend of kourtneys … Great dad! NOT.”

Kardashian and Disick already parents are to 23-month-old son, Mason

I got a lot out of this article below:
Today, Avery Brown turns 18. If your initial thought is to ask “Who’s that?”, then you’ve actually made my point. Avery was the son of TV news anchor Murphy Brown, from the once-hit sitcom of the same name, who came into the world on May 18, 1992. Avery Brown, born into politics, would now be old enough to vote.

His arrival all those years ago ended up being about nothing but votes, coming at the end of Murphy Brown‘s fourth season in which its fortysomething title character found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and opted to have the baby, alone, without its father. The fictional decision led to an all-too-real national tumult after then-Vice President Dan Quayle took the endorsement of single parenting to task for contributing to society’s moral decay.

But retrospection suggests the firestorm back then was less a consequence of what he said than it was of the fact that it was the oft-maligned Quayle who said it. Because, let’s face it, what was said doesn’t seem all that crazy today. As some observers suggested not long after the 1992 election, Dan Quayle, seems to have been, gulp, right. And maybe today more than ever. Single parenting, though much less the hot-button topic that it was back then, is a full-time commitment. It’s not one to be taken casually. Just ask the nearly 14 million householdsin America that work at it. That’s controversial?

Our society simply loves to kill the messenger when the message provides discomfort or — perhaps especially — when one comes across as a societal scold. Whether Quayle or Tipper Gore (who a few years earlier had railed against risque music lyrics), a certain segment of society — Hollywood, for instance — has no patience for prudes. Yet the simple fact is that TV can and often does get it wrong. And looking at it 18 years later, it seems Murphy Brown whiffed.

Those 38 words

Campaigning in San Francisco on May 19, 1992, the vice president spoke the day after Avery was delivered in prime time. More significant, he spoke fewer than three weeks after the start of the Rodney King police-acquittal riots in Los Angeles.

With the city to the south still smoldering, Quayle used the unrest as a jumping-off point for a speech that lamented a “poverty of values” amid societal upheaval. Toward his close, he used the still-famous 38 words that formed a sound bite heard ’round the world: “It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’ ”

His words sparked a nationwide election-year debate on family values. It came to a head later that summer at the Emmys in an act of self-indulgence, over the top even by TV measures, when Murphy Brown producer Diane English took to the stage and said, “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a family.” Which, of course, Quayle never said. In fact, he referred to single-mother households as just that — as ” families.”

Quayle really just said that having children in real life shouldn’t be nearly as casual a decision as it can be shown to be on TV. That parenting is crucial to social order. That those involved in TV should be mindful of the words and images they present. And he said it, despite efforts to convey otherwise, in relation to a fictional person — a TV character. But when Murphy Brown ultimately fired back at Quayle with a fall 1992 episode that skewered his speech, the script implied that the vice president was criticizing a real figure.

But here’s the rub with the hubbub: The show just forgot about Avery. Beyond his birth season, when nine of 22 episodes focused on him, Avery seemed part of his mother’s life in any meaningful way in just 12 of the 121 remaining episodes.

Murphy Brown would have had a touch of credibility on this vexing social issue if it had actually followed through.

AWOL Avery

Full and funny, Murphy’s life involved romance and travel and career — but not always a child. In many ways, she seemed to be leading the glamorous single-parent life that Quayle said TV can unwisely offer. Presumably, Quayle would suggest that in real life, especially in today’s real life, parents don’t have the luxury of tending to kids only when it services a storyline. Children are in need of parenting all the time. Social order demands it.

Present-day defenders of the show, of course, would argue that no show can focus on parenting once kids are born. I Love Lucy didn’t. A whole roster of TV series over the years have resorted to newborns to goose ratings — and then shooed the child away. Yet none of the other shows made such a hoopla about parenting asMurphy Brown did. And none co-opted real-life events — with a compliant vice president — the way Murphy Brown did. Social conservatives too often cry wolf about Hollywood’s disconnect. But in this instance, the show’s treatment of Avery made their case.

Words and images have consequences. They last. In real life and in TV. Quayle’s speech has endured since 1992, especially the idea that parenting is a full-time job. Avery, not so much.

Raising kids, raising ideas — each raises the stakes of responsibility.

Jim McKairnes is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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