In the newly released film, "The Dictator," the title character is played by shock comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. In one scene, the dictator is informed by his wife that she is pregnant; to which he replies: "Are you having a boy or an abortion?" Yikes!
While I do not plan to see the film myself - and don't recommend that you do - it is an example of how humor allows us to broach subjects we would otherwise ignore: In this case, what has been called "a global war on baby girls."
That's how a recent article in "The New Atlantis" characterizes what Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute calls, "an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination." This discrimination combines "surgical abortion [and the] . . . information gained through prenatal gender determination."
Unlike Sacha Baron Cohen's fictional Dictator, the practitioners of this discrimination aren't content to simply ask whether it's a boy or a girl - technologies like amniocentesis leave nothing to chance. If it's a boy, the pregnancy virtually always goes to term. If not, abortion is often the result.
As Eberstadt tells us, "the practice has become . . . ruthlessly routine" in many societies around the world. So much so, that in these societies, gender balances have become horribly skewed.
The best-known example is China, where the infamous "one child" policy and the cultural preference for boys have resulted in a ratio of approximately 120 boys for every 100 girls. But that may understate the imbalance: There are many places in China where the ratio exceeds 150 boys for every 100 girls.
And it isn't only China. Sex ratios are similarly skewed in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and India. It is estimated that there are 160 million "missing" Asian women. That's "missing" as in "never born."
The "missing" women aren't the only victims of this lethal discrimination. Last summer, Chuck Colson told BreakPoint listeners about the link between sex-selection abortion and the increased demand for sex workers in India. This demand is being met, in part, by selling girls from neighboring Nepal into slavery and prostitution.
It isn't only India. A 2007 State Department report drew a link between bride kidnapping and the Chinese sex-ratio imbalance. A 2008 "New Republic" article linked the sex-ratio imbalance to crime sprees in Chinese cities by "hopeless volatile men."
Given the societal devastation wrought by this discrimination, you'd hope that people would re-think the impact of abortion-on-demand.
But you would hope in vain. When Ross Douthat of the "New York Times" noted the obvious connection between the missing women and abortion, the author of the aforementioned "New Republic" article, Mara Hvistendahl, took umbrage. She insisted that abortion-on-demand was unrelated to the issue.
Chuck called this dust-up a clear "example of the blinding power of a false worldview" - in this case the unsustainable worldview that sees abortion as an absolute, fundamental woman's right. Our culture refuses to acknowledge that in the name of "female empowerment," millions of future women are being eliminated.
Which puts Sacha Baron-Cohen's cinematic dictator, like other comic figures before him, in the role of truth-teller.