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Pusher

Push Pause and Rethink Taping Birth

May 04, 1999|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A weekly column about humans as they interact with things that beep, buzz, ring and download.

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Dear Button Pusher: My wife and I are expecting our first child and are undecided about videotaping the birth. I'm leaning toward doing it since I think our child (we don't know yet whether it's a he or she) will someday cherish it. But my wife thinks it may be too intrusive. What do you think?

--TO FILM OR NOT TO FILM

Dear Film: First, you had better check with the hospital to make sure they allow video cameras in the delivery room. For legal reasons, some don't.

If they do permit them, which most do, I still vote no. Granted, there is something to be said for capturing the miracle of birth on videotape, and that something is gross! Tracey Ullman likened childbirth to having a Mack truck driven through her body. Who wants to watch that? Delivery-room rubberneckers, that's who, and let's not encourage them.

Also, what is the kid to think in years to come watching his or her entry into this world? At best, it's a supporting role. At worst, it's a newborn as film prop. It's not like the first step, the first word or the first spanking (which would come in handy at the family therapist's office in 25 years), where the kid is really driving the action.

And finally, do you really want to put a camera lens between you and your loved one at one of life's Big Two--birth and death? Some life-changing events are better left to memory.

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Weeks ago, "BP," as hipsters everywhere are calling us, asked readers if their home phone, beeper, fax, e-mail and doorbell sounded at the same time, which would they answer first? That query had our home phone, beeper, fax, e-mail and doorbell sounding off like pinball machines for days. Not really, but you get the idea.

Here's a sampling of responses:

"The doorbell because hopefully it's some salesperson wanting to sell me a phone/beeper/fax/e-mail/front door/TV remote control combo where electronic priorities can be programmed."

--W. SCOTT, Camarillo

"Beeper. I always respond to that first, because it means it's something urgent. . . . [In last place is] the home phone. I never answer the phone but will place a call back if a message is left on voice mail."

--V. LASKY, West Hollywood

"The answer is obvious. You answer the home phone first. The home phone is still the basic means of communication for most of the civilized world."

--B. DRENNAN, Santa Barbara

"I'd answer the door first because it's a real person, but I'd look through the peephole first. If the person looks like they're handing out religious tracts, forget it. Then I'd answer the phone. The e-mail, fax line and whatever can just wait till I get there."

--E. CORETHERS, Medford, Ore.

If you have questions about the human-machine relationship, please send e-mail to martin.miller@latimes.com; write to Button Pusher, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; or fax to (213) 237-4888.

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