In another case of the disappearing agent, Australian newspapers have been breathlessly reporting the amazing case of an intrepid Australian doctor “performing” the delivery of a healthy baby with nothing but a first aid kit and an oxygen mask – high in the air between Auckland and Santiago.
The mother is nearly invisible in this story – reduced to a silly stereotype of the oblivious woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant. This stereotype is usually associated with classist disparagement, but I think this time there’s more than a whiff of racism in the mix. After the first paragraph, however, she fades into the background, replaced by the superhero doctor who “performed” the delivery and “guided” the baby into the world single-handed. The papers made much of the doctor being thanked with bottles of French champagne and a smooch from an airline pilot. (Ew.)