Jon Fitzgerald's The Milky Way is not horrible. There is much to learn from the documentary about breastfeeding that screens Saturday evening as part of the Newport Beach Film Festival. What bugs is the phony and forced way lactation consultant Jennifer Davidson is shown "investigating" an apparent American war on mother's milk.
The facts presented in the film are strong enough that the message shouldn't be jeopardized by staging scenes. I was also personally skeptical of the "threat" to breastfeeding babies. That's the way we did it in my house and many others I know.
Then came something real and ripped from the headlines. Stacey Armato, who lives just up the coast in Hermosa Beach, says she just settled a federal suit she brought against the Transportation Security Administration after TSA officers at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix harassed her four years ago over her son's breast milk.
The trouble apparently began when Armato requested an alternative screening method to exposing her 7-month-old son's breast milk to radiation. She claimed in court papers that she was forced to wait in a glass enclosure for more than 40 minutes and "frequently harassed and abused by the TSA agents" hellbent on passing her milk through an X-ray machine.
She says the proposed settlement would have the TSA retraining its officers on proper breast milk-screening procedures and paying her $75,000 that she'll apply to her legal fees before donating the rest to BreastfeedLA, a group that promotes breastfeeding.
So perhaps I was too hard on Fitzgerald and Davidson, whose on-screen investigation takes her across the Pond to Germany, where breastfeeding is better practiced and appreciated because Big Formula has not brainwashed doctors and the masses against mommy's life juice.
Happily, Davidson was not held up by the TSA.
The Milky Way screens at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at South Coast Village Theater in Santa Ana and 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at Fashion Island Cinemas in Newport Beach.