Friday, April 18, 2014

Modern blasphemies and breaking old limits

I don't wish any ill on the newly pregnant Chelsea Clinton, much less her unborn child. Truly and sincerely - health and long life to everyone, Godwilling, especially innocent children. And when I saw the headline that Mrs Clinton was pregnant, my response was immediately one of.. well, complete apathy. I don't give much of a shit about the personal lives of celebrities, political or otherwise. What's Chelsea Clinton done anyway other than be a daughter to a pair of, at worst, disasteful semi-moderate parents? Oh sure, she says she may run for political office someday - but that's a while away, if ever the day comes.

Ignore her, be happy for her, and there's nothing more to say here. Right?

Acknowledging the shift I've felt in my sensibilities lately, I am forced to wonder if this really is the best course of action - this kind of intellectual non-aggression treaty when it comes to (in Chelsea's case, presumably - in her parent's case, definitely) pro-abortion women who are pregnant. In fact, it rather seems to me like the best time to really start acknowledging the realities of abortion.

To that end, I'd like to see, if not Chelsea, then at least Hillary Clinton pressed on the question of abortion right now. Wouldn't that be a great interview question, interrupting the stream of otherwise softball questions?

'Mrs Clinton, congratulations on your daughter's pregnancy. Just to reiterate, you do believe she should have the unequivocal right to end her child's life at any stage up until birth, for any reason whatsoever, and without so much as the input or knowledge of her husband - correct?'

'Mrs Clinton, has your daughter decided on names for her child yet? Also, you acknowledge that whatever is inside of her now shouldn't legally be considered a person, right? It's just a blob of meaningless cells that may one day have real value, but for now it's closer to a benign growth one can choose to have sliced apart and vacuumed up if so desired, yes?'

'Mrs Clinton, hypothetical situation. Your daughter is pregnant with a baby girl, but she doesn't want to have more than one child, and she'd really prefer a son. So she chooses to have her child aborted so she can get pregnant with the 'right kind' of baby. You agree this should be legal, yes?'

We'd see some fireworks if she was caught offguard.

I'm sure it would be regarded with outrage, of course - on the left and right. On the left, well... those are people who are often terrified of even saying the A-word, hence "A woman's right to choose..." being the war cry, or "reproductive rights", always with 'abortion' or 'killing her fetus' left entirely out of the picture, to be inferred rather than read. On the right, well... it would come across as one more assault on the sanctity of motherhood. Worse, an intellectual attack on a woman specifically, which - let's face it - riles a lot of women regardless of where they stand on this issue. Talk about such things later, thank you very much. Let her bask in the glow of motherhood now, and hope that the experience, without any outside assistance, nudges her in the right direction.

Yada, yada, yada.

And yet I'm sitting here thinking - in a world where the socially conservative are harassed constantly... who, once outed, are forced to be on guard against being fired, against being misrepresented among their peers and in the news, mocked in entertainment media... why pull intellectual punches? Why allow hypocrisy be shielded by what would be quickly regarded as outdated sanctity if the shoe were on the other foot? Why not take the opportunity to put the issues in stark relief, and if it happens to result in some piss getting in everyone's punch bowl, so be it?


The Deuce said...

Imo, the best way to approach this sort of thing is often satire. Eg. a post congratulating Chelsea on her new bundle of disposable tissue that may one day attain human worth, assuming it doesn't turn out to have Down's or cystic fibrosis or some other malady rendering it unfit to consume oxygen, and reminding her that while carrying her fetus to term is an acceptable and laudable thing to do with her body, it will probably ruin her figure, and it's equally wonderful and not anything to be ashamed of in the least if she changes her mind about that, etc.

Crude said...

On this one, I'm not so sure. I'm a blunt guy, so when it's time to break protocol, I feel like going in and being direct and on-topic.

You're an expectant mother, and celebrating? Fantastic. Pro-abortion, you say? Let's talk about what value your unborn child really has, and should have in the eyes of the law. To hell with Down's or cystic fibrosis - the law is you can kill the kid if you find out they'll likely have a shade of hair that you think will clash with your carpet.

None of this 'oh look at how happy the mother-to-be and grandparents-to-be are' joy and sunshine shit. That kid's life only has what value the mother grants it in the eyes of the law, and not a shred more. Let's not pretend otherwise.

Syllabus said...

I think that while that sort of thing might certainly be the kind of thing you might go after Hillary about, I'm not sure I'd go after Chelsea about it. She is very possibly - even likely - pro-abortion. At the same time, though, I don't think that she has done any high profile advocacy for it or for, say, PP. So I'd leave that there until I knew more.

Now, if you want to congratulate Hillary on being the proud grandmother of a worthless piece of potential hospital heating fuel, I've got no qualms about that whatsoever. The second Chelsea starts advocating for it or announcing public support, likewise.

Ilíon said...

"On the right, well... it would come across as one more assault on the sanctity of motherhood."

Or, when the "rightist" doesn't want to acknowledge that sluts are sluts, and who gives a damn that leftists act all outraged when someone *does* acknowledge that sluts are sluts, "well... it would [be presented] as one more assault on the sanctity of [woman]hood", and would be a perfect excuse to lie about said acknowledger.

Which is to say, you're still a hypocrite. And a liar.

Crude said...

And you, Ilion, are ever the bitch. ;)

The Fez said...

Your post reminded me of this particular video from some years ago:

Now, you may, as I did, find her response both predictable yet rhetorically clever. She's not a slouch, and the fact that the Clinton dynasty has managed to survive numerous scandals is not by accident, but by certain amount of political acumen which Hilary and Bill both posses in spades. They are, if anything, shrewd. Hilary knows that she can reframe the abortion debate according to what appears to be an evident and 'in your face' issue: The suffering of women. By not provided "safe" means by which to obtain an abortion, you're relegating thousands (if not millions) of women to disfigurement and pain.

So really, the best way to reduce the number of abortions (because who wouldn't...) is to provide unlimited, safe access to abortions. Oh, and family planning.

In essence, she's already contemplated the sort of blunt approach you're suggesting, and has found a rhetorical loop-hole that lets her appear both A. sensitive to the plight of women, and B. committed to reducing abortions overall. She gets to have her cake and eat it too.

Of course, we know every word that came out of her mouth is unrelenting bullshit, but she understands that she doesn't need to persuade people like us. She just needs to make the interlocutor look like a misogynist fool, which she does in this case.

Crude said...


Oh, I know they're not dumb, for the reasons you already laid out. In fact I talked about the kind of move you're bringing up before. Even the questions I'm specifically outlining here could have some kind of thoughtful, high-ground answer crafted for them if she saw it coming in advance and could work on a reply / was talking to someone who'd just let her control the floor - that's why I mentioned she'd need to be caught offguard.

But I think 'reframing' has limits. For one thing, it usually has more to do with a broad approach, a general rhetoric, than a specific answer or reply. It's hard to reframe a specific question on the spot, unprepared. With a disciplined interlocutor, it can well be impossible. At the end of the day, the question remains - what about this particular baby, namely the baby you're all excited for and happy over? There's a bullet to bite there.

Crude said...

A further thought.

I think in the case of pregnancy, what we have in play on the pro-abortion side is a kind of cognitive dissonance, a true and real double standard where a fetus is both 'just some blob, some parasite, part of my body that I can chop off if I please' OR 'a wonderful baby who deserves love and care', depending on the woman's feelings at a time.

You can only 'frame' to a point, and framing has a lot more to do with the... for lack of a better term, meta-discussion than on the spot interactions.

Ilíon said...

Bitch or not, truth is truth and remains truth.

Crude said...


Well, "bitch" is truth here.

And really, I have to ask... do you ever feel kind of embarrassed about this? At this point, you're going for.. what is it, 2+ years? of just weirdo stalker fury over the fact that when Rush Limbaugh called a woman a slut, I said it was a bad move and he shouldn't have made it - and when you snottily disagreed, I finally snapped at you because I'm tired of your near-total inability to disagree with someone without devolving into a haughty know-it-all lecture?

Of course, then we had years where you'd bitch at me, and when I responded to you, play the fruity "SOMEone is trying to get my attention but SOMEone knows I am ignoring them" game... after which I just ignored you altogether.

So now since you can't play that card, you're coming to my blog to whine to anyone who will care (hint: population 0 on this front) that I upset you years ago, and you still can't move on despite my doing exactly that about as many years ago?

There were no lies, nor was there hypocrisy. You just think that if I think calling someone a 'slut' in one particular situation is a bad idea, then I am thereby forced to forever swear off direct language when dealing with people I disagree with. Rather like how in your crazy world, the fact that I treat Cultists of Gnu and atheists differently is 'hypocrisy' because 'THEY ARE BOTH ATHEISTS, DAMNIT' or some other child logic.

So again I ask: at what point will you feel embarrassed about your behavior? At what point do you tell yourself, 'You know, okay, I think maybe I'm behaving poorly here, and more than that, perhaps obsessing over a single dustup years ago in the comment section of a blog kind of makes me a lunatic.'?

Wait, don't answer. I'm sure you're ignoring me now.

Frank Keefe said...

The blogosphere is full of IIion's Crude..i have this picture of them..spotty teenagers who haven't got any friends just their computers they really are very sad cases.