Monday, January 24, 2005

i just can't be happy today

lordy knows i don't need an excuse to be depressed, but, on this day when i feel lower than the proverbial serpent's tit, a "british expert" has obliged me with an actual scientific explanation anyway, courtesy of local abc affiliate channel 7. so thank you, anonymous british person. (and d:nero, for the tip.)

why am i depressed? let me count the ways. (i'll leave out the personal angst, although it is a contributing factor.)

first off, there is the state of the world. the bush inauguration II was just so bloody horrible. truly chilling. all his talk of ending terror in the world and other utopian fantasizing -- i just can't tune out my mental universal translator when reading or listening to his words. the fascistic double-speak doesn't mask or cushion any of his true fascistic intentions. we will lead the world to freedom (or whatev) ... whether it wants to go or not. all that crap is just a "more benign," if you will, version of you're with us or you're against us. his assertion that people who oppose him will be more willing to work with him now, b/c he's no longer a "threat" politically, is laughably disingenuous. for one thing, he is still very much a threat to the entire planet ... hardly some harmless lame duck. but i can see why he would want to paint himself as such. b/c then it's all the fault of the nasty opposition if we don't all come together and sing kumbaya around the campfire.

and then there's the recent 32nd anniversary of roe vs. wade, which itself isn't depressing, of course. but it is a reminder of the ground we continue to lose against the forces of right-wing insanity. (heh, i originally typo'd that as "right-wang insanity" ... .) abortion rights have been so eroded, it almost doesn't even matter if the decision is overturned or not. which has been the whole point of the anti-choice campaigns in recent years; they know very well, as we do, that the majority of americans favor the right to choose. so everything they do these days is an end run around that and other inconvenient facts. and a bid to change the people's minds not just through the loaded and insinuating language but also by spreading information that's proven to be untrue -- like the ever-popular "abortion increases your risk of getting breast cancer" -- in order to make it seem like they're really trying to help women by expressing concern about the "harm" abortion does to them. this faux-concern is an insidious meme. (it's especially galling when you consider the not-insignificant number of anti-choice persons who don't even think a woman should be allowed to abort if she's been raped or daddy-fucked.) it's not as bad as the one about how a fetus deserves more consideration than the woman it's inside, however.

indeed, concern for us females was the basis for the recent request by norma mccorvey, the former "jane roe," that the supreme court overturn the decision: b/c abortion "harms women." i thought the original decision turned not on issues of a woman being harmed, but on the perceived right to privacy in the constitution? so arguing some stuff about "protecting women's health" is simply spurious. anyway, lots of procedures and activities are potentially harmful to those who participate in them; you can die from having, say, heart bypass surgery. but ain't nobody thinking about outlawing that. hell, elective surgery can kill ya, but people are still allowed to take the risk. (note re "pro-life" position that abortion kills the fetus: see the last sentence, previous paragraph.)

furthermore, ya think abortion harms women? wait 'til it's illegal again, and then see the whirlwind that will reap. the very groovy ms. magazine blog, ms. musings, has a number of items and links, including a long roe-anniversary post with a link to a village voice story about what women's lives were like before the decision. but people like norma mccorvey, not to mention the most vile of pro-lifers, those who've had abortions (and thus "made their lives easier by being selfish and killing their babies," or any other pro-lifer accusation you wanna turn on them like a poisoned stilleto) but have now decided it's not right for others to have them, are not really concerned about women's lives or health.

bush's role in this is one of enabler, really. his courting of the christian right and periodic blatherings about a vague "culture of life" have gotten them all energized and a bit smug, if you ask me. sure, dubya has the power to appoint supreme court justices, but renquist isn't a supporter of roe v wade, and he's the one most likely to be replaced soonest. bush talks the talk, however, and that's enough. and it's always in these (again) disingenuous phrases, a la i think we can all agree that we should work toward a culture of life.

thankfully, graydon carter was soooo wrong about the death of irony. in fact, it is thriving in its current nutrient-rich soup provided by the bush administration. blurring in between the abortion headlines were items about alberto gonzales and condoleezza "two e's, two z's" rice and torture and whatnot. when asked, i believe, if she considered "water-boarding" to be torture, condy skirted the issue in typical bush-weasel fashion by saying it was up to the justice department to define torture. no, c'mon -- go out on a limb here, girlfriend. is it torture? whaddaya think? (hey, check it out: i think this can be blamed on bill clinton, too! it all depends on what the definition of "is" is, indeed. ah, bubba. what've you done to us, you charming servant of darkness?) and we all know gonzales's rap about how the geneva conventions are outdated and don't apply to unlawful combatants or something. it's just so ... cheeky. so very in-your-face. so ... flagrant. after all, uhm ... didn't saddam hussein and his minions torture many? who were doubtless, in his eyes, in some sort of state of unlawful being. but torture is an option for us, the liberators? not forgetting that torture doesn't even generally yield any better information. but i suppose it's an effective way of instilling fear in people, even the ones who don't get tortured. if you're cooped up in some prison with american GIs laughing at you while in the distance (or perhaps the next cell) you hear screams, well ... it would probably leave an apprehensive impression. it would create an atmosphere of unpredictability, of ... terror. (what did i just say up there? irony much?) huh. a culture of life, indeed. to paraphrase mr. orwell, then, some life is more equal than others.

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