May 17, 2023

Are you Woke?

You must revise your terminology to be more inclusive ... you must say:

not ‘Latino’ but ‘Latinx’

not 'homeless' but ‘houseless’

not ‘women’ but ‘people with uteruses’

not 'pregnant women' but 'birthing people'

not ‘breastfeeding’ but ‘çhestfeeding’

not ‘abortion’ but ‘reproductive services’

not ‘pro-choice’ but ‘pro-decision’

not ‘L.G.B.T.’ but ‘LGBTQIA2S+'

We live in a time when the people who are in charge are scared of the people who aren’t. Professors report being terrified of their students. Publishing executives fear the wrath of junior employees. C.E.O.s worry about staff revolts. Museum curators watch what they say lest it lead to professional annihilation. Politicians in senior positions are nervous about their newbies — on their own side.

— Excerpted from Bret Stephens, New York Times

Stanford is one of the greatest universities on earth. It also apparently used to be more fun. There was an anarchist house, a lake where students hosted bonfires and lascivious costume parties.In “Stanford’s War on Social Life,” in Palladium magazine, Ginevra Davis argues that an army of administrators has systematically shut that down.She writes: “Since 2013, Stanford’s administration has executed a top-to-bottom destruction of student social life. Driven by a fear of uncontrollable student spontaneity and a desire to enforce equity on campus, a growing administrative bureaucracy has destroyed almost all of Stanford’s distinctive student culture.”Theme houses and fraternities have been shutdown, weird rituals banned. Outdoor house, for students who enjoy hiking and the like, was removed from campus, though it was given permission to reopen this year after shifting its mission to “racial and environmental justice in the outdoors.”The old culture gave students agency to be creative and have fun. But, Davis observes, “In less than a decade, Stanford’s administration eviscerated100 years of undergraduate culture and social groups. They ended decades-old traditions. They drove student groups out of their houses. They scraped names off buildings. They went after long-established hubs of student life, like fraternities and cultural theme houses. In place of it all,Stanford erected a homogeneous housing system that sorts new students into perfectly equitable groups named with letters and numbers. All social distinction is gone.”

— Excerpted from David Brooks, New York Times

In Agatha Christie's novels, terms like "Oriental", "Gypsy" and "native" have been taken out, and revised versions of Ian Fleming's "James Bond" books will be scrubbed of racist and sexist phrases.

Classics by Roald Dahl have been stripped of adjectives like "fat" and "ugly" along with references to characters' gender and skin color.

An Obscure Cousin of Basketball Lets Men and Women Play as Equals

In the fringe sport of korfball, an offshoot of basketball, co-ed teams square off in what’s about as close to total gender-parity competition as it gets. All of basketball’s macho elements – like dunking and picks and greasy contact in the paint – have been stripped away, leaving only gender-neutral skills like court vision and hand-eye co-ordination. Pure teamwork wins. “Eight players, one heartbeat, ”as the world-champion Dutch team likes to say.

Pregnancy begins with a small cluster of undifferentiated cells that are not, in fact, a child. The anti-choice movement calls it a child because it is essential to their argument. But calling it so does not make it so.

At term, that small cluster has definitely grown into an unborn child. Somewhere on the continuum of fetal development it is reasonable to say it has become a person. That moment of personhood is perhaps difficult to define, but Roe at least made the effort.

Given the enormous consequences to the mother, it is important that we give her the right to choose her own well-being for some period of time over that which is not yet an unborn child

- Deborh Taylor, Santa Cruz, Calif.

What is forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term if not involuntary servitude?

- Carie N. Baker, MS.magazine

The most vivid argument of the pro-choice side is the back-alley and other dangerous abortions that result when you make the procedure illegal and the women who die as a result.

The most vivid argument of the pro-life side is the sonogram, and the growing evidence that cognitive life begins sooner than we thought. These images are proof that what grows within a pregnant woman’s body is a human being, living and unfolding according to a timetable that has existed as long as we have. Obviously it would take a profound act of violence to remove him from his quiet world and destroy him.

There’s a reason this debate is so hard.

- Caitlin Flanagan, The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate

A lot of the progressive commentary, on the other hand, won’t recognize the fetus at all.Over the last day or two I’ve seen progressives refer to abortion as just health care for women, or an entirely private decision about what a woman does with her body.A lot of progressives talk about abortion as if it couldn’t possibly be a termination of a human life.

- David Brooks

"To kill your own child is another dimension of evil."
"The perfect way to stop abortions is to stop having careless sex."
"Seeing an arm pulled through the vaginal canal was shocking."

After a pregnancy, even one that doesn’t reach full term, the fetal cells go on floating in the mother’s uterus. They continue to be part of her body for up to forty years. I read this just a few days before my mother’s womb is removed.

Indeed, researchers have found that long after the end of a pregnancy (including one that ends in a miscarriage or abortion), fetal cells can be detected throughout a woman’s body—in her brain, blood, bones, liver. They are pluripotent, i.e., they can grow new, differentiated cells, and they are hypothesized to be catalysts for wound healing, autoimmune disease, and cancer. “We are made of others,” Barrera marvels. “This is a microchimeric book.” Hers is a vision of art as feminine, never truly original or new, but a cycle: art as birth and death; bodies decomposing the dirt, the roots; “the tree of our flesh.”

- Christine Henneberg reviewing Jazmina Barrera's An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes, in The New York Reviews of Books.

The feminist philosopher Andrea Nye has suggested that Simone Weil’s emphasis on obligations rather than rights may offer a way out of the impasse over abortion in the US. Thousands of ordinary readers interested in mysticism or Catholicism have found her books illuminating.

- Linda A. Bell

We can do better than asking women (and men) to choose between their children and themselves.

- Karen Swallow Prior

We on the Left will keep thrashing around in the weeds until we find the courage to engage wholeheartedly with our opponents.

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