Steyn on Culture
As I was leaving Fox News last night, I glanced up at the monitor and caught Juan Williams expressing mystification to Sean Hannity as to why Republicans in Congress were wasting the country's time on a "little thing" like abortion.
Gee, I dunno. Maybe it's something to do with a mass murderer in Pennsylvania, or Planned Parenthood clinics facilitating the sex trafficking of minors. From the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia:
Viable babies were born*. Gosnell killed them by plunging scissors into their spinal cords. He taught his staff to do the same.
This is a remarkable moment in American life: A man is killing actual living, gurgling, bouncing babies on an industrial scale - and it barely makes the papers. Had he plunged his scissors into the spinal cord of a Democrat politician in Arizona, then The New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and everyone else would be linking it to Sarah Palin's uncivil call for dramatic cuts in government spending. But "Doctor" Kermit Gosnell's mound of corpses is apparently entirely unconnected to the broader culture.
Why? Well, because it's all about a woman's "right to choose". What women? Well, how about the misses Robyn Reid and Davida Johnson:
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Robyn Reid didn't want an abortion. But when her grandmother forcibly took her to an abortion clinic one wintry day in 1998, Reid figured she'd just tell the doctor her wishes and then sneak away.
Instead, Kermit Gosnell barked: "I don't have time for this!" He then ripped off her clothes, spanked her, wrestled her onto a dirty surgical stretcher, tied her flailing arms and legs down and pumped sedatives into her until she quit screaming and lost consciousness, she told the Daily News yesterday...
In 2001, Davida Johnson changed her mind about aborting her 6-month fetus after seeing Gosnell's dazed, bloodied patients in his recovery room, she said. But in the treatment room, Gosnell's staffers ignored her protests, smacked her, tied her arms down and sedated her into unconsciousness, she said. She awoke no longer pregnant.
Oh. Well, "Dr" Gosnell's just one rogue abortionist. How about the "right to choose" over at Planned Parenthood? There are a whole range of choices - not so much for the illegally smuggled underage foreign sex slave, but at least for her pimp. If you're a middle-aged guy running a child-sex business, you have the "right to choose" what's best for that 13-year old Venezuelan hottie you brought over a couple weeks back. As the Falls Church clinic assures him:
We don't necessarily look at the legal status, like I said.
Legal abortion was supposed to end "back-alley abortions," both their dangers and their entanglements with shady characters. But the practice and the mores of the back alley are with us still, tolerated by people for whom the ready provision of abortion trumps all else.
Rich is right. Ever since Roe v Wade, proponents of a woman's "right to choose" have warned us against going back to the bad old days of rusty coat hangers and unsterilized instruments from money-grubbing butchers on the wrong side of town. Now, happily, the back alley is on the main drag, and with a state permit framed on the wall. In Philadelphia:
Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment â€“ such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff â€“ was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn't used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
In New Jersey:
The Department of Health and Senior Services investigated the abortion facility and found dirty forceps, rusty crochet hooks used to remove IUDs, and a quarter-inch of dirt and debris under an examining table.
For years, the supposed regulators averted their gaze - as a matter of policy. For abortion's ideological enforcers, the official euphemisms trump reality. For those on the receiving end of infection, mutilation, sterilization and death, reality has a way of intruding. Ask Nicole Gaither:
Nicole Gaither got an abortion from Gosnell in 2001. After four days, she said, the pain was so bad she could barely walk. She returned to the clinic, where, she said Gosnell blithely told her he'd left fetal remains in her.
"Stand up! It don't hurt that bad!" he yelled at her, she said, before suctioning - without any medication - her insides.
Ask Patient SB:
After inadequately dilating Patient S.B.'s cervix for a D&E abortion, Pendergraft ruptured her uterus and shoved the pre-born baby's body into the abdominal cavity. She was rushed to the hospital where she received an emergency hysterectomy along with the removal of the dead fetus, which was missing an arm. The arm was later found at Pendergraft's EPOC abortion clinic. His not reporting that he had removed the arm caused a delay in her care at the hospital as surgeons futilely attempted to locate the missing appendage.
Ask Rasheedah Dinkins:
Dinkins, who was 22 at the time of the settlement, became severely ill following the abortion and was transferred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she needed blood transfusions and had her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to the serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse.
The back alley is back, and supersized: The above New Jersey clinic performs 10,000 abortions a year. When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and other celebrities d'un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, a woman's "right to choose" means that, day in, day out, the blessings of this "right" fall disproportionately on all the identity groups the upscale liberals profess to care about - poor women, black women, Hispanic women, undocumented women, and other denizens of Big Government's back alley.
A government back alley, licensed and supposedly regulated, is worse than the old kind, because it implies the approval of the state, and of society. That's what Gosnell thought he had, when he murdered those babies and mutilated those teenage girls. That's what Planned Parenthood think they have, when they facilitate the sexual exploitation of Third World children. And, given the silence of the PC media, maybe they're right. Aside from the intrinsic evil of not only Gosnell but a state that knowingly colludes with him, these "little" abortion stories reveal an almost totalitarian mindset in the "pro-choice" movement's determination to brook no intrusion of reality upon the official myths. You may be one of those wealthy suburban "feminists" or "new men" indifferent to the fate of eight-pound "blobs of tissue" or 14-year old "women", but the gulf between propaganda and truth, between the fatuous feelgood bumper stickers and the rusty crochet hooks, is profound - and, in a world where statists and social engineers serve as ruthless enforcers for the prevailing ideology, its deep moral corruption will eventually swallow you, too. America should be at the very minimum deeply disquieted by these revelations. That it is not - that it is dismissed as a "little thing" - is even more disquieting.
[*James Fulford argues that "Dr" Gosnell delivered live babies and killed them because he was too incompetent to perform a "partial-birth abortion" - because, in a ever more credential-obsessed America, ever more credentials have been corrupted by ethnocultural political considerations.]
10 Feb 2011
He who controls the language shapes the debate: In the same week the Associated Press announced that it would no longer describe illegal immigrants as "illegal immigrants," the star columnist of The New York Times fretted that the Supreme Court seemed to have misplaced the style book on another fashionable minority. "I am worried," wrote Maureen Dowd, "about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don't even seem to realize that most Americans use the word 'gay' now instead of 'homosexual'..."
Gay marriage? It came up at dinner Down Under this time last year, and the prominent Aussie politician on my right said matter-of-factly, "It's not about expanding marriage, it's about destroying marriage." That would be the most obvious explanation as to why the same societal groups who assured us in the Seventies that marriage was either (a) a "meaningless piece of paper" or (b) institutionalized rape are now insisting it's a universal human right. They've figured out what, say, ...
To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, but aldermanic power corrupts all der more manically. Proco "Joe" Moreno is Alderman of the First Ward of Chicago, and last week, in a city with an Aurora-size body count every weekend, his priority was to take the municipal tire-iron to the owners of a chain of fast-food restaurants. "Because of this man's ignorance," said Alderman Moreno, "I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward." "This man's ignorance"? You mean, of the City of Chicago permit process? Zoning regulations? Health and safety ordinances? No, Alderman Moreno means "this man's ignorance" of the approved position on same-sex marriage.
Media types like to talk about "the narrative": News is just another form of storytelling, and certain plot lines grab you more than others. The easiest narrative of all is anything involving young people. "I believe that children are our future," as the late Whitney Houston once asserted. And, even if Whitney hadn't believed it, it would still, as a point of fact, be true. Any media narrative involving young people presupposes that they are the forces of progress, wresting the world from the grasping clutches of mean, vengeful old men and making it a better place...
Unlike the government of the United States, I can't claim any hands-on experience with Colombian hookers. But I was impressed by the rates charged by Miss Dania Suarez, and even more impressed by the U.S. Secret Service's response to them...
(VIDEO) "'Celebrate diversity' â€” the great bumper sticker â€” actually means 'celebrate stultifying homogeneity,'" Canadian best-selling author and columnist Mark Steyn told The Daily Caller. In an exclusive interview this week with TheDC's Ginni Thomas, Steyn railed against liberal "diversity"-speak and the lack of tolerance for traditional values...
Our lesson for today comes from George and Ira Gershwin: "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus When he said the world was round They all laughed when Edison recorded sound They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother When they said that man could fly They told Marconi wireless was a phony..." Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sang it in the film "Shall We Dance?" (1937) Seventy-five years on, the president revived it to tap-dance around his rising gas prices and falling approval numbers. Delivering his big speech on energy at Prince George's Community College, he insisted the American economy will be going gangbusters again just as soon as we start running it on algae and windmills. He noted that, as with Wilbur and his brother, there were those inclined to titter...
I'm writing this from Australia, so, if I'm not quite up to speed on recent events in the United States, bear with me – the telegraph updates are a bit slow here in the bush. As I understand it, Sandra Fluke is a young coed who attends Georgetown Law and recently testified before Congress. Oh, wait, no. Update: It wasn't a congressional hearing; the Democrats just got it up to look like one, like summer stock, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid doing the show right here in the barn and providing a cardboard set for the world premiere of "Miss Fluke Goes To Washington," with full supporting cast led by Chuck Schumer strolling in through the French windows in tennis whites and drawling, "Anyone for bull****?"
Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call "A Responsible Budget"? My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on Page 58 of their 500-page appendix on "Analytical Perspectives." This is entitled "Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections." It's a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt's space colony on the moon circa 2100...
Announcing his support for Commissar Sebelius' edicts on contraception, sterilization, and pharmacological abortion, that noted theologian the Most Reverend Al Sharpton explained: "If we are going to have a separation of church and state, we're going to have a separation of church and state." Thanks for clarifying that. The church model the young American state wished to separate from was that of the British monarch, who remains to this day Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This convenient arrangement dates from the 1534 Act of Supremacy. The title of the law gives you the general upshot, but, just in case you're a bit slow on the uptake, the text proclaims "the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England." That's to say, the sovereign is "the only supreme head on earth of the Church" and he shall enjoy "all honors, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits and commodities to the said dignity," not to mention His Majesty "shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities, whatsoever they be." Welcome to Obamacare.
This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity. The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else...
For our Dutch readers...
VIDEO: Italy's Costa Concordia disaster has Mark Steyn mulling the "women and children first!" idea with Michael Coren on The Arena.
Abe Greenwald of Commentary magazine tweets: "Is there any chance that Mark Steyn won't use the Italian captain fleeing the sinking ship as the lead metaphor in a column on EU collapse?" Oh, dear. You've got to get up early in the morning to beat me to civilizational-collapse metaphors. Been there, done that.
When Christians take the Christ out of Christmas
Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions â€“ the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular "holiday" tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist's "war on Christmas" column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing "Winter Wonderland"... This ...
Take a look at this photograph. It appeared in The Toronto Star's education section on Saturday: It's the scene every Friday at the cafeteria of Valley Park Middle School in Toronto. That's not a private academy, it's a public school funded by taxpayers. And yet, oddly enough, what's going on is a prayer service – oh, relax, it's not Anglican or anything improper like that; it's Muslim Friday prayers, and the Toronto District School Board says don't worry, it's just for convenience: They ...
The SteynOnline Hit Parade
© 2013 SteynOnline