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If they are going to legislate my anatomy, I see no reason why I cannot mention it.
June 14, 2012 7:35 PM   Subscribe

"And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'" After this pointed observation, Michigan Representative Lisa Brown (D) was subsequently barred from speaking on a bill about the retirement of school employees. Twitter responds. Meanwhile, many remember a similar kerfuffle over the word "uterus" in Florida last May.
posted by emjaybee (241 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
If she was going to be banned anyway she should've said 'pussy' instead, just to see the look on their faces.
posted by TheRedArmy at 7:43 PM on June 14, 2012 [21 favorites]


Assuming that half the population of Michigan is female, how is it possible that there will be a single Republican in office after the next election?
posted by HuronBob at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


"'What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. 'It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.'

If you need a cheap laugh, imagine what this guy's sex life is like.

(Yes, yes, facts not in evidence, etc.)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:45 PM on June 14, 2012 [53 favorites]


I'm so confused-- is there some sort of better option for "mixed" company? If Mike Callton can't even speak of it in front of women, how does he have a degree in Biology and also two children?

"Dear Mr. Speaker, my Chamber of Secrets is a no go"?
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [26 favorites]


"Byrum, D-Onondaga, caused a disturbance on the House floor Wednesday when she wasn't allowed to introduce an amendment to the abortion regulations bill banning men from getting a vasectomy unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man's life," the Detroit News reports.

ZING!
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [51 favorites]


Conservative females?
posted by TheRedArmy at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2012


Assuming that half the population of Michigan is female, how is it possible that there will be a single Republican in office after the next election?

If the last couple decades have taught us anything, it's that people can and will vote against their own self-interests.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [68 favorites]


"Regardless of their reasoning, this is a violation of my First Amendment rights and directly impedes my ability to serve the people who elected me into office," Brown added in a statement released by her office.

That's a good point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:48 PM on June 14, 2012 [17 favorites]


"'What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. 'It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.'

Yes, it is impolite to discuss women's bodies when women are around. Women's bodies are only to be discussed with other men. Because otherwise Mike Callton gets embarrassed, as his mental age is fourteen years old.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2012 [186 favorites]


What's a "vagina?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the proper term is hoo-haa. Let em ban that.
posted by scalefree at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


The word itself makes some men uncomfortable.
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [80 favorites]


Hmmm... does the #vaginamovielines thing have that much to do with this? And surely "some people using Twitter respond" rather than "Twitter responds"....
posted by Bwithh at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.
posted by grouse at 7:56 PM on June 14, 2012 [28 favorites]


So, this line about how the female representatives were barred from the floor for "violating the decorum of the House"? This is the same House where two male representatives got into A FISTFIGHT ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE in December of last year and were still allowed to speak and vote.
posted by 40 Watt at 7:57 PM on June 14, 2012 [111 favorites]


Bwithh, yes, that might have been a better way to phrase it. It was the Twitter hashtag that seems most relevant/active at the moment, and it was definitely started as a response to the Michigan issue (you can see that in some of the tweets).
posted by emjaybee at 7:58 PM on June 14, 2012


What. The. Fuck. with these FUCKING NEANDERTHALS.

The beginning of that video, when Rep. Byrum was repeatedly shouting out that she would like to speak and was talked over and ignored by the Speaker? I mean, what the fuck? How is that even remotely acceptable? What is going on with the way the GOP has been treating women and why is nothing being done about it? Women being silenced? Not being allowed to speak? I mean, this is middle ages stuff.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:05 PM on June 14, 2012 [80 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't realise that they had invented a time machine so the Michigan state house was in the 16th Century.
posted by arcticseal at 8:05 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wasn't vagina originally a euphemism anyway? All those latinate terms for body parts were the way to get around slang so very important official doctors could treat women for hysteria and the like.

I really want to know what on earth would have been an "acceptable" term.
posted by Mizu at 8:06 PM on June 14, 2012


Don't worry, Rep. Callton, no woman wants you discussing their vaginas. In fact, they would much prefer that you have nothing to do with their vaginas.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:07 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And here's the contact information page for the Michigan House of Representatives.
posted by tommyD at 8:08 PM on June 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow.
posted by jsturgill at 8:08 PM on June 14, 2012


I believe the proper term is hoo-haa. Let em ban that.

Sadly, I can't find an appropriate YouTube link to back me up, but anybody who's seen High Anxiety knows that the correct term is 'the woowoo'.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:12 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have we reached Peak Stupidity yet?
Surely this must be close.

(She should have said "Cunt", frankly).
posted by Mezentian at 8:14 PM on June 14, 2012 [17 favorites]


With the election of Rick Snyder as Governor, the State of Michigan has become a cesspool of right wing idiocy, there is nothing here left to be proud of. The only hope for those of us left here that have any sense is that Canada is only 30 miles away.
posted by HuronBob at 8:21 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


If she can't use the correct term for her vajay-jay, I don't know what she expects.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:22 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really want to know what on earth would have been an "acceptable" term.

Let's be honest, there is no acceptable term. Because this isn't actually about the words she used, it's about the fact that she dared to suggest that men shouldn't be legislating women's bodies.
posted by asnider at 8:25 PM on June 14, 2012 [162 favorites]


Let's be honest, there is no acceptable term. Because this isn't actually about the words she used, it's about the fact that she dared to suggest that men shouldn't be legislating women's bodies.

QFT
posted by device55 at 8:30 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


According to the Jezebel article I read, she's silenced indefinitely, not just for this bill.

The old white men may not let this upstart bitch speak in front of them again.
posted by Malor at 8:31 PM on June 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


According to the Jezebel article I read, she's silenced indefinitely, not just for this bill.

That's not undemocratic at all. Nope. Not one bit.
posted by asnider at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


The First Amendment does not apply here.

The Michigan House rules do. The relevant rule reads:

Rule 6. (1) The Presiding Officer shall preserve order and decorum; may speak to points of order, rising for that purpose; and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the House. When two or more Members rise at once, the Presiding Officer shall name the Member who is first to speak.

Barring Brown under this rule would be a rather liberal interpretation.

I haven't started digging around in Michigan's state constitution yet.
posted by Ardiril at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Of course this situation is utterly insane, and not to criticize Rep. Brown, but ... doesn't abortion have more to do with the uterus than the vagina?
posted by FrauMaschine at 8:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Just because legislators are terrible to one another does not mean we have to be. No name calling. Go to MetaTalk if you need to have a side discussion. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:43 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


In one of my high school English classes we read a greek play (I don't remember which), in which many of the female characters' names were greek slang for vagina — imagine characters named Kitty, Pussy, and Connie in an english play. The footnote explaining this told us that "the names were greek slang for pudenda muliebra".

Understanding their intention, I was nonetheless curious, and looked up the actual translation of the phrase. I then realized that in a footnote, in small typeface, they had told us, in Latin, that the names referred to "the shameful parts of a woman". That, my friends, is truly the polite and proper way to refer to a vagina.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:44 PM on June 14, 2012 [19 favorites]


I am having a really hard time articulating exactly what it is about this particular cock-up in the Michigan state senate, because I am so really fucking ANGRY.
posted by msali at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The First Amendment does not apply here.

If you're responding to me, I wasn't referring to free speech. I was referring to the fact that, by permanently silencing a representative in the house, you've effectively silenced her entire constituency. That's practically the opposite of democratic.
posted by asnider at 8:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


Assuming that half the population of Michigan is female, how is it possible that there will be a single Republican in office after the next election?

I'd guess it'd be because the local media will take their cues from the national media and paint every political contest as a horse race that could go either way, while going on and on and on about how both sides are equally bad but at least the Republicans want to lower the taxes on the wealthy, whose number you, dear Reader/Viewer, will be among if you just begin every morning with a hymn to St. Reagan and meekly accept all laws and regulations that hurt labor and the middle class.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [25 favorites]


All those sad boys talking about "men's rights"...this is it in action. Fuck them. The list of places I can feel OK about visiting keeps getting smaller and smaller.
posted by maxwelton at 8:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can you filibuster the lower house? Because all the women in the house need to start filibustering with The Vagina Monologues. Just to get the word "Vagina" out there a lot.

Although I do have to admit I took advantage of male squeamishness about girlparts when I was recently in a public-body meeting that had already run 9 hours or so and it was still going after midnight, mostly because of lawyers talking too damn much about too damn little. We took a five-minute break and I announced loudly to the woman who sits next to me at our board meetings, "I haven't breastfed in twelve hours; if we don't finish soon, I think my boobs are going to explode! Boy are they sore from milk engorgement!" All the men over 50* were like, "GAAAAAAAH" and several of them turned red above their white collars and power ties, and we actually finished pretty quickly after that.

*The couple of men under 50 who were in the meeting are of the generation where men learned about and talked about these things too, so their wives had mostly already put them through it, and they're more likely to be like, "Oh, yeah, my wife always had a hand pump, but one time she was in the car ..." Old dudes get very embarrassed that someone is discussing boobs in public and start clutching their pearls.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:50 PM on June 14, 2012 [37 favorites]


Do you have an opposing view about how this might make some kind of sense?
I would be interested to read it.
posted by Mezentian at 8:50 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Just because legislators are terrible to one another does not mean we have to be. No name calling. Go to MetaTalk if you need to have a side discussion. Thanks.]

I totally agree, but what a wasted opportunity to work in the word "decorum". That would have been so meta...
posted by sour cream at 8:51 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let's be honest, there is no acceptable term. Because this isn't actually about the words she used, it's about the fact that she dared to suggest that men shouldn't be legislating women's bodies.

It's not just that - it's also that she wilfully insisted that even though she's demonstrably a member of the ruling elite, she would not avail herself of the privileges thereunto appurtaining to except herself from the legislation under discussion. It's not just that she said "vagina" - it's that she made the law personal by suggesting that the other legislators were "interested in (her) vagina". She chose to stand with women instead of standing with her fellow lawmakers, so she must be punished.

Even if you are a member of the He-Man Woman Hater's Misogyny Club and Fishing Hut, if you're a Michigan voter, your legislation has betrayed you.
posted by gingerest at 8:51 PM on June 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Legislature, I meant. Sorry.
posted by gingerest at 8:51 PM on June 14, 2012


opportunity to work in the word "decorum"

Don't you mean, DICKORUM!!!

Whew, working that in feels, oh, so good.
posted by Ardiril at 8:53 PM on June 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maude: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowksi Calton?
Calton: Uh, is that what this is a picture of?
Maude: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
Calton: Oh yeah?
Maude: Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.
Calton: Johnson?
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am so upset about this I don't even know what to do next.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:57 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


The male Republicans of my state are afraid of the vagina. Which is odd becauze they're all douchebags.

This is also crying out for a "Pure Michigan" parody.

But seriously, this is about completely breaking any clinic which offers abortion services. Seek out a video of the moving statement by the rep from Saginaw.

And huronbob, as appalling as adenoid-boy guv Rick Snyder is, the state legislature has been Crazyville for a lot longer than his time in office.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:57 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"decorum of the house" is yet another reason why can't have nice things. Even if it weren't a fundamentally bullshit notion, the idea an adult finds (or finds it somehow expedient to pretend to find) the word "vagina" offensive, or even indecorous, makes me consider that adult totally unfit to hold any office, and the fact that some folks elected him makes me hate people.
posted by kengraham at 9:03 PM on June 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Is there a reason why everyone thinks the word "vagina" was offensive as opposed to the sexual innuendo?
posted by cheburashka at 9:14 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


What the fuck country and century are we living in? This is a good example why us "offensive" New Yorkers don't consider Manhattan to be part of the United States.
posted by Dean358 at 9:15 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Decorum of the house by itself is a personally fine concept. For example, as a general rule it's bad for legislators to be talking shit about each other, rather than about the issue before the House. Hell, we do that here in Mefi too [although I'm aware of the fact that Mefi isn't a public institution and such, that just adds emphasis to my point in this context].

What happened here is not about decorum. At worst, if the personal reference was indecorous (I dunno the normal situation), it would provoke a statement by whoever runs the show to please refrain from personal statements. A banning from speech is blatant majoritarian silencing of viewpoints they don't want to hear. I would be surprised if it was legal, even with the broad power of the House to regulate itself, and there's no question that it's immoral.

Above and beyond the immorality of the actual legislation.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:15 PM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Rule 6. (1) The Presiding Officer shall preserve order and decorum; may speak to points of order, rising for that purpose; and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the House. When two or more Members rise at once, the Presiding Officer shall name the Member who is first to speak.

Barring Brown under this rule would be a rather liberal interpretation.


Yes, the further description makes it clear that "preserve order and decorum" refers to managing the speakers in the moment; i.e., some gavel-banging and speaker-acknowledging when challenges to order and decorum are being posed. There is nothing in that rule to suggest the the Speaker has the power to bar a representative from speaking on any topic, indefinitely, because of a past offense against decorum. (Even if we grant for the purpose of argument that suggesting her fellow legislators are interested in her vagina is an affront against decorum.)
posted by palliser at 9:19 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Michigan legislature apparently, from both sides, has a history of abusing their majority rule for the moment. They take it to court, bog it down in appeals, and little comes of anything until the next legislature is seated. What's new here is the heights to which the Republicans have systematically raised their abuse.
posted by Ardiril at 9:26 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're all missing the point. They're not upset because she used the word vagina. They're upset because she referred to it as her vagina. If she'd said something like; "my husband Bob's vagina", then everything would have been OK.
posted by rdr at 9:29 PM on June 14, 2012 [18 favorites]


What happened here is not about decorum.

Right, and I bet it almost never is. I guess decorum is a fine notion, theoretically, but its utility as a means of silencing actual discussion probably makes its bugness outweigh its featureosity.
posted by kengraham at 9:31 PM on June 14, 2012


I want to say so much about this... but right now all that is coming out is just one long angry sound that is impossible to put down in a cohesive sentence.

Blarghhh. Vagina, vagina, vagina. There.
posted by littlesq at 9:32 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Vaginas are scary. There's a big one at the North Pole where the Venusian flying saucers come from.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Old dudes get very embarrassed that someone is discussing boobs in public and start clutching their pearls.

Some maybe. Others might simply be bothered by your ageism/sexism in lumping all men over 50 together in an effort to marginalize them. If I was to make a tone deaf comment like that about young women on this site the fur would fly in here. But, I see what you did there. I am old (over 50!), so pretty fun taking a shot at me I guess.
posted by jcworth at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2012 [23 favorites]


Offensive is in the ear of the listener. How many times have liberals played the "offensive" card over ridickulous udderances?
posted by Ardiril at 9:36 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


This makes my blood boil, and I'll get right to the point: NO male should have any say in the matter, and much less at a governmental level. I personally find the idea deeply offensive - this is a women's issue, case closed. That may seem simplistic, but there it is. Just disgusting and disturbing, any way you cut it.
posted by dbiedny at 9:37 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


For liberals, this election is between Those Folks Who Sometimes Do Things You Don't Like, versus Those Guys Whose Entire Raison d'Être Is Doing Things You Don't Like.

There should be more enthusiasm is what I'm saying
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:38 PM on June 14, 2012 [23 favorites]


"NO male should have any say in the matter... this is a women's issue, case closed."

Honestly asking here, why does the male participant in the act of fertilization not have any say in what happens to what would become his offspring?
posted by Cosine at 9:42 PM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


How many times have liberals played the "offensive" card over ridickulous udderances?

I'd be interested to hear of any time that a liberal has prevented technical discussion of a bill on the basis that it's offensive. That sounds like a social conservative thing to me.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:42 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


“Speaker of the House Jase Bolger informed House Democrats that female Representatives have been banned indefinitely from being able to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives”

Wait, is this actually true? Because I would assume that would be all sorts of illegal.
posted by littlesq at 9:43 PM on June 14, 2012


Cosine - I'm referring to males having any say over legislation that attempts to control women's health issues and control over their bodies. Again, simplistic, but this is one of those things that my damaged mind sees as a black and white thing.
posted by dbiedny at 9:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


dbiedny - sorry, I wasn't sure if you were implying the absolute or not, I am Canadian so they think I'm slow, eh.

And yeah, I pretty much think I agree with what you said anyway.
posted by Cosine at 9:52 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This country is fucking doomed.

Also, things like this are why I say it feels like sexism is worse now than it was in the 60's and 70's.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:53 PM on June 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


This is a good example why us "offensive" New Yorkers don't consider Manhattan to be part of the United States.
Most New Yorkers are, honestly, a bit too fucking parochial. There are other liberal cities and towns and communities interspersed throughout the US, even in the middle of "red" states.
posted by smidgen at 9:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [18 favorites]


littlesq: The only sources I can find that use the word 'indefinitely' are blogs. Do you have any actual news sites reporting the equivalent?
posted by Ardiril at 9:57 PM on June 14, 2012


I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work, because it makes people feel uncomfortable, and I'd run the risk of getting fired for violating sexual harassment regulations. Why should women be exempt of said regulations?
posted by GIFtheory at 10:16 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


DailyKos reports "Speaker of the House Jase Bolger informed House Democrats that female Representatives have been banned indefinitely from being able to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives" as part of an email from Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer.
posted by fredludd at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh my mistake, I misread it as all women representatives were banned from speaking. It was just the two women who were banned.
posted by littlesq at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


GIFtheory: "I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work, because it makes people feel uncomfortable, and I'd run the risk of getting fired for violating sexual harassment regulations. Why should women be exempt of said regulations"

You caused me to have a sudden flashback to my Plastic.com days. I want to tag the hell out of your comment as "DISINGENUOUS". You know full fucking well that there's not a movement orchestrated by a coalition of religious fundies and right-wind ideologues to control what you can do with your own penis, but that such a thing can be said about the GOP assault on women's choice.
posted by barnacles at 10:21 PM on June 14, 2012 [60 favorites]


Oh my mistake, I misread it as all women representatives were banned from speaking. It was just the two women who were banned.

For now.
posted by fuq at 10:21 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are other liberal cities and towns and communities interspersed throughout the US, even in the middle of "red" states.

Cite please. I live in Somerville (this is where everyone who goes to Harvard/MIT lives), and it's a pearl clutching nightmare.

I don't think that things are worse than before, but I think the REAL problem is self-congratulatory bullshit.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 10:26 PM on June 14, 2012


I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work, because it makes people feel uncomfortable, and I'd run the risk of getting fired for violating sexual harassment regulations. Why should women be exempt of said regulations?
posted by GIFtheory at 22:16 on June 14 [+] [!]


ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING
posted by nonmerci at 10:29 PM on June 14, 2012 [26 favorites]


You caused me to have a sudden flashback to my Plastic.com days. I want to tag the hell out of your comment as "DISINGENUOUS". You know full fucking well that there's not a movement orchestrated by a coalition of religious fundies and right-wind ideologues to control what you can do with your own penis, but that such a thing can be said about the GOP assault on women's choice.
posted by barnacles at 10:21 PM on June 14 [+] [!]
And I'd mod you right back as 'incoherent'.
posted by GIFtheory at 10:29 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly asking here, why does the male participant in the act of fertilization not have any say in what happens to what would become his offspring?

He can totally have a say when he takes on the risk of bodily harm, the restrictions, the discomfort, the pain, and the permanent physical changes that result from pregnancy.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:30 PM on June 14, 2012 [35 favorites]


ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING
posted by nonmerci at 10:29 PM on June 14 [+] [!]

Nope. Please use arguments to argue, and not profanities.
posted by GIFtheory at 10:30 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cite please.
I'm not sure what you mean by self-congratulatory, but how about Northhampton?
posted by smidgen at 10:32 PM on June 14, 2012


If you think barnacles' point is incoherent, you need to check your reading comprehension (and sense of history, and knowledge of current US events).

Of course, you're pretty blatantly trolling, and I recommend all other commenters who are eager to point out the fallacies in your statement bite their tongues. Thanks for playing.
posted by nonmerci at 10:33 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Stop derailing.

If you bring cock out in a discussion about whether to use perl or stick with ruby on rails for the new iteration of your website, it's kinda different from when you are debating even more restrictive abortation laws that directly impact what a woman is or is not allowed to do with her cooter.

If you don't get that, you don't have anything to bring to the table here and you'd better get back to discussions you're more suited to.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:35 PM on June 14, 2012 [26 favorites]


If my job was, in part at least, to discuss and debate issues that affect people's medical care, and I can't use or hear the scientific words for human anatomy without getting the fucking vapors, I should be fired.
posted by rtha at 10:36 PM on June 14, 2012 [55 favorites]


I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work, because it makes people feel uncomfortable, and I'd run the risk of getting fired for violating sexual harassment regulations. Why should women be exempt of said regulations?

Let's see. How about we go with "because a bunch of legislators aren't actively trying to legislate what you can and can't do with your penis"?

Yeah, let's go with that.

Christ.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [38 favorites]


I wonder how many times vagina was mentioned in the anti-abortion bill that the women were speaking out against.
posted by littlesq at 10:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many times vagina was mentioned in the anti-abortion bill that the women were speaking out against.
posted by littlesq at 22:39 on June 14 [+] [!]


Nah, they don't mention vaginas, just "cuddly proto-humans" and "fetuses-in-training."
posted by nonmerci at 10:43 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


DailyKos is not a news source.

MLive appears to be at least be a legitimate news source if not credible.

Quoting Gretchen Whitmer: “Speaker of the House Jase Bolger informed House Democrats that female Representatives have been banned indefinitely from being able to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives, silencing their abilities to speak out for themselves, their constituents and women across the state.”

So, all I can find so far is a Democrat using the word "indefinitely", not a Republican, and Republican Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons states Whitmer is lying. The impression I am getting is Brown was barred for her outburst in general rather than her specific use of 'vagina', and Callton's quote was just a tad recontextualized.

That's the problem with stories like these. Blogs used as information sources to produce outrage theater with no attempt to factcheck via actual news sources.

Not to mention, the real story here is this fucking outrageous bill that they are passing.

[What kind of name is Posthumus? Ah, I see. It's a surname.]
posted by Ardiril at 10:46 PM on June 14, 2012


I wonder how many times vagina was mentioned in the anti-abortion bill that the women were speaking out against.
posted by littlesq at 10:39 PM on June 14 [+] [!]
0. 1 reference to "uterine".
posted by smidgen at 10:47 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lisen people, you don't actually think you can appeal to these folks by citing "science" do you?
posted by madamjujujive at 10:48 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


So all we have to do to make Republicans' heads asplode is say 'vagina'?

Noted.
posted by mazola at 10:54 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Science: "Vagina"
(*clunk*) (muffled scream)
posted by smidgen at 10:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think there must be a certain type of person who thrives on congnitive dissonance. It's the only way to explain how fisticuffs are a-ok but medical language is not.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Comment deleted; GIFtheory, do not troll here.]
posted by taz at 11:00 PM on June 14, 2012 [27 favorites]


"'What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. 'It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.'

That's just an admission that you can't be trusted to treat men and women equally, Mike.

And all this indignation feigned for the sake of winning an argument? If this were a basketball or football/soccer game, Mike Callton would be throwing himself to the ground and then whining how the big bad lady had pushed him. You're supposed to be a doctor, Mike. Stand up, debate your case like an adult, and don't be afraid of talking about biology.
posted by pracowity at 11:04 PM on June 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


> "Also, things like this are why I say it feels like sexism is worse now than it was in the 60's and 70's."

Those decades saw the advent of The Pill in 1960 and Roe v. Wade in 1973, women's lib and Second Wave Feminism. They were heady times. I think the backlash started soon after and has steadily eroded things like access to abortion. The difficulty with receiving approval for the introduction of the morning after pill in this country was a marker in that process. It has gained momentum in this century. Abortion doctors are intimidated, even murdered, and fewer are willing to perform abortions. Fewer medical students are willing to learn the procedure, clinics are torched, patients are harassed. In some states the barriers already prevent abortion for all but the woman with sufficient resources to travel. Young women have far less access to reproductive health care than their parents' generation. We are almost all the way back to the 1960s on that score and the bishops' coalition will have us back to the '50s before the pill if they have their way with health care legislation.

Now a State Representative is blatantly stripped of her right to speak on the floor of Legislature. Shameful. It has been horrifying to see the hope women were given with the advances in women's rights steadily, almost imperceptibly, rolled back over decades until an entire generation of women simply no longer have the rights they were brought up to believe were inalienably theirs.

The War on Women this election year is brutal. It is shocking to even me that birth control which was always considered a boon to families is now openly opposed by a political party. I remember when people feared the candidacy of John F. Kennedy lest he bring some of that papist nonsense to contaminate our sacred separation of church and state! It didn't happen then but it is certainly happening now.
posted by Anitanola at 11:04 PM on June 14, 2012 [22 favorites]


From the bill:
THE POLICIES ENACTED BY THIS STATE HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN ORIENTED TOWARD THE PROTECTION AND NURTURING OF UNBORN CHILDREN, DESPITE THE IMPOSITION OF A REGIME OF LEGAL ABORTION BY THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.
So, clearly, the most important work to be done right now by the Michigan state legislature is to criminalize the medical care sought by the (roughly) three-hundredths-of-one-percent of women aged 15-44 who have abortions at 20 weeks or later, and the health professionals who care for them.... and to silence any and all democratically elected officials who dare to voice their objections.

Then in their next sessions, they can amend the bill to include procedures at 19 weeks. Then 18. Then 17. Etc.. And then they will tout how much they've done for Michiganders to "turn this country around," while of course clarifying that they're only pushing for increased governmental interference on the important stuff like abortion and marriage equality and "uppity" "sluts" like Sandra Fluke... because obviously otherwise Big Government Is Bad so let's cut labor and environmental regulations and government-funded social services and corporate taxes and foreign aid and everything else except maybe some juicy defense contracts and corn subsidies and oil-drilling projects in National Parks.

It'll all make sense, you'll see!
posted by argonauta at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


That bill is really something. My favorite part is where facilities that provide abortions have to put up signs in giant letters (at least 44-point font) telling women that coercion to abort is illegal, and providing contact information for domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines. It's my favorite because there's no requirement that anyone put up big signs about domestic violence or sexual coercion or coercing a woman to continue a pregnancy being illegal. Because domestic violence only really matters if a woman might be forced to end a pregnancy. And reproductive coercion only counts in one direction.
posted by gingerest at 11:17 PM on June 14, 2012 [32 favorites]


"As a woman and mother, I was personally offended by Rep. Lisa Brown's disgraceful actions during Wednesday's floor debate," state Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto.

WTF
posted by artdrectr at 11:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"WTF"

As with the War On (Some) Drugs, this is only a War On (Some) Women. It really does have multiple sides. Such is the cloistering effect of only reading sites like MeFi, DailyKOS, and Jezebel.
posted by Ardiril at 11:45 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And huronbob, as appalling as adenoid-boy guv Rick Snyder is, the state legislature has been Crazyville for a lot longer than his time in office."

Yeah, but at least Granholm used to either veto or threaten to veto their bullshit. Michigan already had one of the worst supreme courts in the country, so having somewhat divided government really kept down the incredible stupid that results from disproportionate representation of rural jackasses.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


You say "war on some women", I say "war on women, now with more Quislings!".
posted by gingerest at 11:49 PM on June 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


[Comment deleted. Sincere request to not make the rest of this thread about GIFtheory. Please.]
posted by taz at 12:23 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The seven eight dirty words: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits and vagina.
posted by Pendragon at 12:49 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work, because it makes people feel uncomfortable, and I'd run the risk of getting fired for violating sexual harassment regulations.

But there's a bit of a difference between being a legislator, needing to discuss laws that seek to regulate what people do with their reproductive organs, and serving customers beneath the Golden Arches, amirite?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:55 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lady basement.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:49 AM on June 15, 2012


Front bum.
posted by pracowity at 2:11 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would like to invite women to come to Canada to escape... but Harper is busy breaking this country so I'm not sure they'd be any better off...

I was taught the word vagina in school. I was taught that its important to know the proper names for body parts so that if I ever needed to talk about those body parts, for example to a doctor, I would be able to do so accurately.

It's pretty clear that she made that statement for shock value. Its also pretty clear that she did an excellent job of proving her point.

Vagina is only a dirty word if vaginas are dirty. Are vaginas dirty?

Why are an unequal number of men in place to make this decision?

I would like to know what happened with this amendment. It seems pretty valid.

Just some thoughts.
posted by windykites at 2:24 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I haven't seen any proper news sources use the word 'indefinitely', I have also not seen any credible news sources reference a defined period for the ban. So it seems to be a ban, of undefined duration - an indefinite ban, if you will.
posted by Dysk at 3:00 AM on June 15, 2012


This could be an explanation: Men may be subconsciously looking at women through the lenses of their own marriages.
posted by loosemouth at 3:00 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


It didn't take much googling to find that Speaker Jase Bolger hasn't been a stranger to controversy in elected office.

So no, I don't think this is really an issue about vaginas, it's just another politician being a dick.

The good news is that it appears he'll be term limited out of his current job after one more term. The bad news is I'd imagine the republican party has big plans for him in the future.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:18 AM on June 15, 2012


Offensive is in the ear of the listener. How many times have liberals played the "offensive" card...

Offensive is in the ear of the listener. The Speaker's ear just so happens to consider offensive that which challenges his male privilege. Liberals tend to criticize speech as offensive when it perpetuates systemic inequities; conservatives tend to criticize speech as offensive when it challenges systemic inequities.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:34 AM on June 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


This shit scares the hell out of me. This isn't American. This is the kind of shit I was raised to consider as signs that things are entirely wrong. It goes with a host of others.

VAGINA!

Meanwhile, whatever happened to the issue of torture? See, I remember when the US had at least a minor claim to the moral high ground, because whatever else we did, we didn't torture prisoners. Torture.

VAGINA?

What about all those thousands of Iraqi civilians that are dead, for no particularly good reason? What about all that money down the toilet from a bullshit war? Why are they blaming Obama when we spent all the money on a worthless war?

VAGINA!

But lets worry about abortions and what women might choose to do with their bodies, if we actually treat them like fellow adult citizens. THAT is important!

VAGINA!
posted by Goofyy at 4:57 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


There has been a shocking lack of decent news coverage of the Michigan legislature's antics - hence the need to go to blogs. As near as I can tell Rachel Maddow and Michigan Radio to some degree are about the only ones reliably covering it, most major Michigan media have not gone into any kind of depth on what's going on. Brown and Byrum were apparently only blocked from speaking for that day according to Maddow though.

This horrible abortion bill - actually a set of three bills - is only one example. Our state constitution requires a roll call and 73 vote majority (super-majority) in the house to pass any bill with immediate effect rather than in the next term. And yet the legislature has been routinely doing so, rolling over the protests of democratic legislators. Of course the Dems have done that too but not with the level of horrendous blowing away people's rights that has become routine lately.
posted by leslies at 5:16 AM on June 15, 2012


Oh, no, there's no Republican War on Women. The very notion is patently absurd!
posted by Legomancer at 5:20 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"'What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. 'It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.'

It is possible that I move in different circles than Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, but in my finding pretty much everyone who has a vagina is aware of the fact and is not embarrassed by it.

I am appalled at the message here: "Woman, sit down and be quiet. Men are making decisions about you."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:21 AM on June 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Offensive is in the ear of the listener. How many times have liberals played the "offensive" card over ridickulous udderances?

Here's the difference, though, sparky.

1. In the instance we are discussing, the one bit deemed offensive was the single word "vagina." Just the word itself, in any context.

2. In the instances you're thinking of, in which 'liberals' deemed something offensive, the offensive bit was something like "god hates fags" or "blacks are all druggies" or something of that nature. The words themselves were not at issue, the thoughts behind them were.

So what you're saying is, if it's entirely "in the ear of the listener" when it comes to defining something as "objectionable," then homophobia and racism are on the same scale as an inherant part of my very anatomy. And that's patently ridiculous, because -- okay, yeah, I've been told I'm kind of ace in the sack, but not to the point that my Holiest of Holies is causing society-wide demographic shifts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:32 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wish she would have said there's a party in my vagina and you aren't invited.
posted by stormpooper at 5:46 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Byrum, D-Onondaga, caused a disturbance on the House floor Wednesday when she wasn't allowed to introduce an amendment to the abortion regulations bill banning men from getting a vasectomy unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man's life," the Detroit News reports.

onondagalogically brilliant!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2012


stormpooper: That's so wrong, but I'm a sucker for a reference.
posted by lith at 5:50 AM on June 15, 2012


It doesn't seem like its a blanket ban:

Two Women Reps. Banned From Speaking in Michigan House (ABC News)


Michigan bans women representatives for using the V-word
Two Michigan lawmakers have been blocked from speaking on the state House floor as punishment for using the word vagina in a heated debate over abortion. (Daily Telegraph)

From The Daily Beast:

A second female Democrat, Barb Byrum of Onondaga, was also gaveled and banned from talking today, but her crime was speaking out of turn. She had wanted to share her proposed amendment to the bill—that vasectomies be regulated similarly to the abortions in question. She asked to be recognized, and called out for attention when she was not acknowledged, at which point she continued to speak.

Adler said she was punished because she “threw a temper tantrum on the House floor.”


I suppose she must have been getting hysterical because of her clitoris.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:51 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am wondering if the censure was not really about her uttering the word "vagina" but more about her adding "no means no", which is clearly a reference to sexual assault? Did some of the legislators think that she was implying that they were engaging in a form of sexual assault?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:54 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If someone were to start a Kickstarter project to pay a bunch of people to follow Mike Callton around repeating the word 'vagina' 8 hours a day, I would probably singlehandedly fund a week of it.
posted by Mayor West at 6:01 AM on June 15, 2012 [22 favorites]


I am wondering if the censure was not really about her uttering the word "vagina" but more about her adding "no means no", which is clearly a reference to sexual assault?

Nah, I'm pretty sure it's just "oh noez she said 'vagina' ew that's an icky word".

I've met a lot of people like that. There are a lot of people for whom a single word, regardless of the context, just icks them out and they think people shouldn't hear it. In fact, that is actually what the "Politically Correct" movement was originally about -- it wasn't about thoughts, the way people use the term today ("I'd point out that [such and such a concept], but it's not 'pc' to acknowledge that"), but it was rather about individual words. Regardless of context -- someone once used the expression "a chink in my armor" and got critcized for being offensive to Chinese-Americans.

There are people who think that individual words themselves are offensive, and the context makes no nevermind. You can't even use those words if you're saying something positive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are people who think that individual words themselves are offensive, and the context makes no nevermind.

Agreed, there was an FPP and very long thread about a different word the other day!

onondagalogically brilliant!

Could somebody help me with the definition of "onondagalogically". If I assume it is not misspelled it almost sounds like a reference to the logic employed by Native Americans from New York and Canada. An "ontological" argument is something very different.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:08 AM on June 15, 2012


Seymour Zamboni, the representative is Byrum, D-Onondaga.
posted by valrus at 6:21 AM on June 15, 2012


Thank You! I didn't catch that part.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:27 AM on June 15, 2012


Christ... The whole fucking lot of them need to be strapped down and forced to endure 72 hours straight of watching varrious productions of The Vagina Monologs.
posted by edgeways at 6:27 AM on June 15, 2012


If you're discussing abortions in sufficient detail to make them illegal without using the word 'vagina', you're doing it wrong.
posted by lith at 6:30 AM on June 15, 2012


Most New Yorkers are, honestly, a bit too fucking parochial. There are other liberal cities and towns and communities interspersed throughout the US, even in the middle of "red" states.

Yes of course, there are many wonderful comunitees all across America. But they are scattered among many scary, backward places seething with prejudice and ignorance. And our economic melt down hasn't exactly brought out the best in those folks. To the contrary, there is a level of anger is this country that I've never seen before. The Tea Party crazies are reflecting that anger back, and doing everything they can to "blow shit up" in congress to get back at all the "elites" that have "clearly tried to fuck them all these years," as this bill demonstrates.

And, for the record, I actually don't consider NYC to be "liberal." We're certainly not "liberal" with regard to economics (the silliness of sweeping generalizations aside). It's just that having this much cool diversity in a population living so close together fosters a "live and let live" attitude and an openness to other people's values and ideas. Isn't that one of the most "conservative" bedrocks of our constitution?
posted by Dean358 at 6:41 AM on June 15, 2012


On power:
"Power is not an infinite quantity, power is a finite quantity. If I have power, someone else does not have power. If someone else has power, I do not have power. That is the nature of power. And people run around, saying that they are 'empowering' people. Women. Indigenous peoples. Lower economic classes. So I say, if you are going to tell me who has been 'empowered', first you must tell me who has been 'disempowered'."

– Stan Thekaekara
On language
"Our use of language related to gender represents male dominance – male power. With intercourse, for instance, medical and legal language uses the word 'penetration'. That was written by a 'penetrator', for it directly describes one-half of the equation. The other half of the equation in that case is 'the penetrated'. In our institutional language, we speak of sex in context of 'the penetrator' and 'the penetrated'. 'Penetration' involves force, and it is language distinctly shared with sports and the military. It's a male word and represents male power in terms of defining the language. In my experience, women do not use the word penetration to describe sex unless they are talking to a man, a man who may be a doctor, lawyer, or police officer.

(raises her voice) "Jane, it was wonderful last night. We had a nice dinner, had a bottle of wine, and then he penetrated me. It was great, I knew it would be great. He penetrated and penetrated, I just didn't want him to stop penetrating." (class lightly laughs)

"How would men feel if rather than 'penetration', the terminology was 'enclosure' and the related terms were 'enclosing', 'the encloser', and 'the enclosed'. Do you think men would brag about sex in the same way if they used that terminology?"

(lowers her voice) "So Jack, let me tell you about last night. She enclosed me. I mean she really enclosed me. I don't think I've ever been enclosed that hard before" (class erupts with laughter)

"I don't think men would like that. 'Enclosing' means to something off from it's surroundings. It's also a form of power, you have to have power over something to enclose it. Do you think a man would feel comfortable with a women 'cutting something off' rather than the man 'forcing his way in'? I don't think so. I think that would make men very uncomfortable."

(gestures toward a blushing man in the room) "In fact, it already has. Men have a difficult time even discussing a change of language from 'penetrate' to 'enclose'. They find it very disempowering."

– (A brilliant Psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University in 1998 whose name embarrasingly I have failed to properly enclose...)
posted by nickrussell at 6:44 AM on June 15, 2012 [36 favorites]


I've met a lot of people like that. There are a lot of people for whom a single word, regardless of the context, just icks them out and they think people shouldn't hear it.

This.

The word for these people is a good illustration of the subtlety involved, here. A good candidate descriptor is "retarded", but there is actually a strong argument to be made that using that word, in that colloquial way, actually is offensive to reasonable people. This is why someone's "ack but liberals are always playing the offensiveness card" is so irksome: it's not hard to see that it's unreasonable to be offended by, simply, the word "vagina", but that it is reasonable to be offended by, say, the average ethnic slur, applied in "good faith", or "ironically", or in any context save a direct quotation. One has to be able to make distinctions, not enforce toddleresque interpretations of hypocrisy and fairness.

(I would love to know the precise motivations of the "chink-in-the-armor" ESPN (?) person. That one is bizarre.)
posted by kengraham at 6:54 AM on June 15, 2012


Here's the difference, though, sparky.

Sorry about my previous post; I didn't preview sufficiently and find that you'd gotten there already.
posted by kengraham at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2012


And, for the record, I actually don't consider NYC to be "liberal." We're certainly not "liberal" with regard to economics (the silliness of sweeping generalizations aside). It's just that having this much cool diversity in a population living so close together fosters a "live and let live" attitude and an openness to other people's values and ideas. Isn't that one of the most "conservative" bedrocks of our constitution?

Yeah...well...I have to say here that the most obstinate and irrational conservative policy complaints (i.e. unconcerned with actual economic fact or data) and the most eye-wateringly racist remarks I've ever heard voiced about Obama came directly from the mouth of one of a cadre of New Yorkers, who were not all friends at home, gathered 3000mi away in Oregon for a wedding:

Most memorable assessment: "just another n***** that failed."

My impression of diversity in New York has always been that the familiarity of cheek-to-jowl living breeds as much contempt as it does kumbaya. Humans suck sometimes.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:05 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Power is not an infinite quantity, power is a finite quantity. If I have power, someone else does not have power. If someone else has power, I do not have power. That is the nature of power. And people run around, saying that they are 'empowering' people. Women. Indigenous peoples. Lower economic classes. So I say, if you are going to tell me who has been 'empowered', first you must tell me who has been 'disempowered'."
this is one of the more disturbing ideas i've heard today
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:07 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know people have said this upthread but the idea that scientific terms are inherently offensive is bizarre. If you can't even talk about female anatomy because you're too ashamed or freaked out or whatever, you have no business making laws about it.
posted by immlass at 7:14 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


....the most eye-wateringly racist remarks I've ever heard voiced about Obama came directly from the mouth of one of a cadre of New Yorkers, who were not all friends at home, gathered 3000mi away in Oregon for a wedding:

Most memorable assessment: "just another n***** that failed."

My impression of diversity in New York has always been that the familiarity of cheek-to-jowl living breeds as much contempt as it does kumbaya. Humans suck sometimes.


Yup, humans do suck sometimes. I've also witnessed breath taking acts of kindness between total strangers on the sheets of NYC. But back to the people you heard talking racist shit: did anyone call them out on their remarks? If not, how come ??? Let me ask you this: if they had made those same idiotic remarks in any bar in NYC, what do you think would have happened?
posted by Dean358 at 7:16 AM on June 15, 2012


Opps, that should have read "streets of NYC," but actually, "sheets" works too .....:-)
posted by Dean358 at 7:17 AM on June 15, 2012


I would love to know the precise motivations of the "chink-in-the-armor" ESPN (?) person. That one is bizarre.

Not ESPN to my knowledge; it was something I'd heard happened on a college campus. The source of the complaint was that "chink" was (and in a very small set of circles, still is) used as a derogatory term for Chinese persons.

No, really, that was it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:20 AM on June 15, 2012


Yes of course, there are many wonderful comunitees all across America. But they are scattered among many scary, backward places seething with prejudice and ignorance.

Um. Have you spent much time in New York, north or west of (say) Westchester? Because I have the sneaking suspicion that you may find that NYC is itself a liberal oasis in the midst of the howling ghosts of a red state. NYC is just fortunate enough to be large enough to make them electorally insignificant.
posted by Mayor West at 7:26 AM on June 15, 2012


Let me ask you this: if they had made those same idiotic remarks in any bar in NYC, what do you think would have happened?

Well, we shouldn't derail the thread. He wasn't called out, because the other New Yorkers assembled there shared his views, more or less. I'm sure there are places in NYC where they would all invite an ass whipping with that kind of remark--but their demeanor suggested to me that wherever they go to drink, it's common enough banter.

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:27 AM on June 15, 2012


this is one of the more disturbing ideas i've heard today

I find it disturbing to think about the inequitable distribution in power in our society and the human suffering it causes. Others find it disturbing to be asked that they give up their unfair advantages in the name of equity (such as the advantage of defining decorum so as to stifle their critics).
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:30 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is one of the more disturbing ideas i've heard today

Well the guy's an idiot, but still right: if we empower minorities (obv a +) then we necessarily disempower, by relativity, the privileged. Another +
posted by MangyCarface at 7:35 AM on June 15, 2012


No, really, that was it.

Ah, I thought you were talking about this silly incident.
posted by kengraham at 7:40 AM on June 15, 2012


I don't know how much of a failure this administration is. At least, when it fails, it usually does so while working toward aims and ideals I value. And the administration has started taking some much bolder moves recently, making up for some of the failures due to partisan obstructionism. A recent example:

Obama Policy Will Grant Immunity To Young Immigrants

The administration just essentially announced its doing a short end-run around congress' intransigence on immigration reform by setting a new, immigration policy through executive order. Maybe the Obama admin has failed in some areas, but for the most part, it has failed in the pursuit of the kinds of policies and ideals I agree with (I'll take this admin's failures in its attempt to close Gitmo and try KSM in civilian court, for example, over Bush admin style "successes" like the Iraq invasion and occupation any day).

And say what you like about the drone strikes (I find them problematic too, though I would point out the administration recently revised its guidelines to prohibit targeted drone strikes on private residences and homes in Afghanistan even when occupied by suspected terrorists)--far fewer civilians are dying now than when we threw all those bodies on the fire during Bush II's attempt to conquer Persia.

Well the guy's an idiot, but still right: if we empower minorities (obv a +) then we necessarily disempower, by relativity, the privileged. Another +

That assumes "power" is a zero-sum game. I humbly submit that any form of personal empowerment that depends on curtailing the powers of others isn't empowerment at all. It's simply exploiting the imbalances in personal power to one's own advantage--the more your power derives from the deprivation of others, the more dependent you become on those oppressed masses to maintain the position of relative social advantage. If your power base is the oppression of others, you become more, not less, dependent on those you oppress over time, and therefore, you have less and less real autonomy and personal power, not more.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:46 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Folks, maybe don't turn this into the discussion you want to have about Obama and instead participate in the discussion already in progress please?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:50 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, I thought you were talking about this [Steven Lin] silly incident.

The difference there is that Steve Lin was involved; he is Chinese-American, and it was a little questionable whether they actually knew that and were making a dumb joke in the process. The incident I'm referring to was, like, a guy who was talking about how French fries were the "chink in his armor" against weight gain or something equally as unrelated to Chinese persons.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on June 15, 2012


@This, of course, alludes to you: this is one of the more disturbing ideas i've heard today
@MangyCarface: Well the guy's an idiot, but still right
Stan Thekaekara is Founder Director of Just Change, a radical trade model linking producers, consumers and investors in a mutually beneficial, equitable cooperative. Since the early 70’s Stan has worked for indigenous people’s rights, community development and social Entrepreneurship. Known for his radical and innovative thinking on development economics, he is frequently invited to lecture at national and international events. He is on the Board of several charities, ranging from grassroots organisations like ACCORD, which he cofounded to work for the rights of the indigenous people in South India, to international charities like Oxfam GB
@audi alteram partem: I find it disturbing to think about the inequitable distribution in power in our society and the human suffering it causes. Others find it disturbing to be asked that they give up their unfair advantages in the name of equity

Indeed.
posted by nickrussell at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2012


I've similarly heard of people who were saying that there was "a nip in the air" on a blustery day being accused of being anti-Japanese-American. I should also point out that this was happening chiefly on college campuses in the late 80's/early 90's.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2012


And surely "some people using Twitter respond" rather than "Twitter responds"....

How about just "people respond"?

Why should the press plug a private corporation in EVERY SINGLE NEWS ITEM? I mean, in the old days, you would never write "The United States Postal Service responded with outraged letters."

The medium is irrelevant. The mindless repetition of Twitter, Tweet, etc. seems a panicked effort to be digitally hip, and it demotes by omission other venues for equally valid speech.
posted by General Tonic at 7:59 AM on June 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


NYC is itself a liberal oasis in the midst of the howling ghosts of a red state
are you taking into account class or anything

because, you know, Brooklyn and like, literally Manhattan
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:10 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't really see the big deal. I don't get to talk about my penis at work. . .

GIFtheory, does the work of your employment affect what the citizens in your state do with their vaginas, uteri, and penises?
posted by Feisty at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or, more germane to the actual incident - if your work did require you to discuss your penis and the penes of others at work, would you at least be expected to be permitted to use the word "penis" when doing so?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:24 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


And, for the record, I actually don't consider NYC to be "liberal."

It's not liberal but at least it's civilized!
posted by fuq at 8:25 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think there must be a certain type of person who thrives on congnitive dissonance. It's the only way to explain how fisticuffs are a-ok but medical language is not.

To describe the December fracas as a fistfight is a big ingenuous too. A third party was pushed down to the ground, but I don't think anyone claims punches were thrown by either party.

It seems like Rep. Santana is just a bit of an asshole.

... back to our VAGINAS!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:36 AM on June 15, 2012


Do you have an opposing view about how this might make some kind of sense?

I would be interested to read it.


Thanks for this ^^^. My first genuine laugh of the day.

literally Manhattan

Seriously. Where does the funding, production, and propagation of the vast majority of right-wing propaganda in this country originate? ... 1211 Avenue of the Americas.

And surely "some people using Twitter respond" rather than "Twitter responds"....

How about just "people respond"?


No, how about "Twitter responds" just like "Metafilter responds"?

Regardless of how large and diverse the user bases are, Twitter and Facebook are still online communities, and I think the usage in the FPP is completely appropriate and correct, if the intent is to reference "the Twitter community's response," which I think it is.

i.e. look up metonym, ya numbnuts.

The medium is irrelevant.

Further nonsense. You don't think Twitter's users' reactions are going to be different than letters to local newspapers?

Sorry for continuing the derail, but boiled over outrage has to spill somewhere.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:48 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's really most interesting to me here (aside from the obvious outrage at the disenfranchisement, etc.) is the Jewish argument against the legislation.

"I was either banned for being Jewish and rightfully pointing out that HB 5711 was forcing contradictory religious beliefs upon me and my religion," Brown said in a Thursday press conference. "Or is it because I used the word 'vagina,' which is an anatomically, medically correct term?"

Standing with Byrum, Planned Parenthood and several other House Democrats, Brown said that as a "committed and practicing Jew, I follow my faith’s teachings on women's health issues."

She said Jewish teachings say when a pregnant woman's health and life are at stake, that woman's life is the primary thing.

"As a Jew, I realize my beliefs are in the minority. I understand that many people hold different opinions and I respect that. It would never occur to to me to force my beliefs on someone else. All I did was urge my fellow lawmakers to extend to me that same consideration."

Brown said she was stopped "from doing the very job I was elected to do."

"Maybe my message of religious freedom didn't sit well with the opposition. Or maybe they're mad at me because I dared to say vagina, the correct medical name of a part of a woman's anatomy that these lawmakers are trying to regulate."


- "Rep. Lisa Brown questions whether her Jewish faith led to being banned from House floor debate"

Has any other politician ever made that "religious freedom" argument for abortion rights? It is fascinating to me. Is it too religiously fringey for people to take seriously? I don't know enough about Judaism ...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Have we reached Peak Stupidity yet?
Surely this must be close.


Unfortunately, unlike other resources, stupidity is self-renewing.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:03 AM on June 15, 2012


Seems that these gentlemen would be well served by receiving some of my old stash of Eric Stanton postcards. Maybe we can get them used to the word vagina so they can debate women's issues properly.

"What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company."

Mike Callton
N-1191 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909

"Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, determined Brown's comments violated the decorum of the House, said Ari Adler, spokesman for the Republican majority."

Jim Stamas
153 Capitol Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909

Ari B. Adler
Press Secretary at Office of Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger
164 Capitol
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909

Jase Bolger
164 Capitol
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
posted by Monday at 9:03 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


E-mail and twitter:

@SpeakerBolger
JamesBolger@house.mi.gov

JimStamas@house.mi.gov

MikeCallton@house.mi.gov

Also @MIGOP

To express your support:
@LisaBrown39
lisabrown@house.mi.gov

@BarbByrum
barbbyrum@house.mi.gov
posted by NorthernLite at 9:18 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Colour me ignorant, but how many people are actually going to hear about this incident? I don't have/watch cable so I don't know if it's being covered there or in the papers...but it's disturbingly absent from my google news feed. It's hard to expect people to vote out these disturbed Republicans if nobody is aware of what they are doing.
posted by trogdole at 9:20 AM on June 15, 2012


So a woman gets banned from speaking for saying "Vagina", I'm assuming by this scale of punishment, the guy who kept yelling "LIAR!" at the president was thrown into the ocean or something, right?

Right?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:21 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What interests me most about this is how the argumentative tools built up over decades of political correctness are now being used for evil.

It's not just here, but this is quite the good example.

You start off telling people they can't call a woman a "cunt" because it offends, and before you know it, this same language of offence is snowcloned to stop people saying "vagina" when they're actually talking about vaginas.

The only solution I can see is to tread warily into the waters of "the intention of what was said was...", but as we've seen on metafilter, that's a subjective black hole just waiting to tear people away from each other.
posted by zoo at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2012


because it offends...tread warily into the waters of "the intention...

The argument I've seen for not calling people derogatory names is not that it is offensive but that such language perpetuates inequality. Intention may be difficult to determine, but the effect of sexist/racist/etc. language is more easily assessed. These effects can be seen in language including both explicit slurs, in that it alienates people from participating, and in more subtle uses of language such as the double standard at play in this legislature where "vagina" is determined to be more indecorous than shouting and angry physical contact.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


cheburashka: "Is there a reason why everyone thinks the word "vagina" was offensive as opposed to the sexual innuendo?"

This. I want to be clear that I think these Neanderthals are awful (wait, I think I just insulted Neanderthals).

But I don't really think it's about "oh my god she said vagina" it's more about how she figuratively referred to rape ("no means no"). Now, I understand what she meant, and I think most of us do. But I would guess that's what the Neanderthals moral-right-wingers are taking offense to.

It's like they're saying the sky is green, and we all know the sky is blue, but for some reason we're making fun of how stupid they are for thinking the sky is yellow. Getting their (incoherent) position wrong doesn't make us look any more coherent.
posted by secretseasons at 10:03 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Quite honestly, the whole "we are offended she implied we are rapists" thing is giving them far too much credit. They wanted to shut her down because her statements exposed the nasty underbelly of this insane abortion restriction law they were pushing through. "Vagina" is not considered a respectable word by many...as shown by the incessant outraged grumbling about productions of the Vagina Monologues, outrage that is explicitly framed as What About the Children.

Remember, these are the same people who argue that the mere knowledge that a teacher is gay will traumatize a young person and make them think about sexual things they would never ever consider otherwise. People who believe that just telling a young person about birth control will make them start having sex with everyone in sight. Fear of human sexuality is dyed right in to their platform.

"No means no" is not specifically about rape, but about consent. And in this context, it was a clever and cutting remark aimed at people actively trying to make consent irrelevant and unavailable to 51% of the population.
posted by emjaybee at 10:17 AM on June 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


You start off telling people they can't call a woman a "cunt" because it offends, and before you know it, this same language of offence is snowcloned to stop people saying "vagina" when they're actually talking about vaginas.

There's a huge missing gap in that "before you know it" part. Cunt is offensive. Vagina is not. You're basically saying that if we ban the N-word, soon people won't be allowed to say African-American.

Quite honestly, the whole "we are offended she implied we are rapists" thing is giving them far too much credit.

Yes. Way, way too much credit. They might spin it that way if it falls apart, but they are definitely mad about the word "vagina."

"In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:24 AM on June 15, 2012


(Please stop quoting The Big Lewbowski. Yes, most of us know they mention the word vagina. After the 5th (?) reference to it, those of us who didn't now do.)
posted by agregoli at 11:23 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm from Michigan, and almost every day it get more embarrassing to admit to that. Oh, and we have city named Climax. Trust me when I say Rep. Callton has never been able to get to it, literally or figuratively.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:26 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm from Michigan, and almost every day it get more embarrassing to admit to that.

As I have explained previously, we're like Phoenix with blizzards.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:29 PM on June 15, 2012


The difference there is that Steve Lin was involved; he is Chinese-American

I'm in complete agreement, then; the Lin incident probably involved an offensive use of "chink", while the characterization of french* fries as a "chink in the armor" is, though semantically kind of bizarre since french fries are solid, obviously fine.

I also think that people who pull a Callton are rarely actually offended by some word; it just plays well to a certain audience to pretend to be outraged and offended. This is actually even worse; someone genuinely offended by "vagina" is an idiot to be pitied; someone pretending to be offended by "vagina" in order to silence dissent is evil.
posted by kengraham at 12:33 PM on June 15, 2012


What About the Children.

I'd support mandatory abortions for all if it meant we never had to hear that type of rhetoric ever again.
posted by kengraham at 12:36 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nonsensical GOP Spokesperson Says Female Legislator Was Banned for Supposed Rape Metaphors, Not ‘Vagina’
posted by homunculus at 12:40 PM on June 15, 2012


So, "no means no" is so horrendous a phrase it can't be used in mixed company. But fighting is fine. Good to know.
posted by rtha at 12:48 PM on June 15, 2012


Recently the debate about abortion bills has come to resemble the Monty Python sketch about the Tax on Thingy.
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


the Lin incident probably involved an offensive use of "chink", while the characterization of french* fries as a "chink in the armor" is, though semantically kind of bizarre since french fries are solid, obviously fine.

You're....kind of still not getting it, and that may be partly my fault. I don't recall if it actually was french fries, but I do know that whatever it was that was declared to be "a chink in the armor" was something that was completely and totally unrelated to China in any way, shape, or form. Because in the expression "a chink in the armor," the word "chink" is used to mean "a weak spot". People have been using the expression "a chink in the armor" to mean "weak spot" since the 1400's. Meanwhile, the use of the term "chink" as a derogative term to describe "Chinese person" has only been around since 1880 or so.

So the issue is, person A used the term "chink in the armor" to describe a random thing, and had utterly no cognitive intent to connect it to Chinese people, Asian people, or even French people or Ukranian people or any people. Person A just meant "this thing is a weak spot". Person B heard the word "chink" used in the middle of that phrase and went apeshit* and called him prejudiced, and Person A was all, "bwah?"

* Please note that I am also not referring to actual apes or actual shit here, either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


but I do know that whatever it was that was declared to be "a chink in the armor" was something that was completely and totally unrelated to China in any way, shape, or form

Yup. That's the difference I thought you were citing. One usage is obviously fine, and one is something that reasonable people can find offensive, because of that difference. What am I not getting?
posted by kengraham at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2012


Is the part that I didn't get the fact that I thought "chink" (in "chink in the armor") meant something like "small hole, or crack", and not "weak spot", and therefore my belief that the idea of something solid (a french fry) as a chink is strange is wrong?

It's hopefully been obvious all along that one "chink" was deployed in a situation involving a person of Chinese descent, and one wasn't. Why else would I think that one is offensive and one isn't?
posted by kengraham at 1:23 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


One usage is obviously fine, and one is something that reasonable people can find offensive, because of that difference. What am I not getting?

The fact that the offensiveness was about context rather than the mere sound of the word or something.

It's an even more extreme and somewhat far-fetched example, but - remember when some people were up in arms when a congressman used the word "niggardly" to describe something? The word "niggardly" means "petty" or "miserly", and has an Old Norse etymology. But because it sounds like a completely different word, people took offense and were all upset because "omigod he used 'the n-word'."

But...he hadn't. He'd used a completely and utterly and totally different word that just sounded similar. And paying attention to what he was saying in context, you could have figured that out.

My point being: context makes the meaning of a word when you say it, as opposed to just the word itself. If you're using the term "a chink in the armor" to make a half-assed pun when talking about a Chinese person, that can be offensive because you're riffing on the "chink-meaning-Chinese-person" thing. But if you're using "a chink in the armor" to talk about something like a dent in your car's hood, then....that's different.

It is a word's meaning and context that determines whether you have used it in an offensive way, rather than just the essence of its being or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


And the way this relates to this issue is: Lisa Brown's colleagues weren't reacting because she was saying anything offensive about vaginas. They were offended because she merely uttered the word "vagina". Their complaint wasn't "you're implying we're sexual predators," their complaint was "you needed to use a more discreet word, like 'genitals' or 'private parts' or something."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:29 PM on June 15, 2012


The fact that the offensiveness was about context rather than the mere sound of the word or something.

Apparently you're not talking to me, because I didn't say anything about anything other than context as an arbiter of offensiveness.

I brought up the ESPN incident precisely because it is a good example of a situation where a word was used in a way that, strictly speaking, was not offensive (the journalist had plausible deniability, in other words), but where the context obviously left the user of the word open to reasonable accusations of using an ethnic slur. It would be interesting whether the journalist's thought process was something like: "Hey! What a cool opportunity to be offensive and potentially get away with it!"

My point being: context makes the meaning of a word when you say it, as opposed to just the word itself.

I don't (and haven't) dispute this at all.
posted by kengraham at 1:37 PM on June 15, 2012


I guess I wasn't clear what your point was initially, then.

I brought up the ESPN incident precisely because it is a good example of a situation where a word was used in a way that, strictly speaking, was not offensive (the journalist had plausible deniability, in other words), but where the context obviously left the user of the word open to reasonable accusations of using an ethnic slur. It would be interesting whether the journalist's thought process was something like: "Hey! What a cool opportunity to be offensive and potentially get away with it!"

Okay, but I guess where I'm confused is how you tie this back into Lisa Brown's colleagues being up in arms because she uttered the word "vagina"? The argument has been made that "no, they must have been reacting to the context," but in truth they were clearly reacting to the word itself, regardless of what context it was in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:49 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


how you tie this back into Lisa Brown's colleagues being up in arms because she uttered the word "vagina"?

I think there is a third option. The first option, as you say, is that the context in which "vagina" was used made it offensive. I agree that this is very unlikely, since Brown used the word in pretty much the most textbook way possible. The second possibility you mentioned is that these are the sort of people who are offended by the word itself. I agree that this is possible. However, the third option is that the people have an interest in silencing Brown, are not offended at all, and are pretending to be offended for the second type of reason (a type of offense to which, sadly, many people relate) as a pretext for quashing dissent.

In the scenario I'm imagining, the phenomenon of people being offended by the mere sound of "vagina", or whatever, still plays a role, but it's not the legislators who are offended. They're simply pandering to any observer who happens to be that sort of person. Even if I could, I wouldn't have the stomach to investigate Callton's exact motives, but I think this affecting-being-offended-for-tactical-reasons is plausible. The point is that there are even more reasons why someone would claim to be offended than there are (spurious) justifications for being offended.

The ESPN person is sort of the flip side of this; that journalist's intentions, in saying something offensive, are open to speculation that sort of mirrors the way we can speculate about Callton's reasons for claiming to be offended. Moreover, there is also the following question:

Suppose Person A was offended by ESPN-Person's use of "chink in the armor" because of the context, involving a Chinese-American person. Person B was offended because Person B is offended by any use of the word "chink". If you agree with Person A (as I do), may you still think that Person B is wrong to be offended?

In other words, is taking offense unjustified if done for the wrong reason, even when there is a good reason to take offense?
posted by kengraham at 2:19 PM on June 15, 2012


> ". . . remember when some people were up in arms when a congressman used the word "niggardly". . . people took offense . . ."

At a marketing seminar I organized for credit unions managers and which was conducted at a local private university--the most expensive and prestigious in this part of the country--one of the speakers was a marketing professor at that university. I watched him as he built an argument for a generous marketing budget while he roamed the room, seemingly aimlessly, and arrived at the final point just as he paused and leaned toward his audience for emphasis. He looked directly into the faces of two participants and raised his voice on the last word of the sentence, "do not be niggardly." They just happened to be the only two African American managers in the group.

like hell he just happened to be at their table at that moment.
posted by Anitanola at 2:31 PM on June 15, 2012


like hell he just happened to be at their table at that moment.

Right. That person was doing the offensive-speech-with-plausible-deniability trick, like, I bet, the ESPN person. It's a particularly pernicious douchebag move, especially directed by a professor at a student.

Plus holy fuck; he really did that?
posted by kengraham at 2:42 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


>". . .he really did that?"

Quite deliberately. It was the most chilling moment I ever experienced in that job. I called an early break, handled it as well as I could; the seminar continued. There was no way to make up for that treatment of the managers I had brought to that campus as guests and no way to avoid paying his fee but I sure as shooting wrote to his chair and his president about the incident. I never took another bit of business to that campus and I told the story to everyone I knew who might conceivably hire him for any speaking fees. Disgusting worm.
posted by Anitanola at 2:51 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Umm, snuffleupagus... at the risk of putting you on the spot & derailing...ah, if those are people that you were with, why didn't you call them out?
posted by windykites at 3:01 PM on June 15, 2012


The word "niggardly" means "petty" or "miserly", and has an Old Norse etymology. But because it sounds like a completely different word, people took offense and were all upset because "omigod he used 'the n-word'."

With very few exceptions, anyone who uses the word "niggardly" is doing so explicitly because they want to hear and say the word "niggar" (oh, not "nigger" of course (though Anitanola's example proves me wrong there)) out loud, not because they need a different word for miserly.

It's almost like naming a character in a primetime TV show Mike Hunt and then calling him Mike Hunt repeatedly. "Why, that's a perfectly normal name!"

"No, iPhone. I meant 'nigga.' WRITE IT."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:23 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]



Umm, snuffleupagus... at the risk of putting you on the spot & derailing...ah, if those are people that you were with, why didn't you call them out?


I was already the pro-Obama person at the table, and I had already expressed my view that a lot of the entrenched opposition was racially motivated. The remark was made anyway--almost, oddly enough, as a concession (as if to acknowledge the lack of ill-intent in his predictable failure). My point is that none of the NYC people with him called him on it. They did not seem shocked.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:33 PM on June 15, 2012


Meanwhile in Florida a State Representative was chastised for saying "uterus."
state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, used his time during floor debate to argue that Republicans are against regulations -- except when it comes to the little guys, or serves their specific interests [snip]

"The point was that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government," Randolph said Thursday. "And I always say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife's uterus was incorporated or my friend's bedroom was incorporated, maybe they (Republicans) would be talking about deregulating.

"It's not like I used slang," said Randolph, who actually got the line from his wife. He said Republicans voiced concern about young pages hearing the word uterus.
How old are the pages? 5? I realize Florida probably has a ban on sex ed, but do they really think the word "uterus" is a word unfit for teenagers' ears? What is it with the disgust of female body parts? Is the word "liver" OK? "Spleen"? Just let me know which of my body parts are gross and disgusting and which are not.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:13 PM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Never say "arms" or "legs." Use "limbs" instead. And remember to keep smelling salts somewhere on your person.
posted by rtha at 5:34 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just made a donation to Planned Parenthood in honor of Mike Callton. I feel a teeny bit better now. I mean, I'm calm enough now to read this thread.
posted by Ruki at 5:56 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I better start practicing riding my bicycle side saddle just in case.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:00 PM on June 15, 2012


Assuming that half the population of Michigan is female, how is it possible that there will be a single Republican in office after the next election?
They're not expecting to have any unplanned pregnancies? There are lots of women who are pro-life. I don't agree with them, but there's no reason to just pretend they don't exist.
It's an even more extreme and somewhat far-fetched example, but - remember when some people were up in arms when a congressman used the word "niggardly" to describe something? The word "niggardly" means "petty" or "miserly", and has an Old Norse etymology. But because it sounds like a completely different word, people took offense and were all upset because "omigod he used 'the n-word'."

But...he hadn't. He'd used a completely and utterly and totally different word that just sounded similar. And paying attention to what he was saying in context, you could have figured that out.
*rolls eyes* Anyone who uses that word this point is obviously just looking for an excuse to use slip in the n-word.
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Michigan GOP Spokesman: Female Reps Threw ‘Temper Tantrums’ Over Abortion Bill
posted by homunculus at 8:28 PM on June 15, 2012


*rolls eyes* Anyone who uses that word this point is obviously just looking for an excuse to use slip in the n-word.

Or is simply someone who learned English mostly from books, rather than contemporary conversation.
posted by bardophile at 3:12 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have used the word niggardly, but then I grew up outside the US. I would be sensitive to using it in in company that I thought might misconstrue its usage and substitute other words as the point is to get my meaning across. But yeah, books are good.
posted by arcticseal at 6:42 AM on June 16, 2012


(Please stop quoting The Big Lewbowski (SIC)

Shut the fuck up, Donnie.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:17 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now, The Vagina Song.

Vagina!Vagina!
From Michigan down to north Carolina
From Virginia to Texas and all over this land
Vaginas are being threatened


Well, I don't know about the Texas/threatened rhyme, but it's catchy.
posted by emjaybee at 7:30 AM on June 16, 2012


Stand your ground should apply to vaginas as well.
posted by arcticseal at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


By focusing on this "vagina" issue we make them seem juvenile, and juveniles are pretty harmless, right?

But we all know they're not offended by the term "vagina" and they would have pulled this stunt no matter what she specifically said because they're not juveniles and they're not harmless and this is a much deeper, more powerful, more insidious anti-feminist threat.

And so I think the general framing of this story (not just this post) of "hurf durf they're embarrassed by the vajayjay BIG LEBOWSKI AMIRITE" isn't helping.
posted by secretseasons at 8:32 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My wife just received the following e/mail:

Friends,

I'm excited to tell you that on Monday, June 18th, Sen. Rebekah Warren, myself and a number of our colleagues will be joined by Tony Award winning playwright and V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler for a special performance of Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues on the steps of the Michigan Capitol. The performance, which will take place between 6pm and 8pm, is part of an organized response to the recent banning of Michigan State Representative Lisa Brown from publicly speaking in the House of Representatives.

As you've likely heard by now, Rep. Brown was banned by Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas and House Republicans for using the word “vagina” during a debate on a bill that puts new restrictions on women's healthcare choices. This event will call on supporters from across the state to speak up and let the House Republicans know that attempting to silence our voices is simply not acceptable.

I look forward to joining these powerful women from across the nation in sending a message that we are proud of ourselves, proud of our bodies and proud of the message that we have to offer. I want my two daughters to know that their Mom and countless other women stood up for them as they grow into the next generation of strong women.

I hope you'll join us as we take part in this historic event. We've set up a Facebook event page where you can RSVP and share the details with your friends and family. It can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/268583796582574

Please take a moment to forward this email or click the "send to a friend" link below so that others can hear about this exciting opportunity as well.

We'll be gathering at the capitol shortly before 6pm on Monday and I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,


Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Senate Democratic Leader

posted by HuronBob at 9:12 AM on June 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think there is a third option. The first option, as you say, is that the context in which "vagina" was used made it offensive. I agree that this is very unlikely, since Brown used the word in pretty much the most textbook way possible. The second possibility you mentioned is that these are the sort of people who are offended by the word itself. I agree that this is possible. However, the third option is that the people have an interest in silencing Brown, are not offended at all, and are pretending to be offended for the second type of reason (a type of offense to which, sadly, many people relate) as a pretext for quashing dissent.

It's a fair point, but I am still fairly certain that it's the second possibility -- I don't get the sense that Brown's colleagues were sufficiently smart for that kind of "I'll accuse her of being rude to shut her up" gamemanship, to be honest. They smack more of the "ooh, she said 'vagina' instead of 'private parts', that's just so RUDE of her!" kind of person.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on June 16, 2012


Does her "no means no" phrase convey an impression that her fellow representatives want to rape or abuse her or women? That would be quite offensive.

In my opinion, it would be deserved; it isn't one-millionth the offense of the harm done to women in the passing of their repugnant, discriminatory, rights-violating bill.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:46 PM on June 16, 2012


"The term ‘temper tantrum’ is not-so-subtly coded sexist language leveled at women to infantilize them and de-legitimize their points."

Um, no. Infantilizing and de-legitimizing. Yes. Sexist? Not even close.
posted by Ardiril at 1:57 PM on June 16, 2012


I don't get the sense that Brown's colleagues were sufficiently smart for that kind of "I'll accuse her of being rude to shut her up" gamemanship, to be honest

You're probably right. However, my attitude is that, whether they're conniving evil geniuses or merely stupid and prudish, Brown's colleagues are extremely dangerous, and that a kind of Kerckhoff's principle applies when dealing with people who are dangerous, namely that we need to assume that they are super-clever and know exactly what they're doing, unless we're absolutely sure that's not the case.

Maybe I'm too much of a tinfoil-hatter, but I think the current holders of power all over the country have an interest in anti-choice legislation that has nothing to do with medieval morality, religion, sex, etc. Those considerations may motivate plenty of their anti-choice constituents, but most of what happens in government under ideological pretexts is actually straight-up protection of powerful and moneyed interests, and is way more prag- than dogmatic.

Overwhelm a young, more-or-less clueless person like me with a surprise mouth to feed, and you've got yourself a defeated, compliant, desparate, willing corporate drone. The same young person, given control over if and when they reproduce, generally has little to lose, little stopping them from all sorts of experimentation, and reduced financial need to take shit from a boss they don't want, assume debts (beyond their usurious student loan), or avoid getting arrested at Occupy. All of the diverse and competing arms of the Man surely recognize that control over people's reproductive rights makes for an excellent stealth-totalitarianism tool. People with kids for whom they are not prepared are more exploitable and less trouble than people without, and I submit that this is one reason for the current anti-choice crusade.

I am sometimes narrow-minded, stupid, etc. If I attribute Brown's colleague's behaviour to narrow-mindedness, stupidity, etc., then I'm sort of forced to empathize with it on some level, even if I am not a victim of this particular type of stupidity. But these are the type of folks who are right now making decisions that could potentially fuck up the lives of my sisters who still live in the US*, and I'm not willing to let my guard down about people like this by attributing their actions to run-of-the-mill (if sort of pathetic) failures of critical thinking of the "eww vaginas" type. In short, I think we should assume that they do evil things not because their brains are off, but because they are dangerously on.

*Not to mention many people with less awareness of how to protect themselves and fewer social safety nets.
posted by kengraham at 2:17 PM on June 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


kengraham , that comment is just.plain.amazing...
posted by HuronBob at 7:39 PM on June 16, 2012


Kengraham, I'm right there with you except that men's reproductive agency isn't even in question.
posted by gingerest at 12:05 AM on June 17, 2012


I have never had any interest in seeing The Vagina Monologues or really visiting Michigan.
Suddenly, I have the need to do both.
posted by Mezentian at 2:31 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


gingerest, I agree that it's women's reproductive agency, not men's that is affected by attempted anti-choice legislation, but it's everyone's agency of one type or another. My argument requires that one draw an extreme distinction between a foetus and a person, which I think is an uncontroversial position in present company.

There's a lot of (vapid) talk among the anti-choice crowd, and even among many "pro-choice" folks who are into partial abridgement of reproductive rights, about at what point a Glob of Human Cells becomes a person. Now, my view is that a Glob of Human Cells becomes a person when it learns to make crude stone tools and fire is born, and not before. Before it is born, it is a totally non-autonomous piece of its mother's body. I'm not qualified or ethically permitted to pass judgement on what she does with it, not because I'm a man, specifically, but because I'm Not Her. (Another woman, even with her own experiences with interior cell-globs, is similarly unqualified.*) To me, abortion is one of many behaviours that are the business of exactly one person, and about which nobody has the right to legislate.

However, after it is born, the little humanlet is the subject of certain obligations on the part of both of its parents, unless some specific arrangement is made between the parents to discharge some of those obligations (in the case, e.g. of sperm donation or adoption or both parents deciding beforehand that one won't be involved in raising the child, or whatever). After it is born, the child is no longer part of its mother's body, and therefore she can no longer make unilateral decisions about the child. Both of the parents now have responsibilities that present them with the choice to either commit a colossal ethical fuckup (by not meeting those responsibilities) or subjugating their own needs and desires to those of their spawn. This means: go to work, don't spend your time satisfying whims or learning random things, and don't get arrested at Occupy. To this extent, the previously alluded-to Man is, beyond attempting to control women's reproductive rights, also attempting to control the behaviour of adults of all genders. It's totalitarianism-by-uterine-proxy, and men*** are affected in some ways, too.

I don't think that any cause is advanced by thinking of this as strictly a women's issue. It's a people-who-want-women-to-have-total-reproductive-agency's issue. It's also an issue for all opponents of coercively-deployed power. Men should be firmly in both of those categories, as well as women.

*At least some species of right-wing folks could probably be brought aboard the reproductive rights train if it were cast** as the straight-up Personal Freedom issue that it is. Actually, the fact that some anti-choice folks straight-facedly claim to be libertarians is bizarre.

**I think the MeFese is "framed"?

***Although not their reproductive agency, per se.
posted by kengraham at 6:40 AM on June 17, 2012


Maybe I'm too much of a tinfoil-hatter, but I think the current holders of power all over the country have an interest in anti-choice legislation that has nothing to do with medieval morality, religion, sex, etc. Those considerations may motivate plenty of their anti-choice constituents, but most of what happens in government under ideological pretexts is actually straight-up protection of powerful and moneyed interests, and is way more prag- than dogmatic.

I've heard this kind of argument before, that the elite are deliberately trying to keep a complacent populace complacent so as to preserve their own power, but I haven't ever heard anything but speculative evidence; there's no real "smoking gun." So, sorry, but I'm inclined to agree that yeah, there's some tinfoil-hatting going on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2012


For the record, my tinfoil hat is not that shiny: some criminals did 9/11, 12 dudes walked on the moon, and if there were a conspiracy, it would be about fluoride out of, not in, the water, to give Big Dentistry more business.

I'm not talking about any particular individual's anti-choice stance. I totally buy the idea that many, many people have good-faith ideological reasons for an anti-choice stance, and also that many men are personally opposed to reproductive rights for women because those rights threaten their tiny, pathetic bits of personal power. While I believe that those people's views are exploited by proponents of anti-choice legislation, I don't believe that they are the primary motivators for that legislation, since there seem to me to be many instances in which legislation is motivated by preservation of (usually corporate) power, and few instances, lately, where legislation is purely ideologically motivated.

(Nobody whose individual opinion actually has any influence gives a damn about the sanctity of foetal life. That is not the source of serious opposition to abortion. Appeals to the sanctity of foetal life are little more than sales pitches to the ignorant, as can be confirmed by going out and trying to count vegetarian anti-choicers.)

The evidence is that shit analogous to what I am claiming gets pulled all the time. It's widely acknowledged, for example, that internet-restricting proposed legislation ostensibly designed to make it hard to traffic in child pornography is actually about enforcing archaic intellectual property laws to maintain certain corporate profits. The war on drugs is actually about the extreme profitability of private prisons, alcohol, etc. and the influence of police and corrections officers unions, and the convenience of civil asset forfeiture in a country where the population loves cops and hates paying taxes. There are numerous other examples; war is a racket, etc.

On the other hand, power is extremely willing to put aside ideology in favour of expedience. See, for example, the torture, killing, and lack of due process given by the U.S. government to those it considers terrorists. This bald-facedly contravenes supposedly deeply-held American ideology. Why, if a government can't even let itself be constrained by the ideology that is supposed to constrain it, do you think it would act to advance (religious) ideology in which it has no interest (and which it is officially forbidden from advancing)?

It's possible, of course, that there is some motivation, other than power or ideology, for recent legislative efforts to curtail reproductive rights. I'd be interested to hear your hypothesis, EmpressCallipygos.

posted by kengraham at 10:25 AM on June 17, 2012


It's possible, of course, that there is some motivation, other than power or ideology, for recent legislative efforts to curtail reproductive rights. I'd be interested to hear your hypothesis, EmpressCallipygos.

That they're old-fashioned conservative old goats who think that everything was better when they were kids and don't get why we don't do things the way we did in the good old days. Their mothers didn't say the word "vagina" in public, good girls didn't get pregnant, and if it was good enough for them that the world worked that way when they were kids, it should be good enough for people today.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:20 PM on June 17, 2012


"Back in my day..."
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on June 17, 2012


Both of the parents now have responsibilities that present them with the choice to either commit a colossal ethical fuckup (by not meeting those responsibilities) or subjugating their own needs and desires to those of their spawn. This means: go to work

Yikes! No, thank you. I only reason I had kids was so that they would do the work for me.

Now, my view is that a Glob of Human Cells becomes a person when it learns to make crude stone tools and fire is born, and not before. Before it is born, it is a totally non-autonomous piece of its mother's body.

I'm curious what you think about 37-week old fetuses? I.e. babies that are clearly viable outside the womb, i.e. they could be extracted and live on their own with no technological assistance but have not yet been born? What about an overdue (41- or 42-week) fetus? Abortable?

(For reference sake, "Almost 30 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of pregnancy survive, while about 50 to 60 percent of babies born at 24 weeks, about 75 percent born at 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 27 to 28 weeks, survive".)

Are they human? Do they have rights? I'm about as pro-abortion as it gets, but you're making the issue far too simple.

See, for example, the torture, killing, and lack of due process given by the U.S. government to those it considers terrorists. This bald-facedly contravenes supposedly deeply-held American ideology.

I don't know about that either. Americans have never had a problem violating the human rights of non-Americans, have they? Nothing in the American political canon supports human rights for non-Americans.

American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (PDF)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:26 AM on June 18, 2012


A Bill Seeking To Regulate Use of the Word Vagina: It’s time for the government to stop women from using anatomically correct terms.
posted by homunculus at 3:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know about that either. Americans have never had a problem violating the human rights of non-Americans, have they? Nothing in the American political canon supports human rights for non-Americans.

Agreed, but this isn't what I was talking about. I was talking about the fact that the US government fails to act in accordance with ideology it ostensibly does support. That there are giant gaps in the Official Ideals is, I think, really bad, but it's not related to my point, which was that even professed ideology gets ignored in the name of expedience.

I'm curious what you think about 37-week old fetuses? I.e. babies that are clearly viable outside the womb, i.e. they could be extracted and live on their own with no technological assistance but have not yet been born? What about an overdue (41- or 42-week) fetus? Abortable?

I have no idea. My gut feeling is: not abortable in both cases, in general, but that ties go to the mother (unless she feels differently) where lives are at risk.
posted by kengraham at 4:08 PM on June 18, 2012


I'm curious what you think about 37-week old fetuses?

That's a leading question, but it's interesting at this point to note that infanticide by the mother is usually deemed to be a lesser crime than murder. And that infanticide has historically been used as a kind of contraception.

Also interesting to note that according to the always truthful wikipedia, Forty-five percent (45%) of all child murders occur in the first 24 hours of life, and 90% of those murders are carried out by women under the age of 25 and (I'd take this with a pinch of salt) "They have typically denied and/or concealed the pregnancy since conception".

If you care more about 37+ week old fetuses, I'd suggest access to contraception and abortion may help with that. And I'd suggest marginalising women by making words like "vagina" regulated would actually decrease sex awareness and therefore increase the number of "murders".

If you love that glob of cells so much, you need to start using the word vagina, you need to start issuing condoms to 14 year olds, and you need to make contraception available for free.
posted by zoo at 5:12 AM on June 19, 2012


If you love that glob of cells so much, you need to start using the word vagina, you need to start issuing condoms to 14 year olds, and you need to make contraception available for free.

Yes. This is another reason why I don't think supporting anti-choice legislation is about anything other than social control; people opposed to abortion are often not enthusiastic about measures like access to contraception to reduce its prevalence.
posted by kengraham at 7:10 AM on June 19, 2012


Maybe we're defining "social control" in different ways, then.

I get the sense that you define "social control" as a more tactical thing, a sort of Machiavelian "we need to create and preserve a lower-class compliant populace". But I think it's a much more simplistic, "in the past we didn't have these problems, because people knew that bad girls didn't do that kind of thing and so they behaved themselves, but then that whole sexual revolution thing happened and it caused all these problems and people didn't think they had to be ashamed of anything any more - but it was better when people knew that kind of thing was bad, amirite?" It's still a kind of "social control," except it's more a down-in-the-trenches thing - social control of one's peers -- rather than something being deliberately fostered in order to preserve a status or class.

I'm more dubious about the Machiavelian type of social-control, only because it strikes me that it'd take a whole hell of a lot more planning and forethought and, well, control than we're seeing. The justifications such men use smack more of the shortsighted "it wasn't like this back in my day when everything was good" type of thought.

Incidentally, I'm sure you're aware that these men are totally wrong about how that kind of societal shame kept people on their best behavior back when they were kids. Girls did have sex and did have abortions, they just didn't talk about it. But most people back then were so blinkered that they either sincerely didn't know, or they were so ashamed that they thought they were the only people to have ever done something so horrible and they never told anyone, and thus never found out that "wait, half the girls in my class have also gotten knocked up? Seriously?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 AM on June 19, 2012


I get the sense that you define "social control" as a more tactical thing, a sort of Machiavelian "we need to create and preserve a lower-class compliant populace".

On second thought, I think that both types of social control exist, and I am likely erroneously overstating the role of one type in this particular situation.

I tend to find it hard to believe that people actually take this sort of socially conservative position in good faith, rather than for self-serving reasons. Having thought about it, though, I came to the uncomfortable realization that I have actually sort of written a lot of people off upon hearing them express such views (including members of my extended family), in such a way that some of what I wrote above is informed by a bias of the type "sure, lots of people are honest social conservatives, but those people most likely don't have the political savvy or even the intellectual juice needed to become The Powers That Be, and that, if The Powers That Be are endorsing socially conservative notions, it's only to pander to the electorate in order to retain their power". Stating it openly clarifies how unquestionably not-true it is, and it's a tacit assumption I should really try to avoid. Anyway, sorry for the introspection-hijack.
posted by kengraham at 1:54 PM on June 19, 2012


GOP goes after military rape victims: From denying abortion to military rape victims, to aiming for total bans in the states, the GOP's assault continues
posted by homunculus at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Georgia: Being Targeted? Georgia Abortion Docs Worried After Speaking Out
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on June 21, 2012


If you love that glob of cells so much, you need to start using the word vagina, you need to start issuing condoms to 14 year olds, and you need to make contraception available for free.

Are you talking to me? I use the word vagina even when it's irrelevant, and I give out condoms to EVERYONE I meet!

A 37-week-old fetus is not a glob of cells, and the actual issues of viability start around 24-25 weeks, when likewise, it's not even close to being a blob of cells. The sex is already determined and it's pretty much fully formed. (hell, at 13 weeks it's pretty well on its way).

I actually support legalized abortion up until birth, so whatever, but it's ridiculous for the pro-choice supporters to conveniently ignore the fact that this "glob of cells" is not much different functionally than a newborn, and in some cases, is more viable as a human than a newborn.

Until the pro-choice movement assigns some rights to the unborn fetuses, they will always open to attack, and with pretty good reason, imo.

Likewise, misrepresenting the situation to call a fully formed fetus a "glob of cells" pretty much impeaches anything else you have to say.

...

On the flip side, as you say, the pro-life movement has no credibility whatsoever until they are endorsing and encouraging proper sex education and access to birth control.

people opposed to abortion are often not enthusiastic about measures like access to contraception to reduce its prevalence.

I think that's mostly a correlation between religious people and the pro-life movement. It's rooted in Christianity, which also teaches that non-procreative sex is evil. Also, some people actually believe that contraception will lead to more sexual activity and more abortions. Those people are delusional.

Actually, one of the hottest women I ever dated was the daughter of sex-positive Christians who had a stained-glass mosaic of a man and women in 69 position over their bed. I am really curious what her stance on abortion was, but I'm pretty sure she was tentatively pro-life...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:51 PM on June 21, 2012


Until the pro-choice movement assigns some rights to the unborn fetuses, they will always open to attack, and with pretty good reason, imo.

Out of curiousity, what is the good reason? By which I mean some sort of factual evidence.

If choice right up to birth is not being "abused", I see no need for the government to make law.

Medically-necessary late-term abortions are always going to happen: I don't think the courts would ever find in favour of killing the mother.

Crazy people are always going to do crazy things. Laws don't prevent murders; they aren't going to prevent crazy DIY women, their crazy friends, or an unethical "Dr" from doing their crazy thing.

If the law will reduce the number of sane people who might otherwise kill a viable fetus that can be incubated and adopted, it's a law worth having.

Otherwise, it's philosophical wanking that denigrates women.

I think the evidence supports the latter imterpretation. Late-term abortions are rare.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good points, fff. You're right, but I wish there we're some way for the pro-choice movement to be more sympathetic to fence sitters.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:28 PM on June 22, 2012


The fence-sitters need a bit of a push. They need to be asked to explicitly identify the problem that's got them all hung up. In most cases, it's going to turn out that there truly is no late-term abortion issue.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 AM on June 23, 2012


If choice right up to birth is not being "abused", I see no need for the government to make law.

Strictly playing devil's advocate right now --

I don't think the concerns about late-term abortions are necessarily solely because there's a concern that some mother is randomly going to think "you know, I've wanted this baby for the past 8 months, but nahhhh." Some nutjobs probably do, but I've got a hunch that the kinds of "laws" people want to pass are about cases like - Man pushes 8-month-pregnant girlfriend down the stairs. She's injured, but lives. However, the baby dies. Can't we charge him with manslaughter, for killing the unborn baby?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on June 23, 2012


Again, this is a problem of such magnitude that new laws are required?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:52 PM on June 23, 2012


Again, this is a problem of such magnitude that new laws are required?

Of course. The government always responds proportionately and honestly to Bad Things, and never overreacts to petty nonsense.
posted by kengraham at 4:08 PM on June 23, 2012


Again, this is a problem of such magnitude that new laws are required?

I'll grant that I'm about to name a silly example, but this very "we can't charge the guy with manslaughter because an unborn person isn't a person" has been a plot point on at least two episodes of Law and Order SVU.

Yes, I know that that's a TV show and not reality, but it strikes me that something that something would have to be in the public consciousness more than just a handful of times to make it into a mainstream TV show.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on June 24, 2012


a mainstream TV show.

It's very easy for things that are not widespread (or even not real) to be part of the public consciousness. In fact, one of sources of this disparity is the mass media. (In the police-procedural vein, Google the "CSI Effect" -- apparently various space-agey forensic stuff is in the public consciousness to a far larger extent than it exists in reality, and this phenomenon has a real effect on juries.)

Some of the yellow stuff in my previous comment refers to oppressive legislation that was passed in response to threats whose magnitude in the public imagination exceeds their magnitude in reality.
posted by kengraham at 11:30 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's very easy for things that are not widespread (or even not real) to be part of the public consciousness. In fact, one of sources of this disparity is the mass media. (In the police-procedural vein, Google the "CSI Effect" -- apparently various space-agey forensic stuff is in the public consciousness to a far larger extent than it exists in reality, and this phenomenon has a real effect on juries.)

True, but it is also true that the mass media doesn't catch up on things until well after it's moved out of the fringe. To use CSI as an example: furries had been around for quite a while before they did their furry episode.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:12 PM on June 24, 2012


Paul: No Flood Insurance Until Senate Votes On Life Beginning At Conception
posted by homunculus at 12:44 PM on June 27, 2012


Sole Abortion Clinic In Mississippi Fights Law To Stay Open
posted by homunculus at 8:27 PM on June 29, 2012


Still-Terrible Virginia Ultrasound Bill Now in Effect

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2012


Sole Abortion Clinic In Mississippi Fights Law To Stay Open

There is an interesting PBS Frontline episode about that clinic (and more broadly about the rise of pro-life legislation post-Casey):

The Last Abortion Clinic
posted by mrgrimm at 12:30 PM on July 3, 2012


Kate Beckinsale: "Republicans, get in my vagina!"
posted by mrgrimm at 3:56 PM on July 11, 2012


Judge: Mississippi's sole abortion clinic can stay open for now
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The War On Legal Abortion Goes On
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surprise! Republican Congressmen Pay Male Employees $10,000 More Per Year
posted by homunculus at 1:03 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Family planning: one Afghan woman's struggle to access contraception. Fariba Haidari is pregnant with her 10th child in Afghanistan where the average fertility rate is 6.6 children per woman
posted by homunculus at 11:06 PM on July 13, 2012


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