Politics, Melancholia & Vulva Vulva Vulva.

23 Aug

I don’t know if it’s a consequence of my recent encounter with melancholia, but I can’t recall a time when I’ve been less engaged with politics around an election period.

The word melancholia reminds me of the 2011 Lars von Trier movie of the same name, an apocalyptic tale of planetary collision, inspired by the director’s post-depression insight that those of us stricken with this disorder behave with far more calm than do others when subjected to stress.

Why this is a surprise to anyone is beyond me.  We aren’t calm. We just don’t care enough to get excited. I don’t know how von Trier missed that difference.

When I consider the current political scene I do so with low levels of enthusiasm, and a good deal of despondency. David Horton articulates some of my ennui here, in describing our choices as between the lesser of two evils, that is,  an ideological extremist on the one hand, and a man lacking all belief (other than in himself) on the other.  In this faux presidential race, we have little to compare beyond the personalities of two white middle-aged men, both of whom, to me anyway, have all the appeal of a three-day-old boarfish.

I have no idea where they got the notion that repeating a word three times imbues that word with magical magical magical qualities qualities qualities.

I feel some sympathy for those obliged to earn their living autopsying  seemingly off-the-cuff comments made by one candidate or the other, in a desperate effort to manufacture meaning. At the same time I am fed up to the back teeth with the hours of “analysis” of one sentence, usually Tony Abbott’s. I am of the belief that everything he says is determined by the focus group du jour and that there are no “gaffes.” If he is sexist, that is because he is dog whistling sexists. Which is not to say it should not be remarked upon, of course it should. It is a sad situation, when in order to win an election a candidate must resort to sexism and xenophobia, but what is even more alarming is the willingness of potential leaders to capitulate to what is least desirable in the human.

Fed up with it all, my interest was briefly aroused by a kerfuffle at Sydney University over featuring female genitalia on the cover of Honi Soit.  Just because I can,  I’m going to link you to the Mamamia  account of how university educated women don’t know their vulvas from their vaginas. As will be clear to anyone who looks at the uncensored collection, these are vulvas on display, not vaginas, though the women involved set up a Twitter hashtag to deal with the fall out that read: #vaginasoit.

They’re following on from our globally acclaimed Convoy of Cleavage, I thought, momentarily emerging from my lugubrious state  mildly pleased to have been an inspiration to women.

It is alarming, though, that so many among us do not know the correct names for the female genitalia, adding weight to the women’s claims that we need to be more upfront about our bits. Who would ever call a penis testicles, or vice versa? Add to that the opinion of the university’s vice-chancellor that the cover of vulvas is “demeaning to women” and we have, in one  fleeting moment, been granted a view into the abyss to which female sexuality is cast by, erm, the patriarchy. An abyss of ignorance, contempt and desperate desire.

In their defence, the women cited an occasion on which Honi Soit featured a flaccid penis on its cover and nobody gave a toss. So to speak. Fair enough. Radical women must not be subdued by social conventions that insist a flaccid penis makes a more acceptable magazine cover than a series of resting vulvas.

Lars von Trier used Wagner’s (much-loved by Hitler) Tristan und Isolde prelude as the soundtrack for Melancholia. In his post screening interview in Cannes, von Trier lost his head and claimed to be a Nazi as a joke, he later protested, a joke that saw him banned from screenings for a period and roundly castigated for his sense of humour. Like the Honi Soit women, he crossed a line.

In politics, the masters and mistresses of spin have co-opted the innocent (if at times stupid) crossing of lines, and turned it into strategy. When Abbott is sexist, when either man is xenophobic, they are crossing lines and offending many of us, just as many were offended by von Trier’s Nazi references, and the sight of vulvas.  However, politicians cross the lines because research has told them that below those lines dwell the voters for whom there are no lines beyond their own self-interest. There is no innocence or even stupidity left in such border crossings. It is cold and it is calculated. It cares not what havoc it might wreak. It wants only power.

Politics. Melancholia. And, vulva vulva vulva. It’s magic.

43 Responses to “Politics, Melancholia & Vulva Vulva Vulva.”

  1. gerard oosterman August 23, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    Yes, I looked at the link but, vulva or vagina, is that what has driven so many of us men? Ridiculous trick of nature. No wonder melancholia reigns so high. It is only later, much later that the gaze goes upwards and notices the person behind all that genitalia. For many too late. A pity


    • paul walter August 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Yes, Gerard.
      That is a less aggressive, more sympathetic way to put it.
      Back to the substance of Jennifer’s post..the absurdity of much thinking and feeling in a civilisation, species and individuals who know not themselves; of ressentiment, subjectivity in the old sense; our slowly dawning realisation that we “self determining conscious subjects” are actualised by critical things outside our control, including much what goes on, including by way of conditioning in that subconscious behind the conscious interface.
      Nobody thinks much of the election.
      The event is really a commentary on our own failings and those of politicians,i n a nation seemingly more than ever on a runaway train, fates individual and collective based more and more on aspects outside of our own control.
      The election is called
      The last resistor,
      Julian Assange, has now cracked and we enter a new historical phase, but whether we know much about at our lives from this point on, Idont know.


      • paul walter August 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

        I guess, what needs to be remembered, is that women have such an exponentially more complex reproductive cycle to play out, than men.
        Nature has even instilled, through hormones and desire, something that hampers any rational avoidance of participation in the processes.
        They can’t avoid the hassles of the monthly cycle, whilst gestation birth and a sense of duty to rear offspring, are flow ons related to a crafty hormonal trick that ensures survival of the species.
        One of the few consolations left them is pair bonding with partners and offspring. And with partners, sexual pleasure is part of the bonding process..
        Yet every where is observed through history, this peculiar urge to come down on nature’s consolation, to perversely thwart women’s capacity to some sort of natural compensation for what life throws their way.
        The forms are variable, from culturally ingrained ignorance and censorious indifference and withholding of gratification in the West, to gross pain-deterrence circumcision in Africa.
        .No doubt, it is all part of hierarchy, competition, pecking order and struggle involving men and women, conflict within the species, perhaps culturally warped during history in an epoch of disruptive, difficult to cope with change, a sort of runaway train.
        The point is, to read Jennifer properly is to grasp that women have not always an easy lot. It is a situation deserving of a bit more empathy than comes of labelling (there you go, again, labia/label vulva/envelope) them as just cunt-holes in the mattress for personal gratification, some thing to reduce their sense of self worth and make them compliant, out ignorance and lack of self reflexivity.
        Men forget that women are usually seeking comfort during the slow march of life, as we men seek it.
        We have to remember that it can be a big honour to be selected by a woman for love making, they have to over come their well-founded reserve and put themselves into hour hands to an extent.
        The understanding of that gift ought to be responded to in a humble way, as the gift of the opportunity of pleasuring a fellow traveller, of self respect gained in the honouring of the trust.


        • doug quixote August 25, 2013 at 9:47 am #

          Traditionally the women have had far more at risk in the sexual activity stakes; what is for men perhaps a short dalliance may have meant a pregnancy, a baby and perhaps a lifelong commitment to the resulting person.

          Reliable contraception from the 1960s on has somewhat freed the women who have access to it, and safe abortion has furthered the emancipation process. Though it seems to me that the forces of reaction are attempting to fight back, and for women as for everyone, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

          It is up to men who support women’s equality to help support their rights to reliable contraception and safe abortion.

          A good start would be to reject leaders with socially conservative views.


          • paul walter August 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

            Amen DQ. The election campaign denotes the fruitless triumph of reaction, perhaps beyond a point of no return.


  2. Elisabeth August 23, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    It is depressing, this choice of which is the lesser evil, especially when for a minute there we had a different situation, a woman in power. Speaking of vulvas, I heard Susie Orbach talk about her visit to the websites of cosmetic surgeons i n which one features a whole series of labia, not as glorious evidence of the variety and idiosyncratic nature of each woman’s body but as a sign that each labia is somehow wrong, aesthetically deformed. The cosmetic surgeon’s MacDonald’s approach to labia is to return each woman’s body back to a seemingly prepubescent state, and make us all into children again. Maybe that’s what politics seeks to do, too. This grab for power requires a submissive audience of sheep like children who will do as they’re told and not consider what’s required. To vote in this next election is to sell your soul.


    • paul walter August 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      I’ve read of these things, too.
      It is positively macabre, what comes out of the Brady Bunch/ Ken and Barbie world of US consumer culture, with the warpings of socialisation that have come with a increasing knowledge of and enthusiasm for, the techniques of psychological manipulation and conditioning.
      I have no problem in relating this to my conception of arcane patriarchy or more generally, primate human nature.
      ps immensely releived to see the comments about the election


  3. samjandwichcatswearPants2 August 23, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Perhaps depression has some sort of evolutionary purpose? Perhaps it helps people not to get caught up in petty circumstances and to focus on what’s really important? Still, glad to hear it’s extracting itself away from you my dear.

    Hmmm Lars von Trier… has always struck me of the biggest misogynist of them all. I’ve only seen a couple of his films, and not Melancholia, but it struck me that he had made these two films in question for the singular purpose of hanging Bjork (which, granted, is not an entirely reprehensible sentiment), and to neuter Charlotte Gainsbourg.


    • samjandwich August 23, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      Gah! Now I’m gonna have to change my password!


    • Ray (novelactivist) August 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      Nah, he ain’t no misogynist. That film was much misunderstood.


    • paul walter August 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      Depression is nature;s way of telling you you are being screwed ,over by the system.
      That maybe bullshit, but that’s how it feels..


  4. hudsongodfrey August 23, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    When all else fails we may delight in the subtleties of a language that occasionally uses the same C’word for both politicians and female genitalia. 🙂


    • Ray (novelactivist) August 23, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      C’mon Hudson, out with it, loud and proud. Cunt.


      • hudsongodfrey August 23, 2013 at 11:22 am #

        I guess I just wanted to treat it lightly for laughs rather than evoking the somewhat valid criticism of derogatory language adopting feminine gender associations.

        I still happen to think Fred Daly’s retort to Doug Anthony’s “I’m a country member”, to which Fred replied ” Yeah, we remember” came about as close to truth in politics as we’re ever likely to witness.


        • Ray (novelactivist) August 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

          It’s an old Anglo-Saxon word derived from the German kunta and the Latin cunnus. England had more than one lane called Gropecunte Lane.


          • hudsongodfrey August 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm #


            Interesting piece of information though I’m not sure the connotations that the name hints at are meant to be in the least bit complimentary.


            • Ray (novelactivist) August 24, 2013 at 9:53 am #

              Cunnus was the common word for vulva. Interestingly vagina, which is considered a technical term, comes from the Latin vaginus, meaning sheath.


              • hudsongodfrey August 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

                Yes I knew all that, and if there’s any other conclusion to be drawn from it then it may be drawn from reflecting on why the latin was less vilified than the common tongue of the day. We have to look beyond just who spoke what language or what class they belonged to to ask why genetialia in general and female reproductive organs in particular were so readily associated all those negative connotations.

                The answer I think you allude to being a religious one is obvious, but I also go further than that to break it down to ignorance. That is to say that in the absence of any actual deity we must have made the whole thing up, and that therefore the fault lies with cultural traditions that simply latched onto an ignorant idea and have almost to this day persisted with it.

                The really interesting part is that it is in the nature of belief to exercise a kind of wishful thinking so that I guess we can still ask why it suits so many people, women included, to almost wish their genitals away. It’s conflicted is it not that if asked in our society we’ll probably strongly deny this antipathy towards our genitals, yet when asked to embrace nudity we’ll all flinch.


                • Ray (novelactivist) August 25, 2013 at 8:35 am #

                  In regards to the class thing – as I understand it, when the Normans conquered Anglo-Saxon England French became the court language and Anglo-Saxon relegated to the common tongue. Vagina comes via Francophone Latin and kunta gradually began to be considered crude and then obscene.

                  It is interesting to contrast the western denigration of genitalia with Tantric influenced India (not to be mistaken with the orthodox Hindu). In the Shakta Tantra tradition the vulva is worshipped and chosen women might have their yoni worshipped in a ceremony called yoni puja. They sit on an alter, their legs spread and their vulva is blessed with sacred oils and special mantras. In some Tantric practices menstrual blood has sacred properties.

                  Of course, they are devil worshippers and are all going to hell.


                  • hudsongodfrey August 25, 2013 at 9:42 am #

                    The story of Norman French, Latin roots and denigration of the old Anglo-Saxon words being wrought was one I knew, and glossed over because we’ve gone beyond just that to single out genetalia for particular for vilification. Whereas the story about Tantric ritual isn’t one I’d heard of before, but being from two very different cultures it would be interesting to know whether Indian languages have parallels with out own or not. I’m certainly not well enough verses in those tongues to make sense of any of that….


                    It doesn’t seem to have a vastly different focus to our own list of vilifications though. It may just mean that Tantra is less influential that other parts of the culture.


                    • Ray August 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

                      One has to distinguish between caste based patriarchal orthodox Hinduism bought to India by waves of Arya (which is where the Nazis got Aryan) and the indigenous goddess religion. Long story but Tantra has always been opposed to the Arya. They battled for position in medieval India but the patriarchal Muslims and British favoured the Arya and openly attacked Tantra. Long history…


                    • hudsongodfrey August 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

                      Sounds like it might be a long story?


      • paul walter August 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

        It is a delicate, inoffensive and wonderous thing, but I suppose we have to have the word other wise we couldn’t fully abuse the miscreants also known as politicians.
        Calling most of them “mouses ears” just wouldn’t have the same impact.
        It is a tragedy that a marvel should be lumped with something as mundane as a politician
        Just thinking on DH Lawrence and a conscious departure point from the old working class ways, where short four letter words were used without malice and oiks would be dragged to court for offensive language despite never having heard of the technical terms employed and not understanding where to employ the euphemisms.
        Petty class oppression, in other words.


        • samjandwich August 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

          What I’d like to know is, why does Volvo use the “male” symbol as its insignia?

          Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that “volvo” means “I roll” in Latin (quite an inauspicious name for a car it has to be said). But beyond that, maybe there’s a connection?

          But anyways, now that I’m away from work, where it’s not safe, I read that Mamamia article, and some of the comments. It seems to me what’s missing is that whether you are offended, enlightened, aroused, or bored by wall-to-wall vulvas, everyone wants a gander don’t they? Curiosity about our fellow human beings is a pretty powerful force in one’s life.

          Which is why I think the saddest part about it is that so many of the comments ran along the lines of “who are these people with body issues? I don’t have a problem with it. Why don’t they just get over it?” Obviously the people who put the magazine together feel pretty strongly about the issue. If that isn’t enough to make it real, then where does that leave us? We might be ok with not looking the same… but are we supposed to all *think* the same?

          Oh hey, I’ve just remembered there’s a song about that:


          • Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

            [sucking my teeth] it’s now August twenty eighth, and nobody has hazarded a response to what I thought was quite a provocative and confrontational, but salient question.

            If intelligence and morality coalesce, should we all think the same???


            • hudsongodfrey August 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

              Sorry Jam, checked out the video not the philosophical discourse…. Intelligence and morality don’t coalesce because we all have slightly different perspectives that circumstances and life’s accumulated experiences shape and form in diverse ways. So no I expect that there will always be some ways in which we think differently.

              We can always list a few things we agree upon starting with a penchant for breathing oxygen and working out way outward from there, but when it comes to the hard moral questions it always seems too damned easy for those bearing fewest consequences to state a righteous view.


            • paul walter August 29, 2013 at 3:14 am #

              Fair point, the cognitive processes seem to involve thinking and feeling as verificationary apparatus to confirm both the appearance and the gut hunch as to reality, feeling involves referring to reasoning and vice versa.
              If I go to a park and see a bigger child picking on a small
              one, maybe the littler one is suffering, I’d expect anumber of onlookers to “agree” somewhat in their impression and sense of what this micro tragedy is about.
              I dare say a ” normal” person would have a halt called to something going on for too long and with support from
              other adults, if there is a convergence of a sense that fair play is transgressed.
              Anonymous, two things seem to come into play with your comment, these involve mob rule ala KKK, say.
              It’s to some extent how/what/what a group is thinking about and how it intersects with where they come from culturally.
              The first person to get an authentic handle on ethnology was the Greek historian Herodotus, who grasped that one group’s burying of a hero might be offensive to another group that believes alternative means of interment are more properly respectful. But Herodotus observed that both sub cultures were doing a similar thing, offering respect but in opposite ways.
              Anonymous, don’t suck your teeth lest you damage your plate or drag fillings out, others hadn’t ignored your query, we were just contemplating this pertinent question at the depth it deserved.
              Btw agree with you’re “relativity”. It does seem like that sort of universe, except that we cant even really know that, given our current likely imperfect state (no eyes in back of head, etc).
              Jennifer expands on this in her last paras discussing bad faith/ bad conscience/false consciousness as limiters of the perceptions of reality that come closest to some appreciation of whatever interpretation comes closest to uncovering testable underlying truth.


              • doug quixote August 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

                “Anonymous” appears to be Samjandwich, BTW.

                Volvo reckon its the symbol for Mars (the god) and is associated with iron works. But it certainly looks like the symbol for “male” to me too; but I’d never really thought about it.

                Volvo is Latin for “I roll” – appropriate as it was an offshoot of a ball-bearing manufacturer.

                Nothing to do with vulva it would seem. 🙂


  5. Ray (novelactivist) August 23, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Well, we know who we can blame for this one… Meanwhile, a long time ago in India when religion was a matriarchy the vulva was worshipped and artists made realistic statues of vulvas for ritual oblation.

    The notion of obscenity is of the same category as blasphemy, idolatry and heresy – a taboo demanded by religion to enforce its ideology, in this case the rather odious notion that lady bits are somehow evil, disgusting, etc. And yes, they did actually believe that with one theologian stating that the vagina was the gateway to hell.

    Which is the real obscenity?


  6. doug quixote August 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    The real obscenity is the censorship of vulvas by magazines and artworks over many decades.

    Millions of women think that their own vulvas are deformed or unsightly as a result of conscious or unconscious censorship of images of women. They have been led to believe in a false image of human anatomy, as if everyone were to be shown that only a Nicole Kidman nose was normal, or only a Kate Moss bodyshape was acceptable.

    As a result thousands have resorted to cosmetic surgery to correct the perceived defect.
    I am a single heterosexual male and have been for life, but I think I have seen more vulvas than anyone other than an octogenarian gynecologist. And I love their variety. Every nook, every cranny every fold of them. A matter for exploration.

    There, I got through a post about vulvas without mentioning the word cunt once. 🙂


    • Ray (novelactivist) August 24, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Yes, magazines have altered photos of vulvas to conform to censorship laws. It is the sight of genital detail; labia, clits, that determines if a photo is rated unrestricted M or restricted R18+ or X. So in order to meet the unrestricted category vulvas are photoshopped, thus giving a false picture.

      Same with flaccid versus erect penises.


      • doug quixote August 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

        Not just that; few artists have been brave enough to show genitalia as they are, not as the BACWA would have them, nor to offend sensibility of the cossetted ones the BACWA pretend to be protecting.

        Yet films and TV can show people being murdered, slaughtered, dismembered; and rape and humiliation are the stock in trade of hundreds of programs.

        Heavens forbid that a realistic vulva or a realistic sex act be depicted! Murder, dismemberment, fine; sexual intercourse, obscene!

        I think it absurd and perverse; obscene, even.


        • samjandwich August 25, 2013 at 11:08 am #

          Dude, all you gotta do is go to any of the theatre productions playing in the smaller venue scattered around sydney. It’s getting to the stage where if there isn’t at least one instance of explicit, full frontal nudity then people are going to start asking for their money back!


          • doug quixote August 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

            I’ll offer you a deal : don’t call me dude and I won’t call you dudette.

            Mainstream art and media have formed a vast inertia from the last hundred years or so which won’t be overturned any time soon. What fringe theatre may do is at least a start . . .


        • hudsongodfrey August 25, 2013 at 11:35 am #

          I think there’s an important distinction to be drawn also between titillation and whatever the opposite of that may be.

          There’s an old one liner about not showing sex because it might lead to dancing. That draws upon a different kind of backwards thinking that goes well beyond ordinary shyness. When it comes to social mores influenced by changing fashions of self expression and modesty then I think those differ vastly from the more objectionable aspects of ignorance and repression within conservative traditions that have outlived their usefulness. At some point it would be refreshing to think that we could simply reject those bad ideas without necessarily having to overreact by all embracing nudity, or sexting or some such thing.


  7. Christine Says Hi August 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I wondered if you would be interested in this recent media release from WEL (NSW) ~ I’m sorry to include it in comments but can’t figure how to send a message directly to you! It regards a Bill which NSW Liberal MP Chris Spence is proposing to present to the Parliament this week. I’m sure the timing (less than a fortnight out from a Federal election) is no coincidence, as Mr Spence and his supporters will be aware many opponents will have their efforts focussed elsewhere at this time. Many will already be aware of the Bill and WEL’s information of course, but in case you are not, here it is:

    Media release: Wednesday 21 August, 2013

    NSW Women’s groups are deeply concerned about the implication for women’s rights of a bill, dubbed “Zoe’s Law”, which will be brought before parliament this week.

    The Bill proposes an amendment to the NSW Crimes Act which would create an additional criminal offence for any person who causes the destruction or harm of a foetus of a pregnant woman.

    Chair of the Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia, Melanie Fernandez said NSW women should be deeply concerned that the O’Farrell Government is negotiating away women’s rights.

    “On 15 June 2013, Tony Abbott ruled out doing deals with Senators limiting access to abortion.
    “Now less than 3 months later The NSW Liberal Party is picking up the slack. Following on from Rev Fred Nile’s ‘Zoe’s Law’ which has been languishing on the NSW legislative agenda for 11 years, Liberal MP Chris Spence has resurrected the legislation and given it a face lift.

    Mr Spence has made slight modifications to the wording of the bill but the intent and sentiment should be just as concerning to the people of NSW.

    “This bill remains a Trojan Horse for Reverend Nile to run an anti-choice agenda in NSW,” she said.
    Ms Fernandez said, “WEL has concern about the Liberal’s track record on women’s reproductive rights at both a State and Federal level. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has in the past made deeply concerning comments about abortion and whilst Health Minister attempted to retain ministerial control over abortion drug, RU486, rather than it being controlled by the Therapeutic Drugs Administration.”
    Mr Spence has stated that the current Bill is intended to address a deficiency in current criminal penalties where a foetus is killed as a result of injury to the mother.

    F Collective Convenor Georgia Potter Butler said “Whilst this piece of legislation seems relatively innocuous this type of legislation – one that draws a distinction in personhood between a woman and the foetus she is carrying – is only the beginning of granting legal rights to foetuses,”

    “These rights have resulted in prosecutions of mothers when it is deemed they have acted contrary to the interests of the “person” they are carrying.

    “A woman’s right to make decisions about her body is a fundamental tenant of her human rights. Granting a foetus rights that could infringe on the mother’s is hugely problematic.” said Ms Potter Butler.

    “It is a tragedy when any woman loses a foetus in an accident or violent crime. However, our current statutory framework has adequate provisions to deal with these offences, we do not require additional offences regarding foetuses.”

    Women’s groups are calling on all members of the NSW Parliament to publically state they will not be supporting this Bill.


    • paul walter August 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      No CSH, your posting is anything BUT irrelevant;
      it goes to the heart of whats happening in politics.
      The Tea Party talibanisation of the West continues apace and we are now, blindfolded, pointed firmly in the direction of a reconstituted Dark Ages that pivots on anger, ignorance fear and denialism.


    • hudsongodfrey August 25, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

      Okay so here’s a link for those who may not be aware of how this is being construed….


      Clearly from the supporters it has garnered, regardless of one’s initial sense of outrage at the crime committed, there’s an agenda Christine is right to point out going well beyond the impetus for this legislation on face value.

      My take on this is a strongly pro-choice one but would not neglect the egregious nature of the harm done to the woman who lost her child in the accident so as to recognise a crime that draws level with manslaughter but stops short of taking the dangerous step of meddling with granting legal rights to foetuses.

      In other words I hope we’re not going to just say “sad day for you” to mothers in these devastating albeit rare circumstances, but I also think an appropriate remedy to it is available that recognises the unborn foetus remains indistinct from the mother carrying it.

      Surely if one runs over another’s toes there is a level of harm less serious than would be deemed to have occurred to a person struck down and rendered quadriplegic. Why not in that case recognise the harm in the loss of a pregnancy as the most serious level of harm attracting the sentence it fully deserves.

      Why not indeed if one isn’t trying to smuggle in a Trojan Horse?


      • paul walter August 26, 2013 at 2:14 am #

        Yes, GOOD one, HG.


        • hudsongodfrey August 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

          Thanks Paul, Like all of us I’m sure, I appreciate some positive feedback from time to time 🙂


  8. doug quixote August 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    If a foetus is not actually viable, ie at a minimum before week 24, I consider that the denial of abortion is a matter of civil conscription.

    By that I mean that a woman is forced to act as a life-support system for a foetus she does not want, to take the pregnancy to full term, and to give birth. Giving birth is statistically the most dangerous thing a woman can do in her life. Of course, if each woman were to bother to think about it in those terms, the benefit will be usually be seen to outweigh the risks – a baby is usually a wonderful thing.

    But should anyone be forced to act as a life-support system for someone else? The law will always answer no, except perhaps when it comes to a foetus, it seems.

    Seen in that light, all the nonsense about “choose life” and the like can be seen for what it is – chaff.


  9. paul walter August 25, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    Agree Doug, much of it is Tea Party Taliban shite intended to create a new feudalism.
    The message is simple: “I have duffed you and you WILL carry, like a walking incubator, even if you have to be straight jacketed because you are merely a non human means to an end”.
    Back to nineteenth century Victorian England we go.


  10. paul walter August 26, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    Just had an epiphany (rhymes with…). At uni, an English tutor of mine had a great enthusiasm for the English writer Angela Carter and had her 1972 book “The Dream Machines of Dr Hoffman” included in the syllabus for a course she was taking.
    Out of sorts at the time and unable to”get into” the novel, I Iet the thing be.
    After all this time, a decade, am drawn back to it via this and several other Wilson threads and finding more about it, in turn located a short essay by a French sociologist, Tendance Coatsey, entitled “Pornography and the Left: A retrospective on Angela Carter’s Sadeian Woman” from 2006, Virago.
    I found it really germane to much discussed here, particularly as relates to Ray (novelactivist) and a libertarian take.
    The intro suggests the Carter essay is another history of sexuality exploration and Coatsey is bright enough to invoke Nietzsche, Battaille, Foucault and Goya as well as allusions to Rabelias, as to contextive background.
    The retrospective observes that none other than Frankfurt School giants Horkheimer and Adorno concurred, suggesting that Sade “..ripped off the Facade of the Enlightenment Project and revealed its darkest side”, a satisfying resolution and common foundational point of agreement for Feminsts, Neitzscheans and Marxian critiquers, regardless of which line you take from that point.
    You can say a couple of things on this, firstly that it is a comment that could relate to a notion that it may have only been decadent oddball outsiders that could take on such a homogenising culture and it anticipates the hypocrisy and repressiveness of a cynicism inducing “rational” Victorian age that found its fruition in the unrestrained violence of the twentieth century.
    It appears the Dworkinists are seen as an (entirely understandable) dead end but it is acknowledged that the more bizarre of De Sades more “Salo” notions may justify attempts at protections for “others” involved in society and culture
    Sex- positive Carter apparently thinks the answer lies in the development of intimacy, presaging an awareness of sexual “othering”, also seems to indicates partners may take on divergent forms of sex including robust and adventurous “risky” ones, as cathartic deprogramming and liberationary events, like the other “make love not war” counterculturalists of the sixties and seventies, who guessed the link involved in socialisation through sexual repression, as to violence, obedience and mystification.


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