Lust for Life

Ohio Governor, Bob Taft, signed HB 129 authorizing the sale of “Pro-Life” license plates this week. For a mere $30 more, you can get your own Pro-Life plate. It will take 90 days for the bill to take effect.

The majority of the proceeds, approximately $20, will be deposited into the Choose Life Fund. (Choose Death Fund was already taken by the committee dedicated to slashing social service programs.) The money will be distributed to nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to counseling pregnant women about the obscure notion of adoption.

I can’t wait to see what creativity will be garnered from personalized Pro-Life plates.

We need to appropriate their lust for life.

The ideology of such lust is paralyzing. Savvy in their unrelenting worship of dichotomy, it can feel hard to argue against such a mantra.

Living in a world that is white/black, heterosexual/deviant, man/woman, and good/evil makes it easy to understand distinctions and deny what’s in between. All variables that do not fit into these tidy boxes are constructed as less valuable and made invisible.

To see life as it truly exists for most people would mean acknowledging that our systems, institutions, and hegemony favors certain groups over others. Usually the ones on the left of the dichotomy: white, male, and heterosexual.

As we continue to survive in these cultural dark ages, we need to remember that if life is defined for us, it is not worth living. Knowledge is power. And if power produces, we need to fight what the majority produces as knowledge. What is produced as truth is not. Perspective is in the eye of the beholder.

Embryonic Distopia

According to Judge Jeffrey Lawrence in Illinois, “a pre-embryo is a ‘human being’, whether or not it is implanted in its mother’s womb.” His ruling allows a Chicago couple to pursue their lawsuit against a fertility clinic that mistakenly disposed of a healthy embryo they had hoped would have been their child one day. Judge Lawrence stated that the couple is entitled to seek compensation the same as any parents whose child had been killed.

Citing the state’s Wrongful Death Act, which allows lawsuits to be filed if unborn fetuses are killed in an accident or assault, Lawrence precluded that an “unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person.”

While many believe the ruling will be overturned and is too narrow to adversely affect abortion rights, it signifies the not-so-clever reforms of the anti-choice movement. It would be dangerous to assume that this ruling is absurd. The interpretation of an “activist judge’s” opinion on such a matter is dangerous. According to Judge Lawrence’s logic, the embryo has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There are many who believe despite a woman’s decision, her well-being, and her circumstance, all unborn should be protected. The anti-choice movement’s passionate desire to reform and eventually abolish Roe v Wade comes at a heavy price. While Roe is still legal in this country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to access a safe and affordable abortion.

While some fight for a mass of fertilized cells, others see authentic human beings outside of the test-tubes, the gestational wombs, and didactic politics.

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Take a moment to imagine the possibilities, the untapped markets, and the utopian potential for embryos.

We’ll look back someday and wonder how we ever existed without such consumables as: fetal insurance, womb fresheners, aesthetic product lines designed to ensure our eggs are supple, fertile and maintain their viability (The horror of a saggy wrinkled Fallopian tube!), and the designer vaginal canals to ensure sperm have a pleasant experience on their fertilization trip.

Wag the Dog

The Kitten Moment:

The heartbroken Marine mom, Janet Norwood, lost her son in Iraq.

An Iraqi woman, Safia Taleb al-Suhail, who just voted in her first democratic election. Subplot: her father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime 11 years ago.

Marine mom sits behind Safia Taleb al-Suhail by sheer coincidence. (Never mind that Laura Bush invited Safia to the event and she is leader of the Iraqi Women’s Political Council. Safia was also signaled out during the President’s speech as a symbol for Iraqi freedom.)

Spontaneous embrace. Hug. Tears.

President Bush chokes back the tears but is steadfast and resolute in his determination for world peace/domination.

Brilliant.

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Purple is the new power color. Purple stained fingers are the sign of freedom, of victory.

It seems like only yesterday when the delegates at the Republican National Convention wore Purple Heart bandaids to ridicule John Kerry’s Vietnam service.

Purple ties and lavender dresses were worn by those in-the-know. Some even held up their own purple stained finger (an ink pad had been passed around as they entered the chamber).

How do you make purple? Combine blue and red. The Democrats are scrambling to become Republicans. Homogeny rules.

It’s Misandry If You’re Nasty

Advertisers are well aware of feminism. They have been scolded, boycotted, and sued for their contributions to sexist imagery, misogynist diatribes, and cultural stereotypes. In our current postfeminist landscape, bikini girls are now repackaged, diluted, and reconstituted as somehow less sexist and quite frankly, boring. Men are the new fodder.

We can now witness misogyny and misandry. Is this the equality that has escaped us for centuries? Misandry – the opposite of misogyny – is the new trend in advertising. The dumb husband, the slacker father, and the horny bachelor are the hot stereotypes this year. Objectifying women is so 90’s.

Why haven’t the Limbaugh’s of the world united on this attack of their masculinity? Why so many erectile dysfunction ads lately? Is it the Male Hysteria of our times? Do we need a Desperate Husbands phenomenon to wake the brothers from their oppression?

It is unfortunate that we can’t sell bleach, beer, hot dogs, razors, or internet access without degrading somebody. Much of these negative campaigns are more than a mere battle in the gender wars. There are classist and racist ideologies embedded in this hyped consumerism.

Advertisers stick to their philosophical roots. Create a manufactured need and consumers will buy. Create a feeling of inadequacy and they will purchase to fill that void. Appropriate cultures and alternative ideologies and they will believe in the “new and improved” packaging.

The holy grail of advertising is Sunday. There is much ado about nipples or the lack of. There are promises of sensitivity and moral reform. I can’t wait. I’m betting we will see plenty of penis shields (jock straps) and malfunctioning wardrobes (rumor has it Paul McCartney won’t be wearing any underwear).

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Is it ironic that President Bush chose Groundhog’s Day for his State of the Union address? I predict 4 more years of cultural winter.