Personal Reflections on Politics and Priorities


The Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol building.

Let us speak of love and life and the beauty of this Universe.

What? Oh. Right. Sorry.

Look, to the one it seems really simple; to the other, we all have people in our lives who will, when they don’t like the obvious implication of an obvious fact, chuff and puff and stutter: “Wh-wha-what? What are you talking about? What does that even mean?” The thing about this behavior is that except for the fact of contention, these people in our lives know damn well what we’re talking about, and if there is any confusion about what it means, they’re certainly tipping their hand by going from zero to attack in zero-point-two-one-seven-three seconds. You know that common tease, “Struck a nerve, there”?

Sometimes it seems tragic: Perceived competitive pressures can seem so permeating in and of the perspectives subscribing to or advocating its processes and outcomes as to inhibit normal, healthy social function. More accessibly: Capitalism escalates mental health risk factors. Or, more generally: People who believe in or advocate the dog eat dog rat race can fall into it so deeply that their social faculties degrade into dysfunction.

And sometimes we think, “Huh? But you knew what this meant yesterday. And you even believed it last week!”

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Fetus Dolls and Candy


Right.Um … how about we just check in with Katie J. M. Baker of Jezebel?

A box of fake fetuses.Want a squishy toy fetus with your corn dog? If you’re visiting the North Dakota State Fair, you’re in luck! Last weekend, local anti-choice advocates slipped soft fetal models into kids’ candy bags without parental permission during the fair’s gigantic parade. “I don’t know exactly where I stand on abortion,” one mother told Jezebel, “but I believe in my rights as a parent.”The North Dakota State Fair boasts a bevy of attractions, including performances by Tim McGraw and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. But Minot Right to Life spent the weekend giving away creepy little fetuses to kids without asking parents’ permission first. “It was really disturbing watching children run around with them,” one recalled. A federal judge recently temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s highly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban; perhaps appealing to elementary schoolers’ interests is the group’s Plan B?The Precious One” fetal models are manufactured by Heritage House, a “pro-life supply store,” for $1.50 a pop — cheaper if you buy in bulk. “Its beautiful detail, softness and weight can really move hearts and change minds!” the website promises. A customer service representative told Jezebel that the models are most often given to pregnant women at “pregnancy centers” and kids at school presentations. The customer reviews on the site (it’s like Yelp for fetus-lovers instead of foodies) further imply that the doll-like figures are great for kids. “Children especially like to hold them,” one satisfied customer wrote. “No other item that we hand out has the amazing effect that these fetal models have — instant attachment to the unborn!” said another. “So many times, we hear, ‘Awwwww! That’s adorable!’ Or we just see a girl’s tears begin to form and fall.”

Point number one: You know how we hear conservatives complain, from time to time, about how we need to just let children be children, and thus never teach them that gay people or birth control exist? So … er … yeah. This doesn’t fall under that rubric?Point number two:

Devyn Nelson, Executive Director of North Dakota Right to Life, said he hadn’t been contacted by organizers and claimed that the booth ran out of “Precious Ones” because there was such a high demand for the mini fetuses. “Kids like them, but adults like them too,” he said. “They have nothing to do with abortion. You don’t have to bring abortion up at all.”

Uh-huh. Right. Makes perfect sense.Just sayin’. Continue reading

The Ben Carson Phenomenon


“You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

Ben Carson

Perhaps insensate equivocation is the sort of unfortunate outcome one should expect from a collective that views itself more as a marketplace than a community, but rising conservative star Dr. Ben Carson offers the latest reminder of obvious differences:

Dr. Ben Carson and President George W. Bush, 2008.Dr. Ben Carson, a black Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon and conservative favorite after challenging President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, said Monday on “The Mark Levin Show” that white liberals are “racist.”

“And you’re attacked in many respects because of your race. You’re not supposed to think like this, and supposed to talk like this. A lot of white liberals just don’t like it, do they?” said Levin, host of the syndicated radio show.

“Well, they’re the most racist people there are. You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?” responded Carson.

Let us start with the obvious: What does that even mean?

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The Canon – Brown’s Life Against Death


Excerpt: Life Against Death, by Norman O. Brown

… it is a Freudian theorem that each individual neurosis is not static but dynamic. It is a historical process with its own internal logic. Because of the basically unsatisfactory nature of the neurotic compromise, tension between the repressed and repressing factors persists and produces a constant series of new symptom-formations. And the series of symptom-formations is not a shapeless series of mere changes; it exhibits a regressive pattern, which Freud calls the slow return of the repressed, “It is a law of neurotic diseases that these obsessive acts serve the impulse more and more and come nearer and nearer the original and forbidden act.” The doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind, if we take it seriously, therefore compels us to entertain the hypothesis that the pattern of history exhibits a dialectic not hitherto recognized by historians, the dialectic of neurosis.

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Brown, Norman O. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1959.