Anti-Choice Marches and Bad Singers

Amanda reviews the annual march against women's rights and interviews Courtney Martin about the link between sex and eating disorders. Also, what happens when an abstinence-only true believer goes on "American Idol"?

Links in this episode:
Dan Savage interviews South Carolina
Jerry Horn at the March for Life
Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters
"American Idol" meets abstinence-only
MTSS on abstinence
John Gibson mocks Heath Ledger
Gibson's obsessive gay panic



This week on Reality Cast, I'll have an interview with Courtney Martin on sex and eating disorders, a review of the odious March for Life, and a look into the clash between abstinence-only types and the show "American Idol".

Okay, so I can't play bits from Dan Savage's podcast on this show, because he likes the f-word so much, but I can point you guys to this brilliant segment he did on Bill Maher's show. Dan, who is unabashedly gay, decided to go to South Carolina to interview some hardcore conservative voters about their beliefs that the government should be based on the Bible. His conservative interview subjects seem to think the Bible is just one long book about how being gay is bad. In reality, it's barely mentioned.

*insert dan savage interviews*

Check out the whole thing.


So, the anti-choicers have a big holiday every year to celebrate Roe v. Wade, which gave them license to spread their particular brand of crazy all over the U.S. It's called the March For Life, and it's a non-stop sex-hating, woman-oppressing, Bible-thumping marathon. I was not impressed with Louisiana senator David Vitter's speech.

*insert david Vitter speech*

I thought it was a *legal* struggle to deprive women of rights and punish people for having sex. You don't have to convince someone they're wrong to have an abortion when you're throwing them in jail for it.

But I love getting lectured about morals by David Vitter. For those who have short memories, here's another speech he made last year, with his sad-looking wife standing by him at a press conference.

*insert david Vitter press conference 1*

By "actions in his past", he means sleeping with prostitutes. But it's all okay now!

*insert david Vitter press conference 2*

Okay, he got right with god and with his wife, and so we're supposed to move on. None of our business, right? This is between him, his god, and his wife.

Then why on earth is he out there trying to throw women in jail for something that's between them, and their families? I guess if we all got to be senators, then we too could squeak by with a press conference instead of the handcuffs.

What's kind of alarming about anti-choicers is that the leaders, at least, are so obsessed with the idea of conception that it's their only metaphor. Here's Jerry Horn at the March For Life parade, and he clearly can't think of anything in terms other than knocking someone up.

*insert jerry horn creepy speech*

He's talking about the organization, but the scripture he uses is clearly one that's popular because it's good sentimentality for arguing for forced childbirth. He can't make a baby, but he can make an organization and talk about it as if it were a baby!

Most of this interview consists of the anti-choicers complaining that the secular media doesn't broadcast non-stop propaganda about how Jesus really wants the federal government to make you have a baby at gunpoint.

Representative Steve King from Iowa got melodramatic.

*insert steve king*

Oh, it's much worse than that. Think of all the babies not being made because the late show is on and people are staying up to laugh instead of have sex without contraception. Abortion has nothing on that. David Letterman alone has decimated an entire generation because the would-be parents were laughing when they should have been copulating.

And speaking of, why on earth are all those people standing around listening to speeches while their sex cells die unused inside them? A holocaust! Never mind the actual holocausts where people suffered and died, people with names, families, lives. You know, actual people. Once you start breathing and feeling, these supposed pro-lifers stop caring. I'd suggest they all go take a visit to the Holocaust Museum, which is in the same city as the march after all. Wonder if they could muster up some sympathy for victims of the actual Holocaust, or if real people just interest them less than potential people.

So we don't leave this on a sad note, I will leave you with this wisdom from Bill Hicks.

*insert bill hicks gym sock*


*insert interview*


Most if the abstinence-only energy out there is aimed at young women, of course, but it's worth noting that anti-choicers do reject the idea that young men should have sex before marriage. They don't reject it as much, of course, but they do reject it. While most virginity pledgers are girls, there are some boys who do it, maybe so anti-choicers can try to avoid accusations that they're unfair.

I mention this, because "American Idol" had a contestant on who is a young man who took a purity pledge with his father. I'm not sure if he doesn't have sisters with virginities his dad can obsess over or what, but rest assured, it was pretty damn creepy with a hint of incestual overtones.

*insert American idol 1*

He and his dad then show off the fact that they bought matching necklaces, the kinds that are two parts that fit together.

*insert American idol 2*

They then lean into each other and lock their necklaces together in a way that's not all creepy. Not even slightly. I shuddered because I'm cold. Their necklaces remind me of the pair my best friend in the 6th grade and I got, two halves of a heart that said, when you put them together, best friends forever. If these guys got their necklaces at Claire's like my 6th grade best friend and I did, they must have really stuck out amongst the girls buying Hannah Montana wigs and Hello Kitty gear.

The dad brags about how he's sheltered his son from the ravages of female lips for 19 years to the host, Ryan Seacrest, who actually is kind of funny for once.

*insert American idol 3*

I kind of feel bad for the people who brag about abstaining. No, really. They seem to think that everyone is standing around in awe of them, sort of the way women are supposed to gather around fashion magazines and exclaim over how these women seem to have really conquered the urge to eat. But sex doesn't work that way. The folks at the Midwest Teen Sex Show reminded us of what people are really thinking about the abstinence braggers.

*insert MTSS*

Disclaimer: I know full well that it's unfair and kind of meany-headed to say that. But it's better to know what people are thinking than not, right?

What was kind of sad was that this guy not only thinks everyone is awed by his non-kissing ways, he seems to find his entire identity in it.

*insert American idol 4*

He's holding out his penis-key Claire's necklace while he says that, all full of himself. What's going to happen to him when he actually kisses a girl and has sex and isn't all special anymore? You shouldn't lose your identity with your virginity.

You won't BELIEVE what song he sings. I mean, it's not the perfect pick. The perfect pick would have been "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson. But this may be second best.

*insert American idol 5*

Of course, this guy's not the first virgin to find solace in that song. Michael Jackson sang it when he was really young, and he made the subtext a bit more textual.

*aint no sunshine outro*


Now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts. Fox News host John Gibson apparently thinks that because Heath Ledger played a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain", the actor's sudden death is reason to mock him.

*insert john Gibson 1*

This is gay panic taken to a new level, since Ledger wasn't even gay. Lest there's any doubt that Gibson is being hateful because he suspects the Ledger wasn't 100% homophobic, Think Progress happily documented the fact that Gibson was obsessed with "Brokeback Mountain" when it came out. Apparently, he thought it was part of the shadowy "gay agenda" that has weekly meetings on recruitment strategies.

One of the commenters at Think Progress suggested the Gibson's obsession with the gay agenda might indicate that Gibson has secret fantasies he is scared to talk about. So then Gibson and his sidekick had to go over that on Gibson's show, giving him another opportunity to dehumanize not just gay people but anyone who doesn't hate gay people.

*insert john Gibson 2*

Stay classy!


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • invalid-0

    “forced childbirth”
    I’m glad you at least realize that it is a child that is being terminated and not a pregnancy.

  • invalid-0

    Why does this site seem to attract such nutcases as evidence of the first comment who so smuggly says “I’m glad you at least realize it is a child being terminated and not a pregnancy.” NO you idiot go back to science class for a moment and realize with me that it is a group of cells. It has no memory, no being, nothing but a GROUP OF CELLS! I for one would rather be for the woman who is A LIVING BREATHING HUMAN BEING THAT IS BORN WITH A LIFE, FAMILY, FRIENDS, ETC. Oh and another thing why are you prolifers so crazy in love with a bundle of cells and again so willing to let a BORN woman suffer and not really care about the bundle of cells when it is born? I guess I never will understand but then again I am not indoctrinated by the right.

  • amanda-marcotte

    No one thinks that a baby is not a baby after it's born. I'm talking about forcing a woman to make a baby. Now, I realize that you, being anti-choice, prefer to think the baby is fully formed after a man does his part, but in reality, it takes 9 months for a woman to make the baby after that. I know, it sucks to admit that women do anything worth admiring and is much easier to pretend that men make babies by ejaculating and all female contributions afterwards can be dismissed by equating a real baby made with 9 months of pregnancy with a zygote made with 10 minutes of sex.

  • harry834

    2 seconds of sex

    One ejaculation and they think they are god, the creators of life with one squirt. Of course the woman then needs to be controlled. Your creation will be destroyed unless the incubator (the woman) is dominated and provides her function for the man's dream of creation.

  • invalid-0

    I am reading your and amanda’s comments, and you are so angry and hateful over someone who simply has a different opinion and believes something entirely different than you. Whatever happened to civil discourse and the idea that perhaps you might not be 100% correct? Many pro life folks simply believe that life begins at conception…no scientific theory will ever change that belief, because it is grounded on something greater, something that anti-spiritual aetheists cannot understand…FAITH! Billions of people put more emphasis everyday on their faith than your scientific theory.

    The simple fact is, regardless of where the baby is in its developmental process, people with faith believe that it already has a soul. That it is also a living creature, whether it has begun to form actual body parts or not is irrelevant. People also make decisions and policy that is guided by their moral and spiritual beliefs, just like aetheists make decisions that are guided by their moral and anti-spiritual beliefs. So why is one better than the other? You all need to be a little less hateful and a little more tolerant of intelligent, faith-filled people who actually think about these things (not indoctrinated, like you so offensively say), but just might believe that there is something higher than themselves.

  • invalid-0

    What utter crap.

    Anyone who believes a soul is incorporated into the fertilized egg at conception is either a moron or has to believe god is one mean mother-fucker since the majority of fertilized eggs never implant. That’s a hell of a lot of souls god would be sending down here just to end up on tampons. *rolls eyes*

  • invalid-0

    you are so angry and hateful over someone who simply has a different opinion and believes something entirely different than you.

    Well, these pro lifers are lobbying for the government to step in and take away a woman’s right to decide. That is the basis for hostility right there.

    no scientific theory will ever change that belief, because it is grounded on something greater, something that anti-spiritual aetheists cannot understand…FAITH! Billions of people put more emphasis everyday on their faith than your scientific theory.

    Ad hominem right there, with a touch of strawman. Your implication is pro choicers are atheists, so would you like a broom to go with your sweeping generalizations? The belief life begins at conception is just that: a belief and it’s not backed up by scientific evidence.

    You all need to be a little less hateful and a little more tolerant of intelligent, faith-filled people who actually think about these things (not indoctrinated, like you so offensively say)

    WHAT? I cannot believe you just said something so pungently ignorant. You come in begging for tolerance, and then waste your post slinging around labels.

  • invalid-0

    Your disrespect reveals the utter simplicity of your intellect (**shakes head**)

  • invalid-0

    No…actually the very ironic thing is that you demand conservatives to be tolerant on the issues that you deem necessary, and then refuse to respect another opinion.

    There’s actually very little point in debating abortion with you people…you simply want to talk to yourselves, and then use your elitist liberal views to disrespect anyone with a dissenting opinion.

    You talk about the health of women and their right to choose to kill their babies…what about all the psychological effects that many women experience due to abortions. There’s plenty of scientific theory on that one…or do you simple just cherry pick that science that suits your interest.

    • harry834

      I'm trying to find out what the difference is between being hostile to a dissenting opinion versus merely expressing an opinion that makes you uncomfortable and challenged. Or are you only allowed that freedom? You've called us baby killers x number of times. How is that not hateful?

      We should probably just say what we want or figure out what these "civil discourse" rules are. Because each of our dissenting opinions are just harsh-sounding to the other. We'll both have to deal.

      I'd also ask if abortion is murder, would you have the woman who got the abortion get the punishment for murder. It doesn't seem like it since you feel sorry for women who regret their abortions.

      And what about women who don't regret their abortions? You'll treat them like criminals, it seems. Seems you'll only support women when they make the choice you want them too.

      And one person asked a question about fertilized eggs on a tampon. If personhood begins at conception, does that make the washing out of these eggs during a woman's period – about 1/2-2/3 amount of the time – is this then anatural disaster. Are we not obligated to verify if the tampon had a fertilized egg on it, the same way we would have to verify missing persons in a natural disaster like Katrina?

      If personhood begins at conception, fertilized eggs are persons, then we have to inspect every tampon for verification of the bodies. If found dead, we must give the egg on the tampon a proper funeral.

      If you think the above is insane, why? Don't you believe that personhood begins at conception? You said so.

    • invalid-0

      Adoption industrialist to low income pregnant girl: “Just give it up for adoption, honey, YOU’LL GET OVER IT”

      Abortion opponent to low income pregnant girl: “Don’t kill your bayyyybeeee. YOU’LL NEVER GET OVER IT”

      They can’t both be right, now can they? The “moral” of this little story: don’t put your bloody bullshit words into the mouths of other people. It’s bad enough that you put words into the mouth of your invisible friend in the sky (your god-puppet). Your faith is not very strong if it needs to lodge its perverse head between the legs of strange women.

  • invalid-0

    Hi Harry,

    Out of ‘respect for life’ and respect for those who claim to value life, women should start sending their used tampons to pro-life organizations and ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ for those death investigations and proper burials!

  • harry834

    would be the first to give them in

  • invalid-0

    Obviously for a fertilized egg to have a chance at life, it needs to be in the mother’s womb, so no, a funeral would not be neccessary.


    Seriously though, how can you prove that a baby in its early stages of life does not have a soul?

    I believe it does, so if that makes me a crazy pro lifer than so be it.

  • invalid-0

    A newborn has no chance at life without care provided to it, and refusing to do so is infanticide (by omission)….we count the child, bury it in this case and also prosecute for failure to care for it. If fertilized eggs deserve the same respect (even beyond that, giving them rights over a womans body) then we should be obligated to count them none the less.

    Being consistent doesn’t make ones idea absurd.

  • invalid-0

    “switching the burden of proof”. Pro lifers cannot prove personhood begins at conception. In turn, anonymous challenges us to prove the blastocyst doesn’t have a soul. Two different things here, plus the soul is a philosophical concept which cannot be measured nor analyzed.

  • invalid-0

    You’re absolutely right. If I hear one more anti-choicer scream about how wonderful it is to give your child up for adoption and how great it will make you feel, I’m going to scream.

    Who can presume to know how a woman is or isn’t going to feel? ANY reproductive health experience brings with it a range of experiences for women. Adoption is a wonderful option for some, abortion is the best option for others.

    But, PLEASE, don’t pretend to know what is best for me or any other woman in the world. The hypocrisy is horrendous and so darn easy to throw out as hollow and judgemental.

  • invalid-0

    Personhood is a completely subjective concept, and cannot ever be proven. While something like “is it a life?” can be proven, there’s no way that anyone can accurately say “aha! I have proven personhood begins at birth.”

  • harry834

    you DON'T think the fertilized egg is a person…

    Because if it was, then a woman's period would be considered a natural disaster, and we'd be obligated to verify the dead body on the tampon, etc, everything I said above.

    But you seemed to have dodged the question.

    Do you or don't you think that the fertilized egg is a person? If yes, why don't you agree with the natural disaster obligations I've suggested?

  • invalid-0

    Feminism and Michael Jackson.. I love when my worlds collide.