Amanda interviews Rick Perlstein about his new book Nixonland. Also: A review of anti-choice music, George Will insults women, and CNN looks at medical conscience clauses.
This week on Reality Cast, we’ll have an inteview with
Nixonland author Rick Perlstein. Also, a
segment on the right of doctors to refuse treatment, why George Will has no
empathy, and a review of anti-choice songs.
I promise the review will be more funny than painful
I’ll admit; I’m fascinated by the Christian version of sex
advice books. You know, the ones that
are strictly for married couples.
There’s a recent one that sounds almost kind of nightmarish.
I’m honestly not surprised that a lot of evangelical couples
find that it’s hard to ignite the passion. It’s too much pressure to be utterly
celibate before marriage and then turn it up to 11 after the wedding. This immoderate solution will probably have
the same problems. Meanwhile we heathens
have perversely learned the value of moderation
This segment demonstrates why I find religious arguments
endlessly frustrating. Religion turns
into this get out of jail free card that’s denied to non-religious people in so
many ways. Like the issue of refusing to
give medical care to someone. Not that
you find doctors doing something like refusing to treat prostate cancer in
anti-choice men on the grounds that they should learn that gender is destiny,
but if doctors are going to hide behind religion, I’d like to see other, more
rational doctors have equal rights to just make up the rules as they go along
June 10th, on CNN, American Morning had their
legal analyst Sunny Hostin on to talk about doctors refusing treatment to
patients on bigoted, er, religious grounds.
I don’t know if it should be framed as a freedom of religion
issue, because that calls into question how many other bigots out there can
start claiming god told them to mistreat entire classes of people. Pharmacists are already hiding behind
"freedom of religion" to deny basic services to people they have prejudices
against. Sexually active women and gays
are the two major classes of people that Jesus gives these pharmacists permission
to hate, but what if some pharmacist has a revelation that, say, Jesus doesn’t
want him dispensing drugs to black people?
There’s a whole can of worms when you use freedom of religion as a cover
That said, I think doctors should have a general right to
refuse patients, but should be obligated legally to disclose their prejudices
up front. Doctors are special, because
the service they provide is so personal that it’s just important that the
doctor is a good fit for the patient. If
a doctor can’t be fair to a patient, then it’s in the patient’s best interests
that this be disclosed so she can go to a doctor that will fight for her.
Good advice, but I think it should go a step further.
Patients are often, and for good reasons, intimidated by doctors. Doctors should own the responsibility to
inform the patients up front, perhaps in a sheet that you sign with all your
other paperwork. Just something that
says, "X, Y, and Z are things I won’t do for you, so if that’s what you need,
go elsewhere." Interestingly, doctors
who provide abortion are all up on this responsibility, really creating a model
for other doctors. A lot of good
abortion providers have counseling sessions ahead of time to outline what will
and won’t be happening in their care.
That should be the industry standard, I think.
Daniel Radosh, the author of "Rapture Ready" was recently on
Reason TV talking about the weird world of Christian pop culture.
Oh, I know all about fundie Christian pop culture, at least
one area of it, which is the anti-choice industry. There’s cartoons where fetuses loll around in
over-sized uteruses that look like apartments.
There’s little necklaces shaped like tiny feet, and you can have tiny
feet stamped on your checks so as better to terrorize hapless bank tellers with
the knowledge that you oppose their basic human rights, at least if they’re
But one thing that never stops puzzling me is the huge
numbers of maudlin songs about how terrible abortion is. I’ve played a couple on this show
before. I played a country western song
last week about the Colorado
ballot initiative to define fertilized eggs as persons. But I’ve never done an overview. And now, without further ado, I shall.
The first category, and possibly my favorite, are the songs
sung from the perspective of the fetuses themselves. Like this one called "Deliver Me" by Marie
This pretty much hits all the themes. First of all, it’s imperative that the
talking fetus be male. If there’s
singing fetuses out there that are female, I haven’t heard any of them. I’m not doubting that there’s one or two, but
the main thing here is that by pretending to be the fetus itself, a man takes
on this authority to berate women and tell them what to do that’s kind of
The singing male fetus genre hit new heights when Nick
Cannon released a song a few years ago called "Can I Live" that was all up on
the Total Request Live hit parade.
can I live?
The video is from "Can I Ball" productions. He also has a
song called "Dime Piece" where a variety of women are sized up as "potential
stalker", "old school freak", "emotionally unstable", and in a great act of
hypocrisy, one is blown off for having "too many baby daddys". Luckily, there are no singing fetuses in
that, because who knows what things they’d say.
Another category of anti-choice song writing is similar in
the sense that it’s still about being self-absorbed, and of course treats women
like second class people. These are
songs that flatter the listener by telling them they’re a unique snowflake, and
suggest that abortion rights are a direct assault on that.
"One In A Billion Choices" by Lawrence and Diane Marie Leach
fits this bill.
one in a billion
You can guess what the lord is going to say, since the lord
says whatever the songwriters want him to say.
And of course the genre of anti-choice songs would be
incomplete without Christian heavy metal.
Oh yeah, Satan’s music brought to bear for the lord’s work in oppressing
women. Here’s Holy Solider, singing as
the fetus of course, in their song "See No Evil".
see no evil
Usually the lyric, "Mother, I’m coming soon," means
something entirely different in heavy metal songs.
If you come across anti-choice songs that make you scream
for mercy because of the suckitude, please email them to me at amanda dot
Marcotte at gmail dot com.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, George Will
george will *
First of all, Obama’s comment was made in reference to sex
education, not abortion. But the general
point is the same, I’ll grant you.
What I don’t get is why these men think it’s so ridiculous
for women to think that being punished with a baby should be a bad thing. What part is foolish? The part where we don’t think babies should
be punishment? The part where we think
that babies should be wanted and a joy?
The part where we think that it’s unfair to be punished for sex while
men get off scot-free? I’m thinking
that’s the part Chris Matthews and George Will think is so hilarious. Those
silly ladies and their belief that they should have the same rights as men to
own their own bodies and sexuality.