August 8, 2011
On a recent weekend I flipped the channel by one of my old favorites, CSPAN-2, or BookTV as it is known on the weekends. I have drifted away from the channel over the last year or so as it devolved into a right-wing corporate mouthpiece, kinda like Faux, but without commercials or the blondes. Now it is mostly a roosting place for the conservative think-tanks (Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institute, AEI, etc.) to pimp their corporate-funded propaganda. I did linger long enough to hear the speaker relate the story of a teenage girl who had gotten pregnant by her boyfriend. Heeding her family and friends advice she went to the clinic. There she was accosted by the self-assured anti-choice zealot intent upon making her change her mind. The teenager went in but had a change of heart and left. The speaker crowed, “End of story.” Now the point of the speaker was for the right-wing leaders to switch from a statistical arguments to narrative arguments in order to make a deeper connection with the targeted audience. There was an air of envy that the creative types in the past tended to promote a liberal narrative in the arts and on to the mass media. I would posit that the corporate masters long ago learned that creativity can be bought and has gladly served the interests of the powerful to mislead the public. But my central point is that while the right-wing is glad to see a simplistic world of black and white, good and evil, and right vs. wrong, the messy details of reality are to be ignored. In the story of the pregnant girl who will pay the medical costs of carrying the fetus to term and for delivery? What if there are complications? More messy. Who will pay for the infant’s living costs? Who will provide daycare, transportation and education expenses so the girl will be able to gain employment and support her family? More messy. Will the tax exempt religious institutions provide adequate care for those millions? They didn’t do it before FDR. Do the ends justify the means? Accosting women about a personal matter in the public sphere with screaming condemnation would seem to violate the liberty and the right to be left alone the right-wing propagandists espouse. Maybe they would approve if she resorted to a second amendment solution to being attacked. Just more messy details that spoil “the story”.
currently reading The Years of Talking Dangerously by Geoffrey Nunberg, Jazz a history of American Music by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, and Justice Brennan Liberal Champion by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.