The Other Heartbeat Isn’t Yours

I am not interested in where a human life starts to exist.

In the video linked above, feminist “theorist” Sophie Lewis informs us that the foetus, a nascent human being, is “violent,” does violence to “gestators,” and that abortion is a corrective killing, an “unmaking,” a means of “going on strike against gestational work.” “We need to move away from… arguments around when human life begins,” says she.

So far as I can tell, and despite Ms Lewis’ theorising, mothers-to-be don’t generally feel a need to parse their pregnancy in terms of “abolishing the private nuclear household” and “global regimes of colonial and commodity exploitation.” Or indeed to champion abortion, via drugs or dismemberment, as a form of “anti-violence.” But that’s probably because – to borrow a phrase from Joan - they haven’t been tugging on the intersectional crack pipe.

Ms Lewis is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family. When not arguing for the destruction of the unborn, and the “abolition” of the family - which is to be replaced by comradeliness, apparently - she “participates in the Out Of The Woods anti-capitalist ecological writing collective.”

Update, via the comments:

In this laughably pretentious review of Ms Lewis’ laughably pretentious book, we learn that the author wishes us to embrace the disintegration of the family – our families, all families – “until they dissolve into a classless commune on the basis of the best available care for all.” As if the “best available care” would somehow be an obvious result of family disintegration, despite decades of real-world evidence to the contrary. Supposedly, we would learn to love the “plural womb,” “radical disinheritance,” and “a world beyond propertarian kinship and work alienation.” The children we have will no longer be ours, it seems, and this will apparently make us happy. It’s a “queer, communist, speculative future.” A narcissist’s experiment. And we are to be the guinea pigs.

Via Mr Muldoon. Somewhat related.

Elsewhere (270)

John Leo on standards versus appearances: 

The nation’s public schools are a mess. Only 37 percent of 12th graders tested proficient in reading and only 25 percent in maths. Yet the inability to read or do maths seems to be no barrier to college. Unprepared students are flooding into college in record numbers. The Bureau of Labour Statistics says 70 percent of white high-school graduates and 58 percent of black graduates in 2016 enrolled in college. In his syndicated column, Walter E. Williams asks, “If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 70 percent of them? And if roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 58 percent of them? It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level.”

From the Walter Williams article quoted above: 

College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades. Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits. Such majors often include the term “studies,” such as ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies... The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.

With that in mind, readers may wish to revisit this tale of modern educational wonders. As I said at the time, a school that has no discernible standards, academic or behavioural, and which makes no distinction between those who study and those who don’t even turn up, is in no meaningful sense a school.

And speaking of analytical deficits

A member of the pro-abortion club at the University of Minnesota-Duluth compared pro-life students to white supremacists during an open mic event last week. Throughout his [poetry] performance at the “Speak Out for Justice” event on April 21, Student Advocates for Choice member Reilly Manzer condemned the “pale faces” of the pro-life movement for criticising abortion.

Bear in mind that Mr Manzer - whose woke poetry is the obligatory feat of teetering pretension and outright psychodrama, and therefore loudly applauded - is, for many educators, an exemplary product of modern academia.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Elsewhere (259)

Toni Airaksinen pokes through the scholarly journal Feminist Media Studies

“The purpose of including an abortion plotline is to make jokes about abortion, recognising that such satire is valuable for some people as both a means and an end,” [sociology lecturer, Gretchen] Sisson explains. “Comedy has often been used as a subversive way of challenging predominant social structures,” she adds, arguing that because comedy has a history of challenging taboo social issues, abortion “is even intuitive new ground for comedy to address.”

When not devising new realms of feminist comedy, Dr Sisson is an advocate of third-trimester abortion. And hey, destroying nascent human life - whether for health reasons, personal convenience, or as a display of feminist piety - what could be funnier?

David Solway on the comedy-cum-despair of being a college-level teacher: 

Where was one to start trying to educate an adult student who thought the Great Depression began in the 1960s; who was unable to distinguish between the First and Second World Wars; who thought that Moscow was the capital of Missouri… or who averred, in a paper on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, that “George Orwin, arthur of The Animal Firm, was heavily into natur.” You can’t make this stuff up. 

And Toni Airaksinen, again, on another educational breakthrough arrived at via feminism: 

Together, [professors] Laura Parson and Casey Ozaki interviewed eight female students majoring in math or physics to learn more about why women struggle in STEM. From their interviews, the professors learned that many women feel pressure to conform to so-called “masculine” norms. According to the professors, these masculine norms include “asking good questions,” “capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,” “motivation,” the expectation that students would be “independent” thinkers, and a relatively low fear of failure. “This requirement that the average student asks questions and speaks in class is based on the typical undergraduate man,” they contend.

Apparently, this “masculine” ideal – of diligence, rationality and a willingness to ask questions – “is very difficult for women students to achieve,” on account of female students not possessing an “unencumbered male body.” Dr Parson has of course entertained us before with her claims that the scientific method and notions of objective reality are “masculine” conceits and therefore oppressive. Instead, says she, we should rely on “feminist critical discourse,” of which her own writing is presumably an example. Again, if you think of modern leftism as a kind of perverse counsel, an attempt to erode realism, stoicism and self-possession, along with academic standards and expectations of competence, and to ruin the lives of the vain and credulous, it can save a lot of time.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Screaming Into A Mirror

Further to the last item here, and various rumblings in the comments, here’s Nanette Asimov on The Screeching Left versus Ben Shapiro (and anyone who wants to engage him in debating ideas): 

For many protesters, the specifics of what the opposition says is not the point. “It doesn’t matter what the guy’s going to say,” said Michael Heaney, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the sociology of protest movements. “He could talk about the joys of apple-picking. What matters is that the counter-movement is trying to use the energy of the (event) to grow. This is an opportunity for them — and they are likely to seize upon it.”

And hence the conceit that any disagreement is an act of “violence,” to be repaid in kind, violently. For the hyperventilated protestors, it’s all about them and their psychodrama. Because it always is. And so we see self-styled ‘progressives’, the self-imagined woke, calling a Jewish man “Nazi scum” and a “fascist xenophobe” because he opposes racism and thuggery, and wants to have conversations in which students consider issues of basic humanity.

See also, Charles Murray, Heather Mac Donald, Janice Fiamengoetc., etc

Sexy Fun Times

Anthony Gockowski reports from Purdue University, where a debate on abortion takes a strange turn

“What would you call the public display of a butt naked body of a child?” [pro-abortion speaker, Professor David] Sanders questioned. “I would call it child pornography. Do they have their permission? Do they have the permission of the foetus? Obviously not.”

The permission of the foetus. All things considered, not the happiest turn of phrase.

He went on to question whether or not [anti-abortion group] Created Equal obtains “the permission of the parents to show these images of children,” soliciting a shocked reaction from the audience, with one in attendance pointing out that Sanders had effectively admitted that “it’s a child.”

So, to recap. Showing images of terminated babies-to-have-been during a debate on abortion is apparently pornographic and indecent, a violation of the subject, unlike actually terminating said subject with forceps, suction tubes or abortifacient drugs.

Related: Just Thwarted Sperm

Elsewhere (223)

Ben Shapiro on abortion and evasion: 

Today, The Atlantic ran a bizarre piece by Moira Weigel titled, in Orwellian fashion, “How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Foetus Is a Person.” Which is somewhat like saying, “How the Microscope Pushed the Idea That Cells Exist,” or “How the Hubble Telescope Pushed the Idea That There Are Stars Outside Our Solar System.” […] But Weigel goes even further, assuring readers that ultrasounds were primarily a form of warfare against women rather than a tool allowing doctors to identify problems with foetal development as early as possible.  

“What is a foetal heartbeat?” asks Ms Weigel. “And why does it matter?” As we’ve seen, pregnancy is a subject that leaves some feminists looking not only disingenuous but actually monstrous

Roger Kimball on academia’s inauguration meltdown: 

Academia has an infantilising effect. I understand that. Many professors dress and act like adolescents right up to the time they are ready to hand in their tenure and live off their generous pensions. The Peter-Pan aspect of academia is not entirely the professors’ fault. After all, the points at which the real world intrudes upon academia are so few and so tenuous that academics may be forgiven for some of their hyperbole and inadvertently comic displays of self-importance. They exist, like kept women of yore, entirely at the pleasure of an affluent society they despise. So in a way it is not surprising that they endeavour to transform their entire campus into a sort of existential boudoir, which is French for “room for pouting in.”

Peter Wood on attempts to make ‘progressive’ activism mandatory for students:

New Civics has appropriated the name of an older subject, but not the content of that subject or its basic orientation to the world. Instead of trying to prepare students for adult participation in the self-governance of the nation, the New Civics tries to prepare students to become social and political activists who are grounded in broad antagonism towards America’s founding principles and its republican ethos.

And Malhar Mali interviews the people behind the excellent Real Peer Review:  

@RealPeerReview is a Twitter account that has steadily gained popularity and fans by exposing the humorous, nonsensical, and absurd trends in scholarship that are sometimes found in academic research. From Ph.D. theses, M.A. theses, to articles in disciplinary journals, the account highlights laughable “scholarship” such as exploring the black anus, how pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes are oppressive and symbols of white privilege, a paper on a researcher’s experience of completing jigsaw puzzles, and how a scholar felt while drinking coffee and reading the Guardian.  

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

An Eighteen-Year Project

In the Sydney Morning Herald, proud feminist and former educator Polly Dunning shares her experience of motherhood:

I’ve always been a feminist. I’m lucky. My mother, Jane Caro, is a feminist, as is my grandmother, and both always have been. It’s something I’ve never questioned and always felt confident and strident about. Just ask me about it at a dinner party (if you dare...)

Setting aside the prospect of some horrendous dinner parties, note Ms Dunning’s satisfaction with a set of assumptions that are stridently voiced and “never questioned.”

Motherhood has been quite a confronting experience for my feminism so far, and I'm sure it will continue to be. Ever since discovering I was pregnant it’s been a process of adjusting and reconciling my biology with my ideology, particularly when I discovered that my baby, my most-beloved Alfred, would be a boy.

That little red light is a warning sign.

I had never wanted a son. In fact, I had decidedly not wanted one. I wanted daughters, probably because I am one of two daughters and six granddaughters, no sons or grandsons. This seemed altogether to fit in with my feminism better… There were dark moments in the middle of the night (when all those dark thoughts come), when I felt sick at the thought of something male growing inside me.

Yes, I know. The little red light is flashing now. Best cover it with a towel.

In this patriarchal world, this world where even the best men (and women, for that matter) engage in casual and ingrained sexism, how will I raise a son who respects me the way a daughter would?

Oh sweet naïveté. But thank goodness that Ms Dunning, who “felt sick” at even the thought of “something male” growing inside her, is totally opposed to all that “casual and ingrained sexism.”

Continue reading "An Eighteen-Year Project" »

Those Baby Blues

Why I call my son ‘he’, against my better judgement. 

Yes, it’s a parenting column in the pages of the Independent, care of “non-binary” parent and pronoun contester, Dorian Stripe

It’s a question I’m asked occasionally: “why do you use gendered pronouns for your son?” It’s no surprise, as I move entirely in queer circles, and am a non-binary person who uses “they” pronouns for myself instead of “he” or “she.” So naturally people wonder why I’m not allowing my son that neutrality.

I’m not sure that wilfully disregarding your son’s biological sex, and actively challenging it with a hint of self-congratulation, is actually neutrality.

My son was born with a penis and testes. They were identified five months before he was born. Everyone around me had started to ask the fatal question, “boy or girl?” every time they saw my bump. My brain screamed “neither” – it’s nothing! It’s a bundle of cells that doesn’t even have fingers yet! 

Here’s a typical foetus at four months, a nascent human being. Or as Dorian puts it, “nothing… a bundle of cells.” Note the fingers. 

My employer bought me a weird, cutesy towel-tree in a pastel blue, with little cars and aeroplanes on it. I shudder to think what the girl towel-tree looked like.

Isn’t it just terrible when people buy you gendered baby gifts? The unenlightened fuckers.

I have a large, supportive biological family, who are (as the vast majority of people are) uneducated on trans issues and the nature of pronouns. While the majority of them support my right to parent how I wish, very few of them would respect “non-standard” pronouns – they would revert to using whichever pronoun they think matches his genitalia whenever I’m not in the room, and even when present, they would need constant correction.

Pronoun correction, it’s what brings a family together. Though when relatives do this kind of thing during pregnancy, I suspect they’re not cooing about foetal genitals as such, so much as the psychology, the maleness or femaleness, that they generally signify and prefigure. Those cooing relatives may be affectionately anticipating what kind of person that little “nothing” may become.

This gets to the heart of why I made this decision: using non-binary pronouns is exhausting. 

Well, quite. And at this stage of the game, it does look like an affectation that’s more about the parent than the child. After all, gendered pronouns are only apt almost all of the time.

Continue reading "Those Baby Blues" »

Elsewhere (173)

Douglas Murray on the loudly throbbing brain of Mr Paul Mason: 

Mason writes, “In Gaza, in August 2014, I spent ten days in a community being systematically destroyed by drone strikes, shelling and sniper fire.” Nothing about Hamas rocket-fire or any context about a long-running war. Instead he describes this apparently naked aggression as an example of “how ruthlessly the elite will react” to defend modern capitalism. But why would anyone bomb Gaza to do that? As well as holding many of the other worst views in the world, are Hamas also in possession of a particularly devastating critique of late capitalism?

Mr Mason’s adventures in radical thought have previously entertained us

Thomas Sowell on the politics of self-congratulation: 

T.S. Eliot once said, “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm - but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” This suggests that one way to find out if those who claim to be trying to help the less fortunate are for real is to see if they are satisfied to simply advocate a given policy, and see it through to being imposed - without also testing empirically whether the policy is accomplishing what it set out to do. The first two steps are enough to let advocates feel important and righteous. Whether you really care about what happens to the supposed beneficiaries of the policy is indicated by whether you bother to check out the empirical evidence afterwards.

And George Will on the Planned Parenthood horror show: 

In partial-birth abortion, a near-term baby is pulled by the legs almost out of the birth canal, until the base of the skull is exposed so the abortionist can suck out its contents. During Senate debates on this procedure, three Democrats were asked: Suppose a baby’s head slips out of the birth canal — the baby is born — before the abortionist can kill it. Does the baby then have a right to live? Two of the Democrats refused to answer. The third said the baby acquires a right to life when it leaves the hospital.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

Zoe Just Knows

The Guardian’s Zoe Williams confidently declares,   

Miscarriage culture is, from a feminist perspective, an amplification of the shame involved in being female in the first place.

Setting aside the notion of there being an entire miscarriage culture, I don’t follow Zoe’s leap to “shame in being female” as the obvious emotion of the moment. Grief, yes, dashed hopes, yes, anxiety about future pregnancies, quite possibly. A reluctance to share private pain publicly with friends, relatives and workmates - and thereby reliving it - yes, that too. And of course there’s the profound awfulness of being congratulated on imminent parenthood by someone no longer in the loop, and their subsequent mortification as they’re brought up to speed. But shame in being female? Does that even make the list of nightmares? Are we living in the sixteenth century, in the court of Henry VIII?

Of the two miscarriages I’ve known about, neither involved, to my eye, any attempt to shame the bereaved would-be parents. Very much the opposite. Such that the avalanche of sympathy could itself be hard to bear. And both instances highlighted practical explanations for why pregnancies are often private matters for the first few months – a custom Zoe dismisses as “a cult of silence,” one that “clings on to an infantile squeamishness around the particulars of reproduction.” It is, I’d imagine, quite stressful to repeatedly explain this most intimate loss to friends and relatives who are expecting good news – and also explaining it to any existing small children, whose little brother or sister will not be arriving as promised.  

But in Zoe’s mind, enlightened as it is by feminism, these things are merely “an amplification of the shame involved in being female,” an “enraging thing,” one that’s “kept alive by everyone who goes anywhere near a pregnancy.” 

Just Thwarted Sperm

Readers will recall Amanda Marcotte, a popular leftwing feminist whose wisdom has entertained us more than once. Not least with her famous publishing blunder and subsequent, rather competitive, displays of  racial consciousness. Nor should we forget Amanda’s belief that the inclination to reproduce is a dastardly social construct “preserved” by unnamed villains solely to ensure that women without children aren’t recognised as “complete individuals.” Some may treasure memories of Amanda’s evidence-free claim that critics of academic feminism, among them Daphne Patai and Christina Hoff Sommers, are “trying to oppress women.”

Ms Marcotte’s recent ruminations involve sympathy cards for men and women affected by abortion. Of particular interest to Amanda is the sympathy card for men whose partners have chosen to abort their child-to-be:  


The card is question is produced by the Fatherhood Forever Foundation, a religious organisation opposed to current abortion law. Now one might disagree with the motives of the organisation and one might find the cards grimly cheesy and a dubious commercial prospect, but that isn’t what caught my eye. What’s interesting are the reactions of Ms Marcotte and her readers in a post titled Thwarted Sperm Finally Have An Advocate. It goes without saying the Sisterhood isn’t thrilled:

Anti-choicers [are] pretending that they just discovered they oppose abortion because it violates men’s rights over their uterine property (established by the “poke it/own it” law laid down in beer commercials).

Apparently abortion must be – can only be – an issue of “uterine property” and patriarchal control. After all, what other considerations could possibly be in play?

If he cares about the embryo so much then he should get to work on inventing a way to transfer the pregnancy into his own body. Oh, you don’t want this thing to leech off your body for several months? Well, I don’t either.”

Won’t someone think of the Man-Child?

Your sperm is in our thoughts and prayers.


The special sort of douchebag who would get all butthurt because his sperm was rejected is probably likely to have behaved like a complete and utter cock before the decision to abort.

Because if a woman chooses abortion and her male partner isn’t entirely happy at this outcome, even if he agreed with it and would defend it in principal, he must be a douchebag, a deadbeat or a dick. Such things are simply known by the ladies at Team Pandagon, where righteousness prevails, prejudice is unheard of and telepathy is commonplace.

Continue reading "Just Thwarted Sperm" »