Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miss me yet?

Hi, darlings. I'm getting settled in Brooklyn and at my summer gig, which, if I haven't already mentioned (and by mentioned I mean bragged) is as the web intern at The Nation. So if you don't already read EVERYTHING ON THE SITE, you should start, stat.

Seriously, though, I'm going to be pretty busy so I don't know how often I'll be around, though I'll be required to be even more obsessively informed on the issues of the day, so I'll probably have some rants here and there.

If you've missed me dearly, I've had two pieces up at Global Comment this week in between the unpacking. "No Common Sense, No Pleasure: From Dr. Tiller to The Pill Kills" is pretty much what it sounds like--it's a beginning of some thoughts on how we deal with women's sexuality. (I wish I came up with the title, but Natalia is better at that than I am.)

It’s 2009, and yet we’re stuck on the old terms when it comes to discussion of women’s sexuality. We’re inured now to sex scandals among male political figures, but women are still subject to lectures about their duty to children and families, and even the debate over a new Supreme Court justice hinges on whether or not she is pro-choice. Discussions of birth control and abortion too often leave out the point that sexuality is normal and healthy, and women should be able to enjoy it without being forced to bear children.

We yield to discussions on mournful abortions, or else feel required to admit to absolutely no guilt or second thoughts, lest we unwittingly give the Right some talking-point ammo. We are left with no avenue to talk about the pleasures and pitfalls of adult and adolescent sexuality.

Then yesterday I wrote a quick response to the early reaction to the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. There are so many ways I could've gone with that story, but I got quite annoyed at the bickering on Twitter about whose fault it was that an antisemite got a gun.

Arguing over whose side the killer was on is as simplistic, reductive, and plain stupid as arguing about whether the Columbine shooters were victims of bullies or crazed Marilyn Manson fans (they were neither). It misses the point entirely.

We have a culture, especially in the Obama years, in which a radical fringe feels newly disempowered, and acts of terrorism like this are perpetrated by people who feel threatened. They take up arms in some attempt to go after the ones they blame for their situation. They may believe their actions will change things, or just be angry or disturbed enough to want to go out in a hail of gunfire.

Hope that will tide over anyone who cared. Be back soon.