Guest contributors run the gamut, but they all pretty much rock.
Guest Contributor Bryan O’Nolan
Recently, Harvard student members of the Hashtag Resistance organized themselves as Dumbledore’s Army. They imagine themselves, like the homonymous association of students in J.K. Rowling’s immersive Harry Potter universe, as an insurgent minority asserting their righteously indignant counter-power against pure evil: a threat existential, shaded by numb conspiracy and suffocatingly pervasive. On social media these students and their supporters are often told, in meme and word, to read another book. While it’s true that the Trump-as-Voldemort, Resistance-as-Potteresque-Insurgency metaphor is worn soft to the level of cliché, there are deeper, more pressing reasons why the metaphor aforesaid is at best counterproductive.
I confess myself a Potter fan, which is good as I’ve two Potter-obsessed boys at home. We have Gryffindor robes and ties about the house; I recently admonished one son for trying to summon the other son’s pockets; I stepped on a wand on my way to the fridge just now. These boys, nine and seven, consume the books, in print, audio and film, in deep, thorough and oft refilled draughts. I remember a younger self-awaiting the pre-order of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, tearing the box open, and reading until I was bleary-eyed and dimly aware that my ability to comprehend textual input was dangerously nearing zero. I find J.K. Rowling’s magnum opus, while at turns logically inconsistent or preachy, to be a brilliantly conceived fantasy universe, full of wonder and excitement. It is a world one would be forgiven for wanting, eyes closed and imagining, to live in. It is almost magical, really.
However, the universe of Harry Potter is one in which no rational person should want to live. Even a member of the current iteration of Dumbledore’s Army would find the Harry Potter world oppressive, overbearing and suffocating.
Let us begin with the movement’s sobriquet. It is safe to assume, I will suppose, that members of this new Dumbledore’s Army, being Leftist students on a Leftist campus, are no fans of Betsy DeVoss in particular or school choice in general. Isn’t the name they’ve chosen odd, then? Dumbledore’s Army was organized by Hogwarts students opposed to the national government dictating the curriculum at the school. The Ministry -- more on them later -- chose to change the curriculum to a researched, planned national standard. Students (and, it is safe to assume, some of their parents) objected. The soldiers of this new Dumbledore’s Army see in this student cadre principled resistance. Yet, would they be comfortable with a state’s rejection of Common Core? Are they pro-voucher? We are not far out on a limb in presuming that they would not and are not.
The world of Harry Potter is a world largely moved by a secretive, elite minority who manipulate, belittle and deceive their perceived, and frankly actual, inferiors. If magic is used in the presence of a Muggle, a non-magical person, agents of the government sweep in and fix the situation by modifying the memories of those regular folks -- this is you and me, now -- affected. Do the dorm-bound members of Dumbledore’s Army want a small cabal of self-identified elites to dictate the outcomes of the lives of regular people? Are they openly in favor of the truth being hidden from the people? Given the thoroughly degraded state the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and conscience are on campus these days one would be forgiven for suggesting they might.
It is, however, instructive to remember that the campus thought police see themselves as acting in the name of truth, not in the obfuscating of it. To call the class divisions in Harry Potter rigid would be an understatement. You are either a person of the technologically elite world, or you are not. Characters who have a Muggle parent are looked down on by some. Those who should be magical but are not are likewise marginalized. Those who take an interest in Muggles and their affairs, such as Arthur Weasley, are, themselves, curiosities and may see their professional prospects limited. Muggles are lesser people. Ask a member of Dumbledore’s Army if they really think there should be a permanent lumpenproletariat. Is a permanent underclass something Dumbledore’s Army, Hillary voters and the Octothorpe Resistance want to achieve? No. (Some will argue they have, but this is not a goal any but the extreme fringe espouse. Liberal and Progressive voters have good intentions and poor policy ideas. Don’t agree? Talk to one and ask if they want safe communities, a strong economy and educated kids.)
The Ministry of Magic is a surveillance state. Magical people under the age of seventeen are passively surveilled by a charm put on them to detect the use of magic by or around them. Mail is sent to Harry with his exact location within his house at the time of receipt as his address. Dumbledore is able to listen in on conversations in Harry’s kitchen. This is far beyond warrantless wiretapping, this is the equivalent of having a tracking chip (with audio) embedded into each and every citizen.
Perhaps the most telling moment in the Potter cycle happens at the end of book four. The moment is framed as a deep disappointment to the protagonists, as a valuable source of information has been silenced. Barty Crouch, Jr., an escaped convict, is captured and exposed at Hogwarts. (It is worth noting that the prisoners in the Wizard’s prison are constantly psychologically tortured. Who could blame him, really, for escaping?) Anyhow, while our heroes are dealing with the other fallout from Crouch’s scheme, the Minister for Magic arrives and has Crouch executed (essentially) on the spot. None of the characters seem to think of an extrajudicial killing as anything out of the ordinary; they had just wanted to question Crouch first. Is this the sort of government Those With Her want?
The new Dumbledore’s Army is precious, yes, and naive and, yes, they should read another book. The world of Harry Potter is not the kind of world they would want to bring about. In fact, it is in many ways the opposite of such a world. The students of Harvard and their many sympathizers would do well to recognize that when you try to shoehorn fantasy into reality no good can come of it, and both the reality and the fantasy will suffer for the needless commingling.
Guest Contributor DishGirl
*Photo by Bethany, with permission
I have spent years reading the underground message boards for abortion support groups. They are neither pro-choice nor pro-life. Everyone is accepted, regardless of their story or feelings about the procedure or the aftermath. The forums are to share your feelings, good or bad. Trigger warnings are at once real and honest. And women come to get support and help with the loneliest thing they have ever done.
The stories are worldwide.
The stories are unique.
What I have found are the common threads, the lies about abortion, and woman’s inhumanity to woman.
NOTE: No real names or associated usernames have been used in this story. Any similarities to users are unintentional. Direct quotes are italicized and given with permission of the mother.
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How Did I Get Pregnant?
How do you think they get pregnant? Would you think women who choose to have abortions are careless? Using abortion as birth control? Wanted to get pregnant? Thought they couldn't? Thought HE couldn't? Misunderstood birth control entirely? Were raped? Too many babies in there?
Yes. The answer is, yes.
Every scenario imaginable is represented, and even some I could never have imagined, such as the woman who was told by her doctor she was sterile, and 15 years into a relationship found a plus sign on a stick.
Many misconceptions abound. You can get pregnant every day. You cannot get pregnant if he pulls out before he finishes. Missing a few days of the pill is fine.
Every social situation is represented. Attorneys to waitresses, poor or rich, single or married. Young, older. Still older. Those in college to become teachers and women whose dream is to be a wife and a mother. Women who are so very tired already with a child going through the Terrible Twos. Women who think, “I can't possibly raise a disabled child on my own.”
They had sex. Shocking, I realize, but married women have quite a few abortions as well. So abstinence isn't the answer. Birth control doesn't always work as intended, so more education doesn't cover it. The outcome of sex is the usual - a baby.
The Romantics of Pregnancy
Here is one of the hardest truths of abortion stories. Many women deliberately got pregnant to begin with.
It really is a natural biological desire that is distasteful to talk about, but we are mammals. We have hormonal surges. So it may have been instantly awful to you to hear that, either confirming your bias about women who have abortions or just yelling at your computer screen that it is a lie. But in your heart of hearts, you know it is true.
So women can do it because they just wanted to, or to keep a relationship, or even thinking that man you've been sleeping with will leave his wife if you get pregnant. He has to. Right?
But then reality sets in.
Imagine you weren't expecting to get pregnant. You have never been pregnant. It is similar to finding out that in nine months, you will have a job as an astrophysicist at NASA. The assignment will be 24 hours a day, require all of your efforts, you will NOT be paid to do it, and you don't get training. If you fail, society suffers.
Scared? It is scary even when you WANT to be a mom.
Now add on:
Your boyfriend doesn't want you to be a scientist, because he has had other girls who became astrophysicists.
Your father says you are too irresponsible to pilot a spacecraft, much less design one.
Your pastor shakes his fist in church, about how immoral our youth are today, having Calculus outside of marriage.
But even with an abortion planned, women tend not to smoke or drink while pregnant, and “I ate organic, and healthy foods, even the morning of the procedure. I wanted her to be healthy while she was inside of me.”
Coercion can take many forms. Yes, women make the decision to terminate without any form of coercion or manipulation at all, I would assume. Those people aren't on the underground boards.
A woman who has an abortion signs a form saying she hasn't been forced to do it. In an elective abortion, of course she has. Coercion comes from a man saying he doesn't want it. Parents saying it will ruin her life. The fear of becoming a pariah. The nurse who looks at her and says “You can have another one when the time is right “ (Clearly implying the time now is WRONG).
Coercion can be either subtle or not so much.
“You would be better off waiting to have children, Rachel.”
“If you have an abortion, we can get married and have another the right way.”
“You ARE going to have the abortion, Stacey, and I already made the appointment for you so stop.”
It can even be as simple, and awful, as “I will always love you, BUT we would be happier together if you got rid of it now.”
This. Is. Coercion. The coercive party is usually sitting there, while she signs the form saying she isn't being coerced. It may be the nurse sitting across the desk, or it may be the woman's boyfriend, holding her left hand as she signs with her right.
It may be the woman out in front with a sign saying “God HATES abortion.” Don't believe me? I have read a hundred stories about women fearing to lose their church relationships over a single motherhood possibility. In some societies, church is the single most important social venue. You are born there, christened, baptized, get married, and then your funeral is there. You can legitimately become ostracized for f*cking. And pregnancy is a good sign you had sex. This is not just in church, either. This is in school, in college, in sororities, and at work. And at home.
I am not a psychologist, but I can speculate the reason why women think about the sex of the child.
“I knew it was a girl.”
“I kept dreaming of her, sleeping inside of me…”
“I couldn't even feel her kick yet.”
Why is it almost always a girl?
Where is Adoption Here?
I had a sister-in-law who wanted an abortion. I tried everything to talk her out of it, to no avail. I even said I would happily take the baby. Her response was, “I couldn't give her up though.” At the time, I admit I was a fool to think so unkindly of her. “Killing the baby is fine, but God forbid you should miss it?” I countered. Naturally, she didn't speak to me again about it. She went, alone, and did it. And I wallowed in my hatred of her selfishness for a decade.
You see, I let her down. The thing I didn't offer her was my heart. My ears. My arms. My offer to help her support that baby, no matter what happened with the father (my husband's jackass brother) or her job. I assumed she knew all of that. It turns out she couldn't read minds.
This is the common denominator on why women are less likely to choose adoption. It isn't a lack of love.
Time and time again in the abortion story confessions, women say the same thing my sister-in-law did. It wasn't that they didn't love the baby. In fact, they were afraid of how much they would love her. In the end, the result was the same. Longing for the arms of the child that somewhere, someone else made them understand they weren't good enough to have.
You see, they believed what they hear from the industry. They understandably don't believe our condemnation and recriminations.
Well, until later. And then they may hate you for it.
The women who do go the adoption route are saints and should be treated as such. Instead, some believe they are defective. “How could you give up your own CHILD?” Well, and there it is, isn't it?
Women are damned either way on that particular choice. Best to have a quiet abortion that no one ever knows about.
The Act of Abortion (What No One Tells You)
Hey, you. Yes, you. Holding signs and yelling “The baby can feel PAIN!” at women going into Planned Parenthood. Stop it. You are too late to help her. You are virtue signaling at its most harmful.
Stand outside and offer her a warm cup of cocoa and a smile. A hug. Because sugar, we already failed them. And their day is about to be the worst they will ever have.
Where were you when she told you she couldn't have a drink with the girls after work because her boyfriend gets jealous? Where were you when her parents said they would kick her out if she had the baby? You weren't there. In some ways, the abortion nurse who knowingly grasps her hand cares more than you. Because that nurse may be the only person who was ever there for her at the lowest point in her life.
Planned Parenthood, and other evil institutions like it, not only KNOW this, it is their job to know this. They are blindly efficient at making cold, hard cash while at the same time, making a new supporter. The supporter who has no choice now. If I could wish one thing, it would be that pro-lifers hold the hearts and hands of the women who proudly say they aborted their child so they could make a better life, and tell them, “I understand. Let's give our future generations a better choice.” Hard, right? But nothing great comes easy.
I laugh about being called a forced birther. What in the hell do you think RU-386 does? It literally forces the birth of the baby. But there are no flowers, no blue or pink balloons, no floods of magical oxytocin. No kisses and first pictures and the pure satisfaction of breastfeeding.
There are pills to be dissolved in your mouth that taste like “chalk and ashes.” There is a porcelain toilet. Blood, and lots of it. Agonizing labor, with no spinal. More blood with its smell of copper. Clots. “A small blob with tiny eye slits and webbed hands. I realized then what I had done.” An image that you will not, CANNOT, forget. That is forced birth.
Or you can go the medical route, and pretend that sucking sound isn't what you think it is. Maybe even be blessedly knocked out, so the doctor doesn't have to put up with your crying. Make no mistake, that's why they do it.
Then sit in a cracked recliner in a room full of other women in stages of shock afterward. Don't cry; no one is there to hold your hand. This was your choice, wasn't it?
“Was it? OH MY GOD, WAS IT?”
“Did my baby move away as the probe grasped it and suctioned? Did she feel pain? Did she cry?”
And finally, there are the late-term abortions, where the death penalty is administered via a shot through the mother's stomach. Labor and delivery follow, with the birth of a stillborn. Your child, still. That you sit and hold, unless her head had to be deflated, and try to grasp what just happened. An hour ago, she was kicking you. Now she will never move again.
More forced birth. More death. More agony.
Many of these women's stories begin with a feeling of relief. He will stay with me now, this man I chose over my baby. My parents will never find out now. Now he won't kick me in the head again. Now I can stay in college. Now I can still afford to feed baby Sarah. Now I can wait until I am ready.
But now - now they are also filled with grief. Now they are still with the man who doesn't love them enough, never enough. Now he will still kick her in the head because his dinner was cold. Now they still have the parents who will never believe in them. Now they are still poor. Now it doesn't matter that they weren't ready, they have an angel to remember - they are already mothers. And you can try to take that away, but they are.
But they will get no sympathy, except on anonymous underground pages where a troll can expose them if they are not careful.
And somehow, that angel is haunting them more than any of the other situations ever could. For some women in these forums, it has been 30 years of daily “What would she look like now?” For some, still a raw three days. The pain seems to be the same.
They beg others, “Will I feel better? Will I ever forgive myself? Am I a bad person?”
“It gets better,” women soothe, who have memorial pages set up for their aborted angel who they have named Amanda or Christina or Joy or - most often - Angel.
They have hidden tokens. A Christmas ornament. The sweater she wore that the baby was last alive under that she can't throw out. A tattoo of a butterfly or an angel wing.
They have two anniversaries for the baby. The EDD (expected due date) and the TD (termination date).
Where Do We Go Now?
Those of us who are pro-life need to understand why women are getting abortions. How rampant domestic abuse, parental judgment, societal perceptions, and YES, religion affect these two lives from God. How more abortions don't really signal immorality, as much as a growing fear in women. We are just as much at fault - no, more than - the pro-choice groups. We know better.
Understand your role in not supporting these precious lives.
Those who are pro-choice, if you have made it through to here, understand you are setting expectations for a mother that cannot be met. How wearing dresses with the words ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION could lead to the suicide of the very woman you claim to care about. At the very minimum, a lifetime of two very painful anniversaries.
Stop being wrong about men making choices about women’s bodies. They DO - abusive, detached, unsupportive men do when they demand an abortion of her. Stop THOSE men, and I guarantee you won't have to worry about any others. Stop the women who say children shouldn't be raised poor, or to teenagers. True choice is for a woman to be supported in her pregnancy, to get out from under the boot you helped put on her neck.
Understand your role in not supporting these precious lives.
Did she cry?
Yes, every single one of them always will.
Released on March 31, “The Boss Baby” has provided a decent return for Dreamworks Animation (DWA). So far earning $300 million globally, the studio has been in need of a hit after a series of misfires and some franchises that are growing old and past their expiration date. The Dreamworks executive offices have not been the place of merriment and wonder the past few years.
Long the bane of commercials and garbage sitcoms, talking babies have a built-in puerility. However, for an animated family romp it is fitting subject matter. “The Boss Baby” was adapted from a children’s book with a wisp of a storyline. For the adaptation the studio expanded the plot to a high concept tale of an entity called Baby Corp. that dispatches executive babies to infiltrate a rival puppy company to find out why people are favoring dogs over infants.
Not obtuse enough, this toddler is voiced by Alec Baldwin who is essentially repeating his hyper-conservative corporate titan role as Jack Donaghy from the show “30 Rock.”
The biggest irony with this film is that while it features a character who displays many of the cliches of an avaricious corporate executive, the behavior being skewered has been on full display at DWA corporate. It is a classic tale witnessed frequently in Hollywood; “listen to our societal lectures - just don’t pay attention when our actions contradict our message.”
The story behind the shifting mores begins during the election campaign of 2012, where Barack Obama sought re-election against Mitt Romney. Two details of note from that period concerned Dreamworks. Romney came under fire from the Obama campaign for numerous “issues” with his history in the corporate sector. One such was the implication Romney was responsible for a woman dying of cancer. It was such an innocent time! An attempt was made, with a major assist from the press, to paint Romney as a man who ships American jobs overseas for the sake of corporate greed. The other detail of note is that Jeffrey Katzenberg, studio head of Dreamworks, was a lavish donor and bundler to the Obama campaign.
Following his re-election Obama returned the favor by making a personal appearance at the Dreamworks Animation studio facility in California. The President toured the facility, and even gave a speech in the parking lot to employees, hailing the health of the entertainment industry. “I will fix whatever problems there are, but I’m not going to abandon people.” While not the only time Obama had insisted things were opposite of what they actually were during his tenure, it was mere weeks later when hundreds of employees drove out of that very parking lot for the last time, victims of Dreamworks layoffs.
Since that time Dreamworks has gone through additional layoffs and the shuttering of a companion animation studio in California. This is due to poorly performing titles and costs getting out of control. During the restructuring, the studio did something else for the sake of the corporate health; the company sent jobs out of the country. The bulk of the animation for “The Boss Baby” took place in Canada, where employment costs are lower and tax incentives abound. Additional work was done in Asian studios.
Let’s repeat: The studio that helped Obama cast Romney as vile over job flight almost immediately resorted to outsourcing for the sake of the corporation.
To go along with that labor export mission, Dreamworks is also involved in one of those other subjects Democrats are (and the Obama administration was) fond of demonizing -- corporate welfare. Other productions underway by the studio are also being produced in another country, as France is the recipient of more outsourced work. As a result the studio will be receiving tax breaks and rebates from the French government.
So just bear this in mind if you are ever subjected to entertaining a tyke with the animated antics of an Armani-clad avaricious infant: it is a hyperbolic representation of a corporate mogul in a cartoonishly arch scenario. However for the studio that created it the film is closer to a documentary.