Abortion is a Woman’s Parachute
What is the meaning of narrative, of what it endeavors, of where it aims, of what it intends . . . how to take account of the function and purpose of narrative–could be said to have a purpose? Narrative, narrative, wherefore art thou narrative . . . this here passage is not narrative, but expositive, exposing itself, one’s self, the writer does, he does take down his pants as he puts out onto the blank page, no? Exposition versus narration, what then do I say, how? When is narrative? When is expositive . . . prose pieces we are talking now. Fiction or non-fiction is of no never mind in this . . . what is it that is fiction inside the fiction is not. I am not going to take this further or ever farther in the lines themselves . . . farther is linear in distance; further is what it is in some unquantifiable progress . . . history is not progressive I have learned, have heard, have read, a friend of mine had become comfortable with repeating this: hsitory is not progressive; it is not a river, as he used to like saying . . . to say or not to say, what do I do when I narrate, tell the story of one or another and another creeping in petty paces or moving at any one of any other kind of paces . . . the story of me, of you of her of whomever else . . . yes, what is narrative that I should subject myself to a narrow proscription of what gets to be called a story and what does not get to be called a story? How should I write a story? What is it about form that editors know better than I do? To story or not to story, that might be a question? Inquiry itself questioning upon questioning and so on until the last syllable of the final spoken quest–they are quests, you know, this questions . . . especially the ones we answer, swearing oaths as do knights errant, knights who are committed to keeping up codes and a lot more than just appearances . . . now, whether it is nobler in the mind to endure how we dance around asking for the Truth; is there such a thing as a Capital ‘T’ Truth? You ask. Questions are inquiries which should be searches for the truths of our lives and for the Truth, if not a setting of the compass-heading to that place on our metaphysical horizon, ah navigation! Narration is navigation. Inquisitions are yet other manners of approach. Expository prose was once my forte in writing, or so used to think I had to say, or come up with something similarly to say about what it is I do when I set pen to page, sit before the blank page . . . I had come to a point where the journals I kept were blank-paged journals, notebooks . . . after the time, how long I remain uncertain, when I used to keep my journals or notebooks in composition notebooks . . . you know the kind, all notebooks are kin, of a kind, type, mode, what have we in words to express the categories of notebooks?
We do want to inflict harm . . . all meaning, as I have said in another essay, another story, perhas even a poem . . . to mean is to be mean, in a way, all meaning is mean in more than one way, several, if you have not paid attention . . . what am I trying to say to mean . . . words saying at meaning, meaning at saying, the shapes of words, the look of them, the sound of them as well . . . we are hypocrites this way, every way, many ways, my likeness, you, . We do hate too many too often, as easy as it is to do, and a lot easier than those who insist they do not hate are able to admit. We cannot love appropriately even those we say we love. We are, as suspected, very, very stupid? Narrow minded? Insipid? That’s a good word for us. Too afraid? Fear rules us. Fear has ruled every attempt to correct our behavior and police our freedom. The human psyche is masochistic, no? So, who gets to tell his story, her story, mine, this story I tell, have begun as I have in a way you–what do I know of you? I should know something. Know your audience was a mantra from Freshman Comp. Who does not get to tell his story? Another question that should be asked that gets asked too often without the appropriate acumen behind it to defend it. Who is not allowed? Now that one’s rhetorically placed. Permission not always a thing we ask for, think we must, know we can, give freely. How do we prevent others from telling? We do prevent some because we do have preclusions/pre-conclusions; conclusus is a wall, a damming up of the flow. What flow? The stream of words . . . but then I have already said that history is not a stream; so then what is story, if history is not a stream . . . I do not want to insist on plot in itself plot, plodding along as plots sometimes do . . . what refinement of impiety is there in the desire to write, to tell one’s story, to tell anyone’s story . . .
Telling a story is what history does, is, should be, how could it be not? But then is not history all about historiography? To write or not to write . . . what of our oral histories? Is that not how most of us do tell what we tell. Lions have no story-tellers, you know, without tellers . . . how much of history has not made it into any historiography? Orality is dead. Non-literate has become illiterate. The Folk has been crushed by a savage Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist Tyranny. But then, what now do I say, can I, would I if . . . if, if and if again, never with much to gain? Inquiry in the form of conditionals . . . what are the conditions for narrative–there are no particular conditions . . . the defining elements of narration are in the act itself, however it takes itself up, manifests itself, becomes what it is as it is when it does or where.
Historiography has been what we call history in itself since the dawn of writing, and even before, really. Orality had its official versions, anyone could know. Yes, what then is fiction because a story that I tell you is true before I tell it, even if all of it is a lie, is accepted as non-fiction. Now, vice-versa, if what I know to be the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, I tell you is a fictional story, and I tell you so you can have no equivocation over accepting it as a fiction, what then does that make it? Fiction, of course. What I tell, I tell as I do; to tell a story is to narrate? Narration is to tell a story, is to give a spoken or written account of something that happened, but it is also a set of choices in the saying. Perception is not the only verification of the real, but it has an awful lot to do with what we think is real, what we think is true, what we accept without question as the only thing to believe.
Now what is true and what is the Truth–and note the capital ‘T” here, which is important, yes, it is significant because it denotes something for which far too few today in Academia have any trust . . . in its validity . . . but back to it signifying . . . what does it signify? How many want to conclude that it does signify nothing? And you should be able to get this without much explication. Of course, we could ask ourselves just where memory fits in this explicating fiction and non-ficfion? How much of non-fiction is after all fiction, is after all constructed after the fact, no video tape to go to, huh? I am not trying to be coy. Even a video tape is not the everything there is to say or hear.
Fiction, from the Latin, is anything made. Memory, being mostly a construction of the mind in the process of recollection or the happenstance of recall, is thus a fiction, as I have said elsewhere many times and will likely say again this way and other ways, other words. Whether you agree or not is not the issue. A thing made, I think I have said about memory many times is what it is, made, created, whether creatively or not. Yes, nothing but the facts, right? Yes, it is important that we should consider how much of memory might be fiction, just as it would be to understand how beside the point it is that it is mostly fiction at times.
What most people remember comes straight out of their asses; the shit they tell and say about what was is appalling to listen to because what is most disturbing to me is just how bad most people are at telling stories or just remembering them. I used to think that storytellers probably remember things better than people who do not tell stories, whether the stories are categorized as fiction or non-fiction. It is not appalling because it is mostly fictive telling, but because too many insist that their mostly fictive telling of what it is they are remembering not necessarily recollecting is without doubt or hesitation exactly what happened, that what they imagine they have recorded faithfully as would an audio recording device is the word, every word . . . you get what I am driving at here.
But what is this with respect for objective truths . . . how facts, facts and more facts . . . and what is it about facts that has so many of us foaming at our mouths, like salivating dogs? Just what is it I am saying? People remember what they think they remember, what their emotional baggage allows them to carry with them, what room is left for truth when all space is filled by our emotions . . . images in the mind, events as recalled lead to what in most heads? Objectivity is a direction,. not a place, the same is true for Truth, for Transcendence, the Absolute . . .
With all the stinking refuse that streams out of mouths today, tomorrow, yesterday, all time I know you know you should believe is one, all of it singularly comprehensive . . . they drop the ball on telling. If this appeared on most social media, you would have no idea how many impossibly inane comments there would be . . . if you were anyone who read and read deeply as if a text were a multi-dimensional journey belied by the flatness of the page, the linearity of the text in words printed in lines, you would have to conclude other than what most persons who regurgitate across all social media think about what they say, if thinking about what they say were really possible because the hop-scotch most people play with words or with the Truth . . .
I do want you to tell me, though, just what memory is, yes, what is it, what do you think it is, know it is. I do not want you to tell me what you think I think it is, or what I imagine it is, what I know it is and what I do not know it is, but you, my hypocrite reader–all readers are hypocrites, my brothers, my likenesses, all . . . and so again we return to What is it but fiction, this thing memory? Yes, a fiction, a thing made, gaps between the images, fractured events as they happened? Nothing is as it happened when in the mind we see it. Is it a thing or is it a place, or is it an entity? Is it alive? If not entirely fiction, then partly, right? Although, how much partly we do not ever consider, do we? How many conflicts do you have in your life with others very close to you when facing contrary accounts of what you are so sure you remember? You know what I am talking about. Do you let it go? No? You go to the video tape you have in your head, don’t you? Of course you do, and most of all, most of us do too. We are not fools, right? No? I know I am not, so what then do you think?
The one you have assumed is your mind remembering, recollecting, recalling—they are all not the same things, you know, the three of them: to remember, to recall, to recollect. What do you know? How much do you know with certainty? What is it that I know? Can I know something? And I do not want to culminate with doubt, doubt and more doubt. I do not want to end with doubt, doubt and more doubt as we do, as we have done for so long now. You are supposed to begin with I know nothing to be able to determine what you do know, what the limits of knowing are, where knowing begins or ends, what it is we can call knowledge. I am sure that knowledge is possible, and I know this only because I have not succumbed to the mandates from the Cult of Doubt pervading our culture; a place where doubt, that is, doubt first and ultimately doubt, is the highest wisdom.
I can remember without recollecting; when I recollect, I am remembering . . . and so on, I say, cutting short this tangent.
Fiction is fiction, right? Non-fiction, non-fiction, of course? So then, the essay—what is it we call the essay? To essay is to try, to put on trial in the mind with thought. Speeches are essays; letters as essays; journal entries as essays? Not always. Sometimes? How often? Essays in fiction, fiction in essays, essayistic fiction, fictional essays. I am not going to sort this out for you; I have not sorted it out for me. But the fact that I am writing an essay does not mean that what I write is not fiction, and here I mean the traditional or conventional notion of fiction. You do know that I am a fictional narrator or expositor or both–and so who I am here on the page or screen for you my readers becomes a question to ask, to answer or at least respond to, not necessarily the same.
If I were to examine what gets said by most reasonably intelligent persons, I would cringe; if most persons speaking or writing were to examine what they have said or written, they too would cringe. There are days when I come to a place where I can accept an old notion that philosophy is another kind of fiction, no? But then, that would not subtract from it as philosophy, would not subtract from its veracity, its Truth-value, right? You know that proving God does not exist–and let’s pretend that you can do so (just as I let the devout think that they have proof of God’s existence)–if you were to find proof that God did not exist, that would do nothing to the veracity of the Gospels . . .
What’s it going to be, then? I could ask. Homage is homage wherever you find it. Successful or not is another question; relevant? Appropriate? You know what you know as I know what I know as another and another and another also know what they know, don’t we? Even if it is what we call non-fiction, a true context, it is a persona I wear as the writer, narrator, expositor, teller–who am I for you? Even if it is me the editor of the in-the-world review I edit and publish, but this is not, and now the the person and the persona have been conflated.
Persona is person, of course . . . and in a way, yes, personality is maskality, or so you copuld say, as I do, have . . . the masks I wear, the many,many masks I wear on this and other stages around my world. The many you wear as well. I have said this before and I will say it again, and again, one story told after another story told, narrators conflated with other narrators; one narrator the same unnamed in one text after another after another together speaking in motifs. Wearing masks is not what makes you phony. Sometimes I wear masks in my essays,the non-fiction pieces I write. Does it matter, really?
Here then is the story as entitled above. All titling an entitling; what is this story entitled to, for, as . . . yes, everything about personality is all about maskality. You do know that /p/ and /m/ are minimal pairs, don’t you . . . I am not going to insist that you should.
So then, bailing out, what is this bailing out? The plane’s going down in flames? A parachute or a bucket? What then do I use to bail myself out? The President had other ideas, didn’t he? Bitch of the bankers, no? The current election is a sidestep into side-show to confuse or confound the American voters and make them believe again that there are ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats when there are not and have not been for too long. I cannot trust the sincerity of the Donald. We were just about to arrive at a place where neither party served our interests and along comes Donald T. and confounds and confuses with his carnival barker show. And this is even more appalling or appealing to too many than Obama’s Minstrel Show. Black men in blackface is not a stretch. I haven’t gotten to White men in white face, the many minstrel shows of the American socio-political stages we erect everywhere we want to pretend to be free.
So, whatever it is we think, if my airliner were going down in flames, I’d most likely be dead soon. Airlines never think parachutes are practical. I had a friend when I was a teenager who never went out in his boat without buckets. Maybe parachutes are not–what did I mean maybe? The White Star Line did not think it needed enough life boats for all the passengers–is that what I am trying to say about airlines and their policy of no parachutes for passengers? Having enough lifeboats too was impractical . . . why? Because of space, because of greed; how is it we do not see that the flip side of greed is being cheap. Poor people who are cheap are only wishing they were rich so they could be greedy. Being cheap is the only way poor people get to be greedy. But that’s not why White Star Line did not have enough life boats on the Titanic.
It did not have enough life boats on the Titanic because very simply, Money has always said “fuck the poor,” and the British especially so when the poor were Irish Catholic. Yes, the British have always sucked if you are Irish and Catholic–and I do know that there are many (too many?) Protestants and Jews in America who are saying right now that this is too much, that this is not a fair assessment of British policy and history because when it comes to struggle or suffering, oppression or repression, everyone is fucking greedy. I have as much love for the poor in America as I do the rich, and as much for the rich as I do for every other fucking neo-conservative working man who has been streaming beer-shits out of his mouth for so long he’s drowning in his diarrhea the way some drunks or junkies do their puke.
So now the shift . . . How are women in the world in a better position than Irish Catholics were on the Titanic; black women, white women, Asian women, Latina women, Muslim women, Hindu women, Catholic women, Protestant women, Slavic women, Jewish women, Native American women, Indino women, Zoroastrian women, these women, those women, fat women, ugly women, beautiful women, stupid women, thin women, hateful women, loving and caring women, motherly women, mother-fucking bitch women, saintly women, devilish women, generous tall women, tall women with hideous legs, tall women with long gorgeous legs, sexy women, funny women, sexual women, women with big tits, women who laugh a lot, women who cry a lot, women with small tits, women with medium sized tits, women with tits too big for them, women with huge tits not too big for them, women with small tits just enough, mentally fucked up women, sensible women, rational women, sensitive women, reasonable women, rich women, educated women, poor women, uneducated women, hard-working women, cheap women, highly literate women, whatever women you find, intelligent, articulate, talented, creative, successful, tenacious, violent, peaceful, passive, assertive, aggressive, what do I see, meet, know, befriend, fuck and love; women. I love women; I have wanted to fuck far too many women. My problem or proactive favor is that I do not have a type.
Women are women, have been women wherever they have lived, have loved, have been abused, have been contracted for as breeders of men’s brood, a brood mare, yes, women become domesticators because they have been domesticated? I question the accuracy. Women will be women remain women as women have always been women everywhere for all time the only way women have been allowed to be women which might not have anything to do with how women have wanted to be women. Did I forget lesbian women; all or any of the many kinds of women above applying to those who are lesbians. Brood mare for what? How have women not become their own nightmares.
The British are real pieces of shit? Need I single any people out? The Japanese are real pieces of shit; the Chinese, the Russians, the French, the Polish, the Arabs, the Pakistani, the Germans, the Italians, the Swedes, the Canadians, the Australians, the Americans, the Mexicans, the Brazilians, the whoever else you want to list from wherever else they may be from.
Human is human enough when homo sapiens is what most people believe, everywhere in the world. Cain is Abel’s brother. So just what do you think I think the Russians, the Chinese and the French are? Can you imagine what I think of Americans? What do you think, if it is thinking that you do . . . because randomly passing images in the mind is not thinking, nor is playing ping pong with the pros and cons of ideas, nor is playing hop-scotch with the Truth. Yes, what do you imagine I think of Republicans and Democrats. If you really need me to explain this to you . . . how is it we keep playing the political ping pong we do and not tire of it? Alice asked, I remember.
Don’t imagine I think the Irish are not also big pieces of shit. There’s nothing like a real piece of poor Irish Catholic shit in the ghetto of Belfast or Boston for trying to fuck-over and keep down another Irish Catholic. Muslims kill more Muslims annually than were killed throughout all of the Crusades by Christian armies. Christians kill more Christians every day than all the Islamic terrorists have killed Christians since 9/11? I feel as if I could think that this is true for you in your mind, but what is in your mind I do not want to find out about, no, not really. No one wants to be in another person’s head. Prefatory remarks made by a man who has been made to stand for a chorus in an imagined play in an imagined theater? All the world, you know; my hypocrite brother Jacques is with me more than I realized.
I do recall the medieval Everyman, but then that, I have assumed from time to time, but never persistently past the time of its arising, that Everyman should really have been Any-man, as I have alluded here above in the reference to anywhere. But even more specifically, it should be any person, even if the woman contained by the boundaries of any text were to bleed to death from a botched abortion, presumably an illegal one, thus one that was not medical practice but some other form of bodily invasion more akin to alien probing or rape of one kind or another—and there are many kinds. This would be about any person, as it is this anyone that I have attached myself to, here, the presenter, the speaker, the writer, who he may be is what he is by context given, the one who does. I am not apologizing to Protestant or Jewish friends or colleagues. If they do not understand what is present here, no apology is going to help that level of semi-literacy.
Yes, everyman is any-man, is any-person, woman is person, the compound is imperative here, and we must note the connotative distinctions between ‘man’ and “person,” although in Anglo-Saxon, ‘man’ meant what we mean by ‘person,” so then we have man and person and mask, what ‘person’ means in Latin, ‘persona,’ as in “dramatis personae.” My mask, my character, my personality; my manhood or my personhood; what then is a person if all of these or only some of them, any one of them at any time—I go for all, all at once, every day, any day, all the days of the rest of my life have been affected by what I am living what I have been living.
The day and date are no longer important; in fact, they never were important–except, perhaps, they could be important to someone somewhere at some time, concerned for the historicity of what is said and how and to whom, when . . . time is and is not of the essence–I never knew anyone who ever knew what he was saying by half of what he said. There were many who had no clue of more than half of what they said. There were some who still have no idea what they were saying anytime anywhere to any-whom. Everyone is talking to himself–no? What she used to say, I can still hear her say. Is historicity in the date, in the hour, in marking the calendar? When anything happens in any story told is notsoley in the date marked or the hour spoken, or the year mentioned . . . and what these actually do for anyone reading or hearing the story . . .shouldn’t we be listening? What then should I say about what I am about to say, want to say, herein in reference to the title offered, given, what are the givens? How to say what others might not want to hear, or just not want to hear me say? I talk when I write, write when I talk, each together mutual and reciprocal in each other. I would like it if you were to sit a while and listen.
And so . . .
When I was a boy and my father and I were avid followers of NASA and the space agency’s progress to the moon, I learned that in every command capsule there was a rather conspicuous red button to push if the mission should need to be aborted on the launch pad. Less than a decade after this, the Supreme court majority decision in Roe versus Wade established a woman’s legal right to have an abortion, although no red button was forthcoming. In the seventies we had too many discussions and not enough argument about a woman’s right to choose an abortion, a right I did not oppose, a right she had always had in spite of legislation to the contrary. I would eventually come to the position that it is not the law that gives a woman the right to choose, that that right exists in spite of the law. What the law does or can do is provide legal sanction, thus hopefully legal protection, thus a loosening of the grip that social conventions might impulsively tighten around her, and in our contemporary political climate, a hard rain is about to fall, Alice said her older sister had said.
To choose to end a pregnancy has always been a dilemma, and after Roe versus Wade the number of rocks and hard places did not quickly lessen. If a woman–what woman, which woman, do you know any woman for whom she had come to the point where she needed to make a choice . . . again, to choose or not to choose became every woman’s to be or not? At least after Roe versus Wade, she was not a criminal for choosing one way, and was expressing free-will if she should choose the other. To have a baby or not to have a baby, how long had it been for women feeling they had no choice but to do what a man wanted,and how easy it was for a man to deny, to abandon? Is that also true? The Right to choose also frees the woman who wants to have a baby. Pro-choice is not only a position for a woman who wants to have an abortion. The legally sanctioned right to choose an abortion honors, fore-mostly, a woman’s right to choose, which may be to have the baby, as it is also to have an abortion. Having a baby became more about a woman’s choice than her obligation as a breeder after Roe versus Wade. I cannot tell you how many women there are who are set against women, who do not support women in their struggles for equality or liberation, she said. Alice Buconiglio said as much in these and in how many other words for what she believed, wanted to say and say again to drive home the point. I did see how many women were set against women, were Cain to every other Abel-woman; and do not confuse or confound the issue or the analogy. Please do not be pedantic as it seems most people in most societies cannot help but be, I would have liked to say here, but decided against, as you can see why, or should that be, hear why?
You do know that the only thing you need to know to tell you anything you think you might want to understand is that the voice herein is the only voice you should listen to, and anything else you might want to know is truly incidental. The story is me telling, not what I have said alone . . . there are choices you make in your reading too.
All women choose between having a child and aborting the pregnancy when the choice arises to have a baby or not, although not quite as easily or safely as missions to space. There have always been ways to induce miscarriage, some of them frightening and almost concentration camp like in manner, others just dangerous, but choice is always elemental. The idea that an induced “miscarriage” has not always been an option is a mistake. The difference in a legally sanctioned abortion is the matter of safety. It is the difference between having a parachute and not having a parachute when the plane is going down in flames. Of course, this is not practical in contemporary commercial air travel, but fighter pilots still have parachutes and ejector seats to save their lives. This is the idea. Presumably, under sanction of the law, a woman now has the option to safely end her pregnancy, where before she did not.
Our medical establishment assures us of the safety involved, yet more women die annually from medical malpractice than from breast cancer. Another essay is needed, one addressing the persistent second class status for the still second sex. Who then am I if we are still puzzling over who she is, a woman is? Who would I have to be to say what I have so far said, the way I have herein said it . . . for her? Who am I to speak for any woman anywhere at any time? Who am I to speak for me? I could ask. Alice spoke for herself. I am not speaking for her.
Hamlet’s dilemma is to be or not to be, which is also any woman’s who has to decide if she is going to carry her pregnancy to term or not and thus choose to terminate it. Hamlet did not raise the issue of having a parachute or not having a parachute because there were no parachutes . . . the way she decided, how I imagined she had . . . there were the equivalents of life boats in the sailing of the time. When a woman wants to have a baby, tries to have a baby, gets pregnant and has no apparent dilemma before her, she has chosen not to abort. To bail out or not to bail out is always a question. When the plane’s going down in flames, it would be great if a parachute were available. It’s sensible; it’s rational; it’s reasonable to expect our culture, our civilization, to support a woman’s inalienable right to choose. However, this is not the case in America today with how many religious nuts getting behind the move toward eliminating laws that support a woman’s right to choose. I do fear the Republicans. What was it that we used to say back in college? If the people want to go to hell in a handcart . . . fucking democracy in a society where systematic under-education is the rule to keep the welfare roles full and unemployment down by insuring there will be a steady river of applicants for McDonald’s and Walmart.
I could have come to many of the same conclusions, have made many of the same assertions, without having known Alice Buconiglio–and I do not know exactly why I am using her surname when everyone I know and she knows know that we were together in a way that would never require surnames–but then I am not me here as I know I am who I am in these lines, and this narrator expositor is a persona, as I tried to say above, but whether I was successful or not has not yet been determined? Even with me being who I was with her; the mask of narrator worn covers the mask of boyfriend having been worn.
We are on our way to this; I am sure there are those of you who have greater optimism as I am sure that there are those of you who have greater pessimism. What then do I say about what we then must do? To try is not to do a Speech Professor once told me with mock derision. What world do you want to live in? I do not want to live in a world where there are too few life boats, that’s all. Is it important to you if I am a man or a woman? Why? The same topic. The same intensity. The same speaker to a similar audience. Is he preaching to the choir? How is preaching to the choir not integral to the preacher’s sermon? He is I; I am he; I am we in the many pages I write–what then the story line here . . . can a woman use he as a general pronoun? When? Where? How? Why? What then does that say about her or about me, whatever I might be.
When I was an undergraduate for the first time, there was an argument in college that went as follows: You can’t tell me that a fifteen year old girl is ready, emotionally or psychologically, to have a baby; that it might not be a stress in these ways too much for her to handle. Pregnancy was traumatic. I understood this argument. I too felt the emotional power behind it. I was sensitive to it, or so I assumed; perhaps I should say I was not insensitive to it. The former and latter, sensitive and not insensitive are not the same thing, stating the obvious? Nothing more easily overlooked than the obvious?
Nonetheless, a pregnancy for a fifteen year old girl in any middle class home or community would be traumatic, perhaps as much, if not more, for her parents. I am not so sure it would be equally devastating for girls in other communities, or from other economic classes, but let us assume that bourgeois mentality and morality have pervaded, which is not to say that ethics and morality (and they are not synonyms) only exist among those of the American middle class. I am sure there are a plethora of responses from parents or elders of any back ground, some of them sane and reasonable and others quite irrational and frightening. Could I be a woman writing an fictional essay as a man who then tries to pretend to be a woman writing? Can I wear the mask of Alice as I do sometimes inside me, the masks I wear within should be examined, Eugene, I know.
If there were no boy to marry, this would pose a problem for a girl who was of any religious or cultural tradition, or economic or educational status, for how far have we come in this world from the condition of women in society since Ms. Wollstonecraft wrote her Vindication of the Rights of Women? The fact that any girl who was accepted to Harvard, let us say, and who also became pregnant at 18 would be a shock for any family is easy to understand; the presumption that any girl accepted to Harvard as an undergraduate might make an acceptable candidate to any one of number of top tier PhD programs in whatever field she was to choose would increase the anxiety. What is her pregnancy at 18 going to do to any of her family’s imagined prospects, if they were in fact pinning their hopes of future advancement on the daughter graduating from Harvard, whether fairly or unfairly? No one is going to assume initially that the girl can easily, or if at all, complete her education once pregnant. I am not going to argue against the merits of the perception, only present that the perception exists.
If there were a boy to marry and marriage ensued, I presume any parents who would have been shocked ethically or morally or in their sense of propriety would suffer a lesser shock. The matrimony that might ensue could soothe their previous embarrassment, but any parents with aspirations of the daughter’s self-reliance or career advancement as a result of her advanced education beyond the B.A. would not be assuaged by the baby having a father present. I am not herein considering the psychopathic, whereby a woman’s, or a girl’s, life or limb is in jeopardy, from those who say they love her when she becomes pregnant without marriage. Emotional trauma correspondent to the level of ostracizing a girl would endure from her community would have to be measured separately. I make no assumptions for how progressive all of us are; history is anything but progressive.
We do have to see that if the girl were of an upper-middle class family where one or both of the parents are university educated, perhaps where both or at least one has a post-graduate degree–the expectations would be for her to go to college, and not just college, but as aforementioned, graduate school. A pregnancy, even if there were a boy to marry, would be an impediment to her going to college and then to graduate school, at least in some minds. Of course, the economic aspirations of the girl’s family would be stunted, cut off; and this might be especially frightening to a family with bourgeois aspirations who are not yet bourgeois, or bourgeois by proxy through the social advancement of the daughter, who is now “with child.” Ah! With child. No embryo can be called a child if the argument sides with pro choice against con, can it? Yes, it.
Under any of the aforementioned circumstances, medically induced miscarriage would certainly be less traumatic, or as many of the so called middle class arguments in favor of pro choice would go. I am not as certain as some of these who support this line of reasoning. I do not assume the only traumatic thing for a woman in this predicament is to have a baby she does not want. Even when choosing an abortion under the best of pro-choice circumstances, there is loss. Women, after having an abortion, have felt in a way quite similar to women who have suffered a miscarriage of a baby they have chosen to have. When life begins is not invited here. This is not support for those who are against the pro-choice position. I am not arguing for or against a woman’s legal right to choose. Again the right precedes the law; the law gives the guarantee that the right of the woman is protected and supported by the legal justice system, thus supported by the government bureaucracies, thus a normal mainstream event. Please spare me the simian responses born of a simian understanding of your religion and your foul place in the cess of dogma you misunderstand and dis-understand so you can continue to be the narrow-minded neo-fascist you have become in complete betrayal of your youth.
Do you imagine that you have thought all there is to think about on the issue of safe medical procedures when the choice of terminating a pregnancy arises—and it is the issue of safe medical procedure because the legality or illegality of abortion is not going to either eliminate the need for them or the wish for them if illegal, nor is it going to proliferate them if otherwise made legal. A legal abortion or illegal abortion does not give nor remove a woman’s Right to Choose; her right to choose is apart from whatever the law says. The law cannot give her rights she has irrespective of the law. The law can only help or impede her acting on her rights. I do not know what you imagine? The story is inferred by the telling, the saying, what gets said and how.
I did love Alice.
Creating a social context (I did have to bite my tongue not to say matrix) where we honor a woman’s basic human right to choose, and where respecting and protecting a woman’s unalienable right to sole proprietorship over her body are sane and reasonable to all rationally-minded persons in our society, seems the only right solution for what some see as dilemma where others see the choice between bearing the embryo-fetus-child and having an abortion as lacking in predicament, whether they are on the side of pro or con. But my question is this, and I feel that it is most important to present–do we think that a girl who might not be emotionally and psychologically fit to endure a pregnancy is able to an abortion?
If I am not mistaken, a pregnancy and a birth are both natural occurrences. I have not yet assumed that an abortion is also natural, unless that is what we are saying, that the natural flip-side of pregnancy and birth is abortion. I do not know if this is viable. Disputing the validity of abortion being a natural occurrence as are pregnancy and birth is not by necessity a pro or con argument. In the ways that biology and psychology are connected, interconnected, mutually influential, I am not so sure that abortion is a natural occurrence in the same as let us say getting pregnant is–even by artificial insemination, pregnancy is still more natural in the ways drawn herein. I am, though, a bit puzzled by anyone who claims that abortion must be made available to a young girl because we would be saving this girl emotional distress by doing so. Does anyone who puts forth this argument listen to what he is saying when he says this: abortion saves a girl the trauma of a pregnancy.
Legislation that sanctions a woman’s right to choose an abortion is put forward to ensure that it is safe, if it is chosen. The argument presented above, inferring that an abortion may or may not be as traumatic for a girl as a pregnancy is not a rebuttal for abortion, but one against what others see as a crucial point in their argument. The best argument for legislation to get behind a woman’s right to choose is to ensure a woman has a safe choice and not a horrible dilemma (safe and antiseptic have become motifs in the pro-choice argument). The choice is between safe and unsafe abortion because abortion has been and will always remain an option for anyone so inclined. Dilemmas will always exist; problems can ensue. However, with the legal right to choose, abortion presumably will not be the nightmare it was before Roe versus Wade. And before Roe versus Wade, the options before a woman, likely a girl, were nightmarish. But then there were not enough lifeboats on the Titanic, and the dearth was felt by steerage. Parachutes and lifeboats, however, of whatever variety, have always been available for the rich.
If every woman is macrocosmic to the universe of being as I hold to be a priori true, then every galaxy of argument for or against the legal right becomes irrelevant. She is. Her choice is. What happens, happens for her and to her and to no one else. Is the embryo a someone? The fetus is what? Where does personhood begin is going to be a matter of faith for a while, so we are going to have clashing metaphysics for a while. I am not here to argue, as I have already asserted above, when life begins. I know there are cultures where a child has to undergo a ritual initiation into becoming a human being and before this his parents have the right of life and death over the thing the child is in the eyes of the culture. I am not here to justify or condemn cultural practices in the social context in which they have arisen, but there can be no allowance for any cultural practice or religious law that enforces misogyny here in the United States, or places a woman at the whimsy or fanatically narrow minded religiosity we see across the world in some religious contexts. A man being allowed to kill his sister for eloping is not the same thing as a woman choosing to have an abortion, and part of the problem is, it does not take Muslim Theocracies to produce men who act on the impulse to control women and seek to put them or keep them in second class/second sex status socially; we have it right here at home in our own homegrown Christian Fundamentalists.
What more is there to say about her, about him, who I am, who anyone is, any woman might be or could be or should be? What we still hold in front of her like a carrot, sometimes a different carrot before her called could-be. The possibilities are infinite. We do like to say to her as we do to everyone else . . . what about him, this he I am, this he another man is, this he I become, this he this narrator/expositor is even if the writer is she? Who he is, is what? What his name is, is what? Is it important what his educational background is? Or what his ethnicity is? her ethnicity? We think so. We imagine so. What is his religion, her religion; his politics, her politics; her epistemology, his epistemology, if you will? What are his philosophies, anyone’s philosophies? The skullduggery of academics. What should be made plural?
All the women on either side of the Pro-choice issue do not countermand a woman in any of her decisions. They do not outweigh her. How could they; I already hold this truth to be self-evident, each woman is macrocosmic to her gender/sex, to humanity, to society, to all institutions seeking to levy their weight against her. If we could prove there was or was not a personhood present in the fetus, then what would we have to say, on either side of this issue? Are there not more than just two sides here. If we remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, we again will realize that the working poor, the immigrant poor, the minority poor, the poor poor are not worthy of parachutes; parachutes of all kinds and forms are expensive, they cost a lot of money to make. Just ask the builders of the Titanic. Why should we have fire exits, or fire escapes; and why not lock teenage girls inside unsafe workplaces, and, she said, do not tell me wanting to deny a woman access to safe medical procedure is not the same as the greed that lead to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire tragedy.
I am an old fashioned humanist that believes in a universal human nature that is not only worthy of protection but mandates our protection. I believe in universal human rights. I am obliged; we are obliged. Yes, humanity demands noblesse oblige from every human being toward every other human being. The simple separate woman facing this dilemma is everything in this; she is every thought, every choice, every fear, every emotional pang, every anything else she might feel. No one can feel for her–embryos cannot feel it for her. What can the fetus feel? Does medicine tell us? All the arguments for or of the psychological effects of abortion are mute before her singular solitary irreducible voice. Only she faces this; only she can choose. This seems simple enough to say, but remains difficult for us to believe. Just look at much of what you hear at Republican rallies, and the mud that gets slung around the issue of abortion and what has been coined in perfect propagandistic pitch, Pro-Life. But actions do speak louder than words, and the near simian rallies of the Republicans are scary enough, but when Donald Trump leads in most polls concerning Republican candidates, that is horrific. Words are all we have to defend a woman’s right to choose, which is every human’s right to choose. I cannot take up arms against what is no longer the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party but the mainstream of the Party itself . . . the by-product of decades of systematic under-education and raising semi-literacy as not only literate-enough, but literacy to emulate and praise, but then we live in a country where a rose by any other name becomes something else. I have to say that anyone who wants to vote for Trump is either an imbecile or too semi-literate or just greedy enough to imagine himself as a big player in the economic world, like so many Russian Jews, for instance, here in New York, Alice said, deluding themselves as Jews in Germany deluded themselves right up to The Final Solution passed into law 1942. Doing business in Germany as one professor’s father had; I had her for a history course back when I was an undergrad, Alice said. She said the professor had written a book about how Jews in Germany
Abortion is a woman’s parachute, if not her lifeboat, yes, those same things denied to the passengers of steerage on the Titanic and why there were so many deaths–the lifeboats were filled by class first, and no one thought to have enough for everyone on board. Screw the Irish Catholics, must have been the collective unconscious mandate in the minds of contemporary Englishmen. Let’s do the same to women because legislation must be punitive first and punitive last and provide nothing but lashes between. And why do we continue to lament our nature, and it is our nature, isn’t it? I mean, can we say that this propensity we have for . . . what? for creating and enforcing pecking orders, for fabricating and maintaining false hierarchies of socio-economic status and allowing this to dictate out ethics, for perpetual inhumanity to our fellow human beings, for allowing ourselves to understand the idea of human being without being humane, for permitting fear to rule our impulses and choices, for thinking greed is the only appropriate response to our insecurities, for applying greater pressure on the Self by trying to maintain an unrealizable singularity of being, cracking the shell, so to speak, by this gross enforcement of one and only one to be or not?
Of course you know that the “bell tolls for thee.” Why would I assume that you do not know that? Why should I assume that you do? That in itself speaks volumes about me, does it not, what I have said herein at the close in these epi-logic words afterwards; that is, if you were wondering who I am, who I might be, could be if, would be somehow when, where . . . questions begetting questions as I have said before, as I have read elsewhere, in other texts, essays, speeches, stories, both fictional and non-fictional, blogs, what else have we in places where people write or in contexts within which they express themselves in words written? I write. I am a writer. I am writing here. I have written on this elsewhere, in other words, yet similar words.
What words, when words, which words where, how, the words Alice Buconiglio? I used to believe that I did not know what I thought unless I wrote; who was she, is she, has she been, will she be, will she have been by the time it comes to her end? Whatever this says about me, about her it says about you . . . and you would have to decide which me this is inside the text and what that then could say about who it is outside the text, if you insist on there being an outside the text because as far as I am concerned, nothing but what is in the text is valid for interpretation . . . interpretation, interpretation, interpretation, interprets in its petty pace, how often can I refer to the same things, over and again MacBeth and Hamlet follow me until the last syllable of this written record. Shakespeare has been everything to me, I tried to mean, not knowing for sure what it is anyone could mean by saying thus, Shakespeare has been everything to me.