Friday, May 15, 2009

My Own Devil's Advocate.

There was a story on NPR today about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame graduation this weekend in South Bend, Indiana. The story was how ND is a Catholic school, Obama is pro-choice, and the "controversy" that is underway on campus.

Abortion and reproductive rights are a hot topic with me - about as hot as it gets - but I was listening, and getting all riled up, talking to the radio and saying, "If YOU don't want to have an abortion, then don't! Just don't tell me I can't! Teach your kids it's not OK but don't teach mine that."

And then I thought... what if I was adamantly against abortion? If I thought it was murder, what would my response to that above statement be? Probably something like, "Well, we teach all our kids that killing another human is wrong, not just some of the kids. So I want to teach ALL kids not to murder, even in utero, not just my own kids!"

And that would be a legitimate opinion.

So for the first time in a long time, I feel particularly stuck and conflicted about the abortion argument. How could either side ever change hearts and minds? I have nothing worthy to add except that I am left with two lingering questions this Friday afternoon:

1. Catholics are also against the death penalty/capital punishment. How come we never hear about church members organizing against the death penalty, only abortion? Is that the media drumming up controversy, or are there so few capital punishment protests to report on?

2. When they write about these laws, and they say there is usually an exception* in cases of incest, rape or the health of the mother. Now I know that "health of the mother" can be widely interpreted. But can anyone tell me how they determine rape or incest? Is it the word of the pregnant woman? Does it have to first be proved in a court of law**? Does anyone know?

* Not always. In the Dominican Republic, there are now NO abortion exceptions. Ectopic pregnancy? Fetal illness that is leading to fetal death and ensuing mother complications? Sorry. You don't have a choice and you may very well die. This is where my blood boils, nearly literally. Don't tell me that reproductive rights don't keep women powerless, abused, voiceless.

** 'Cause god I hope not. Write me if you want some extensive stories on how a raped woman's entire sexual history is often used in court to "prove" she was a slut who was asking for it by the defense attorney.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rebel, Rebel.

I was not much of a rebel when living under my parents roof. There are many reasons for this, but foremost would be my ESFJ personality type and parents who were not interested in being my friend. Their rules were scarce, but firm, and my mother tells me now that, yes, I rejected her in favor of other adult role models during the teenage time, and it wasn't very fun for her, but hey, look how it turned out! She and I have an element of great friendship in our relationship now, and everybody's happy forever the end.

You know what I mean.

Anyway... there were not a lot of exterior things to be frightened of in my house. The things that were full of fear seemed reasonable: gun safety was a big one, driving in the snow with great caution was another. Slamming doors and hanging up phones: strictly verboten. But we swam without waiting a half hour after eating, we ate in the living room, brushed our hair in the kitchen, said "sucks" if something did, and tried to rely upon reason and debate to settle things.

However. One of the funniest exceptions: tanning salons. There was an element of, "If you get skin cancer and you've been to tanning bed, EVER, then hey, you asked for it. No sympathy here." Tanning salons were DEFINITELY verboten. They were alternately gross, damaging, declasse, expensive, wasteful, for spoiled brats, etc. Sometimes conflicting reasons, but always the same outcome: no, no, no.

So it was with great rebellion in my heart, feeling like I did when I smoked my first cigarette, that I went to tanning salon for the first time last week. The guy was out of Central Casting; exactly the kind of early-40s guy who runs a tanning salon. I said, "Um, hi. I've never tanned before, I don't know exactly how it works."

He gave the pricing rundown, the timing rundown, the hours of the place, and added, deadpan and totally casually, "We use Gemini bulbs. Prob'ly the best bulbs in the business," before assigning me a booth.

It was a strange experience; I felt like someone was going to yell at me, "HEY! You can't go tanning! What are you doing!? You're grounded!" (Even though I was never once grounded in my life, save a single evening at age 8 which was clearly my brother's fault.)

So the next time you see me, you can tell me how the tan looks. And this is a limited time thing, I promise Mom and Dad, in prep for a one-day event. I swear.

Side Note: Happy Birthday Mom!! Many happy wishes and lots of love to you today and everyday.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

OK - One More Thing.

This is not an optical illusion. On the left, a bar of Dove Energizante! soap from Costa Rica. On the right, a bar of Dove Energizing! soap from Oregon.

Is this because our average height and body mass has been studied, and Oregonians are bigger than Costa Ricans? Is it a way of getting Costa Ricans to pay the same price for less product, since they don't have Costco on every corner?

One is 90 grams, one is 120 grams. It is a strange remnant in my bathroom cabinet - three bars left over of the demure, paler, 90 gram Costa Rican Dove soap.