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Jackson Browne, Jay Leno and Meaningless Memes

May 09 2022

I remember a conversation with another baby boomer born late in the boom (I was born in 1961)  We both admitted to having strong feelings against nuclear power, not because of science or economics, but rather becasue of the classic "No Nukes" concert album featuring Jackson Browne, Tom- Petty, Carly Simon and more A list pop stars.  We chuckled at our naivete, even as reports were coming out stating that gen X's primary influence on their worldview came from late night talk show hosts.  And now, perhaps, this de-evolution may have reached its all time low point with a generation getting its worldview the meme: those pithy yet meaningless one sentence posts on social media. At least Jackson Browne developed complete thoughts.

Currently, the meme-propaganda is focused on the abortion issue.  One good thing about a culture that has never needed to pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time, making ADHD its defining trait, is that next week the issue will be different, just like last week it was Ukraine, the week before Covid-19, and a few weeks before that the occupy movement.  Sadly, though, each of these issues (and the next one to light up the internet for a couple days) is much more nuanced and complex than can be stated in the five or six words of an average facebook posting.

Let's start with, "Unless you have a uterus, you have nothing to say about abortion."  First of all, this is arrogant.  It is akin to saying, "Unless you are black, you have no right to have an opinion of the BLM movement." Or "Unless you're an addict, you have no right to have an opinion on drug policies."  Furthermore, it is stupid and uninformed of the poster.  According to a 2019 Gallop Poll, 48% of American males identified as pro-choice, whereas 43% of American women did.  Abortion rights folks often get MORE support from men and a tad less from women. This slight, but noticable statistical differerence has been documented often, although not universally.  Early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell were staunch anti-abortionists, seeing the procedure as a way for men to avoid responsibility and the shame of being caught in adultery. Unfortunately,by now I imagine most social media addicts have long since gotten distracted and  stopped reading this blog since I have strung together more than one simple sentence.

Nevertheless, I shall continue.  In the same poll, Gallop reports that 59% of people with an annual income of over $100,000 were pro-choice at a 59% rate.  Both the middle range (40,000 - $99,999) and lower income groups (< $40,000) reported a majority pro-life opinion.  It should be no surprise, I suppose, that the wealthier the individual, the more they want to quickly and quietly pay their way out of undesired circumstances.  A more cynical blogger might even accuse the upper class of using abortion to exploit the poor.   

Another meme says something to the effect that 'it doesn't even matter if a fetus is a human life, no one has any right to use your body against your will."  This is at least a tip of the hat to the overwhelming scientific evidence that an unborn child is a human life.  Now, though, they had to find a way to justify killing him anyway.  The solution was simple, if someone- even an unborn child- uses your body against your will, kill him.  Folllowing this logic, if an old lady at the mall stumbles, grabs your arm, and holds herself up on you without your consent, it's okay to pull out a shiv and off the old biddy.  Tired of breast feeding? Next time the little brat pulls up your shirt, snap her neck.  No one has the right to use your body against your will.

Did this just take a dark turn?  Well, the history of the abortion debate in America is filled with darkness.  Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, openly pushed abortion as a way to decrease the population of the poor and minorities. Abortion was a tool of the KKK.  Still today,38% of American abortions are done on black women, although blacks make up only 14% of the US population.,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D 

Not surprisingly, 77% of American atheists and agnostics were the single highest pro-choice demographic. Again, a more cynical writer might make the case that atheism- the 'religion' of wealthy, white men - couldn't care less about aborting the poor and people of color.  (38% of American abortions are done on black women, although blacks make up only 14% of the US population.),%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

Although not on the Gallop poll data, it's important to point out that many countries in Africa, Latin America and Southern Asia have the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.  As Samuel Rodriguez points out in his book "The Lamb's Agenda", these are the places in the world from where the US is recieving most of our new immigrants.  If abortion restrictions are, as many memes imply, male oppression, anti-poor,and narrow minded, what conclusions does that lead us to make about Africans, Latinos and Asians?  Tred lightly, pro-choicers; you could end up sounding intolerant or even racist.

Now far be it from me to ortray abortion as a mysogenistic, rascist agenda of the upper class.  It's much too complex an issue to do this, (although I bet I could make some pretty sarcastic memes).  But even Jaclkson Browne and Jay Leno wouldn't oversimplify the topic that much.



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