CSotD: Ms. Conceptions

This piece by Barry Blitt has been all over social media lately, though he actually produced it May 14, after the leak but before the formal announcement of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.

It’s an encouraging idea, that women (and the rest of us) should stand up to the court, but, in my capacity for overthinking things, it’s hard for me to avoid pointing out that Tankman, though inspiring, only made the Chinese authorities pause briefly, after which they rumbled into Tiananmen Square and slaughtered an estimated 10,000 protesters.

Which doesn’t mean Blitt’s take isn’t worthy commentary, but we need more than an inspiring pause.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(RJ Matson)


(John Cole)

It’s hyperbole to suggest that we’ve entered the level of mind control that exists in Beijing, but Matson is correct that the McConnell Court has eliminated the separation of church and state that the Founders not simply envisioned but included in the Bill of Rights.

Several cartoonists and meme-writers have depicted the Court in religious robes, but Matson makes his point with that barrier, which elevates it above church-bashing and into a more trenchant comment on Constitutional malpractice.

Similarly, Cole compares rightwing fanatics to the Taliban, whose harsh, fundamentalist view of Islam is not accepted by the majority of Muslims.

As noted here the other day, for instance, Sharia Law limits, but does not forbid, abortion. His “Talibubba” pun made me chuckle, but, since he’s applying it to a particular Southern government, it’s not a slam against all Southerners, but against phony Christians who purposely misinterpret the words of Christ to fit their beliefs.

It’s also ironic or hypocritical or something that the rightwing justices on SCOTUS claim to be “originalists” yet reject the clearly stated intentions as well as the plain text that disestablished religion in our government.

But, then, as Joshua Zeitz writes in Politico, “originalism” is a smokescreen at best and a pile of horseshit in practice, as the justices cherrypick odd and often irrelevant snippets to justify doing whatever the hell they want.

Emphasis on “hell,” because they’d better hope there isn’t one.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. — Jeremiah 23:15-16

There’s a piece of Scripture that Marco Rubio won’t be posting on his Twitter account.


While, speaking of false originalism, Bob Gorrell (Creators) swings and misses twice with this meme-not-cartoon based on Trumbull’s painting.

First of all, the Declaration of Independence has f-all to do with individual rights and is, rather, a summary of why the Continental Congress was declaring itself independent of England. It would be more than a decade before, having shed those colonial shackles, the Founders got around to discussing personal freedoms.

And, second, they would not likely have discussed abortion law because, in the 18th century, there was none, or, at best, nearly none.

So he’s right that they never imagined the issue, but probably not for the reasons he intends.

Though, to be fair, rightwingers are hardly the only people demonstrating a colossal lack of historical context: Social media is full of commentary from progressives who clearly slept through eighth grade social studies and declare the Constitution invalid because the Founders lived within 18th Century understandings of human rights.

I don’t expect them to have all read Locke and Hobbes and Rousseau, but it would be nice if they knew about people like Anne Hutchinson and Abigail Adams or of the controversy already ginned up among the Founders over slavery, or that the Puritans did not come here to establish religious freedom but to establish their own harsh brand of theocracy.


Patrick Chappatte is correct that porn is hardly the most toxic material available on line, and certainly the hateful garbage he cites has been an inspiration for more than one mass murderer.

But there are less clearly barbarous levels of misinformation that, rather than inspiring murder, simply undermine good citizenship. Barbie thought math was a tough subject until she got to civics class, and we’ve got people absorbing nonsense which, if you haven’t got a grasp of how things work, seems perfectly logical.

Jefferson famously said he’d prefer newspapers without government to government without newspapers: He felt having a well-informed citizenry was more important than crafting laws to keep the ship of state on a steady course.

But he assumed, even in those days of a highly partisan press, that people could tell sense from nonsense, a proposition with which we still struggle.

Therefore, he opposed Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts as a clear violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and a free press.

Even the Founders stumbled over “originalism.”


David Horsey isn’t the only commentator to point out that Clarence Thomas’s stated intention to challenge rights that SCOTUS had previously guaranteed under the 14th Amendment might well include Loving v Virginia, though he’s one of the few to not suggest Thomas might view it as an escape clause.

But for us old first-wave feminists, his attack on those rights is a reminder that Henry Hyde — yes, he of the Hyde Amendment — assured us a half century ago that women didn’t need the Equal Rights Amendment, because their rights were protected under that same 14th Amendment Thomas seeks to neuter to fit his autocratic vision.


The late Etta Hulme, one of the few women editorial cartoonists of her time, disagreed and promoted the ERA regularly in her work.

However, the anti-ERA forces, led by Hyde and by Phyllis Schlafly, did a masterful job in stopping the Amendment just short of ratification.

Schlafly’s newsletter featured cartoons by Vic Portman that spelled out the horrors of equality.


However, there were other voices, and, despite the popular song, Kate Salley Palmer suggested maybe men should wash out their own damn socks.

Good advice never goes out of date.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Ms. Conceptions

  1. Of course, the Supremes gutted the voting Right Act already. But over the past week or so they managed to…
    1. Make women 2d class citizens
    2. Chop a hole in the separation of church and state
    3. Weaken tribal sovereignty
    4. Gut gun laws, thus allowing the repubs to form their own private paramilitary forces.
    5. Take a hatchet to the EPA.

    What’s next to the Fascist 6? My money’s on ending gay marriage, though they might make it a twofer and make “sodomy laws” legal again. And they’re also likely to make sure state legislatures can install a permanent one party government regardless of what state courts say.

  2. The ERA is second-wave feminism. The 19th amendment is first-wave feminism.
    First-wave feminists would be very old, indeed.

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