CSotD: Embryonic Journal

Alabama’s legal decision that embryos are people brought forth a lot of egg jokes — including this Clay Jones gag — some of which have been pretty funny.

Pro-choice commentators have often compared the rightwing reverence for preborn human life with our predilection for eating preborn chickens, and there are certainly ways the comparison fits.

The most telling I’ve heard is an imagined dialogue with a Catholic who avoids eating meat during Lent but doesn’t have a problem eating eggs, because they aren’t yet chickens.

However, there’s an “actually” lurking here, and it’s that, actually, the chicken eggs people buy at the store, and most that they find under their backyard chickens, aren’t fertile. About 13% of eggs produced in the US are fertile, and those are used to produce chickens. The other 87% are infertile and that’s what is sold in grocery stores.

Which would be trivia if it weren’t also an indicator of where we’re at and where we’re headed.

The Alabama decision is already playing hob with in vitro fertilization, although the practice has helped a whole lot of couples have babies and sounds real pro-lifey, as in “go forth and multiply” and whathaveyou.

But no. Instead, IVF is a target of militant pro-lifers, because it produces more embryos than babies.

As Ann Telnaes points out, this reverence for blastomeres seems unmatched by reverence and respect for their incubators.

Mike Luckovich makes the same point in a more direct way, but in both cartoons, the lack of respect for women is compared with the reverence for the fertilized egg.

The danger being that, whatever this ruling does for in-vitro-fertilization, it represents a step towards legally banning a whole lot of birth control methods.

That’s not an accident: There are several conservative religious groups that tolerate birth control that prevents fertilization but condemn methods that prevent implanting of the fertilized egg in the womb.

Pat Bagley has it right: The “personhood” movement prizes a fertilized egg above its host entity: The more militant of them forbid abortion even to save the life of the mother.

And that ain’t all. Read Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in Dobbs, in which he said that not only should they overturn Roe v Wade but that other rights granted under the 14th Amendment were suspect and might also be “corrected,” including same-sex marriage and birth control.

Note, BTW, that he didn’t include Loving v Virginia, in which the Court ruled unanimously that laws against interracial marriage were also forbidden under the 14th Amendment. I guess it really does depend on whose ox was gored.

JD Crowe depicts the real frozen embryos as the cold, out of touch justices on Alabama’s Supreme Court, and the author of the decision not only invoked God’s will in explaining the position but has previously stated that he believes in a religion-based government.

And if you click those links you’ll be surprised to learn that the religion he would like to impose on our nation is not Buddhism nor Zoroastrianism or Rastafarianism but — hold onto your hat — strict fundamentalist Christianity.

Maybe that wasn’t hard to figure out, but neither is the fact that those guys are currently winning.

A lot of people must not have figured that out, since, as Ann Telnaes notes, we’re seriously having a debate over Joe Biden’s speech impediment versus Donald Trump’s plans for a Brave New World.

It’s mostly led by geniuses who think a different, more perfect Democratic candidate could be slapped into place now and be ready for a November election. I would love to see the Venn diagram of these cheerful optimists overlaid with the ones who were sure that President Nader was going to fix everything.

Granted, reality hasn’t been kind to imperialist authoritarians this past week. Rob Rogers had to call in Boris Badenov to make a cartoon more transparently obvious than the real-life efforts of Gym Jordan and John Comer to rescue their imploding impeachment inquiry.

Rogers did little more than adapt an actual conversation between Manu Raju and Jordan, in which Jordan kept saying that finding out his main evidence was a bunch of Russian propaganda doesn’t change the facts and Raju tried to ask what basis there was — aside from the balloon juice this liar was peddling — to believe any of it.

It’s pointless to argue with people who refuse to admit they’re been hornswoggled. The facts that Jordan and Comer cling to aren’t facts.

Except in an authoritarian idiocracy in which “facts” are statements you agree with and “lies” are things you don’t want to hear said.

And it’s not just Russia helping create a hate-filled, fearful world. Dana Summers (Tribune) offers this look at those dark-skinned, mustachioed urban thieves who have burst through security at all those stores, clearing them out of expensive goods in waves of organized shoplifting.

Except it turns out those claims were horse puckey, that retailers were reporting raids by well-coordinated gangs of thieves that barely even existed.

Authorities did arrest a California woman who led a group of shoplifters that stole several million dollars worth of inventory which she then resold on-line, but she doesn’t look much like the people who have been relentlessly accused of this crime wave.

To the extent that it happened at all, which wasn’t much.

But you can’t have a police state if you don’t persuade people that they need more police, and I don’t think warning them that we’re gonna be replaced by a flood of smiling blonde housewives is gonna do that.

The trick, Dr. MacLeod reminds us, is to keep up a constant litany of fears and conspiracies and imaginary monsters. It doesn’t matter whether they are real or not.

Nobody cares. They don’t go to slasher movies expecting a documentary. They enjoy being frightened, whether in the movie theater or on Tiktok or while watching Fox News.

It’s feels heroic, imagining what you’d do if one of them tried to get you, by pulling into your driveway to come kill you, or trying to steal your car or coming to your door to rob you.

It’s a scary world out there. Better buy another gun!

But don’t worry, because God’s on our side.

I’ve heard it said many times, so, as Pat Bagley points out, it must surely be true!

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Embryonic Journal

  1. I’m too old for the project, but some couple in Alabama should name their frozen embryos, apply for SSN# for them and then take a child tax deduction for each.
    If one of the couple dies, survivor benefits would be available as well.

    This Alabama ruling is a lawyer’s relief. Each of those frozen embryos needs it’s own attorney, publicly paid for since it has no assets, to defend its rights.

    Finally, since we don’t know the gender of the embryo, Alabama will need to develop new, gender-neutral pronouns.

  2. Mike, you are right in implying that, no, Nader wouldn’t fix everything. But, the terrible unspoken truth of the presidency is that, with the possible exception of the uneven progress of FDR, NO president, no matter how idealistic, is able to make a dent in the entrenched status quo quagmire of the corrupt corporate, religious zealot, military, industrial, freakshow complex of powers that be.

    They’ve all got god on speed dial. But, the the repugnizon phone network they are on just crashed from bad programming and they can’t really connect with anyone. (all the implications of my words are intended)

    IVF is a workaround only for obscenely WEALTHY white people. My wife heard someone on the View tv show say they ‘lost’ $120,000 to get children using IVF. What a liar. She voluntarily squandered $120,000, not lost it. And, she believes that a clump of a dozen undifferentiated cells is a human being. Can women now claim frozen embryos as a dependent child deduction on taxes? I am convince by the crap they spewed that the combined I.Q.s of the alabama supreme court justices wouldn’t break into 3 digits.

    All this insanity convinces me more and more each day that ‘Human society is largely a failed experiment’. If you can find and use facts to try to prove it otherwise I’ll listen.

    Lastly, and most importantly, thank you Mike for all the ‘comics’ you provide that prod us into thinking. Even though many of them are not comedic in the funny sense of the term.

  3. post script: to brighten your day, ‘Embryonic Journey’ is a beautiful instrumental IIRC, on the Jefferson Airplane album Surrealistic Pillow.

  4. This is one of your best CSotD yet.

    Everything from frozen embryos having more rights than adult women (do embryos get attorneys? are embryos tax deductible? can I get paid leave for having an embryo?).
    And how much do you wanna bet that these “pro-life” folks have no qualms with what’s going on in Gaza and Ukraine. They’re not American, so clearly they don’t count.

    It’s disgusting that the *real* criminals often get away with it simply because they “don’t look like criminals” i.e. attractive blonde housewives and not latino guys in hoodies. Or rather the media doesn’t pay them any attention even if they do get brought to justice, but will harp on about immigrants.

    And don’t even get me started on the folks who claim to be in God’s rolodex, and claim to have access to God’s schedules and To Do lists… “delusional” and “dangerous” doesn’t even begin to cut it.

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