The Arizona Desert Lamp

Justice for All, Thoughtfulness for None

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 4 February 2009

Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again, when the massive abortion-related pictures, sponsored by Justice for All, grace our lovely Mall. Laura has already penned a response at her blog, noting the hypocrisy in the endless criticism over this event, without considering the equally obnoxious Border Wall. (Speaking of which, do people not take day trips to Nogales anymore? That was all the border “awareness” that this gringo needed.)

Yet I don’t think that the comparison justifies either, and I wonder how really avoidable this display is. It’s certainly not avoidable for the workers at the Nathan’s Stand just north of the SUMC, who have to cook hot dogs under the image of an aborted fetus for several hours each day. It’s definitely not avoidable for anyone going to the library, or (realistically) anyone crossing campus.

That’s not the issue. The issue is broader, more cultural. I can’t argue with their right to display the pictures; to paraphrase a paraphrasing of Voltaire, I will die fighting for their right to display their pictures, as much as I loathe them. What I can complain about is the regression of speech and public thought, which has led us here. I can complain about the replacing of thoughtful consideration with hurled epithets and loud noises.

We’ve seen a lot of this this year, even with all the odes penned towards President Obama’s “reviving” of rhetoric. Our own student president, Tommy Bruce, used an abbreviation of “What the Fuck” to exhibit his concern about funding (the state, incidentally, responded in due course). Over at the Kosmo, I discussed at length this trend with regards to al-Zaidi’s infamous shoe incident, a stunt that has now been replicated by the Brits.

Brightly colored pictures, YouTube ready stunts — this is what defines discourse in our current day and age.


5 Responses

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  1. A. Hill said, on 4 February 2009 at 10:34 am

    I think it’s also worth noting that, as is the case with many anti-abortion groups, these “Justice for All” people actively spread false information in an effort to frighten people into taking their side. For instance, the bit about abortion putting women at greater risk for breast cancer, debunked here:

  2. Matt Styer said, on 4 February 2009 at 11:48 am

    I commented on Laura’s site that there is no way a long but avoidable fence (turn right or left when you see it and you’d be OK) covered with weathered clothing and page sized articles is even an order of magnitude as offensive as a two story tall makeshift building plastered with 4’x4′ pictures of dessicated fetuses.

    Still working on the followup to your higher ed article, Evan.

  3. Laura Donovan said, on 4 February 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the input, Matt. I approved your comment on my blog, but I’m responding here.

    The fence was technically avoidable, but no one could cross the mall. I felt like the Chicano program was trying to punish us for something that wasn’t our fault. The same can be said about JFA. Yes, the photographs were disgusting and exploitative, but both organizations were too forceful with their political statements and that’s why I found parallels between the two. That’s all I was trying to say. Maybe you don’t think it’s appropriate to compare the two issues, but I see similarities in the way they tried to convey their messages.

    For the record, I don’t even remotely support JFA and consider myself pro-choice, I just think it’s hypocritical to only blame that organization when a left-leaning group also forces an agenda in an ambushing manner.

  4. Matt Styer said, on 4 February 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Sorry, I need to be clearer. I get worked up. I didn’t mean to accuse or cast you as an enemy or something.

    I agree with you that they’re both ambushing us, (and maybe it is just my political predisposition) but I thought the border fence was more tasteful, and only slightly more impeding. But I didn’t think it was too impeding at all; didn’t it just cross that once section of the mall from the concrete stage to the bunch of trees and cacti? You could easily avoid that without losing more than a few seconds by just walking around it by turning on the path when you see the fence.

    And if I recall correctly, there was a bunch of outroar about the fence too.

  5. Laura Donovan said, on 4 February 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Don’t worry, you were perfectly fine. I never thought you were out of line or trying to accuse me of anything, and you raise a point I have no answer to-The border fence didn’t have pictures of dead bodies anywhere, even though the whole message was about all the immigrants who die crossing over to the US. It was more tasteful, but more forceful.

    Yes, I was able to move around the fence with only a little more energy, but as I said before, I shouldn’t have had to go out of my way for 3 weeks (yes, it was that long), nor should you have been exposed to the aborted fetus pictures.

    And there wasn’t much of a negative response to the fence. I was the only columnist who expressed my opposition, and only one Mailbag writer sent in a letter of agreement. But maybe I missed out on something.

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