This is way up on the tasteless scale, so feel free not to follow this link. (But you did, didn't you...)
Greg Gutfeld, the satirical Molotov Cocktail of the Huffington Post, decided that people needed to lighten up about the abortion issue and posted a couple pages worth of abortion jokes. However, the mostly pro-choice readership found them deeply offensive. Why? Well, because most of the jokes involved what abortion is -- and the pro-choice camp really doesn't tend to like to talk about that.
So for those of you who did decide to skip reading it (I told you it was tasteless, didn't I?) here's one of the more on target ones that stuck in my head:
A woman and a fetus walk into a clinic together. The fetus says, "I'm scared." The woman says, "You think you're scared? I'm the one who's going to have to walk out of here alone."
Now, why is this funny? It's based on the humor inherent in a character who doesn't realize how out of proportion her problems are to the other character's problems. When the woman complains that she'll have to walk out alone, it reminds the reader that the fetus has a much bigger problem, she's about to be killed. However, despite the fact that the woman is about to participate in killing the fetus, she wants the fetus to feel sorry for her because soon she'll be alone.
It's said that explaining a joke is a sure way of making it not funny, but the reason I went through the exercise is that in a way the joke gets to the core of the abortion issue. Pro-choice advocates often like to say that no one is in favor of abortion, it's a terrible decision that people only make when they have no other choice, it's private and painful and whatever other platitudes come to mind. Now, I don't question that it is a difficult decision for many women, and that they wish that didn't have to make it. However, one of the prime elements of the pro-life movement is to point out: Look, there's someone else here who has an even bigger problem. Having a baby will mess up your career and cost a lot of money and put a strain on your person relationships. But having an abortion kills the unborn baby. There's a sense in which all the fuss about how hard the decision is boils down to pretty much the same line of thinking that felt sorry for the Menendez brothers because they were orphans.
The other point behind the joke deals with the other half of the pro-life movement's message: that no matter what people may tell you, you will be alone after an abortion in a way that you weren't before. Despite the lack of proportionality between the woman's problem and the fetus', the pro-choice movement doesn't even want to deal with the fact that the woman has something to be scared about. She's going in with someone (in a very true and intimate sense) and coming out without. She's going in whole and coming out broken.
According to the narrative of the joke, both people are ending up for the worse in this situation. The baby is being killed, and the woman will be alone. That doesn't fit with the tidy narrative of "choice" and so the joke "isn't funny" over at the Huffington Post.
Learning Notes Week of March 13
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