Like a distressing number of other places in the country, Michigan has some ridiculous anti-abortion laws working their way through their legislature. There was an incident where one lawmaker, a woman, dared to use that crude, offensive, highly inflammatory word sometimes deployed by the perverse to refer to her own genitalia. I am, of course, referring to the word “vagina.”
This is not a rant about that. Rather, I want you to read this.
I am a little bit in love with that blog post, and in large part because it does a really good job of ranting about something horrible, something unquestionably bad and stupid, of skewering and insulting the enemy, but does it with some sense of understanding about where the other side is coming from. Specifically, read this paragraph:
Bruce Rendon is not an evil man, just a simple one. He has an associates degree in how to draw a straight line. He’s in the construction business just like his daddy used to be, and his idea of a god-fearing good time is judging dairy cows at county fairs. That’s fine. The world needs men who pin prize ribbons on cattle, but those men should not be given the power to legislate complex bioethical issues, because that’s how wars on women get started.
I’m won at the first sentence. But the rhetoric from there is just gorgeous. Look at the contrasting placement of “god-fearing” in the description of Rendon with “bioethical” in the description of the task at hand. The connotative imagery each one summons clashes beautifully to make the point, i.e. that this guy is way out of his league.
Yet despite the invective, despite the fantastic skewering, there’s a way out for Rendon, a way to still see him as human. There’s a reference to his father which, even while it makes it easy to write him off, (it’s loaded with the implication that he had no ambition of his own) it reminds you that he has a father. Somebody doing this rant poorly would have opted for something generically “bad” as the fill-in for his idea of a good time. Instead, the Coquette gives us cattle and county fairs, things her audience is likely to consider lowly and insulting, but not remotely the moral equivalent of kicking kittens.
This rant is fair. This rant is appropriate. This, this is ranting like a grown-up. Do this, not the other thing.
h/t @wilw for link that led me to this