Lao Tzu

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Anti-choice Movement and Its Spirit of Kitch

 Milan Kundera:
“Kitsch" is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century, and from German is entered all Western languages. Repeated use, however, has obliterated its original metaphysical meaning: kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative sense of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence. [Zenzoe bold]

If the anti-abortion zealot’s mental picture of the fetus is anything, it’s kitsch, that is, a visual and verbal conglomeration of shit-denying sentimentality. Disregarding whatever dire circumstance a fetus may inhabit, the fetus is, according to the abortion foe, innocent, defenseless, precious, helpless, unable to speak for herself, sacred, pure and nearly as holy and supreme as a human person can get. Certainly, as human persons go, its personhood surpasses that of its mother, if she can be said to be a person at all.

In keeping with the Spirit of Kitch, something called the “International Pro-Life Memorial and National Life Center” in Wichita promises to cast a spell of wonderment and awe in the hearts of all anti-choice zealots. Most thrilling, it “will be operated as a tax exempt 501C3 entity!”  Even more goosebump-inspiring, it will stand before a broad lawn decorated with a constellation of crosses, each representing a million dead fetuses.

It’s no surprise Christians claim the painter Thomas Kinkade, the King of Kitsch, as a “Christian ‘painter of light.’” Too bad he didn’t do a painting of the “unborn” in an idealized landscape, sleeping peacefully in the crook of the branch of a tree, surrounded by gentle waters and adorable creatures —and don’t forget the rainbow— all caught in a glowing atmosphere of light and dazzle.

That glowing atmosphere is exactly what the extreme Right yearns for, a world where women self-sacrifice to the needs of men and children, where proper women aren't sexual, where there's a place for everything and everything's in its place. The place for a fetus is in a uterus, and no fetus should be removed from its place; the place for women is in the kitchen or flat on her back either submitting to her husband or giving birth. Anything else is too messy and disgusting to contemplate.

Milan Kundera: 
Whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch. When I say “totalitarian,” what I mean is that everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life: every display of individualism (because a deviation from the collective is a spit in the eye of the smiling brotherhood); every doubt (because anyone who starts doubting details will end by doubting life itself); all irony (because in the realm of kitsch everything must be taken quite seriously); and the mother who abandons her family or the man who prefers men to women, thereby calling into question the holy decree “Be fruitful and multiply.”
After all, it is the brotherhood of white men we're talking about here and now, and the individualism inherent in the pro-choice position.

1 comment:

  1. Rolling on my un-kitschy ass laughing, laughing and laughing... Thank you, thank you, you made my day! I still like my cheap grocery store print of a Kinkade painting of a little cottage by the creek in the mountains, though. It's nice to take a break from shit all day long, now and then.