Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What’s sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. Goose: “More sauce for meee!”

The festival continues.
Just now on NPR, an announcement that insurance companies would now be required by law to cover certain preventive procedures.  OK fine -- a stitch in time saves nine, right?  Can’t argue with that. The announcer went on, enthusiastically,

            “Now for the first time, over forty million…”

Connoisseurs of our infantilized public discourse  will now expect the word “Americans”, the usual replacement-word for “human beings”.  But now.

            “… over forty million women will be able to receive annual wellness exams, with no co-pay.”

Now:  there had been no reference to women prior to the appearance of this word;  pragmatically, you would expect some degree of ictus upon the word “women” now, as constituting new information.   That it was not treated as new information, is revealing of the underlying assumptions reigning today.   The story was being pitched  purely as one about preventive medicine, for palatability;  but the reality is otherwise.
Next thing you knew, we were listening to ineffable lesbian Senator Barbara Mikluski of Maryland, gushing about this.  “No longer will the things that kill women go undetected.”
            People, fact check:   In America, women on average live many years longer than men.  So, logically, if there is a gender-related health disparity, it is the men who are suffering disproportionately.  Simple arithmetic.  But nobody ever, ever refers to this.


Five minutes later, just reading randomly in the morning press, I was startled to encounter a parallel rhetorical move:  Present your position initially as being in defense of “children”, then swiftly narrow it down  to what you really mean.  From the conjoined pens of Graça Machel and ye olde reliable Desmond Tutu:

Child marriage happens because adults believe they have the right to impose marriage upon a child. This denies children, particularly girls, their dignity and the opportunity to make choices that are central to their lives, such as when and whom to marry or when to have children. Choices define us and allow us to realize our potential. Child marriage robs girls of this chance. 

No, not “particularly” girls:  girls.   The issue is child brides;  we are not talking about child grooms here.  Nor, note, are we talking about what happens disproportionately to boys  elsewhere in Africa, as drugged and shanghai’d child soldiers, beneath the rod of Joseph Kony and his ilk.


Another goose/gander matter, again from this morning’s press.
It concerns the notorious Belgian affaire of Marc Dutroux, who stashed kidnapped children in his private dungeon, where they starved.  Quite appropriately, he is now rotting in prison for the rest of his life (appropriately, I mean, as opposed to being paroled;  Belgium alas lacks the being-eaten-by-crocodiles penalty).   But now his wife, and accomplice -- not in one moment of weakness, but over many years -- is getting a pass.

BRUSSELS — Tearing open old wounds from a case that had horrified Europe, a court in Belgium ruled on Tuesday that the former wife and accomplice of the convicted child killer Marc Dutroux could be released from prison and sent to a convent. The former wife, Michelle Martin, 52, was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2004 for causing the death of two eight-year-old girls whom Mr. Dutroux, her husband at the time, had kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground cell at the couple’s home.
Both of the girls starved to death while Mr. Dutroux was serving a short sentence for auto theft. Ms. Martin had ignored his instructions to feed them, although she fed the couple’s dog upstairs.
… the court approved the plan for her to go to a convent, the Communauté des Clarisses, in the village of Malonne, in the French-speaking region of Wallonia. She was also ordered to “keep her distance” from the victims’ families.
It was seen by some as a highly unusual parole.
A federal Justice Ministry spokesman, Koen Peumans, said he was unaware of such an arrangement ever having been imposed before in Belgium.

Actually, not quite so unusual as all that.  For a comparable horror, click here:  L’affaire Outreau.

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Tired of marinating in a rehash of such squalid shenanigans?
Then bail out and read something timeless instead:
(For those not opting to do so --
We now return you to the folly of life here below.)

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8 Nov 2011 -- Update to the Outreau case:
Myriam Badaoui, “cette mère incestueuse  très corpulente  de quatre enfants  avait été condamnée pour les viols de sept enfants, pour des agressions sexuelles sur dix enfants, ainsi que pour proxénétisme sur ses quatre fils et corruption de onze enfants,” has been set free.

[Update 3 August 2012]  Well how about that, another “mère incestueuse”, and a murderess to boot.
Kill eight babies, get out of jail free, without so much as an ankle-bracelet:

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