Pool / Getty Images
Scott Roeder found guilty of murdering Dr. Tiller. Oprah’s confrontation with the Palins is kind of weak. Also: the science of orgasms.
Links in this episode:
On this episode of Reality Cast, we’ll learn more about the
science of orgasms. Also, Scott
Roeder’s trial in the murder of Dr. George Tiller begins, and Oprah Winfrey
drops the ball in questioning Bristol Palin.
Rewire posted a video looking into the success of
the STOPP program that helped reduce the teen pregnancy rate in a South
Carolina high school.
It seems like common sense that you have to validate
people’s lives and experiences in order to communicate with them, but somehow,
that message is implemented less often than it should be.
Scott Roeder’s trial for the murder of Dr. George Tiller of
Kansas started on Friday.
Unfortunately, that was also the 37th anniversary of Roe v.
Wade, which hardly seems like a coincidence and has many people worried that
the judge in this case is disinclined to treat anti-choice terrorism like a
real crime. We’ll see, I
guess. Before I get into analysis
of the situation in the here and now, though, I thought I’d play some samples
from recently released videos where Dr. Tiller explains why he became an abortion
After that experience, the older Dr. Tiller apparently
performed abortion quietly and illegally.
When he died in a plane crash and Dr. George Tiller took over his
practice, he performed legal ones because his father did. And apparently anti-choice nuts
radicalized him, made him see the serious misogyny in their viewpoint.
I wanted to play that, because I think what the Roeder
defense team may attempt to do is erase the victim of this crime, his humanity,
the fact that he had a family, the fact that he worked out of compassion for
women and horror at what can happen if women don’t have access to safe abortion.
Devin Friedman wrote a long and
interesting piece in GQ about the case, and while I think Friedman has a couple
of unforgiveable moments of pandering to violent misogynists, overall the piece
exposes the vast gulf between the pro-choicers out there fighting for freedom
and really for life, and anti-choicers who are battling their own weird
demons. Rachel Maddow had Friedman
on her show to talk about what it was like to talk to Scott Roeder, who is open
about murdering Dr. Tiller. You
really get an ideal of how much the anti-choice movement really is populated
with nutty folks that have a hostile attitude towards reality.
However, none of this should be taken to mean that Roeder is
crazy or that he could use the insanity defense. Friedman discusses this later on the segment. There’s a big difference between people
who are basically sane but have a lot of nutty, self-serving beliefs that they
cultivate in order to justify their seething hatred of the world and of life and
of reality, and people who are literally insane. What we should take away from this is that the people who
engage in right wing misinformation campaigns and propaganda share the
blame. When mainstream journalists
like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are willing to stretch the truth in order to
serve up a steady stream of hate, it’s not surprising that this encourages
their followers to get further and further into nutty territory with the
fluoride conspiracy theories. And
when one of life’s losers like Roeder who is full of hate is encouraged to lash
out against an abortion provider like Dr. Tiller, this sort of thing is
What really comes across as fascinating about this is that
Roeder was open about how much premeditation went into his plan to kill Dr.
What really jumped out at me, and I wish Friedman had taken
more time to point this out, is how much Roeder comes across as a coward in
this piece. He planned obsessively
on how to get away with this, and when he finally did it, he ran. Not really the man standing up for his
so-called convictions that he’d like to imagine he is, but really more a
sniveling coward who lashes out with hatred and hopes to escape
responsibility. Since Friedman
contrasted the murderer and his victim in the piece, I wish he’d noted this cowardice,
since he is in awe, as most of us are, of how brave Dr. Tiller was to practice
even in midst of this constant threat of violence that finally took his
Friedman seems pretty sure that Roeder will be paying for
his crime. The pro-choice community
is worried that the judge’s willingness to allow a voluntary manslaughter
defense will mean Roeder gets off with a slap on the wrist, but the extent of
the premeditation really means this crime can’t qualify, since the manslaughter
law requires you to be reacting in a very rushed way, not premeditating for a
decade. So that’s good news, let’s
hope Friedman’s right.
To no one’s great surprise, Sarah Palin continues to use
activity in and around her and her daughter’s reproductive tracts in order to
keep herself on TV and in magazines.
Palin mother and daughter got on the cover of In Touch cuddling their
most recent offspring with a headline about how they’re glad they chose
life. As I wrote at RH Reality
Check, this undermines their claims to be anti-choice, since obviously, if they
don’t get to make choices, they don’t get to be celebrated for them. Sadly, these finer distinctions seem to
be lost on the anti-choice touring Palin baby circus.
But that’s to be expected. What was unexpected was that the producers of the Oprah
Winfrey show would let the Palins come on to spout their weirdness on the
anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which is especially tasteless sexism considering
that most of Oprah’s audience is female.
And the interview was bizarre from the get-go.
* palin 1 *
Oprah sounds like she’s talking to a crazy person who just
accosted her on the street, and who she’s trying to escape without being rude
or causing a scene. Things only
get worse from here, however, because as you know the Palin baby circus is all
about the sex and how evil it is.
I fail to see why Oprah’s people think giving air time to anti-sex
sentiments is such a good idea.
I’ve read Oprah magazine, while waiting for doctor’s appointments. I know how much money they make off sex
tips, and you’d think they wouldn’t want to undermine that message. And I suppose that Oprah does in fact
try to challenge the message that Bristol Palin is a repentant fornicator who
is going to stop fornicating.
A fair question, but kind of a shallow one. Obviously, the narrative the Palins are
trying to establish is that sex is naughty, but Bristol got her baby
punishment, and that somehow wiped the slate clean. It should only be your business if you have sex or not, but
this whole charade is less about Bristol’s personal business and more about
sending the message that sex is bad and should be avoided. Oprah tips her hand a little and
implies that Bristol’s statements probably have little to do with her actual
sex life, which I’m pretty sure is the case. She’d be doing the abstinence tour even if she was juggling
5 lovers behind the scenes.
So the real question isn’t, "What are you doing with your
own body, Bristol?", but, "Why are you out there promoting the idea that sex is bad? Why exactly is it bad?" That would have avoided this extremely
But why? Why
should it be a goal for women not to have sex? What is so bad about sex? Or what is so bad about women that they can’t have
sex? Why can’t Oprah ask a real
question? I suppose she’s afraid
the Palins won’t come on her show anymore, but then that means they won’t say
weird things about Oprah’s hair.
Everyone wins under that scenario, except Sarah Palin.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, just bring out the hate
edition. Remember the days when I
had to troll YouTube for outrageous misogyny on occasion? You know, because more mainstream
pundits and hosts hadn’t really gone off that week? Me too.
But now we have a steady drumbeat from Glenn Beck.
- beck *
Yeah, he really really hates women. And then wonders why the women in his
life are angry.