In Search of Consistency

Sure Dr. Kermit Gosnell deserved national attention. But so do the New Orleans Mothers Day shooters. Let’s get it for them…

The man in the picture above, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is on his way to jail for the rest of his life.


Normally, I would put an exclamation point after that yay, but when you’re talking about a man who is going to be in jail for the rest of his life because he killed babies born alive in cold blood because he didn’t want to give back the money that their mothers paid to have their late-term, unplanned pregnancies aborted, an exclamation point doesn’t seem quite appropriate.

I last wrote about Dr. Gosnell, and again, I’m only calling him a doctor because the Associated Press Stylebook demands it, in 2011 when he was indicted on four counts of first degree murder (for killing three babies that were born alive by snipping their spinal cords) and one count of third-degree murder for killing one of his patients, Karamaya Mongar.). Mongar came to the clinic for an abortion and wound up dying in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania of cardiac arrest after being administered anesthesia by either a high school student or Gosnell’s wife, a hairdresser, I can’t remember which.

(In any case, neither was a doctor…)

I remembered looking through the Grand Jury report and seeing the bodies of babies frozen in jars, stuffed into boxes, and jars filled with little babies feet (why he saved them, I don’t know…). The clinic itself was so filthy that if it were a restaurant bathroom, not only would I not be eating there, a picture of the place would be put on the restaurant review site Yelp! so that no one else would either.

He got convicted on three counts of first-degree murder (for the babies), one count of third-degree murder (for Mongar), and a myriad of other offenses, none of which included being a total douchebag, unfortunately.

Thankfully, he decided not to appeal, thus saving the taxpayers the money needed to execute his dumb ass. Sure, we still have to feed and clothe him, but we don’t have to pay what would surely be some massive legal fees as he appealed his case, so that’s a win. He’s been sentenced to three life terms, which at 72 actually means maybe 10 years max.

I’m pretty sure that’s not enough. You kill three babies because your greedy ass doesn’t want to give up the money you’d lose because these five to seven month pregnant women have changed their minds about terminating their pregnancies, I’d like for you to do a lot more time. In a small cell. With a dude named Raheem. Who just lost a child.

But since this is the best I’m gonna get, okay.

Now the Gosnell case became a national cause celebre’ for anti-abortion activists who thought that the proceedings should be televised on C-Span so that they could get on their soapboxes and say “See! This is what happens when you give women the right to an abortion! This is what all abortion providers do!”

(That’s not the case of course. But why let the facts get in the way of some time honored scare tactics?)

So to shame the national media into coming to Philly and covering what was essentially a local story (because we local reporters doing our jobs was just not good enough), these activists and their media partisans got together and demanded that the Gosnell trial be a staple on networks like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and others.

They got their way. And that’s okay. It’s not like what Gosnell did wasn’t going to end up on Investigation Discovery at some point. But I can’t help but think that the hearts of these folks were so far away from being in the right place here that it’s ridiculous. You want to make abortion illegal. I get that. But you also want to make making sure the child stays healthy, gets educated, and is allowed to live without the fear of someone rolling into his or her elementary school with a Bushmaster rifle for target practice next to impossible.

Which is why I refer to you as Pro-Birth instead of Pro-Life. If you were Pro-Life, you’d want to make sure that all these kids you want to force women into having by restricting their access to birth control and making abortion so hard to get that they have to go to butchers like Kermit Gosnell had what they needed to truly live. Instead, you want to see them born…so that you can tell them to go kick rocks.

Now I know that some of you are looking at that last sentence and want to tell me I’m wrong.

I’m going to give you a chance to prove to me that you’re not exactly what I said you are and it involves your favorite thing: forcing the news media to focus on what you want it to focus on through fear and intimidation.

On Mothers Day in New Orleans, a second-line parade was going in in one of the neighborhoods in the Seventh Ward. Folks were enjoying their day out, celebrating Mom, checking things out.

Then, this happened…

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Happy Mothers Day! It’s time to start shooting up a poor neighborhood in New Orleans!

By the time the three people who went all OK Corral on this Second Line parade got done, 19 folks were wounded, some of them critically.

And believe it or not, it went unnoticed by a lot of people, many of them hard core news junkies like myself.

So here’s your assignment: make this go viral.

Now the video above would tell you that a story about this has been done on MSNBC and good for them. But it probably would have escaped their notice as well were it not for the fact that it happened in MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry’s neighborhood.

Need some incentive? Two of the 19 victims clinging  to life in a New Orleans hospital are 10-years-old. You know? Kids?

And you all like kids, dont’cha? You may not like to feed ’em or make sure their teeth aren’t falling out or make sure they know how to read, but you do like ’em, right?

Then man your phone trees. Call your representatives. Get on CNN News Director Jeff Zucker’s nerves…

Oh, wait. That’s right. These kids were shot with a gun.

And people getting shot with a gun means we might have to talk about gun control, right? Can’t have that can we?

That’s what I thought.


When Humor Goes Wrong (or why the folks at the Onion should be really, really glad that Quvenzhane’ Wallis isn’t my niece…)

She’s a little girl. With a puppy purse. And you called her a cunt. Really?!

Because I admit that I’m (a) An unrepentant movie buff and (b) A bit of a glutton for punishment, I watched almost all of Sunday’s broadcast of the Academy Awards.

I wanted to see how many awards Lincoln would grab. (Daniel Day-Lewis deserved his Best Actor award. That man could read a phone book and make it compelling…) I wanted to see if Argo could withstand the whole “The Directors Guild decided to screw the director of this film out of a nomination because he doesn’t look like an unmade bed” thing and win Best Picture. (Now I have to see it…and can we talk about how almost every good political film that’s come out in the last 10 years either has George Clooney acting in it, producing it, or directing it?!)

And last but not least, I wanted to see just how badly they were going to screw up the following name: Quvenzhane’, as in 9-year-old Quvenzhane’ Wallis, the star of another film that I now have to check out, the Indie pic Beasts of the Southern Wild.

(She tried out for that film when she was 5.)

But what I ended up getting was an Oscar night that made me want to bodyslam somebody, the appearance of Dame Shirley Bassey to sing the theme from Goldfinger as part of the Fifty Years of James Bond tribute notwithstanding.

(For those of you who were a little confused about why everyone lost their mind when they saw Dame Bassey because you don’t know who she is, get a copy of Kanye West’s “Diamonds”. She’s the person singing “Diamonds are Forever”. That’s from a James Bond film by the way. Do as I usually suggest and hit Google for more information…)

Seth McFarlane, otherwise known as the guy that gave us “Family Guy”, Ted, and a whole host of other things that should have immediately disqualified him from hosting the Oscars or any other award show for that matter, was the host this year…and managed to piss just about everyone off.

From jokes about presidential assassinations, to starting the evening out with a song and dance number entitled “We Saw Your Boobs”, to an off-color joke about domestic violence using Chris Brown and Rihanna as part of the punchline, McFarlane managed to make Hollywood’s annual night of lameness just that much more lame…something that I didn’t think possible. There are places where sexist, unfunny potty humor might be able to pass unnoticed, but the Academy Awards isn’t one of them.

But the real fun started shortly after the Awards were over. And it involved the little girl with the puppy purse who should have been able to remember the biggest night of her life without this in it.

Throughout the evening, the young Miss Wallis pumped her arms when she saw a clip of herself or the movie she starred in, which was also nominated for Best Picture.

For some reason, some jackass at the usually funny as hell Twitter feed from The Onion felt the burning need to send out the following sentence:

“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?”

Now, everyone who knows me knows that I’m a big First Amendment person. But nothing is going to get your Mad (political) Scientist out of her chair and off to her laptop faster than calling a 9-year-old kid a cunt. I don’t give a damn if you were exercising your First Amendment right. I’ve got to call Shenanigans! on your bullshit.

And that’s for a couple of reasons.

1-If you ask a 9-year-old kid what a cunt is, they’re going to think it’s short for something else. They’re not going to know that it is a derogatory term for a woman who is much more sexually free than some of the men in her presence are comfortable with. A term that Black women have thrown at them far too often by the way.

2-I know that there was no Twitter when a young Drew Barrymore was nominated for ET The Extraterrestrial or Tatum O’Neal was nominated for Paper Moon, but if there were, would this particular “C” word have come out so easily?

And 3-I love satire. I know good satire when I see it. I often use it to great advantage. Some of the best satire I’ve ever seen was on The Onion’s website following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But there is no universe that I can put my finger on at the moment where it’s considered funny to call a 9-year-old girl a cunt. And if such a place exists, it’s not somewhere I ever need to visit.

That’s because kids, particularly female kids, are sexualized enough without your adding stuff. They can’t go to Wal-Mart and get something to wear that’s age appropriate. They can’t turn on the television without seeing the kinds of images that their parents have to explain. In some cases, they have to play “Dodge the Chicken Hawk” to do little stuff like play on the playground, go to school, or in the most extreme cases, go to their rooms to go to sleep.

So when I saw a petition that Sabrina Lamb, the woman who managed to keep the Shawty-Lo saga “All My Babies Mamas” from hitting the small screens at the Oxygen network, put together to take the Onion to the woodshed, I was kinda happy.

The Onion has since apologized, and that’s good. Getting comedians to apologize for jokes that sink like a stone generally doesn’t happen.

But they need to understand that there’s certain shit that just isn’t allowed to happen because I can tell you right now that if Miss Wallis was one of my nieces, or better yet, my kid, no apology would have been necessary. An ambulance, a really good defense attorney, and enough money for medical bills (the creator of this Tweet) and bail (mine) would have been.

That’s because I’m sure that there’s a lot of surgery that goes into removing both a black-and-white Doc Maarten brogue from your ass and a broken wooden bat from the back of your head…which is what you could expect if you call my kid a cunt.

I will never tell anyone that they don’t have the right to be funny. While I’m not a big Lisa Lampanelli fan, if she wants to call some adult her nigga and they don’t punch her in the face, that’s their friendship.

But just in case anyone is wondering, calling a pretty 9-year-old Browngirl with a puppy purse, or any other 9-year-old girl for that matter, a cunt isn’t funny.

And if you ever forget that, Nina Simone can tell you where to go…