Maybe it matters how we talk about abortion

Mike Huckabee called the shootings "domestic terrorism" and abortion "dismembering of human babies."

Mike Huckabee called the shootings “domestic terrorism” and abortion “dismembering of human babies.”

On Friday, an evidently deranged man in Colorado Springs killed three people and injured nine others in an armed standoff with police at Planned Parenthood. “No more baby parts,” a senior law enforcement official reported him as saying. It appeared to be a reference to a series of undercover videos shot by an anti-abortion activist in which Planned Parenthood administrators discussed fees associated with the donation of fetal tissue for research. Or, as Carly Fiorina described it in a nationally televised Republican presidential debate:

“Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'”

That video doesn’t exist, you can’t abort a “fully formed” fetus, and no one ever said that about harvesting a brain. But she was just describing something she felt strongly about, in terms that, if they were true, would probably justify armed intervention.

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On living all you can


“Live all you can,” Henry James writes in The Ambassadors; “it’s a mistake not to.” He speaks through Lambert Strether, the 55 year-old POV character whose generous perceptions and sense of regret make him a stand-in for James himself. Strether experiences Paris as a reminder that he has not lived all he could. He urges young Bilham to cherish “the illusion of freedom,” to indulge the feeling of guiding his own life—not in any particular way but vigorously, fervently. “Live!” he cries, implying that he has not, and that we are in danger of making the same mistake. But of course we wind up living anyway.

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Shia LaBeouf interrogates authorship, taunts Clowes with skyplane

An image of Shia LaBeouf originally published in The Worst magazine, as if that means anything

An image of Shia LaBeouf originally published in The Worst magazine, as if that means anything

It’s all our faults collectively, but Transformers made Shia LaBeouf an aristocrat. We had to see live actors be friends with computer-rendered characters from a cartoon about a toy, so now LaBeouf gets an income forever. Like many members of the leisure class, he has turned to art, producing a short film obviously plagiarized from a Daniel Clowes comic. Like many m.’s of the l.c. who get in trouble, he subsequently turned to philosophy, arguing that authorship is censorship and intellectual property is theft in a series of weird interviews that were, themselves, kind of plagiarized. He also hired a skywriter to blanket LA with a sarcastic apology to Clowes, who lives in San Francisco.

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Friday links! Audacity of jerks edition

Costa Rica uses a government-funded, single-payer health care system.

I don’t know about you, but I would like to be liked. I may not be very good at it, but in my interpersonal relations I try to pander to others as much as possible. Shame and sycophancy are my watchwords. The panicked need to feel that other people like me—even when I do not like them—exerts a serious check on my behavior. Imagine how free I would be if everyone hated me. If there were no hope that anyone who knew me could possibly like me, I could act however I pleased, the way death row inmates are always filling balloons with their own feces. If I were a public jerk instead of a secret asshole, I could live a life of rare liberty, saying and doing whatever I pleased with no regard for decency or the feelings of others. Today is Friday, and our link roundup contains a bunch of people like that.

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