Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Jackass Plays The Lyre, Oxen Dance


"I also have a problem with the discourse of planned/unplanned pregnancy in this context. Planned/unplanned assumes young women have agency, that they can choose what happens to them, that pregnancies are either accidents or overtly desired. In fact, for these young women, pregnancy will be one more in a string of things that just happens to them, over which they have little control."

The woman who wrote this is an elected representative of the good people of Oxford, though , Deo Gratias, only a town councillor. I find it hard to believe that teenage pregnancy, any pregnancy, the creation of precious human life can be reduced to a “discourse” and put on the same moral category as school holidays and maths homework.

Umberto Eco, even through the prism of smirking postmodernism, tells the truth even if he doesn’t recognise it.

"In the past men were handsome and great (now they are children and dwarfs), but this is merely one of the many facts that demonstrate the disaster of an aging world. The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a woman. Everything is on the wrong path. In those days, thank God, I acquired from my master the desire to learn and a sense of the straight way, which remains even when the path is tortuous."

~ Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

God help us.

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