Archive for May, 2006

May 18 2006

We Are All Pre-pregnant Women

Published by Brian under sex, science, human_rights, science_fiction

According to an article in The Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control has advised that all women “between first menstrual period and menopause” treat themselves as “pre-pregnant.” Pre-pregnant women “should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.” The U.S. has one of the highest infant-mortality rates of any industrialized country. But “forever pregnant,” as the Post’s title quips? Mother Jones notes “the incredibly offensive implication that all women are nothing more than incubators who should remain healthy not because it’s good for them, but because it makes for healthier babies. And note that even though the report’s first recommendation is that ‘each woman, man and couple should be encouraged to have a reproductive life plan,’ it never calls on the government to encourage contraceptive use. Which is, uh, pretty important for family planning.” And check out this June 7 article by Sunsara Taylor, “A Handmaid’s Tale”–from real life.

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May 06 2006

Heloise & Abelard

Published by Brian under biography, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography
by James Burge
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006

Heloise and AberlardFor lovers, the story of Abelard and Heloise is a constant reminder that love is a dangerous thing, and that a couple is, as the old saw runs, “a nation of two.” You’d think that the example of Abelard and Heloise (just one of many examples of dangerous lovers and their dangerous loves) would keep couples on the straight and narrow; and maybe it does, but not without a certain frisson that keeps the story alive after 800 years.

To refresh your memory, recall that Abelard was the greatest philosopher of his day. He hailed from Brittany and went to Paris around 1100, ostensibly to teach, but really to argue. If, as the popular imagination has it, Heloise had a body made for love (which, by contemporary accounts, she did), Abelard’s was made for arguing. He was short but wiry, as sinuous as his famed rhetoric. As James Burge demonstrates in his superb biography of a love affair, Abelard quickly conquered his foes in medieval logic and established himself as the philosopher du jour. For a while, he was in the camp of the politically empowered, and it was doing this period that he met Heloise. Continue Reading »

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