Monday, February 13, 2012

U are a Gift: The commodification of the female body on a very bad webpage. Your value is your unplanned pregnancy

The other day, the ever eagle-eyed Claud D'Arcy found a website, U Are a Gift, that is truly beyond words.  If I didn't now better, I'd think that U Are a Gift, with its bizarre pictures of gift wrapped pregos, is a parody page. After one gets over the trauma of puerile aesthetics (Ad Busters take note!), one can only wonder who would take this site seriously.  The average 12-year old, with no prompting from any of us, should figure out quickly that U Are a Gift is somebody's fantasy in pink.

U Are a Gift is operated by a MILF  named Carol  (no last name) who wears jeans and suffers from grammar, punctuation, and capitalization impairment.  We think she thinks she's cool--a word she uses to describe open adoption (the film Juno is a great model for living-a-happily-ever-after life) ). Carol tells us that before God, or rather, "Jesus, CEO of the Universe," whispered in her pretty ear to set up her page (or mission, or business or whatever it is) she was: the executive search business for 20 years. In my business I have always created opportunities for people and not allowed them to miss out on them because of fear.

U Are a Gift and its paravenu keeper are clearly about abortion and arguments to forgo it. Adoption isn't mandatory, but it's the "unselfish" and "responsible" choice elevating you from emotional trainwreck and poverty  to gift and gift giver.  If Steve Jobs hadn't been adopted, YOU wouldn't have an iPod or an iPad. Do you have the right to deny the world cool communication gizmos?

 The site contains sketchy information about abortion and  links to the anti-abortion "information"site," operated by  Heritage House, a  Christian fundamentalist promotional merchandiser  that sells  "teaching tools" such as the ever-popular pocket pal--life-size fetal models, in white or brown/Spanish, to use as awesome conversation starters in places like airplanes or supermarket lines where anti-abortion zealots can captivate a captive audience. Heritage House, of course, links to all sorts of "resource pages" owned by its small circle of friends, in this case Catholic anti-abortion enthusiasts.

U Are a Gift through, for instance links to the largely unknown -to-the -public but influential   "family-values"  Elliot Institute (or   or abortion: the unchoice), which advertises itself as "supporting the natural family.." Don't get excited!  It's not what you think.  "Natural family," to the Elliot is the hetero married couple/bio or adopted-childed paradigm that needs legal protection from queers, sluts, their irresponsible paramours, and abortionists. Born again bastards  (that is, those re-imaged by adoption), are welcome.naturally as long as we're not too dodgy and don't demand the return of our stolen identities and birth certificates (aka destroy adoption, the Constitution, Christianity, and The Family.).  links to dubious adoption resources,  including the wit and wisdom of Ohio  fundamentalist Catholic crackpot and sealed records king of coolness, Dr. John Wlike (and his wife)  who tell us, among other "facts" that Roe v Wade has made it the "in thing" for unmarried women to keep their babies.

Hmm, OK, Jack!

It's also the "in thing" (though Willke doesn't use that  term since bastards should never be "in" anything but a happy yard surrounded by a high white picket fence) for adoptees  to let themselves be brainwashed into thinking they want their OBCs.  The truth according, to the Willkes, is that 'we're just  the pathetic dupes of abortion industry agitprop that's manipulating our ungrateful dysfunctions and spoiled feelings of entitlement, as a cat's paw to murder millions of baybees for fun an profit.  Here's what Willke and the Mrs, who for decades  have headed the opposition to adoptee rights in Ohio, have to say about OBC access and those who advocate it  (my emphasis)

What of open records?
This is different. Today there are groups aggressively seeking to pass laws to unilaterally and retroactively open previously sealed records. Increasingly, pro-life people regard such search groups as pro-abortion and anti-adoption and have opposed such efforts. A high percentage of young mothers, in years past, placed their babies in adoptive homes only because the law guaranteed a seal of confidentiality on that adoption. Today, many of these generous women are terrified that this confidentiality will be stripped away. The fair and compassionate answer is a mutual consent registry.

U Are a Gift's front page carries  a pink header-- "The Big Bang"-- we hope it grows a URL someday -- that refers profanus, to the moment of conception. This artful metaphor relates nicely to Dr. Willke's description, delivered before an Ohio House Health Committee hearing  in 2006,  which I covered for the Columbus Free Press, of conception as "an ant piercing a basketball."

U Are a Gift promotes the Option Line crisis pregnancy hotline, operated jointly by Heartbeat International and CareNet, two of the largest CPC (crisis pregnancy centers)  franchises  in the world. Care Net's former CEO, Rev. Curtis J Young, is the author of the notorious adoption marketing instructional,  The Missing Piece: Adoption Counseling in Pregnancy Resource Centers,  published by the Family Research Council.. When  Bill Pierce was alive the book was promoted by the National Council for Adoption, which seems now to have quietly  and rightly retired it.  The book, appears to inspire Carol's entrepreneurial spirit, (or whatever she is up to), and is available in hard copy for $3.00 on the FRC site and can be downloaded for free from Heartbeat International.

Since  the Option Line phone number is listed on hundreds of CPC sites, it's doubtful that there is any direct connection between Option Line and U Are a Gift.  To be honest, if we were Option  Line we'd  be embarrassed by Gift and demand Carol remove our phone number. Or wonder if Carol were a stealth pro-abort seeking to undermine our anti-abortion mission through satire..We can imagine how the puritanical Dr .Willke would respond to the salacious photo shopped imagine of a gift-wrapped baby bump  (or rather basketball) posted on the U Are a Gift front page.

We still don't  understand the purpose of the U Are a Gift page. There are hundreds of similar pages that don't insult (exactly), and graphically  exploit their target audience-- (lower age) teen women,  the unsophisticated, and uninformed,--the kind who used to show up regularly on Maury Povich.  The site is clearly intended to persuade frightened young women that they are God's chosen vessel,  but "adoption," "resources" and "movement." (whatever that is) tabs are under construction, and so far devoid of information..  This brings up the question of why U Are a Gift  is live when mostly unfinished. We hope Carol  runs  her head  hunter company better than this.

After I wrote this log I looked a little deeper into Carol.  I learned that her full name is Carol Brymm and that she lives in Dallas, At least the Gift phone number is in the Dallas area.  She says she currently lives in Austin. . For what it's worth, I'm leaving off some personal information for privacy's sake.

According to Brymm's  public Linked-in profile, which includes the same picture of  her that appears on U Are a Gift,  she operates CB Legal Search, LCC. (no viable webpage, but lots  of aggregates) in Houston.  She describes herself as an "expert at locating unique hard to-find individuals that are at the top of their field for unique positions." According to Texas news outlets, in March 2011 Brymm walked away with (or at least was awarded)  a cool $350,000 and legal fees when a Los Angeles law firm rejected 10 lawyers she recruited for it, then turned around and hired them behind her back without signing her recruiting contract.

Brymm  posts her phone number headed with the awkwardly worded: "If you need to contact you are a gift about stories..."    The main purpose of U Are a Gift is probably to decrease abortion, but Byrmm's self-described skills posted on Linked-in as "an expert in locating unique hard-to-find individuals" for placement sounds perfect for another kind of headhunting and placement.. If you can recruit lawyers and law firms, you can recruit young women and "desperate" paps. Unless things have changed recently, Texas law prohibits adoption facilitation, but oddly, it is not illegal to use an adoption facilitator. I'll leave that one up to the legislature to suss out.

Writing this blog has been much ado about nothing, and I can't believe I spent as much time as I did on it.

And as I said at the top, I can't imagine anyone over the age of 12 taking U Are a Gift seriously. The page is silly, and insulting, but also disturbing. I can't remember any adoption related homepage that so commodifies women and girls and preps them for the commercial market. . The woman holding the be-ribboned baby bump, has no head. You =  the female body = pregnancy = child = value =  gift = You.. A false ourborhetorical conceit.  Gift exploits unplanned pregnancy, framing  it as an altruistic, self-fulfilling,  if not  "fun"  experience.  The Gladney Girls hanging out at the pool look downright dour next to Gift's Gift girls.

And where are the dads in all this?.

Just who or what is the gift?  The pregnant woman is told she's a gift, but clearly, she's a transient gift of value only in that she is the conduit for the child she will deliver.  If she surrenders, she is the gift giver and the gift, the sacrificer and the sacrifice, just as the child is in going to its God-intended parents. U Are a Gift, disconnects the pregnant woman seeking help and support, from her body, her intellect, her emotions--and in the case of adoption, her baby.. It pumps her up with false esteem and gratitude of service. And this is very dangerous for her and her child, whether kept or adopted.

Finally, U Are a Gift is a small, and probably unimportant  illustration of the incestuous world of abortion and adoption--formal and informal-- perpetuating the myth that adoption is a reproductive right, when, in fact, it is social policy by statute.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Did Bill Clinton Invent Oral Sex As We Know It Today?

Al Gore may claim to have invented the Internet, but now we've got  Bryan Fischer from the  American Family Association  claiming (almost) that Bill Clinton invented oral sex.  Not only that, but he is personally responsible for an alleged increase if  HPV  "neck and head cancer"  in the US caused by , according to Fischer,  oral sex..

See, an entire generation of "young people"  who had never even thought of sex of any kind, decided to take up oral sex as a hobby after hearing about  the Oval Office diversions of Bill Clinton and his devil in a blue dress, Monica Lewinsky.

If Bryan Fischer thinks that teenagers imitate what the president does, then we hope more than we already do that Newt Gingrich isn't elected in November.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roe Turns 39: Columbus Protests

This now appears in the Columbus Free Press in a slightly different form.

Monday marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v Wade.  While most  local anti-abortion big shots were doing their annual March for Life in Washington with accompanying photo ops, Greater Columbus Right to Life held down the fort here with a 45 minute rally on the steps of the statehouse.with few photo ops.  Except for me, Channel l0 appeared to be the only local media covering the event, but there's nothing on the station's news site.With Occupy Columbus camped out on the corner of S. High and E State, I imagined interesting possibilities, but the occupiers, unlike the Occupy folks in Washington, DC who disruppted a "youth event" held by Brian Kemper, Patrick Mahoney, Lila Rose, and friends, decided to sit this one out.

I've attended several of these January outdoor events in the last few years.  Usually, within 10 minutes my fingers, even in two pairs of gloves are ready to call it off  This year, however, the temperature was in the lower 50s and the crowd knew it . About 175 adults and a couple dozen small children celebrated  as Grove City State Rep.and keynoter Cheryl Grossman (R H23) ran off a list of  abortion-curbing bills that either passed last year or are now in the hopper.  Ohio ProLife  Actoin's  Heartbeat Bill, (HB 125), which aims to ban virtually all abortion in the state, got special props. While Ohio Right to Life and Ohio ProLife Action  duke it out  over turf in the press and in the lobby,  GCRTL and Grossman, gave big hugs to the state organization and the Ohio ProLife Action break-offs. .No seams showing..

Speaker Denise Salyers  a self-defined "victim of  the abortion industry," following the de riguer line of  "abortion harms women"" described with great detail and occasional tears how  her 1984 abortion ruined her life  with drugs, drinks, and suicidel until she was redeemed  by God 24 years later.

The rally, as usual, embodied ecumenical catharsis. The Protestant element of  Parsley-type exurbanites and parents with neatly turned-out daughters in Modest Apparel jumpers   were joined by three nuns  actually dressed like nuns, and a gaggle of deSales High School jocks and cheerleaders.  But this year, adults ran the show. Unlike past January Roe  events, billed as youth events, there was no throng of girls and boys from Fostoria and Marion comparing Planned Parenthood to Hitler and making  euphemistic prayer huddles;.and no middle school  adoptees  at the podium pimping adoption as a cure for abortion.  Strangely, adoption wasn't mentioned at all.

All photographs by the author

Monday, January 23, 2012

Support Occupy Columbus - January 23, 2012

I dropped by the Occupy Columbus compound for a few minutes today on my way to the Columbus Right to Life rally. .  Due to COTA construction of a much-needed bus shelter in front of the Statehouse, (though it will spoil the view) the occupiers have moved to the far south end of the block, (S High and E State) which strikes me as a more strategic location, at least as far as public interaction is concerned. The bus-waiting wallsitters never seemed very  engaged with OC when they were next to the McKinley Memorial. and the bus stop.  The weather was unseasonably warm, the compound looked well organized, and a small library has been added.When I was there three people work staffing the tent or the sidewalk.   While I thought the proximity of the the compound to the CRTL rally had interesting potential Occupy Columbus decided to stay out of it; probably a sound decision, though it could have been fun....

Please consider stocking the Occupy Columbus larder.  I dropped off a jar of cranberry juice and a box of Earl Grey.  They also need need money and PEOPLE.  After the rally I'd planned to hold a sign  while I waited for the bus, but the bus arrived about on minute after I did.

I took a couple pictures which I'm posting here. 

I'll have a short report on the CRTL rally up later today.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Ohio Right to Life PAC Primary Endorsements

Ohio Right to Life PAC,  has published its list of endorsements for the March 5, 2012 Ohio primary. . The endorsements are for contested seats only. Since endorsement lists sometimes disappear from webpages after elections, I'm posting the list below for the record. .Incumbents are in italics.

1.  Ohio has been redistricted and some incumbents may currently represent a district other than what they are now running in.

2. Some incumbents may be term limited and are now running for the opposite house.

For more than 15 years, Ohio Right to Life has been  the chief opponent of the restoration of the right of all Ohio adoptees to access their own original birth certificates.   

 Ohio Right to Life PAC Endorsements for the March 6, 2012 Primary Election

Ohio Senate Endorsements

  • Republican State Representative Randy Gardner - Senate District 2
  • Republican State Senator Peggy Lehner (Honor Roll Status) - Senate District 6
  • Republican State Representative Joe Uecker (Honor Roll Status) - Senate District 14
  • Republican Candidate Paul Hall - Senate District 14
  • Republican State Senator Jim Hughes - Senate District 16
  • Republican State Senator Tom Patton - Senate District 24
Ohio House of Representatives Endorsements
  • Republican State Representative Peter Stautberg - House District 27
  • Republican Candidate Mike Wilson - House District 28
  • Republican Candidate Lou Blessing, III - House District 29 
  • Democratic Candidate Terry Tranter - House District 31
  • Democratic Candidate Daniel Troy - House District 60
  • Republican Candidate Randy Law - House District 64
  • Republican Candidate John Becker - House District 65
  • Republican Candidate Doug Green - House District 66
  • Republican Candidate Rick Herron- House District 66
  • Republican Candidate Nick Owens - House District 66
  • Republican State Representative Andrew Brenner - House District 67
  • Republican State Representative Margaret Ruhl - House District 68
  • Republican Candidate Rick Perales - House District 73
  • Republican Candidate Ron Hood - House District 78
  • Republican Candidate Monty Lobb - House District 78
  • Republican State Representative John Adams - House District 85
  • Republican State Representative Jeffrey McClain - House District 87
If you're in House District 78, watch out for Monty Lobb.  A few years ago he was Ken Blackwell's shadowy chief of staff and mini-me.  I wrote about him here: Ohio Christian Alliance: Ohio Asst. Sec. of State Monty Lobb and "Swiftboat" Jerry Corsi to Raise Money for Re-formed Christian Coalition of Ohio.