Monthly Archives: November 2009

Nice to find an uncracked pedestal

When I was a child, I had a book of Norman Rockwell’s illustrations art that I used to joyously pore over. I remember even doing a report on him for school, and I had to make sure he wasn’t too much of a commercial artist to qualify.

In my previous life before motherhood and medical school, I actually went to art school and was a portrait artist. I could never even begin to touch the hem of Normal Rockwell’s garment when it came to the emotional quality he could bring to his faces, much less his exquisite technical skill. I never, ever mentioned being inspired by him in art school, however. No one else mentioned him either. I was busy discovering other portrait artists like Francis Bacon and Sigmund Freud.

There is a Normal Rockwell exhibit at a nearby art museum, and I really want to go. I was listening to a story on it on my local NPR station (you guessed that I listed to a lot of NPR already, right?) and I was stunned and impressed by their coverage of his dedication to civil rights. I was also stunned and disgusted by their explanation why none of his pieces depicting civil rights for African Americans were ever in the Saturday Evening Post; they had an official policy that blacks could only be portrayed as servants: waiters, housekeepers, etc. This was in the 1960’s.

(Another example of very institutionalized racism, and why I had the “there is no such thing as a race card” this very morning. Before I heard this story.)

I am looking forward to seeing the exhibit, especially two pieces that I had never heard of until they were described on the radio this morning. It used to mildly annoy me when they did stories about art on NPR and tried to describe the works, but I am so happy they do, now. (Obviously, it is beneficial to the visually impaired, also). Here are internet versions of two of the pieces at the exhibit: (click to embiggen)


“The Problem We All Live With”

This piece depicts four federal marshals escorting a black six year old girl (SIX!) to school in Louisiana. All the white parents pulled their children out of the class, according to the coverage. There is a tomato smashed on the wall behind her, as if it just whizzed past her head. And, the N word is emblazoned, lightly, on the wall above her head.

The second piece they described: (click to embiggen)


“Southern Justice” (Murder in Mississippi)

This hair raising image depicts the shootings in Mississippi during the civil rights era. I am fairly sure they are the shootings that lead to the movie “Mississippi Burning”. Only the blood on one of the victims is in color, and the rest of the piece is in black and white. According to the radio story today, he actually purchased a pint of human blood to make sure his portrayal was accurate.

It’s nice to find out more about someone I love (and may have been a little embarrassed for loving) and be even more in love with them.


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I have been really busy lately and overwhelmed with various issues in my real, meat world life.

So, although I don’t have the emotional energy or time to write a full post, I just wanted to say a few things.

Stupak-Pitts Amendment? Makes me furious.

Obama administration’s and other progressive groups’ responses? Disappointed and furious, but not surprised.

What do I think of the chances of the health care (method of payment and abortion) reform bill passing in the Senate? Well, considering the Senate is less liberal than the House, we have “friends” like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, and a pro-life Catholic majority leader in Harry Reid, I am not optimistic.

Oh, by the way, I highly recommend this book: The Healing of America, by T.R. Reid.


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I’m so stoked!

I have been invited to be an reviewer / contributor to the newest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

I am going to be reviewing a chapter on anatomy and a chapter called “unique to women”. I am interested in seeing what that will include.

I am so excited!


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A little booger humor

I was having a discussion with a friend about my snot.

Still reading?

Anyhoo, I just got over a bout of the flu, and I was wondering if I had a secondary staph infection since my snot is disturbingly bright golden yellow. And profuse.

She told me to look it up on the interwebs.

So I did.

Considering how disappointing some comment threads can be, the one above really cheered me up.

I don’t know if this is my favorite:

“It’s unmistakable, that is the golden mucous of God. He has chosen you. Earlier there was a question asking about some mysterious YELLOW pus coming from a girl’s vagina, she was one of the other chosen ones. There are seven in all, and they will save the world and turn us all into energy beings. We’ll have to wait and see who the rest are, but be patient, they will be revealed with time. Who am I, you ask? Just an observer… a man who has seen the truth.”


“See A doctor or pharmacist and you should just use your common sence, use kleenex and just dont sneeze directly on anyone obviously, dont worry unless you get A headache or other type pain then see A Doctor”

due to the really random capitalization, spelling and punctuation


“maybe it’s your diet like not enough nutrients to turn your snot green”

this one, due to the plain out bizarre factor. I worked in the health food industry for almost a decade, and I never heard that lack of nutrients theory.


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Reply turned post, conscience clauses can be OK style

I am starting to grow weary of being the contrary voice. I duck out of many confrontations, believe it or not. But, sometimes I still speak up.

More than once, a liberal, pro-choice site has taken a stance against conscience clauses in general. Although I am a pretty vocal pro-choice commenter in the interwebs, I find myself defending conscience clauses in these conversations.

This time, I replied on a Feminists for Choice post asking if conscience clauses were ethical:

I am a medical student and a member of Medical Students for Choice.

I strongly believe in conscience clauses and plan on refusing to perform certain procedures and to dispense certain medications when I am a physician. I think every physician follows her conscience, and am afraid anti-choice activists are using this important part of medical ethics to refuse to provide services that are in the best interest of the patient.

I plan on refusing to perform unnecessary procedures that are requested all the time as an ob/gyn. I will not perform any genital mutilation, male or female. This includes any routine newborn male circumcision, or elective vaginoplasties. This of course does not extend to any medically indicated procedures, which would be in the patient’s best interest.

I will refuse to do labor inductions because a mother is sick of being pregnant or because I am going on vacation. I will refuse to do non medically indicated cesarean section because a mother is afraid of the birth process or wants to have her baby on a certain date, or because I want to get home in time to have dinner with my family on a day I am being paid to be on call.

I think practitioners that are truly ethical do not use conscience clauses as an excuse to deny medical treatments to their patients or clients because of some idea that premarital sex is immoral. It is easy to find work in an area that does not involve refusing to provide necessary medical care. Most of these people who are refusing reproductive health care want to make an issue out of their refusal to control women’s sexual autonomy, not to support their own ethics, and it’s a shame.

There are two students in my medical school class who have stated they will refuse to prescribe birth control. Both identify as Catholic. One was more than happy to take handfuls of condoms our club was passing out for when he has sex with strippers (I wish I was kidding). He said he is using them for disease prevention, not birth control, so he is not a hypocrite.

I hope he goes into radiology, or urology.

The other is a Jesuit priest. He is planning on going into psychiatry, so most likely won’t be in a position to be a birth control prescriber often. He is also honest and out in regards to his homosexuality, and is an activist to change the Catholic position on homosexuality. So, he thinks some rules are meant to be changed.

The point of these two stories is to say, ethics mean different things to different people. Physicians and other health care practitioners are too diverse a group to force into one group of practices. However, we can encourage responsible application of conscience clauses and try to make sure essential health care does not get refused in the process.


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