June 22, 2011

Bonus Material: Grand Illusions

I'm too lazy to transcribe the entire page, so here's the part where Grant argues why Planned Parenthood is rolling in cash:

Planned Parenthood Fees

You might be tempted to suggest that this argument says more for reform of the healthcare system than it does against Planned Parenthood. You are wrong. "The fact that despite all its grave faults and ominous foibles, the American health-care system is still by far the best the world has to offer, that it is the envy of physicians and technicians everywhere, and that it affords almost universal access and care doesn't seem to matter to the utopian reformers"(p.242).

Grant also makes an argument that Planned Parenthood is doomed because they had a "Flash Gordon Worldview" that was never fully realized. "The future that never quite happened was born of a pretentious spirit of modernism that is laughably passé today"(p.33). The weird thing is that he gets awfully descriptive when discussing someone else's vision of the future:

"A distant gleaming skyline soars up from the fruited plains through plump cumulous clouds to sleek zeppelin docks and mad neon spires. Roads of crystal unfold between the towers like an origami trick. They are crossed and recrossed by thousands of satiny silver vehicles like choreographed beads of running mercury. The air above the city crackles with remote radio-laser signals. It is simultaneously thick with ships: giant delta wing-liners, dragonfly-like gyro-copters, electro-magneto aerial cars, and vast hovering helium blimps. Searchlights sweep surreally across the horizon illuminating streamlined buildings ringed with bright radiator flanges.
Thronging the broad plazas of pristine marble below are the happy citizens of this jaunty utopia. Orderly and alert, their bright eyes are aglow with enthusiasm for their floodlit avenues, their shark-fin robots, their care-free conveniences, and their elysian prosperity. They all look wise and strong, striking a uniform pose of youthful health, energy, and cooperation.
It is a heroic world of fluted aluminum, slipstream chrome, lustrous Lucite, burnished bronze, and the unfettered dreams of progress.

Grant gets in some real zingers, insisting on referring to abortion clinics as "abortuaries." Regarding RU-486, he says that Planned Parenthood " brought excellent credentials to the task of sanitizing the public perception of pharmaceutical child-killing"(p.193). Then again, he also fails pretty spectacularly in a few places. There's his claim that "when that power is cavalierly couched in sluggardly bamboozlery it is all the more frightening"(p.195), and this passage:

" I was in town for a couple of speaking engagements. Several pro-life advocates, including the two men currently playing 'Eliot Ness' in the back seat of my 'getaway car,' had invited me to participate in their regular Saturday morning picket of a local abortion clinic. Such invitations for me are like the bite of a silk piranha."(p.13)

Silk piranhas aside, the Elliot Ness comparison is just sloppy. His friends are unarmed and wetting their pants in the back seat of a car that is fleeing from the bad guys while Grant is driving. (It should be noted that the bad guys are driving "an ominous and carnivorous pickup"[p.13]. That's right. Carnivorous) Grant would have been better off saying that they were "playing Bonnie to his Clyde," but he probably didn't want to invite the association with criminals (even though he had, in fact, removed property from the clinic). We know that this adrenaline-fueled chase totally happened for reals, because "certain personal, geographical, and architectural alterations have been symbolically altered […] but otherwise, the events and conversations are absolutely accurate"(p.366).

I thought that this quote was particularly funny:

"It seems this is the modus operandi of Planned Parenthood. There can be no challenge to its sacrosanct vision of the future. There can be no question about its revered formulas, its hallowed rituals, or its consecrated dogmas. The fallibility of its scientific and secular cultus simply cannot be countenanced civilly. Anyone who dares to contravene its sanctity is therefore mercilessly demonized."(p.56, italics in original)

Dr. Grant notes that "this book was especially written so that you could take whole paragraphs and even whole sections word for word, verbatim, and use them as ammunition in your testimony or presentation"(p.336). And you know what? I did.

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