An authoritarian patriarchal junta has successfully occupied the state of Michigan and has proceeded to censor feminist freedom fighters in the state legislature. At least that seems to be what viewers were supposed to take away from last week’s faux Orwellian MSNBC multimedia performance of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
For those who have successfully avoided the leftist media’s most recent circus sideshow, last Wednesday two female legislators were censured for breaching decorum and using lewd language on the Michigan House floor during a debate on abortion legislation. Or, as Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz so keenly described the matter on The Rachel Maddow Show, “Obsession with women’s bodies and controlling women’s bodies has really seeped all the way down so deeply, and the extremism has seeped so deeply, into the Republican Party that you’ve got state after state that is initiating this legislation …” Charmed, I’m sure.
The Michigan House leadership’s decision to censure the legislators and ban them from speaking on the House floor the following day was met with a Planned Parenthood rally and a legislator-studded public performance of The Vagina Monologues on the statehouse steps. Present for the rally, performance and accompanying publicity opportunities was playwright Eve Ensler (the left’s answer to William Shakespeare minus the racism, sexism, heterosexism, transophobia, and ableism…not to mention talent).
Say, does anyone know what these legislators actually said? Members of the media are being suspiciously vague in regard to the statements that provoked the Michigan House leadership’s scorn in the first place. It’s almost as if they would prefer to cover the “firestorm” surrounding the story rather than, say, the story itself…
When reporters are called upon to recount the exchange at the heart of the matter, the controversy is usually framed like this: misogynistic, anti-choice fanatic legislators were offended to hear their highly professional colleagues use the medical terms “vagina” and “vasectomy” in a serious manner during a legislative debate. Said colleagues were subsequently unjustly punished for defending a woman’s right to choose. “I’ll be post-feminism in the post-patriarchy!”
But this narrative isn’t entirely consistent with the facts. The truth is more likely something along these lines: on June 13, Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown gave a speech on the house floor in opposition to a bill that would restrict access to abortion. Rep. Brown ended her oration with a rape joke, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no!”
Her fellow vulgar vestal virgin of “choice,” State Rep. Barb Byrum, wasn’t so eloquent. After the speaker refused to recognize her efforts to speak on behalf of a satirical amendment on vasectomies, Byrum interrupted the speaker and shouted, “Vasectomies!” These are the champions of third wave feminism: grown women who act like adolescent boys.
So what was the Michigan House leadership’s explanation for their fascistic censorship and condemnation of these courageous modern-day suffragists? For the answer to this question, the Detroit Free Press turned to spokesman for the Michigan House speaker-cum-agent of the Patriarchy Ari Adler, who told reporters that, “[State Representatives Brown and Byrum] will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”
He ended his chauvinistic tirade thus, “House Republicans often go beyond simply allowing debate by welcoming open and passionate discussion [but] the only way we can continue doing so … is to ensure that the proper level of maturity and civility are maintained on the House floor.”
It must be thrilling to live in the left’s world of clever reframing and revisionism. A world where the Michigan state legislature is a subsidiary of the Patriarchy, The Vagina Monologues is dissident political theater in the tradition of Václav Havel, and reprimanding a state legislator for making a rape joke on the Michigan House floor is an affront to feminism. Such distortions of truth are matters of faith for media hacks seeking to reinvigorate the fabricated “War on Women.”
Nick Mignanelli | University of New Hampshire