First of all, let me apologise for the long gap in writing, and for the lack of new comments being approved. Both of these have reasons:

1. I have been flat out trying to finish the film (which is looking good) and my writing/thinking time has been minimal.
2. I have not approved any new comments for a long time due to the preponderance of spam clogging up my dashboard. If anyone knows a fast way to delete over 1,000 comments from handbag- and shoe-bots rather than by 20 at a time, please tell me! We will be getting some kind of human-confirmation device installed shortly, and then hopefully all of these Viagra and SEO peddlers will leave us alone.

On to more pressing business – this post will be a little more like a news digest than a developed opinion, mostly because of my aforementioned lack of time, but also because the links speak for themselves.

Most of us who follow the news out of the US have been stunned at the backwards nature of the discourse there on contraception and reproductive health. I say backwards in no inflammatory way to imply mental incapacity – “backwards” is a perfect description of the direction signified by this swell of mostly conservative, mostly Republican, mostly male bleating about the issues. These so-called controversies are dragging America backwards in time. Here’s a smorgasbord of ridiculousness*:

Terry England comparing women to animals.

Sam Brownback promising to sign a bill taxing abortion.

The Pope, as usual, having high-handed moral opinions about everything other than child abuse.

Bill O’Reilly being Bill O’Reilly.

Arizona being Arizona.

Colorado setting up a possible challenge to Roe vs. Wade (the case which made abortion legal in the US) by the back door (pun not intended).

Utah bans sex ed.

Before those outside of the US get too smug, here’s what’s up in Russia.

*Because of my aforementioned shortness of time, all of these links are from Raw Story, although you can find these stories replicated in most other media outlets.

Tied in with all this wrangling over what seems to the rational mind to be the most basic interpretation of human rights, we have the ongoing debate over whether long-term (i.e. after 2050 at the earliest) population stability or shrinkage is a catastrophe for modern economies. In a nutshell, this centres on the fact that modern economies are predicated on growth (in order to provide consumers for mass-produced goods and in order to provide an ever-expanding labour base to service debt and pay liabilities). Since population growth inherently demands economic growth, in the sense of more goods and services, and since economic growth is represented almost uniformly as the only way forward for any nation’s economy, this debate unintentionally represents a deeper question, namely: Are human beings economic components to be ‘brought online’ according to the needs of the market, or should the market perhaps adapt to the needs of human beings?

Exhibit A: This New York Times article by David Brooks.

Exhibit B: This excellent rebuttal on Slate.

Lest I run the risk of writing a blog post without being overbearingly opinionated:

1. Women should have contraceptive/reproductive health care if they want it, and that access shouldn’t depend on what other people think.

2. Abortion is a matter for the couple, not for the government, the church or any other organisation. I’ve known enough women who have had abortions to know that none of them entered into it lightly. That’s about as far as any man’s opinion should intrude on the matter as far as I’m concerned.

3. Anti-homosexuality measures/discrimination/inequality are just plain rude. Stop it, America. And for that matter Russia, Uganda, Malawi…oh, the list is too depressing to go into.

Trying to finish a feature film with no money can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, and never have I worried more for my own sanity than when I found myself agreeing with Pat Robertson. Scary stuff. It must be the end times…

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