Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bill Baird and Birth Control

I was very impressed by Bill Baird's lecture on the right to privacy today. His presentation was easy to follow and very powerful. I thought it was great that he talked about his personal quest and the way that he educated people in the past on birth control while simultaneously teaching us, not about birth control but about the options that existed during his fight. Just imagining what the world would be like, not just for me but for women I know, and even complete strangers is terrifying. Not only do we have "people polution" and population problems, but money is a huge issue for a large portion of that population. Without the Supreme Court ruling of Baird's case, the poverty and despair of our nation would be astounding. The concept of contraceptives seems so basic to our generation that it is easy to dismiss or take for granted. I know girls who have had abortions, and to think about any one of them trying the abortion techniques Baird introduced today makes my stomach lurch. I'm so grateful that he stood up for this cause because if not him, then who? By sacrificing or gambling his time, energy, resources, money, and reputation Baird has prevented thousands if not millions of women from enduring the pain that comes with the denial of rights to their own bodies. The rulings of his Supreme Court cases were important for privacy rights for ALL people (gay, straight, man, woman), but most prominently pulled women out from under men's shoes, allowing them to control their bodies, control their futures, and control thier circumstances.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pain in Poetry

I really enjoyed Professor Frank's reading and interpretations of pain in poetry. Although I'm sure the poetry is better in the original languages, I likes the idea (shown mainly in The Goat) that translators get to put their own interpretations of pain and of poetry into the work that they do. Pain truly translates into every language. Greek, Russian, and Italian sounded beautiful, but I feel sure that every person understands the pain that both Andromeke and Dido experienced. I have to admit that when I first began to understand the story of Dido I was reminded strikingly of Juliet. Would it be possible that Shakespeare simply took the story of Aeneas and Dido and made it even more tragic, and also made the man weaker than he had once been? Men were certainly not as masculine as they had been in Ancient Rome and perhaps Shakespeare was trying to feminize the hero and make love not just a woman's burden but a man's as well. Obviously the stories are not the same, but the tragedy and the pain of unrequited love to the point of suicide is present in both historic love stories. I loved that Professor Frank attributed the caution of a woman on the subject of war as wisdom rather than weakness. If given the choice, no one would experience pain. However, in Greece cleos was so highly valued that pain was not to be avoided, and the men would gladly go to war and die, not considering the pain and anguish left behind. I thought the lecture was very thought provoking and particularly loved the poem The Goat. In the future I will be sure to look up more of Saba's poems and am grateful for being introduced to him as a writer.