What would happen if we all created SuperBabies? Would we make a SuperRace? Fleets of SuperAdults so smart and wise and strong and nontoxic that they would never get cancer? (But they would of course discover its cure.) By age fifteen, they would teach their teachers. They would outrun all world records. They would eradicate every harmful chemical or they would somehow render all chemicals harmless to SuperBodies. They would, each one, win prestigious awards in their fields, twisting the bell curve into a radiant point of light from which would emanate their stellar, star-like performance. They would never know rejection. They would not know depression. They would not cry, or if they did cry, they would shed tears of existential meaning and fulfillment, reflecting on their infinite successes. And on their holidays, they would gather around fires—propping their lean, tall, muscular bodies onto core-boosting exercise balls—and tell stories of the generations past, when people were not Super but Regular. In those bygone days, RegularPeople had autoimmune disorders and chronic pain. They had broken hearts and failed dreams. They had something the SuperPeople only know through history books: suffering.
We want a SuperRace because we want to eradicate absolutely everything that terrifies us. We want SuperHumans so we can transcend that thing we are: human. But a SuperHuman would lack that crack in everything through which, as Leonard Cohen sang, the light gets in. There’s something in our suffering that we need. We’ve known this for millennia, and we make it clear in the stories we keep telling. The Buddha gave up his palace and meditated beneath a tree for a week. Jesus of Nazareth said yes to a cross. Our ache is our unfortunate, undeniable doorway. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, says the copper lady with the torch. When we walk into our pain, we sometimes find ourselves on the other side, freed of what we once thought we needed to feel free.
Suffering is a part of life. –Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart
From Heather Kirn Lanier’s “Superbabies don’t cry” in VELO. This is a wonderful piece on ableism, so worth the read.
No woman should be shamefaced about giving back to the world, through her art, a portion of its lost heart
– Louise Bogan
This is so clever, but go read the whole thing. “Woman Facts” at McSweeney’s by Sandra Newman.
Once women who lived unconventional lives were seized as witches and burned. Now people just say to them, “You look tired.”– – –
Large numbers of women can be caught by baiting a trap with a crying infant. Though only one woman may fall into the trap, hundreds of others will gather to criticize everything she does with the child.
From the amazing David Pope
From the wonderful Cathy Wilcox.
From First Dog on the Moon – see the whole thing here, it was brilliant.
Let’s talk about discretion and trust. And perhaps also the public interest.
These are not the usual words I would use when introducing a discussion of the Disclosure principles in privacy law, but right now they seem apt. Because right now I am hopping mad about the disclosure by our government of one woman’s personal information to the media.
The matter I am talking about involves a single mother, but at a deeper level it involves all of us. We are all citizens, we are all ‘clients’ of government agencies at various times throughout our lives, and we all entrust our personal information to those government agencies. We expect that our privacy will be respected in return. This is the story of what happens when it isn’t. This is the story of Andie Fox, but it could just as easily be the story of you or me.
From Anna Johnston’s “Just because you can disclose, doesn’t mean you should”at Salinger Privacy.