Terri Schiavo: America’s Most Desperate Housewife?


The feeding tube frenzy swirling around ‘America’s Most Wanted Desperate Housewife’, Terri Shiavo, just proves how rightwing ‘compassion’ is reserved excusively for those who can’t defend themselves against unctious vultures smothering them in false piety ie: the comatose, embryos, slain moppets, and dead-on-the-cross Jesus. (Clearly, the Mel Gibson meat puppet version of Christ does a better job promoting the Republican agenda than the living, breathing political agitator who scorned the wealthy and believed in taxes.)

Similarly, these angels of death have made martyrs out of Jon Benet Ramsey, Laci Peterson and now Terri Shiavo – people they had no interest in in life, but whom they now fetishize in death. Necrophilia has always been at the center of wingnut ideology, as evidenced by their preoccupations with the unborn and the undead. And no one personifies the rightwing death cult agenda more than Peggy Noonan, who has made a career for herself insinuating herself with corpses: chief among her involuntary love puppets, Ronald Reagan, and the late Senator Paul Wellstone (on whom she famously performed a post-mortum act of ventriloquism and had him criticizing his mourners for their ‘partisan’ eulogies at his own funeral).

Miss Peggy now leads America’s rising professional class of funeral mourners – the paid strangers who will sob over an open coffin to give the impression that their intended victims merit these public convulsions of fake compassion. There are virtually hundreds of websites where such ghoulish mourners can gather to say graveside ‘prayers’ for Laci Peterson and ‘Baby Connor’. And with Scott Peterson’s conviction out of the way, they’ve now moved on to hold cyber vigils for Terri Shiavo, whose vegetative state reflects their own diminished role in decision making.

Since feminism was successfully transformed under the banner of neo-liberalism into just another consumer option,(‘The right to Shoes’) a kind of backlash women’s movement has emerged in the ‘Red States’, where local communities have been crushed under the weight of Wal-Mart and Evangelical Christianity. The adherents to this new religion are for the most part, politically and econonically disenfranchised women seeking an outlet for their feelings of rage and hopelessness. With McMedia spurring them on with its wall-to-wall coverage of sensational trials, these women have adopted the silent symbols of gender inequity like Nicole Simpson, Laci Peterson, (and now Terri Shiavo) as their official martyrs. According to this rather nihilistic interpretation of feminism, dead women demand and deserve ‘justice’ while living ones go on maintaining the status-quo.

It’s not hard to understand why Michael Shiavo has become the official anti-Christ of this movement. For these women, he’s the personification of every ex-husband in progress; the all-too-common deadbeat ‘ex’ who would literally cut them off the life-support system of alimony and/or child support. For them, Terri Shiavo’s feeding tube has become a symbol of their own disengagement from the institutional safety nets that Republicans have successfully dismantled, leaving them literallly hanging on to life while more powerful men decide their fate. And just when the world seemed safe from Atlanta shooter hostage, Ashley Smith and the author of her inspirational bedside reading material ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, McMedia shifts gears to clog the airwaves with 24 hour coverage of another ‘Woman on the Verge of a Spiritual Makeover’, Terri Shiavo.

From the moment Jeb Bush’s big brother stood in front of a rigged Diebold voting machine on November 2nd and declared ‘Mission Accomplished’, cable and network news began inserting words like ‘faith’ and ‘miracle’ into their teleprompters in a cynical shift rightwards to cash in on all those ‘faith-based’ votes.

McMedia Corp’s willingness to embed itself with the enemy was presciently satirized in ‘The Simpson’s’ a few years back. Most ‘Simpson’s’ fans probably remember the episode where obsequious and opportunistic news anchor, Kent Brockman, hastily announces his allegiance to giant space ants on air after Homer (who’s orbitting the earth in a space shuttle) accidentally tips over his ant farm, releasing hundreds of the tiny antennaed creatures throughout the space craft. When they appear on camera looking like giant alien fiends poised for world domination, Springfield’s own ‘Aaron Brown Rather’ briefly welcomes them as his new bosses before he realizes his mistake. Little has changed in the years since, as mainstream news hacks continue to prostrate themselves before their new masters to become the official mouthpieces (and butt plugs) for Jerry Falwell and Tom DeLay.

After the Colombine Highschool massacre in 1999, McMedia went on a rampage through the well-manicured streets of Littleton, Colorada, looking for clues as to how this particular tragedy could have happened, and psychoanalyzing every little aspect of life in an otherwise picture perfect community. By contrast, the invisible inhabitants of the Red Lake Indian Reservation (where the latest school massacre took place) are considered unworthy subjects for pop-psychologists and armchair experts since they fall into a class and income bracket which renders them irrelevant to the interests of ‘real Americans’. Perhaps if the average American ever got a glimpse into life on an Indian reservation, they might just abandon their comfortably held delusions about the ‘Land of the Free’ and feel less inclined to celebrate the ‘American West’ and cheer for the ‘Redskins’. The realization of a genocide going on in your own backyard tends to put a damper on the BBQ festivities.

And without these myths to pin their illusions on, these Americans would have to suffer the consequences of a wake up call – something that certainly doesn’t bode well for the ratings-driven media, who spin these urban legends at the behest of their CEO bosses. Cherokee jeeps and Disney Pocohontas DVD’s would have a harder sell if the media ever stopped embedding itself in the suburbs. This may explain why Colombine survivors have become the official mouthpieces of this tragedy and the people of Red Lake have become a ‘First Nation’ of Terri Shiavos; long cut off at the decision making level and silent witnesses to their own extinction.

So it’s better to dismiss teen shooter, Jeff Weise as an anomoly ("the neo-nazi Indian kid") and expend our energies on worthier recipients of our compassion like Terri Shiavo, who conveniently for everyone, remains silent on the subject of her tormentors.

JENNIFER MATSUI lives in Japan. She can be reached at: catcat@s3.ocv.ne.jp


November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate