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Against Birth

by DAVID Ker THOMSON

I was never born.  Can’t for the life of me figure out why I didn’t notice this till last week.

In the old days, I’d been born twice—once by water and once by blood, as the good book says.  Then last week Eva-Lynn’s reading out loud to Liam this weird-sister book inspired by Macbeth and it hits me like a ton of bricks that I was a C-section.  Probably more painful for my mother, but still.

The privileges that accrue to modern subjects by the accidents of birth have come to me by accident pure and simple.  I have a nice little blue booklet to prove it, almost the same shape as an American passport.

It gets worse.  I was never born but I was born all over the place.  Mexico, Texas, and Colorado, in particular.  You don’t have to put any fancy Frenchifying u’s or e’s in or on that word born for it to have a whole other identity: to carry or bear.  Bear with me here, because this is important.

I was born, for example, in Midland, Texas, not to but by an oilman’s wife (hi Ma!), not far from a guy who’d come to town when he was two from Connecticut and pretended he was born in Texas.  He rode that three-legged mule from Midland all the way to the presidency, bearing right at each crossroads so he went in circles, but he got there eventually.  For our part, we were trailer trash—oil prospectors.

I was born by a prospector’s wife.  But there was no birth.

Nativity’s so venerated in our culture we have a tacky commemorative tableau to mark it called a “nativity scene,” but it’s pretty much a crock of shit.  The manger scene is like the Connecticut-Yankee-in-Texas-bush scene referred to above that underwrites recent chapters in the nation-state fable.  It even has the same apocryphal distribution of birth-moment characters combined with random characters from exactly two years on.  Wise guys, indeed.

Border crossings are a hell of a nativity scene.

Where were you born, and who—my question here—gives a shit?

People who want to pretty up Christianity, which is about a bloody death and a resurrection, focus on the birth event because it’s all they can handle.  Like Jesus is some cuddly little bastard.  Somewhere in fourth- or fifth-degree irony we might remember that the whole point of the ‘nativity’ scene is that the kid’s in the sheep shithouse precisely because he’s not a native to those parts.  The real story of Christmas has always been about the empire’s taxpayer scheme under the Caesar Augustus administration.  Begins with a census in the holidays and before you know it, it isn’t till May 10th that you can stop working for the Man and start working for yourself.  We say, resist—don’t work.

So how did homeland securities everywhere come to protect Der Fatherland with these explicit and obscene and constant references to the vagina event?  Why is every day V-day on the frontera?  Enter almost any nation-state the world over and the first thing the guy in the Boy Scout uniform wants to know is something about your mother’s vagina.  Or in my case the second question after, ‘what’s that on your head’?

It’s just slam bam on the frontier.  Where’s the foreplay?  It’s just: “Vagina event?  Purpose of visit?  Let me see your vagina-event-and-related-visits-abroad calendar.”

Vagina event and trips abroad—what the hell kind of category is that anyway?

“Anything to declare?”  About what?  What would you want to declare to a Boy Scout whose first question is about your mother’s vagina?

Do those of us without a vagina event really exist, or are we just a glitch in the matrix in the matrix?

Nature is camouflage.  As soon as someone says something like ‘nature’ or ‘natural’, my first question is, ‘what are they hiding?’  We’ve laid our obeisances for so long outside the cave of the vagina event we’ve come to believe it’s natural, like it’s not some wacko fetish.  I grew up in (actually, just underneath) a place they called America where people like me, thank God, weren’t allowed to vote—first because we were kids, and then because we weren’t—and if we wanted to vote (hail the latest chief, I guess) we could undergo a process called ‘naturalization’.

Naturalization is a form of brainwashing by which you come to agree that the most bizarre fetish-sex practices are normal as long as someone in a Boy Scout uniform says they are.  And just for the record, yes, I’ve also lived in Waco, Texas, so I know what’s at stake—if the Boy Scouts don’t think you’re natural enough they’ll burn you down inside your house.  What’s at stake is us, as the witch said.

I once had a guy from Russia with a gun at the Detroit border keep me out of America because I didn’t have enough money.

Russia gun Detroit America money.  It’s not the only short story I can tell you about Detroit, but it’ll do.

We’re in at least sixth-level irony here, but I’m telling it to you just like it happened.  I was a circuit-riding preacher boy back in the day before they’d lock such unnaturals up as terrorists, and we could speak our minds a little more than you can now.  This is the middle of the Cold War.  Almost in Detroit, almost in America.  I’m shouting in the 48-state English I speak from street level, with a few 17th-century King James Bible quotations for punctuation, and Slavic Cowboy’s responding in English inflected by having been born under Stalin.  His English puts the slave back in Slavic.

He’s like, “you have zee insufficient funds.”

I’m like, “what’s the hold-up?’

“Hold-up?”

I shoot my hands in the air.  “Oh please don’t shoot me, Mr. Stalin, I don’t like hold-ups.”  That’s in one voice.  Then in a different voice I’m like, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.  Who, sirruh, art thou thus to obstruct his minister?”  I’d been out baking in the sun of America for so many years, even at that age, I’d begun to have notions.

I was a thumb rider and proud of never taking buses, but they shoved me ignominiously onto a bus and sent me to Toronto, of all places.  Said I was born there.  Hard times but good times, I have to tell you.  I’m nearly the last of that generation who could speak Shakespeare before we’d ever heard of him.  Nowadays the Scouts’d tazer you just for looking them in the eyes.  Tell me, does it get any better in life than discussing the subtleties of nativity with the guntotin’ stalinborn at a hundred decibels in the English that’s come down to us from Chaucer?  Not a care in the world, back then.

Why is it the vagina event, and not something else, that entitles you to say you’re “from” somewhere (and if you’re from somewhere, how can you still be there—what’s that even mean, “I’m from here”)?

Why the vagina event?  What about some other life stage?  There’s predetermination, anticipation, insemination, conception, incarnation, germination, cognition, cognation, invagination, parturition, elimination, language acquisition, salvation, education, vaccination, indoctrination, playstation, maturation, matriculation and/or peregrination, higher education.  It goes on and on, all the way through ruination to damnation.  Why in tarnation pick parturition?  By the process of elimination, I’ve finally come to decide that how a man composts his own shit will tell you the most about him.  But frankly his vagina event is from the Age of Too Much Information.

Basing club membership and citizenship on “birth,” whatever the hell that is, is just another stupid form of aristocracy, the idea that it’s not what you do that matters but what vagina you popped out of.  We had centuries of that in Europe.  How’d that work out for you guys?

Birth fetishization is a form of inbreeding.

It’s no wonder people with the proper state connection to their vagina ancestors police their borders with guns.  “Ooh, I’m so important, I’m glad I’m not from West Vagina.” Well lardy dah.  It’s just kind of sad that they can get regular guys from Buffalo to dress up as cowboys and do the dirty work.  Can you guys with the guns really not see through the nonsense?

I know what’s going on with all this vagina stuff.  I wasn’t born yesterday.

DAVID Ker THOMSON lives in the watersheds that are under nations under God. He can be reached at:  dave.thomson@utoronto.ca



 

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