Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Minnesota 21.5.02: Bright Blond Babies and Menacing Signs

Crudely stenciled billboard sign coming into St. Cloud from the southwest, bright red letters: If you think no means yes, then no, you won’t go to prison. No context for the statement; just the bold assertion. Make what you will of it. If the shoe fits, wear it.

What kind of social nexus produces such vaguely menacing signs? We threaten folks with prison when we feel things are out of control, about to spin wildly in directions uncertain or inimical to us? Is it a warning about date rape? If so, how can anyone know this, with no context for interpretation?

We’ve entered few small towns in Minnesota without seeing right-to-life signs, many of them combining kitsch with guilt: pictures of bright blond babies and the slogan, Choose life; your mother did.

I asked Steve if abortion is such a problem in rural Minnesota towns. No, he thought. It seems the good burghers and farmers of Minnesota want to outlaw other people’s abortions.

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