In the pages of the NYT, Prof. Shari Motro fully realizes the gibberish of Leftism

I left a trail of hostile professors in my wake when I graduated from UC Berkeley.  I didn’t do that intentionally.  I never set out to be obnoxious or disruptive.  Back in the day, I marched in ideological lock-step with my professors.  (Although even then I couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of the Berkeley professors prating on about class warfare while making under-the-table payments to Mexican women to clean their houses and Japanese men to groom their gardens.)

The problem I had at Berkeley is that then, as now, I have a great reverence for the English language and, more than that, I’m a complete nincompoop when it comes to learning other languages.  This means that I never mastered Marxist cant, which is as foreign a language to the good English speaker as are Chinese and French.

My inability to comprehend Marxism at a linguistic level meant that, when my history professor made some statement about “the alienation of the medieval peasant as resulting from the hegemony of the feudal infrastructure that dominated the commodification for the agricultural economy despite the destructive rise of the proto-petite bourgeoisie,” I didn’t nod sagely and scribble frantic notes as did the rest of my classmates.  Instead, assuming that my class had some number fewer than 1,000 students, I raised my hand and said, “Excuse me, Professor Whatsit.  I don’t understand.  Can you please explain?”

This seemingly innocent question would result in another shower of Marxist gibble-gabble.  At which point I, supremely confident in my mastery of the English language and therefore unfazed by my inability to understand, would repeat, “I’m sorry, I still don’t understand.”  Eventually, parrot-like, I was able to repeat this nonsense with sufficient facility to garner a magna cum laude degree, but I never did internalize all this babble.  And, as I said, many professors weren’t very fond of me.

In retrospect, I suspect that the professors looked askance at me because I played the role of the little boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” effectively pointing out that what they were saying had no meaning — at least with regard to the feudal, agrarian culture that existed in medieval Europe.  Likewise, there was simply no Marxist way to make sense of Jane Austen.  I must say, though, that my suitably Marxist English literature professor managed to do what many might have thought was impossible:  he made Jane Austen dull.

I’m politically more astute now, but have just as little patience for Leftist gibble-gabble.  That’s why, despite attempts to read Shari Motro’s NYT’s Op-Ed about “Preglimony,” I still can’t make sense of what she’s saying.  Motro seems to argue that men will be less likely to get women pregnant if they had to pay for her . . . what? . . . pain and suffering or clothes or something during pregnancy.  Heck, they might even be forced to help to pay the cost of killing their baby (emphasis mine).  At least, I think that’s what Ms. Motro . . . or, should I say, Professor Motro, because this incoherent ideologue is a professor of law at the University of Richmond in Virginia.  See what you make of this:

Since the 1970s it has been possible to genetically link a father and his baby with increasing levels of accuracy. Then, a test using amniotic fluid let us test a baby’s DNA before birth, but the procedure increased the risk of miscarriage. Now a prenatal blood test has made the process far easier. Since a small amount of fetal DNA is present in a pregnant woman’s blood, the pregnancy can be genetically linked to her partner through a simple blood draw from the woman’s arm.

One of the potential ramifications is that men might be called upon to help support their pregnant lovers before birth, even if the pregnancy is ultimately terminated or ends in miscarriage. They might be asked to chip in for medical bills, birthing classes and maternity clothes, to help to cover the loss of income that often comes with pregnancy, or to contribute to the cost of an abortion.

Frankly, I don’t see why pregnancy support would be any more of a deterrent than child-support.  Having drifted away from her shopping list (clothes, medical bills, killing baby), Prof. Motro gets abstract, and I do mean abstract:

Rather than focusing on the relationship between the man and a hypothetical child, the new technology invites us to change the way we think about the relationship between unmarried lovers who conceive. Both partners had a role in the conception; it’s only fair that they should both take responsibility for its economic consequences.

Former spouses are often required to pay alimony; former cohabiting partners may have to pay palimony; why not ask men who conceive with a woman to whom they are not married to pay “preglimony”? Alternatively, we might simply encourage preglimony through the tax code, by allowing pregnancy-support payments to be deductible (which is how alimony is treated).

Huh?  An entire high-exposure op-ed to say that men who can’t be counted on for child support might pay for maternity clothes?

Despite having encouraged men to pay to abort their DNA (apparently yet another way to encourage them not to get women pregnant in the first place), Prof. Motro feels compelled to assure New York Times readers that her whole “preglimony” idea isn’t just a backdoor argument against abortion.  After all, some might say that, if you’re arguing that both biological parents’ obligation to the fetus begins in utero — or, at least, that the obligation to make sure Mama is stylishly attired begins in utero —  maybe you’re also arguing that the fetus has legal rights, including the right not to be aborted.  Not so.  In a paragraph that I still haven’t completely deciphered, Motro assures pregnant women that, even though men have an obligation to the fetus that bears their DNA, abortion is unlimited.  Or at least that’s what I think she’s saying:

The most frequent objection I hear to this idea is that it will give men a say over abortion. A woman’s right to choose is sometimes eclipsed by an abusive partner who pressures her into terminating or continuing a pregnancy against her will, and preglimony could exacerbate this dynamic. But the existence of bullies shouldn’t dictate the rules that govern all of society. In the name of protecting the most vulnerable, it sets the bar too low for the mainstream, casting lovers as strangers and pregnancy as only a woman’s problem.

It’s also possible that preglimony could deter a different form of abuse by making men who pressure their partners into unprotected sex, on the assumption that the woman will terminate an unwanted pregnancy, financially liable for the potential result.

To which I again ask huh?  Feel free to translate.  I don’t know what she’s saying, except that Motro thinks a right to choose eclipses all other legal and moral rights.

This isn’t Motro’s only foray into incomprehensibility.  Back in 2008, right before the election, Motro wrote a masterfully incoherent love letter to Obama’s promise as a healer.  In it, Motro dissed her native Israel for being a hate-filled, racist land, rhapsodized the American South for its love-level, and vomited up the usual charges against Bush.  Keep in mind as you read these excerpts that this woman is a product of higher education and that she teaches the next generation of leaders:

I grew up in Israel, and during my last visit there I felt the interconnectedness of the violence of that place in a way I never had before. I felt the hatred and the heartbreak and the hopelessness seeping like sap from everywhere, from the ambient near-fistfight atmosphere in every interaction. I felt it in the venom with which a minibus driver shouted at a migrant worker who didn’t want to pay for her five year old son “Go back to Africa,” and from the look on the boy’s face as he watched their shouting match quietly, resignedly, understanding that this is the world, a battle. I felt the poison walking on the beach in Tel Aviv – beautiful, sunny, blue skied Tel Aviv – because I knew that my mere presence there is so offensive to some people they want to kill me, want to kill themselves in order to kill me. And it hit me in Jerusalem, walking through bucolic, placid streets where Jews live in Arab houses, houses in which people who are still alive have memories.


Flying back from Tel Aviv to Richmond was, as always, soothing. Richmond, where you get to a four-way stop sign and everybody stops. And marching through campus with students and faculty on MLK day, I thought: these American feel-good gestures, which the Israeli in me rolls her eyes at, there’s something to them. These Americans, and the Richmonders I’ve met in particular, they get something right. With good will and gentleness, they are working hard, imperfectly, but working hard nevertheless at healing this bloody, bloody history which here in Richmond is so recent.

And what a gift it would be if we had a president who would stoke this flame.

And what a shame these past seven years.

Abu Ghraib and leaving the bodies of Katrina victims to rot in the streets while Brownie did a heck of a job and reading My Pet Goat as firefighters climbed up against the tide of fleers to rescue as many as possible.

How have seven years of Bush affected our hearts?

Imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm?

The woman is a walking-talking and, sadly, teaching, spouter of Leftist platitudes and hypocrisy, untethered to either fact or logic.  No wonder our children aren’t learning.  With teachers such as Ms. Motro, they don’t have a fighting chance.

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  • Bill C

    For a long time I’ve believed that the worst problems of our society have been caused by the increase in single motherhood.  Another way to look at this is that the state has replaced the father as provider but cannot replace him as the conveyor of values or discipline.  As long as the state creates an incentive for women to have children out of wedlock by forcing men to support children they don’t want then we are stuck.  (For both conservatives and liberals believe that child support is a good thing. How else shall a woman support her child?  Men must take responsibility.)  

    The problem is the incentives.  I believe they must be ended because it is women who are choosing to carry the pregnancy to term.  But politically, it is impossible to get either side to abandon the financial support of children.  Then it struck me.  Frame the question as one of reproductive rights.  Shouldn’t men have reproductive rights?  If a man doesn’t want to be a father should he be forced to be one?  Women have abortion, adoption, and abandonment, men have nothing.  This frame works on liberals who must adopt a socially conservative argument against it, which must sound horrible to them, “Well if he didn’t want a child he shouldn’t have had sex.”  For conservatives, they immediately get the implication.  The woman is, has, and will always be the decider so the burden should be on her shoulders.  Her right to bear  a child, her responsibility.

    Reproductive rights for men* is a winner because it replaces the old taboos of single motherhood with the financial burden for a child without support from a man nor the state.  Women will respond to this by being much more careful with whom they bed.

    *Single men.  Married men have made a promise to take care of the children which result from their marriage. 

  • Danny Lemieux

    That’s an interesting thread to contemplate, Bill C.

    Book, I was just a slow learner, apparently. For several years, I was in awe of my professors: if I didn’t understand what they were saying, it was my fault. Then I realized that, the more incomprehensible a professor sounded in explaining a concept (this was science, btw…I NEVER had tolerance for b…s….ers in the liberal arts fields), the less likely it was that they understood what they were talking about.

    I hope that kids today stage an open revolution, once they realize what has been done to them by the education /indoctrination and ruling classes. 

  • Libby

    What a weird idea: preglimony. She’s so close to making an inconvenient point, though. If men should be financially responsible for the pregnancy in addition to child support post-pregnancy, why shouldn’t they (and their female lovers) be financially responsible for birth control, too?

  • Oldflyer

    To paraphrase another obvious observation:  (sic) “gibberish in; gibberish out”.
    One thought occurred as I read her little rant.  Rather than advocate for changes to the tax laws, why not devote your podium to educating women to only copulate with men whom they know will act responsibly come what may?
    On the general subject of Professors and their ramblings, I never was sophisticated enough, or motivated enough, to even attempt to understand.  The first time around I cut as many classes as I could get away with, and departed the scene as soon as I got the credits I need for Navy flight training.  The next time around, I knew what I wanted.  I had also  learned to give them what they wanted, while using my time productively.  The classrooms may be dull, but the library was a wonderland.

  • Call me Lennie

    I had a daughter who was in advance placement in high school.  And one time, when she was having difficulty summarizing a set of readings about some historical issue, I was able to make a crucial educational point to her, i.e

    “Look at the readings by this leftist writer and the one by this conservative writer.  Which one is easier to follow because it moves from fact based premises to conclusions based on the facts and is also written in simple direct language. The conservative one. Now which one jumps all over the place factually, has needlessly convoluted sentences, has a couple off the wall snarky statements and comes to a conclusion that isn’t based on anything that was written in the piece.  It’s the leftist piece.  That’s what makes it so difficult to read.”

    And then I went on, “When you get to college the proffesors will try to insinuate that the simple direct writing is the product of an inferior mind and the convoluted one is the product of the superior mind, which is why it’s difficult to follow.  They’ll try to put the onus on you to “get it”  But the fact is, it’s just bad writing.”


  • Charles Martel

    Call me Lennie’s advice to his daughter is about as good as a father can give. I know that Book has discussed Judith Butler on this blog before, a highly regarded pomo academic at UC Berkeley whom I think has brain damage: She is utterly incapable of writing a coherent sentence. But the illiterate college students she indoctrinates and the second-rate minds who hover around her think she is brilliant.
    However, simplicity can be the mark of an inferior mind. Notice that Obama never uses a sophisticated adult vocabulary. His canned teleprompter remarks are parodies created by his clueless minions as to what they think yokel “folks” like us will surely take for elegant simplicity and eloquence.
    When The One goes off prompter, it gets even worse. He sounds like a street thug who got kidnapped by Bill Ayers-type academics and is trying to pull off a Patty-Hearst-Becomes-Tanya transformation.
    At both ends of the left’s intellectual pool, incoherence reigns supreme.

  • David Foster

    Andre Maurois observed that people who are highly intelligent, but totally uncreative, tend to be uncritical adopters of pre-canned intellectual systems and to believe in them in an even more rigid and fundamentalist manner than the originators of those systems did.


  • Gringo

    Danny Lemieux
    Then I realized that, the more incomprehensible a professor sounded in explaining a concept (this was science, btw…I NEVER had tolerance for b…s….ers in the liberal arts fields), the less likely it was that they understood what they were talking about.
    By trial and error, I figured out that the optimal  path of action for a STEM class where I didn’t understand the professor’s lecture, was to intensely study the material before it was presented in class. That way  the professor’s lecture became a review session. Most STEM lectures are so compressed that it is almost a given that if the lecture is the first time a student has been exposed to the material, a student’s comprehension of the lecture will be decidedly less than 100%.
    The only science, math or  engineering professor I had who was not a good lecturer had also written our textbook. He knew his material; he just had forgotten  how to break it down for the peasants who hadn’t been exposed to it for a quarter century. If you could come up with a very well organized question in his office, he could explain it.
    A couple of time I  caught Math professors in errors on the chalkboard or on the homework, but that was no big deal.
    I never had much tolerance for academic gibberish. When I first took the GRE, I was having a problem with the reading section. I decided that the way to answer some of the questions was to choose the answer that was written in the most incoherent academic/sociology-speak manner possible. As my GRE verbal score was slightly above my SAT verbal score, that strategy apparently worked.

  • Danny Lemieux

    David Foster – sounds to me like you just perfectly summarized the mindsets of the (scientific) environmentalist and man-made global warming communities. 

  • David Foster

    Danny…yes. Historically, this phenomenon has applied especially to Marxists…the ones who *did* have any creativity, such as Arthur Koestler, eventually broke away.

    I have to note that it also applies to more than a few business school graduates. I’ve known people for whom the postulated position of a business on the BCG growth-share matrix (cows, dogs, stars, question marks) was far more meaningful than the tangible realities of the business itself.

    Indeed, it’s quite possibly true that postgraduate education, as conducted today–regardless of the field, almost always leads to the reification and excessive belief in systems of one kind or another. 

  • Gringo

    How have seven years of Bush affected our hearts? Imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm?
    Perhaps seven years of Bush have diminished her knowledge of  basic grammar.
    I would consider the following sentences to be coherent, unlike Motro’s sentence:
    Could you imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm?
    Imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm.
    My  response to “Imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm,” is to imagine a nightmare. I doubt Obama  could have made a coherent response to 9/11 that had America’s best interests at heart.

  • LSBeene

    The world of Feminist Jurisprudence is truly bizarre.
    The same people who will tell us that no one has a right to “lecture” young women about who they sleep with and the consequences thereof, will also then get behind laws that are patently unfair.
    With “Preglimony” men are once again told to pay up, but to butt out.  Pay up, or go to jail – but, at the same time if you (meaning the guy) tries to influence the pregnant woman to either have the child or to abort that is seen as bullying / abusive behavior.
    You see – to feminists a “family” is a mom and the kids.  “Dad” is just a euphemism for a wallet with a heartbeat.  “Dad” is whomever the mother decides to date, or whomever she can get a court to say should be the dad.
    Let me add to this discussion by linking a few articles on the other ideas feminists are excited about.
    The Case Against Paternity Fraud – by Prof. Melanie Jacobs:
    In this she wants :
    1)      For any woman who has dated a man for two years or more to be able to nail him for child support for children she had by another man. (no, I’m not exaggerating)
    2)     For men who have been wrongly named as a father through adjudication to have no “outs”, including independent DNA testing proving the man had NOTHING to do with the conception of the child – regardless of him being married to the scheming liar or not even if he’s never met her.
    3)     She says that allowing men to know they were lied to, and about, would “destroy established, functional families” – excuse me!?  So a man is lied to, or maybe never MET a woman, and he’s wrongly named to pay child support.  But, should those checks stop coming – the “family” would know pain.
    I’m sorry – but Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.  Again, to feminists the “family” is mom and the child/ren – with dad being an after market option that comes with ejection bolts strapped to his butt, but with a firm anchor (and the threat of prison) on his wallet.
    The ONLY form of “debtors prison” we have is based on child support.  It was ruled illegal under the “Anti-Peonage” laws. 
    Go and read the article – it’s disgusting.
    Although this crime never has happened to me – when I read “Prof” Jacob’s article, I wrote a rebuttal.  I wrote it in one sitting, and while I was steamed, so it’s sarcastic and not my best example of writing – but it shreds her argument.

    And then, if that’s not enough, feminists seem uniquely blind to a certain category of rape victims – namely boys raped by women who are then hit with child support orders. 
    I could leave link after link – but just google it.  There is no shortage of stories about boys being molested or even raped (yes, raped) who are then told they must pay up. 
    Often, and this is mind boggling, the child’s custody is left with the admitted rapist (or found guilty), and **IF** she serves jail time, the child is often given to her relatives for safe keeping until she gets out.
    The boy child / father is given visitation and told to pay up or face jail.
    You can’t make this stuff up in real life.
    Feminists always want to tell us how “poor victimized single mothers” should get all the choices, none of the lectures, and should also get a free lunch from some man – and frankly they don’t care which man.  Be it a guy who slept with the girl and blew her off (clearly a completely useless “man”), to a one night stand, to a child who was raped, a husband deceived by a cheating wife, or even a man who never met the woman who got a court order.
    What a gruesome crew of villains.