A Slight Discrepancy
When I left Bryn Mawr without graduating in 1994, I intended to complete my degree some day. The longer I waited, though, the more daunting the task seemed, so I was surprised to discover how very little work I actually had to do to get my diploma, and I was shocked by how much easier college seemed the second time around. One lab science and a few semesters of Spanish after returning to school, and I was done.
Finally completing my degree was so easy, in fact, that I couldn’t quite believe that I had actually done it, and I went back to Bryn Mawr for commencement half expecting to be told that there was a mistake, that I wouldn’t be graduating after all. I went to pick up my regalia with the fear that my name wouldn’t be on the rolls for the class of 2007. The fact that I was able to pick up a gown, a cap, and a hood with no trouble simply meant that I showed up for rehearsal imagining that someone would soon be telling me, “There seems to be a problem. You need to go talk to your dean.” When that didn’t happen, I relaxed—a little.
The afternoon of commencement, I got to Merion Green a little early, procured a program, and looked myself up. There I was: Jessica Lee Jernigan of Ohio. When the time came, I got in line for the procession. There was no red flag next to my name on the marshal’s list, and I marched with the rest of the class of 2007 when the bagpipers started piping. It was really happening: I was really graduating.
I waited for my name and I walked across the stage. I shook the College president’s hand and I took my diploma. When I got back to my seat, I untied the yellow ribbon and unfurled the parchment, eager to see my name—finally—on a Bryn Mawr diploma. What I saw instead was, I feel, the cosmic joke variant of the disaster I had been expecting:
I received my Artium Baccalaureus from Bryn Mawr College on Sunday, May 20.
Some Thoughts I Had As I Watched About 45 Seconds of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? While Waiting for The Office to Begin Last Night
The game-show style pioneered by Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hasn’t gotten any less irritating.
Are You Smarter Than a Redneck? would have been a much better show.
This guy has the worst fauxhawk ever:
The Sanctity of Human Life
Gonzales v. Carhart feels like old news already (which is not to say that its legacy won’t be with us for a long, long time), but I haven’t been able to think about it and write about it as much as I would like—well, I don’t really like talking and thinking about it, but I do feel compelled—because caring for my baby takes up so much of my time and energy. Of course, the fact that I care about my baby at nine months as much as I cared about her before she was born is one of the reasons I find the anti-choice ascendancy so upsetting.
This New York Times article about escalating rates of infant mortality in the South seems to be archived now, but Lawyers, Guns and Money and Feministe both offer succinct analyses of the material, and a brief look at Mississippi tells you pretty much everything you need to know: As a governor who has backed a number of anti-choice laws, Haley Barbour is proud to call his state “the safest place in America for an unborn child,” but he has also presided over welfare and Medicaid cuts that have made Mississippi a decidedly unsafe place for children who have actually been born. Barbour has commemorated the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by calling for “a week of prayer regarding the sanctity of human life,” but his policies are a perfect reflection of Barney Frank’s famous and sadly perfect formulation: While they might call themselves “pro-life,” most anti-choice advocates “believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.” Fetuses are sacred. Babies are expendable.