Brian John Spencer
Artist - Writer
Belfast | Dublin | London
  • "

    Banning abortion does not actually affect abortion rates. I was could not have been more shocked. I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.

    Overturning Roe, I realized, would not make women stop having abortions. Instead, it would simply punish women who have abortions by requiring them to risk their health to do so. This is all well and good if the goal is to punish women for seeking abortions, but if the goal is to keep unborn babies from being murdered, this is extremely ineffective.


    Every time I read this article I am filled with hope.

    How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement

    (via eurofox)

    "If the goal [of banning abortion] is to keep unborn babies from being murdered, this is extremely ineffective."

    (via eurofox)

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  • "I try to use cartoon as an artist. I hate artistic snobbery. It’s bullshit. You should have no truck with it whatsoever. Have no truck with it."
    Ralph Steadman (here, 59m10)
  • "I really don’t like work that is purely computer."
    Ralph Steadman (here, 29m30)
  • "To learn another language is to gain another life, or at least to enter another world where the spirit may be refreshed and invigorated."
    Dr Donald Caird (here)
  • Christopher Hitchens on the herpetic Rabbi

    Christopher Hitchens read this on page B5 of the New York Times on August 26 2005:

    "A circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews has alarmed city health officials, who say it may have led to three cases of herpes—one of them fatal—in infants. … The practice is known as oral suction, or in Hebrew, metzitzah b’peh: after removing the foreskin of the penis, the practitioner, or mohel, sucks the blood from the wound to clean it."

    Hitchens wrote in response:

    "Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, the 57-year-old man who ministered to the three boys in question, is currently under a court order that forbids him from doing it again—pending an investigation by the health department. What "investigation?" If another man of that age were found to be slicing the foreskins of little boys and then sucking their penises and their blood, he would be in jail—one hopes—so fast that his feet wouldn’t touch the ground. If he then told the court that God ordered him to do it, he would be offering precisely the defense that thousands of psychos have already made so familiar. Preach it rabbi. Preach it to the judge."

    He finished with this:

    "Jewish babies exposed to herpes in New York, thousands of American children injured for life after the rape and torture they suffered at the hands of a compliant Catholic priesthood, prelates and mullahs outbidding each other in denial of AIDS … it’s not just your mental health that is challenged by faith. Anyone who says that this evil deserves legal protection is exactly as guilty as the filthy old men who delight in inflicting it. What a pity that there is no hell."

    In full here:

  • Orwell’s method

    Paul Muldoon explained:

    "Be deeply suspicious, first of all, of your own prejudices before you begin to approach the prejudices of others."

    In full here:

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  • "The medical butchery of a helpless and demented loser, the descendant of slaves and a discarded former legionary of the Empire, made neither society nor any individual safer. It canceled no moral debt. It was a creepy, furtive and shameful affair, in which the participants could not decently show their faces or quite meet one another’s eye."
  • "It is civilization and pluralism and secularism that need pitiless and unapologetic fighters."
  • Kevin Meager - Unionist politicians – more British than the British – are now oddities in the British political system

    He wrote in the New Statesman:

    "Northern Ireland’s idiosyncratic political class finds few soul mates in Westminster. Unionist politicians – more British than the British – are now oddities in our political system. Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson’s recent defence of an evangelical pastor who described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic” (not to mention his wife’s remarks about homosexuality) mean that unionist politics can now seem like something from a different planet. Not to mention the double standard. If Robinson had been a minister, a frontbencher or leader of a council in Britain, then he would have been out on his ear. The Britain that Unionists claim kinship with is long gone."

  • Christopher Hitchens - “Heat and no light” is a false distinction

    He said (48m40):

    "Many people feel and many people are fond of saying, that it’s more important to generate light than heat. You may have heard this wised up remark made by people. It sounds so judicious doesn’t it. Poppy cock o course. There’s no other source of light but heat. Where else could light come from if you think about it. Totally false distinction if you think about it."

  • "All my shoes I designed, I copied Nike’s."

    - Eric Koston (@erickoston) (here, 7m45)

  • Comparison, self-doubt and inferiority is deadly and antithetical to creativity.

    At 5m50

  • Comparison, self-doubt and inferiority can be constructive or ruinous. It falls on how you respond.

    At 2m30.
  • "Ireland? I feel nothing but the dread at having to return. I can’t read, write, drink, think, feel, or move. I seem impelled to address my friends when least in a condition to. People like me – for a little. That is worse than being disliked from the beginning. I hope I am not obscure. Where it hurts? No aim need be taken. It doesn’t hurt anywhere. And is worked up into hurt everywhere. I feel like an anaesthetized Sebastian affecting to choke back his cries."
  • Philip Larkin - Comparison, self-doubt, inferiority

    John Banville wrote in 2006 in the New York Review of Books:

    "Philip Larkin started out as a novelist, and had written two novels by the time he was twenty-five. However, the enormous, instant success of Amis’s Lucky Jim (1954), which took at least some of its inspiration from the author’s friendship with Larkin, seems to have discouraged Larkin so comprehensively that he abandoned his ambitions to go on writing fiction and turned to poetry instead. In 1982 he told The Paris Review: “I wanted to ‘be a novelist’ in a way I never wanted to ‘be a poet,’ yes. Novels seem to me to be richer, broader, deeper, more enjoyable than poems.” From the start, then, the act of making poetry was for Larkin tainted with the bitter taste of failure, which makes his poetic triumph all the more remarkable. Or does it? As he famously declared, “Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth”."

    In full here:

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