“My Story” (Jean Grae)

Just like it’s impossible for a trax to encompass a single life (“I’ve actually erased a lot that I’ve been through”), the same goes for a human fetus with the poles reversed. Susan Sherwin contends that a set of feminist ethics shouldn’t be pro-choice in the common sense; rather, it should advocate for women being able to make “truly voluntary choices,” which includes determining the value and meaning of a fetus. As for the first, this would involve an intensive structural critique addressing situations like having to “fuck . . . for rent” or being resigned to “Medicaid fix[ing]” you. (It would entail, in the short term, a rights-based advocacy with a longer view toward the full enfranchisement of women, understood as a category of potentiality.) But what’s a fetus’ potential if it never existed as such? Can it provide enough material for a trax in itself? For Jean Grae’s narrator, a fetus is “divinity” while “mother” is an unmarked and experientially remote status. The fetus represents “another life that almost got close.” That’s a closed narrative already, an anti-utopia premised on disciplining and patterning the murderous self. A choice, then, is only a choice if one’s options include both the manageable and the impossible, or when the voluntary choice is able to entertain unboundedness as one of its orientations.


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“New World in the Morning” (Roger Whittaker)

Here, it’s preferable to speak of a “new world coming on” rather than a “new world in the morning,” and the difference seems to stop just short of an ideological edict. After all, it seems to be lexical and not conceptual. Things, as they do, get thorny. The narrator’s arrogance—why even sing a song about something so self-evident?—seconded by the testimony of an old man with a decades-old dream: we will banish the diurnal in the name of the cataclysmic. The latter “comes,” and you can sense it. Shed your dreams of change within your serial existence and enter the realm of “thought,” which is divorced from the quotidian and assumes immanence. A possible response could begin with a worry: if yesterday and tomorrow are banished, how could one be mindful of (and ethical toward) difference?


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