February 16, 2010
Divide the country up, and let people move to the parts they like
GQ, February 2010
Savior vs. Savior by Devin Friedman
"There are no more abortion clinics in Wichita, or for 200 miles around. You could say Wichita is more Wichita now than it was when George Tiller was alive, a conservative small city in the middle of Kansas, at least one connecting flight away from either coast. Maybe this is the way people want it. Keep abortion to the places where it makes sense. Divide the country up, and let people move to the parts they like. Leave everyone else in peace."
These last words really confused me. I'm not going to lie, when my Magazine Editing professor told my class to choose a magazine to critique, I picked up the closest one I recently bought and chose the article that sounded the most interesting. I read through it quickly, failing to analyze it thoroughly and came up with the conclusion that the writer implies that he sided with the killer. Even up to 1:30 this afternoon, when I went to go see my professor, I stuck by my opinion that the article was incomplete, biased and confusing. He didn't exactly agree but he helped me form a more concise and clear critique to post on our MAG 408 blog.
It wasn't until I came back in the evening and read the conclusion, literally 10 times, that it finally clicked and I understood what Devin Friedman was really trying to say. Here is what I wrote:
"Usually when I pick up a copy of GQ it’s because of who is on the cover. This month, one of the investigative pieces caught my attention.
“Savior vs. Savior” by Devin Friedman is about the death of abortionist George Tiller and the events leading up to his murder in Wichita, Kan. To Scott Roeder, Tiller’s killer, abortions are crimes that must be stopped by whatever means.
Afterward, Wichita, small and conservative, continues to exist as if nothing happened. Tiller’s wife closed the abortion clinic and buried thousands of patient files — never to be seen again. The closest abortion clinic is 200 miles away. The question is not if Roeder succeeds, but why?
“Maybe this is the way people want it. Keep abortion to the places where it makes sense. Divide the country up, and let people move to the parts they like,” Friedman concludes.
These last words troubled me. I was frustrated. Friedman led me through a long, chilling, detailed account from the perspective of a remorseless murderer — who won. I wanted the good to prevail! But it isn’t Friedman’s job to provide a sugarcoated, happy ending. Especially when there isn’t one. Friedman, with a little reverse-psychology and sarcasm, intelligently and successfully challenges the reader to think about our passivity and to evaluate the social issues that continue to plague and divide our nation."
I was relieved to finally understand it (because even though I stuck to my previous opinion it still didn't feel quite right) and it was a sad understanding.
*Also, reading reader's comments on GQ's Web site reveals that I'm not the only one who was confused by the conclusion. I don't know if that says something about our intelligence or Friedman's writing ability (perhaps he could have done it a better way?), but he did ultimately get the point across - at least to me.