Jun 252022


Off and on all day, every day, I read the news of the world. Every day I come across reports that make me feel varying mixtures of sorrow, disgust, anger, and frustration (because there’s not a damned thing I can do about any of it). A person concerned for their mental health would get a clue and stop doing this. Why I continue, I don’t know.

Most days I still forge ahead with what I do for NCS without uttering a syllable about the news that happens to be upsetting me; I know that no one comes here to see me whine. But sometimes what happens in the outer world is so bad that it becomes very difficult for me to concentrate on music, so bad that music barely seems relevant, or no longer functions very well as an escape, much less a treatment for my mental turmoil. This is one of those days.


You can probably guess what happened that so severely fucked up my head, especially if you live in the U.S.: The most powerful court in the land reversed a nearly 50-year-old precedent that had recognized the constitutional right of women (in limited circumstances) to make their own decisions about whether to carry a pregnancy to term. A newly constituted right-wing majority on the Supreme Court, appointed by a small group of U.S. Presidents who never won a popular majority vote themselves (including a seditious fraud who attempted to hold onto power in the equivalent of a coup), has now erased that right as if it never existed.

This abominable decision was a raw exercise of political power, a radical revision propelled by a theocratic cabal that got that power in part by making misleading or downright false statements to U.S. Senators (who confirmed their appointments) about their respect for Roe v Wade as established precedent. As one opinion writer put it this morning, referring not only to the justices but also to the people responsible for putting them in the position to act, “This is a story about men gaining power by trading away something that meant little to them compared with their own stature: the rights of women.”

Based on a legal analysis that limits rights under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to what was “rooted in history and tradition” in 1868, when the Amendment was passed and when women didn’t even have the right to vote, the decision again makes women second-class citizens, without control over even their own bodies. As the dissenters wrote, “After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had.”


This second-class status is viscerally real, not merely symbolic: About half the states in the United States have either already enacted or soon will enact laws that restrict or make abortion illegal in all or most cases. To quote another opinion piece from this morning:

Many women may be forced by law to carry pregnancies to term, even, in some cases, those caused by rape or incest. Some will likely die, especially those with pregnancy complications that must be treated with abortion or those who resort to unsafe means of abortion because they can’t afford to travel to states where the procedure remains legal. Even those who are able to travel to other states could face the risk of criminal prosecution. Some could go to prison, as could the doctors who care for them. Miscarriages could be investigated as murders, which has already happened in several states, and may become only more common. Without full control over their bodies, women will lose their ability to function as equal members of American society.

The march backward won’t stop here. Despite the hollow assurances given by a few members of the right-wing majority, the reasoning of the Court’s majority opinion equally calls into question other constitutional rights that Americans have enjoyed based on earlier Supreme Court decisions, in some instances for decades, including the right to use birth control, the right to marry the person of their choosing, and the right of consenting adults to do as they please in the privacy of their bedrooms without being arrested and charged with crimes. The intent to un-do all those precedents, in addition to Roe v. Wade, was made explicit in a concurring opinion by possibly the most vile member of the current Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas.


I suppose there might be some people out there reading this now who’ve been rejoicing over this turn of events. For me it feels like a raw wound, and I’m not even a woman. To pour salt in the wound, there’s not a goddamned thing that can be done about it any time soon.

Proposals to pack the Supreme Court or establish term limits for the justices will never pass the U.S. Congress, which is in the strangle-hold of a minority party (and a couple of “center-right” Democrats) with the power to stop any legislation they don’t like, at least for the foreseeable future. Any effort to pass a nationwide federal law protecting abortion is equally doomed. So will be any efforts in “the red states” to liberalize severely restrictive anti-abortion laws that are already on the books.

Some day there might be enough people who exercise their right to vote in local, state, and national elections to change this wretched state of affairs. Maybe mass protests of a continuing nature would make that day come sooner rather than later. But given the anti-democratic features of our governmental system on the federal level, including the one state, one vote, make-up of the U.S. Senate, the gerrymandered electoral district lines that entrench positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Electoral College, and the filibuster rule, coupled with the enduring power of money over people in this country and the depth of embedded delusions that have been so methodically and effectively spread by far-right propaganda machines, I think it may take a generation for that day to come.

In the meantime, the future looks increasingly hellish, and the country I live in has suddenly become even more balkanized, with the recognition of what should be fundamental rights now entirely dependent on where we live, in a “red” or “blue” enclave. We have already been living in a land roiled by culture wars and divided by the politics of hate. This decision pours gasoline on those fires.


I guess I should add that in my case this wound feels particularly raw because it comes on top of a continuing regression in this country across an expanding spectrum of cultural, legal, and political issues. I’ve been alive for longer than most people reading this. I lived through the announcement of Roe v. Wade and the changes it wrought over the next nearly 50 years, as well as the recognition of many other civil rights and their embrace by large majorities of people in the U.S. over that same period. I thought I lived in an age of progress. I never dreamed that at this stage of my life I would see so vividly how fragile the progress was, and become witness to its reversal on such a scale.


For all these reason I have a particularly hard time focusing on metal today. For these reasons, I thought something should be said at NCS. I didn’t take a poll, but I’m pretty sure that in these sentiments I speak for all of us here.

I’m sure that between today and tomorrow I’ll shake myself like a wet dog and clear my head enough to get back to doing what people come here for. I have a gigantic list of new songs and videos. They won’t go anywhere, even though I’ll be able to highlight fewer of them than if I’d gotten my shit together today. Probably, I’ll also go to them later today as therapy, hunting for the ones that provide the catharsis for fury.

~ Islander

  21 Responses to “A WRETCHED PAUSE”

  1. Thank you Islander for posting this. It absolutely needed to be said. Here and everywhere. Truly a dark day for our country. As we continue our slide backwards towards a theocracy (and/or straight up fascism) I see a country I once respected become a third-world backwater reveling in ignorance, hate and fear.

    • Thank you Matthew. I have lost respect too. I was raised in the indoctrination that the U.S. was unlike any other nation, “a beacon of freedom and justice” and a shining example for all the world to see and follow. What a load of horseshit that turned out to be.

  2. In my opinion the pro-woman’s reproductive rights groups in America should do exactly what the Reich Wingers would do if the Democrats implemented strict gun control measures.

    I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what that would be, but it would likely involve a lot of fire and government buildings.

  3. I’m a father to two teenage daughters, and I understand that they can expect economic, political and social challenges in their lives beyond anything I have faced. But we live in the UK so I’m at least reassured that they will have agency over their own bodies. That this agency has now been stripped from young women on your side of the ocean by a radicalised minority twisted by power is beyond rational understanding. To know that this cannot be overturned in any reasonable timescale makes a mockery of the principle that US citizens have the right to direct their own lives. You have expressed this far more eloquently than I ever could. I came to read about music but I wanted to express my support for your powerful statement.

  4. Very well written, Islander. Thank you.

  5. You spoke my mind in that opening paragraph and throughout this post.Yesterday I watched my wife, daughter and baby granddaughter lose rights that they were born into as American women. I’m fucking stunned. We must do all that we can to abort the republican party.

  6. I know it does nothing but add volume to those already screaming into the void, but man, just fuck Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, and every other senator who claimed to care about Roe and listened to that frat boy dipshit and the insanely-right fringe Catholic say they would respect precedent and BELIEVED THEM. Now they’re shaking their heads and handwringing talking about being mislead, and the only way that’s true is if they’re the dumbest fucking people on the planet or just completely full of shit. It’s just infuriating.

    Sorry to just word vomit my anger and frustration and attach it to your eloquent and thoughtfully worded article, but goddammit I’m just so angry.

  7. Well said, Islander. I didn’t expect to see this while visiting your site, but I’m glad you wrote it. I’m a father of two young daughters in the US and we are more worried than ever about the regressive future of this country. This coming right on the heels of some truly horrific school shootings has to make the rest of the western world wonder what the hell we are thinking.

    • Indeed………when i read the news, i really dont understand where the usa is going! And i begin to kind of be racist towards americans (i’m canadian)…….which i dont like, cause i’m not a racist person at all. But when i read comments like yours, i understand that i’m wrong, and that a lot of americans are good people, that’s it’s their intitutions and elites that are fuckep up!!!

    • It’s comforting to know there’s a site that’ll still cover Kroda or Acherontas and still say fuck the Christian Right and their bullshit.

  8. This is extremely saddening indeed. And I completely agree, although with the added caveat that not all ‘third world backwaters’ (as somebody commented earlier) are as regressive in its entirety. But the US’s influence on the world is huge and its downfall has definitely had/will have heavy repercussions. Because idiot leaders all across the world will be equally inspired to do follow suit.

  9. Thanks for writing this. I’ve been so distracted by this tomfoolery by the ‘moral’ minority power grabbers, it’s hard to get any work done. I’m 52 and this country has been slowly sliding further right, more conservative my whole life, regardless of which party currently in power. I guess all I can say is metal up their ass!!! The US needs deep and wide fundamental changes to right the ship… I fear we are a way off from that, I think the US hasn’t yet hit rock bottom. The pain of change has to become less than the pain of staying the same before anything real gets fixed.

  10. Hi,
    As a french canadian, living in Québec (wich is mostty an open and free society) and as a neighbor of the usa, i’m really sadened and scared to see where you’re country is going for a couple oy years now!
    But this abortion right being scrap like this…….!! It feels like the beginning of th end for democracy in usa!!
    I used to think, when a saw women protest , dress in red like in handmaid’s tale, that they were exagerating a little bit. I was wrong. Man, it’s scary….!!

    But i know that a lot of americans are not ok with all of this (like you), and that’s where i find hope, that a lot of you will find a way to make your voice heard, and change things for the better. You got an ally in me (even if i cant do much about it)……

    By the way, i really like it when you take a break from metal, and write opinion pieces that are important.
    They are always well wrtitten and truthful.

    P.S : Sorry if my english is not very good, i speak french!!!

  11. It’s a relief during these times of utter agony having someone put into words exactly how you feel about the so-called free world. And simply soothing – always – to read about music that, for me too, brings catharsis and a feeling of rebellion against all of the unneccessary frustration that is brought upon us from rightwing christian capitalism. So thank you, Islander, and all of NCS!

  12. Federalism is a very hard concept for people who are not from the United States to grasp, and apparently for many people are are from the United States, as well. Consider reading the actual ruling and concurrent opinions. You’ll discover why this case was overturned. It’s really hard for people to put aside emotion and contemplate the law as a judicial textualist or originalist would. Try anyway.

    • I did read all the opinions. I do understand the concepts of federalism and “originalist” judicial philosophy. I still think the majority opinion is an arrogant, dishonest, “result-oriented”decision, wholly apart from its real-world impact on the rights and lives of women and the imploding legitimacy of the Supreme Court. I’ll leave it there. You have your views, I have mine, and even if I had the time to write more (which unfortunately I don’t), I doubt either of us would change our minds.

  13. Thanks to everyone (or almost everyone) for supporting my decision to write this, and for your heart-felt views. And I appreciate that even the dissenter here expressed his thoughts civilly.

  14. I understand you and honestly I wonder how it’s possible to go on and write about music nowadays even though we have different causes for this. The present time is a strange mix of medieval behaviors and some average “future” which was described by less imaginative and most shy and boring sci-fi writers.
    I hope you’ll be able to regenerate soon. Hold on Islander.

  15. Thank you Islander. When the news broke about this, I felt deeply sick and depressed. To try to ignore something like this and not write about it would be giving in to the insanity of it all. I haven’t been listening to metal much these past months and this is the first time I’ve revisited NCS (or any metal site) in months. I know that you and NCS are so careful not to push particular views, but writing like you have here helps us to breathe, and to fight. It’s deeply frightening times. It’s unbelievable that in 2022 in the U.S., and in so much of the world, that women still need to fight for reproductive rights.

  16. I’m fully on your side Islander. Sadly obscurantism is on it’s way througought the world. During the last national elections in France the fascist party gained 15% of the parliament (compared to 2% previously).

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