Saturday, July 31, 2010

illegitimate child

I put the radio on in the morning for background music while I read the paper. There is a station that plays classical music which I enjoy, not because I am anything of a classical music expert, but because it is soothing background for my contemplations. Periodically on the station an announcer interrupts the music flow to tell us listeners about the history of the piece. My feeling about these interruptions is that the shorter they are the better. Rarely, but sometimes, I am interested in the name of a piece if I had been paying enough attention to it to appreciate it expecially. More often, I would just assume that the music be continuous.

Yesterday morning, I am here as I am each morning on my perch on the deck drinking my morning drug, reading and letting my issues and the world's do their poorly choreographed dance in my head. The music is interrupted by an announcer who tells us who've tuned in about the next piece to be played. It is a lengthy interruption spiced up, he thinks, because he goes into a detailed bio of the early life of the composer. The composer I hear was an illegitimate child. His mother had travelled to south america to avoid the stigma attached to her child's origin.

My cerebral meanderings had been interrupted by the announcer's decision to go into the biographical narrative, but when I heard the composer described as an illegitimate child, I stopped for a longer spell than usual to consider the label.

Do you think there is a statute of limitations that prohibits hanging the arrogant bastards who first considered this notion and then hung a label on it. Illegitimate child. On what pedestal of wisdom sit the omniscient to so describe anyone.

I was born three years into my parents' marriage, but what makes me legitimate has nothing to do with the decree of the state of New York. I either earn or don't earn my legitimacy as I become an adult. Illegitimate child is an oxymoron. And those who attempt to subjugate others on the basis of a capricious grid of right and wrong have lost any claim to legitimacy.

I know the stigma attached to being "illegitimate" is not what it once was. Still, the phrase exists, we know what it means, and it should mean nothing.

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