Senior’s art may constitute most ‘execrable’ crime ever

The article “For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse” (4/16) was an account of one of the most execrable crimes ever committed. Aliza Shvarts ’08 has committed an unpardonable sin not in the religious sense, but against rationality and humanity as a whole. By smearing the unborn across a canvas she has painted a truly terrifying picture of what life is like inside a moral vacuum.

I find it difficult to believe that if a student had approached his or her advisor and asked to put on an exhibit where mice would be killed in cold blood, their bodies displayed, and their deaths videotaped, that they would have received approval. Yet Shvarts received the go-ahead to carelessly destroy what, depending on your point of view, was undeniably the potential for human life. Would Juan Castillo ’08 have been intrigued by the “creativity and beauty” of an exhibit where mere rodents were put to death? The fact that no one in the Art Department had the wherewithal to truly stand against this depraved exhibit exposes Yale’s increasing moral bankruptcy, and indeed that of the entire intellectual establishment as a whole.

We are nurtured here, and pushed to think freely so that we may form opinions of our own. Without this sort of guidance it is possible that past leaders who have emerged from this campus would never have amounted to anything. Indeed, we must preserve Yale’s unique ability to foster creative thinking and spark fires within some of the brightest minds of our generation.

But there must be morality. There are those things which are right and those which are wrong. One cannot use the nebulous concept of artistic license to simply wave away those boundaries which humankind has realized mark the borders between good and evil. It seems that one might, in the most secular terms possible, define a soul as the ability to recognize these limits, and stay within them. Artistic license can be used to create art that offends all kinds of sensibilities, but it cannot, and must never be, wielded against the foundation of our humanity.

Therefore, Shvarts’ display will be naught but an altar to her soullessness. Within the suspended cube where she will put samples of blood from her self-induced abortions (to call them miscarriages is a gross and unacceptable misnomer) she will also have preserved specimens of what could have been humans with a soul, with the ability to understand what is right and what is wrong. If Yale allows this exhibit to be shown, it will be complicit in her actions. If it hides behind its promise of “intellectual freedom” and refuses to take a stand against the marginalization of human dignity, it will only open the door for increasingly disturbing attempts to defy morality.

Patrick Vegara is a freshman in Silliman College.


  • Anonymous

    Previous leaders?
    Yale has the honor of graduating Prescott Bush - a man indicted for bankrolling Nazi Germany.

    It also graduated his grandson, arguably the biggest mass murderer of the 21st century and a likely candidate for a war crimes trial once he's said and done.

  • a truly terrifying picture of what life is like in

    that it takes a college student's senior project in art to paint that picture for you and others alarms me. no babies were harmed in the making of aliza's piece. maybe zygotes, but no babies.

    but on thursday, more than 100 people were killed in iraq-- including babies. does that also count as the "most execrable crime ever," one for which you and i and everyone around us has a tiny bit of responsibility? where is everyone's judgement??


    I feel like 4 years from now, Vegara's going to look back on this strongly worded statement and either feel acutely embarrassed or "still right."

  • Anonymous

    Definitely a freshman.

  • Camille

    If you're so opposed to the hypothetical idea of mice being killed, I hope you wear no fur or leather, don't eat meat, and don't use products or medicines tested on animals.

    Funny how so many people who argue (poorly) that abortion is murder won't then become vegan animal rights activists…

    Aliza didn't kill anything and put it on display. Everything she did, she did to her own body and that was the point; comparing this to killing mice and putting them on display misses that whole point.

  • fair

    Vegara, meet Vargas.

    Old news:

  • Anonymous

    Hear, hear!!

  • Y '12

    Very well said.

  • Yale Senior

    It takes freshmen like this to truly show what the ethical and ideological backbone of Yale is made out of. Many of you can say that Vergara's opinion is wrong and bring up irrelevant information like the War in Iraq. But the truth is what separates us as free Americans from Militants in the Middle East who behead villages at a time is the ability to understand the fine line between what is right and what is wrong. What this girl did is wrong and disgusting and Vergara put it perfectly.

  • anonymous

    well done

  • Anonymous

    Jose: Give up already. Calling Bush a war criminal is mere hyperbole and gets no one anywhere in any kind of rational discussion.

    Camila: Humans != mice/cows/pigs

  • alum82

    #11 in 1944: Jose: give up calling Hitler a war criminal. It's mere hyperbole and gets no one anywhere in any kind of rational discussion.

    I think Jose is right. We fools are worried about Britney, Paris and Shvarts while our government kills, maims, tortures and imprisons children in Guantanamo. He's the only voice of reason in all this madness. Very mature for his age if you ask me.

  • anon

    "By smearing the unborn across a canvas."

    Vegara: what makes you so *certain* that this was an "unborn"?

    Also, you seem awfully assured of the dimensions and contours to this piece, esp. given the exhibit doesn't exist yet--Aliza's only spoken of her design *intentions* for the piece. And as far as I understand it, there will be no *canvas* involved.

    A line from Oscar Wilde: "I am not young enough to know everything."

  • sophomore

    Bravo, Mr. Vegara. Do not permit Yale's overwhelming relativism to destroy your moral clarity. They will try.

  • Anonymous

    Nice job bringing Bush into this as "arguably the biggest mass murderer of the 21st century". Wether it is true or not, we are talking about Ms Schvartz. Unless your preferred line of argument is to bring up the worst offender of any particular action as a means to automatically extinguish discussion about the conduct of the person in question. Such as, don't criticize Bush; Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler were much worse! Following your "logic", no argument about specific issues would ever be possible.
    Alum82- I think that while it is arguable wether "our government kills, maims, tortures and imprisons children" IN IRAQ, the argument falls into the same rhetorical trap that Jose's does. By specifying its occurrence in Guantanamo, you are either displaying spectacular ignorance of the facts, a willingness to deceive, or, I hope, careless proofreading.
    Anon- Despite Ms Schvartz insistence on the ambiguity and *uncertainty* of the piece, her wishing, or more pertinent to her whole theory, NAMING it so doesn't make it so. Given 9 tries in a young fertile woman, it is reasonable to assume a modest probability of success in impregnation. Besides, by her own stated objectives, that uncertainty invites consideration of impregnation.
    As for the "dimensions and contours to this piece", the author took care to video document menstruating into a cup and is offering it up as evidence (added to her verbal refutation of the University's position that it did not happen) that it most emphatically DID happen. As for her *intentions*, by contradicting the University's stated position so publicly, she is setting up the basis for a Libel / Slander lawsuit from her or the University. That's what I call putting your money where your mouth is.

  • alum81

    Bravo Mr. Vegara. It is heartening to learn that there is at least one student at Yale with some moral fiber. It may be difficult to speak about right and wrong in the morally relativistic institution that Yale seems to have become. Stand strong, and encourage your friends to do the same, and one day I for one will again be proud of Yale.
    To Jose, #2, #12: Hitler was indeed a mass murderer. So were Stalin, Pol Pot, and Sadam Hussein, who was responsible for the deaths of more Muslims (at least 1.5 million) than anyone in the modern era. He was responsible for the rape, torture, and execution of countless Iraqis. One favorite torture method was to feed his victims feet first into a shredding machine; another to feed live victims to his dogs.He committed genocide against the Kurds (with the use of poison gas-a weapon of mass distruction) and the Marsh Arabs. He was also probably the world's worst eco-terrorist. He deliberately set almost 800 of Kuait's oil wells on fire, and spilled into the Persian Gulf an amount of oil equivalent to 5-10 times that spilled by the Exxon Valdez. We can each have our own opinion on whether or not the United States should have used force to oust this genocidal dictator, but his removal was the stated policy of the Clinton Administration, and was approved by the Senate by a vote of 77-23. The Use of Force Resolution of Oct 2002 is easily viewed on the internet and it outlines the many reasons for this vote. Under the command of the President, the US military has liberated over 50 million Muslims from the tyranny of Sadam Hussein and the Taliban. The killing of civilian men, women, and children is being committed by Sadam loyalists, Islamic radicals supported by Iran, Al- Queada, and other jihadists. They are deliberately targeting innocent civilians in violation of all rules of war. I agree that these are "execrable acts". We are not targeting civilians as a matter of policy. In instances where US soldiers may have committed such acts, investigations and courts martial have ensued. Guantanamo exists because there was no other suitable place to house and interrogate these enemy combatants. It will take years to sort out how to deal with this new asymmetric form of warfare/terrorism, and there will be a constant need to balance security and individual freedoms.There needs to be a full and practical debate on what techniques can be used for interrogation and under what circumstances (but not in earshot of those who want to kill us).I have yet to see even the Yale Law School come up with any such practical guidelines to be used by the men and women so admirably protecting us from harm. Congress has affirmed the President's power to detain these enemy combatants. Rants such as those from Jose, who suffer from Bush-Derangement Syndrome, add nothing to the rational discourse we must have on these important matters.

  • DN

    @14 and generally,

    When will people realize that simply saying "moral relativism is bad!" does not constitute an argument? It simply represents a tacit assumption that moral realism is correct.

    The fact of the matter is that an objective moral standard is not rationally defensible. Call Shvartz disgusting and repugnant all you like, but don't try to make more of it than that by claiming she violates some mythical objective standard, as if the universe cares what she does with her life.

    And @9: I'm sure that the militants in the Middle East think that it is you who does not understand the difference between right and wrong. Moral provincialism of the kind you espouse solves nothing. In a discussion between two moral realists with opposing codes, each party will simply leave the table thinking that he is completely justified and the other is in the wrong, which is hardly a good way to resolve anything.

  • alum81

    A quick addendum: sorry #14 & #15 if my post used some of the same ideas/words. I actually started composing my email before I saw your posts, but by the time I got it submitted, your posts were there. I'm glad we share some of the same thoughts. There is hope for a brighter future.

  • ES06

    "there is at least one student at Yale with some moral fiber."


    And in what great humanitarian endeavors have you been partaking since graduation, Yale '81? Healing lepers? Teach the rest of us spineless, immoral heathens how a good life is led. Something tells me you've spent most of your time at a desk.

  • @ES06

    Moral fiber can be as simple as recognizing the existence of morality, you nihilist.

  • ES06

    LOL, identifying you as a windbag makes me a *nihilist*?

    Oh, man. You're lucky you applied when it was a whole lot easier to get in to college, alum81, because your grasp on analytical reading is tenuous.

  • alum81

    To #19(ESO6)
    Actually, I am a physician in full-time medical practice. I have only encountered two patients with leprosy, both during four years of training at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. I truly can't say that "I healed them", as this disease is often difficult to treat, but we did what we could. My main point in my post was that it takes courage to take a moral stand whether against an individual abhorrent act or a larger act of genocide.

  • Oh, grow up

    #2, aptly numbered, intelligent people can be outraged by more than one horror at a time.

    I'm not even outraged by the fact that there may have been zygotes or babies in that blood; I'm sickened at what passes for art.

    Who wants to see a bloody menstrual mess, let alone video of the exhibitionist bleeding into a cup?

    Nor do I think a Starving Dog restrained in a gallery, whether it died there or not, is art.

    You may say that I "just don't get it", but I just don't care to get it.

    I hope Ms. S. '08 is either expelled or is outraged herself and decides to quit.

  • Pingback: Google()