Is the Fetus a Person? / Caterpillars and Butterflies

I had philosophy discussion this morning with my classmates and TA about abortion.

All the arguments we learned about in lecture failed to answer whether or not a fetus is a person.

On that topic, I compared the fetus to a caterpillar and people to butterflies. I said this: “If we saw a caterpillar, some of us feel okay with killing it. But if we all saw butterflies, none of us would want to kill them. Why are the lives of butterflies valued much more than caterpillars? Why are the lives of fetuses valued less than people’s lives?”

Apparently, I’m not the only one who used that analogy! I just Googled my analogy, and found it mentioned on the NCBI site:

The term “potential” as it is being used in this essay is not meant to describe mere¬†possibility, i.e., X has the potential to achieve Y does not just mean X may possibly attain Y. If that were what was meant by potential, it would be very weak indeed. A seed would not just be a potential flower or plant, but also a potential food or a potential material for an art project. A kitten would not just be a potential cat, but also a potential delicacy at some restaurant, or a potential fur coat. Rather, potential, in the way I am using it here and the way I assume most advocates of the argument from potential use the concept, refers to, as Stephen Buckle puts it, a certain being’s “potency… the power it [actually] possesses in virtue of its specific constitution” [4] to grow into a being of a certain sort. That is, X is a potential Y if X possesses the power to become Y; that X¬†will¬†become Y, if it lives long enough. In this way, a caterpillar is a potential butterfly (since it possesses the power to become a butterfly; it¬†will¬†become a butterfly if it lives long enough), as a child is a potential adult. A fetus is a potential person in this way; a fetus may not just¬†possibly¬†become a person, it¬†will¬†become a person, if its growth is unfettered and if it lives long enough.

So, during lecture, my professor talked about how comparing two similar things or beings isn’t good¬†enough to make a strong argument because being “like” something doesn’t imply that it “is” that thing, and therefore it doesn’t necessarily have the same characteristics and rights as that thing it is being compared to.

I skimmed through the NCBI argumentative paper, and I found some pretty interesting points that weren’t discussed in class.

I’m gonna give my thoughts for¬†each section of the paper here in my blog post.

I can harm the future person that the fetus becomes if I do something now against the fetus, for example, I can administer to a pregnant woman a drug that would result in the fetus’ eyes not developing correctly, thereby blinding the future person that develops from the fetus. That is, once the fetus is born there is an individual (the subsequent infant, child, and adult) who is substantially worse off than she otherwise would have been had the development of her eyes not been interfered with while in the fetal stage. But notice, the objection continues, that this is not what happens when we are talking about abortion. If a fetus is aborted, what we are doing is¬†preventing¬†the existence of a future person rather than partaking in a current action that will result in a harm for a future person. Thus, when we abort the fetus, we are really harming no currently existing being and we are doing nothing but preventing the existence of a future being. Whereas if we thwart the development of a fetus’ eyes, we are, thereby, truly harming someone: the future person that will be blinded as a result, granting that the fetus is allowed to be born and grow up.

Wow, I didn’t think of this scenario. I can see how if someone wants to abort a baby but can’t pay for a proper abortion, then that person is¬†essentially harming the fetus and ruining the fetus’ future health condition.

Nothing I have said in this paper necessarily grounds a position that abortion is always morally wrong or unjust (which is why I keep referring as the fetal moral right to life as a¬†prima facie¬†right). Even though potential can ground an interest in continued existence for an early embryo or mid-gestation fetus, depending on what theory of personal identity one adheres, we still have to contend with Thomsonian-like objections which state that a fetus’ moral right to life does not entail a woman’s obligation to sacrifice her body in order to gestate it for nine months [51]. Nevertheless, I believe I have demonstrated why potential does matter, and I hope to have also illustrated that perhaps the major disagreement about this issue has more of its roots in the metaphysical question of personal identity that has previously been acknowledged.

Bruh. Okay. I skipped to the conclusion section of the paper, and I’m disappointed. My professor talked about the Thomsonian theory. A woman may not be obligated to let the fetus live according to the theory, but killing or aborting the fetus is murder.

I don’t have much time left to analyze any more paragraphs from the¬†essay. I guess the last thing I’ll say is this: If abortion is considered murder, then oooohhhhh boy, a lot of people are gonna be killed over abortion – including the mothers, doctors, and anyone¬†else who approved the action. Imagine what the world’s population would be like if abortionists were killed.

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“Stay” by BLACKPINK vs. “Lonely” by 2NE1

Yay! Another song review!

Actually, they’re two song reviews!

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so happy

I chose to review “Stay” by BLACKPINK and “Lonely” by 2NE1 because both songs have the loneliness theme and are quite known for their unique acoustic melody.

(I was thinking about reviewing the song “Stay Together” by¬†2NE1 instead of “Lonely”, but I guess it’s better to go with “Lonely” because it’s popular like “Stay”.)

I’ve been a K-Pop fan since 2007 (when I was just starting middle school), and I’ve been a fan of 2NE1¬†ever since I stumbled across their MVs for “Fire” and “I Don’t Care”¬†(in that order) when they just debuted. So, I’ll try to do an analysis of both songs without letting my inner 2NE1 fangirl influencing my comments too much, and compare the songs to other notable songs I’ve heard in K-Pop.


Since not¬†everyone knows much about YG¬†Entertainment and their singers, here’s a brief description of the company, 2NE1 and¬†BLACKPINK.

(Note: When K-Poppers say “YG”, they’re usually referring to the company, and sometimes the CEO that the company is named after.)

YG Entertainment

The company was founded and is headed by Yang Hyun-suk. He was a K-Pop singer in a male group called Seo Taiji and Boys. That’s where YG¬†Entertainment got it’s hip hop identity from – Hyun-suk’s hip hop idol background.

The company is focused on the hip hop genre. The YG songs you hear don’t really sound like “classic hip hop”; rather, their songs are more hip-hop-influenced or they creatively infuse the genre with other genres in a similar way to what mainstream American pop songs do.

Their first Asian mainstream success started with the singer Se7en. (I’ve never listened to his songs nor do I know anything about him. I’ve just heard YG artists mention his name in talk shows.) Se7en didn’t gain American mainstream success then (and now, sadly).

It was YG’s desire to compete with the American music industry and to popularize hip hop in South Korea that led them to create South Korea’s most successful¬†hip hop solo singers, groups, and producer¬†(Teddy).

YG’s first mega-success came from the five-member boy group BIGBANG. The group debuted in 2006, and steadily rose to success with songs like “We Belong Together” (2006) (a remake of Mariah Carey’s song, featuring Park Bom of 2NE1 before 2NE1 debuted) and “La La La” (2006). The song that first marked their legacy in K-Pop is “Haru Haru” (2008).

So why did I talk about BIGBANG? Well, read on!

2NE1

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(from left to right) – Bom, Minzy, CL, and Dara

Not long after BIGBANG had breakthrough successes with “Haru Haru” and other Korean and Japanese singles, YG announced that they’d debut their first girl group – 2NE1.

2NE1 is known as the “sister group of BIGBANG” because both groups became the most notable figures of Korean hip hop, are very experimental with their music and fashion, and their closeness with¬†each other¬†(hence the term “YG Family”).

The name¬†2NE1 means “New¬†Evolution of the 21st Century”.

The group was active for 7 years, from 2009 to 2016.

BLACKPINK

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(from left to right) РJennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo

Not long after the disbandment of 2NE1, YG announced that they’d debut a girl group that has the looks and talent¬†– BLACKPINK.

BLACKPINK is known as the “2NE1 copycat” simply because they debuted with four-members and with two MVs like¬†2NE1.

Other than those similarities, both groups are extremely different stylistically;¬†2NE1 is known for it’s “powerful” image, while BLACKPINK has a “bubblegum” image.

(According to Jennie Kim of BLACKPINK, the group’s initial concept was a “powerful” image. Since the group didn’t debut with such a concept, she’s hoping that the group can have songs and MVs¬†that are “a little less girly”. Jennie’s comment just further enforces the idea that BLACKPINK is a “2NE1 copycat” to those who don’t really analyze both girl groups.)

The name BLACKPINK means¬†“classy”¬†(“BLACK”) and “pretty” (“PINK”). Moreover, the color “BLACK” is added in front of “PINK” as to say that the group is more than just looks – they are talented as well.

BLACKPINK debuted in 2016 and is still active.


I hope my brief summary of the groups was good to read. Did you learn anything new?

Okay, now onto the song reviews! (LOL.)

(Note: I’ll be reviewing the songs without knowing the¬†English-translated lyrics at first.)

Melody

Both songs have a plucking style.

The strumming in “Stay” seems to stand out more than the plucking, especially when the guitar strumming is emphasized with the “humming” of a harmonica. I guess it’s because the composer was going for a “campfire song” feel.

The melody of “Stay” makes you shift between sadness and happiness, while “Lonely” just invokes deep sadness throughout the whole song.

Because of how the strumming pattern stands out more in “Stay”, if I wanted to learn how to play the song on my guitar, I can¬†easily learn the song’s chords and happily play the song without knowing the plucking pattern.

And since the plucking pattern stands out more in “Lonely”, I wouldn’t really be satisfied with playing the strumming pattern for the song.

(Most online sources post guitar chords for songs, and those chords are¬†either accurate or pretty close. Whenever I come across guitar tabs online, they’re kinda off.)

As a guitarist, I love plucking. But if I had to choose between these two songs to learn, I’d pick “Stay” because of it’s tone (mood). The acoustic melody and plucking style of “Lonely”, while they’re so unique and beautiful, just makes me… sad. And that’s a feeling that I and a lot of people are¬†uncomfortable with.

And you know, that’s probably why there a more views for the “Stay” MV than the “Lonely” MV – because people just don’t want to feel totally sad when they hear a song.

MV Styles

Both MVs have subdued, muted colors.

The “Lonely” MV focuses more on gray tones and has greater contrast in color tones, while the “Stay” MV has neon colors popping in front of gray backgrounds even though the contrast isn’t that high.

The wardrobe for the “Lonely” MV doesn’t seem to¬†compliment the song. The girls seem to be rocking a punk-styled look, which I guess is supposed to¬†emphasize their strong-woman image instead of adding anything meaningful to the song.

But the clothes BLACKPINK wore in the “Stay” MV kinda compliment the song (I guess?). The girls are wearing clothes that make them seem youthful, which I guess makes sense since the song has a “campfire song” feel.

Another thing that I just noticed while watching the MVs for this review is that the “Lonely” MV has background¬†extras while the “Stay” MV doesn’t. Yeah, I mentioned how “Stay” doesn’t seem as sad as “Lonely”, but I’m surprised that I can feel the song’s up-beatness in the MV while watching the BLACKPINK members prancing around without any background extras to lighten the mood of the ghost town.

Which MV is better? In my opinion, “Stay” because of how the song and MV gets you feeling lonely but not-so-lonely at the same time.


That’s it for the reviews! I have class coming up. I wrote this blog post just before class, and I don’t think I have any time this semester to¬†edit draft posts.

I can’t wait to review other songs I’ve been listening to like “Gashina” and “Heroine” by Sunmi.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you’re into any K-Pop songs and singers.

~EDIT~

Okay, I have time to say a few things in this blog post!

MV Styles

I wanna add one more comment about 2NE1’s “Lonely” MV – I love the muted color scheme because it’s pretty uncommon in K-Pop MVs.

Vocals

“Lonely” is a difficult song to sing, in my opinion. Why?¬†Each member of 2NE1 (well, not so much Minzy) has such unique vocals. I don’t mean to bash on Minzy; I just think that Minzy’s parts¬†are pretty¬†easy for anyone with a stable voice to sing. CL’s raspy voice, Dara’s cute and childish voice, and Bom’s nasal voice are pretty difficult to mimic. Okay, maybe CL’s voice isn’t as special as Dara and Bom’s voices, but it’s definitely much more distinguishable than Minzy’s voice.

On the other hand, “Stay” sounds pretty¬†easy for anyone to sing. Ros√© (the first girl who sings in the song) has an airy voice that seems unique, but it has been proven by other vocal trainers that it’s possible for any singer to mimic Ros√©’s voice just by practicing the same (bad) vocal technique as her. Jennie is another singer from the group that is often praised for her vocals, and I gotta say that she does have a nice-sounding voice¬†even though it’s nothing “special” really (compared to Ros√© and Bom’s voices). Lisa and Jisoo are supposedly the weakest vocalists in the group, but they’re voices are quite pleasant to hear¬†even though it sounds like they’re mostly “sing-talking”.

So, I think “Lonely” has the best vocals of the two songs not just because of¬†2NE1’s unique vocals, but mostly because of Dara’s pleasant voice. I mean, apart from the string instruments heard in the chorus, Dara’s¬†voice alone really sets the mood for the song! When I listen to “Stay”, the instrumentals seem to be the ones that are setting the tone of the song, not anyone’s voices in BLACKPINK.

Okay, it seems pretty unfair for me to pick a song just because of one person’s voice, LOL. I don’t know what else to think. It just feels like everyone else in 2NE1 is “supporting” the mood set by Dara’s voice in “Lonely”. Usually, it’s the other way around in most 2NE1 songs; Dara’s voice would be “drowned out” or “in the background” while the three other members of¬†2NE1 would set the mood with their voices. And that’s what makes the vocals in “Lonely” so good – the softness of Dara’s solemn¬†voice combined with the vocal “cries” of¬†everyone¬†else.


That’s it for the reviews! I have class coming up. I wrote this blog post just before class, and I don’t think I have any time this semester to¬†edit draft posts, and to compare “Stay” and “Lonely” with other K-Pop songs (as promised¬†earlier in this blog post). Maybe I’ll do some follow-ups in another blog post.