Flashback: Showtime Showcased Barbara Bush’s Abortion of Son George W

The revelation HBO’s Game of Thrones had a scene with George W. Bush’s severed head on a spike, for which HBO has apologized and maintained was “not a political statement,” reminded me of how five years ago CBS’s Showtime cable network very deliberately portrayed  George W. Bush being aborted.

The L Word drama about lesbian friends in Los Angeles, back on Sunday, January 28, 2007, featured the “Unauthorized Abortion of W,” a sculpture of Barbara Bush’s body with an exposed womb displaying George W. Bush’s adult face with each of his hands holding onto a rocket labeled “U.S. Air Force” (angled to suggest they represent forceps) while a vacuum cleaner hose was stuck in Mrs. Bush’s crotch. 

 

As I recounted at the time:

In the January 28 episode, university chancellor “Phyllis,” played by Cybill Shepherd, warns “Bette Porter,” the dean of the university’s art school played by Jennifer Beals, that big potential donor “Skip Collins,” who is coming for a visit, is quite conservative: “Conservative is a little left of where he is. He and George W. grew up playing G.I. Joes together.”

So, Bette Porter asks “Jodi Lerner,” an “artist-in-residence” played by Marlee Matlin, to hide anything in her sculpture studio which would upset Collins. Instead, she puts the Bush abortion sculpture in the center of the art studio. When Porter pulls her aside to complain, Lerner lectures: “My understanding was that you wanted me to capitulate to some asshole’s reptilian politics to get money out of him and that I will never do.”

Lerner then announces to Collins: “This is called the ‘Unauthorized Abortion of W.’ Some of the most powerful student work I’ve seen.” Collins, seeing the sculpture with a vacuum cleaner at its base, fires back: “It’s an abomination and an abuse of university funds.” Porter pleads with him: “Look Skip, don’t you think, really, that the primary purpose of a university is to provide a safe haven to explore ideas and expand boundaries?” Collins: “Not on my dollar.”

After Collins storms out, Lerner urges Porter to “give him the speech about how the impressionists were met with the same response when they debuted their work in Paris in 1874.”

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center