A Beautiful Song About Incontinence Neglect
- Author(s): Solomon, Laura;
- Advisor(s): LaFarge, Antoinette;
- et al.
The truth is, things break down. The human body breaks down, and our culture isn't willing to acknowledge that. We are blinded by the fear of our own vulnerability and a peculiarly insistent ethic — that the non-productive do not deserve our consideration. My project and my thesis are an attempt to assimilate the aftermath of caregiving. More narrowly, my project and thesis treat with a specific area of institutional elder care (meaning in the nursing home or skilled nursing facility), that is, with adults sufficiently disabled as to need incontinence care, colloquially known as diaper care, and those who labor to provide it. Consistently, the business of incontinence care for the elderly disabled at the management and policy levels shows a breathtaking failure of empathy, a gleaming and flawless inability of humans to relate the human needing care with their own humanity. I took my lessons from advertising and politics: nobody buys on the facts. Or on ethical standards. People need truths to be contextualized for them and that can’t be done without having those truths placed in the correct emotional territory; they need to be emotionally contextualized. My project, the 'beautiful song', is a solo choral work in five movements, 37 minutes of tender vocals and abrasive instrumentals contextualizing this not-to-be-spoken-of state of being. "A Beautiful Song About Incontinence Neglect" lays out an emotional territory for the apprehension of the truth that bodies break down, and honors that truth with love and sorrow. This thesis paper voices the project's underpinnings and muses on the act of writing 'about' a piece of writing read aloud as ‘speech’ and vocalized as song, processed through Plato’s Pharmacy. The processing is less as theory than as an instrument, improvised for playing riffs on a theme of motherness.