"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Brianna is 13 years old and seeking an abortion after getting knocked up by her 31-year-old boyfriend. Lizzie is 15; the father of her unborn baby is 27. The twist: These girls aren’t who they say they are. Instead, they’re college-age pro-life activists who fake pregnancy at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country in order to reveal that the organization isn’t following minor abuse reporting laws. Uh-huh, they’re still at it.
This latest hit piece comes from the same undercover antiabortionist whom Broadsheet wrote about two years ago: Live Action Films’ Lila Rose. Last week, Rose released an updated stunt reel, which shows workers at two different Phoenix clinics responding to the ages of the young women’s partners by saying: “We don’t ask any questions” and “I don’t want to know the age.” In one case, the staff member suggests that the underage girl tell the counselor she’s required to see that, “You’ve seen [the father] around, you know he’s 14, he’s in your grade and whatever. So you know what I mean. Okay, so that’s that problem solved.”
A spokesperson from Planned Parenthood Arizona told a local newspaper that the video is merely “edited propaganda” and pointed out that, although some of the workers were clumsy in explaining policy, established procedure was still being followed. In any case, shortly after the clips were filmed, Planned Parenthood happened to put in place a stricter policy about reporting statutory rape cases. In fact, in the last couple of months, the organization’s Arizona clinics have turned over a total of 24 cases of abuse to law enforcement.
It’s also important to note the dates on these latest videos: Live Action waited almost a year after the clips were filmed to release them. You would think that they would take the tapes straight to the police if their main motivator was protecting the minors involved, as opposed to campaigning against abortion. But, as a Planned Parenthood spokesperson told Broadsheet, “There has always been” — and likely always will be — “a small, yet vocal, minority that has worked to undermine [our] health care mission.” In other words: This won’t we the last we see of this antiabortion stunt girl.
This story has been corrected since it was originally published.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)