November 3, 2011

Judge Beats His Daughter

hillary adams.jpgoops

A video from 2004 shows a Texas judge beating his daughter with a belt, and America acts like it's surprised those words are in the same sentence.

Well that was unpleasant.

There's no point in saying what has already been said 678418 times, so let's do something else.  BTW, why are all the "Related Videos" MMA clips?


First, let's double back on our souls.  If you want to learn why you think whatever it is you think, strip away existing context and force it into a new one and see what happens.  In this case, assume this video is a fake.

Which is surprisingly easy to do: the dialogue is terrible-- stock phrases probably indicative of narcissistic rage (lines appropriate to his movie) but also of amateur screenwriting, and though the hits are real plenty of actresses would be willing to take them if the movie was going to open during Oscar season.

So now your reaction does not have the luxury of pretending it is based on actual events; those feelings are exclusively inside you.  So, are you feeling empathy for her, or rage against him?


It's surprising that "in this day and age" people still look at videos and news stories as if they are actual representations of reality.  Say it's real: since she knows there's a hidden camera over there, is it possible she decides, oh, I don't know, to play up the damsel in distress and  not throw a chair at him or not blow pot smoke in his face or not reveal that what she illegally downloaded was lesbian porn? "Oh my God! That's no excuse for him beating her!"  Of course I'm not excusing what he did, I'm not even talking about what he did, I talking about why America is obsessed with this.

Do me the respect of admitting to whoever is drinking a latte next to you that if these people were black, you'd have a whole different reaction.  If you even had any reaction, because most probably this video would have sunk to the bottom of the Sea Of Youtube with only one comment that said, "what's amazing about this video is that the father is actually still living there."

You want to see superb belt technique go visit a Toys-R-Us in an inner city, and I have a weird feeling that the reason wannabe gangstas never wear belts is because of negative reinforcement.   Furthermore, after carefully reviewing the data coming from every black comic ever those kids are getting a beat down from their moms as well, proving my thesis that if you punch a white girl it becomes a Breaking News, punch a black kid and it's hilarious.  And let me offer without further comment a phrase you will inevitably hear the first time you try and slap your black girlfriend: "don't you raise your hand to me, you fucking nigger, you ain't my daddy."

I'm making this point not because I want to be on the Jon Stewart show, but to point out that our reaction to the video isn't about right and wrong but about identification.  And when the media elicits your identification, it is never about what you like but about what you hate.

Jim Hopper, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a child abuse expert, said there is no doubt that the judge's actions crossed the line.

"This is an act of brutal violence," Hopper said. "To beat someone into submission is not discipline. To beat a child into submission makes it harder for that child to take in rules and the values that the parent believes they are imposing on the child."

Jim Hopper's a pussy.  Can I say that on the internet?  Note that the sentences do not logically follow one another.  Is it brutal because it fails as a discipline tool?  Does it fail as a tool because it is brutal?  He is not offering any insight into what happened, just repeating the feel-good non-sequitors that got America into this mess in the first place.

Properly understood, the beating has nothing to do with discipline at all, the discipline is an excuse for a discharge of rage that was already there and was coming out one kind of way or another.  That's why when he leaves the room after beating her he is relaxed, relieved.  "Finally, now I can sleep!"   People have felt compelled to point out that "all she did was download music" as if they were looking for some level of crime that would fit the punishment but that's precisely the point, there isn't any, it's not about the crime but the excuse to hit something, which is why I would advise my clients who appear before him for sentencing to be as deferential and as respectful as possible, explicitly, verbally, recognize his authority, because he will most likely be a softie about any kind of crime that does not reflect badly on himself.   Got it?  Beat your kid and he'll sentence you to life, rob a bank or plead psychiatry and you'll be back on the streets in 48 hours.  But bump a pretty woman wearing just the right kind of white heels and just the right shade of red lipstick and you may as well swallow your fingernail clippings, justice will be done.


Someone, e.g. the daughter Hillary, is at some point going to note the irony that her father punished her for using the internet, and she was then able to use the internet to punish him back.  But that's not how it's going to play out, not with narcissism.

Sure, initially he's going to feel very ashamed that everyone sees him this way.  But prior to the premiere, he had to carry around the secret of her beatings, and if there was any chance he ever felt guilty or perhaps thought that at times he was excessive, what he will do now is find enough (>1) anonymous (= "objective, they don't even know me") people who say, "well, it's not that bad" and poof, guilt gone.  Crowdsourcing the superego means never having to say you're sorry.  Never mind 99% of the comments and articles want him registered on a database, those guys are idiots or liberals or the media or whatever, he'll align himself with the 1% and walk proudly down the sidewalk.  "Not only do people know I didn't do anything wrong, now I know it as well.  Thanks, Hillary. I feel a lot better."

Furthermore, there is the very real probability that public is going to go Rebecca Black on her, finding it first progressive to hate the father, but as soon as the "we have to fight child abuse" crowd joins in it will be way cooler to turn around and support him.  If there is one thing Americans hate more than a father beating his daughter it's finding themselves in agreement with people they can't stand.

The other equally likely possibility is that the exposure, the narcissistic injury, is going to be too much for him and he will kill himself.  America may cheer this outcome but I suspect Hillary will be at least ambivalent. 

"I'm very relieved that these things have been brought to light and not because I want to see my father burn or anything like that. That's a hideous way of thinking and I don't want to inflict that upon him," [Hillary] said. "I cannot stress enough -- I cannot repeat myself enough, that he just needs help."

Sorry, not buying it.  I understand and empathize, believe me I do, but there's only rage in those words, and I am predicting the future by telling you it is of no consequence to him and suicide for you.  I'm going to be hated by everyone for saying this, but there is an important difference between what happened to you and how you use what happened to you, and one of those you have to live with and the other one everyone else has to live with.  And you will never be free.

If all rage comes from narcissism and narcissism is the broadcasting of a chosen identity, what identity is she broadcasting?  Victim.   Even if youtubing her abuse is somehow cathartic, it reinforces victim as an important part of her identity to herself, and this will infect every single relationship she has forever, from husband to kids to dog to God.  Again, I am making a distinction between the abuse affecting her, and unconsciously defining herself by the abuse.  After a few years of rehearsing you will no more be able to get rid of that trauma and expect to get on with life than you can pull the power source out of Megatron and expect he'll be able to turn into a jet.  So I am telling her early, and I am telling you early, you who have nothing to do with these people but still feel not sympathetic but enraged, as much as you want him to suffer that desire is hurting you.  I understand it, I respect it, I get it.  But it will kill you.   Forgiveness at any cost is the only way out.