Saturday, July 09, 2011

Never Let Amateurs do Parody

This is the original, unintended self-parody.

This is the actual parody.

Rarely has Poe's Law bitten so hard, or with such sharp little teeth. Thank Ghu for Miss Vermont, the "winking smiley."

Bob's Correlation: Pretty people don't have to be smart.  People who are happy with being judged on their looks should not be graded on their ability to answer "Gotcha" questions, like, say, "Should it be illegal to divide by zero" or "Where and why did Paul Revere ride."

Bob's Even More Obvious Correlation: Never confuse pretty with smart.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

In Which I fail to mourn Tom Ball.

Tom Ball's final stain.
Ok, Since you DID set yourself on fire, I suppose I must read what you had to say. The reason is simple; I'm holding myself to my own standards. You see, I'm kind of on the other side of this story, which, in all fairness, Ball tells well, with all the historical data points as he regards the changes society has been making due to increasing awareness of the impact on children and family of abuse. This reminds me of the punchline of the old joke: "I may be crazy, but I ain't stupid."

As a survivor of abuse, I have a rather different perspective. But at the same time, as a child, any time I felt discomfort, and later on, as a young adult, any time I sought help or spoke of pain that, it turns out, was the result of neglect for chronic, congenital conditions that a responsible parent really should have noticed, instead, my feelings were dismissed.

"You don't really feel that way." 

That was the first, and greatest insult. And the second was like unto it:

"You are just asking for attention."

Well, fuck, duh! I was in agony and couldn't walk, because at the age of 14, my knees were self-destructing. 

But from my father's perspective, I was ... and this was a favorite word of his ... "malingering."

You see, it was all about him. He was the king of the castle, and we were there to serve. If we were unable or unwilling to serve, we were useless, and deserved nothing from him. That is my best guess; I can't read minds and I don't presume to. But when I read Tom Ball's last words - I do indeed hear a great deal of the things my father had to say.

And at the same time, even as I am revolted by his perspective, even as I see the result of ten years of building a whole edifice of self-deception;  at the same time, I also hear the genuine pain, obvious despair, and I realize that he's speaking from a completely genuine place. This is what he really feels and believes; a man who has no reason whatsoever to censor himself.  So, yes, it's important to actually honor that and learn what we can.

Setting yourself on fire just so that someone will read your manifesto is the ultimate in attention-seeking behavior. 

But before I go into this - a word of advice to any feminist allies and/or fellow survivors. There's gonna be some "mansplainin'" goin' on here. Why? Well, because I'm speaking to the men who might find this argument compelling, persuasive and evidence of a lack of justice. (Such as the place I found the transcript.) Feminist reasoning or the language of survivors is simply dismissed as the whining of a subject people. 

As Ball points out, the recognition that the abuse of women and children within the family unit WAS abuse started in the 80's. It's now 2011. Clearly, all those years of feminist and liberal reasoning made no impression on Ball; indeed, he considered them so evil that he was willing to die in a fire rather than admit there was any justice to them.

Well, I respect his choice... even as I regret not having been there with marshmallows. Because, you see, I was raised in that sort of family and I internalized patriarchal values. I tried desperately to understand the reasons for my father's actions, just as I faithfully studied the Christian and military traditions that were cited for it. As an aspy child, I took it all at face value and even tried to make it work.

Well, it doesn't work all that well, it turns out, not without a great deal more support than exists in the typical nuclear family. But nonetheless, most people, most of the time do FAR better than this, even within an patriarchal context. 

You wanna call for a war to uphold the virtues of the patriarchy? First, dear departed soul, perhaps we should know what those are, and how badly you fucked up in THAT light.


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