Re: More not-politics

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I am now disabused of the notion that "Not-Politics" means "less depressing."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:32 AM
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Did you find it traumatic at the moment when the disabuse happened?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:34 AM
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Not really. But I'd read the first couple of paragraphs of that review yesterday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:35 AM
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What about now when you're placing it in context? Is that what makes it traumatic?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:38 AM
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I know at least one sexual abuse story where the victim says they weren't particularly traumatized at the time -- more, "Huh, this is weird", and only did the math as an adult "Hey, I was molested", but doesn't perceive it as a life-changing or importantly traumatic event. Now, it was a one-off thing with a babysitter, so not relating to any important emotional or family relationships, and not over an extended period of time, and, um, non-violent seems wrong, I hate calling anything of the sort non-violent, but not involving any express physical pain or threat.

But for this person, yeah, I think they probably would have been more traumatized by an aggressive response to the abuse than they were in the event by the abuse itself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:40 AM
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Well, I'd hate to violate the cultural norm and read books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:41 AM
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so the book has made lots of people livid

I suspect that most of the people who are made livid by the book haven't actually read it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:41 AM
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I can't decide whether I was just pwned or not. A few years down the road, that might really be unpleasant.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:42 AM
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7: See. That cultural norm is acquired very easily.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:42 AM
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I know a couple of guys who had sex for the first time at around 12 with a much older woman initiating the event. The stories appall the hell out of me because the scenario is basically rape, but the guys never saw it that way and never were particularly traumatized by it. So much of that has to be cultural baggage around gender. However, I imagine that the exact same situation combined with a massive freakout by the parents and community would indeed result in trauma.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:47 AM
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"I'm not molesting you, I'm a Scientologist".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1246290/John-Travolta-flies-tonnes-aid-Haiti-private-jumbo-jet.html

As a qualified pilot with a private jet parked on his front lawn, John Travolta was able to take direct action to help the people of earthquake-hit Haiti. But he also ferried another cargo to the impovershed island struggling to get back on its feet 14 days after terror struck - a group of yellow-shirted Scientologists... Dressed in their distinctive T-shirts, Church members use a process called 'assist' in which the power of touch is said to reconnect nervous systems shaken by trauma...
'All the patients are happy with the technique,' a volunteer named only as Silvie told AFP. 'But some doctors don't like the yellow T-shirts. It's a colour thing.'...
One U.S. doctor, who declined to be named, poured scorn on the techniques.
'I didn't know touching could heal gangrene,' he said.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:53 AM
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Not wishing to betray any outrage deficiency here, but this seems to me to be a no brainer. I know adult women who were raped and didn't understand this at the time, internalising the incident as "bad sex when I wasn't in the mood". If you're a kid without even that much reference, the abuse may be extremely unpleasant, but when you're a kid you're always coming up against new shit that's extremely unpleasant. So what do you know?

So maybe years later a whole bunch of people (possibly including your teachers and some cops)start running around screaming "OMFG this is the worst thing ever!" and completely undermining your life. Which do you think is the more traumatic?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:56 AM
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So maybe years later a whole bunch of people (possibly including your teachers and some cops)start running around screaming "OMFG this is the worst thing ever!" and completely undermining your life. Which do you think is the more traumatic?

Well hang on. You're conflating times when teachers/cops/etc overreact with times when they react appropriately to real abuse. In the second case, the violator is the one to blame, even if the experience of trauma shows up when the public reaction begins.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:02 AM
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In the second case, the violator is the one to blame, even if the experience of trauma shows up when the public reaction begins.

Well, the violator gets a full helping of blame, certainly. But there may be something to be said for the reaction from well-meaning authorities to be (while as draconian as necessary toward the actual offender) sensitive to the amount of actual felt trauma, rather than aggressively reacting to the victim as if they're now terribly terribly damaged. I'm pretty sure my acquaintance, a genuine abuse victim, was better off going untreated than they would have been with an overthetop response, however well-meaning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:06 AM
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I blame society.

I mean, to be a bit more specific, the industry of mass-market pop-psychology. The author gets vilified for making this argument and complains about it: like HBGB says, no shit. But it sells books, and it gets her talked about in academia which I assume has some advantages. (And some risks too, obviously.) If she stuck with subtle, diplomatic, carefully-phrased methods of presenting this same thesis, then in the end she would almost definitely be respected and certainly wouldn't piss anyone off, and the same message would get out there in the scientific community with the same implications for theory and therapy, albeit probably a little more slowly... but she wouldn't have a book put in the spotlight by the NYT, so what's the point? Priorities, people!

Also, the liberal-bashing in the NYT review seems gratuitous.

First, her data flew in the face of several decades of politically correct trauma theory, feminist theory and sexual politics.

No explanation for us uninitiated laymen? No names or quotes, just an unsourced assertion? It really shouldn't be that hard to name a critic or pick out a quote from a letter or e-mail. Crappy journalism, especially if we're really talking about the "first" and foremost source of outrage. (Although I suppose that by now, remarking on crappy journalism is just picking at low-hanging fruit.) It's possible that it is true, of course, but I see no reason to take it seriously when that's all the review gives us.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:09 AM
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I do think that the teacher-sleeps-with-boys model is instructive here. I understand why it's not something to be approved of or even winked at, but the bottom line is that, for a typical 16-y.o. boy, sex with a woman in her 20s isn't any more traumatic than sex with anyone else. The only way that the event will become traumatic* is if people work to impress on the boy that he's been abused.

Put it this way: people are exploited/abused in various ways all the time. Many of them look back warmly on that exploitation years later because it happened in a socially-approved way (boot camp, two-a-day football workouts, working in the family business). If you work on a person, you can probably get them to see the situation as having been exploitative/abusive, and they may get resentful, but the resentment is coming from the new frame, not from new facts.

None of which, of course, is to say that we should teach kids that it's ok to be molested. I don't know what the practical takeaway from this insight is.

* aside from situation-specific issues of the type that can happen just as well in peer sexual relationships


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:09 AM
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I've been wanting to read this book for a while but haven't yet. On a practical level, I think the most useful information in the review was that there's a powerful norming effort to knowing that others don't remember sexual abuse/assault clearly. It's been my personal and professional experience that rapes typically aren't remembered continuously like one shot in a movie or something but in pieces, and this is something that, say, people who were drunk at the time of the rape blame themselves for unnecessarily.

There's a whole lot more I want to say and can't because of the limits of foster care confidentiality, but I agree with OFE that police or legal involvement and certainly a child's removal into foster care are probably differently traumatizing as individual events than being in a home where love and abuse are tangled. On the other hand, kids need to have a chance to sort out what healthy sexuality requires before they get involved as consenting persons and that does often mean confronting childhood trauma.

Blah blah, I don't know what I'm saying. It just really sucks to have to talk to kids about the details of their experiences of sexual abuse. It also sucked to run a college support group for other women who'd experienced sexual assault or abuse. But talking about it for people who have experienced this as trauma is important and I do think the norming aspects are key. And I need to read this book.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:10 AM
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If you name your book "The Trauma Myth," it's because it's your intent to stir outrage. All this boohooing about political correctness is no different than all the other whining about political correctness.

Moreover, the reviewer seems entirely unwilling to acknowledge the troubling nature of this work. Look how heebie summarizes the reviewer's take on Clancy:

But if you reach seven or eight and realize that an adult who was supposed to be taking care of you was actually violating a huge cultural norm at your expense, that realization is going to be what sends shock waves to your foundation and potentially turns your world upside down.

"Violating a huge cultural norm" seems to be an accurate representation of how Clancy's reviewer views this - and that framework has troubling implications that the reviewer refuses to acknowledge.

If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved. In other words, this view locates the trauma in the cultural norm, and not the abuse. I wonder if Clancy discusses that cultural norm at all, or if she does as the reviewer does, and pretends the issue doesn't exist.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:17 AM
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It's norms all the way down, pf.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:21 AM
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It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to you.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MARK TWAIN | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:23 AM
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"Violating a huge cultural norm" is, I think, how kids often view it when they're not ready to acknowledge that what was done to them was wrong. (And that's my bias; it was wrong and abusive and unloving, and so I'm going to keep talking that way.) I don't mean it's exactly like realizing that in other households fries are served with ketchup instead of vinegar, but kids who are subject to ongoing sexual abuse from a young age will tend to view it as normal and then will have to deal with the cognitive dissonance when they realize that in the larger culture these "normal" things are decidedly not.

The kid will also then have to deal with recovering from sexual abuse, but I do think dealing with that cognitive dissonance is often a particularly hard part of this, though obviously experiences differ wildly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:25 AM
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If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved.

Does it?

I'm not addressing the underlying point; I agree that sexual abuse is probably intrinsically damaging in the majority of clear-cut cases. But violating a cultural norm could be abusive in and of itself, depending on the norm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:27 AM
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If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved.

well, not only in many cases

and what sb said. It depends on how seriously you take cultural norms.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:27 AM
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If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved.

I haven't read the book either. But the slippery words in there are 'only' and 'tend'. Clearly, sexual abuse isn't one thing, and it seems clear to me that it's at least often going to be primarily traumatic -- a sexual abuser deserves condemnation for their recklessness toward their victim, even if in the actual event the victim isn't particularly traumatized by the abuse.

So I think it's perfectly compatible to argue both that victims are sometimes going to be better off with a response that recognizes that they, specifically, were not powerfully traumatized, and so avoids inflicting additional trauma, and still to condemn the abusers.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:28 AM
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It depends on how seriously you take cultural norms.

Which depends on the specific norm, no?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:29 AM
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Some turtles support more turtles than other turtles.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:32 AM
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25:Yes

I am not comfortable with this specific instance of relativism. It might approach Nambla apologetics.

Can we use teaching creation science to kids instead?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:32 AM
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To bring in an analogy from non-sexual abuse, that I've brought up before. Samoa is a place where serious corporal punishment is normal, and kids do get beaten for bad behavior. I had students who got beaten to a degree where I'd expect an American kid to be badly damaged by the experience. My students, on the other hand, seemed grossly fine. I think the explanation is that an American kid getting severely beaten has screwed up, norm-violating parents, while a Samoan kid in the same situation has perfectly normal rule-abiding parents, and that matters a lot.

I still think a cultural norm that allows you to hit your kids is a terrible thing, and should be changed where it exists, and I think there are plenty of bad effects from it. But on a case-by-case basis, it's a lot less damaging to get beaten where the cultural norms allow it than where they don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:35 AM
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I think the explanation is that an American kid getting severely beaten has screwed up, norm-violating parents, while a Samoan kid in the same situation has perfectly normal rule-abiding parents, and that matters a lot.

Ta-nehisicoates had a thread that sort of touched on this recently.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:39 AM
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But violating a cultural norm could be abusive in and of itself, depending on the norm.

Heck, one could cause grave harm by violating a completely unjustifiable and despicable cultural norm. Cultural norms are powerful stuff, and ought not be treated lightly.

I'm just saying that Clancy raises this issue directly - where does the harm lie? And there's no evidence in the review that Clancy places the harm any place other than what we are calling a "cultural norm."

So you've just got to discuss that norm - why it's a valuable norm, or why it ought to be thrown out. If Clancy fails to deal with the issue - as the reviewer fails to do - then it's reasonable to wonder if she's trying to minimize the fault of pedophiles.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:41 AM
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It is tangential to the topic of trauma, but I am reminded of two movies that deal with cultural relativity and incest/abuse.

Savage Grace was on last night. This is probably the negative, jet-set decadence and nihilism leading to mother-son incest and a terminally damaged young man.

With a more positive view, you have The Ballad of Jack & Rose, father-daughter, where taught cultural alienation probably lead to a little too much freedom. It apparently ended well.

Both put cultural independence to question.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:41 AM
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16
I don't know what the practical takeaway from this insight is.
The article hints at three. First and most cynically, this theory endangers the therapeutic-industrial complex by suggesting that treatment* might actually be harmful. Second, this theory suggests that some method of treatment that doesn't highlight trauma would be better, although the article doesn't go into detail. And third, it potentially explains repressed memories, which is a controversial concept.

* In certain situations, in certain ways, etc., of course.

18
If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved.

"Tend toward", OK, but it's really nowhere near exoneration by itself. Even under this model, nonviolent sexual abuse is still bad. In no particular order: it's unhealthy behavior on the part of the abuser (for example, this kind of thing), it teaches unhealthy behavior to the victim on several levels, it might be a short step from nonviolent sexual abuse to violent, it forces a kid to keep secrets (on preview, also, the idea that violating a cultural norm is bad itself)...

Maybe you're right that Clancy does condone sexual abuse, I'm probably not going to read the book and find out, but it's not evident from the review. At worst, she suggests a not-as-bad-as-people-think point of view, which isn't saying much at all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:41 AM
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So you've just got to discuss that norm - why it's a valuable norm, or why it ought to be thrown out. If Clancy fails to deal with the issue - as the reviewer fails to do - then it's reasonable to wonder if she's trying to minimize the fault of pedophiles.

True, and well-put.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:43 AM
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Cultural norms are real things, not to be dismissed just because they vary from one culture to another. Violating a cultural norm is always problematic to the people who are part of the relevant culture.

Also there has to be some proper terminology that distinguishes the parts of culture like food and music from the deeper layer of assumptions about things like appropriate relationships and the still deeper layer of things like understandings of personal space.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:44 AM
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10 - I knew a couple too. Two brothers. The older one was 13 the first time, the younger 12 (the next year). Their stepmother took them to - well, I don't know if it was a friend of hers, or just a prostitute she happened to know - to rid them of their virginity. They were both massively fucked up by it, and both killed themselves in their 20's. They had been fairly fucked up by their parents already at that stage, but it certainly made it worse. They knew by that age that it was wrong and they didn't want it to happen though.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:44 AM
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Holy smokes, Asilon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:47 AM
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Also I found out yesterday that a guy at our Thanksgiving dinner (at my parents' house) committed suicide shortly after Thanksgiving.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:47 AM
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I've tried to be careful to distinguish between Clancy and her reviewer, but holy cow, you have no business complaining when you write about such a fraught subject and name your book "The Trauma Myth."

It's probably possible to use the phrase "political correctness" and not be completely full of shit, but usually it's a giveaway that the complainer is looking for permission to behave like an asshole.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:51 AM
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I still think a cultural norm that allows you to hit your kids is a terrible thing, and should be changed where it exists, and I think there are plenty of bad effects from it. But on a case-by-case basis, it's a lot less damaging to get beaten where the cultural norms allow it than where they don't.

This is certainly true, and for people of my age the evidence is that people of my parents' generation were often beaten as a matter of course and were generally not traumatised by it, while people of my own and younger generations generally weren't, so that those who were suffered far worse long term effects.

But child abuse (for contemporary values of "child" - the age of consent was 12 until the middle of the 18th century) has never been acceptable, so there was no paradigm to shift. The potential for culturally based trauma has always been there. The question is, has it always been manifest?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:51 AM
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"But child abuse" s/b "But sexual child abuse"


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:53 AM
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38: Sure, I agree with you, they both suck. The reviewer is a crappy journalist in several ways and Clancy is probably deliberately being offensive. I'm just saying that contrary to 18 and 30, I don't see any evidence in the review that Clancy's big idea is wrong, that she's pursuing it in bad faith, or that she condones pedophilia.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:59 AM
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41: What Cyrus said. Clancy's title is at least intentionally provocative, but you can't get much further than that without reading the book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:03 AM
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We seem to be talking about various different things. Sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children, pubescent ones, folks in their mid teens, and teachers with of age students.

For the first, I can easily imagine that mild once off or rare sexual abuse wasn't understood and thus wasn't traumatizing. Getting repeatedly raped would be rather different. For teens, I imagine it would vary. Age of consent is inevitably an arbitrary line. An eighteen year old might be traumatized by an affair with a forty year old, a sixteen year old might not be. But you need to draw it somewhere. Sex with authority figures might be happy and consensual all around, might start off that way but get ugly later on, or might involve pressure from the start. We ban it because of the much higher potential for problems than with normal relationships, not because it is inevitably abusive.

The other issue is some people just don't get long term trauma from a traumatic experience, others do.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:04 AM
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I haven't read the book either, so can't evaluate the review of it. But, if you're looking for the best way to treat victims of sexual abuse, locating precisely where/when/why the feelings of trauma begin would be super-valuable (caveat: IANAPsychologist). plaus, it really doesn't seem outlandish to say that, absent actual physical injury or forced restraint, sexual experiences with an adult/older child are more likely to be confusing than actively traumatic at the time they happen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:04 AM
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Pwned several times over, I see.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:04 AM
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plaus? plus.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:05 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:06 AM
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I don't know what I'm talking about, but isn't there, like, research and stuff that shows that kids who get hit are more rash and get in fights and stuff. They may not be upset, or feel traumatized, but their personalities may be shifted a little. I'd assume sexual abuse is similar.

Perhaps the author puts that problem in a different category. But I thought I read in pop psychology that the subjective experience of trauma is only one part of what is going on.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:08 AM
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That seems reasonable -- not being traumatized by something doesn't mean that you weren't negatively affected by it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:13 AM
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I agree that sexual abuse is probably intrinsically damaging in the majority of clear-cut cases.

You liberals would win more elections, by the way, if only you would swear off adjectives, adverbs and qualifying phrases.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:13 AM
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50: That settles it, I'm not voting for heebie-geebie.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:15 AM
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I think I have qualifying phrases beamed into my head from space or something. Whenever I write an email, I have to go back and delete all of the qualifying phrases.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:15 AM
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isn't there, like, research and stuff that shows that kids who get hit are more rash and get in fights and stuff

Recent research suggests it isn't that clear cut.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:18 AM
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I;ve seen reviews about this book; it sounds a bit like that other controversial book a few years ago whose name escapes me, an academic book which advances the idea that teenage sexual relationships with older people, especially mentor figures, aren't particularly bad and may actual be beneficial.

On the one hand, as an anarchist I applaud the "norms all the way down" school of thought. On the other hand, I know that usually "norms all the way down" is used to justify existing exploitation.

That is, we can certainly say that it's a mere norm to deplore, say, male HS teacher/girl HS student relationships and that therefore, meh. But saying that something is just a social norm does not thereby undo the force of the norm; in particular, it doesn't do anything to the other beliefs that support the norm. (Norm norm norm! Surely "norm" can be fitted into lolcat.) We can be all "hey, sure, Mr. Social Studies Teacher, we think it's totally consensual if you're banging your fourteen-year-old student", but we don't do anything about various other ideas about male dominance and female submission, the worthlessness of older women and the exploitation of younger ones, issues of social power as separate from sexual power, the belief that it's healthy to use/demand sexual favors for non-sexual advantage, etc.

And I remember very clearly telling myself as a kid that what I needed to do was accept that I was ugly, worthless and weird; my problem was that I believed I shouldn't be treated badly. (And I have the sad little tween angst journals to prove it!) Perhaps if social norms were simply that fat, geeky little girls really deserved to beeveryone's doormat, I would have been a happy child.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:20 AM
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The meat of 53:
The research questioned 179 teenagers about how often they were smacked as children and how old they were when they were last spanked.

Their answers were then compared with information they gave about their behaviour that could have been affected by smacking. This included negative effects such as anti-social behaviour, early sexual activity, violence and depression, as well as positives such as academic success and ambitions.

Those who had been smacked up to the age of six performed better in almost all the positive categories and no worse in the negatives than those never punished physically.

Teenagers who had been hit by their parents from age seven to 11 were also found to be more successful at school than those not smacked but fared less well on some negative measures, such as getting involved in more fights.

However, youngsters who claimed they were still being smacked scored worse than every other group across all the categories.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:21 AM
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54: As it is, trauma prevented me from fully developing typing skills.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:22 AM
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I'm having trouble with the concept of 'intrinsically damaging'.

For a serious cultural relativist such as myself, this makes no sense. All events are given meaning by culture, there is no such thing as intrisic meaning. If the culture defines an event or experience as damaging, then it will damage. Otherwise not.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:22 AM
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But saying that something is just a social norm does not thereby undo the force of the norm;

Right. That's what I was trying to say. You can't distinguish norms from nature, saying 'this is naturally damaging what that is only damaging because the norm says it's damaging'

I blame it all on the notion of childhood = innocence = blessedness from the whole Xtian thing.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:25 AM
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I've been wanting to read this book for a while but haven't yet. On a practical level, I think the most useful information in the review was that there's a powerful norming effort to knowing that others don't remember sexual abuse/assault clearly.

Not just dealing with not remembering it clearly, but also dealing with remembering that you didn't resist or react in the way you now wish you had.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:26 AM
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54: Part of what needs to go on to make this conversation make sense is peeling apart 'traumatizing' and 'unjust, or a bad thing for other reasons'.

We can be all "hey, sure, Mr. Social Studies Teacher, we think it's totally consensual if you're banging your fourteen-year-old student", but we don't do anything about various other ideas about male dominance and female submission, the worthlessness of older women and the exploitation of younger ones, issues of social power as separate from sexual power, the belief that it's healthy to use/demand sexual favors for non-sexual advantage, etc.

I can perfectly easily conceive of such a relationship as being not traumatic for the student, but still being unjust to her and doing her harm. But I don't have a rigorous definition of traumatic that lets me pick that apart explicitly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:28 AM
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I barely remember the article I read. I thought it said that if you're hit before age 1, you turn bad. After age 1, not so much. My friend remarked that she had three months left she could start hitting her kid.

This is how well I know this research. I should stop trying to comment on it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:28 AM
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I have a special contempt for the anti-spanking crusaders. They seem to be firmly aligned with the larger movement that thinks kids should be mollycoddled until age 18, when they are suddenly dumped into the adult world without having ever gained the experience needed to dealing with the realities of adult life. I had far too many students who were raised this way and deeply resent their parents for placing me in the position of having to educate them about basic life skills.

A quick smack administered right at the time of the offense and delivered without malice is a perfectly reasonable way to let a child know that their behavior is unacceptable. I got smacked when I misbehaved and vastly preferred it to the solitary confinement or withholding of treats some of my peers were subjected to. For a short period I was friends with a kid hose parents were raising him in the most hippy-dippy "no bad experiences" manner possible. He had zero impulse control, threw tantrums every time he failed to get what he wanted, and eventually hit me in the head with a heavy toy gun because I wouldn't continue playing with him when my mom called me in for dinner. That was the last time I played with him, and I have no doubt he grew up to be a thoroughly unpleasant and miserable adult. Anecdata, bitches!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:33 AM
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I thought it said that if you're hit before age 1, you turn bad. After age 1, not so much. My friend remarked that she had three months left she could start hitting her kid.

Either this kid was aging in reverse or you are missing an "until" here.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:34 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:38 AM
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54: I'm remembering that earlier book as well. I think it may be from more than a few years ago -- unless this is one of those topics/controversies that is more or less continually recycled. The subject comes up a lot in the study of Greek (and to a lesser extent) Roman sexuality (for obvious reasons), and the cover of "scholarship" doesn't always prevent publishers from taking fright. A few years ago Routledge was about to publish a particular scholar's book on Greek pederasty and were scared off by promised protests. The scholar ended up publishing with N/A/M (BL)A (no lie), a decision that I can't imagine won many to his side. On the other hand, another scholar has recently written a very well and broadly reviewed book on Greek "pederasty" that insists, with no evidence whatever, that the Greeks brought the full force of the law to bear on anyone who dreamed of having sex with anyone under 18. When confronted by many with the argument that there was, in fact, no evidence for this claim (nor does he present any) and that there was quite a bit of evidence to the contrary, he answered, in essence, "So-and-so published with N/A/M (BL)A!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:41 AM
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A quick smack administered right at the time of the offense and delivered without malice is a perfectly reasonable way to let a child know that their behavior is unacceptable.

If you're awfully cool-headed. Me, right at the time of the offense, I'm probably seriously angry, and if I were smacking my kids under those circumstances, I think "without malice" would be out of reach. I suppose I can imagine it for a very small child, whose misbehavior was still something I had no inclination to assign blame for. But for a kid older than that, I think restricting my available responses to things that can safely be used by an angry person is a very good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:42 AM
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If you're awfully cool-headed. Me, right at the time of the offense, I'm probably seriously angry,

Or if it's a cultural norm to do it lightly, without it being a vehicle to channel anger. For example, squirting a cat with a water gun or swatting a dog with a newspaper. Most of us are able to deliver those neutrally; some of us get really worked up at the same time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:44 AM
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65: Wow. I'm always stunned that N4M8LA actually exists enough to do things like publish books.

You'd think the scholar would have been better advised to just self-publish -- pdf on his website or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:45 AM
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67: Or if it's a cultural norm to do it lightly, without it being a vehicle to channel anger.

You mean if it's a cultural norm not to be angry with your children when they misbehave, or if it's a cultural norm to spank in a manner that won't cause injury, even if you're angry?

Because the first seems like a huge change, and one that's out of reach. The second, eh, I wouldn't be afraid of losing control and injuring a kid, I'm just saying that if spanking were something I did, I would be doing it angry, because the sort of transgressions that I think need punishment also make me angry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:48 AM
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They seem to be firmly aligned with the larger movement that thinks kids should be mollycoddled until age 18, when they are suddenly dumped into the adult world without having ever gained the experience needed to dealing with the realities of adult life.

Yeah - just the other day my boss beat the hell out of me when I mishandled an assignment. Kids need to learn what a tough world it is out there.

For my part, I'm compelled to acknowledge that I don't want to hit my kids. Period. If it turns out that's bad for them, too bad. They can tell their psychologist about it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:51 AM
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65: I do think it's a topic that's perpetually recycled, for a variety of reasons. This particular book was by a woman academic (now that I think about it, I think she had some connection with Large Midwestern University) and at least in interviews she talked about a relationship she'd had while quite young with an older mentor figure. I read an excerpt from the book and it looked okay, although I'm pretty dubious about anything that gets mustered to defend more old guy sexual access to teenage girls.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:52 AM
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You'd think the scholar would have been better advised to just self-publish -- pdf on his website or something.

I can't help but assume that the author did, in fact, have an agenda. But I won't be ordering the book to find out.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:54 AM
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69: The first, the huge change. Seemed like what Togolosh was describing. There are certainly plenty of boundaries and consequences that you end up enforcing on your kid without feeling angry about each one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:54 AM
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73: Sure, you're not always angry about consequence-worthy behavior. But sometimes you're going to be (can you really imagine a culture where it's unconventional to ever be angry with your children?). Having a tactic in your arsenal that's okay so long as you're not angry, but is a real mistake to use if you are, seems problematic -- the time you shouldn't use it is exactly the time you're going to be tempted to overreact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:58 AM
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There's a lot going on here. I have a friend who was repeatedly molested, and later raped, by a sibling and friends, and later had some hard times coming to grips with drugs, drink, sexuality, etc. But he tried going to a support group for incest victims and found a big room full of people who were so traumatized that some of them could barely get out of bed in a day. He kept saying, stunned, "But I'm... fine. I'm pretty fucked up, but I'm fine. Why do I get to be OK?"

I'm guessing there are plenty of victims who genuinely are traumatized to the point of not being functional, and then there are some who probably have some issues to deal with and a hard time figuring out what in them is effect and what's just them. The latter group has a hard time not feeling some survivor's guilt. Shouldn't they be shaking in a corner, or never able to have adult consensual sex?

Part of what's going on, I think, is a fear of victims. When people hear about these things, they're so scared of what it means to be raped that they try to come up with some reason why it happened to this person. It's not acceptable to say the child was asking for it (which they may want to say) so instead they mark rape and incest victims as untouchables, so necessarily traumatized that they will never ever ever have a functional life.

It's hard to talk about trauma without people getting all up in your junk about how you're "supposed" to feel about it. I've tried to alert partners to some pretty weird reactions I have to sudden outbursts of anger ever since Abusive College Relationship, just to say, hey, I'm fine, I just burst into tears whenever you punch the wall suddenly or grab me from behind or put your hands around my neck. Just so ya know! But then I end up getting lectured by some dumb boy on what my needs are and what I should do about living a life that will always be tainted by what has happened to me, soft little bunny that I am. It's easier not to say anything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:00 AM
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Having a tactic in your arsenal that's okay so long as you're not angry, but is a real mistake to use if you are, seems problematic

Is it much different than the need to control yourself verbally according to the amount of anger you feel?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:01 AM
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...which is all to say it's a shame there's no room in discussions of trauma for "I've got some issues, but I'm working on them and generally I don't think about it all the time." You're either "fine" (which is bad) or "traumatized" (which is also bad).


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:03 AM
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65. Routledge are disgusting wimps, then. Dover published in 1978, ffs.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:08 AM
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You're either "fine" (which is bad) or "traumatized" (which is also bad).

Interesting. What does that make the therapist/observer and how do they justify their judgments of "bad"? Is there some "in harmony with one's trauma but not 'good' " state to be achieved?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:08 AM
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Is it much different than the need to control yourself verbally according to the amount of anger you feel?

Well, yeah. Anything that's okay to say cool-headedly is okay to say angry, right? The problem with anger is that you're going to say things that you wouldn't say coolheadedly, not that being angry makes otherwise harmless statements harmful.

If the thinking is "Yes it's okay to hit your kids so long as you're cool, but it's a bad idea to hit them, even in the same manner, if you're angry," that's a hard judgment to make.

Mostly, my thinking is that even if smacking your kids can be done without doing them any harm (which I'm sure it can be) it gives rise to all sorts of potential for screwing up and doing harm. And there are plenty of alternative methods for providing consequences, so taking smacking off the table isn't a significant loss.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:09 AM
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78: Published in the land of le vice anglais in the '70s, not the land of the free under George W. Bush, though: an American publisher in the 2000s might justifiedly, if not admirably, have feared the usual Fox News accusations and the occasional bomb threat.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:11 AM
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75: Yeah, this really seems to get at the issues I believe Clancy is addressing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:14 AM
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I'm pretty dubious about anything that gets mustered to defend more old guy sexual access to teenage girls

Moving the culture in the direction of greater equality generates a stronger norm against fundamentally unequal sexual relationships, which can increase the trauma of being a party to such a relationship. You can sort of argue that the greater trauma is collateral damage from the cultural shift, but that doesn't mean that the cultural shift isn't needed.

Part of what's going on, I think, is a fear of victims. When people hear about these things, they're so scared of what it means to be raped that they try to come up with some reason why it happened to this person.

Absolutely, which also helps explain why rape is often more traumatizing than other sorts of serious physical assault.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:14 AM
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69.last: Anger isn't the same as malice. Being spanked by a parent who is angry with you but is spanking because they see it as part of the job of parenting is vastly different from being spanked by someone who wishes you harm.

70.last: I don't object to people not spanking, I object to people trying to ban it and to demonize those parents who do spank as if they are in the same league as child molestors.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:17 AM
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79: Therapists, IME, are pretty good about not judging good or bad states. If you are, for example, dealing with trauma by not being in relationships because you don't want to be in them, a therapist is not going to tell you that you need to get back on the dating horse. But if you're unhappy with your state, a therapist is going to try to figure out whether that's because your state makes other people unhappy or makes you unhappy, etc.

I'm talking about people who casually encounter victims. I think there can be a sort of pleasure for them in fetishizing other people's trauma, and marking them with it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:17 AM
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I just mean I'm pretty shocked by how often people tell victims of whatever how they're supposed to feel about it, and how often they seem to wish that victims felt worse than they do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:20 AM
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85: I see. I've read people with terminal conditions complain, gently, about "trauma tourism," whereby healthy people invade the existence of a very ill person more than prior acquaintance would justify.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:21 AM
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I didn't really answer your question, though. How do people justify it? I think they imagine how the victim would be different (and better) if they'd *never* been violated, rather than thinking about what the victim wants from life. They mourn for the loss of a person who never existed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:26 AM
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88: It's easier to love the imaginary dead than the gross and surly living.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:27 AM
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(Implicit in "I wish that hadn't happened to you" seems to be "I'd sure like you better if you were a different person." That might sound hypersensitive, but it has sounded that way to my ears.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:28 AM
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Declaring somebody "traumatised", of course, makes them a patient who needs to be treated. This thread reminded me of this article.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:29 AM
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85.last: Interesting. I don't think I did this with the girl in high school I was friends with and had a crush on who happened to be really messed up, and 86 clarifies things in a way that's reassuring to me, but now that you mention it, I wonder.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:29 AM
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88: Wouldn't you think that part of it is a pop-psychology sense of overcoming repression as how to fix trauma? If you've had a bad experience, but are mostly okay, that means that you're sitting on a seething mass of repressed damage, and once you acknowledge that and let it explode to the surface, then you'll really be ready to 'heal'. So people pick at people with histories of trauma maybe out of some misguided attempt at lay therapy -- that if the real hidden horror is admitted and brought to the surface, then everything will be fixed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:30 AM
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That was the last time I played with him, and I have no doubt he grew up to be a thoroughly unpleasant and miserable adult. Anecdata, bitches

I played with someone like this when I was a kid and he grew up to be a wildly accomplished academic, much more accomplished than I--who was spanked--will ever be. I don't know if he's unpleasant and miserable to be around today (but I can hope).


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:32 AM
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62: There is a big difference between parents who don't spank, and parents who don't discipline at all.
I'm sure that in this big world there are people that believe that children should be encouraged to do whatever they want, and that all parental discipline is unjust tyranny, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone express that view seriously.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:33 AM
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I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty about how they've treated someone who's been through shit. The other side of the Abusive College Relationship is that he was a deeply traumatized person and I had no fucking clue what I was doing, and I still feel terrible about having left him far worse off than he was when I met him. In some ways, the guilt is far more traumatic than the violence.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:34 AM
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83: See, in theory I agree with this. In actual practice, I've seen an awful lot of cultural/political/activist initiatives that purport to create "greater equality" but which really reinscribe old patterns because the projects are poorly carried out, do not have a lot of cultural back-up, deal with only one aspect of the situation, etc. I'm particularly suspicious of cultural projects that start with the, er, sexiest and most controversial aspect of a problem. Like, we could do a lot for greater equality within sexual relationships by providing better sex ed, more contraceptive access, etc.

(Or academic novelists could stop writing those stupid novels about the fascinating damaged young woman student who has the intense, sexy, traumatic affair with the middle-aged professor--wow, I hated those novels, which seem to be legion, when I was in my teens.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:34 AM
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hey, I'm fine, I just burst into tears whenever you punch the wall suddenly or grab me from behind or put your hands around my neck.

Jesus.

BTW, in a lot of states a partner can't destroy stuff during a domestic dispute that falls under the domestic violence statute (you live together, have a kid together, used to be married, etc.). Normally you can break your own stuff with impunity, but if the fight qualifies as domestic violence, then it's DV criminal mischief, and can earn someone a trip to jail.

What really takes them by surprise is when they break something valuable and that ups it to a felony (over $1000 in this state).


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:35 AM
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Normally you can break your own stuff with impunity, but if the fight qualifies as domestic violence, then it's DV criminal mischief, and can earn someone a trip to jail.

Makes perfect sense to me -- breaking stuff in the context of a fight sounds like a direct threat of interpersonal violence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:37 AM
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97: I think 83 agrees with this more than you read it as doing. As I understand 83, it was "Back when old-guy sexual access to hot young students was more conventional, such relationships were probably less traumatic. Nonetheless, the increased value we place on equality, which includes discouraging old-guy sexual access to hot young students, is a good enough thing that the increased trauma when those relationships do happen anyway isn't a significant enough negative to make the increased value we place on equality a problem."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:41 AM
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78/81: Realizing that I had conflated a couple of different things in my original comment (story largely unchanged, however), I have just been spending some time on something called "b0ywiki" (!!!) trying to sort it out. The N@mb7@ published volume can be found here, and I'll note that all four of the scholars whose work is in that volume are serious and respected. But that wasn't the volume that Routledge rejected -- I don't know how that work found the publisher it did. The saga of the twice-rejected pederasty anthology can be found here.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:51 AM
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96: Don't worry, I didn't think you were trying to make anyone feel guilty (I can see where you got the idea that I was feeling guilty, but naah, I spent enough years saying coulda-shoulda-woulda), I was just saying, it made me wonder.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:51 AM
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So people pick at people with histories of trauma ...

But that can also be a therapeutic technique of some value. It's possible to extinguish a learned response by repeatedly invoking the trigger.

I'm doing that with my dog. Because I had an attack of imbecility she's now terrified of the white cone collar that dogs sometimes have to wear after injury. So with the cone in sight, I give her a piece of cheese. Then with the cone closer, I giver her a piece of cheese. Lather, cheese, repeat. Terror of cone abates.

On the other hand, it can also be a way of reinforcing the cultural norms about how you're supposed to feel after a certian event.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:53 AM
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But that can also be a therapeutic technique of some value.

Sure, but probably not when engaged in by random bozos, and not when the need for it is diagnosed by the fact that the subject doesn't seem to be distressed enough by their traumatic experiences.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:57 AM
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It's possible to extinguish a learned response by repeatedly invoking the trigger.

With human beings, esp. w/r/t sexual and physical violence, I'd recommend leaving this technique to a therapist, not to a bf/gf. I can't tell you how many times someone I've been dating unilaterally decides he's going to "cure" me by doing things I've said my ex did. It always, always became some kind of test of how much I "trusted" the guy. Don't you trust me to squeeze your throat just a little? C'mon, don't you trust me to drive in the opposite lane in the middle of the night with the headlights off? We'll fix that old nasty trauma!!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:01 AM
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LBwned.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:02 AM
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C'mon, don't you trust me to drive in the opposite lane in the middle of the night with the headlights off?

Some people saw the scene in Annie Hall with Walken driving Allen and thought "disturbing, but funny." Others thought "New type of cognitive behavioral theraphy."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:04 AM
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105
It always, always became some kind of test of how much I "trusted" the guy. Don't you trust me to squeeze your throat just a little? C'mon, don't you trust me to drive in the opposite lane in the middle of the night with the headlights off?

Wow. Call me insensitive, but you sure can pick them.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:05 AM
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104, 105: Sure, but probably not when engaged in by random bozos

No disagreement. I feel the same way about people at cocktail parties offerring to check my prostate.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:06 AM
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108: Yeah, that's insensitive. I think you underestimate how common "fixing" behavior is. It's really tempting, in a relationship with someone who has a traumatized reaction, to be the one whose enduring reliability overcomes their fear.

What's great about therapists is that you pay them. You're getting better for yourself, not for their sense of how good and lovable they are.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:13 AM
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101 et al.: I knew the editor of that linked volume back in the day, and he had a history with that organization (beyond being a member, was writing for its newsletter in the mid-90's at least), so my guess is that's how the work found that publisher.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:14 AM
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111: Holy shit. You mean he just told people he was a N@@@@@ member?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:18 AM
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Further to 110, I've done it myself, which is why the ex ended up so badly. I just thought he was super-repressed about sex for some weird cultural reason, so I kept, you know, having sex with him, and he'd freak out, and I thought the cure was that he should get used to it, and he seemed to want to. Eventually it came out that something really terrible had happened to him when he was little that he couldn't even name or talk about. It doesn't excuse the violence, but I should have seen earlier on that I was not helping.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:19 AM
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Clancy's title is at least intentionally provocative

Minor point, but there's a good chance it wasn't her idea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:25 AM
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I feel the same way about people at cocktail parties offerring to check my prostate.

"Come on! Have another drink! Loosen up!"


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:26 AM
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115: But I thought I didn't have to until I turned 50.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:27 AM
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"Come on! Have another drink! Let go of my finger! Loosen up!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:29 AM
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||
Hello, iPad.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:31 AM
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111, 112: Yeah, it's nuts. I know two of the people in the volume, and I can't imagine that they're thrilled with the N@@@@@ connection. Frankly, four of the five chapters, based on title alone, seem completely anodyne.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:32 AM
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Excuse me if this has been said already, but the hypothesis doesn't seem to make sense to me if the abuse causes real physical pain; pain is traumatic at the time. If she doesn't address this, I'm less likely to be convinced by the rest of her argument.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:34 AM
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112: I don't remember him ever telling anyone, though it wouldn't surprise me if he did (very provocative guy). Certainly didn't keep it a closely-guarded secret: asked me for help with a screwed-up Word doc one time, and it turned out to be something he was writing for their newsletter (until then didn't know whether what I'd heard about him being involved in the group was just an obnoxious rumor).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:34 AM
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Now that I think about it, 118 should be in the "Look, a shiny thing!" thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:35 AM
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Illustrating some of the issues in this thread, newspaper articles on a teacher who raped a 14-year-old:

First.

Second.

Note that:
- The word "rape" is not included in either article
- Not even "statutory rape," which is what it has to be, even if she pleaded to sexual assault
- The plethora of "Yee-ha" comments

I don't care how the victim categorized it in his head; having a mainstream media characterize this as a "sexual relationship" is just appalling.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:37 AM
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pain is traumatic at the time

That's true, and a good point. But it's also important to note that culture affects the way meaning is ascribed to pain. We do lots of painful things to kids. Shots. Clothes. PE in school. I just had mu puppy sliced open and various organs removed, which can't have been fun. But it's important to distinguish between pain that means 'you are a bad person/dog' from pain that means 'life happens, I'm sorry it hurts, we still love you'


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:39 AM
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123: Yeah, it seems like while girls and boy victims of male rapists get in trouble for not being traumatized enough, boy victims of female rapists get in trouble for not being delighted. I think we discussed an article a while back about a similar situation in which the boy later reported being depressed and suicidal, but everyone just kept patting him on the back and saying "Way to go, stud."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:42 AM
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124: Right. But in my experience, even kids need a "good"* reason for the pain; this is not something that they're going to uncritically accept or forget, unless very, very young.

*Perhaps this would be provided by the abuser, I don't know. But in those sorts of cases, or when kids are indeed more aware of the violation of norms, I don't fully buy Clancy's theory.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:44 AM
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126: Of course, none of us has read the book, but it seems like a big jump to me to worry that Clancy is arguing that the sort of pain that would be traumatic in other contexts is non-traumatic in the context of sexual abuse. It's possible that she's arguing that, or something equivalently weird, but I wouldn't go there in the absence of someone who has read the book saying so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:48 AM
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And third, it potentially explains repressed memories, which is a controversial concept.

It doesn't "explain" repressed memories; more like "provides further support for the idea that the whole concept of repressed memories is harmful bunk."

Therapists and patients who "search" for traumatic experiences in one's past to explain and change present-day behavior and thoughts are relying on a particular model of memory with very little empirical support.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:51 AM
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I haven't read the book, but it's terrible to be told that the worst thing that could ever happen to a girl has now happened to you, and now you will never recover, and you'll never be normal again. That's very hard to get over, regardless of how hard (or not, sometimes) the other stuff may have been.


Posted by: Nabby Adams | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:52 AM
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128: Yes, that's what I meant. "Explains problems with the idea of repressed memories", perhaps I should have written.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:03 PM
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Responding to Togolosh's point:

Just to be clear, at least in California, it's now absolutely not OK -- I mean in a legal, not moral sense -- to spank your kids or really, do anything that could be perceived by an outside observer as physically aggressive. I know a guy who lost his joint custody over his 14 year old daughter because he grabbed her arm as she was trying to leave the house. And a kid mentioning spanking in school can easily lead to a visit from social services, or worse.

Obviously, a lot of spanking still goes on, and enforcement varies, but many people, especially without kids, seem unaware of just how unacceptable spanking and similar behavior now is to the relevant authorities. Don't do it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:14 PM
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131: This is a repeated gripe, but it's a real social problem how non-transparent the legal implications of childrearing choices are. I run into this on worrying about allowing my children to, say, walk to school, or to the store, or to the park unattended, or leaving them home alone. It's really unclear to me what would be perceived as neglect sufficient to trigger an enforcement response.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:19 PM
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If you're white, married, and upper middle class, the neglect threshold is probably pretty high.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:22 PM
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Here is a Malcolm Gladwell article on trauma:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/11/08/041108fa_fact1

There is some evidence that contemporary warfare is actually more traumatic than warfare in WWII though:

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Psychological-Cost-Learning-Society/dp/0316330116


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:23 PM
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133: O.K. That's one problem solved.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:24 PM
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If you're white, married, and upper middle class, the neglect threshold is probably pretty high.

This is true. My wife does dependency law in California. Once a parent gets in the system, they are in trouble. Someone who probably doesn't share your values will be judging you and they don't use brightline rules. Piss off your social worker and you are in trouble.

As a white, married, and upper middle class parent, I could get away with all kinds of parenting things that would get my kid yanked from me if I was in the system.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:32 PM
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Someone who probably doesn't share your values will be judging you and they don't use brightline rules.

This would terrify me if I had children. The idea of being swept into "the System" in any respect frightens me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:45 PM
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136 -- The "married" is key here. One of the the things I've learned from my divorced Dads group (make appropriate fun) is how easy it is, once you're a single parent, to lose your kids through a commitment to "old school" parenting. Fortunately for me, I was never spanked myself and categorically reject the idea of the corrective slap, so I haven't had to change anything myself, but I've seen plenty of hard evidence that taking Togolosh's attitude (or even some of the more laissez-faire attitudes towards childrearing that show up here sometimes, e.g., kid staying home alone) is a quick path to losing contact with your children if you're in a joint parenting situation. And, even if you're married now, you might not be, so look out. /depressing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:47 PM
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137, 138: That's why every morning I ask myself what I can do to make my wife happy and my life more UMC. Either one of these impulses is good for Williams Sonoma and Apple.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:50 PM
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Sometimes entitled little shit teens think they're going to get their parents in trouble with the cops by reporting that their parent slapped them. What typically follows is an explanation that no, corporal punishment is not illegal, and yes, a slap is an entirely appropriate response to you shouting "Fuck you" in your parent's face after they ground you for misbehaving, poor grades, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:54 PM
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Update to 139: The special little pan for making filled pancakes was worth its weight in organic maple syrup. It's like a filled donut with less guilt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:56 PM
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And having a kid swept into The System and out-of-home care is (almost always) truly, truly traumatic and damaging even when that child is coming out of an abusive home. There are ways to improve this, but there are always going to be situations that do require the separation of children from their families.

I am currently at the mercy of social workers (trying to adopt) and it's terrifying. But I would argue that at least disregarding prenatal situation, nearly every child whose file we've read has more "special needs" now as a result of his time in out-of-home care (foster homes, psycho hospitals, residential treatment centers) than the abuse/neglect of the birth home.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:56 PM
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140: n.b.: offer may not be valid outside of Utah.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:56 PM
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141: If you own a special pan for making filled pancakes, filled pancakes are probably more important to you than is ideally healthy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 12:58 PM
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Flippanter is going to be left way behind when the æbleskiver craze reaches its peak.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:00 PM
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145: I'm a little afraid of trying foods that require a dipthong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:01 PM
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offer may not be valid outside of Utah

A lot more places than Utah I'd guess. God, (and this is from a born and raised native) it's really kind of amazing how CA the last couple decades seems to be hellbent on making the place totally unlivable.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:02 PM
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145: Call me when the seven years of æbleskiver tribulation begin.*

* Sorry, I just didn't have an " 'Æbleskiver? I hardly know 'er!' said Søren Kierkegaard" in me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:05 PM
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If loving filled pancakes is unhealthy, I don't want to be healthy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:09 PM
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Danish food is, in my experience (my grandmother went to a Danish cookery school, and boy could she cook!) extremely tempting and utterly unhealthy.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:14 PM
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A lot more places than Utah I'd guess

Anywhere in Jesusland/flyover country your probably safe. I don't think I know anyone personally who wasn't spanked as a kid at least a couple times.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:16 PM
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The æbleskiver produced by local Danes are not filled. What is more, with the exception of æbleskiver, such Danish food as I've had has been dry and meager. Danish cakes, in particular, seem to justify any amount of Danish depression.

It would be nice if I could point to the Swedish cooking of my Swedish relatives as a lovely counterpoint, but it's dismal too. I wonder--is there a functioning welfare state with tasty food? France, sort of. Japan has both delicious food and a good health care system. I bet the Zapatistas have good food, although they aren't a state per se.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:33 PM
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Happy molestation stories.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:35 PM
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Japan has both delicious food and a good health care system.

There were some sobering articles in the NYT a couple of years ago about the Japanese system's harsh treatment of the unemployed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:47 PM
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100 is right. I don't disagree with 83, I'm just marginally literate. (See? My comma splice, let me show you it.)

Excuse me if this has been said already, but the hypothesis doesn't seem to make sense to me if the abuse causes real physical pain; pain is traumatic at the time. If she doesn't address this, I'm less likely to be convinced by the rest of her argument.

I don't think this is right at all. Pain is just pain. Whether and to what extent it's traumatic depends on the context.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:48 PM
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OT: No more overpraising-his-prose-because-of-one's-status-anxiety of Louis Auchincloss.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:49 PM
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German food is good. I don't know how welfare their state is, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:50 PM
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152, Bad luck. Pity Anna Jensen is 20 years dead or I'd get her to feed you up.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:51 PM
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My mother worked flights to Copenhagen for a while, and would bring home Danish pastries. They look like the ones you buy in delis in NY, but they tasted miraculous and wonderful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:56 PM
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138: Just to clarify - Togolosh's attitude is that the parents should have maximum leeway in making child rearing decisions and the state should have to prove that the behavior is either always seriously harmful or is seriously harmful in the particular case under consideration before getting involved. Spanking is just a particular sore point because the spanking ban advocates are effectively painting my parents as abusive, which is about as far from the truth as you can get. I know far more people fucked up by negative things their parents said or by harmful behavior their parents modelled than by being physically disciplined.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 1:59 PM
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18

If the trauma only exists because sexual activity with children violates a cultural norm, then that really does tend toward exonerating the adult involved. ...

So what?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:04 PM
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157 And sometimes people react to trauma with Stockholm Syndrome.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:05 PM
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48

I don't know what I'm talking about, but isn't there, like, research and stuff that shows that kids who get hit are more rash and get in fights and stuff. ...

An obvious alternative explanation for this is bad kids get hit more.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:06 PM
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157: Artikel 20 beschreibt Staatsprinzipien wie Demokratie, Rechtsstaat und Sozialstaat.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:08 PM
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57

For a serious cultural relativist such as myself, this makes no sense. All events are given meaning by culture, there is no such thing as intrisic meaning. If the culture defines an event or experience as damaging, then it will damage. Otherwise not.

I don't agree with this. Some events like being badly burned are intrinisically damaging. You don't have to be taught they are bad.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:09 PM
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German food is good. I don't know how welfare their state is, though.

Count me among the fans of German food and the German welfare state. See my Semmelknödel! Read my defense of the German welfare state! See me puncture the myth that good cuisine requires inequality!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:09 PM
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"inequality" s/b "bacon"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:11 PM
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66

... But for a kid older than that, I think restricting my available responses to things that can safely be used by an angry person is a very good idea.

Traditionally that is when you call your spouse to administer the punishment. Of course delays reduce efficacy.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:12 PM
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69

... I'm just saying that if spanking were something I did, I would be doing it angry, because the sort of transgressions that I think need punishment also make me angry.

If they are doing something they don't know is dangerous you get angry?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:14 PM
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99

Makes perfect sense to me -- breaking stuff in the context of a fight sounds like a direct threat of interpersonal violence.

Not a direct threat, at worst an implied threat. So you are ok with arresting a woman who throws her wedding ring in the garbage disposal because she is mad about her husband cheating?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:18 PM
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James, why don't you wait until you get to the end of the thread, and then give us all your comments in one go.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:18 PM
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My kids are mostly past that stage -- they're ten and eight and fairly sensible. I can't picture what they'd do now where the problem would be that they were unaware of the danger of what they were doing.

You sound like you're talking about smacking a toddler who's running into traffic, or something like that. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but I can't remember an actual event where it seemed necessary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:19 PM
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172.2: That's pretty much our main discipline issue right now. I'm about to take away Plastic Superman because he keeps saying he can outrun cars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:21 PM
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Further to 171: your comments so far have been mostly ridiculous. Try harder.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:21 PM
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120

Excuse me if this has been said already, but the hypothesis doesn't seem to make sense to me if the abuse causes real physical pain; pain is traumatic at the time. If she doesn't address this, I'm less likely to be convinced by the rest of her argument.

You typically experience lots of things that cause physical pain as a child most of which don't cause any lasting trauma and aren't considered big deals.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:22 PM
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110: I think you underestimate how common "fixing" behavior is.

Offering to choke someone to get them over the trauma of having been physically assaulted isn't just "fixing" behavior. It's borderline psychotic.

131: Ehhh, maybe people ought to consider challenging absurd laws like that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:23 PM
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...most of which don't cause any lasting trauma and aren't considered big deals.

Those are two different things.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:24 PM
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Flip, Shearer is still in the mid 150s. He won't read your comment until 10 minutes from now.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:25 PM
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JBS, would you shoot me an email? Thanks.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:26 PM
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I want to recognize the merit in Shearer's comments. In fact, if JBS were my child, I think I would reconsider my opposition to corporal punishment. Not for misbehavior, mind you, just on general principle. Or for amusement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:27 PM
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179: Why? Are you timing him?

180: Since Shearer is here to expose our hypocrisy, you've proven his point.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:36 PM
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180: Where do you stand on offering to choke him?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:36 PM
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48: There's a difference between measured, consequence-related corporal punishment and just random "hitting." You'd want to find out whether the "research" you're remembering is talking about the first or the second. I doubt it's the first.

I've seen studies cited that mildly correlate childhood spanking with a predilection for fascination with S&M in adulthood. That's potentially plausible, I guess, but since the days when all sadomasochism was considered a clinical disorder are well past, it's not very interesting as a moral argument against spanking.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:38 PM
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Why? Are you timing him?

Sanctity, man, sanctity.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:40 PM
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But please don't use your Rute for this, Knecht. That would be rather disturbing.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:41 PM
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I wonder whether I can, pace Ta-Nehisi Coates, acknowledge the reasonableness of some arguments for corporal punishment without wishing to be the sort of person who argues for his right to hit children.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:46 PM
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176
Offering to choke someone to get them over the trauma of having been physically assaulted isn't just "fixing" behavior. It's borderline psychotic.

I thought the same thing, but I let it rest because I didn't disagree with her larger point even if that example bugged me, and anyway I had already put my foot in my mouth enough for a while.

180: Where is this coming from? Except arguably for 163, Shearer's just being weird here, not offensive as far as I can tell. 175 is similar to 124, in 170 he's arguing about the facts of legal precedent with a lawyer - heh, fine, if that's what he wants - 169 and 168 are off-the-cuff advice, and 165 seems like a defensible argument and 161 seems like a valid question. All in all, joking about hitting him seems needlessly hostile.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:49 PM
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I haven't read the book either, but have heard a couple of long interviews with the article, and for the record, the author does *not* argue that pain isn't traumatic, or that pedophiles are really okay chaps if you talk to them or that molestees should really man up and quit their sniveling. She rather argues that applying the term "trauma" across the board to all cases of sexual abuse -- which is always abuse, and always wrong -- leads us away from making the best responses to the abused person's actual case.

I don't know specifically what research she's drawing on, but in the late '80's there was a famous/infamous paper that nearly saw a mainstream academic psychologist drummed out of his career for simply asserting that the actual details of the abuse made a difference in predicting the outcome for the abused person in adulthood. Details like: did it hurt? Did it occur by force or against the person's will? etc. I don't know about you, but I don't find this so surprising.

For that reason, I'm not too put out by a book title that's obviously meant to sell books and stir up publicity. It's one thing for us wankers in comment threads to "I-haven't-read-the-book-yet-but..." all day long, but if academics and practitioners want to do that, then they're committing professional malpractice and deservedly making fools of themselves if they do it in public.

This same author wrote a similarly controversial book about recovered memories of childhood trauma years ago, resulting in lots of screamy publicity interviews head-to-head with therapists who were busy finding out all about the poo-eating satanist rituals going on in middle American backyards at night. She got these people upset, and they disgraced themselves in public, and they needed to be disgraced because recovered memory was 100% horseshit. So if she wants to pull the same thing now and save some not-actually-traumatized people years in therapy, more power to her.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:53 PM
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187; Needless hostility towards Shearer is par for the course here. We're the Borg, and he refuses to assimilate or leave.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:57 PM
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Where is this coming from?

Just good-natured ribbing. I have a soft spot for JBS, and I credit him with keeping the rest of us honest from time to time. I think I'm even on the record as stating that, if forced to choose, I would prefer to live under a dictatorship of JBS than McManus. (And if I wasn't already on the record with that view, I am now.)


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:58 PM
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We're the Borg, and he refuses to assimilate or leave.

To take this more seriously than intended: He refuses to acculturate, which is different, and A++++ MORE IRRITATING


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 2:59 PM
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dammit, long interviews with the AUTHOR. AUTHOR. not "article." God dammit.

Also, NYTimes book reviews are almost always maddening and stupider-making.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:00 PM
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I would prefer to live under a dictatorship of JBS than McManus

This choice helps me to see the virtues of our flawed democracy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:00 PM
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...if forced to choose, I would prefer to live under a dictatorship of JBS than McManus.

Whose dictatorship is forcing the choice, in that hypothetical?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:02 PM
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180

I want to recognize the merit in Shearer's comments. In fact, if JBS were my child, I think I would reconsider my opposition to corporal punishment. Not for misbehavior, mind you, just on general principle. Or for amusement.

You understand this supports 163?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:04 PM
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194: It's a two-party system. Choosing any other dictatorship is just throwing away your vote.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:04 PM
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Now I'm wondering which would be better -- a government that enacted only those policies that Shearer and McManus agreed were a good idea, or only those that they both agreed were a bad idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:04 PM
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I love Shearer, and he does keep the blog honest. FWIW (nothing! It's worth nothing!) I find SB's overreaction way more annoying than anything from Shearer.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:04 PM
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179

JBS, would you shoot me an email? Thanks

Um, why?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:05 PM
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Party invite?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:07 PM
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...and while voting for the hobo dictatorship might make you feel all virtuous, in the end it just risks throwing the election to McManus.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:09 PM
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200: Sanctity, LB, sanctity!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:10 PM
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195: This cracked me up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:10 PM
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Since Shearer is here to expose our hypocrisy

I thought that was the Read puppet show. Shearer is here to beg the question and commit category errors at such a high rate that we get bogged down in correcting him and lose all sense of amusement.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:11 PM
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He refuses to acculturate, which is different

Shearer is perfectly acculturated. If he weren't his mockery trolling critique humour wouldn't hit home so much. James keeps this place honest. But then, Ogged is retired.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:12 PM
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197

Now I'm wondering which would be better -- a government that enacted only those policies that Shearer and McManus agreed were a good idea, or only those that they both agreed were a bad idea.

Well the first probably wouldn't accomplish much as I don't think there are a lot of positive policies that we both agree on. But I think we both agree killing everybody on the planet is a bad idea so the second government would be shortlived.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:12 PM
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196: It seemed like a sort of child-of-divorce scenario, with the non-custodial dictator having Wochenendeführerprinzip.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:13 PM
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James keeps this place honest.

This place is honest, now? No one ever tells me anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:13 PM
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206: You think big. I'd only gotten as far as 'releasing all the charismatic megafauna from urban zoos into the surrounding neighborhoods' as something you could probably both agree was a bad idea.

Come to think of it, I'm not 100% sure about Bob on that one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:15 PM
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How about uncharismatic megafauna?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:17 PM
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210: That would be us, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:18 PM
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189, 190, etc.: Fair enough. Piling on him (a) seemed egregious in context and (b) reminded me of another time when I saw people piling on (can't find the link) and didn't speak up and wished afterwards that I had. Better safe than sorry this time, I figured, that's all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:18 PM
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Agreed, 195 and 206 are both very good.

I hope James does e-mail SB because I'm curious and, while I don't expect to find out the result, it would seem unfortunate if nobody every found out what it was that SB wanted to say to James.

(there has to be a better way to structure that last sentence)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:18 PM
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I find SB's overreaction way more annoying than anything from Shearer.

What if I told you I was overreacting… in the nude?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:19 PM
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I agree with Bob on any number of key issues, and agree with James on almost none. But I think McManus would be more inclined to take his dictatorship powers more seriously. So I guess I'd rather live under the dictatorship of Shearer (who would probably be a bit of a slacker as dictator, is what I suspect).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:20 PM
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How about uncharismatic megafauna?

What do we want? Feral aardvarks!

When do we want them? NOW!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:20 PM
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How about uncharismatic megafauna?

The giant sloth weeps.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:21 PM
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So I guess I'd rather live under the dictatorship of Shearer (who would probably be a bit of a slacker as dictator, is what I suspect).

Less likely to institute mandatory screenings of foreign films, anyway.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:22 PM
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Um, why?

It's about that academic study of identical twins separated at birth and reared separately. It's time for you two to be interviewed by the researchers again.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:22 PM
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Jesus was a charismatic megafaunum. He was like, 900 feet tall.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:22 PM
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211: See 203.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:23 PM
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Hm, on the face of it I'd be more of a McManusite because I like extreme seriousness, but I'd probably sneak across the wall into Shearer-land to check out the night life. And wait, which side has the free-range charismatic megafauna again?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:25 PM
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It's a two-party system. Choosing any other dictatorship is just throwing away your vote.

That's why I favor IRV as the most likely means of getting my preferred outcome, which is the LizardBreath dictatorship.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:28 PM
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213

I hope James does e-mail SB because I'm curious and, while I don't expect to find out the result, it would seem unfortunate if nobody every found out what it was that SB wanted to say to James.

Well my suspicion is he wants to tell me what he really thinks about me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:29 PM
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I'd probably sneak across the wall into Shearer-land to check out the night life.

Are you kidding me? The nightlife in McManus-ville would be amazing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:29 PM
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I'd probably sneak across the wall into Shearer-land to check out the night life

Paradoxically, drugs will be more freely available in Shearerland, as McManusland's disregard for property rights will destroy the producer incentives for the growers and lead to rampant holding-out.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:30 PM
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Well my suspicion is he wants to tell me what he really thinks about me.

If only there were a way to test this hypothesis.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:31 PM
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The nightlife in McManus-ville would be amazing.

Barricades, Molotov cocktails, dog-walking and Turner Classic Movies. Sounds great. Have to sneak your drinks in, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:32 PM
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I don't agree with this. Some events like being badly burned are intrinisically damaging. You don't have to be taught they are bad.

Cultures define painful or injurious events as positive all the time. In such circumstances the injurious event can on net be beneficial to the individual who goes through it. E.g. puberty rituals.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:33 PM
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The nightlife in McManus-ville would be amazing.

Going by his reading list, I'd expect it, rather, to be stupefying.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:33 PM
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I was thinking of the young McManus, who was apparently responsible for a fair percentage of the illegal drugs consumed during the 1970s. But I guess we should go with what we actually have in front of us.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:36 PM
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The nightlife in McManus-ville would be amazing.

Only during bob's manic phases. Between times, it'll be public readings of Frantz Fanon and mass executions.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:37 PM
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...apparently responsible for a fair percentage of the illegal drugs consumed during the 1970s.

McManus is David Crosby's liver?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:37 PM
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I imagine Shearer-land as basically being an IBM lab circa 1964, with mandatory pocket protector wearing. Old school engineer heaven. In MacManus land, all wealth would be redistributed save that belonging to the film and cable industries, and therefore I personally would benefit, and Los Angeles would be the sole remaining island of great wealth and culture (though the library at the central palace of Leninist control in the Dallas suburbs would be well stocked). I'm going with MacManus.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:38 PM
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I imagine Shearer-land as basically being an IBM lab circa 1964, with mandatory pocket protector wearing.

You forgot the foils.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:39 PM
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216: Aardvarks are neither uncharismatic nor megafauna. They are mesofauna and they are adorable. Also, "A" is for them, not apple, no matter what that lying POS gradeschool teacher said.

Also Giant Sloths are totes charismatic, it just takes a reeeeeally long time to notice.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:40 PM
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236.1: I BEG TO DIFFER.


Posted by: OPINIONATED AUNT ANNIE'S ALLIGATOR | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:41 PM
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233: That would explain a lot.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:43 PM
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A IS FOR A


Posted by: OPINIONATED A | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:43 PM
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McManus is David Crosby's liver?

Is he? I find I've inadvertantly just drunk a bottle of rather nice Rioja, so I suppose I must be Keef's.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:43 PM
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"A" is for them, not apple....

If I recall the '90s correctly, Da Lench Mob would disagree, and they possess firearms with which to support their view.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:43 PM
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A IS A


Posted by: OPINIONATED AYN RAND | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:45 PM
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WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED DAVID CROSBY'S LIVER | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:46 PM
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240: You have done a yeoman's work, sir.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:48 PM
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Old school engineer heaven.

*blissful sigh*


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:52 PM
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244. Have I? I thought a yeoman's work was to plough an acre strip and practice archery after church on Sundays. If it actually involves sitting around drinking good wine and staring at the internet, I'll have to reconsider my values.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:52 PM
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...to plough an acre strip and practice archery after church on Sundays.

Whatever the kids are calling it these days, I salute you.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:54 PM
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*blissful sigh*

There's lively horsetrading going on right now for positions of influence under the Shearer regime, megan. From what I understand, if you will merely agree to support James' bid for dictator, and to pretend to be his girlfriend one Saturday every other month, he'll give you plenary powers over water policy (subject, of course, to his occasional dictatorial whims).

I've already got the transportation policy portfolio locked up in exchange for... uh, you know, sanctity.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:59 PM
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Well, I'm kinda living in old school engineer heaven right now. My new boss and my grandboss are both old-style, with the ramrod straight backs. They're so square and predictable. Love them. They believe you Do Right. My great-grandboss is visionary, so this whole system is working out for me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:02 PM
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|| No more masturbating to Howard Zinn. |>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:08 PM
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250: From Auchincloss to Zinn in but a single day.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:10 PM
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Pain is just pain. Whether and to what extent it's traumatic depends on the context.

Huh. I wasn't trying to separate out pain from context, particularly, since I'm not sure how one would do that. Pain inflicted upon you by someone else - as it would be in the case of sexual abuse - is usually traumatic - that's all I meant. (If you want to argue about what traumatic means, fine.) I might be overly influenced, though, by Elaine Scarry and Judith Herman. And by childhood trips to the dentist.

Of course, none of us has read the book, but it seems like a big jump to me to worry that Clancy is arguing that the sort of pain that would be traumatic in other contexts is non-traumatic in the context of sexual abuse.

Perhaps, but it seems to me that we/she/the media need to be more precise about what they mean about "sexual abuse."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:19 PM
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what they mean about by "sexual abuse."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:21 PM
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Recently I was out and saw a woman trip and fall on the pavement. It was a minor fall and she was stunned and a little bruised but basically alright. In those moments, she didn't quite know how to react. Her companion immediately started freaking out, talking about 911 and ambulances. You could actually watch as the other woman's freaking out was transferred to the woman who fell. Luckily, some friends of mine stepped in and proceeded to calm her down.

Trying to calm down the victim seems like it should be a desirable goal. The problem seems to be that you want to emphasize "You're going to be okay", but you don't want to use "what you experienced was no big deal" to do it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:28 PM
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A real pity about Howard Zinn. At least he was properly old.

Between times, it'll be public readings of Frantz Fanon and mass executions.

McManusville it is, then! And I'll get a lot of knitting done.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:24 PM
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Pain inflicted upon you by someone else - as it would be in the case of sexual abuse - is usually traumatic - that's all I meant. (If you want to argue about what traumatic means, fine.)

My assumption was that "trauma" in the context of this discussion means some sort of lasting, negative psychological impact. I don't think that's a common thing for most pain that happens by accident or as a side effect to medical procedures and such. And even when someone is intentionally inflicting pain for bad reasons, I think that factors like powerlessness, the duration of the harm, and the presence or absence of other sources of support and understanding matter a lot more than the degree of physical pain.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:51 PM
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Anyone know about the tribes in New Guinea where the puberty ritual involves pubescent boys (about 12-13) giving fellatio to their uncles? The idea is that ingesting sperm helps their inner manhood grow. Universal and routine male participation in this ritual, as far as anthropologists can tell.

No question that's sexual abuse in our culture...what is it in theirs?

Puberty rituals are interesting because they are traumatic, that's the point, but the trauma is used as a positive rite of passage, socially valued.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:51 PM
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I think that factors like powerlessness, the duration of the harm, and the presence or absence of other sources of support and understanding matter a lot more than the degree of physical pain.

Alright. I suppose my original reaction was poorly thought out; I was thinking that being raped vaginally as an 8-year-old would likely create significant pain and serve as a signal that "things are not right here" - creating an initial trauma (long-lasting negative psychological impact) that I could see being much worse - because of the pain - than the initial trauma of being fondled (wherein, as I understand it, the author is pushing the idea that it is the realization that you've been abused that may be more traumatic). But all of this is horrible to contemplate so I'll stop flogging a dead conversation and pay attention to the State of the Union.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:52 PM
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258: And I don't mean to be overly argumentative, but it's a topic that I've spent some time thinking about because of various family-related stuff (not involving sexual abuse (at least mostly)).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:48 PM
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Makes sense. Not that you can tell given the crappy nature of my comments in this conversation, but I've actually spent a great deal of time thinking professionally about historical violence/physical discipline towards children (but not in sexual abuse cases). I decided not to get involved in that conversation upthread because I'd be way too argumentative.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 12:43 AM
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39:


This is certainly true, and for people of my age the evidence is that people of my parents' generation were often beaten as a matter of course and were generally not traumatised by it, while people of my own and younger generations generally weren't, so that those who were suffered far worse long term effects.

I'm not sure in how far this is true and in how far the damage done to people who grew up in a culture of casual physical violence just wasn't recognised because it was considered to be normal. Especially in a context where the people of your/my parents' generation were brought up by people who went through four to six years of mass World War II, or even went through it themselves as children. For people who've been used to massive violence, the casual snuffing out of lives, either done to them or by them, then come home and raise a family, a light bit of spanking or caning won't seem such a big deal.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 2:12 AM
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Speaking of trauma, childhood sexual abuse and such, have Piers anthony's well reasoned view on them.

I suffered, all shall suffer.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 2:14 AM
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261. It's probably true that people of the mid-20th century generation were working with a more, shall we say robust, definition of trauma than we do these days. And their parents more so and so on. But this brings us back to the original question of how far the sense of being traumatised is culturally determined.

If you live in a world where your teachers frequently hit you with a big stick, and they also hit your friends, and being hit with a big stick is just one of those things that happen like getting clogged on the football field, then you presumably mind because it hurts, but do you feel undermined, invaded, invalidated by something that's a tiresome routine? If so, under the circumstances, why?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 2:50 AM
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Please don't infect me with Piers Anthony until I've had enough coffee to resist it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 2:53 AM
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262: That's awesome. I knew there was something wrong with Piers Anthony. I never realized that it's because he's a monster.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:42 AM
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261: I'm not sure in how far this is true and in how far the damage done to people who grew up in a culture of casual physical violence just wasn't recognised because it was considered to be normal.

This seems like a "heads I win, tails you lose" sort of argument. If there exist societies in which no obvious pathologies were associated with corporal punishment, then that must obviously mean the entire society was pathological. How exactly one would go about proving or disproving this is a bit mysterious, but if we had to go on guesswork: there are plenty of cultures in which corporal punishment was considered perfectly normal with or without war. It seems dubious to suppose that in all these cases, daily violence was just so darned massive that nobody noticed that spanking is evil. It's likelier that spanking was actually not a big deal to the populations in question.

I note again a seeming inability or unwillingness in the discussion to differentiate between corporal punishment and just random violence. This is one of those habits that often makes anti-spanking sentiment seem so ridiculous.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 4:18 PM
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262: Ewwww.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 4:20 PM
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266: It's likelier that spanking was actually not a big deal to the populations in question.

I haven't read this thread, so maybe this has been mentioned, but quite a bit of the spanking/no-spanking forms of child-raising are just (?) a function of the parenting literature popular at the time. Why one trend or another in that literature gains ascendancy at any given time is arguably a reflection of other features of the culture, its history, and its aspirations. Of course.

Those wouldn't be just such situational facts as having gone through a World War; they'd also include gender relations, industrialization issues ... conceptions of the family, a mother's and a father's projected role in family life (inflected by work life), expectations about performance of gender, as we say these days.

This is poorly written, sorry. It's just to say that the society as a whole tells itself a story about who and what it is, and it polices boundaries to varying degrees, those stories including ones about the extent to which it should police its boundaries by punishing kids in order to train them into compliance.

This is not a good writing night for me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:03 PM
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but quite a bit of the spanking/no-spanking forms of child-raising are just (?) a function of the parenting literature popular at the time.

Parenting literature doesn't really arise until the 19th century in the West. Unless you consider things like Rousseau's Emile or John Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education. But I suppose you're probably not meaning literature in specific and thus I'm being too nit-picky.

(This is why I told myself not to get involved in this conversation. It's just hard to avoid when it is essentially the topic of your dissertation.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:24 PM
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These hints about your reserach topic are tantalizing, (). You should really start a blog about Precolumbian parenting literature.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:28 PM
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269: I was responding to the subthread revived at 261, which referred to World War II, so yes, post 19th century.

My understanding was that parenting literature got into full swing in the Victorian age. But I certainly haven't made a dedicated study of this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:33 PM
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271: Gotcha - I read your post to be a sort of "everywhere, at all time" thing and didn't pick up on the specific time-frame.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 5:38 PM
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