Re: Playing All The Hits, All The Time

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See Reagan, Nancy, and No, Just Say

Heh. I had a conversation over the weekend about how D.A.R.E. "worked" on me. I felt super guilty when I smoked shitty weed in 8th Grade and was definitely gonna say NO! if anyone busted out some heroin or whatever.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:51 AM
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On the other hand, I have no experience with domestic violence, so really, what the fuck do I know?

Then go abuse somebody and get back to us. I value your opinion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:56 AM
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Or maybe this isn't the best thread for jokes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:59 AM
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Cue self-abuse joke.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:01 AM
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There's a reason Al-Anon exists. Sure, a lot of people completely manage to avoid abusive relationships their whole lives, or find themselves in one and say, hey, this isn't cool with me, right away, and good for them! But there are those of us who, due to one or more of many, many reasons, have found ourselves staying with abusive partners for a while, or a lifetime.

What bothers me about the PR around abuse is that victims of domestic violence are often depicted as having low self-esteem, poor confidence, financial dependence, no friends or family, low intelligence, physical weakness, etc. If she took a few tae bo lessons, she'd show him a thing or two! IME, and in the E of a lot of my friends, none of these were a problem for us, but we still got and stayed involved with physically abusive partners.

I do wish the discourse around abuse wasn't all stereotypes of cringing, bruised ladies with not a dollar to their name. It makes it really hard to recognize you're a victim, in the useful way, if you're a straight man, or gay, or or a straight woman who doesn't look like the ones in the commercials.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:06 AM
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That is, yeah, I think the linked post is pretty cold. Why mark some line between people you are "supposed to" feel sorry for and those you don't? Who's asking so hard for her to pity them? I wouldn't, and I didn't appreciate pity about my situation then. What I would have liked was some fucking help.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:12 AM
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I was articulating her distinction as "climate of fear", which may be putting words in her mouth, as to why she would sympathize with one person and not another. AWB, does "climate of fear" fit the abusive relationships you and friends have been in?

(It sounds like I've got a follow-up question that I'm gunning for, but I really don't. Just curious as to whether it's a useful phrase.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:17 AM
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Arg, one more clarification and then I'm going to get ready to go to Europe, I swear.

I don't think it helps prevent abuse to heighten the distinctions between the rilly-rilly abused and the not-at-all abused. Super-conservatives like to do this with rape (see: Bill Napoli and his fantasy about the virgin, "raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it") so that women who are in any lesser circumstance are to blame for whatever happened. It's too fatiguing to care about those women who may have drunkenly wanted to make out, but not fuck.

The solution, it seems to me, is to stop giving a shit about who "deserves" your caring, and start looking more analytically, and less emotionally, at a variety of kinds of abusive relationships, figure out how it starts, figure out how to stop it, negotiate ways to get out, etc. We should be talking more about abuse, though, not less.

A friend of mine was engaged many years ago to a guy. I was friends with them both and liked them both a lot. She confessed to me that in private, whenever they argued, they'd start kicking each other, first like kids joking around, but then so hard they'd both end up having to cover up bruises. Who gets pity and who gets blame? Who cares? It was still really fucked up and finally escalated to the point that friends finally told them they had to go to counseling before getting married or we wouldn't be involved in it. Neither of them recognized that they were in a domestic violence situation because it was mutual and neither were trapped in the relationship. They were really shocked when we called them out on it, but therapy helped, at least for a few years after the wedding.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:25 AM
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8.last: The problem is that people without resources and/or lawyers it is entirely possible that instead of two people in the therapy, you get two people with assault convictions on their records and trouble finding work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:30 AM
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I just don't care about her pity. Would I have said I lived in a "climate of fear" during that year? I almost got murdered like three times, and yeah, that was fucking terrifying. I don't have flashbacks as often as I did just a few years ago though. I don't think I fit her stereotype of the kind of person she feels bad for. It felt more like being at war or something; you know you're there on purpose, but it's way more intense and fucked up than you bargained for, and shit is going to happen that you'll spend the rest of your life trying to repress and then deal with. Maybe you could get out of it, but that seems cowardly at the time. It felt stressful, more than anything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:32 AM
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10 to 7


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:33 AM
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neither was.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:35 AM
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10: I don't think she's claiming to know who's who. She's just saying that she does not consider herself, nor her mother, to be victims, and therefore the spectrum of violent situations is more complicated than it's often portrayed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:35 AM
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When Tiger Wood's shit hit the fan, we had a big discussion about whether Elin was an abusive spouse or not, for going after him with a tire iron. I argued that (unless this was part of a pattern) she wasn't creating a climate of fear, and acting like a one-time volcano when you're reeling from one-time crazy upheaval does not make you an abusive spouse.

I guess I missed this discussion, because this seems absolutely crazy to me. If going after somebody with a tire iron doesn't make you an abusive spouse, then what does? Would you be willing to extend this one-time tire iron exception to males as well? What about if somebody shoots their spouse in the head, but it was just that one time?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:35 AM
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Would you be willing to extend this one-time tire iron exception to males as well?

If you aren't supposed to chase people with tire irons, why do they put them in every car?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:41 AM
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14: It feels like a zero-tolerance policy to me to say that any single incident of violence is indicative of an abusive situation, and context never matters. I'm wary of zero-tolerance policies.

Sure, you can give me situations where a single incident does seem sufficient. But it seems problematic to disregard circumstances across the board.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:42 AM
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14: I was on the "sounds like abuse to me" bench in that conversation, but the other side of it wasn't incoherent. The idea, as I understood it, is that "being an abusive spouse" isn't limited to engaging in violence -- an "abuser" is someone who controls their spouse/partner or children through fear. A one-time violent incident that wasn't part of a pattern of intimidating and controlling the victim would still be battery, but it wouldn't be domestic abuse.

I don't like that sort of classificiation, becasue it seems to run into the problem that Bear identified -- if you get a situation that doesn't look like your description of 'abuse', there's a temptation to dismiss it as 'not a problem', even if it clearly should be (as in when one person is hitting another with a tire iron).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:42 AM
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And IIRC, it was a golf club, not a tire iron.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:43 AM
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The linked post is interesting. I think the author is still too invested in bright-lining good victims vs. bad non-victims. The issue to me is whether we can question the definition of domestic violence as a one-sided victimization rather than the complex two-sided cycle of violence that it probably frequently is. The concern for preserving the simplicity of the "one-sided" definition of domestic violence is that we won't be able to help the victim unless they are defined as purely innocent and victimized or stop the abuse unless we can load all the blame on a villainous abuser in the pair to put in jail or mandatory counseling or whatever. Criminal law tends to force a very strong victim/criminal split that may not be totally suitable to all cases of violence in intimate relationships. Can you help people effectively without putting this narrative on it?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:45 AM
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And IIRC, it was a golf club, not a tire iron.

Who has those lying around?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:46 AM
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18: Then I'm safe. My golf clubs were stolen in about 1998 and I've never replaced them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:47 AM
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She chased after his *car* with a golf club, right? Still scary and awful, but it was never clear to me that she was trying to hit him.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:47 AM
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I thought there were pictures of him looking pretty bruised afterwards.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:49 AM
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But maybe I made that up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:50 AM
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14 - William S. Burroughs sees what you did there.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:50 AM
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23: I thought those were from driving his car into a tree? I have no real idea.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:52 AM
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22-24: After the last conversation, I came out of it totally unsure either way as to what happened. Even if she was only hitting the car, though, having an angry person whaling away at a car you're in with a golf club would be pretty terrifying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:54 AM
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26: Sounds like a bruise-worthy explanation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:55 AM
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27: Kind of like a squeegee guy, supersized.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:56 AM
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He drove his car into the tree at like 2 miles an hour -- the tree wasn't damaged, the front of the car wasn't damaged, the airbag didn't deploy.

That said, I both feel like I was being a bit puckish in the last thread, and I also completely don't give a shit about Tiger Woods or his personal life.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:58 AM
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14: It feels like a zero-tolerance policy to me to say that any single incident of violence is indicative of an abusive situation, and context never matters. I'm wary of zero-tolerance policies.

I sorta feel like they have their place. Just off the top of my head, I'd say 1. using nuclear weapons, 2. filling major bodies of water with crude oil, 3. killing people, 4. convincing people to kill people, 5. using comic sans in anger, 6. killing people with bombs when you've been specifically told not to should all be pretty much off limits.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:02 AM
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31: I note that in carefully omitting spousal abuse, you've agreed with my larger point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:04 AM
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I think the author of the linked post is doing something I see a lot, which is dealing with an abusive past by distancing herself from victimhood. That's fine, I guess, and I certainly did that for a long time too. I'm not one of those women. In the long run, it wasn't productive for me, because it resulted in me blaming myself for staying in the relationship, feeling infinite guilt about anything I might have done to provoke or continue the abuse, and being totally unprepared to deal with the long-term consequences of repressed memories. The opposite, which is also undesirable, would be to become someone so obsessed with their own victimhood that they can never allow themselves to move past it.

From the perspective of criminality, sure, it's nice to have fault/no-fault distinctions. I'm not saying I want to or would ever have brought charges against my ex. But from the perspective of trying to help actual people deal with actually abusive situations, I think making clean distinctions like that means that there's pity, but not solidarity, for victims of abuse.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:05 AM
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32: spousal abuse, malicious flooding of Bangladesh and blowing up the moon are presumably to be taken on a case-by-case basis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:06 AM
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I'm torn in that I have low tolerance for introducing violence into interpersonal disputes, yet I feel the world would be a better place, on average, if more golfers had to fear being assaulted by the tools of their trade.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:08 AM
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This discussion feels oddly like it's trying to figure out where exactly the acceptable amount of abuse is. As in, you can abuse THIS MUCH but no more.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:08 AM
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Which moon? Any moon?

Flooding of Bangladesh by what liquid? Are we supposed to assume this is not related to the tides being all higgledy-piggledy?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:09 AM
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I generally feel strongly that when PSAs oversimplify their message, they lose their audience the moment the audience identifies the lies. (See Reagan, Nancy, and No, Just Say, and Geebie, Young Heebie.)

See also the recent spectacular fall of the anthropogenic global warming church, for similar reasons. One lie is worth a thousand truths.


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:12 AM
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I knew A White Bear would rock this thread.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:12 AM
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33: I see that too, that one way to take ownership (really not a good word) for victimhood is to fall into very strong binaries of various sorts about victims. I think it's probably part of the process of healing for a lot of people, but I think it's un-useful for those outside.

I dunno, if AWB does indeed leave the thread for Europe and someone's needed to pick up the thread of "I used to be abused and now I try to make sense of it in various ways" I can do that. Otherwise I'm inclined not to engage because I've spent too much time lately talking to Rowan, who was our pre-adoptive placement who didn't work out, about how to prepare to testify against his parents. He really falls into blaming himself or wanting to accept culpability for a lot of what went on and it's very hard to listen to that. I mean if, say, his family member was beating him and so he hit back, why is that adult in trouble when he himself did the same thing? Um, because you were only 10 and, well, so it goes....


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:12 AM
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(from 6) That is, yeah, I think the linked post is pretty cold. Why mark some line between people you are "supposed to" feel sorry for and those you don't?

Right, or like the poor people you feel sorry for, versus those that really could better their situation if they would just try harder. Right? I think this is called "compassionate conservatism."


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:16 AM
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I think we can agree that things are bad in a relatinoship if there is hitting, even if there is a rough balance of power (economic, social, physical). But clearly things are much worse if there is hitting in a relationship and one person (almost always the man) has all the power.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:18 AM
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I think this is called "compassionate conservatism."

In compassionate conservatism, you keep the little knitted hat on the gold club to buffer the impact.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:18 AM
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It makes perfect sense to try and make sense of your own bad experiences, and to try and figure out how to be strong within yourself and believe in your power of agency and so on. What may make less sense is to generalize about other people's lives from your own violent relationship.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:21 AM
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Have fun in Europe, AWB. I'm starting to feel bad because I never go anywhere. My son keeps wanting to go to Iceland, I have no idea why, and I'm now feeling like I should just take him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:27 AM
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See also the recent spectacular fall of the anthropogenic global warming church, for similar reasons. One lie is worth a thousand truths.

I think that's more a case of a thousand megaphones drowing out one megaphone.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:28 AM
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Part of what's going on here is that there can generally be a big difference between two things, without there being a bright line between them. The thing about domestic violence in heterosexual couples is that most men are physically much stronger than most women, and many women don't think of themselves as capable of inflicting physical injury on a larger, stronger person. But of course women can hurt, and can intimidate, men (particularly women holding golf clubs), so you can't categorically dismiss female-on-male violence as unimportant.

So, you've got a situation where a man's hitting a woman, and she's not hitting back at all. That's easy, it's abuse. Now she's hitting back in immediate self-defense. Still abuse. Now, they both hit each other frequently, and she intitiates violence sometimes, but due to the strength-mismatch, she ends up with serious injuries (or at least reasonably fears them), and he gets the occasional scratch. He's still an abuser, but I'm not quite sure how to describe her, and this is the sort of situation from the linked blogpost where people want to start saying "not a victim of domestic abuse". Finally if injuries or risk of injury are about the same on both sides, I don't know what to call the situation except that they need to get away from each other somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:31 AM
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I think the author of the linked post is doing something I see a lot, which is dealing with an abusive past by distancing herself from victimhood.

Allow me to be the first to say that I think the author of the linked post is doing . . . aw screw it, what I really mean to say is that I had the exact same thought when I read the linked post.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:35 AM
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But of course women can hurt, and can intimidate, men (particularly women holding golf clubs),

Whenever I see a woman holding a golf club, I cross over to the other side of the street.

But I feel guilty about it of course.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:36 AM
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48 was me, obvs.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:37 AM
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It's certainly possible that the author is distancing herself from her victimhood. But that may discount the face value of what she's saying, as well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:38 AM
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47.2: or she does things that she's pretty sure will cause him to be violent, because it scores a larger point in some other relationship battle and they have a weird fucked up dynamic and... and so on. We're talking about human relationships, here. It's always complicated! That's why you have a bright line: if somebody's hitting somebody, it's abuse, it's bad, and it has to stop.

The games people can play with other people's emotions are endless, and you can (and quite often do!) end up with situations where somebody goes back to the partner who subsequently kills them, or somebody genuinely believes they beat their partner because they love them, or somebody genuinely believes that -- although they're the one doing the hitting -- that they're the one who is being abused, because of the power imbalance in the relationship. Or that even though they're being hit they could leave when they want to, and are only staying because the partner loves them! I mean, that's how it works. The only possible way to make it at all clear what behavior is not okay is to say that if you (attempt to) injure your partner out of anger it's abuse, period, and if somebody does that to you you have to leave.

Does this elide a huge amout of complexity in human relationships? Of course it does! That isn't the point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:39 AM
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I mean, that's how it works.

So you're saying abusive relationships work?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:42 AM
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So you're saying abusive relationships work?

To some end, certainly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:42 AM
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51: I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

As someone just reading the story she presents, I absolutely have sympathy for her as someone who was exposed at least semi-directly to abuse as a child in a way that normalized it for her and let her build up her own beliefs about it at that time. It's not surprising to me that her later self-sabotaging behaviors included domestic violence. I would say that yes, she was abusive toward her husband (hitting, punching, etc.) and he was abusive toward her. I don't think it's entirely problematic to recognize that the same person can be be both victim and aggressor, though, so maybe I'm not taking part in the conversation in the right way.

And I'm not cool with the tire iron/golf club-type incidents being minimized or automatically put in the non-abuse category. It seems to me there are lots of different kinds of abuse that manifest themselves differently in different kinds of relationships.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:45 AM
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One more thought, and then really, I have to go buy some stuff--

Of the people I know who have been involved in long-term abusive situations (like more than a year), most of them are incredibly arrogant, physically strong, and intellectual, and they include straight, gay, bi, and trans men and women. (Most of my friends are arrogant, strong intellectuals, so it's a sample problem; I'm not arguing all victims of abuse are.) In all the situations I can think of, the abusive relationship was one that, at the time, we either participated in or got off on in some way that made it feel like a choice we were responsible for. For some of us, feeling like the "well one" was really satisfying. Taking care of a crazy person and feeling like you're the only one who can handle them and keep them alive can be addictive. Or it can seem at the time that a "normal" relationship is for boring people, and what you have is drama and adventure. Or maybe you call it being submissive, and you're really proud of how much you can "take." So none of us should be pitied.

OTOH, some of these are interpretations we put on abusive situations out of fear of being seen as weak. Or we're so busy intellectualizing about a relationship that we don't even know how we feel emotionally about it. When you come out the back end of one of these relationships and realize that, sure, you're still smart and capable and financially stable, but you have a hysterical panic attack every time someone touches your neck or you smell the wrong shampoo, it's time to think about revisiting your aversion to the word "victim," or find some other way of dealing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:45 AM
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52: Yeah, that's about right. Another confusing bit from the outside is that in a lot of situations you want to treat bad behavior from both sides of a relationship as somehow cancelling each other out -- you hit me, I hit you, and so it's the same as if no one hit anyone. This works particularly badly in domestic violence situations, I think -- particularly in the "she does things that she's pretty sure will cause him to be violent" sort of situation, or in the mutual violence that's not symmetrically intense situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:46 AM
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The games people can play with other people's emotions are endless...

Right, but if you switch to sheep, suddenly you're the one with the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:46 AM
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I think AWB nailed the basic issue - the frame of feeling sorry for someone as a powerless victim is a longstanding part of the political discourse around domestic violence, but it's still a bad criterion for deciding whether a given relationship is problematic. In implementation and relationship advice, what we need is services and open minds - and I think it's fine to have a simpleminded "if there's hitting going on, either side should be talking to people and be able to get help."

The LP author says she has a hard time feeling a certain kind of sympathy for people in relationships X, Y, and Z. What does that mean in practice? You won't vote for more shelters? It seems to trail off into tracing the boundaries of proper judgmentalness.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:48 AM
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56 is not to say all subs are rationalizing abuse. Again, sample problem.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:50 AM
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58: sheep bite, Moby. If you need a safe space I can help you get out of the petting zoo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:51 AM
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49 I don't even see sports.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:57 AM
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61 has produced in me the revelation that the universe needs there to exist a slash novel entitled The Sound and the Furry.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:58 AM
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51: I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

(I'm not sure I'd defend the following position to the bitter end, but...)

I mean that perhaps the author could work through her issues, be totally enlightened and at peace, etc, and say "My situation was sufficiently symmetric, power-wise, that I don't consider myself a victim." So her content might in fact be taken at face-value.

With several people saying that it seemed like she was distancing herself from her victimhood - yeah, it does - but possibly she's a trustworthy narrator and we'd agree with her if had full access to the whole story.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:00 AM
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62: Race-ist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:00 AM
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So her content might in fact be taken at face-value.

I think this is reasonable, I just don't think that it carries any implications whatsoever for anybody else's relationship.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:02 AM
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63: I'm at work, so I'm not going to google it, but I'm fairly certain it exists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:03 AM
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64: I'm cool with her not considering herself a victim and what I as an outsider might think is a totally different issue. She can say whatever she wants about that, but I'm a little bit skeptical about generalizing from what she thinks about how she thinks we should feel about various classes of people who've experienced abuse.

On the other hand, maybe I can spin this a little differently. I have a friend who works with juvenile sex offenders. And I think it's important to acknowledge that what they have done is wrong and so on, not minimize at all what's happened to their victims and the crimes' impacts on them. But it's also necessary to (in almost all cases) acknowledge the ways in which they've been victimized too. Yes, it's terrible when a 7-year-old rapes a 3-year-old, but to me the extra terrible part is what's had to happen to the 7-year-old to get him or her to that place, you know? I'm not sure if I'm saying a related thing or not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:06 AM
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64: I do think it's important to separate the question "is Person X a victim" from "is Person Y an abuser" (or "is conduct Z abuse"). Someone may not want to consider themselves a victim, because that seems weak, or they really weren't hurt, or they gave as good as they got. But that doesn't make the interaction non-abusive -- as Thorn said, the same person can be a victim and an abuser.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:06 AM
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It makes it really hard to recognize you're a victim, in the useful way, if you're a straight man, or gay, or or a straight woman who doesn't look like the ones in the commercials.

I used to do LBGT sensitivity training for D.C. police cadets. One of the things we talked about was domestic violence between same-sex partners. D.C. has a mandatory arrest law for d.v. and sometimes both partners would end up being arrested because the cops felt like there was no way to tell which one was the abuser. With straight couples, even if the woman stayed silent or denied a problem, the man was assumed to be the abuser and was arrested.

The idea that there could be real d.v. with gay couples was a surprise to many. There was a general notion that d.v. was more or less defined by one partner being obviously physically dominant -- by default a man versus a woman -- and it wouldn't be so lopsided with same sex couples.

We had to talk about ways to recognize some indicators of abuser/victim and the importance of interviewing the partners separately.

(An aside: As an icebreaker for the entire training, we would ask them to list the derogatory terms they knew for LGBT folks. This is how I learned the term "bone smuggler.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:08 AM
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The idea that there could be real d.v. with gay couples was a surprise to many. There was a general notion that d.v. was more or less defined by one partner being obviously physically dominant -- by default a man versus a woman -- and it wouldn't be so lopsided with same sex couples.

A misconception that lead directly to the death of one of Jeffrey Dahmer's victims, if I remember correctly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:10 AM
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From the OP:Clearly it's futile to try to distinguish between situations like the mother and author were in, and situations like the aunt is in, unless you have insider knowledge of the situation.

So I'm not claiming that pity should be withheld or doled out or that judging people's abusive relationships is a really great recreational activity.

I do think that it's a worthwhile point that not all violent relationships fit the PSA narrative, and that the people in the relationship might determine that their violent relationship was not abusive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:11 AM
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72: I totally agree with you about that and was only quibbling with her or as using her as illustration or, most likely, with not getting adequate sleep last night so that I'm only marginally sensible now.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:12 AM
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71: I'm sure Sir Kraab taught the cadets to assume the guy with the human body parts in the freezer is the abuser.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:15 AM
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74: So that's what "bone smuggler" means!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:18 AM
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My son keeps wanting to go to Iceland, I have no idea why, and I'm now feeling like I should just take him.

The first rule of travel is to go only where you can have an Unfogged meetup.

(Also, your son wants to go to Iceland because 1) there's a mountain spewing fire and ash and 2) he thinks there'll be a lot of hot chicks in snowsuits and Oakleys.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:20 AM
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73: Oh, I wasn't snapping at you in particular.

Comment 6 and others that picked up on "Who is she to judge who you're supposed to pity?" bit rubbed me the wrong way, because the author basically sticks to her own experience. Although I definitely excerpted it poorly, making it look like she loves judging other people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:20 AM
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76.last: My son is four, so I'm guessing the mountain spewing fire is the attraction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:23 AM
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I should have read the linked post. Then heebie wouldn't'a snapped me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:25 AM
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he thinks there'll be a lot of hot chicks in snowsuits and Oakleys

Heteronormativist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:26 AM
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I'm at work, so I'm not going to google it, but I'm fairly certain it exists.

Once you get home and can check your bookshelves, let us know.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:26 AM
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79: Don't blame yourself, Sifu. Heebie's being abusive.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:29 AM
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Although I definitely excerpted it poorly, making it look like she loves judging other people.

You really think context is the issue? She grounds what she's saying in compassion, but her summing-up is explicitly about how she thinks about d.v. generally.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:30 AM
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I feel like the context excuses my behavior.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:30 AM
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78, 80: I was talking about birds, you speciesists.

Note to our British readers: I mean those things that have feathers and fly in the air.

(I am eagerly awaiting the joke someone will make to show that "have feathers and fly in the air" describes (an) actual wome(a)n.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:33 AM
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I'm sure it's horribly biased to say this, but I read more on the linked blog and the woman writing is only 25 and now I feel I was being uncharitable to her because at the wise old age of 30 I think she has plenty of time to figure things out differently and her other writing makes me think she's doing a good job dealing with her past and raising her children in what seems to be a healthy way. End of sentence!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:33 AM
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I mean those things that have feathers and fly in the air.

AHEM.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PENGUIN | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:36 AM
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84: Yeah, did you see what Sifu was wearing???


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:38 AM
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87: Stop playing the victim. You could fly if you really tried.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:39 AM
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From the linked post: the uncle of mine that was violently murdered due to his lifestyle when I was very young;

Another one of those people who ran afoul of the anti-Tiki bar backlash of the early-1980s?

But seriously, all euphemisms aside, while I am disgusted by domestic violence, there's a hell of a lot of grey area there. And yeah, I'm with Thorn that the story here is not "someone has been in mutually abusive relationships, whether or not you use the word 'abusive'" but rather "a lot of really fucked up shit happened in this woman's life".

I don't think anyone would characterize any of my relationships as abusive, but I certainly have plenty of close friends who've been there. One friend, and this goes to AWB's anecdote somewhat, was in a het relationship that was pretty unambiguously emotionally abusive (of her, by her boyfriend). But she would also get into these modes where she was "play-fighting" or wrestling with him, but not being clear about his boundaries, and would freak him out to the extent that he would leave, or call the cops (without staying around for them to show up, so no charges) or I think, on a couple of occasions, hit her back for real. If there had been cop involvement there, how would the cops, to say nothing of the courts, adjudicate it?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:41 AM
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89: No, they can't fly. It's lunch time.


Posted by: Opinionated Leopard Seal | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:42 AM
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I am sure that relationships in which there is physical violence, like all other relationships, have all kinds of nuances and complexities and blame on both sides.

However, if we're talking about a legal definition of "abuse" (that's not really a defined term in law, that I'm aware of, but I think people mean, roughly, something sufficient to sustain an application for a restraining order or to justify getting out of the house) I am very much in favor of bright line rules. Hit someone with a golf club: that's abuse, and you can seek legal redress. Both parties get into a fight and both get hurt: both have been abused, and both can seek legal redress. The strong default should simply be no physical violence (except in clear cases of self defense).

As AWB said, I think the author of the OP is trying to set up a dichotomy between what she experienced and what "real" abuse looks like, in order to distance herself from the kind of people who "really" get abused. And sure, (a) that's psychologically helpful, sometimes, and (b) in any bad situation, there are other people who are worse off. But if we're thinking about actual rights and remedies available to people, the rule should be if there's violence, you get to have your restraining order and you get to get help leaving the relationship. Period.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:44 AM
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(I am eagerly awaiting the joke someone will make to show that "have feathers and fly in the air" describes (an) actual wome(a)n.)

I'm pretty sure that describes one of the main characters in The Sound and the Furry, but we'll have to wait for confirmation from Moby.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:48 AM
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84: Fair enough.

(See Dick comment on the grounding of Jane's comment about the attitude taken in previous comments to Jane's post!)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:48 AM
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93: If you want me to explain women to you, you're out of luck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:51 AM
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Speaking of fiction, these are fun little games:

http://www.choiceofgames.com/

The two "official" ones, I mean. The user-contributed games range from sorta interesting (Nightmare Maze) to eye-stabbingly horrible in all details (Popcorn, Soda . . . Murder?).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:52 AM
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95: Are you trying to tell me that luck isn't a lady?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:56 AM
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The problem is that people without resources and/or lawyers it is entirely possible that instead of two people in the therapy, you get two people with assault convictions on their records and trouble finding work.

Word. Mandatory arrest laws for DV are the norm. And like Kraab mentioned, if we can't tell who the aggressor is, both parties can be arrested. Loads of DV calls quickly morph into "whoa, I didn't want him/her arrested". Lots of people have difficulty with the concept that calling the police will result in someone getting arrested.

DV calls really run the spectrum. Mutual combat to one party clearly terrorizing the other. I was out on this couple two days before she was beaten to death.

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=11195676&nid=148

DV calls, like a great many things, are often "what are we going to do to resolve this tonight". You can point people towards resources, but all too often they're unable and/or unwilling to do anything make long term changes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:04 AM
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... he thinks there'll be a lot of hot chicks in snowsuits and Oakleys.

Iceland is nice, but the people aren't all that gorgeous, compared to the inhabitants of Denmark and Sweden. They share an appearance of superior health to that one observes in the United States, but I suppose most of Northern Europe does that.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:10 AM
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If there had been cop involvement there, how would the cops, to say nothing of the courts, adjudicate it?

Mandatory arrest laws means that if I've got probable cause, she gets arrested. Granted, he's probably not going to show up to court and all that, but she'd go to jail for that night at least.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:10 AM
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100: And, since the other thread was going on about FICO scores and their use by employers to screen applicants, it is worth noting that nearly every job application requires you to list arrests and sign something saying you'll be fired if you lied on the application.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:14 AM
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100:
Pre-zackly! You're a hunnerd percent kee-reck on that one!

So does that make sense? I mean, yeah, I'm not really down with "play-fighting", outside of well-negotiated consensual BDSM play, of course. I mean, what we're talking about in that case, and in some others, definitely sounds like it would mess up any bright line distinctions you cared to draw.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:18 AM
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So does that make sense?

Yes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:20 AM
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If it was an outside party calling the police on what's being claimed as "play fighting", that's not an obvious bright line case and I'd be very careful as a DV arrest can seriously screw up someone's life.

But if it's one of he involved parties calling? I think that I'm pretty safe in going in assuming the "play fighting" characterization isn't a mutual view.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:30 AM
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But if it's one of he involved parties calling? I think that I'm pretty safe in going in assuming the "play fighting" characterization isn't a mutual view.

Just curious -- the way Nat described it, there'd be a good shot that the man would characterize the interaction as "play fighting", but say he called the cops because she scared him in the course of the play. Have you got discretion in a situation like that, or would that still be mandatory arrest time?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:40 AM
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If the man characterizes it as play fighting, the natural question is going to be, "then why are you calling the police"?

Officially there's 0 discretion with DV. Lots of ways to skin a cat though. If there's visible evidence like injuries, and I'm going to try and get out of there without arresting anyone, then I'd be still be writing a CYA report. Assault requires intent, which would be lacking in play fighting. I'd be real careful to articulate why the incident was non criminal.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:50 AM
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"then why are you calling the police"?

Which would, I admit, be an excellent question.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:55 AM
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98: When you went out on that case, did you end up arresting him?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:55 AM
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I'm not sure I believe in mandatory arrest laws for DV. It's tough, kind of like drug prohibition, because it may well have had a positive impact in reducing DV, but does that outweigh the probably significant number of people who have had their lives really screwed up for a problem that could have been handled without an arrest and all the associated damage to a life and a family? A lot rides on how much discretion officers really have -- which gswift knows more about than anyone.

Lots of people have difficulty with the concept that calling the police will result in someone getting arrested.

I have a relative who works in the criminal justice system and she always said one of the most destructive things about poor/ghetto culture was how quick people were to call the cops on each other. She always saw involving the police as a very damaging thing and kind of taught us the idea of keeping things within family and friends whenever possible. That can of course be destructive in a really bad situation, but for a lot of sort-of-bad situations it can be the best route. When you involve the police in a family matter you are handing the future of someone you love over to a big impersonal bureaucracy which exists to punish.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:00 PM
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why are you calling the police?

Because we can't finish without an audience and the pizza delivery people won't come to the door anymore.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:00 PM
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110 was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:00 PM
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When you went out on that case, did you end up arresting him?

Unfortunately, no. They were chronic transients. A passerby on that day called in because he was shouting at her in the park that's next to the homeless shelter. He was a pretty obvious violent belligerent drunk. But, no physical assault and she wouldn't even tell me what he'd been yelling. Deborah was a regular out there and I tried talking her out of leaving with him. Obviously, no luck.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:03 PM
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Your job must really suck a lot of the time.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:05 PM
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I have a relative who works in the criminal justice system and she always said one of the most destructive things about poor/ghetto culture was how quick people were to call the cops on each other.

On a slightly related note, one big difference I've discovered about the urban middle class (compared to the rural middle class I was raised in) is how often people threaten to sue each other over things way too small to ever be worth the cost of the lawyer. I haven't decided whether watching two sixty-something people threaten to sue each other looks more stupid or less stupid than watching them threaten to punch each other.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:06 PM
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114: that is a legitimately tough question.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:07 PM
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114: The beauty of Judge Judy is that we get both.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:08 PM
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I did once watch one of my neighbors (guy must be 75 or so) spit out his car window at another driver who had failed to let him pass. He only hit the door of the other car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:18 PM
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Probably a gamer.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:26 PM
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nearly every job application requires you to list arrests

Huh. All the job applications I've seen have asked about convictions, but not arrests. In fact, after checking, MA law doesn't permit asking about arrests, just felony convictions and recent (within five years) misdemeanor convictions. I suppose that's not universal, but a couple of other random states I checked seem to have similar restrictions.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:26 PM
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119: I remember the applications asking about arrests. I could be wrong or it could have changed. It has been a long time since I have applied for any job other than my present one and that process wasn't very formal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:33 PM
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In 96, I didn't mention that in Choice of Broadsides (a "swashbuckling naval adventure, in the spirit of C. S. Forester's Hornblower or Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books, with a dash of Jane Austen"), you can choose to play in a world where ships are crewed by women, and "the idea of gentlemen going to sea and being exposed to the horrors of combat--it's a frankly revolting idea."

Nothing revolutionary exactly, but it's interesting how the language changes and amusing to, for example, attend a ball as a dashing young gentlewoman in search of a suitable boy to court.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:36 PM
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A lot rides on how much discretion officers really have

This is huge, and varies a ton between PD's and from state to state. And as a lot of people saw from that NPR piece, jail and bail policies and laws are huge.

My brother is a cop out in GA, and from talking to him it sounds like they don't have our equivalent of a misdemeanor citation. Out here C and B level misdemeanors like simple assault, retail theft, etc. can be released on a citation with a default court date of 14 calendar days from the date of offense. I can't imagine transporting every misdemeanor arrest to jail, but apparently that's SOP in some jurisdictions. Or say, on warrants. I know there's departments out here (airport, cough, airport) that require a Sgt. approval to not take someone to jail if they have a warrant that's over $500.

She always saw involving the police as a very damaging thing and kind of taught us the idea of keeping things within family and friends whenever possible.

There's a lot of truth to this. As I tell people all the time, I generally can only solve things in two ways. A conversation, or jail. And sometimes the law takes away the conversation option.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:42 PM
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98:After following the link

In what percentage of the DV calls do you find evidence of alcohol consumption?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:45 PM
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I, too, have only seen convictions requested. How could an employer justify asking about arrests? Doesn't that violate the fundamental (ethical, not legal) concept of innocent until proven guilty?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:47 PM
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124: Where there's smoke, there's usually fire.


Posted by: M/tch B. M/llser | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:50 PM
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Your job must really suck a lot of the time.

It's a fun and satisfying in a lot of ways, but yeah, there's the suck aspect for sure. As I've said before, there's a lot of "what is going to fix this situation for tonight", because often that's all you can do.

Our involvement is a last resort and every other option, personal, societal, etc. has failed. Now it's blunt instrument time. Sometimes doing everything right is still going to have a bad outcome.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:53 PM
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In what percentage of the DV calls do you find evidence of alcohol consumption?

IME it's the norm. I swear legalization of weed could do more to reduce DV than any mandatory arrest law.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:56 PM
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When your criminal history is run, they see arrests and convictions.

The label "abuse" is used to mean so many different things that I would prefer outlawing the word.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:04 PM
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People abuse "abuse"?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:05 PM
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Thirty-six states allow all employers and occupational licensing agencies to inquire about, consider and make hiring decisions based on arrests that never led to a conviction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:05 PM
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130: If it were a bad business practice, it would just wither away, like the State.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:10 PM
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I have not been employed by a "business" in years. And, now that I think of it, some of the jobs for which I have applied had requirements the merited extra scrutiny for candidates.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:14 PM
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In today's era where there are six qualified people for every job opening, it's important to use arbitrary factors to disqualify people so the poor HR department doesn't have to sort through so many applications. It's no different from excluding Jews, or people over 50, or fat people. Why take a chance?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:14 PM
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Why take a chance?

HONEY I'M STILL FREE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ABBA | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:18 PM
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This is the version of the story about Woods that I heard:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/28/elin-nordegren-tiger-wood_0_n_372566.html

Elin scratched up Woods' face (not necessarily with a golf club) then came after Woods' car with a golf club. Seems pretty abusive to me.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:22 PM
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|| Don't want to derail this thread because it's very interesting, but I really could use advice on this. I don't drive much, and have a 10 year old Honda Accord with 70,000 miles on it, worth about $6,000 blue book. A slight bit of body damage and doesn't look great but runs fine. Just had the mechanic tell me if I want to keep this car for more than another year or so I should get new ball joints on the front end along with wheel balancing/alignment ($600) and also a new timing belt ($665). AC also needs some repairs ($200). That's $1,500 worth of work on a $6,000 car. On the other hand, it's never given me real problems, I don't drive too much so why buy a new car, and a Honda with 70K should last a bit. Worth keeping? Right repairs? Anybody who knows this stuff feel free to pitch in. ||>


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:26 PM
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136: I don't know Accords or labor costs where you live, but if somebody quoted me $665 for a timing belt, I'd ask why they wanted to install a gold-plated timing belt. I have similar concerns about the balancing/alignment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:30 PM
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On our 12-year-old Civic, we delayed the timing belt change until 90k (last year), and our mechanic didn't think that was a terrible idea for a light-use car.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:33 PM
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Sorry, I didn't see the ball joints were in there with the alignment and balancing. Makes the pricing seem better. Anyway, I'd put that kind of money into a car that age if it was doing well and I'd checked around locally about the price. I've put $1,000 into a 15 year old car, so it is possible that I'm not to bright on this.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:36 PM
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Would someone mind putting up a post about the London meetup? Tomorrow, 7pm, The Fellow. I think most saw but it's off the front page now.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:37 PM
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139: And I deliberately omitted the second 'o' in 'too bright' to make my point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 1:52 PM
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136: Just had the mechanic tell me if I want to keep this car for more than another year or so I should get new ball joints on the front end along with wheel balancing/alignment ($600) and also a new timing belt ($665). AC also needs some repairs ($200).

Was there something wrong with the timing belt that cause you to bring the car in or is this preventative? If it's preventative, I'd skip the timing belt and do the ball joints and the A/C, keeping in mind that that's a fairly expensive mechanic. (200$ for an A/C recharge is kind of high.) At any rate, for a car with only 70k miles on it, the work is worth doing, as long as it runs aside from that.

max
['Part of the cost of owning any car is maintainance. Instead paying for maintainance on a new car, you pay interest on the loan.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 2:46 PM
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Yes, it's preventative. The A/C isn't just a recharge, they think there might be a freon leak.

This is a somewhat expensive mechanic. They are supposed to be good, though my experience with them has been a little mixed (they left the oil pan cap off after an oil change, leading to baked oil on a long drive).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 2:52 PM
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...leading to baked oil on a long drive).

Did somebody who isn't them say that the engine didn't take any permanent damage from that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 2:57 PM
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The thing about timing belts is knowing just when to change them.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 2:59 PM
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Ugh, I have to keep reviewing like 17 subjects, but I'm taking a study break to say: I found that post utterly cold and heartless and mean. Appallingly so, given the intimate knowledge the author has of domestic violence and abuse.

It took a few years of therapy and the counsel of many friends to make me realize that my family was not normal, and that my dad was abusive--even if he never laid a hand on me. I feared for my life, because he threatened to end it on so many occasions. He yelled at me so loudly and so often, it was the stuff of legend at high school if I was ever too late to the gates when he picked me up. Because he didn't let me drive or walk to school.

My earliest memory, at age 4 or 5, is of him throwing a chair at my sister. The chair didn't hit her. But did it have to? He whipped my brothers, but he never hit us girls. Did he have to, for us to deserve sympathy? He considers it a point of pride that he's never struck a woman, but he didn't have to. Wasn't it enough that he told us we were worthless and weak, and we learned helplessness through enforced tyranny until we were too dependent on him--and the "family", never knowing or believing that we could be on our own, even after we moved out? I'm with Hilzoy on this one: it's hard to leave when you've been told all your life that you can't leave, and that if you do try to leave, they'll find you and they'll kill you, even though you're dead to them. And they make you so financially dependent, you can't leave, because they control all of your money--it only dawned on me in law school that all of my loans were in my name, and I began squirreling away.

I only recently got out of all of this, at the grand age of 29. I got out because I had to feel safe with someone else, that I had a home I would not be kicked out of, and that if I was afraid to talk to my father, I simply wouldn't pick up the phone. I changed my phone number. I didn't tell anyone my new address. I stopped talking to all of my family, since my siblings kept trying to guilt me into placating my father and begging him for his approval and when I do marry, permission to marry. That I owed it to him, and to them, to make it easy for them to be a part of my lives. This was all based on a false assumption, that I wanted and needed their approval and wanted their "help." That even though they considered living together sinful and called me a whore and wanted me to justify each and every career decision to them, I'd still want a relationship with them. I may one day have a relationship with them, but not now, not while my dad is still controlling everything and everyone.

So, about a month ago, I quit my much hated graduated program, have started looking for jobs, and am eloping. I couldn't have done it if I hadn't found a safe space and wasn't supported financially and emotionally by my boyfriend. Who tells me every day that I am safe here and that he loves me. If I wanted a relationship with my family, he'd be there with me. But I'm finally free. No bruises to speak of, but it still feels like recovering.

Ok, back to studying.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:01 PM
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145: TOO SOON!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:02 PM
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From what cursory googling I've done so far, it appears the manufacturer's schedule (you can double-check this in your manual) for timing belt replacement is 105,000 miles. Assuming that's correct, you should definitely ask the guy why he thinks you need to drop that money so early.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:02 PM
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146: Wow. Congratulations, BL, and best wishes!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:05 PM
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I swear legalization of weed could do more to reduce DV than any mandatory arrest law.

Back in high school a D.A.R.E. officer chewed me out for making a similar assertion in class. I feel so vindicated now!


Posted by: toops | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:07 PM
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Belle: Congratulations on getting free of your father and on your nuptuals and best of luck with your job search.

If you are leaving your grad program what are you studying for?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:08 PM
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I feel so vindicated now!

Since the 1990s, independent studies of the D.A.R.E program have been conducted from selected school populations. These studies reported that D.A.R.E. did not actually decrease drug use among graduates. Some studies even indicated that there was an increased rate of drug use among D.A.R.E. graduates. In 2001, the Surgeon General of the United States placed the D.A.R.E. program in the category of "Does Not Work"

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:09 PM
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Good luck Belle. I've only done the dropping out of grad school part of it and that was stress enough. (But so worth it.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:10 PM
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Assuming that's correct, you should definitely ask the guy why he thinks you need to drop that money so early.

thanks Sifu. His justification was the 10 years. Timing belts may be affected by the simple passage of time. Do have to check the manual.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:13 PM
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146: wow again. Congratulations, Belle. Your fiancee sounds wonderful.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:16 PM
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Wow, Belle. I knew your dad was awful, but I didn't realize the extent of it, nor just how complicit your siblings are. Good for you for getting them out of your life.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:19 PM
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Congrats, Belle, and good to get the benefit of your story.

I agree generally on the LP, though I think the author's criterion was whether the person seemed in a position of countervailing strength, not whether the abuse was physical. Not that the latter isn't often perniciously maintained.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:22 PM
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Belle!! great news!!! Elope away!!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:24 PM
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Wow, PGD, your mechanic sounds suspicious. Get a 2nd opinion. Might be worth checking out the Car Guys' website to see if there's any feedback about your mechanic.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:25 PM
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Congratulations, Belle!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:29 PM
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43 is genius; 53 is right. POSIWID, people - bad systems work for somebody, somehow.

136: I think the joints and the tracking first. If that doesn't work right, it will cause more wear further back in the drivetrain, and eat the tyres. Our car developed a whole lot of weird noises and I actually thought we'd wrecked the universal joints. It turned out the tracking had got so far off kilter it just sounded like that. The off-axis tyre wear was truly impressive.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:30 PM
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and hey, eloping!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:31 PM
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146: Thanks for posting that, it seriously makes my day. Eventually you may want to cut your siblings some slack; it's impossible to have a non-fucked-up reaction to a situation like that.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:36 PM
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Congrats, BL!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:38 PM
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Congratulations as well. Funny, though, I thought you were faculty already -- were you teaching at a law school while you got some other degree, or have I just lost my mind?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:43 PM
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re: 136

I had a full service and a timing belt replacement done on my car about 2 months ago. It cost me a little under £400, I think, but that included the full annual service -- filters, oil, various other fluids, etc. I also had the CV joint replaced a month or two before that. I can't remember the cost, but from memory it was definitely less than was quoted above.

And yes, to Alex's comments re: tracking. My local tyre place [national chain] did the tracking and balancing for my car for free, when they replaced a tyre, and the difference in handling was really dramatic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:55 PM
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146: Congratulations on the elopement and on making the hard call. I hope that in time you'll be able to reconnect with your siblings in a way that's not stressful for you.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 3:59 PM
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125 re cars

Not the one I drive to store and poarks, which has 28k after 18 years
Not the pickup.

The other much nicer 4dr boat is approaching 300k after ten plus years.

We do the math, keep a spreadsheet, keep some savings in case we change our mind, but she really really likes this car (and has test driven cars up to $40k)
and if maintenance costs and repairs (we have a great mechanic) are less than payments, averaged over a couple years, we are sticking with the comfortable ride.
That has meant 2 grand in a single year sometimes.
The new cars are so small, underpowered, and designed for little people. And the SUVs are too big.

Parts will eventually get hard to find. I have mismatched taillights on my old beater, even with a huge web search and days in junk yards.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 4:13 PM
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I have mismatched taillights on my old beater

Bad plastic surgery can strike anyone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 4:31 PM
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Yay Belle!!! On so many counts. And I just want to add that your story completely highlighted the one point I wanted to add to this thread about how very important it can be to have someone who will tell you, as often as necessary, that what happened/is happening to you is not right, is not normal, is not no big deal. For that reason, I resist any attempts to place a high bar on what should get the label "abuse." Not all abuse needs to be criminally punishable. But it should still be called abuse.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 4:48 PM
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Congratulations, Belle. I concur with everyone else's good wishes and hopes for the future.

And remember, it's "rising out."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:12 PM
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Congratulations and good luck, Belle.

On the automotive subthread, Alex is right about the ball joints and alignment (can cost you in tire wear and be dangerous), and Sir Kraab is right about the second opinion.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:15 PM
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On the topic of cars, I was bemused to be asked today by a mechanic if my wheels locked. It took me about twenty seconds to understand what he could possibly be asking.

It seemed even sillier after I thought about it, since my not-very-new, not-at-all-flashy car doesn't seem the type to have fancy accessories. Although my boss then said that her 1999 car has them.

I dunno, are wheel locks standard now or something?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:16 PM
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And remember, it's "rising out."

Sorry. Zipper issue.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:32 PM
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Congratulations, Belle! Hard decisions, indeed; keep the courage.

wheel locks

? I'm puzzled as well: I associate it first with somewhat old-fashioned 4-wheel drive vehicles in which you have to manually lock/turn/set something on the wheels before the 4-wheel drive will work. But that's probably not what it means.

Does it mean that the wheels lock -- won't turn -- when the, erm, key is not in the ignition? That's relevant to being towed; an anti-theft device, I guess. I assume that's it. I think that's pretty standard these days.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:34 PM
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Not steering-wheel locks; the other kind.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:36 PM
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176: Thanks. I was also confused, but now I see why the mechanic asked. Anyway, I don't know anybody with wheel locks, but I always heard that if I drove to Philly not to park on the street or somebody would steal my car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:41 PM
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somewhat old-fashioned 4-wheel drive vehicles in which you have to manually lock/turn/set

I had never even heard of locking the differential until my rented 4wd vehicle was stuck on a beach in Puerto Rico. Me, to a very patient guy from New Jersey, "I was supposed to what the what, now?"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:54 PM
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176: Hm -- I've only vaguely heard of those, though I think I once was driving, for a time, a Saab (over 10 years old) that had them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:58 PM
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locking the differential

Is that what it is? Sure. I've known several people with vehicles that required this; my housemate has an old Isuzu Trooper that can get you through hell and back, assuming you lock the wheels, which is unfortunately a pain in a major snowstorm when you have to dig the wheels out to begin with. Still, good work, vehicle!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:06 PM
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173: all the cars I've owned have had wheel lock nuts; some dealerships install them standard, I think, and of course they're quite cheap (like $50 I think?) to get aftermarket. Not that fancy at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:07 PM
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Is that what it is?

Yeah. The guy couldn't believe that the only 4wd vehicles I'd ever been in just had the lever that you flipped. He was all "Kids today!" and "Get off my lawn unincorporated territory!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:08 PM
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181: The only people I've known with them were complete tools of the sort that would put $2,000 of wheels on a $1,500 car. Do you only buy cars with really shiny wheels?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:11 PM
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180: yes. You can sometimes engage it from the passenger cabin, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:11 PM
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183: no... alloy wheels, but nothing special.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:12 PM
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Does it have a sticker that says "#3" or shows Calvin peeing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:26 PM
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No, of course not. Those are tattoos.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:28 PM
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I didn't realize that the stealing of wheels and rims was a common problem, though it's true that I've occasionally seen stripped-of-wheels cars by the side of the road in NY.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:29 PM
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I wonder if locking gas caps are going to become more common again? In the 70s, I remember all kinds of jokes about siphoning gas*, but those didn't come back when gas got over $3.00. Maybe the kids today are no longer fire proof?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:36 PM
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Some wanker's been siphoning gas in my neighborhood. My neighbor now has some kind of motion-triggered hunting camera set up to try to catch the offender on tape SD card.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:38 PM
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190: If your neighbor were more award of jokes from the 1970s, he could put a sticker on that says, "This vehicle converted to run on processed pig manure."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:43 PM
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I found that post utterly cold and heartless and mean.

Yes, I agree (and also agree with AWB way upthread). I'm really unsympathetic to the author's narrow, parsimonious, and ungenerous "my sympathies are reserved for" ... as if sympathy with one's fellow creatures must be stored up frugally, and then held in reserve, to be doled out carefully only to those who pass some test of "deserving" or something.

Also, good luck with the job search, BL, and congrats on the elopment!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:44 PM
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My petrol cap locks (7 year old van). Think the last one did too (11 or 12 year old Japanese import). Is it just because fuel is so expensive?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:50 PM
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192: My response in 77.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:59 PM
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Yes, but what parts of your car, other than the doors and truck, have a lock?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:01 PM
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193: I think you Britishers' circumstances are different.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:02 PM
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195: Heck, the brakes are even anti-lock.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:04 PM
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My car has this feature where you can "lock" in a radio station and tie to a specific button on the radio. It's pretty fancy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:12 PM
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Mine has a "C-lock" with H and M buttons, but I'm not sure what it does.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:18 PM
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199: Oh, yeah, I've seen those. I think it's telling you the going price of jeans at H&M, but I'm not sure. I've noticed there seem to be better prices in the early afternoon, though.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:21 PM
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Mary Catherine, can you email me? Thanks!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:23 PM
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Back in the day, that used to be an analog display to tell you the exact time your battery died.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:23 PM
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194: Ah, okay, fair enough. Except that it's sympathy, not pity, I'd insist (and there is a difference), and nobody's experience, no matter how awful, gives them leave to abandon the basic tenets of that principle (unless they've, you know, left sanity behind at the last train stop, which is obviously not the case with the author in question). But probably I've over-interpreted your excerpt, and the author is not nearly so mean-minded as I've suggested. That "reserve my sympathies for" phrase really sticks in my craw, though, I freely confess.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:37 PM
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203 -> 201


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:43 PM
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202: well, if by "exactly" you mean "up to addition of an integer multiple of 12 hours," sure.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:46 PM
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Congratulations on many fronts, BL! I've found that feeling loved and being happy can be tremendously rewarding if you can build yourself space for them to exist. It sounds like you're doing that and I'm so happy for you!!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:58 PM
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||

300 spoiler-filled comments on Inception. h/t Kotsko. Spoilers may not matter for this movie with so much disagreement on what actually happens.

References to Blade Runner and Mulholland Drive and 8 1/2...but not one for Synecdoche, New York. This makes me so sad.

I am going to watch This PSH movie tonight. It'll make me cry better.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:11 PM
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locking the differential

That reminded me, eventually, of this fabulous explanation of a differential.

It takes a little while to get started (there's an opening scene that lasts about two minutes and isn't completely necessary) but the explanation itself is remarkable in it's economy, precision, completeness, and, for lack of a better word, style.

As the first commenter says, "i still cant believe that guy didnt say anything useless in the whole clip.... "


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:09 PM
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As the first commenter says, "i still cant believe that guy didnt say anything useless in the whole clip.... "

He does say "rate of speed".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:32 PM
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NickS, that was awesome. It was also all the excuse I needed to go back to watch Marisa Tomei's testimony in My Cousin Vinny.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:34 PM
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He does say "rate of speed".

And he comes very close to repeating himself in the final lines of the video.

I still stand by my comment that it is obviously done well and carefully.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:35 PM
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Yeah, that was really minor. It is very well done.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:54 PM
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Damn. That is well done. Though the very last bit had me momentarily fearing we were going to see a 1930s example of ghost-riding the whip.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 11:17 PM
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re: 196

Put it this way, I'm not sure I've seen a car without a locking petrol cap in a decade. One of my previous cars didn't have one, but it was nearly 20 years old and the cap was a cheap after-market replacement.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:20 AM
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||

So Mary and Max

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a genius.

After that, I wish just rattle off some quotes from reviews that stuck

"Hideously ugly"
"Tragedy and Claymation don't mix"
"In-your-face indie contrarianism"
"Unmotivated gloom"

It is a black comedy that reminds a little of Miss Lonelyhearts for modern times, perhaps even more painful because the tragedies are more mundane and so hit closer to home. An alcoholic parent of a child played partly for laughs.

But there is a brilliant visual whimsy, and a beautiful ending analogy. There is friendship, and love , and survival. It made me laugh, a lot, and finally yes it made me cry. But Up uplifting it ain't.

Another quote from a review:"Jacque Lacan said every successful encounter between people is about making amends."

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:00 AM
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208 is terrific.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:05 AM
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One of these days I'm just going to start watching every movie bob recommends, as soon as he recommends it. I'll need more free time, tough. Maybe I should quit my job.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:31 AM
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214: It occurs to me, after pondering the cars of family members who are willing to spend more than I, that in the U.S. many of the fancier and foreign models have an external gas tank cover that can only be opened from inside the vehicle. This would serve the same purpose as a locking gas cap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:36 AM
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re: 218

Yeah, that's been a problem a few times when I've hired cars where I've been completely unable to find the filler cap release.

"Oh, it's a little tiny ankh-shaped pendant, under the door handle on the passenger side"

I'm pretty sure my VW had one of those but it didn't work properly, and could be pried open easily.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:43 AM
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||

Best American Comics of 2006, ed. Harvey Pekar.

Read two books now from HM's Best American Comics series, the one by Pekar and the one by Linda Berry. Good stuff. Features standard comix big names. Ware. Abel. Crumb.

2006 has Rebeccar Dart's Rabbithead, which explores the possibilities of multi-linear storytelling and metaphysical transformation in sequential art.

A piece from WW3 Illustrated shows the power of tits to bring down capitalist patriarchy.

Off to walk the kids.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:49 AM
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"Oh, it's a little tiny ankh-shaped pendant, under the door handle on the passenger side"

The guy at the shop told me that was the passenger seat eject button.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:54 AM
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Don't be silly, Moby. You want the passenger seat eject button to be accessible to the driver.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:01 AM
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I thought it was to protect the passenger from a grabby date or a drunk driver.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:05 AM
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Like the backseat ejector in taxi cabs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:10 AM
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223: It's for protection from mummies, obviously.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:11 AM
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And Mummy is for protection from grabby dates...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:16 AM
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But shower curtains are poor protection against a stabby Mummy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:17 AM
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217:I'll need more free time, tough.

220:1,2,3 Or just different entertainment choices.

Does SEK ever write up any movie he actually likes? I rarely stop watching movies, and I would sit thru Inception just to look at JG-L and Cillian Murphy.

I made it all the way thru (500) Days of Summer with only that justification (+ Zooey).

Ok, I didn't make it thru Wind That Shakes the Barley


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:21 AM
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Sir Kraab is right about the second opinion.

Fixed, unlike PGD's car.

(I'll be here all week, folks. Try the lentil burger.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:38 AM
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For that reason, I resist any attempts to place a high bar on what should get the label "abuse." Not all abuse needs to be criminally punishable. But it should still be called abuse.

Saying that someone as been abused simply isnt very descriptive. It doesnt give you any accurate picture of what is going on.

Belle's desciption of what she went through is so much more horrible and paints a much more accurate picture of what she went through.

If she simply said that her father abused her, we wouldnt have any idea what he did.

It is as powerful as saying "Di's actions toward me were criminal."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:37 AM
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Moreover, stating that the bar shouldnt be so high to label it abuse implies that there is some gain if you qualify as abused.

The gain should depend on the context. With your friends to gain sympathy or assistance, the bar should be low. In the legal arena, the bar should be high bc one person's gain often involves taking something away from the other person.

If you are deciding who gets to stay in the house, the word "abuse" is useless. I want to know what happened. The facts. Not the conclusion.

(See also that wonderful video that Apo posted about how you should focus on "that was a racist statement" and not "you are a racist.")


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:43 AM
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will, you are a racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:46 AM
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I don't think we're disagreeing, will. I'm not saying replace the description with the label "abuse." I'm saying, in the face of the description, let's not hedge on well this or that is not "real" abuse. Not, we should label people as "abused." But that we shouldn't be afraid to label what's done to them as abusive. It makes a difference to hear that you didn't deserve it, that it wasn't okay. That's not even a sympathy thing. The conclusion itself matters.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 3:16 PM
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All this talk about "sympathy" seems like a red herring, although an accidental one of course. It seems too vulnerable to the same othering consideration like how the media gives as much coverage to one missing cute white woman as to 10 dead black men or 1,000 dead Bangladeshis. I only have the most detached, vaguest kind of sympathy for people I've never heard of, even though intellectually I know that they've had it worse than some people I do know and care about and for less reason, not that any reason is sufficient for domestic violence etc. On the flip side, since the author of the linked post is using family members as examples of people in violent home situations she both has "sympathy" for and doesn't, I'm sure she could find total comity with most people here if the discussion was just rephrased somehow.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 5:30 PM
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