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July 20, 2006

Comments

I'm so sorry for you and your friends. I've experienced impotent rage in a similar manner as yourself. It is maddening, and causes one to think thoughts that seem alien and horrible.

I have only one comforting sentiment - people are resilient. Be a good friend to you friends... Help them bounce back. Help them get on with their lives if they want it. Commiserate with them if they want it.

Many women you see everyday have similar stories. This is a fact that makes me question our ability to call ourselves human. Nevertheless, it is true. They survived, help your friends surive.

"Sorry I haven't finished my promised post, but sometimes the world sucks."

Very much. Sometimes entirely. But mostly only very much.

I'm sorry.

"This is an open thread to impotent rage."

I just unlit probably completely inappropriately on the other blog (not my own) I tend to comment at, so no, thanks. But it's good to have a time and place, so thanks.

Yeah, life sucks a lot. I alternate a lot between gratitude that my life no longer sucks quite as much as it has a lot of the time in the past, and rage at those whom have it better and blather as if everyone did; I know perfectly well how wrong the latter is, and I always feel badly, but my life is full of regrets and contradictions and large elements of self-hatred.

But anyway. Rage isn't good. but it happens, and with cause. May we all channel it well, even though we surely don't all, and when we don't, may we be forgiven, and then try to do better, however imperfectly.

Or something like that.

I am feeling wild amounts of impotent rage over this war. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for a week. I haven't been able to concentrate on much else. The Lebanese cry that America is standing back while Israel strikes civilians with American-made weapons. There is no part of that charge which is false. And is Israel fighting an impending mortal peril, the sort of immediate danger which would justify this level of escalation? No. They were provoked and they were not the aggressors, but this is still an elective war. Israel certainly could have chosen some other course of action besides decimating Lebanon. What should I feel besides ashamed? And when the vast majority of Americans are indifference or laissez-faire about it, I don't know what's left to be proud about or happy about. I am in the measly 4% who sympathize with both sides, which is about the same as the sampling error. We 1 out of 25 are dwarfed by the 15% who do not care. Of course, how we can pretend to be uninvolved in a conflict where we arm one side I don't understand. Anyway: just rage and sadness. And I have to go to a close friend's wedding this weekend, and I am in no mood to celebrate.

Is it so difficult to see both sides of this conflict, emotionally if not morally?

"I am in the measly 4% who sympathize with both sides,"

I don't remotely believe that.

Anyone sane, as I've said before, doesn't want civilian casualties on either, on any, side.

I'm guessing you're responding to this:

Fifty-seven percent said they had more sympathy for Israel, compared with 4 percent who sympathized with Hezbollah, 20 percent who said they did not sympathize with either and another 4 percent who said they sympathize with both
I have no idea what the wording is there, but polls, I testify from personal experience at calling a lot of people and asking them to respond, tend to be badly worded. They more often than not don't allow for our actual opinion, which drives me crazy. Then, on top of that, they often get further distorted when reported.

I'm willing to bet that this is one of those times. I'll bet a lot that the question "do you sympathize for the innocent civilian casualties on both sides?" was not a question asked.

I'll bet my humanity on it.

Ara: Is it so difficult to see both sides of this conflict, emotionally if not morally?

Not at all: I don't see how anyone can read about the human suffering on both sides of the conflict and not feel for both sides. There is no question that the Palestinians and the Lebanese are numerically/proportionally suffering more than the Israelis, but families bereaved and people wounded are the same grief either side.

Ever read a pair of novels by Lynne Reid Banks, One More River and Broken Bridge? Banks is a British writer who lived in Israel for a while and who now lives in London: she has a skill for conveying the difficulty of the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Polls are screwy, and effed up, let me elaborate. They ask artificial either/or questions.

My honest response to most of the polls I ever gave, in my history as a pollster/phone-caller, was "none of the above."

And thus my response would have often been discounted.

Most polling questions are moronic. It's that simple.

They force choices that don't have to be forced. They don't allow crucial choices that must exist.

It's that simple.

I did it for a living (hating it). That was my conclusion.

At weddings, there's some suckatude, but also happy people. Try to find them. Try to appreciate that life always has had massive loss and suckitude and horror, but also new life, and love, and joy.

Look for the new life and love and joy. That's my best advice.

Also, pay no attention to the band, and don't eat the food that's been under the heat lamps too long.

And find a kid and make her laugh.

Making anyone laugh is always good.

Ignore the rest. Walk away.

Then walk away, 'cause you've done as good as can be expected, and that's all anyone can do.

All we can do is what we can.

Sebastian: What horrible stories. Impotent rage indeed.

I am in the measly 4% who sympathize with both sides

Both sides would be Israel and Hezbollah – the Lebanese are strictly caught in the middle. That does not minimize their suffering, but surely you do not sympathize with Hezbollah?

Note that Lebanon does bear some responsibility for not enforcing UN Resolution 1559.

how we can pretend to be uninvolved in a conflict where we arm one side I don't understand

What do you suppose would have happened to Israel if we had not armed them? They would have purchased arms anyway; there is always a willing seller. But I prefer to think that we have helped them survive the last 60 years due to our support. Given how wishy-washy that support often is, maybe in spite of our support?

“an elective war”? Well any war is pretty much elective, isn’t it? A country can always choose to just keep absorbing civilian casualties, kidnapping and murder of its soldiers, etc. How would you like gambling daily with the Katyusha rockets or worrying about your kids getting blown up when they go for pizza? If this was happening in the US would it be an elective war for us to respond?

If this was happening in the US would it be an elective war for us to respond?

Yes and no. Israel is in a war regardless of what they do. However, the method of response was up to Israel, and many people are displeased with this particular choice. I suspect that if Israel's strikes were all on known/suspected Hezbollah targets rather than a combination of Hezbollah and Lebanese government/army targets, I think the outrage at Israel would be significantly tempered.

Remember that, while it's true Lebanon 'failed' to enforce UN Resolution 1559, the fact is they don't have that ability. Let's review: from 1975-1990, Lebanon was embroiled in a civil war. From 1982-2000, it was also occupied by Israel. Until 2005, it was dominated by a Syrian puppet government. Expecting a government with barely a year in power to recover from all those problems with any speed is asking for miracles. To blame Lebanon for not disarming Hezbollah is like blaming the mugging victim for not disarming his mugger. I suspect Hezbollah is better-armed and equipped than the Lebanese army, even assuming the Lebanese want to roll the dice on kicking off Civil War: The Sequel.

Seb, very sorry to hear about those horrific events.

Sorry for the awful news, Seb. If someone molested by ten-year old daughter, I would be feeling the exact same emotions.

I usually feel worse after I give into impotent rage, so I avoid it as much as possible.

Sebastian I'm sorry for both your friends. I don't think the world sucks naturally, but people like these predators manage to make it that way.

Sebastian, that's horrible. i don't think i'd feel any different than what you describe, either.

we had a break-in at my workplace last night. the guy only took small stuff like iPods and cell phones - didn't take any computers. my iPod was taken. i actually don't feel too bad about it, since i've been wanting to replace it with a bigger model for a long time. it does mess up my work day though, since i can't sit here without music of some kind.

seb--

that's a horrible story about your friend, and I agree with GF that the best thing for you to do is support her.

In addition, I hope she has gotten immediate hospital attention, complete with rape kit. ID'ing this monster's DNA may lock him up, for this or for some earlier attack. It may also prevent him from doing it to someone else.

I don't want to second-guess her decision, because I'm sure I'd do the same. But it's worth keeping something in mind:

there are very few people who would kill you or your kids because you refuse to have sex with them.

Who would not just as happily kill you or your kids after you have sex with them.

It's kind of like having somebody approach you on the street and say 'get into this car or I'll shoot you.'

If you're willing to shoot me on the street here, am I going to be any safer after we have driven off to the secluded place of your choice? I don't think so.

If you are willing to kill me or my children here and now, while I have my clothes on, am I going to be any safer with my clothes off? I don't think so.

It's a horrible situation, and either choice is a risk. I don't mean to second-guess your friend--she's alive, her kids are alive, and she can start rebuilding her life. That man will rot in hell--I hope he starts his stint there sooner rather than later.

Impotent rage is the worst possible emotion ( I think).
I can't read anything relating to environmental issues because I get to that impotent rage.
By the way ( is the FBI monitoring this?) I was in Ireland last week (on vacation) and my boyfriened and I went into a pub which is what tourists in Ireland do, the pubicans are used to it. Anyway this particular publican was a good host and wanted to make us tourists comfortable so he started a cnversation. His openning salvo, seeing as how we were Americans, was "What do you think of Bush?" We of course said we hated him. So our host says, " Why don't you just shoot him?" I was aghast and looking arond for cops and spies and so on when he added, "Except you only shoot the good ones so he's safe." The Irish loved Kennedy.
Note it was not I who suggested shooting him. Nor did I agree.
I got that impotent rage thing when I got back to the US and saw Ann Coulter displayed promenetly at every bookhop in the airport. Not on the same level as being raped but it is totally awful that hateful demonizing slander has become socially acceptable provided it comes from the political right.

"I'd almost certainly cross the country and kill the man from the first story if I could, so it is probably just as well that no one knows who he is."

He'll get found. Anyone that callous is going to mess up eventually.

I am so saddened by the two stories you posted. Most people (I'd say 99%) are good and honest in our civilized society, so it's a real shock when you come into direct or indirect contact with the small minority who are evil, evil, bastards.

I don't know what else to say, except living well is the best revenge. I'm sure the support your friend and your friend's daughter are receiving will help them recover from these evil acts.

Seb: how horrible. I'm so sorry, for your friends and also for you.

This comment is probably going to sound all naive and starry-eyed, but it isn't. Having been through one fairly clear attempted rapes, and a couple more that I don't count because i try to be fairly strict with the criteria, but which were pretty terrifying nonetheless, and then also had to do something about the potential anger and related bad emotional stuff generate by working in battered women's shelters for five years:

In my experience, the very best way of dealing with the rage is to be really strict about what it is anger at, namely evil; and to recognize that literally anything you can do to make the world a better place is a direct response that attacks that enemy. You have to deny it a foothold in yourself by refusing to give in to evil in any way, including untargeted anger; and you have to strike back by doing actual positive good things.

At least in my case, I sometimes had to do things that didn't involve people directly when I was in a white-hot rage, so there I would be, grimly picking up all the trash in a city park, thinking: take that, evil! This was also good because it was so silly that it added a much-needed dimension of humor to the whole situation. Plus, if you think of it this way, it turns out that there's never nothing that you can do.

But really: this is what I found worked best. That might just be me, though, and no doubt everyone has their own best way.

Sebastian, that's truly terrible. Your friend, and you, have my sympathy. I hope she gets whatever help she needs recovering from this.

Seb-- That’s horrible. I'm sorry for what must be racing through your head right now and of course for your friend and her children.

My family had a very close friend raped. Two men knew her daily routine and waited in a parking garage, armed with handguns. They had stolen not only her mail but also her parents’ mail, to prove they knew where she and her family lived. If she spoke, they would kill her family. This course of events happened for two consecutive days. Totally unimaginable.

Needless to say, everyone was completely devastated and filled with rage.

Help your friend and her family heal. Channel your rage into helping her to the emotional state she was before the rape.

She is definitely going to need your complete support when a court date comes, although it probably does not even seem as though that day will ever come. They'll catch the bastard. The day the gavel falls your rage will cease. At least mine did.

Terrible stories, Sebastian. Do what you can to help. (Not that you need me to tell you that).

terribly sorry those thing happened to your friends, Sebastian.

I tend toward rage in response to such atrocities myself, so I empathize with what you're going through as well.

Impotent rage seems to be a rather fitting description for the malaise of our age, I think. I can't imagine a better antidote that the one Hilzoy prescribes though.

What makes me most angry about such crimes is the insecurity they generate. It's crippling, even if illogical (because the threat is always there, even if we're unaware of it, so why were we ever secure in the first place?), but I try to help the victims of such things by helping ease that side of their response. Buying them an alarm system is one such gesture.

Wow, Sebastian, I'm so sorry.

(And so glad that you *don't* know who the rapist is, if it keeps you from shooting him and letting that dirtbag make you wind up in prison.)

Sebastian:

I'm sorry about your friends' plights.

There is a lot of impotent rage around. I find strenuous exercise or sports to be helpful.

Two years ago, a very good friend of mine who lives across the country was diagnosed with colon cancer. I didn't exactly feel rage, but I felt powerless. So I got on a plane and made a surprise visit to the hospital.

He checked out that day and we went directly to a Mexican restaurant and had burritos and margaritas. To get him ready for the radiation and the chemo.

If you can believe it.

He's fine now.

And I felt like I had done something.

Sebastian,

I am sorry for your friend.

Years ago, I was at a singles event and a woman I had just met there told a similar story to me. I tried to comfort her (although with a near-stranger, it's very hard to know what to say and what would push her over). I remember saying to a friend of mine on the ride home (a single woman who I always found it unfortunate that said she was not interested in me solely due to being 6 years older than me) that while she was in such a state as to feel it necessary to tell this story to anyone who spoke to her, meeting new persons who were looking for dates might not be the best idea. I found out my friend didn't quite agree with me.

Yes, the upside of dealing with impotent rage is I had a really good four hours of volleyball last night.

Dead, (and I hope you're not though it would make an interesting story) I'm very proud of my friend with respect to the police. She called the same night and went through all the procedures. She's getting counseling and doing all the right things. In all she is doing much better than anyone could expect--which is not at all to say that she is doing well.

I agree with you about not getting in to a car with a person who threatens you, but when the person has already broken in to your house, if you can't shoot him and you aren't strong enough to resist him without getting killed in front of your children, it is probably just as well to believe him when he says he will kill your children if you don't do something.

"it is probably just as well to believe him when he says he will kill your children if you don't do something"

oh, I'd believe him alright.

And I'd believe that he will kill them if I *do* do something.

If you're dealing with someone who really combines sexual predation with homocidal tendencies, then you pretty much just have to decide whether you feel like dying before or after.

But--look, there's nothing to be gained by rehashing this. I am very glad she went to the police; it genuinely increases the chances of locking this creep up.

Equally important, I'm glad she is doing as well as can be expected.

And, yes, I am already dead.

OT -- is anyone else reminded by the title to the post of the old joke "Space is a vacuum because the world sucks"? Or is this just another example of my thought processes being a constant source of amusement for me alone?

I thought it was something about there not being any such thing as gravity.

Just reading about what happened to your friends makes me angry, Sebastian -- I'm sure not going to fault you for feeling rage.

Sebastian, best wishes and warm thoughts to both your friends and all their children. The world does indeed suck sometimes. I'd second the "channel the anger and do something" suggestions. It doesn't have to be a big thing (though it can be), and it doesn't actually have to "solve" the problem. The world doesn't stop sucking (if you're really effective it might suck slightly less), but at least you're not letting it poison you from the inside.

Oh, and Gary, I'm glad you're not getting evicted, and good luck to you too. I had meant to mention that on the other thread and got distracted worrying about the strait of Hormuz.

"Posted by: Edward_"

It lives!

Shouldn't that be:

It lives....

"But I prefer to think that we have helped them survive the last 60 years due to our support."

I don't want to divert this thread back to toxicity, but in fact U.S. support only came in the Sixties, pretty much at '67 and after; in the Fifties and at the founding, with the sole exception of Truman's decision for recognition against the vehement recommendations of the State Department (in fact, it was the Soviets who supported Israel at the UN, not the U.S., in '47, when the Partition came up), the U.S. government attitude towards Israel was that it could go hang; it wouldn't have survived without French and German support. The U.S. did squat in those days, save oppose Israel, to give the simple, un-nuanced, version.

There's little reason for Israel to be grateful to the U.S. for its first twenty-odd years, frankly. Since then, sure. But let's not rewrite history.

(If anyone wants to discuss Suez, we really should take it to another thread, please.)

I understand the responses about channelling your anger into something that's destructive to yourself...but if that happened to a friend of mine, I'd feel exactly the same way you do. Truth be told, some people just need a killing.

As much as I noramlly hate saying "me, too", add me to the list of people hoping that justice is done in your friend's case, and that they put the guy away for the rest of his life.

Xetc: "Truth be told, some people just need a killing."

Here's Flannery O'Connor:

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

"Some fun!" Bobby Lee said.

"Shut up, Bobby Lee" The Misfit said. "It's no real pleasure in life."

Since this is an open thread, I'm going to change the subject by complaining that I've had The Great Gig In The Sky playing in my head every friggin' waking (and, possibly, sleeping) hour for the last several days.

Curse you, Bill!

Sebastian:

my profound condolences. please let us know if there's anything any of us can do to help you or your friends.

Well. QED, eh?

I'd almost certainly cross the country and kill the man....

Whoa, there. Not without a fair trial. Your omission of that is profoundly troubling, and deserves long discussion that will, in short order, slide into condemnation of you.

Hilzoy in particular cares about the rule of law.

(For the record, I wouldn't dissuade Holsclaw from laying brick to head on the perpetrator. But the hypocrisy of the commentariat here is too blatant to ignore.)

Josh Trevino, note that SH wrote, "I'd almost certainly cross the country and kill the man from the first story if I could, so it is probably just as well that no one knows who he is."

"But the hypocrisy of the commentariat here is too blatant to ignore."

Perhaps it's just higher standards of reading comprehension, perhaps it's a different feeling about (possibly stupid but still protected) political speech vs intolerable violence.

But the hypocrisy of the commentariat here is too blatant to ignore

yawwwwwwnnnnn.

That's horrible Sebastian; I hope the support you're providing gives her strength and aids her recovery.

Hmm, Josh I'm wondering if you realize how inappropriate that little jibe looks to me....I'm presuming you couldn't or you wouldn't have made it. Or maybe I'm just generally angry and I'm taking it out on everyone. But I'm pretty sure that wasn't helpful.

You can write so well, but you seem to have lost your ear for persuasion and replaced it with something that isn't as effective.

Hmm, Josh I'm wondering if you realize how inappropriate that little jibe looks to me....I'm presuming you couldn't or you wouldn't have made it. Or maybe I'm just generally angry and I'm taking it out on everyone.

It's not just you, Sebastian.

Rage seems like a virus sometimes, doesn't it? What makes people do those things?

hilzoy, I think your manner of coping shows why so many on this blog respect you so highly. Channeling destructive emotions into doing something that helps others is what angels do. Also, your humor and humility in describing the little mundane things you do, such as picking up the trash, make you very endearing. I'm a big hilzoy fan!

Sebastian - what your friend went through was a nightmare on so many levels - not only for what happened to her, but for what could have happened to her children. I would imagine that her strength in future might very well come from wanting to guide and protect them. And she's lucky to have an understanding friend like you. So many women suffer this alone.

The direction the comments are taking remind me of Dukasis' tragic debate response to what he'd do if someone killed Kitty.

I'd love to see the discourse on this in the US elevated to where there's an acknowledgement of the difference between a personal reaction to such crimes and a societal one. What Sebastian stated he feels like doing is perfectly understandable. For society to respond that way is not. Other individuals who've experienced similar atrocities might empathize to the point of wanting to seek revenge themselves, but that sort of transference is dangerous, IMO. Of course in the context of this thread, where folks are explaining that, if they were personally connected, they believe they'd want to respond this way or that way, it's not worthy of derision...it's simply a sharing of emotional response.

Sebastian,

Definitely not just you. Reading Josh at Swords Crossing when he was there was painful in seeing how far his ability to sustain an above board argument had fallen.

As to what part of the body has replaced his ear for persuasion, my best guess would constitute a posting violation.

I miss Edward_'s contribution here.

Everybody else - I know I responded above, but this would be a bad thread for a fight.

dougpaintslaguna: thanks. But I don't do it because it's right, but for the much more mundane reason that it works.

Josh:

taking advantage of peoples' compassion toward an acquaintance in obvious pain is, as best I can tell, an all new low for you. and at this point, that takes some work.

how did you feel when liberals mocked the sympathy you received regarding your troubled military service? were jokes about the army being better off welcome?

oh, btw, you might want to note that no one is actually encouraging SH to take the law into his own hands.

My condolences, Sebastian, and hopes that things turn out as well as possible for your friend.

A woman I am very deeply fond of had been molested at the age of 4 when left with an aunt and uncle for a few days. She was never able to tell anyone about it until she was over 40. Her sons' and brother's (and my) response were all the same--"It's probably a good thing he's already dead."

rilkefan-

I didn't mean to imply that there's any pleasure in it. And I know why society can't condone such behavior. But the fact that an act of violence can be one of retribution or revenge, does not mean it also can't be one of justice.

Or more simply put, when someone hurts people you love, sometimes you just want to get back at them even if it can't make things "right."

Xanthippas, I didn't mean at all to reflect on your opinion, I was just taking your comment as an excuse to quote one of my favorite authors.

Sometimes the world sucks, indeed.

Israeli aggression on Lebanon

Gruesome pictures, not work friendly.

(Not to get all Kantian nihilistic or anything)

Sending good vibes your way, Sebastian. It's amazing what we can endure when we have to, especially when we have friends.

Sebastian - My sympathy, in spades. The wanting-to-kill-the-perp is perfectly understandable; not least because it would give you something to the point to do.

I hope she's as strong as she sounds, and gets through this all right.

I'm so sorry for both friends Sebastian. And yes, the impotent rage is recognizable.

Though I've never been raped I've had attempts and molestations and I find that the ones where I didn't do or say anything (scared, dependend of too young) are the ones that still make me most angry.

FWIW -- and I'll try to make this as anonymized as possible -- one of my female friends recently confided in me her history of molestation and abuse (extensive) as well as a truly senseless death in her family (son killed as a bystander in a drive-by) so I'm all too hip to the world sucking and the impotent rage. So my condolences to all those whose worlds suck right now, and congratulations in appropriate measure to those whose don't.

edward_

I agree that both discussions--this one and Dukakis/Bush--would have been improved by a more explicit invocation of the distinction between personal reactions and societally endorsed/legally enacted reactions.

It's interesting, though, that the rap on liberals at the time (those distant days of '88) was that we were too thin-blooded, too mealy-mouthed, too caught up in the niceties of superficial fairness and restraint. Unlike the tough guy, talk-from-the-gut, brass-tacks types on the right.

It was a powerful set of stereotypes, and it played no small role in sending Dukakis to his defeat.

I don't know if it was ever an accurate portrayal of liberals, except those in cartoons, but I think today's response, and your response to it, shows pretty clearly that it doesn't apply to the liberals in this group, any more than to the conservatives.

If anything, it seems, you are concerned that we're going to go all vigilante (vigiliberal?), or at least that we are indulging in a sympathetic identification that is a "dangerous transference" if allowed to manifest itself at the societal level.

I'm not quarreling with you, or even disagreeing--I think you are right about what's appropriate at the individual level, right about what's not appropriate at the societal level, and right about the importance of keeping them distinct.

I just want to note the interesting changes over time.

Josh

Bad form. Not here, not now.

SH

Condolences

If anything, it seems, you are concerned that we're going to go all vigilante (vigiliberal?), or at least that we are indulging in a sympathetic identification that is a "dangerous transference" if allowed to manifest itself at the societal level.

I will confess that there was a time in my youth when I thought it was possible in the face of such atrocities to live up to the ideals I had been taught and truly turn the other cheek. I still think those ideals are worth teaching children, but I believe once you have something/someone you're responsible for protecting, that idealism is incredibly tough to maintain.

Anger, as a French philosopher I won't name to avoid prompting spitting in certain quarters, is the response one feels to painful events beyond one's control...to being helpless. If you have total power over a situation, person, whatever, you'll never be angry with them (because you'll always get your way). Keeping one's cool is essentially reminding oneself that you do have power, and that applied correctly it will see you through adversity and serve you in setting things right.

Of course, hurt someone I love, and such thoughts can't come close to competing with the rage that erupts. Mostly because it makes me deal with how helpless I was to prevent it.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying there might be something to the idea that liberals like me were too soft back then. Absolutist ideals (always bad) about violence and such probably led us to talk a bunch of sh*t that moderates and conservatives couldn't believe we were saying, because it didn't ring true to how they knew they'd respond and they certainly didn't feel they were brutes because of it. I suspect that seeing moderates continuously side with the right on defense also eventually sunk in with some of us...or we just found someone we had to protect.

Having said that, any child of mine who concludes they can just skip over the idealist stage and pooh-pooh the "turning the other cheek" part will get a swift slap upside the head.

thanks. I agree with all that.

And also that what the conservatives back then despised us for was the fact that we took parts of the Gospel seriously--e.g., the Sermon on the Mount.

Whereas that has now been dropped from the new, true Christian bible, to be replaced by selections from Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy on a permanent i-Pod shuffle.

(if you want to replace your tears of impotent rage with tears of laughter, just find the youTube of Colbert talking with the Congressman who wants to put up the 10 commandments).

I think that caricature was an accurate caricature of Dukakis, though not really of liberals more generally. Having worked in MA politics when he first became governor, I reacted to the realization that he was going to be our nominee with a horrible sinking feeling not matched by any Dem. nominee other than Kerry. Though in Kerry's case it wasn't because I thought he wouldn't be a decent President -- he wasn't my first choice, or my second, or for that matter my third, but he would have been OK -- but by the thought that he would lose.

Sebastian, I'm so sorry.

Sebastian, my condolences. The fact that you care about your friends makes life harder on you, but if they know how you feel, maybe that helps them somehow.

Edward_, nice to see you here. Good post on how people used to fix cars and draw more often, by the way.

And you as well, Macallan. Drop in more often.

tacitus, I understand that you have a lot of things weighing on your mind, but test the water before you dive in.

Counting in Base 12: Or, you think you got impotent rage?

How about base 12? If you count in base twelve, then decimal 141 is duodecimal B9, or 11 times 12 plus 9. The number ends in 9, which is one of a zero, three, six, or nine, so it is divisible by three. This determination is easier than dividing by 47.

Except for, oops, in base 10 one can simply add the digits of a given number; if the sum is divisible by 3 then so is the number.

And of course, to be nit-picky, I can divide any number by 3.

But, more to the point, real dweebs count in hexadecimal. You can put that last row of knuckles to use!

oh, Sebastian. How awful.

I definitely agree with Edward (hi Eddie!) that a feeling of helplessness contributes to anger. The world sucks as much as it ever did and maybe more, but I go around feeling less angry about it because I don't feel as helpless as I did a few years ago.

But it's obviously all 10,000 times harder when it's concentrated on friends of yours and their children.

I've never been through anything remotely like this, of course, but I would think that having male friends who are the exact opposite of the person who did this to you would help some.

My sympathies for you and for your friends. I can't imagine what they're going through.

"She is definitely going to need your complete support when a court date comes, although it probably does not even seem as though that day will ever come. "

That's what I thought after my earlier comment. You're a smart man, and a lawyer/legal student, and you can craft words excellently.

Even if it's just helping your friend deal with the legal issues if she wants to move out of the house, or helping her with the legal system if the police cathc the guy, or goosing the prosecutors/police to keep their eyes on the case, or (in the case of your friend's daughter) siccing the sicko 16-year old with a civil action so that the unfortunate girl can get compensated, there is a lot you can do.

You're by no means impotent. You're too shrewd a man to ever be in that position.

And help can come in the most unexpected ways, things that might be insignificant, but aren't. -- I remember my first apartment after college, which I shared with three other people, one of whom was -- well, I'm not sure how to describe him, other than to say that just by walking into a room, he could drop the temperature by about ten degrees. If he went further -- glowering, for instance -- ice crystals started to form on all the windows. Massively unpleasant and hostile, for no reason I could ever figure out; and also volatile, and given to flying off the handle for no obvious reason.

He and I didn't cross paths that much -- different hours -- but one weekend morning I was sitting eating breakfast and he came into the dining room, and looked at me, and said: Excuse me! I didn't know what he meant, and so said something like: What? and he said: You're sitting in my chair! Get out! (One of six identical chairs around the dining room table.) I got up from it and went into the kitchen, and then thought: wait, why did I do that? So I went back out and said: Look, we all pay the same rent here; why do you get to tell me which chair I can sit in?

At this point he sort of lost it, and started screaming about how it was his goddam chair, and he'd had it with my adolescent rebellion, or something, and eventually I became seriously afraid that he was going to start beating me up, and left the room; within an hour, I had packed up some stuff and moved out.

Anyways, the point is: someone I didn't know that well offered, for no obvious reason, to help me go back and pick up the rest of my stuff. Until he offered, I hadn't realized that I was really scared to do that. My normal default assumption is: right, I will do what I need to do, etc., etc.; but suddenly, when this person offered, it was like this enormous weight lifted, and I realized: I was really, really scared to go back there alone.

And it made such a difference. You can't imagine. (I hope.)

Kinda late, but my condolences too, Sebastian. I don't have any wise words to write, so I'll stop there.

Since this is an open thread...

Random question to the commentariat: should it disturb me that I readily comprehend right-wing POVs when I've been drinking? To wit, the contents of Redstate comments?

Is this a case of alcohol removing bias filters? Or an indicator that one needs to have reality distorted in order to understand said POVs? Or possibly both?

I suspect the answers will fall largely upon party lines. But I will need to remember my insights and reflect upon them sober.

Dear Catsy--
Considering the overflow of bile frequently found in right-wing expression of viewpoints, I propose that in fact it's the generating of a temporary disorder of your liver via alcohol which alters your humors sufficiently that you are in some way closer to the normal right-wing state. (No medical Latin added here owing to my hangover.)

I guess by now everyone has seen this.

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