Friday, July 28, 2006

The father's right to be recognized? Dream on...

The Daily Mail (UK) announces a government plan to, as they put it, "force mothers to name fathers on birth certificates". Why? Predictably, to "make the collection of maintenance easier where disputes arose". There is absolutely nothing interesting about the article, it contains all the usual crap about deadbeats, threats to mothers' rights and a complete lack of concern for fathers' and children's rights. The more interesting part is the reader comment section. If ever there was proof that there's an issue of fathers' rights in the UK, it's here. A few are concerned about children of affairs destroying marriages (as if she hadn't pretty much done that already), others worry about women giving false names, some want mandatory DNA testing, a suprising number highlight the situation when she doesn't know who the father is (now there's a problem for our times), many ridicule the plan as unworkable.

There are a significant few who think that fathers are irrelevant:
"This is a blatant attack on mothers rights of privacy." - Ben, Cape Town.
"I think it is the choice of the mother and not the government." - Thierry, Basildon.
"As long as the mother is willing and able to support the child [...] then why should he be named?" - Kath, Belfast.

Actually, that Ben guy has more to say: "fathers are being given a disproportionate amount of control over the mothers and that is nothing less than the most despicable form of sexism." One wonders exactly how being recognized as father of your children is being given too much control over the mother and what Ben might think if the mother of his children decides she wants to see the back of him and won't let him see the kids.

Overall, the readers are concerned about the mother first, the children second and hardly at all about the father, all the government cares about is the f***iing money.

Same old, same old.

P.S. I have discovered two more excellent blogs. Check out Pook's Mill and Heretical Sex. Also, a reminder: I now run a feed of news items, but you have to go to my blog to see it (i.e., it does not appear as part of the main RSS feed), and have javascript turned on.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Man thinks: "Woah!" Woman thinks: "Ew!" Science gives up the ghost.

I'm going to start a new scientific journal, along the lines of the Journal of Irreproducible Results, I'll call it "The Annals of Really Pathetic Research". To qualify for publication in the ARPR, a work will have to be declared as:
  • no surprise to anyone,
  • motivated by a poorly hidden agenda,
  • clearly pandering to prejudice,
  • fawning for funds,
  • deliberately ignorant of well-known results,
  • trying to stir up a hurricane in a teacup,
  • so politically correct as to make your ears bleed
  • a total waste of everyone's time
  • or any combination thereof.
Take, for example, Professor Maurice J. Levesque's discovery that men like women more than women like men. Is anyone surprised, especially in this day and age?

Agenda? Apparently this "research" is motivated by a desire to "stop sexual harassment on the job and date rape", I think that covers agenda, pandering to prejudice and fawning for funds. He set out looking for men who tend to "over-sexualize" women. Now that has got to be a trait that is pretty much in the eye of the beholder, but no matter, he decided that this was the measure by which he was going to find the overly macho type whom he felt "was the only one who did this". "This" not being defined and we're left to wonder if he means "over-sexualize" women, harrass them, or date rape them. In the end, he found that being "macho" doesn't make a difference, apparently we're all leering, obnoxious fools.

His sample was a whole 43 men and 43 women (18 to 22 yrs). From this clearly representative sample of the entire human race, particularly us men, he learned that men were more likely to find the women sexy than were the women to find the men. I think that this may be what he means by "over-sexualize" But isn't there a logical alternative? Couldn't it be that women "under-sexualize" men? Or somewhere between the two? Of course not, that wouldn't be politically correct.

Professor-of-the-bleeding-obvious Levesque's investigations lead him to conclude: "I
f he found her to be physically attractive, he would tend to rate her as sexier." Somebody give the man a cigar.

"doesn't know why all the men in the study seemed to over-sexualize women, but he speculated that 'it's got to be something about socialization, that men are being taught in some way to view women as sexual objects.'" Of course, it must be something about socialization, it couldn't be just that 18-22 yr old men are hornier than their female co-eds, could it? Some other professor isn't surprised (!), but waffles something about testosterone and oxytocin and something touchy-feely about how women's rating of sexiness has to do with emotions as well as acttractiveness.

Oh, this is hilarious.

Continuing in the obvious-to-any-sentient-being vein, Levesque recommends to men: "Don't think every women you meet is attracted to you." No? Really? And here was me thinking that anyone without a Y chromosone must be just about orgasmic at the idea of merely setting eyes upon me. Gosh, I've got some serious rethinking to do. Apparently, those who think they're the greatest stud to walk this earth should especially take note because, get this, you won't believe it, you'll be amazed, positively astounded: such men are even more likely to think the opposite sex drool over them as soon as look at them. And "That may not be the case, however." Naw! Really?!

Women, on the other hand, should keep in mind that some strange male they just spent 2 minutes talking to on the street is probably sizing them up for a bit of hot sweaty grunty rumpy-pumpy in the alley even as you think he's just moving on to the next pert piece of tail to whom he'll sell another newspaper. You can never be too careful, girls, you never know what a man can do...


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pooks' Way

Pook's Mill features a beautiful trio of images... I'm still snickering...

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mary Poppins, stand aside, biological fluke coming through.

The Washington Post, care of MSNBC, tells us all about Adam Good, a "manny" in Washington. A what? It seems that a manny is the same thing as a nanny but who happens to have a Y chromosone. Yup, a male nanny. Fine and dandy, and newsworthy at least for its unusualness, or in these paranoid, misandrystic days, positive unlikeliness.

The Post feels the need to educate us with a discussion of the evolutionary science of child nurturing. That wouldn't be so bad, but for the sotto voce (undocumented) claims that the evolutionary scientists who don't believe in nurturing fathers are predominantly male and those who do are predominantly female, with a couple of canned examples to prove their point. It's rubbed in with mention of the small numbers of men who teach at preschool. There's precious little discussion of the possibility that social prejudice might have something to do with it, but plenty of nudge-nudge, wink-wink chumming up to those that might hold such prejudice. Article author? Brigid Schulte. I'm guessing female.

Where do she and the Post side? The last line of the article reads: "A biological fluke? An evolved, caring male?" I guess they figure it's all perfectly normal, and needs encouraging, eh? (I feel compelled to point out that her use of the word "evolved" just goes to show that Brigid and her editor know sweet FA about evolution.)

But where did we ever get this idea that men don't care about children? Single, macho young men on the lookout for a fun time, sure, but even then not all of them. Every father I ever knew clearly cares very strongly about the well being of his children. Does that make them "biological flukes"? I'm in my forties and no man I've ever got to know reasonably well has bailed on his kids for his own selfish ends (but I've met multiple women who've dumped hubby and taken his kids from him). A father's love isn't expressed in the same way as a mother's, true, and it might be a little harder to recognize (extra hours at the office to bring in all the more butter for the toast simply don't count), but all too often we don't even try, it's easier to belittle or ignore it, to make it less painful to watch when the children are torn away.

Having just puzzled over people who think that men don't care about kids, I find myself equally puzzled by people who think that men and women are exactly the same. And these are exactly the kinds of people that Louann Brizedine finds herself up against. A psychiatrist who specializes in women, she's encountered the women's studies professor Janet Hyde who is "disgusted by scientists, writers and publishers who exploit trivial differences between the genders." which leads me to wonder if she's disgusted at herself. Another contrarian, Nancy Andreasen thinks "Whatever measurable differences exist in the brain, are used to oppress and suppress women.", but then she would, wouldn't she? She's a woman, after all. (Bad blogger! Naughty blogger! Go and stand in the corner!)

Trivial or not, it's hard, if not ridiculous, to deny that there are gender differences, and, a disgusted Hyde notwithstanding, Dr. Brizedine seems to be doing a fair job of working on them. Even so, I do pause at the idea that a frigid wife having extra-marital affairs is OK because she's just trying to have genetically superior babies and changing brain chemistry in a menopausal woman might excuse calling a divorce lawyer instead of trying marriage counselling. These moral judgements are not actually made by the article, but neither are they denied. I've heard the theories before, along with the reasoning that men are hard wired to spread their seed far and wide, which, of course, society is entirely happy about and all of us men are just positively humping up against everything in sight. Whatever.

And here's an idea to celebrate: "what makes [women] unique will help empower them too", indeed, and there is a neat ripost to the hypocrisy of she who insists she's the same as me, then looks for advantage because she's a woman.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006


Great balls of fire, but the London Times tells us all about testicles in response to a gentleman who fears his hang too low.  I didn't know there was so much I didn't know about my tenderest anatomy!  While the gentleman doctor has lots of useful technical interest to explain, his female companion writer feels the need to advise us on fashion accessories and scrotal cosmetic surgery.  Give it a rest, Suzi, this is why a man invented something as splendidly sensible as the bra and women worried about its social connotations and ended up burning it.  Now there's a microcosm of sexual difference, is there not?

(Scrotal cosmetic surgery?)

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Friday, July 21, 2006


An item at the BBC reports that "Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'". What they actually mean to say is that when sharing a bed, both men and women have their sleep disturbed, but men more so than women. Interestingly, the women of the study correctly reported that they got better sleep when alone in the bed, but the men appeared to be in denial over the idea and reported the reverse. I find myself concluding that it must be some sort of machismo on the men's part to make that claim, but the women felt no such pressure.

The investigator suggests that women are better able to cope with broken sleep because they have so many life events (children, menopause, the period) that disturb their sleep. However, nothing is offered to try to explain the other side of the coin - why men cope less well. A moment's reflection, and I hypothesise that it may be that men have evolved as lighter sleepers, better prepared to awake and defend their mate and children on slighter indications of danger. Hmmm. Man as protector. Not very politically correct, that.

P.S. if you subscribe to this blog via the RSS, please take a moment to visit the site and check out the new columns at left (you need javascript turned on) where I am now adding newslinks with brief comments as I find them, courtsey

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Albert Einstein, Target Parent

Parental alienation continues to appear in the news, the latest and most visible offering being from nothing less than Time magazine who intertwine Albert Einstein's experience of alienation from his sons by his first wife, Mileva Maric, with a chronical of his writing his theory of general relativity. Of course, Time never actually use the phrase "parental alienation", but it is a textbook case - she separated the children from him, programmed and interfered with communications between them, obstructed visits, and used the children however she could to extract from him whatever should could.

This sort of despicable behavior is common in high-conflict divorces -- let it be emphasised that it is a course of action available only to the custodial parent, and high-conflict is often in the custodial parent's personal best interest. In Maric's case, she got his Nobel prize money out of it. All of it. She bought three apartments in Zurich with it.

This news comes with the release of some of Einstein's personal correspondence, although the fact of the parental alienation has been known for a long time. I have pointed it out myself in this blog. Some of these letters show Einstein's justifiable anger and distress at the entire thing, illustrating his helplessness in the face of Maric's machinations. Pause a moment and reflect that this was perhaps the greatest mind of the twentieth century here, brought low by one vindictive woman, the mother of his children. That's the woman that PBS want to give credit for the theory of relativity. Yes, you read that right.

Believe it or not, there are people out there in the real world, in positions of power, who believe that parental alienation doesn't happen. They think that children never, ever turn against a parent unless that parent has done something to deserve it. They don't believe that a custodial parent could ever be a malicious as Maric most certainly was. It is interesting to note that many of those who make such claims have a personal, vested interest in having us believe them. Some work in domestic abuse centers and a common tactic of an alienator is a spurious claim of abuse, and that is a fact that their defenders cannot allow. Others are actual alienators themselves, and, well, the devil's greatest trick is to convince us he doesn't exist. Fortunately, there are also people out there who are prepared to stand up and face down these liars and show us that this devil does indeed exist.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Desperate fathers are selfish idiots.

A couple of disenfranchised fathers had a go at Wimbledon, and a spokeswoman said: "It will be a shame if the antics of a few selfish idiots were to ruin it for everyone else." Aw, the poor spectators, eh? For a few seconds their fun, strawberries and view of Sir Cliff Richard(*) in a pink jacket, get interrupted by a couple of men who want to see their children (one had been in court 21 times). They must be such horribly, horribly selfish idiots, don't you think? It's typical, though, any father who wants to see his children after divorce is automatically a selfish idiot, either that or a no-good layabout, a deadbeat, a walking wallet, nothing more than a sperm donor, anything but a good man who wants his children to know him. That'd be just too much, they're scum, after all.

This "selfish idiots" line was reported in at least: The Guardian (UK), Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Reuters, The Sun (UK), Qatar (!), inthenews, The Guardian (UK, yes, twice), The Times (UK), The Guardian (3 times!), New Zealand (different site, and another), Ireland again, India,

In the Times, they claim they didn't have any advance knowledge of the stunt, in the Sun the cops say they did. Well, which is it boys? Of course, in reaction, they're going overboard with talk of further paranoid security measures.

Well Ms Un-named "Spokeswoman" for Wimbledon, I think you're an officious moron, but I don't suppose all those news sources will publish my opinion. Sigh.

(*) Possibly the world's worst pop star ever, although I reserve the right to pick on Barry Manilow too.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Here's to Simon and Esti

Here is considerably more background on the case in the UK which has seen the striking down of the secrecy laws of the UK family courts. I commented on this a few days ago, and I ask was what was done to this little girl's father really "in her best interest"?

Simon and Esti's case and its legal consequences represent a small victory in a hidden war which is being fought throughout the western world. In truth, the usual losers are not simply the fathers, they are non-custodial parents in general and the children whom they love and who love them.

Most western countries' custody laws are set upon the premise that if the parents cannot agree then one parent should have priority when it comes to authority over the child. This is done on the expedient and unsound assumption, which is really more of an excuse, that if it is not then the child will not be able to form a developmentally sound parent-child relationship with either parent.

This simplistic thinking automatically pits the parents against eachother. If the custodial parent chooses to act maliciously, the courts are disinclined to crack down for fear of the knock-on effect on the children. This puts enormous power in the hands of an unscrupulous custodial parent and renders the other painfully vulnerable.

It furthers the hostile custodial parent's goals to be uncooperative, to manufacture "fears" for the children's safety, to pump up the hysteria and force the other out of the picture. Wanting to act, to resolve something, the courts may even take the easy way out and take the alienating parent's side.

A disenfranchised parent in such a position is tormented by the need to fight for their relationship with their children and the conflicting need to not fight for fear of making things worse. Months, years, decades can go by without contact or with so little contact as to almost be meaningless. Some don't make it. They are terrified to speak out for fear of upsetting a judge, even in jurisdictions where gag orders are not used as they are in the UK. Some dissolve into their own despair and some do worse. They are struck dumb at a time when they most need to be able to speak out, not just by bad laws but by the unspoken rules of the machine which takes their children from them. This is supposed to be "in the best interest of the children".

Simon and Esti got lucky. Here's a prayer that others will too.

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How to be taken seriously

A few days ago, I encountered yet another strident newspaper article claiming that parental alienation syndrome doesn't exist and, in this case, has been discredited by the American Psychological Association. It does and it hasn't. But that didn't stop this woman claiming to the world the opposite and another newspaper from failing to check its columnists' facts, motivations and credibility. The author, unsurprisingly, is someone big in the domestic violence industry. Doubtless she's well-meaning in her own way, doubtless she's seen many bona fide cases of abuse, doubtless she's even seen spurious claims of parental alienation to gain ground in custody battles. But none of that undermines the reality of a parent's ability to attack and even destroy the other parent in a child's eyes, especially when supported by the court. Consequently, she does everyone a disfavor by peddling misinformation and false ideology. I won't link to her because I don't want to spread such crap myself.

What I will link to is an article in the Salt Lake Tribune wherein Elizabeth Neff discusses parental alienation in high conflict divorce with admirable objectivity and without the unnecessary rancor which so often clouds people's vision. I recommend it.

She quotes: "[Judge] Kennedy has acknowledged in hearings that he is operating in a vacuum of sorts, at some points mentioning he might assume the abuse has taken place for the sake of argument." I wonder if he ever assumes that the abuse has not taken place for the sake of argument. Either way, imagine the consequences of such an assumption if it is unfounded. As she ends the article: 'The father in the 3rd District Court case agrees that sexual abuse is heinous. "But it's also heinous to allege it if it's not true," he says.'

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Your honor, judge thyself.

A quick update on my last posting, "Privacy or Justice? A small victory for sense". concerning the raising of at least some of the blankett of silence which surrounds the UK family courts, an article in the Times (London) quotes Lord Justice Wall:

"“I find it unacceptable that conscientious magistrates and judges, struggling to make difficult decisions in the best interests of children(*) should be accused of administering ‘secret justice’.”

((*) There's that phrase again.)

It astonishes me that these emminent gentlemen have such a hard time admitting to the clear and obvious fact that a court which conscientiously struggles to make difficult decisions in the best interests of the children and is completely protected from outside scrutiny by routine blanket gag orders is indeed, for absolute literal fact, administering 'secret justice'. If the observation of this obvious and defnitive fact is an "accusation", then these people should know all about what happens when you're accused. You're supposed to get a chance to defend yourself. If you can't, you pay a debt to society and do something about it. At last, it would seem that they are, but it is less than entirely graceful of them to try to wheedle out of the responsibility for a bad policy when a convicted felon would likely have his sentence extended somewhat for failing to face up to proven charges.

They can dish it out, now, can they take it?

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