Thursday, November 24, 2011

Abusers, flash mobs, and Howie Mandel

My family couldn't wait to talk about last night's episode of Mobbed today.

They were repulsed.

They were traumatized.

They were disgusted.

I watched it this morning online, and I concur. It WAS repulsive and disgusting.

That poor daughter and that poor abandoned wife, set up on national television to take part in the "what a great guy the abusive man is" spectacular. Howie even ends it all by telling the abusive husband and father, "You are the man!"

For a family that is healing, this show highlights everything wrong with abusive men. First, the abusive dad has set the whole thing up in public, on national television, so that if the abused women in his life don't just immediately forgive and adore him, THEY look like the douchebags instead of him. Public displays of affection, devotion and remorse are common among abusive men. The public face is always that of all-around great guy.


Second, he gets to abuse his daughter on national television, with Howie Mandel's help! Before his grand entrance as the remorseful dad, begging for forgiveness, HE ABANDONS HER AGAIN, RIPPING OPEN HER BROKEN HEART and then imploring her to forgive him on national television.

Why abandon the girl first? What the hell, Howie? How did wounding her afresh make your flash mob of "love" a better production? I hope they both (mother and daughter) sue the shit out Howie for the emotional battering that girl took on national television. That was so effing cruel,to have Dad call and say he wasn't coming and hang up on the DAUGHTER HE ABANDONED! The producers of this show actually did that! Howie had his arm around the dad while he was doing the dastardly deed!

Who would do that? They have no psychological consultants on this show? They are going to go involving themselves in people's most painful traumas for entertainment value, without any concern that they might be helping to revictimize these women?

Unbelievably cruel, that's what it was.

So, they helped this abusive man start off the show re-traumatizing the daughter, then REFUSE TO LET HER LEAVE!!

Howie is giving secret instructions to his employees to not let this crying, confused, distraught woman leave. The rest of the show people are smiling, enthusiastic, giving high-energy performances at Howie's direction, doing everything possible to manipulate this girl to act happy.

If they were decent people they would have just stopped. They would have let that girl leave, taken her somewhere safe that she could try to recover from this fresh abandonment from her father. To be fair, most of the people involved in the production probably didn't know about the abusive phone call that started the event. I don't think the mother did, since she got out of the limo smiling at her daughter. Still, Howie and his producers KNEW. They made it happen!

But no, at Howie's direction, his employees lead the daughter into the flash mob, where people sing nice words to her while her heart has just been ripped open. She smiles the smile of the abused, but her body language- arms closed around her body, hand covering her face- tells the truth that she wants to disappear and find a safe place; that where she is at the time is not safe. And you know what? It was not.

The whole extravaganza was a power play by the abusive husband. Public displays of grandeur are common with abusers.

The whole thing was about him, not about his daughter. I am sure those women have been through this before. Love bombing, is what a friend called it recently. She rightly told me that women stay in abusive relationships because they forgive too quickly. The abuser says he's sorry and then love bombs them. Ostentatious displays of affection: roses, serenades, expensive gifts are often a part of it. The women want so desperately to be loved that they forgive, and the stage is set for the cycle of abuse to begin again.

This man was not sorry for abandoning his daughter. He would never have started off the show by abandoning her again if he understood the damage his abandonment had already done. He manipulated Howie into helping him manipulate his daughter. Sick. Twisted. Horrifying.

Imagine how different the show would have been if dad showed up like he promised, showing he was a different man by BEING DEPENDABLE. The girl was so happy at the beginning of the show, thinking her dad was coming to support her in a musical production. If he had kept his word, and then the flash mob broke out, that would have been a beautiful sight to behold.

But, no. True to abusive form, he has to hurt his daughter before he can be good to her. There she is, heart full of hope, beaming, expecting her dad to show up....then the phone call.

"I'm not coming. I can't explain," he says and hangs up.

The girl is devastated.

It's obvious she's devastated. Does Howie do the compassionate thing and send a counselor down to talk to her? Does he cancel the show, and apologize for using her pain as a source of entertainment? I wish.

No,Howie has his employees steer her out to where the flash mob starts singing to her, and eventually, the abusive dad IN THE SPOTLIGHT, calls down to the daughter he just emotionally bitch-slapped on the phone and wants to be forgiven.

This is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen on television.

So, no one on Howie's staff knows anything about domestic violence/emotional abuse? No one checked around to see if this show was a good idea?

Grandiose statement of remorse are a hallmark of domestic abuse.

Apologizing in public, so the victim can't possibly have a real conversation about the pain the abuse has caused, is also a pretty common abuse tactic.

And Howie Mandel helps this man publicly humiliate his daughter AND praises him for it. Unbelievable. I want to believe he was duped out of ignorance, but honestly how can anyone be ignorant of domestic abuse in this day and age? Abandonment IS abuse, Howie. People who abandon ARE abusers. Call you local shrink to verify, but it's pretty common knowledge.

You can find the episode online somewhere. In the thirty-ninth minute, in the lower right hand corner of the screen, is one lone face that seems to reflect that he knows what is really going on. Everyone else, true to the script, keeps maniacally smiling and cheering like this is a great thing that just happened. Thank you, sir, whoever you are, for your sanity.

Howie Mandel helped a man use a flash mob and nationwide television to publicly emotionally abuse his daughter. They all try their best to manipulate the girl to say she's happy about it, but she honestly says instead, "I don't know how I feel."

Yeah, that's cause inside you're devastated, but a cast of hundreds is being used to emotionally manipulate you to be happy about your abuse. I hope that girl get some help.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Iran: What would Jesus do?

Stumbled upon this blog today, and I hope it will generate some thought among my thoughtful readers (if I still have any readers! =).
Christians call for impoverishing Iran

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fourteen years of patriotic teaching blown away in a day.

Occupy Berkeley Police Brutality

All of our home school days I have supported law and order. I taught my children to respect authority. I taught them in kindergarten that the police were their friends, public servants who were here to protect citizens and apprehend criminals.

I also instilled in them a love of freedom, and especially the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. Freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to live free from fear of tyranny (to borrow from Jefferson's Declaration) top the list.

My children are not inheriting the America I taught them to love. The last time the government engaged in this kind of thuggery was against the protesters in the Civil Rights Movement. Television crews carried the news into the living rooms of the affluent back then, and people were shocked.

Where is the outrage over the police brutality happening today? Is it even on the news? A whole generation is rightly losing respect for authority. These police actions are reprehensible. There are just no words that can convey the disgust my family felt when watching this footage.

For the cops who beat unarmed citizens who were committing no crime, I have only scorn. For the politicians who sent the cops out to do their bidding, I have seething anger. You stole my country and made me a liar to my children. At times like this, be grateful for one thing--that I am not god because you would surely suffer a painful correction. Grrr.

For the brave students who held their ground, chanting "stop beating students" while refraining from retaliating, I offer you my respect and my prayers. All of our hopes as a nation rest with you. Thank you for believing that things could be better, if we only found the collective will to make real changes. I stand with you. I support you. May you all prosper in all you set your hand to do. Peace and good will. SS

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Death Train

Last night I watched a documentary on Current TV about the people maimed and killed on Mexican trains, mostly Central Americans. These migrant workers knowingly taking this serious risk because, as I pointed out in my last post, the certain slow death by the grinding privations of poverty compel them to take those risks. I don't know what it will take for Americans to get the gravity of this situation through their thick skulls.

What's even more puzzling to me, is that this kind of willingness to risk (literally) life and limb for a chance at building a better life in America IS EXACTLY WHAT WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN MAKES AMERICANS GREAT. There is nothing going on in this country truer to our founding ideals that the brave men, women and children willing to face predatory violence, maiming accident, and repeated setbacks (literal setbacks, as in back to where you started from) for the opportunity to work their rear ends off in hopes of a better life.

They hypocrisy of the right wing on this subject, wiping away tears and waxing eloquent about our brave pioneer ancestors, who came to this country with nothing but determination and a willingness to work hard, astounds me. Not the part about honoring our ancestors. I'm all for that. It's the part about refusing to acknowledge the same qualities in the thousands of Latinos re-enacting our cultural myth right in front of our eyes.

These immigrants are amazing. I have nothing but respect for the vast majority. The pejorative of "law-breakers" or "illegals" is disingenuous. We Americans know how laws are made, repealed, and changed. We of all nations know that something is only illegal when the legislators say it is. Laws can be rewritten when they are counter-productive and unenforceable. Our immigration laws certainly fit that description.

I have been a conservative all of my adult life. I still am. What passes for conservative these days does not fit the definition I grew up with. Conservatism, as I understand it, is very pragmatic. It is not anti-change, but it is slow to act. It is not hopelessly trying to hold onto the past. Conservatism was always about moving ahead deliberately, weighing all the options.

In my beginning political life, conservatives were more populous in the GOP. The GOP had not yet been taken over by fundamentalists. We could still civilly discuss and advocate for the legalization of marijuana, legal recognition of committed gay relationships, and debate how to frame and respond to the obvious and unstoppable phenomenon of human migration patterns.

The GOP I grew up with is dead and gone. The current slate of candidates for office is embarrassing. I shrink in horror to think of any of them being responsible for foreign policy. I doubt if any of them are electable. Still, the way they have shifted the political climate in this country is bad for America. It is, in my opinion, un-American, and if I ruled the world they would be heavily fined for every American flag they dare to wave, fly, or hide behind.

It is un-American to treat our current laws as if they were handed down to us by God on Mt. Sinai. They were not. When a law is counter-productive to American interests, as our current immigration laws ARE, we have the ability and the moral obligation to change them. Creating new, more deadly barriers to these unstoppable, thoroughly American immigrants looking for a chance to work and build a better life here in the "land of opportunity" is inhuman.

I can't imagine a solution less intelligent or more embarrassing than the idea of a giant human-zapper stretched across the border to electrocute the people forced by starvation at home to migrate no matter how serious the consequences when they fail. That is not only un-American, it's inhuman. And it's not only inhuman, it's incredibly stupid.

Where are the conservative who were able to soberly face facts and readjust failed policies? American's current immigration policies are an epic fail, and it is NOT because our enforcement is lax. It's because enforcement is impossible. No conservative worth his or her salt can possibly not see this.

Where are the clear thinkers who can face the facts? Where are the orators who can explain them in ways the general public can understand? Have we really morphed into a country of arrogant, redneck blowhards like the people to which the GOP presidential candidates are pandering?

This is ridiculous. Why aren't the think tanks pointing out to our politicians, "Hey, look at this new demographic trend! Central and South Americans will face any danger, any risk, for the chance to live and work in America. Trying to fight this trend is costing us huge amounts of money, putting a burden on our social assistance programs in some states, and putting the good citizens of our border states at risk from the ongoing criminal enterprises meeting this market demand. Why don't WE meet the market demand, by opening new venues for legal migrations, making the process quicker and more equitable to all willing to work when they get here, and charging them local annual worker permits to offset any local costs in social services?"

Conservatives, indeed all business-minded Americans, used to encourage innovative solutions to sticky problems. There was a time when a person who could come up with a creative win-win was celebrated! Peacemakers were honored as the sons of God, like the Bible urged.

I want that country back. I want back the country of good will, innovation, and hard work. I want back a country where consensus and compromise are valued. I want that America back. I want to be part of that proud tradition that Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Clara Barton, and Jane Addams carried on. I want the America that Emma Lazarus wrote of, at the turn of the last century:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

I don't want a wall; neither an electrified one nor one patrolled by armed guards. I want a port of entry, a new Ellis Island, and a country that continues the tradition of welcoming hard working immigrants as new Americans. Anybody know how I can get that?