Horrible People

These adoptive parents are horrible people who don’t begin to understand what it means to love a child. Disgusting, hateful people. Anybody who claims to love a child and doesn’t do everything they can to ensure that the child has contact with the real parents is a shitty person.

Rhetorical Flourishes

Also from the NYTIMES:

A death in the family. A punch to the gut. The announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement felt to me and many people I know like both of those.

Wow, people must really hate their relatives. I have some relatives I’m not close to and don’t particularly like but still death is death. When people die, they are not there any more. It’s still a lot more major than any of this crap.

I understand that this is meant to be a rhetorical flourish. But I encounter it very often these days. People compare some Trump-related outrage of the day to death of relatives and it sounds so weird. I wonder if their family members – especially the ones who are not in great health – take it in their stride. I get it when very young people who haven’t buried anybody yet say this. But middle-aged folks?

The author is somebody who writes for a living. Shouldn’t he be a bit more careful with words?

Pro-immigration Forces

From an NYTIMES article:

Pro-immigration forces should avoid using charges of racism to sideline discussions of ethno-demographic interests. Instead, they should accept the importance of cultural concerns but argue positively for immigration on humanitarian, national-interest or liberal grounds. They should cite assimilation data to reassure anxious majorities.

This would be undeniably right if these so-called pro-immigration forces were interested in anything but empty, self-congratulatory posturing on many subjects, including immigration.

The article’s author is trying to convince people that accusing those who oppose immigration of racism is counterproductive. But it’s not counterproductive if that is the whole goal. Immigrants are utterly accidental here. The goal is to have an opportunity to call somebody a racist.

Book Notes: Joe McGinnis’s A Fatal Vision

In the 1970s journalist Joe McGinnis spent a lot of time with Jeffrey MacDonald, a doctor who was accused of murdering, in an extremely violent way, his pregnant wife and two small daughters. After the doctor was convicted of the murders, McGinnis wrote a book about it.

I started reading the book because I learned that McGinnis was later accused of unethical behavior because he’d ingratiated himself with MacDonald under false pretenses and betrayed his confidence. I thought this was incredible bonk and started reading the book being initially predisposed favorably towards McGinnis and negatively against MacDonald.

After reading the 1,000-page book, I believe the doctor was totally railroaded. I thought that before I googled the case and discovered that there is now DNA evidence that supports the doctor’s story.

By railroaded I don’t mean that the doctor was necessarily not guilty. I think he wasn’t guilty but nobody can know for sure. What I mean is that putting somebody in jail on the strength of this kind of “evidence” is a perversion of justice.

The doctor’s problem is that he’s an irredeemable jerk. He’s just not a nice guy. And even though somebody else confessed, throughout the years, on multiple occasions and to multiple people including her own mom, to committing the murders, it weighed more strongly with the judge, the jury and McGinnis that the doctor was a jerk.

McGinnis tries so hard to construct evidence of guilt where there’s none that he spends hundreds of pages conducting a sort of a pseudo-psychoanalytic analysis of MacDonald. To give a single example, McGinnis decided that the doctor slaughtered his family because he was “a repressed sexual invert” (meaning, gay) because he cultivated a macho persona. And so he must have been so afraid of his “latent homosexuality” being revealed that he shredded his family to pieces with a knife. There is a lot of this kind of pseudo-Freudian ramblings in the book, and they are, frankly, painful to read in their utter stupidity.

One of McGinnis’s main lines of attack against the doctor is that he had sex with many women throughout his life. The prissiness he exhibits when writing about it is so over the top that the book gets comical in places. Readers discover that MacDonald once stayed in a hotel where, months later, an orgy took place. MacDonald was long gone when the orgy began but just think about it! What kind of person stays in places where eventually orgies happen? He must be a closeted gay! And a murderer! That is the kind of analysis that McGinnis offers throughout the book’s 1,000 pages.

The doctor is now in his seventies and still in jail. I assume he’s as much of a self-important jerk as ever. But there’s strong likelihood that he’s an innocent jerk who was railroaded to compensate for a hopelessly botched initial investigation.