We enjoyed tacos and movies two nights straight. First, we went up to Evanston and this taco restaurant, which was very good. We followed dinner with The Novitiate (2017), a film that is sure to offend traditional Catholics while likely garnering more positive, if tempered, reviews from the moderate and liberal wings. Melissa Leo stars as the mother superior in a cloistered rural Tennessee convent during the transition to Vatican II reforms. The tradition-minded nun finds herself at odds with the local bishop who has ordered her to embrace the changes. Meantime, we follow a group of teenage postulants adjusting to convent life and the rigors of the old system. It's a pretty good film for a general adult audience, even better if you have some familiarity with that period in the Catholic Church, as well as an awareness of the current simmering tensions between the traditional and progressive wings.
For night 2 of tacos and film, we went to a taco joint called the Taco Joint, which was also first rate. The movie was The Square, a Swedish film with dialogue alternating between Swedish and English. The Square is an ambitious satire that skewers just about everyone and everything in contemporary life. Sex, men, women, art, social justice, free speech, political correctness, marketing, YouTube -- it's all targeted. The Square is a bit too long at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and somewhat fragmented by its own ambition to tackle so much of the folly in modern life, but it's provocative, funny, relevant and insightful.
Late in the first season of the Netflix series Mindhunter, we're introduced to a school principal who insists on tickling the feet of elementary school students as a form of positive discipline. The principal's behavior worries teachers and parents, but when he's confronted by an FBI agent, the principal becomes indignant, and suggests that his critics are busybodies and perverts.
The tickling comes across as a compulsion so insistent that that the principal refuses to stop even as he moves toward his inevitable termination by the local school board.
In my work with abusers, I've repeatedly encountered a similarly compulsive quality to worrisome behavior.
Michael Jackson's history of red-flag conduct with children was a public example what looked like an irresistible compulsion. As criticisms of his relationships with children mounted, Jackson refused to alter conduct that was a neon sign of child sexual abuse.
Anthony Weiner is another very public case that has the earmarks of compulsion. Even after being exposed, publicly humiliated and derailed as a viable NYC mayoral candidate, Weiner resumed the same troubling sexual behavior, as if he believed he would somehow escape the consequences. At the time of his arrest, he was in contact with some 30 women. Weiner recently began serving a 21-month sentence for his electronic misconduct with a minor girl.
In the many recent cases of sexual abuse and misconduct that have come to light, some seem like expressions of compulsion, while others look more like straightforward, opportunistic abuse of power.
I'm hopeful that the recent public reckonings faced by a number of public figures will give some abusers pause going forward, but I am not optimistic that any of this will deter those whose misconduct is more compulsive in nature.
Charles Bethea: Locals Were Troubled By Roy Moore's Behavior. A more complicated case. Start by asking yourself about the psychological implications of a man in his early 30s allegedly seeking emotional/romantic intimates as young as 14 years old, and doing so in a way that was observable by others. If you have doubts about the veracity of the claims, read the linked New Yorker article and the original WaPo article.
In both Clinton's case and Moore's case, there are those who are more interested in the political power of the stories. Still I'm convinced that there is something to the underlying claims.
Hannity: And you can say unequivocally that you never dated anybody that was in their late teens like that when you were 32?
Roy Moore: "It would have been out of my customary behavior, that's right."
Which isn't an unequivocal no. It's merely an assertion that doing so wouldn't have been "customary" for him. Interesting as well that there are accusers who say that Moore pursued them between the ages of 16 and 18, but the most scandalous accusation is sexual contact with a 14-year-old. Fourteen is not a "late teen."
Hannity: In other words, you don't recall ever dating any girl that young when you were that old?
Roy Moore: "I've said no."
As if teeing up a classic evasion, Hannity frames this as a recollection question, and Moore still doesn't muster a straight "no."
Hannity: And you think that's inappropriate too, that's what you're saying?
Moore: "Inappropriate, yes."
Which isn't saying he didn't do any of what he's accused of, but it is admitting that such behavior is inappropriate. The part about the 14-year-old would have also been illegal, but Hannity framed it more mildly as inappropriate.
Hannity: "Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?"
Moore: "Not generally, no. If I did, I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that."
You get the idea.
Then there is Louis CK who admitted to the claims of all of his accusers. I didn't expect that one. He's admitted to all of it. A friend said she's actually had that thought about CK, so she wasn't surprised at all.
Then there is a civil right leader who has done some monstrous things. I knew one of his victims, and his actions were devastating to her, but it's up to her to come forward. I hope she does.
Several of my student patients have been using therapy lamps without recommendation from me, and they've have offered generally positive reviews. With the change to Standard time, I'm trying one myself, not for depression, but hoping that it might kickstart my day. I've never been a morning person, but I arise 4:45 to 5am. Coffee helps, but I'd like to see if some artificial sunlight helps further.
I'm not confident that it will make all that much of a difference, but I'll let you know what I think in a couple of weeks.