Monday, 15 August 2016

Fifty Shades of Patricide

This is, actually, the worst (probably teenage) daughter I have read about in my whole entire life. Words fail me. I just can't imagine being in the shoes of anyone who could do that. The only guess I can come up with is that she has been thoroughly coarsened by the pop culture of which FSG is the nadir.

Strict father, my eye. My parents would have had my guts for garters had they caught me reading the 1980s equivalent of FSG, let alone overheard me saying it was my favourite book.

Update: Words have come back. "Honour your father and mother" is the fourth commandment, and it is not conditional. If you have terrible parents, you get to a safe distance as soon as you can, work to forgive them so that your horrible childhood has less of a hold on your soul, and you save them--even if at arm's length--from dying in a bus shelter in their old age, if you can.

Fortunately, most people do not have terrible parents. Most of us have flawed parents, and those flaws are most noticeable when we are shifting from a childhood perception of our parents as all-wise and invincible--that is, when we are teenagers. In theology school, we called such a time "critical distance." In short, we move from a false image of someone to an unhappy new realization and, hopefully, we get through it and come to accept the person for who she or he really is.

Sadly, various forces--most clearly advertisers--take advantage of the teenager's period of "critical distance" to direct a child's natural (and divinely commanded) loyalty to his or her parents to some other authority, like an artist with music to sell. Advertisers preach a gospel of teenage rebellion against parents as if it were a fact, not a construct made up by Hollywood. (When I was a teenager, I was not particularly interested in rebelling against my parents but in the stultifying hypocrisy that seemed to flourish  in the Metropolitan Toronto Separate [i.e. Catholic] School Board. Oh, and also various prevailing ideologies, like multiculuralism vs the centuries-old process of fashioning a uniquely Canadian identity, similar to the process that had developed in Australia. But I digress.) This normalization of "teenage rebellion" makes things all that much easier for people who would seduce children away from their parents--for example, older, wilier, would-be boyfriends. It's almost amusing how teenage girls are so ready to disobey their parents to obey some new near-stranger, thinking that this is all very brave and grown-up and Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet, by the way, is the most misunderstood, and probably the most disastrous, of our culture treasures. To repeat yet again, the point about Romeo and Juliet is that their parents had everything in common and therefore the two principals were perfectly--from a social point of view-- matched, and the tragedy was caused solely because their fathers had a long-standing neighbours row. It is as if, in suburban Cardiff, Mr Jones and Mr Davies couldn't agree who owned the tree along the dividing line between their back gardens, and as a result, young Rhys Jones was not invited to the Davies' snazzy 18th birthday bash for their Carys. The quarrel between Capulet and Montague had absolutely nothing to do with race, ethnic group, social background, religion or even what age it was appropriate for girls to accept suitors. The Capulets were perfectly happy to marry Juliet off before she was 14.

Anyway, I am shivering in horror that things in the West have come to such a pretty pass, and that the attack on the family--which is what the celebration and promotion of "teenage rebellion" comes down to--has been so successful, that a girl in Britain would be psychologically capable of wrongly accusing her father of eight counts of incestuous rape, making up her testimony from a dirty bestseller.


  1. Terrible story and a dreadful young woman.

    I've noticed, though, that today there are far more stories about parents who neglect their duties towards their children than vice versa, especially where their sexual satisfaction is concerned. Theodore Dalrymple has a number of gruesome stories of parents who ejected their children from the family home at the request of a lover who did not want to share time with them.

    One of the horrors of the story of Nicole Brown Simpson was that her parents allowed her to accept the gift of a car (Jaguar? Corvette? Camaro? Can't remember but in the 1970s it could have been the latter) from O.J. Simpson for her 18th birthday. My father, and yours too, I feel certain, would have done I don't know what if an older man had given me a gift like that, leaving aside the fact that he was married and had children.


  2. Oh yes. There are many, MANY stories like that in the UK papers. It is astonishing how many women will indeed put their children after their own sexual satisfaction/hopes. I suppose men do, too, but they are not usually living with those children because... Oh, it's all very depressing.

    I cannot even begin to imagine what my parents would have said if some man tried to give me a car for my 18th birthday. Possibly they would have thrown me out of the house because, obviously, if I was in any way involved with such a man, I must potentially be a horrible influence on my younger brothers and sisters.

    1. For the sake of the horrified young, I should explain that in the 80s, it was still fashionable to blame young people for everything and it was still assumed that children just told lies.