"Dad Again" continues to get passionate responses from readers. This week's column provoked a near-riot in the Fray as posters discussed whether they had ever felt inclined to kill their babies.
Subject: Blaming the Victims
Re: "Dad Again: Infanticide to Infatuation"
Date: Wed May 22 7:15 a.m. PT
I was struck by how much the author sounded like the victim in an abusive relationship. "Well, she's mean and nasty most of the time, it's true … but you don't understand! There are moments when we really seem to connect!" If you couple the psychology of an abusive relationship with the social conventions insisting that parents stick around, it's easy to see why parents come to be so devoted to their children. Like wives in the 1950s, they don't really have any choice in the matter. They come to see themselves as they're treated: as a means to an end. Of course, unlike 1950s husbands, small children really don't have any choice in how they treat their parents; and parents are bound to put up with it. But they don't have to pretend to be happy about it.
Subject: The Difficulties of Eternal Vigilance
Re: " Chatterbox: Is Bush Hyping the New al-Qaida Threat?"
Date: Wed May 22 7:50 a.m. PT
What if Bush and Co. reacted to the memos and intelligence and "chatter" immediately? What if, in June or August or even September, they had started dragging in Middle Eastern men in flight schools for interrogation? ... Probably [the plot] would have gone down at another time. Our country doesn't do fear and loathing very well. Threats or not, after a while we get back to work, back to school, back to worrying over the ten thousand crazy things that occupy our minds every day. That is our knack for taking care of business, for taking care of family, for taking care of what's important at this time. The vigilance would have evaporated, just like it is right now. That is our strength ... and our vulnerability.
Subject: The Flock as Sheep
Re: "Home Fires: My Priest, the Child Molester"
From: Will Allen
Date: Thu May 23 3:24 p.m. PT
Since when does forgiving people mean allowing them to avoid the consequences of doing damage to innocent parties? What on earth is wrong with these parishioners? Has belonging to a congregation or a large, organized religion completely stripped them of their presumably God-given ability to engage in independent thought? Radicalize? There oughta be a revolution!
Subject: Choosing Your Obituarist
Re: "Obit: Deadline Journalism"
From: Mitchell Owens
Date: Fri May 17 8:00 p.m. PT
I read the article with some interest, being an aficionado of and very occasional writer of obituaries (the New York Times). What I find so admirable about British obits is how they are truly mini-biographies, not mini-hagiographies, as appears so often the case in the United States. British papers produce biting biographies, perhaps, but who among us would not relish a gleeful, even occasionally off-color final send-off, as long as it was factually correct, well written, and most of all, memorable? To tell the truth, I got more calls from people demanding that I write their obituaries after I'd written a sassy and highly pointed one about the British designer David Hicks than after writing any that hewed to bland admiration.
This week's good Frays included two described in my notebook as "Culturebox Young"—one for Neil, one for Botox. Slate readers obviously don't use Botox: Queenie stood out as the sole defender of cosmetic enhancement (perhaps her checkmark should have been smoothed out into a straight line). Also recommended: comments on British obituaries; on the Santa Fe drought; and on cancer movies—special opportunities for fans of Alien.
History Guy's contest call for "Two truths and a lie" about Fray posters brought an enormous number of responses, a tribute to Fraysters' exciting lives and talent for invention. Even more people wanted to contribute to Max Fischer Players' inspired idea that far too many movies are being preserved: He asked which movies readers would like to see destroyed. And Shome got the "Dear Prudie" Fraysters going with a question on marriage.
History Guy was also the first to guess correctly that new star Zathras is actually Joseph Britt, though Ghost of a-z was close behind. Other star news is that Michael, awarded one last week, has turned down the honor. We are too depressed to give out any more this week.