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More on George Sodini

My sweetie rain_herself has written a well-considered rebuttal to my last post, which I think deserves more attention than being buried in a very long comment thread, so I want to point people at it here.

Edited to add: It was a locked post, but it's unlocked now.

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( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
lolitasir
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
it's a locked post.
tacit
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Oops! She's unlocked it now. :)
gushi
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
You don't have permission to access /128341.html on this server.
tacit
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
Oops! She's unlocked it now.
delphinea
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
Ditto. No access.
tacit
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
Unlocked now.
delphinea
Aug. 18th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
This has been a good read and there's a lot of food for thought on all sides -- comments included.
firinel
Aug. 17th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately what rain_herself has said can come off as sounding a lot like victim blaming. If only people had reached out, had not spurned him!

Also, I think it's so optimistic as to be mis-guided, and possibly detrimental, to take the stance that others can "save" people from mental illness.
joreth
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
I agree, and I don't think there's really any way we can say "if only someone did X, that wouldn't have happened". We have no way of knowing just how far his problems went, or even the specific direction they went or came from.

He might have spurned all attempts to be "just friends" as many Nice Guys do. He might have been insulted if someone suggested therapy (I know someone in desperate need of therapy and suggesting it only alienated him further because of his views on what therapy represents). Forcing him to get treatment might have merely removed him from society (which would have protected the women) but not actually "fixed" him and would have opened up a much more dangerous precedent regarding when and how and why it is or is not appropriate to "force" mental health treatment.
joreth
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
I had 2 difficulties with her post.

1) I don't see as how your two opinions are necessarily mutually incompatible and

2) When what a person wants is a sexual relationship, simply "reaching out and being their friend and offering support" won't help, and often compounds the problem.

Take all the complaints from Nice Guys. One of the biggest, most repeated complaints I hear is that they're sick of women just wanting to "be friends" with them. They want to get laid dammit! (or have a wife, whatever, it's not "just friends").

They usually reach the conclusion that the phrase is actually code for "I'm totally rejecting you but I'm supposed to say this to be nice", so even when it's said in all sincerity, it is not received that way and fuels their resentment.

And the *reason* for this is because the Nice Guy's desperation and his feeling of entitlement and his resentment of the "let's be friends" phrase makes even women who are completely sincere in their desire to befriend them back off over time as their friendship is spurned and pressure is put on them to be something else.

As for my first point, I don't see why we can't be both compassionate and concerned for the people who are hurting and alone and *still* think of them at the end of the line, where George went, as assholes.

Maybe they weren't assholes at the beginning, but, as she pointed out, many people find a way to stop that train from reaching that final destination of killing someone else. So I feel free to call someone who doesn't an asshole.

I also don't see why "everyone else is doing it" is justification to not dislike an individual from falling prey to peer pressure.

As an example:

My grandfather skipped my parents' wedding because my mother is mexican. Eventually he got over it, and my parents forgave him, and I grew up with my grandfather as a loved extended relative that had some "quirks" that were a product of his generation.

When my sister got pregnant as a teenager, although it was quite the shocking event, what pissed off my grandfather was that the baby's father was half-black. For the first 2 years of my nephew's life, my grandfather did not acknowledge his presence. As in, when the kid was around, my grandfather did not look at the kid, speak his name, or address him in any fashion.

Eventually, the baby became a child with a personality and a refusal to not be acknowledged and, sheer constant exposure to this little human being eventually dragged my grandfather around and he came to adore my nephew.

My sister forgave him, explaining away his racist behaviour as simply a product of his generation.

I call bullshit. My grandfather was an asshole.

My grandmother grew up in the same era, and she wasn't a racist (they were divorced before I was born, and I don't know if it had anything to do with that, but they were as different as night and day in just about every area of life that I was exposed to with respect to who they were). Lots of people who were born at the same time, lived in the same place, fought in the same wars, were not racist. Lots of people who were indoctrinated with racist views let go of those views as reality and experience taught them that the views were wrong.

My grandfather might have had a lot working against him, given his age and upbringing, and I can feel compassion for people who find themselves in environments that do them harm.

But we are *all* products of our environment and people get past that all the time. I can be simultaneously compassionate and saddened for someone in a bad situation and still think they are an asshole for their actions. I can agree that solution is to fix the system, and that it's a complex and difficult system to fix, and that the system itself has no small part in the development of someone's assholeness while not letting the asshole out of his own responsibility for being an asshole.
chaos5023
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
What exactly does "he was an asshole" mean, then? "He chose to behave unpleasantly when he could have and should have known better"?
joreth
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
It means he behaved reprehensively, he took conscious actions that inflicted harm on another human.

The motivations are only relevant when discussing what could be done to minimize future occurances. It does not absolve him from his own behaviour.
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chaos5023
Aug. 18th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
I don't think the point is that George Sodini's obnoxious expectations about womens' duties to him, or those of guys on dating sites, justify anything, or are even okay to hold, okay to project onto others.

I don't think the point is that George Sodini was anything other than fully responsible for his own actions.

I think the point is that when we routinely treat each other inhumanly, maybe we shouldn't act quite so surprised when we get the occasional inhuman response.
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( 51 comments — Leave a comment )