Thursday, September 11, 2008

A is for Alienation

By now most people have heard about the Parental Alienation saga between Alec Baldwin and his Ex-Wife, Kim Basinger.

The New Yorker recently did a profile piece on Alec Baldwin that included a few paragraphs regarding his views on He and Basinger's divorce and her campaign to alienate their daughter from him. Baldwin offers some particularly good insight on the topic:

In 2002, after a period of improvised custody-sharing, Basinger and Baldwin entered litigation—Basinger now equipped with a lawyer whose name evokes, in Baldwin, a desire to find an insult that outperforms all earlier insults he has thrown at the man. In various venues and, eventually, in open court, the parties argued about Baldwin’s access to his daughter. Baldwin has many complaints about the family-law system, and some record of this is in “A Promise to Ourselves,” his forthcoming book, but his primary focus is what he regards as a simple injustice: he hoped to have a reasonable share of his daughter’s time, and his ex-wife and her representatives were able to thwart him, in various ways, for years, in part by reference to behavior traits—or failings—that had not disbarred him from fatherhood when he was married. (So, for example, in 2002 Baldwin agreed to attend a course of twelve anger-management sessions. At the time, he was shooting “Second Nature,” in London. He remembers standing on the street after the last session “and just sobbing that they had put this enormous obstacle in my way and I had succeeded.”) When I asked Baldwin if he could have made the process smoother or quicker, he bristled: “That’s where the thing gets twisted around to where the persistence of the father to want to have enforcement of his parental rights is viewed as abusive and aggressive—pathological behavior. ‘All of our problems would go away if you would just back off. Why can’t you just back off? You’ll see the kid when I tell you that you can see the kid.’ ”

Some mental-health professionals employ the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to describe a condition in children damaged by one parent’s propaganda about the other. (It’s not formally recognized as a psychiatric disorder.) But “parental alienation” is also used in a looser, less clinical way—as Baldwin uses it—to refer to the mere daily flow of parental undermining. “Parental alienation is about people who narcissistically project their whole reality onto a child: ‘I don’t need you, so the child doesn’t need you,’ ” he said. “And what you ultimately realize is the clock that they’ve been running out is childhood itself. The kid goes from five to six to eight. Kids have school, they have friends; the next thing—my daughter is twelve. They have no use for either of their parents when they’re twelve. And you’ve missed everything. You’ve gotten only these little time-lapse things. The goal of the alienating parent is to kill contiguous time. People need reliability. They need regularity. And I’ve been a victim of a campaign to kill all that. You wind up being more an uncle than a father.” Sometimes, in order to have lunch with Ireland, Baldwin flew to California in the morning and flew back overnight, to be at a rehearsal the next day.

Baldwin did keep working after the breakup...

...But he says that he was distracted, in his professional life, by the struggle over his daughter. “Think I’m walking stiffly?” Baldwin asked me not long ago. “Yeah, there’s a hundred-and-twenty-pound actress on my back.”

“I used to be so upset,” he said. “I used to be consumed. It ate me alive.”

The high profile nature of this case offers us excellent insight into the family court system.

In short, the very nature of a man and a father, wanting desperately to spend time with his own children, is used against him as "proof" that he is "controlling" and "abusive."

I've never been a Baldwin fan, and his highly partisan, Pro-Democrat slant and outspoken take on political issues prior to his divorce saga have not endeared him to many folks. But I am curious to see if he somehow manages to make the connection between the severe injustice he's suffered at the hands of the very divorce laws that are part and parcel to the Democrat agenda.

Wonder if he ever connects Joe Biden and his anti-male/anti-father/anti-family legislation with the type of injustice he himself has been subjected to by an unscrupulous woman using all of the resources created by such legislation in the first place?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This news is completely outrageous. In Australia, they are extending 'marriage', and all the penalties that marriage imposes upon men, to men who haven't even gotten married.

I believe that under new legislation, a couple living together for 2 years (cohabiting), is deemed to have crossed the threshold where a marriage-equivalent asset-split can occur.

'De facto splits on a par with divorce'.

Covers the same story: 'De facto couples bill passed by Senate':

And how charming, now a man and his girlfriend can sign a 'prenup', because in the eyes of the law, they're now 'married' - at least as far as legally having a shot at his assets is concerned.

'Prenuptial rights for same-sex, unmarried':

This is total, outrageous, feminist overreach. Two years of sex with a girlfriend should *not* cost a man his house. This sort of redistributive thinking is grounded upon an outdated, 1950s social-model of society, where an 'abandoned woman' could potentially be left destitute with children.

Women today outperform men in school, in university, have their own jobs, and their own money. There is absolutely no justification for them to collect men's assets on top of this, as a legally enforced 'tariff' for having a non-marriage relationship with her.

We know men are already avoiding marriage because it's just such a raw deal. So, in order to 'harvest' more men, the man-hunters are extending the size of their net. On the bright side, this overreach may well be the tipping-point that politicizes many Australian men.