There were two remarkable, maddening, things that happened over the weekend. Both events were related to fame and the failure of human consequence against the living, but the terms of the punishments were different: Both eternal, but one forever ended.
On Saturday, we read in the New York Times about the harrowing child abuse Dylan Farrow suffered at the hands of her infamous father, writer, director, actor and movie producer, Woody Allen.
On Sunday, we learned of the early death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who, at age 46, lived up to his earlier prescience about fame and fortune leading to a quick Hollywood death. He made his point real in New York City with a needle jabbed in the arm of his corpse.
Do you know there’s a move afoot to make it illegal for good people to make video recordings of the deeds of bad people breaking the law by hurting farm animals?
On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks.
Each video — all shot in the last two years by undercover animal rights activists — drew a swift response: Federal prosecutors in Tennessee charged the horse trainer and other workers, who have pleaded guilty, with violating the Horse Protection Act. Local authorities in Wyoming charged nine farm employees with cruelty to animals. And the egg supplier, which operates in Iowa and other states, lost one of its biggest customers, McDonald’s, which said the video played a part in its decision.
As you are well aware, I am not at all a fan of backseat parenting — I don’t see parents doing something with which I disagree and rush right over to tell them all about the error of their ways. There are limits to this, of course, and lines in parenting that cannot and should not ever be crossed — that line was crossed by a couple in Arizona who posted photos of their children tied up with Duct tape, mouths taped shut, and hung upside down.
Yesterday, in my — Muslim Women Conundrum — article, I lamented the fact that the women dropped a class I was teaching because of their fear of being touched by a man. Commenter “nosleepingdog” said this, in the replies stream:
We should remember though that the ultimate enforcers of these strictures are Islamic men. A woman who is accused of having deliberately put herself in a position where a man might touch her, may be beaten, disowned, raped, or killed. Very logical. Does make one wonder. Even questioning the authority of the rules and the enforcers is a crime.
That point made me think about the real roots of this masked problem of oppression, and I recalled a story my wife shared with me this week that draws a deeper, and more widespread — and certainly more pernicious! — example of how men have, and still do, try to actively control women. Even women they do not know.
Mel Gibson is furious. The tabloids are having a rollicking time with his surreptitiously taped audio meltdowns. He’s being branded, “Mad Mel” in a weary mocking of his “Mad Max” franchise of films and, frankly, I don’t think the gossip rags will ever give him a chance to get up again and breathe unless something terrible happens to satiate their bloodlust.
On July 16, 2007, we wrote about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles having to pay $1.3 million dollars to each child molested by priests in the largest diocese in the USA. 508 victims were paid for their religious suffering. If that wasn’t galling enough, we now learn about the disgraced Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who molested children over a 33 year career in the Church. His specialty, as reported by the New York Times, was taking advantage of Deaf boys.
Corey Haim died yesterday, and while we don’t yet know the cause of his death, we do know during the last few years of his life he was desperate, lonely, and out of socket. His sad reality show — “The Two Coreys” — only elevated his mistakes and his worrisome life as evidenced in this flyer he paid to have published in a Hollywood trade magazine in an attempt to reignite his fading career: