Thursday, May 31, 2007

A little light entertainment

So I was farting about on the internet, and came across this video: "How To Be The Perfect Boyfriend". Despite now being of somewhat lowered expectations with this sort of thing, I nevertheless recognize that they potentially contain some nuggets of insight into why the world is as screwed up as it is, so I chose to watch it anyway. Mildly amusing in its low-key English way, it offered a fairly clear picture of the adult male in question. Which one of the following do you think it was:
a) Potentially dangerous idiot who can be taught a few simple tricks,
b) Her equal, an intelligent, understanding human being?
And, to continue the quiz, which of the following do you think best describes the portrayal of the adult female in question:
a) A far superior creature whose forbearance he has to earn,
b) His equal, an intelligent, understanding human being?
Cogitating on this, I spotted another video on the same site: "How To Be The Perfect Girlfriend". Ahah! thinks I. Perhaps there was to be equal measure here. So I watched that too. Again, mildly amusing in its low-key English way, it also offered a fairly clear picture of the adult male in question. Which one of the following do you think it was:
a) Potentially dangerous idiot who can be controlled with a few simple tricks,
b) Her equal, an intelligent, understanding human being?
And which of the following do you think best describes the portrayal of the adult female in question:
a) A far superior creature with no earthly reason to put up with him,
b) His equal, an intelligent, understanding human being?
One of the more astonishing ideas is that whoever wrote these things thinks that crass behavior in her is attractive to him. I should perhaps take some heart in the message that nagging is bad, but then that would only be because his surrender isn't sexy.

Yah, OK, so tell me I need to develop a sense of humor. Fine, but I did say the videos were mildly amusing - for an idiot and his far superior girlfriend. Nah, this attendee of the coliseum of life gives two thumbs down. Kill 'em quick, and bring on the next act.

Sorry, what? Er, no, "b" would have been a wrong answer. Anywhere.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bob Geldof and the rapists' apologists

Complain as much as you like about his flaws, but Bob Geldof is that rarest of things: a true world celebratory who has not sold out. Not one jot. He has achieved more in his life than many so-called saints, and so earns an almost sarcastic "Saint Bob" epithet in many newspaper columns. That said, I note that the tone is becoming less sarcastic recently. "Sir Bob Geldof" is also rolling off the tongue more easily in the "polite" society more inclined to sneer at it, ragged-looking bog-boy that he is.

So why do I sing the praises of the bloke who doesn't like Mondays? It's taken ten days for this to come up on my radar, but it seems that he's given an interview (with Daphne Barak) discussing the heartbreak of being kept from his kids and the custody laws which caused it. He's talking about British laws, but it could be just about anywhere in the western world. That world being the way it is, Google finds the interview reported in only four places (1, 2, 3 & 4 - I found it second-hand through Glenn Sacks). Perhaps we'll do better when the interview is broadcast - none of those sources say where, and when is hidden behind "the day before the G8 summit". To save you the effort, that would be 5 June. Anyone know where it'll be broadcast?

Geldof is particularly good at describing the pain and humiliation that are attendant with the ejection of a man from his children's home:
"I went to the door, and I was too humiliated to knock on my own front door. That's my house, my home, my children. I could hear them laughing in there. I was too scared of (knocking) and one of my kids opening the door and saying 'Hi Dad' and not being allowed to let me in. I didn't want to impose that on them. I didn't want it to happen to me. I didn't want her to come to the door and say, 'What are you doing here? You're not allowed to come here.'

"So, I went back out, and I sat in the car and I just cried. I just stayed and watched their bedroom lights go off, and I went home. That shouldn't happen to anyone. If you put impediments in the way of men seeing their children - making them jump through all sorts of humiliating hoops - the kids become a weapon, a sword and a shield simultaneously. You're suffering so much. Eventually, no person can take that and the kids lose a father. It is hurtful."

It was Geldof who, on being warned that he should not tell the judge that he loves his children, because that will be taken as weird, who purloined the phrase "the love that dare not speak its name" for the cause of fathers' rights. Is it not strange, even perverted, that a phrase that was used to express the oppression of homosexuals in Victorian England is now used to described a fathers' love for their children? Which idea provokes your outrage more?

The Daily Mail includes a number of reader comments after it's reportage. They are instructive. Follow the link and you'll find that the first is from a French woman, of all people, who feels the need to attack him through his children, isn't that a novelty? " Great job Bob," she says, "Underage drinking, dating men old enough to be their fathers, accusations of shop lifting, need I go on?".

No, Sarah, you need not go on. First, these points are not relevant to the issue at hand, and may well be a result, at least in part, of the circumstances which he protests and which were completely out of his control. The same goes for you Alison of Perth, Western Australia. If taking the children from a good parent is a form of emotional rape (and it is, oh yes it is), then you are the rapists' apologists, concerned more with the clothes the victim is wearing than with the crime committed against them. Shame on you. Shut your callous, poisonous traps.

Smileyrose of the UK, on the other hand, protests that her ex husband stole her family. That may be so, but she makes the mistake of assuming that the specific problem is that the law is prejudiced against fathers. It is, to be sure, but it would be more precise, in this context, to say that it is prejudiced against noncustodial parents. As long as the law reifies one parent over another, then the outrage and tragedy expressed by Smileyrose and all the several other Daily Mail commenters, and many, many others, will continue.

We're with you Bob, keep on soldiering.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yeah, what they said.

I'm short on inspiration today and even I think my last post was somewhat incoherent, so here are some thoughts that are anything but:

"Father! - to God himself we cannot give a holier name." - William Wordsworth

"Until you have a son of your own . . . you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be." - Kent Nerborn, Letters to My Son

"One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters." - George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640

"Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later... that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life. " - Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

"Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice." - Anon.

"Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament. But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it." - Clarence Budington Kelland

"Noble fathers have noble children." - Euripides.

"What's all this fuss about fathers being present at the birth of their children? The way events are shaping, they'll be lucky to be present at the conception." - George H. Davies.

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." - Jim Valvano

"Be kind to thy father, for when thou were young, who loved thee so fondly as he? He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, and joined in thy innocent glee." - Margaret Courtney

"Fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents." - Margaret Mead. I include this one because Mead was the anthropologist of whom the Samoans made a complete fool. A classic example of the ascendancy of publicity over competence (here's another). I've never been able to take anything she has said seriously, this quote among them.

"In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons." - Croesus. Aye, and let us not forget that a divorce is often called a war.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What silver lining?

Most of what you get on this blog is bad news. That's because there's not much good news to be heard on the topic of fathers' rights in the western world. Likewise, much of what I (can) write about my own situation is pretty rough, but that's not to say that there aren't good things to be found in the experience of losing your children.

Reread that last sentence and see if you can think of anything that might apply. It doesn't make any sense, does it? How on God's good earth can there be anything good in the experience of losing your children? This has the potential to be one weird-assed post...

Let's start with the obstacles to finding the silver-lining in that mother of all black clouds. Well, there's the obvious. your kids are gone. Depending on the malignancy of your situation, that can mean anything from they live with mom and "visit" (say that with a sneer) with you every other weekend and a weekday evening, holidays if you're really lucky, to no contact, of any kind, at all, for years, maybe forever.

Personally, I think that for the engaged dad even "standard visitation" is an outrageous violation of natural rights. Complete isolation is literally unthinkable in the sense that thinking about it gives me serious cognitive and emotional indigestion. Finding the good in "visitation rights" is partly a matter of seeing that the cup being 15% full still makes it not completely empty. Finding the good in total disenfranchisement is like trying to be happy that even while you're dying of thirst and others all around you get to take a drink whenever they want, you still own a cup.

How can there be any good in having your kids taken unjustly? There can't, that's all there is to it. So I ignore the question and see what comes up.

There's a more subtle obstacle to finding the good, the "I won't give them the satisfaction" problem. From the moment of the first court date, whoever ends up non-custodial is expected to toe the line. Putting up a fight is going to count against you and you will need to be seen to have learned a lesson. Yes, that can be retroactively applied - the losing party starts to accumulate negative points from the moment they start resisting, well before they have "lost". That is, the loser will be judged partly on the basis of how strongly he (or she) fought. Society and the family court, for all the entertainment and potential profit to be made, doesn't actually like the dirty details of the conflict. They want you to meekly accept the short end of the stick, be a nice non-custodial parent and go quietly into the night (leave your wallet at the door).

The nastier the fight, the greater the need for a scapegoat. The more fight, the less acceptable and the more thorough must be the denouement. You think that's perverse? We're barely scratching the surface.

Putting up a fight partly involves not going quietly into the night, it means resisting some incredible pressure to just give up on your kids, let her (sometimes him) just take off and do whatever she wants with them. They want you to learn your lesson, lose gracefully, and get over it. To survive, you can build up a significant "screw you" response to that which can translate into a considerable resistance to finding a silver lining.

So what am I talking about? Not the trivial crap like an opportunity to "build a new life", to move on into the big wide world. Puh-lease. I don't need a nasty [expletive] divorce to do that, and isn't that what we do every day, anyway? I also don't mean the "learn from your mistakes" thing, either, that gets too close to "giving them satisfaction". Only an idiot doesn't a) know he makes mistakes nor b) learn from them, but plenty a vindictive ex will revel in the admission and have fun rubbing them in (she likes the idea that you're an idiot).

Alright, already, what the hell am I talking about? I'm talking about that having fought, and continuing to fight a righteous war: One. Does. Not. Lose.

In my explorations and experience of this wasteland, I have encountered many horrific stories. Many times, I have been appalled by what parents have been put through, what they have had to survive, what they continue to have to survive. There are tragedies happening in plain sight, all of the time, and no-one seems to give a damn. But the people, the target parents, the non-victims, what happens to them?

Some of them fall, some quickly (pink bullet, anyone? Please, don't), some slowly (the bottle seems to be a favorite). Falling slowly at least offers the chance of a recovery. Some give up, and, sigh!, "build a new life", but that always contains the option of returning to the fight, eventually. Some, even out of options, never stop fighting.

How do you keep fighting, even when you're out of options? By refusing to accept, even while you're forced to do nothing. It would be altogether too easy, even trite, here, to veer off into discussions of Ghandi and his passive resistance, Nelson Mandella's time in jail and subsequent rise, Steve Biko's death and the symbol he became, or any number of freedom fighters and risen phoenixes (phoenices?), but fighting for your children is not the same as fighting oppression, it's much, much more personal. We should use such people and their stories as inspiration, but not imagine that we are like them. Becoming a martyr is not, ultimately, going to help your kids.

It is a dangerous trap, to imagine a sort of negative Karma. An "if I suffer enough, I will win because that would be only fair" approach to the problem. That is the strategy of the faux victim, looking for leverage in "poor me, someone help", a kind of masochism, a rationalization for self-immolation and subsequent escape from humiliation and pain by embracing humiliation and pain, learning to like them. It can be difficult to escape this almost Pavlovian demand, but one becomes better at spotting the inclination and less accepting of the weakness in oneself.

I am getting towards issues of integrity, of old-fashioned and unfairly maligned questions of morality, of belief in yourself, even when no-one else seems to believe. Even when you have to fall, slowly, for a while, to yield to the forces arrayed against you at a given time, to maintain that seed of knowledge that what you are trying to do is the right thing (and do, please, be sure that it is).

'Chances are that if you have fought for your children and lost a battle or two or more in the war, you have been forced to confront yourself in visceral ways. You will have explored dark nights of the soul as few around you have. Some fall back on religion for the answers, and I am not belittling that, although I personally don't believe it is necessary. However you do it, if you emerge from that dark night determined to resist, however you can, then you will have a clue what I am driving at and you will not have lost.

What does it mean to "fight" at this point, when there is nothing to fight, to "resist" what you have no choice but to accept? It means keeping alive the knowledge that you tried to do the right thing and will continue to try, no matter how many doors are closed, phones hung up, or letters returned. The ability to say "today I am tired, today I have no options, but tomorrow I will be rested and options will generate themselves, and I will be ready", to know that a moment of despair need only be endured and will pass. A refusal to be ground to dust and blown away.

So much for the high and mighty words. What does this translate to? An enlightenment of sorts, there is something you know about the world and your place in it that others do not. A knowledge of your own weaknesses and strengths that few can claim, a self reliance which may have been learned by unjust force, but is real nevertheless.

Nietzsche's words "that which does not kill you makes you strong" have become trite for me, and, ultimately they are untrue because the human organism can only take so much and enough punishment produces irreversible damage. As such, and this is an important point, the people who took your children have no credit for that part of you which has, nevertheless, become stronger.

Aeon Flux's modification to Nietzsche appeals to me: "That which does not kill you makes you stranger". There are things that I know now which make me strange to others who have not and will not experience what I have experienced. I envy them, but, in that pain, I have something they don't.

The loss is intolerable, and yet must be tolerated. There is no "until it can be tolerated no more". That tense certainty is the only good that can come of having your children taken unjustly.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's fun to be a man

A recent graphic-style layout in the New York Times shows the breakdown of the 81 daily deaths by firearms within the United States of America: murder, suicide, accident, male, female, black, white, age group. Doubtless many will view such a picture with gun control in mind. Unsurprisingly, I approach it thinking of gender issues. And I note how overwhelmingly more likely the men are to take their own lives than the women. In fact, male suicides are far and away the largest group.

I am reminded of one of MIsForMalevolent's posts where he calculates from a total of 22,500 male suicides per year nearly 15,000 result from divorce and separation. I observed that this is approximately one suicide of an ex father and husband for every sitcom you watch, if you watch them all day and all night, all year. The total number of women killing themselves each year is about the same as the number of men doing so who are not motivated by the failure of a marriage.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

She just started nagging me like my ex, officer, so I knocked some sense into her.

Read this:
The domestic violence expert said her eyes were opened to the idea of trauma playing a part in men who beat their partners when an offender told her the story of severe abuse he had suffered while living in Maine and, when he finally escaped to New Hampshire, he met a nice girl. On the night of their engagement, they were eating out and, when his new fiance said something in a mean voice, he started hitting her repeatedly.

"There happened to be a police officer there," she said. "His response to the police officer was, 'She sounded like my ex."
I don't fancy his chances with that as a defense, do you? I adapted it from this:
DiBartolomeo said her eyes were opened to the idea of trauma playing a part in female offenders when a patient told her the story of severe abuse while living in Maine and, when she finally escaped to New Hampshire, she met a nice man. On the night of their engagement, they were eating out and, when her new fiance said something in a gruff voice, she started slapping him repeatedly.

"There happened to be a police officer there," she said. "Her response to the police officer was, 'He sounded like my ex.'"
This is the original. On its own, there's no overt judgment one way or the other. But it is used as the run up to the news "that there were three categories that female offenders can be put under: self-defense, [...] a history of trauma; and those offenders who fit the male profile...." I had to read that a few times before I fully understood it. Women who beat up men are either defending themselves, have been beaten themselves and are reliving the nightmare, or are just bad, like men. Viz, men may not defend themselves and may not seek excuses in what has been done to them. They fit just one category: bad.

Never mind the ludicrous, nay, hilarious claim that women batterers get more jail time than men, the final silliness is the expert who thinks that to get a woman to stop beating on her husband and kids, all you have to do is tell her off: "We will tell these women, what do you think your children are learning?" she said. "Then they realize what they are doing to their kids." Well, I guess that's alright then.

Hat tip to Glenn Sacks and original marvel of modern reporting here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,00 seconds

I recently passed the first anniversary of when I last laid eyes on my son. It was a quiet, uneventful day with nothing in it to remember, I wanted it that way. The opposite of celebration is silence.

People tell me I'm doing better, "you're calmer" they say, not knowing how artificial that calm is, being necessary to avoid tearing myself apart. Or them.

I am like the steam engine in the shed, boiler still hot, still full of power, but not to be used, valves held open, the fire going out. Like a spiked gun, if you pulled the trigger, I'd blow up in your hand, so I wear a trigger lock just in case you try.

I am like some woodland creature caught in a poacher's trap, near exhausted from trying to escape, it can only sit quietly, panting a little, and contemplate its options: to gnaw off the trapped limb, wait to die of the shock, cold and hunger or for the poacher's knife. These options, the painful, the slow and the quick, each symbolize something I don't want to tell you about. There are other, remote possibilities, but I am not given to magical thinking. Where there's life, there's, well, you know.

Once or twice a week, I wake from dreams in which I have been crying. This morning, I was the only one at the crowded, noisy pool wearing fins; but I was not swimming, only walking awkwardly around the edge, looking for something. A scene change, as can only happen in dreams, and at the barbecue party I search behind the woodpile and topple over some logs, accidentally scratching someone in the crowd. I apologize, I tell her he's nearby, I could just walk over and see him, but I can't. People are building a pavilion, a woman sings happily to herself as I watch her measure out a wall; a friend of mine shouts out excitedly to another as they raise the roof by hand, light as a feather. I stumble around, between them, I know he's there, but I can't find him.

Then I wake up, I get up, and go to work; I'm doing better, I'm calmer, I must be, they tell me so, as I sleepwalk between them, unwillingly knowing something they don't want to know.

You think I'm wallowing in it? You're damned, fucking right.

(I am actually afraid to see him again, sometimes (not that there are any options nor prospects right now). How different will he be, how distant? How much will I see that we have lost, although I already know it, in theory.)

Parental alienators in sheep's clothing

Conceptual challenge for the day: Those who would argue against parental alienation on the basis that it is used by abusive parents to gain control of children in divorce proceedings are actually themselves of that abusive type. They are like double agents. Which side are they actually on? If they can convince the world that parental alienation does not exist, they can practice it as much as they like. They are like the child sexual abusers who claim that because they can groom the children into what they say is willing participation, then the children are making some sort of informed choice and they should be allowed to do what they do. Charming, eh?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spare a thought for Gerry, the guy in the corner, you know, the, oh what's that word again...?

The father, you morons.

There is a probable tragedy unfolding in the UK at the moment. Three year old Madeleine McCann was abducted from her hotel bedroom in Portugal on Thursday last week. It doesn't look good, there don't appear to be any leads. It is, of course, all over the news, and it is clearly a terrible ordeal for her mother, Kate, who has made a televised appeal for information and help. My heart goes out to her.

But hey, I'm going to break with the crowd and send my heart out, moreover, to Madeleine's father, Gerry. Well, at least I assume that he's her father. The media don't seem inclined to tell us. Most of the newspaper articles I have seen refer to him as simply "her husband, at her side", a few talk about "Madeleine's parents", but hardly any seem to know how to use the word "father". (Go on, guys, you can do it, like this: fah-thurr. Remember to put your tongue between your teeth for the second syllable. Give it a good try now, together with me: fah-thurr. Very good! Have a cookie.)

There is lots of commentary on what Kate is going through, which is surely appalling, and none on what Gerry might be suffering which is doubtless equally appalling, but clearly less newsworthy.

Melanie McDonagh of the Telegraph refers to the newspaper cliché "Every Mother's Nightmare" and the 'It Could Have Been Me" moment for any mother', apparently unaware that she could have avoided the cliché by reference to "Every Parent's Nightmare" and that the "It Could Have Been Me" moment applies to fathers as well.

The BBC has interviewed Kerry Grist, mother of Ben Needham who vanished at 21 months old in 1991 on Kos and has not been seen since. We know all about Kerry's never-ending anguish, but all we know about Ben's father is that he's not married to Kerry any more.

The closest that the BBC gets to the male side of the McCann family is a few lines from Madeleine's great uncle.

Kate, this is terrible for you, and Gerry, the media might not be able to see you, but we know you are there and that it is terrible for you too. Hang in there man.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A fatherly punch to the face?

In a comment to my last post, asking my readers to put on the judge's robes and offer their own rulings on the Alec, Ireland & Kim debacle, an anonymous contributor offered:
"Without hearing all of the evidence presented in the case (or even every media story on the case) I have to ask: Does it occur to anyone that Kim has been denying visitation to Alec for a reason? Like maybe she gave us a glimpse in the phone call?"
Well, if you read around a bit, it clearly occurs to a great number of people. In fact, it is the most commonly the reflex reaction, especially without hearing all the evidence, and it is extremely damaging. Why would it be any less appropriate to wonder if Alec is being an asshole for a reason? Why is a flawed reaction to prolonged provocation considered to be pathological, but baseless accusation and ostracism, not to mention repeatedly defying court orders, perfectly acceptable?

My correspondent would argue, perhaps, that the reaction suggests the accusations are not baseless and thus the ostracism acceptable. But there is nothing to tell us that this reflects the true sequence of cause and effect, and plenty to imply the reverse. That the inappropriate reaction is the consequence of sustained disregard for the rights of a loving father and a unilateral decision to usurp him is not relevant. We live in a fundamentally prejudiced time in which the slightest misbehavior in a man is something to immediately condemn while apparently failing to even see much worse behavior in a woman. The only acceptable man is a saint, the only unacceptable woman a drug addict or a criminal.

Recently, we have heard that Kim is "very, very pleased" about the result of some court hearing. We don't know what that result is, now that she's very, very pleased, she's also keeping her trap shut. Given the history, we can be pretty sure that Alec is very far from pleased and that Ireland is "safe" from him. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment can see right through it to the destructive core beneath. The vast majority of the human race assumes that where there's what she calls smoke, there must be fire.

What can Alec do? Nothing. They've got him by the balls. He can't even get out of his contract and work to fight an injustice which has so affected him it has disrupted his commitment to a lifetime career and I'm sure many of my readers will relate to that.

Some of the media reactions are instructive. Take Connie Schultz, who modestly calls herself "The Plain Dealer of Cleveland":
"It's the rare woman who can't conjure up memories of her own pre-adolescent insecurities - my own list could wrap around the Earth and end in a bow - and at that moment I wanted to hit the delete button before Baldwin's daughter could check her calls. An irrational response, of course, but you don't call any female a pig and expect logic to reign."
And there we have it. Call a female names and reason goes out the window, pre-adolescent insecurity takes over. She goes on:
"Someone needs to point out that steering wheel in Baldwin's hands and remind him that he's the one who took the U-turn off the high road. No matter how cruel an ex-wife gets - and some ex-wives rival the spawn of Satan when it comes to cruelty - no one can drive a father to badger and belittle his little girl. He makes that trip on his own."
What steering wheel Connie? Kim's got the kid and, if we're to give Alec's claim the same weight as Kim's (we have no reason not to, nasty phone messages or not), it's Kim that's steering her, not Alec. Note the double standard so extreme it's almost invisible: Alec calls Ireland names and logic abdicates, but Kim torments Alec with the cruelty of the "spawn of Satan" and he'd better stay on an absolutely even keel or else.

Others are still less reasonable. George Tchirkow seems to think that Baldwin's language is worse that physical violence apparently preferring "a fatherly punch to the face", which may be about the most oxymoronic, not to mention patriphobic, idea I've heard all year, making me wonder if George knocked even two brain cells together before he touched fingers to keyboard.

David Permut, who supposedly introduced the two love birds, is said to be calling Baldwin a bully and claims he'd rather be homeless than work with him again. Permut should perhaps be treated to similar behavior at the hands of his own wife, then maybe he'd revise his ideas of what constitutes bullying.

All this puerile rubbish aside, however, the story is still shining a bright light on parental alienation, and not a moment too soon I'm sure many of us will be inclined to agree. Demosthenes Lorandos, clinical psychologist and lawyer, refreshingly declares "The people who are screaming and hollering and advocating (against PAS) wouldn't know science if it bit them in the butt". And there are much less visible and far worse examples of parental alienation just pouring out of the woodwork. For example, "Rick" tells us:
After they separated, he said his ex-wife didn't answer his phone calls for two years. "Not one. [I was] just calling to say hi to the boys." He later had mandatory answering incorporated into a court order, but said it is still not followed. He's back at court for the fourth time trying to enforce and increase his parenting time. (He only sees his boys every other weekend). He estimates that he's spent "100 grand, easy," in legal fees.
Soldier on, comrades.