Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick or Treat? Is the Telegraph pulling a PBS?

Tonight I should be trick or treating with my son. Since I'm not, and therefore need something to distract myself, I thought I'd treat myself to a hunt around for the tricks people are up to.

In the London Telegraph, I feel for David and his mom Naomi. From what we are told, it does seem that justice is tricking them as an apparently genuinely unwilling David is sent to live with his dad and cut off from talking to his mother. While I cannot agree with the cutting-off of communication, I also note that the article, in a treat for mom and a trick for dad, does not offer the father's side. We have no hint of how combative or manipulative the mother might have been, there are bad words only for the father.

Of course, any injustice should be fought with all energy, especially the disenfranchisement of a parent in the absence of very, very good reasons. That said, the article seems to be something of a print version of PBS's recent trick "Breaking the Silence" -- overall perhaps a little more fair minded but trickily subtle in its attacks on what little progress that has been made in the establishment of fathers' rights.

For example: "Sir Bob Geldof and other fathers' rights campaigners may have been almost too successful" speaks for itself. A nice, in-your-face trick, that.

And, quoting the tricky Charles Pragnell: "Any man accused of abuse will realise that the best form of defence is attack. He will make counter-allegations that the mother has been indoctrinating the child or is suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy." Which while perfectly possible, makes no comment on the truth of either side's allegations and therefore qualifies as inuendo (definitely a trick). I find it interesting that he forgot to add PAS to the father's treats (or would that be tricks?), I expect PBS's effort hasn't made it across the Atlantic yet. (And haven't the Brits got a treat coming...!?)

Pragnell goes on: "These men are usually highly intelligent professionals or businessmen with considerable resources." and so it would seem that being such might be a disadvantage for a man caught up in a fight over custody, which is pretty tricky given that intelligence, professionalism and success used to be considered good things in a parent.

The quote continues: "They seem to be able to find one key social worker, usually female, to convince of their claimed innocence and accept their allegations against the mother". And if the father is innocent and his allegations honest, is this social worker, who might have been the only unbiased one he could find, not to be taken seriously? Dad's treat morphed into a trick right in front of our eyes! 'Interesting that the social worker is "usually female", I wonder what that's supposed to signify? Hmmmm. Give me a moment here. Ahah! Of course! Women are just so easily tricked into believing us naughty men, aren't they?! Those poor, gullible women social workers (well, those that aren't on mom's side, anyway)...

On the other hand, it is claimed that "the judge relied on [the opinion of] a child psychiatrist, briefed by her, who has not met [the child] and is not on the professional registry" which would be yet another example of negligent trickiness no matter which parent suffers for it. (I take it as a given that the child is more than likely going to suffer if the word of a shrink who hasn't taken the time to talk to him or her is taken to represent reality. The kids get tricked all round.)

Overall, just like "Breaking the Silence", I'd say this article would have been much better as an exposé of the nasty tricks that either side can play and how (hope springs eternal!) the establishment is treating us all by doing something to limit the damage instead of provoking it. Instead, it suggests that "the pendulum has swung too far" in favor of fathers' rights, but at least they're honest enough to give us a small treat and quote Oliver Cyriax: "Emphatically not, It is still rare for residence to be awarded to the father and contact rights are routinely ignored.".

Yup, more tricks than treats there. Bad Telegraph! No candy from grumpy old Mr. Doe.

Simulposted on HateMalePost.

1 comment:

John Doe said...

P.S. Masculiste links to this article with the headline "Ther [sic] Other Side of the Fence: When Bad Men Make It Hard for Good Women", which confuses me. Perhaps they didn't note the undertone.

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