Friday, December 21, 2001

BLAME BOTH YOUR PARENTS: This article says a father's love/lack of love is as important to forming a child's personality as a mother's. It's a Reuters story, and doesn't go into what, if any, are the substantial differences between father's love versus mother's love (how the loss of one, for example, tends to affect a child's personality as opposed to the loss of the other) save for this paragraph:

The team further found that in certain instances, the love of a father plays an even more important role than that of the mother. Many studies found a father's love to be the sole determining factor when it came to a child's problems with personality, conduct, delinquency or substance abuse. They said future research is needed to explain this observation.

I'd love to hear more on this. I mean, we've all seen Psycho and about a zillion other movies, we all know --anecdotally at least-- about people who seemed to listen to one parent more than the other. Stuff like this may give us more of a handle on what's going on when there is a parental affection problem, now that we're all post-Freudians and have to, you know, actually do research on things like this and not mythologize endlessly.

SO BEAR THAT IN MIND: When reading this article (link from Joanne Jacobs):

NOT THAT IT MATTERS a whit to us here in the cool, gray city of love what Frank Lindh, daddy of the Taliban warrior from Marin, does, did or dreams of doing with other consenting adults, but shouldn't he come clean with us about all the facts in the odd odyssey of his son?

Frank Lindh has been quoted time and again as saying it was his son John's reading of the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" when John was 16 in 1997 that turned his son's head and heart towards Islam. But something else then going on in the family's life may be have been just as pertinent.

When Frank Lindh left his family in 1997, it was to move in with a male companion. Yep. ... The man with whom Lindh lived has since been described as "a family friend," but other family friends say the men lived as a gay couple.

It would take a specialist in family issues to map the constellations of feelings and problems that would describe John Walker's path toward Islam in 1997, but sources close to the family say the father's turn of life from married man to modern gay man startled and flustered the 16-year-old.

Given the pummeling that the Walkers and marvy Marin County have taken from the national press over their wayward son, you can't blame the old man for wanting to suppress reporting on his sexuality. ...

Joanne finishes with: "Johnny Walker eventually joined the Taliban, which executed homosexuals by crushing under a stone wall or throwing them off a high building." (What was up with his goofy fake foreign accent in that tape, anyway? Weird.) This Johnny Walker thing may or may not be a subject for serious armchair psychoanalysis. Right now, the circumstantial evidence is making it a poser thick with irony, shall we say. Maybe the irony is so obvious I'd want to dismiss this twist a little too quickly, but ever since planes were driven into buildings I'll consider anything.

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