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The Updated Orphan Defense

the Menendez brothers and therapy: a perfect marriage

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 08, 1993.

For those of you, like myself, locked in waiting for phone calls during the day, time-filling alternatives often turn to television and in particular to Court TV. This station, which would normally by about as attractive a companion as one of those medical shows periodically specializing in grotesque close-ups during abdominal surgery, has been blessed with five month horrendoplasty of a trial.

The Menendez Brothers shotgunned their parents to death, ran up impressive expenses, were finally caught, confessed, and then unleashed the most nauseating defense in history. Suddenly, Lyle and Eric Menendez discovered both their parents were child rapists and because the children, then twenty and eighteen, threatened to reveal this, the parents decided to kill them. This necessitated the children killing the parents first. It’s a hard sell, because when shotgunned five or six times I>each at close range, the parents were eating cream and strawberries and filling out the college application of the youngest son, a common habit. So the sons produce expert after expert, mostly drawn from the psychiatric profession, to bolster this ridiculous claim.

I cannot say whether or not the children were victims of rape and molestation by their parents. I tend to think parents get the children they deserve, and little varies in the impression that the father was an obnoxious, pushy, quasi-honest slave driver and the wife a shallow, social climbing alcoholic, both common types in LA entertainment. None the less, the children were spoiled, pampered, and nauseatingly removed from everyday reality. Watching the cream of American Mind Medicine emote for the record on the witness stand is a lot like listening to commentary during obscure Olympic events. "Yes, Sheila, Ali Omp did a very poor Christman neck wrench and I can't say the double torque frang-hui was really appropriate with a BIC lighter. I'm certain the judges will penalize him for the use of Michael Bottoms' version of Itsy Bitsy Spider during the tap dance sequence" Pretentious, illogical, and not a little scary.

When you laugh at Freud's children, you run the risk of being called a Scientologist or right wing yahoo scared of hidden sexual seething. But I can't see how anyone could listen to these purse-lipped nitwits and not predict the demise of analysis. It isn't simple naiveté that propels such gullibility. It’s also cash. Psychiatry does not prosper if humanity is admitted to have bad, rather than emotionally ill, elements. As a result, a person who slaughters for the most hideous motives is never guilty, but he does have a poor self image.

Worse, child abuse has become now the new hypoglycemia. Lazy, non-achievers could now have not only a blood sugar problem but repressed memories of abuse that can, with one hundred fifty dollars an hour help, be faced. Then, sue the perpetrator for damages to pay for continual therapy. Once this procedure is in place, therapists, whatever that term means, can be paid for more therapy. Whether anybody is cured - or whether truth about recovered memories is a desired good - are not favored topics.

What is annoying about all this is the surety that the more prosaic, less exciting benefits of psychiatry will pay the price for these frauds when the backlash begins, and I predict that within the year.

Check out the replayed testimony on Court TV and see if you agree.