Posts Tagged lying liars who lie
The plaintiff in Roe v. Wade was a young woman named Norma McCorvey, who is now a born-again Catholic pro-life activist. Joshua Prager at Vanity Fair has an eye-opening profile of her. Here’s a taste:
Young Norma McCorvey had not wanted to further a cause; she had simply wanted an abortion and could not get one in Texas. Even after she became a plaintiff, plucked from obscurity through little agency of her own, she never did get that abortion. McCorvey thus became, ironically, a symbol of the right to a procedure that she herself never underwent. And in the decades since the Roe decision divided the country, the issue of abortion divided McCorvey too. She started out staunchly pro-choice. She is now just as staunchly pro-life.
But in truth McCorvey has long been less pro-choice or pro-life than pro-Norma. And she has played Jane Roe every which way, venturing far from the original script to wring a living from the issue that has come to define her existence.
“I almost forgot i have a one thousand dollar fee,” she texted in August in response to a request for an interview. Told she could not be paid, she texted back: “Then we wont speak.”
The cliche of breaking eggs to make omelettes is never used in the article, but I think it describes the role McCorvey played in the Roe case, especially in relation to her lawyers. The case that eventually went to the Supreme Court was, to put it bluntly, not exactly Norma McCorvey’s idea. It was the work of her lawyers, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who chose her as their ideal plaintiff. McCorvey at the time was dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and wanted an abortion, but she had little agency in bringing the case to the court system. Coffee and Weddington wanted to make an omelette—in this case, abortion rights for Texan women—and the egg they broke was giving Norma McCorvey a platform.
The whole article is worth a read.
Crime novelist RJ Ellory has joined Scott Adams in the ranks of successful, privileged dudes who use sockpuppet accounts for totally boring purposes, and he wasn’t even very diligent about it. I suppose we shouldn’t be terribly surprised, because according to The Guardian’s sources, there is no shortage of prominent novelists using sockpuppets to self-promote.
Boring: he set up a couple of fake Amazon accounts and posted rapturous reviews of his own books and nasty 1-star reviews of his rivals’ books.
That’s the first part that I find weird about this account: the idea of having “rivals” in other authors. How do you decide which ones are your rivals? Readers can buy books from many different authors within a genre, and most do exactly that. How does a fellow traveler in writing novels of a particular genre become a rival?
Anyway, Guardian writer Alison Flood tells us:
Ellory, who won the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year prize in 2010 for his novel A Simple Act of Violence, was exposed by the crime writer Jeremy Duns on Twitter for posting reviews on Amazon under various identities. Under the pseudonym “Nicodemus Jones”, Ellory called his own novel A Quiet Belief in Angels a “modern masterpiece” and said that readers should “just buy it, read it and make up your own mind”, because “whatever else it might do, it will touch your soul”. “All I will say is that there are paragraphs and chapters that just stopped me dead in my tracks,” he wrote. “Some of it was chilling, some of it raced along, some of it was poetic and langorous and had to be read twice and three times to really appreciate the depth of the prose … it really is a magnificent book.”
But “Nicodemus Jones” was less positive about some of his fellow novelists: Stuart MacBride was dismissed for his novel Dark Blood with one star, with the book described as “another in the seemingly endless parade of same-old-same-old police procedurals that seem to abound in the UK”. Duns spotted that Ellory wrote the MacBride review under the pseudonym Nicodemus Jones, but later in the conversation began posting as RJ Ellory, in a continuation of the discussion. “Nicodemus Jones” also repeatedly signs himself as “Roger” in another discussion, in which he writes that “I won the Nouvel Observateur prize last year for AQBIA [A Quiet Belief in Angels]“.
Not only dishonest, but lazy. Couldn’t even use his sock-name consistently.
Like a raging liar, he just can’t stop using weasel words:
Ellory has admitted posting the reviews on Amazon, and apologised for his actions, issuing a statement in which he said: “The recent reviews – both positive and negative – that have been posted on my Amazon accounts are my responsibility and my responsibility alone. I wholeheartedly regret the lapse of judgment that allowed personal opinions to be disseminated in this way and I would like to apologise to my readers and the writing community.”
Notice the persistent use of the passive voice: “Have been posted on Amazon accounts.” “Allowed personal opinions to be disseminated.” He makes it sound like someone else did this, and he simply failed to stop it. That’s not an apology, that’s just an attempt at damage control, which I expect will be unsuccessful.
It’s not so bad, though, because everyone’s doing it:
But Ellory is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Duns and Billingham. Two years ago, the historian Orlando Figes admitted to trashing his rivals and praising himself on Amazon, and at the Harrogate crime festival earlier this summer, the bestselling thriller writer Stephen Leather said: “As soon as my book is out I’m on Facebook and Twitter several times a day talking about it. I’ll go on to several forums, the well-known forums, and post there under my name and under various other names and various other characters. You build up this whole network of characters who talk about your books and sometimes have conversations with yourself.”
Stephen Leather, what is that I don’t even. Nick Cohen assures us that Leather is not just creating obviously fictional accounts for a fun bit of self-promo; he really pretends to be other people and expects to get away with it.
Oh, but it gets better! It gets so much better! If by “better” I mean you are about to see me make a rude hand gesture:
“[Ellory] absolutely isn’t the only one,” said Billingham, adding that Ellory had also apologised to him personally. “It’s very widespread … And what has been most shocking about some of the more recent revelations is that up until this moment most of us had presumed that the people doing this stuff were self-published writers with no other means of marketing. But these most recent revelations prove this is not the case and it is very worrying.”
When Jex interviewed me at Everything and Nothing about Charlinder’s Walk, one of the questions she asked was:
In your wildest dreams what author would you like to co-author a book with?
And I went and fangirled the heck out of Ta-Nehisi Coates, because she asked.
Today, in writing on the death of Andrew Breitbart, TNC reminded me of why I gave that answer:
That is what took me to sadness. I have experienced curiosity as a primarily selfish endeavor. It originates in the understanding of the brevity of life, and the desire to see as much of it as possible, from as many angles as possible without doing too much damage to my morality. The opposite of that–incuriosity, dishonesty, the opportunistic deployment of information–is darkness. Breitbart died, like all of us will, in darkness. But as a media persona he chose to also live there, and in the process has impelled countless others to throttle themselves into the abyss.
Yes, this is it: curiosity is a selfish endeavor. It’s not selfish in the sense that it takes anything away from others, but curiosity is a self-interested pursuit. I love learning about new things, whether my reaction is awed or horrified, because I want to make as much use as possible of the limited time I have on Earth with the limited resources I have at my disposal. Curiosity is about expanding the world in which you may live. It makes humanity less frightening, not more. Sometimes darkness is comforting, but only if you have no intention of leaving the room.
Well, this is a clusterfuck that could’ve gone a lot worse:
Counties Manukau police spokeswoman Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey said Narayan had falsely claimed to be pregnant for nine months before telling her partner she was overdue and needed to be taken to hospital to be induced.
The partner dropped the 24-year-old Fijian-Indian off at 11am and she allegedly then spent several hours “moving through the birthing unit attempting to uplift a child”, Gates-Bowey said.
After allegedly uplifting the baby Gates-Bowey said Narayan called her partner saying she was ready to be picked up.
It’s understood that followed an earlier attempt where Narayan was found holding a two-day-old baby by its mother.
When confronted Narayan is believed to have told the mother the baby had been crying and she was simply comforting it.
After that incident Narayan went to another room where it’s understood a hospital staff member, assuming she was the mother, handed her the one-day-old baby and asked her to hold it.
The really bizarre part here is the relationship between Narayan and her partner, who…what? Believed she was 9 months pregnant when really she was never pregnant at all? Who brought her to the hospital supposedly for an induction, and then just left her there? What?
If this guy ever saw her with her top off within the last few months, he must have known she wasn’t really pregnant.
Now, okay, let’s say their relationship wasn’t intimate in the last several months, so she really had him thinking there was a baby growing in there. If that was the case, then I find it extremely difficult to believe that he just dropped her off at the hospital and didn’t ask any questions. Perhaps he could have offered to stay in the waiting room while she sat through hours of chemically induced labor. But…to take her to the hospital, and then just drive away and go about his life until she called and asked to bring the baby home? He must have known something was up. He had to know.
Narayan is not the only guilty party here. She may have been the ringleader (she doesn’t seem quite coherent enough for a “mastermind”) but she didn’t act alone.
PZ Myers shows us the fiasco of a putative meta-analysis of mental health risks of abortion, published by the British Journal of Psychiatry and torn apart by Jim Coyne at Psychology Today. The problems with the analysis are briefly summarized as follows:
1. The author has a conflict of interest on the subject, as she is an anti-abortion advocate, and failed to disclose this in her submission to the journal.
2. The analysis used 22 studies, half of which were conducted by the author herself. She did not disclose which studies were excluded and why.
3. Her own studies used in the analysis range from unreliable to meaningless.
Since when did scientific rigor ever get in the way of a good scare tactic? Coyne helpfully quotes National Right to Life News as summarizing conclusions such as:
“Women who aborted have a 55 percent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an ‘unplanned’ pregnancy who gave birth.
Yeah, I just love the scare quotes around “unplanned.”
NRtLN’s summary conflates the comparison between women who have aborted vs. not aborted, with those who have aborted vs. given birth. It confuses an outcome for a given pregnancy with lifetime experience. IOW: it is possible for a woman to have at least one abortion AND have at least one live birth. The majority of women having a first abortion are already mothers, and many others have children later.
If what they mean by “aborted vs. given birth” is the comparison of women who’ve had at least one abortion with those who’ve had at least one live birth and no abortions, then they should freaking well say so, and furthermore, they need to limit the comparison to women who became pregnant when they didn’t want to. Since this is an organization that uses scare quotes around unplanned pregnancy, such respect for confounding factors is probably too much to ask.
Oh, now really.
Aside from the bald-faced lying like a cheap rug—no, Rick Perry, nobody is stopping you from openly celebrating Christmas! Just don’t do it in your capacity as a taxpayer-salaried public servant!—there’s the very not-subtle juxtaposition of “gays serving openly in the military” with the (fabricated) liberal encroachments on Christians’ freedom to worship. Once again cross-pollinating the Christian persecution complex with the majoritarian-American sense of entitlement, he’s transparently pitting his fellow travelers against The Rainbow Menace, making gay rights antithetical to freedom of religion.
I know that there are some people who will lap that shit up. The meme of gays as the enemy of Christians isn’t yet dead, but it’s putting him on the wrong side of history. For the younger generations—that is to say, those who will still be voting after Rick Perry and the rest of the GOP Clown Car bunch are dead—if you pit equality of civil rights for gays against Christianity, more and more people will chose the gays. Record numbers of Millennials are losing their religion because their churches have nothing to offer but hate.
Besides all that, it’s a crappy video. I could have chosen better background music. I do like the jacket, though. It’s very Jake Gyllenhaal meets Heath Ledger.
Anna North at Jezebel shares the details of Candice Smith’s frankly fascinating account of the events that led up to her being fired for committing statutory rape on a 14-year-old boy at the group home where she worked.
In Ms. Smith’s own words:
I treated these kids like my own children. Then one of them forced himself on me.
I was thunderstruck at the time. Horrified. How could this broken, hurt child have betrayed all the trust and love I’d given to him? How would I ever be able to tell anyone? Shocked and terrified of losing my job and freedom, I told no one. [...] I should have, because it happened again. And again. And again. And again. For three months this child forced himself on me, demanded I bring him cigarettes and alcohol, that I hand over my credit cards (I managed to get him to take money instead). He threatened me constantly, said he would “make me sorry,” “make all my money disappear.” He told me he’d steal my car, told me he thought about how much he wanted to kill me… and I just disappeared.
Then, she says, “the kid soured on me — I wouldn’t give a report that another kid had “tried to kill him” because that wasn’t the case — and because I didn’t give this kid his way, he said we’d been having ‘consensual sex.’”
If you just read that and are now thinking her story doesn’t pass the smell test, you’re not alone. You’re in very numerous company.
Robin Marty keeps dangling shiny things in my face at RH Reality Check, and this time, she actually goaded me into clicking over to an article at the National Catholic Register so I could get the full names and quotes. According to Bishop William E. Lori of Connecticut, religious liberty doesn’t exist unless Catholic institutions get federal funding to do whatever the heck they want on anyone their net happens to cover.
“There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith through works of education, health care and charity,” Lori said in his first address to the bishops as chairman of the newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Education = Indoctrinating impressionable children with the fear of Damnation.
Health care = Denying birth control access to human trafficking victims.
Charity = Shutting down social services rather than provide contraception coverage to employees in your health care plan.
Seeking to intervene in the case are Dr. John Thorp, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at UNC-Chapel Hill who contends in a declaration that the requirements in the new law represent the standard of care in the field; Dr. Gregory J. Brannon, an obstetrician who says a woman can’t be considered informed about abortion without being told that the “tissue to be removed is a separate, unique living human being who is genetically different from the mother”; and Dr. Martin J. McCaffrey, a UNC-CH professor of pediatrics who counsels women about high-risk pregnancies.
Their treating pregnant women like oblivious morons would be a lot more palatable if they didn’t do it by lying through their fetoscopes.
Dr. Brannon apparently thinks,
a woman can’t be considered informed about abortion without being told
He thinks women seeking abortions are so unfathomably ignorant that they’re not aware that the critter growing inside the uterus is a human fetus. Look, Dr. Brannon: we all know what pregnancy means. We all know that there is an organism growing inside which could, if uninterrupted, eventually emerge as a baby. That’s the point: these women are getting abortions because they don’t want the babies.
So he wants them to be told that,
the “tissue to be removed is a separate, unique living human being
What is it with the pro-quantity movement and their love of this transparently dishonest talking point of the “separate, unique living human being”?
Sure, it’s living, and it’s human. I don’t dispute that. My left kidney is also living and human, and it’s a lot more useful to me than an unwanted fetus would be.
But in what parallel universe is a fetus a “separate” human being from its mother?
Again, we seem to be missing the point of why an abortion takes place. If the fetus were separate, there would be no pregnancy. Mammalian reproduction would be radically different if fetuses were not absolutely dependent on staying firmly attached to their mothers’ uterine walls and living on a steady stream of maternal blood. If that fetus is so “separate,” then it can just go its own way and take care of itself, rather than putting its mother’s health at risk by leeching her nutrients and playing havoc with her hormones.
Indeed, if the fetus is “separate,” then what exactly does the word “separate” even mean?
And then there’s this last talking point:
who is genetically different from the mother”
Translation: “That fetus isn’t just a part of your body because there was also a man who put sperm in your vadge, so that baby is also his, and it wouldn’t be fair to kill his baby just because you couldn’t keep your legs shut.”
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