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Daddy, Daddy, You Bastard, I’m… Ew.

Good afternoon! Are you aware that Caitlin Flanagan has LOST HER ENTIRE MIND?

Now, some of us may argue that Caitlin “Working Mothers Are Evil: Now, To Hire a Nanny So That I Can Write Professionally About This Fact” Flanagan had not much of a mind to lose. Regardless, she is in the Atlantic, arguing that you want to have sex with your entire family, so I would say that she has definitely progressed to the deep end of the already very deep pool of wrongness in which she is accustomed, like a nutty anti-feminist mermaid, to swim. The reason for this is that… she has read Alec Baldwin’s book? Or something? I don’t know.

Anyway, yeah, Alec Baldwin verbally abused and threatened his daughter Ireland and is just generally a guy I would not want around my kids, were I ever to spawn them. Caitlin Flanagan reads his harassment of his daughter as somehow “sexual,” based on the fact that he used the word “pig.” This is an occasion for her to reflect – at length! At terrible, terrible length! – about how sexy this abuse must be for the young lady in question:

This child must know that the endlessly engaging, personally attractive Alec Baldwin would instantly drop everything to come to her assistance if she ever needed him.

Ha ha, OR POSSIBLY BEAT HER UP, OR SOMETHING. But, whatever, Caitlin Flanagan maybe wants to bone Alec Baldwin. He is, as pointed out on 30 Rock, a man formerly possessed of a “Superman chest.” She’s a little swoony; creepy, but understandable. This is understandable. However, she can’t possibly attribute her own feelings to Ireland and turn this into some kind of justification of… oh, holy shit:

In his daughter a father discovers a person whose very bloodline ensures that she will be charming to him: at the precise moment that his wife is fading into middle age, her beauty resurges in the daughter—there’s that unlined face you fell in love with so long ago! And instead of nattering away about all the tedious things your wife is always going on about, this ravishing new version has been programmed (by you) to talk about and care about all the things you are interested in. As for the girl’s feelings about you—well, you’re everything. You’re not a man; you’re the measure of a man.


So, anyway, Caitlin Flanagan feels that incestuous feelings are totes cool – we all have them! Or maybe just Caitlin Flanagan does, and details them, at truly astonishing length – but how does this relate to divorce and family law, the ostensible subject of Alec Baldwin’s book? Well, here is the thing: Caitlin Flanagan believes that, should you ever find yourself married to a person with a history of abuse (real; documented; bad) and incestuous feelings toward your children (probably made up by Flanagan; still pretty bad, though), what you should do is at all costs avoid divorcing that person, because oh my Holy Christ she literally says this:

If your father thinks you’re enchanting, but he’s put your mother out to pasture—well, that’s just disturbing. You have somehow beguiled this powerful, grown man in a way your own mother could not; what’s wrong with you?

Oh, is it? Is it really, Caitlin Flanagan? Please, tell me more about what is disturbing, because you certainly seem capable of making those judgments!

The real sorrow of Ireland’s young life is not that she has a father with an ugly temper; it’s that the circle has been broken. She cannot use her relationship with her father as a way of testing the waters of romance without bringing sorrow to her mother. Nor can she exalt in herself—as girls are wont to do—as the product of an epic love, because by now she has become the opposite: the animating force of a great enmity, the only reason these feuding adults are forced to contend with one another.

Yes, little Timmys and Suzies of the world, remember: when Mommy and Daddy get divorced, it is all your fault.

And now, as she casts around in her girlish way for a model on which to shape her own dream of marriage and enduring love, she must look elsewhere. Her own home—that contested piece of property, subject to her father’s mood and her mother’s caprice—can offer her nothing.

Nothing except the absence of her abusive parent that is! But what is that worth, when it means missing out on the attentions of your sexy, sexy Dad?

Excuse me, won’t you? I feel I may need to spend the next fourteen or so years barfing.



  1. mouse wrote:

    I always knew she was insane, but really? I mean, really? Really?

    Okay my brain just went kaput.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  2. masagoroll wrote:

    Ahhhhhh! Gross!

    I’m sure that the Basinger-Baldwin family appreciates her attributing all of these feelings to them! *hurl*

    I’d always thought that the whole “father handing off the daughter to the boyfriend angrily” thing was kind of gross, and now Flanagan has somehow taken that whole vibe to a new level of disgusting!

    This is the worst defense of marriage I have ever read, haha. Excuse me while I go get divorced because I’m so squicked out!

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  3. Katherine wrote:

    That was…really? I mean, even if you go all Freudian, aren’t those fucking your parents complexes supposed to recede by the age of six or so? And for her to attribute sexy feelings to fathers toward their daughters is just disturbing on so many levels.

    And the bullshit evopsych ageism! Hey, wrinkly boring wife, you better watch your husband around your daughter because she may ensorcel him with her sexy young hotness! It falls right in line with that whole lolita thing attributed to girls who are actually molested or raped.

    I’m so disgusted, I think my brain just blue-screened.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  4. Sady wrote:

    @All: Yeah, I can’t really figure out whether Caitlyn Flanagan’s insane Sexy Daddy issues are personal or just patriarchal or both. Her whole position on sex is that (a) women need to “earn” decent treatment by being perfect wives and mothers for their menfolks, by staying home, keeping the house lovely, cooingly assuring men that it must just be SO HARD to have jobs and be big brave providers, and letting those men fuck them even if they don’t want to fuck (although this will get easier once those women go through the human aging process and lose their luster to the mens!) which is: straight-up patriarchal, but also (b) women’s sexual drive centers on them being basically giant babies who long to be “defiled” by big strong protectors who care too much about “protecting” them to fuck them, which is: straight-up patriarchal, but with a heaping helping of Huge Daddy Issues on the side. In summary, I think Caitlin Flanagan is really patriarchal and sexist, but that this stems in part from how very deeply fucked-up she is, which doesn’t make it better, but explains A LOT.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Wow, I really hope she doesn’t have a daughter. Or if she does, that her daughter never EVER reads this!

    By the way, is she the crazy lady that was on The Colbert Report hitting on Colbert? Such the timid housewife, isn’t she?

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  6. belledame222 wrote:

    @_@ …wow.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 2:57 am | Permalink
  7. napthia9 wrote:

    I comment here, not merely because this is SPOT ON, but because someone at TIME magazine needs to read this, develop a time machine, and stop themselves from paying Ms. Flanagan to write the excruciatingly awful, meandering, intelligence-sapping article on "Why Marriage Matters."

    (Hint: Flanagan says it is because you have BABIES so stop having those frivolous divorces just because you want to sleep with someone else/your S.O. committed adultery, you shallow irresponsible middle-to-upper class middle-aged yuppie hipsters! But first, Caitlin Flanagan will blather on about famous adultery-committing men recently in the press. Not only will she fail to come up with a point other than BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN and ADULTERY IS BAD, she will ultimately fail to connect this section to her later section about how you shouldn't divorce your SO ever lest you ruin your children's lives simply because she fails to remember that except for tabloid fodder Jon and Kate, all of the famous cheating spouses she name-dropped stayed with/went back to their wives. PRAY TELL ME WHAT THE EFFECT OF A LOVELESS STAY-FOR-THE-KIDS'-SAKE MARRIAGE IS ON THE DELICATE PSYCHE OF CHILDREN, HMMM CAITLIN FLANAGAN? HMMM?)

    If only someone at TIME had read your article!!!

    Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 12:51 am | Permalink