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.