“Raised by two mothers? Wow. Most of us barely survive one.” — Woody Allen
Our town’s international gumshoe reporter, Doug Wissing, is gearing up for a second trip to the wilds of Afghanistan.
Wissing on C-SPAN
Wissing, a noted freelance investigative journalist, has a hot item on the Book Corner‘s shelves these days, entitled “Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban.” During his first foray into the Afghan theater of war and corruption, Wissing learned that much of America’s dough wends its way through a maze of unsavory characters and entities into the hands of the very people we are shooting at.
Now he’s headed back to Southwest Asia. He’ll catch a flight in that direction on New Year’s Eve night. Wissing tells The Pencil he’ll stay in Afghanistan for a month or six weeks, with an eye on writing a second book on the 12-year-old conflict.
Afghanistan (image from the BBC)
“I’m interested in seeing how the end game is turning out,” he says. He wants to get back in touch with American soldiers, many of whom hipped him to the cat’s cradle that includes venal US officials, greedy private corporations, Afghan kleptocrats, and the Taliban.
The new project will be Wissing’s seventh tome.
The Pencil advised him to stay out of trouble in those dangerous environs. Wissing replied, “That’s what I go there for.”
So, now Liza Long is taking heat for her viral “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” blog post.
Liza Long’s “Crazy” Kid
In the immediate wake of Friday’s mass assassination of schoolkids and teachers in Connecticut, Long’s essay on raising a child whom she diagnoses as, well, crazed struck a chord. According to early sources, the Sandy Hook shooter also had psychiatric problems as a child. Ergo, Long’s post was originally viewed as a plea for help from a Mom who feared her kid might one day take up assault weapons against seven-year-olds.
Long was characterized as a trail-blazer, courageous in her everyday life as well as her willingness to reveal the most embarrassing details about her troubled son.
The more we’re exposed to revelations like this, the thinking went, the easier it might be to prevent the next Sandy Hook.
But blowback is inevitable in our info-tainment culture. Another blogger posted that maybe — just maybe — Long’s heartfelt tale of life with a disturbed kid isn’t all it was first cracked up to be.
Anthropologist and communications scholar Sarah Kendzior, who earned an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University, wrote that an in-depth reading of Long’s blog revealed a “series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away.”
Funny thing is, most of the mommies and daddy-os I know have expressed similarly dramatic dark thoughts about their kids despite the fact that none of them would go so far as to describe their little angels as clinically deranged.
In fact, Kendzior herself writes, “In most of her posts, her allegedly insane and violent son is portrayed as a normal boy who incited her wrath by being messy, buying too many Apple products and supporting Obama.”
If Your Kid Has This Poster, Institutionalize Him
Still, for at least a few days after Sandy Hook, Liza Long was the poster mom for heroic parents everywhere who’ve brought whacked out kids into the world.
My immediate guess is the name Liza Long will be long-forgotten by the spring.
As for her kid, well, some team of shrinks is going be putting down payments on luxury yachts after he reaches the age of thrice-weekly psychotherapy — even if he’s not certifiably cracked.
Millions in this holy land now know him as that mentally ill kid who’s somehow tied in with the Sandy Hook shooter. Thanks, Mom.
And now, Kendzior and Long have kissed and made up. They issued a joint statement the other day. Kenzior wrote in her blog, “We do not want to be part of a ‘mommy war’….”
The statement reads, in part: “We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important… We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy.”
Natch, the best way to maintain your kids’ privacy is to write about them using a media technology that can be accessed by billions of inhabitants of this weird, weird world.
Personal to Long from a veteran blogger. You don’t have to post your every thought and feeling. Sometimes what you write needs to stay unpublished. Take it from me: Any number of times I’ve clacked out a post that I’ve deemed not ready for the light of day. And often I won’t have a replacement post in me on those particular mornings. Ergo, The Pencil skips a day.
So far, no one’s psyche has been damaged by those missed days.