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Judging Judging Amy
Nov. 30, 1999 episode.
I like Judging Amy. It's an excellent show, focusing on character,
interactions and personalities. So when I heard that there would be a case
in Judge Amy's court dealing with Multiple Personalities, I expected the
usual sensitive attention to issues that I've come to expect.
Instead, we get another case of "Multiple Personality, Threat or Menace."
This was of course one of three separate plots going on. The other two,
dealing with family dynamics and a writing project were marvelous. The case
was just thrown in for sensational value and to allow Judge Amy to have some angst time.
The multiple was portrayed as an empty-eyed abuse victim of childhood
torture. She was accused of stabbing her home-ec teacher with a pair of
scissors for no apparent reason. Her lawyer claims Diminished Capacity. The
prosecution hammers the Colon Ross theory, that DID is simply one person making
pretend faces at themselves in the mirror.
So in one stroke, they raise all the ethical issues surrounding multiplicity,
and then they never deal with them. The teacher dies of infection from the
wound, the child is charged with murder and the case is taken out of family
court. Not only are the issues not dealt with, the essential statement is made
that there ARE no issues, it's just an unavoidable tragedy, for which someone
has to be ground into the wheels of merciless Justice to pay for.
And we are left with the image of a sobbing, pathetic traumatized multiple
on the screen again.
Now, of course, one might argue that just about anyone in such a situation
would be traumatized, and maybe a bit pathetic. But then again, the same
dramatic effect could have been achieved in any number of ways without picking
on the Bogeyman of the Day.
Meanwhile, we have to live with the increasingly common misconception that
because we ARE multiples, it's perfectly reasonable for people to expect
us to plunge sharp implements into innocent people for no good reason.
In my experience, members of multiple collectives are generally acting with
perfect internal logic when they take actions like that. The only reason it
seems insane - assuming the individual who commits the act isn't actually
insane - is that due to circumstances or background, they are unaware of the
real nature of the situation.
In other cases, people within a multiple collective war against each other.
Those situations are tragic, and they are real, and they would make great drama
and MIGHT provoke some understanding. They also raise some tremendously
fascinating issues. For instance, if "Janet" stabs a teacher with the motive to
get "Tammy" in trouble, can "Tammy" be held responsible at all?
Society feels intuitively that we have to be held.. heh.. collectively
responsible for our actions, and I tend to agree. But at the same time, we
cannot be held responsible in the same way, even if the practical outcome is
Example. Let us suppose that someone in my collective were psychotic and I
lost control of them. They got out and did a bad, bad thing. I'm responsible,
not for the bad thing, but for losing control. The culprit is responsible for
the bad bad thing, and it's my responsibility to carry out and enforce the
judgment of the court. That may require me to stay in jail for the rest of my
life too, which is unfortunate for me, but it's a consequence of the situation.
On the other hand, due to the nature of the Internal Landscape each
multiple has, the actual bad actor may escape effective punishment entirely.
This is not justice.
They could have had a marvelous time with these very real issues. But
instead they used us for a cheap dramatic effect. Again.
Bob King ICQ#: 12880485
You may read a very detailed synopsis of this turkey at
Television Without Pity.