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Judging Judging Amy

Review of the "Crowded House" episode"
by Bob King of Firewheel Collective


Nov. 30, 1999 episode.

I like Judging Amy. It's an excellent show, focusing on character, human 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 the same.

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.

You can write to Pavilion at pavilion@ karitas . net. Back to the library
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