Author Archives: Antonella Gambotto-Burke

Sex in the World of Myth // David Leeming

“Rather than as what Leeming calls ‘an instrument of love or even procreation’, the erect penis has always been perceived by misogynists as a weapon, something with which to hurt or assert dominance over the female. Size thus becomes synonymous with masculinity, cruelty and power, a world away from the sexual template of the mutual, integrated pleasures depicted in Sumerian myths or the Song of Songs.”

– from Patriarchal Passions, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke

Beautiful Ben

I have known and loved this man for over thirty years. He was beautiful then and is beautiful now – a funny, courageous, modest, tender, generous, wild, sincere and brilliant human being (in addition to being fluent in Italian, the sharpest prose stylist, a terrifyingly effective fighter). Watch out for his upcoming book; it is going to be incendiary #punk #gentleman

The Waterless Sea

“To the layman, cities in ice, horizons suspended as a shimmer above the earth and mountains of spectral beauty may appear complex, but the science is relatively simple. Light bends as it plunges through different air densities or temperatures. Similarly, the water ripples in desert mirages and heat haze shimmer are simply by-products of the volatility of the heat gradient. Such atmospheric optics are, however, the least interesting attributes of the mirage. Pinney’s fascination rests in the complicity at the heart of the mirage. As he points out, ‘the act of beholding involves an erasure of this distantiating knowledge.’ In short, the mirage cannot exist without the visual, cultural and epistemological template of the onlooker, whose interpretations invest magic into pretty, if otherwise meaningless, refractions of light.”

– from my review of The Waterless Sea: A Curious History of Mirages (reprinted)

Abusive fathers

We need to look at the parents of paedophiles, child abusers, pathological liars, emotionally violent fathers: therein, the source of the intergenerational cruelty. The family may appear normal, but the reality is filthy. Sick and dangerous, these family cultures literally destroy children to preserve family secrets, and they are found at all levels of society #vermin

“So why are some narcissists sadistic and others not? In my clinical experience, I have found that sadistic narcissists were more seriously neglected or emotionally abused in childhood than other narcissists. Many narcissists are difficult to get along with, have a grandiose sense of self, and won’t take accountability for their actions, but they don’t have a driving need to punish others. I have found that the sadistic narcissist has lower self-esteem than the non-sadistic narcissist, even though neither truly has high self-esteem. The most important point to understand is that the drive to punish or upset others on a regular basis typically stems from an individual having been on the receiving end of confusing, mind-twisting behavior from a parent early in life.”
Seth Meyers

A disturbing report

I’ve just read this shocking report. There is little more sick-making than wealthy people who actively seek to hurt their children’s physical, emotional and spiritual health and future prospects through their own greed and malice.

“Gingerbread published an extensive report titled ‘Children Deserve More’ to expose the ease with which parents could wriggle out of payments for the upbringing of children they no longer live with. In one of its case studies, two daughters had grown up without proper maintenance from their rich father. After years of fighting for it, they eventually took the law into their own hands and successfully sued him for their university tuition fees (calculated to cost up to £55,500). The youngest was congratulated on having won a place at Oxford by the judge (but not by her father, who had left the family home when she was eight).” – Charlotte Edwardes

Goodbye, Jen

An old friend of mine just died. Her husband wrote to tell me; I’m still in a state of shock. Jenni was one of the most loyal, vibrant and passionate human beings I have ever known, humming with love and so very funny. She left behind two glorious boys – one only twelve – to whom she was devoted. In one email, she wrote of her eldest, a football prodigy, “Leonardo is very beautiful, isn’t he? But as I am his mother, I don’t often see it. He is politically engaged and witty – so different to my generation as teenagers. I don’t remember being that switched on.” I cannot begin to fathom the loss they are experiencing and will continue to experience for the rest of their lives. Jen, your electric green eyes, black hair and red, red lipstick will be with me always. If there is anything your death has left it is the sense that it is essential to dispense with those dreams and fantasies that will never come true, the great what-ifs and if-onlys of life, and to love and live in the moment. Life is simply too short for games. So roll over in your sunlit bed, turn to the person beside you and love them with all your heart, for tomorrow you – or they – could be gone. #valejen

Mothers who bury allegations of child sex abuse

Disturbing findings from Yale University:

“The mother’s state of denial has repercussions on the victim beyond the victim’s continued abuse. Indeed, studies indicate that a mother’s denial of the fact of incestuous abuse may, in addition to aggravating the trauma of the abuse, have more damaging psychological effects than the abuse itself. One victim of long-term incest was hospitalized for severe depression with psychotic features. Therapy later revealed that the most troublesome issue for her was not the psychological consequences of the incestuous abuse, but rather the anger she harbored toward her mother for repeatedly witnessing the incestuous abuse and subsequently denying all knowledge of its occurrence during court hearings.” – Christine Adams

As the paper asks, should the state impose criminal liability on women who fail to protect their children?