I was reading the Globe
and came across an article about actor James Garner and a new book on his life called The Garner Files: A Memoir.
The article mainly focuses on Garner's use of pot (seriously, an actor who is a pothead, is there anything more cliche?) but more interesting to me was a short paragraph about his abusive stepmother who left him damaged and with a "hair-trigger temper." Garner's mother died when he was four and his father, Weldon, remarried a woman named Wilma, who was nicknamed "Red."
"That's when his real troubles began.
"Red was a nasty b**h, Garner writes. "She enjoyed beating the bejesus out of us.
"On top of the beatings, Red liked to put me in a dress and make everyone call me 'Louise.' Whenever I did anything wrong, I'd have to go put that dress on. I became introverted, and it took a long time before I came out of my shell."
Garner finally exploded, flattened Red with a punch and started choking her. His father kicked his wife out, but not before the damage was done.
The actor admits he now has a hair-trigger temper...
I'm surprised that "being the card-carrying liberal"
that Garner says he is, that he related this story as it is hardly PC, but it sounds like turning the tables on his stepmother was the only way out of her clutches and at least the father put her out of the house. Maybe that was his turning point.
I wonder if you could get away with "punching a woman" and starting to choke her in today's PC climate? More than likely, a boy being abused today would be hauled to juvenile court if he hurt a woman and might even be told that wearing girl's clothes was good for him and step-mom was just teaching him to be more empathetic towards girls. The dad might be warned that if he "put the woman out of the house," he would be sorry. Or maybe not.
What do you think?