Comments Posted by Joost
Wednesday, June 18
Read through the whole thread ... fascinating. Both because of all the conflicting information that, point for counterpoint, adds one piece of the puzzle after another, and because of the dynamics of the interplay.
Poster after poster comes in to speculate about the darkest horrors this picture must surely betray. For people who know more about the actual specifics of the background, that must be immensely frustrating. It's so easy to conjure up pictures of nothing but brutal sadists for those who've never experienced the situation first hand.
And yes, there is something disturbing in the adrenalin rush with which people seem to crowd upon any scene of horror and outrage, almost eagerly evoking the possible scenes, before passing on again.
Neverending speculation about an unending hell of abuse must also be deeply offensive who toil in this line of work. They work in the hardest of all jobs, are expected to give their all for lousy wages, and feel that their whole profession is still maligned as some collective of abusers as soon as one out of their many is revealed as one.
On the other hand, there is a lot of knee-jerk responses too. The more defensive posters seem to bristle at pretty much *any* mention of the abuses that went on. They're not denying they happened, for sure, but instinctively lashing out at anyone bringing them up - even reasonable posters.
Seen a number of posters explicitly state that they're sure that there were many good people working there too, before referring to the gruesome things that happened, and all getting the verbal slap round the ear anyway.
You just dont seem to hear what the other is saying anymore. Thats most obviously true for the judgemental passers by, who are all hit-and-run posters anyway, but also for the other side.
Alliecat points out that of course people are not going to go solely on the word of someone who worked there either, just because that view is by definition biased - which is just common sense - but she explicitly says that she's not calling the other poster a liar? She still gets the 'how dare she call me a liar' response anyway. Someone mentions the memoirs of a former resident? Oh well, quote: "he is retarded right? Maybe he was influenced". Not the slightest interest in what the guy, who turns out to have become a prominent disability self-advocate, had to say or who he was; the knee-jerk instinct to dismiss out of hand is firmly in check. Lots of circling the wagons going on in this thread.
But I didnt start writing just to diss people. Guess I just got frustrated. Bottom line is that everyone on this thread cares. Even the passers by with their speculations still stop by with a real measure of genuine pity and concern, which is more than you could have said fourty or fifty years ago. And even the sharpest knee-jerk responses came from people who did spend years doing this amazing and gigantic work, something someone like me sure cant match up with.
And all the to and for aside, Lynne's point that people love to point the finger at the caregivers as some kind of monsters, but at the same time stubbornly vote down the taxes needed to fund better care is a good one. Everyone likes a person to blame; acknowledging the systemic flaw that we're all co-responsible for is another matter. The numbered points in her post of 04-01-2006 are ace. If that's a rant, ranting is good.
But mostly, after going through the whole to and fro with people increasingly unable to hear what the other is really saying, I wanted to thank Witness and BigEd (and Jamara and William) for trying to walk the line in between. Going beyond easy-chair judgement and knee-jerk defense. That was much needed. Thank you very much.
Eh, what am I doing? I'm not contributing anything here. I'm just another poster rambling. I guess I just needed to synthesize my thoughts after reading all of yours. OK, done. Another hit-and-run poster heard from -- but also another one touched, for what it's worth..
Pennhurst State School