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Sour Emotion

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A reader alerted us to this amazingly creepy National Review piece about Steven Tyler’s decision to use marriage an especially gross grant of legal guardianship to legalize a relationship that otherwise would have been statutory rape, and concludes that he’s a victim because his barely-adolescent bride aborted a male fetus.  This was transparently misogynist on so many levels I scarcely knew where to begin.  One advantage of procrastination is that sometimes another writer will say what needs to be said as well as it could be said, and Mary Elizabeth Williams does that in this case.

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  • c u n d gulag

    YUCK!!!
    On every level – YUCK!!!

    And especially on the eve of Mothers Day.

    But thanks for the Mary Elizabeth Willims take on this. She got the point of the story that TNR missed – again!

  • jim48043

    Kevin Burke is obviously against abortion and seeks to make a case. He employs possibly the least sympathetic figure possible (Steven Tyler, hedonist extraordinaire) to advance his argument. Mary Elizabeth Williams is obviously pro-choice and makes the argument that Burke is a charlatan because he omits the elements of Tyler’s life that don’t advance his argument.

    All of that I will leave to someone else.

    But Mr. Lemieux’s (and Ms. Williams’s) suggestion that the fact that the aborted fetus was “a boy” means that neither Tyler (nor Burke?) would have been troubled if he had been a girl is unfair and misleading.

    • Vance Maverick

      Jim, it would help if you filled in the exculpatory interpretation. Perhaps Burke retained that detail because it shows the fetus was already well along in development and recognizably baby-like. But we’re guessing, because he doesn’t spell out what he means there.

      Jezebel also, not surprisingly, noticed the big gap in human sympathy for the young woman in the story (in both Burke’s and Tyler’s telling).

    • Joe

      The National Review article that said:

      “So they had the abortion, and it really messed Steven up because it was a boy. He . . . saw the whole thing and it [messed] him up big time.”

      So, why are you making this about Scott or Ms. Williams? Williams, which you apparently should know since you note the tenor of her piece, focused on the NR writer. In fact, she said he selectively framed what he did and said in ways that don’t properly show the girl’s p.o.v.

      And, where do either one say that a female fetus would mean neither would be troubled?

      • Manju

        To be clear, the National Review article quoted someone saying that:

        In the Aerosmith “autobiography,” Walk This Way (in which recollections by all the band members, and their friends and lovers, were assembled by the author Stephen Davis), Tabano says: “So they had the abortion, and it really messed Steven up because it was a boy. He . . . saw the whole thing and it [messed] him up big time.”

        This reminds me of the controversy surroundng the the NYTimes Texas rape story containing quotes like this:

        “It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

        “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”

      • jim48043

        Mr. Lemieux italicized the adjective “male” and uses the adjective “misogynist.” The third paragraph of Ms. Williams’s piece includes “(No word on whether he’d have been equally broken up over a daughter.).”

        • Liberals are the real racists, er, anti-semites, no, no, don’t tell me, I got it: liberals are the real misandrists!

        • Joe

          The article itself highlighted the sex of the child. Scott also said the article as a whole was misogynist. Meanwhile, Ms. Williams wondered if “equal” concern would be in place (again focusing on the author, not Tyler himself) given the focus.

          Both do suggest the author of the piece would be “less” troubled, but again, where did they imply not being troubled?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Mr. Lemieux italicized the adjective “male” and uses the adjective “misogynist.”

          The italicization, as noted above, accurately reflects the content of the article, and I think the misogyny goes without saying.

      • Norman Thomas

        And, where do either one say that a female fetus would mean neither would be troubled?

        Well….they don’t. However, it’s the standard operating procedure to look for victimhood at every turn. Any possiblity of victimhood should be offered up as fact whether real or imagined.

        You need to get on board!

        • MAJeff

          Any possiblity of victimhood should be offered up as fact whether real or imagined.

          You mean like claims that Steven Tyler was victimized by the abortion of a potential son?

          • DocAmazing

            First, he cries…

            • Hogan

              Nice classic SNL reference, there.

  • law student

    I wish I could say I was “amazed,” but this is hardly National Review’s first foray into creepiness.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/217625/february-fooled-forsythia/john-derbyshire

    • Well, Derbyshire’s incapable of talking about anything without it sounding creepy. He could talk about his sock drawer or spatulas or chemical formulas or Rice Krispies, and still make you feel like you had to wash yourself with a wire brush afterwards…

      • Vance Maverick

        I had seen that Derbyshire piece before, but not read as far as the “scientific” argument that the most attractive women are very very young — based on rape statistics. D and his source are both happy to take for granted that beauty is equivalent, not only to fuckability, but to rapeworthiness.

        In other words, this example of “creepiness” is actually rather close to the atrocious story behind the Burke article….

        • Halloween Jack

          See also: Roman Polanski claiming that anyone who had a problem with his rape conviction was just jealous because everybody wants to fuck young girls.

  • law student

    Also, as I understand it he didn’t “use marriage to legalize [the] relationship,” but rather her parents permitted him to become her “legal guardian”. Makes it even creepier, if that is possible.

    See http://books.google.com/books?id=SrQWbvG_oE0C&lpg=PA225&ots=U87qpKeyP2&dq=%22Walk+This+Way%22+%22diana+hall%22&pg=PA225#v=onepage&q&f=false (h/t Wikipedia)

    • ema

      I’m still unclear on how signing guardianship papers makes it legal for an adult to have sex with a minor in his charge.

      What is the legal basis for this?

      • law student

        IANAL but believe that it made it legal for her to live with him. It did not make the sex legal.

        • ema

          Got it, thank you.

          Good to know that the Idol producers thought it a good idea to have an alleged statutory rapist judge the contest.

    • Mrs Tilton

      her parents permitted him to become her “legal guardian”. Makes it even creepier, if that is possible.

      And at least here in Germany, that wouldn’t legalize the act, it would make it even more illegal.

      • Norman Thomas

        Fuck Germany where you do not have the constitutional right of free speech.

        Fuck Germany where you do not have the right to keep and bear arms.

        Fuck Germany where you do not have the right to assemble and freedom of religion is in question as well if you don’t get on the homosexual bandwagon.

        DO NOT hold Germany up as some ideal, cuz it ain’t if you enjoy your freedoms.

        • DrDick

          Like the freedom to rape children?

        • StevenAttewell

          You know, a google search for German constitution isn’t very hard. Which chapters of the Basic Law would you like to me to refute you on?

          • Norman Thomas

            That’s GREAT news!

            But make sure your opinions are acceptable to the government or you’ll wind up in jail. Don’t say unpopular things about races. Don’t question the official holocost events. And for Christ’s sake, DON’T SAY YOU BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT NORMAL.

            • MAJeff

              Aww, pity the poor holocaust-denying anti-gay bigot.

              • Norman Thomas

                While those are not my views, it’s important to uphold the rights of those we detest.

                I uphold yours.

              • Halloween Jack

                How about the right for same-sex couples to enjoy the same privileges of matrimony as opposite-sex couples? How are you with that?

            • Malaclypse

              But make sure your opinions are acceptable to the government or you’ll wind up in jail.

              Yea, that seems likely. You hear about it all the time. Why, just last week, Obama’s jack-booted thugs kicked in my neighbor’s door and dragged them both off in the middle of the night. Chilling, I tell you what. Norman is a brave, brave man for standing up. Kudos, Norman the Brave, kudos.

              • elm

                In fairness to Norman, he’s claiming that this happens in Germany and the US is better because you won’t get arrested for being a gay-bashing, holocaust denying racist.

              • Malaclypse

                Ah. That comes close to making sense then. Poor Norman, unable to travel to places where being a Nazi will get you in trouble.

              • Norman Thomas

                Why, just last week, Obama’s jack-booted thugs kicked in my neighbor’s door and dragged them both off in the middle of the night.

                You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you? Is this Germany?

              • Anonymous

                Is this Germany?

                Please keep up, Norman. I know reading is hard, but please try.

              • Malaclypse

                Above was me. As always, I blame expansive readings of the Commerce Clause.

              • Furious Jorge

                I blame expansive readings of the Commerce Clause.

                Which they ALSO don’t have in Germany!!!!!

  • Manju

    Tyler persuaded the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, to make him her legal guardian so that they could live together in Boston.

    Whoa. Talk about burying the lead. Now, stuff like this used to happen all the time back in my father’s village, which is in rural South India (“used to”, since the village is close to Bangelore so everything has changed since globalizaion).

    But usually that invovled some cash. How did Tyler persuade?

    • Anonymous

      Talk about burying the lead

      No kidding. How broken does your moral compass need to be to tell a story about a girl being sold into de facto sexual slavery, with her ‘master’ as the protagonist?

      • Jay C

        Not merely “a story about a girl being sold into de facto sexual slavery, with her ‘master’ as the protagonist?”, but one where said protagonist is painted as a victim worthy of sympathy because of the “trauma” of him witnessing his concubine’s girlfriend’s abortion? A “trauma” he dealt with by hedonistic overindulgence in sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (literally)?

        “Broken moral compass”? Hell, that compass isn’t just “broken”, it’s been demagnetized, disassembled, the parts pounded into scrap and then thrown down various sewer gratings.

        But it all points out the Eeeeeevils of Abortion, so it doesn’t matter…..

    • Ted Nugent did that, too, but the signed-away girl had reached the ripe old age of 17.

      Yeah, I’m thinking money.

  • DrDick

    OK, I am officially totally creeped out by this whole thing, both Tyler’s relationship with the girl and Burke’s treatment of the story in his piece. This is really appalling at every level.

  • RavenRant

    Have to agree with Manju. Marriage would be creepy in this case, but legal guardianship is much creepier.

    This story ties directly into House Republicans’ attempt to make statutory rape, as opposed to ‘forcible rape’, ineligible for legal abortion. The whole point of sexual consent laws is that children do not have the mental capacity to make decisions that have life and death consequences, such as bearing and delivering a child, or potentially contracting a life-threatening disease.

    Bizarrely, nowhere in the NR article was there so much as a hint that a legal guardian sexually exploiting, (aka raping), the child in his care is criminal or even morally questionable.

    The only moral issue presented is abortion, just as the only entity deserving protection is a fetus. The implicit, unexamined premise of the article is that female human beings of any age exist to be sexual servants and incubators.

    ‘Creepy’ doesn’t begin to describe this revolting article.

    • DrDick

      Does rather make the skin crawl and the stomach churn. Of course, the National Review often has that effect.

    • Hogan

      Well, to be fair, the article says the abusive and sexually exploitative rock star also deserves protection.

      Coming soon in NRO: What kind of moral degeneracy could lead liberals to defend rich celebrities like Roman Polanski?

  • Christophe

    “It affected me later when I tried to get my real wife pregnant.”

    That choice of adjective said all that needed to be said.

    • Julian

      I could not find that quote in the NR article. Where is it from?

      • Hogan

        Burke cuts it off at “It affected me later . . . ” (second page, third paragraph). Williams provides the full quote.

  • Among the several creepy things about this story, for me anyway, is how the 14-year-old mother more or less disappears after we hear of her suicide attempts (which, of course, we’re lead to believe are because of the abortion, not because she was abandoned by Tyler). I haven’t and probably won’t read the book in question as Aerosmith hasn’t done anything interesting in almost two decades, and that’s being generous as hell, so maybe there’s a paragraph about her living happily ever after.

    You certainly can’t tell from Burke’s story. Once the teenager in question is no longer with child, she basically disappears. She’s no longer important in Steven Tyler’s journey or to the overall narrative. What a neat encapsulation of the anti-choice’s view of women in general.

  • Matt

    Shorter Burke: “Abortion can be really psychologically damaging to child molesters.”

  • Norman Thomas

    heh

    Not one….NOT ONE blamed the parents who were in charge of this girl’s wellbeing for giving up custodianship.

    NOT ONE

    • Hogan

      “Not one?”

      “No, no, not one!”

      “No, no, not one?”

      “No, no . . . ”

      “YES! FOUR!”

    • Furious Jorge

      Because we all know that Steven Tyler was clearly a helpless dupe, forced by those cunning parents to take legal guardianship of their 14 year old daughter so he could fuck her whenever he felt like it.

      There is absolutely no reasonable interpretation of these events in which Tyler is not the bigger monster.

      • Norman Thomas

        The parents had legal charge to make these decisions, not Mr. Tyler.

        They are the ones that I would want to go after for this egregious failure of guardianship.

        • Hogan

          Apparently Kevin Burke disagrees with you.

        • MAJeff

          This is some quality trolling.

  • Halloween Jack

    Well, there’s another former idol of mine that I won’t be listening to ever again.

    • chris

      Why? Isn’t it just the Wagner argument all over again? The same human being can be a creep and a great artist.

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