In Treatment – Season 3-Undercurrents

This season is as superlative as the previous two, not only because of the taut acting and writing, but because you can see the story arcs’ impacts on Paul’s personal life. This is made very clear by Paul’s sessions with Adele, who brilliantly connects the dots and synthesizes stray bits of information as he lets them slip.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the session of five that I began to take an active dislike to Adele. It was a very loaded session in which Paul elaborates a bit on his romantic feelings toward her, his talk with his son Max, his concern over how to handle immigrant patient Sunil, and teen-in-crisis Jesse.  There were things about how Adele responded to Paul that really bothered me. First, she wanted Paul to elaborate further on his fantasies regarding her, and Paul shifted gears and told her that she wasn’t really on his radar that much in the past week. Then she pressured him to leave her office on time as he was trying to get her feedback regarding handling Sunil. She insisted that their session was up and he lingered in the chair defiantly. She then asks “Are you so paralyzed you’re unable to stand?”  This seemed so bitchy to me that it completely undermined her claim of concern regarding how Paul would get angry with her when she tried to get him to see things differently. And need I point out that antagonizing someone who’s just confessed to waiting outside your office for an hour after the end of the session may not be the safest or smartest move?  Why would she even want to continue seeing him at all much less twice a week?  Countertransference perhaps??

My basic problem with Adele’s character is that she says one thing, then does another. She made it very clear that she would not help him past 5:50 pm, but what’s her next move? She calls him from her home to leave him a message at 7:30am, offering him another session just in case “he needed it” she later explains.  Paul calls her on the carpet a bit for this by asking her whether she called from her office, and questioned the timing of it, and tells her point blank that he knew she called him from her home by looking at the number on his caller ID.  Does this mean that Adele wanted him to know she thought about him while she was at home? That the door to her home is open to him as well as the one to her office?  Maybe.  Another example of Adele saying and doing different things is the way she ended session four, saying that they had to stop, after Paul’s declaration of personal feelings for her, and her statement that this would be an excellent place to start the next session. Does she start the next session there?  No. In fact, Paul is the one who steers the conversation back to it, and criticizes her for allowing him to fantasize about her while being in a healthy relationship, which he suspects from her now-evident pregnancy (why was this a surprise if he sees the woman weekly???) She responds by asking whether he assumes this is the case, but doesn’t confirm that she is in fact involved in a healthy relationship. In addition, she  correctly criticizes Paul for blurring the lines of their relationship and assigning her the roles of colleague, supervisor, and life partner instead of therapist, but darned if she doesn’t entertain trying at least a few of those roles on; in week six, she gives Paul advice on handling his patient, Sunil, and presents this as the urgent reason for her calling him at 7:30am, instead of initiating the session with this after he asked her point blank what she wanted him to do.  She does this after he threatens to walk out of the session.  Three things are problematic here a) She assumes that the patient Sunil is dangerous and Paul’s inaction will result in a preventable tragedy b) She assumes that Paul’s inaction will result in the loss of his therapy practice c) She assumes that she has to save him from himself.

Here are a few other random observations of  Adele’s behavior. Adele’s very evasive with Paul. She apologized for the phone call which interrupted their session in week six, and seemed very interested in concealing the call. She was concerned that he felt betrayed by the fact that she was pregnant.

My bottom-line take on Adele is that she’s not willing to admit how Paul gets to her. She wants to insist – a bit too much from my perspective – that everything is strictly professional. In their final session together, she was very clearly trying to hold on to him as a patient, and never once suggested that he see someone else.  (If you really want to establish boundaries and are concerned about transference, you don’t call a patient’s home at 7:30am from your home number and let it show up on his or her caller ID).

A foreshadowed possibility for season four is Max’s sexuality or  some sort of sexual trauma . I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve seen the most of him during episodes which featured gay teen Jesse, who called Max Paul’s “faggoty” son. Although I’m not sure Max will be gay, I thought it quite disturbing that the last thing we hear stepfather Steve say to Max is “I’ve got something to show you out back.” I find it hard to believe that the writers have done any of this by accident.  It was also telling that when  Paul turned his back on his son Max briefly to tend to Jesse’s needs that  Max nearly started a fire; yet there was Paul, walking away from Max in Baltimore.  Is or will Max be sexually abused?  This story arc could bring Kate back, who might then see how much better life was with Paul, and how much this wounded family could help each other heal. Stay tuned…

David Zurawik’s analysis of season 3

Alan Sepinwall’s analysis

All Good Things-Film

If you Google this title in the news , you’ll see tons of reviews, but there are three which I’ll excerpt to compose my own – 1)”…offers a few good moments” North County Times. 2) “True crime story has unfinished quality” HeraldNet 3)”…a creepy but captivating flick” Montgomery Newspapers.

There are indeed a few good moments in this film, many of which feature Kirsten Dunst as the ill-fated Katherine McCarthy Marks. The scene of her looking despondent and disgusted while waiting for husband David in the doctor’s office is very telling the unraveling of their relationship.  Similarly, the violent reaction David has when Katherine tries to reassure him that it won’t be the way it was for him growing up when they have children.

The unfinished quality I felt from this film was a result of seeing only David Mark’s version of events as told to a jury. The audience knows well by now not to trust much of what David says, so it would have been helpful to have an alternate take, representing the director’s vision of the truth, unfold on screen, but alas, it never does.  In addition, we’re not sure exactly what prompted Katherine to have an abortion or what that does to their physical intimacy immediately afterward.  I also might have liked a bit more competitive interplay with David’s father’s & brothers to flesh out the notion that daddy dearest would simply turn his attentions elsewhere if he didn’t get what he wanted from eldest David.  Although we’re sure that the familial bond isn’t a healthy one, it might have helped to see why David turned out to be as twisted and resentful as he was.

However; I have to say that the actors assembled do give the film a creepy captivating quality, because we’re not quite sure from moment to moment how far over the edge David will go and when he’ll get caught, or how much Katherine/Katie will take.

Montgomery News Review

HeraldNet Review

North County Times

Julian Assange & presumed innocence

I’m very glad that Mr. Assange was granted bail. I’m not honestly sure what happened between Mr. Assange and his two accusers, but like many observers, I too find the timing of his arrest far too politically expedient for U.S. authorities.  The evidence against him seems a bit flimsy to justify the near rabid involvement of INTERPOL. See the analysis of The Week .

Although I readily agree that Mr. Assange is a bit of an agitator and a bigmouth of sorts, he still deserves his day in court, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and probably a place in the world of cyberjournalism.   I suspect that no one on the WikiLeaks staff held a gun to Bradley Manning’s head in order to get information, so I don’t think they should get all the heat for reporting it.

A fundamental question in this case is “what constitutes classified information?” Is it really any piece of information that the government arbitrarily decides to label classified, or are there specific requirements? Cursory online research suggests that it’s the former. (See also). Apparently, there are three levels of classification: confidential, secret, and top secret. Despite arguments to the contrary, it seems that cables which are viewable to millions of personnel fail most criteria for top secret, or even secret, so at best one might say that Mr. Manning and Mr. Assange were trafficking in confidential information.  Many have stated that the information released thus far is of minimal security risk. There is also the category of sensitive but unclassified , and some would argue that many of the items revealed in the cables were/are available via other less secure sources, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the trials of Manning and possibly Assange.

I look forward to hearing about legal challenges to presidential authority to decide what is or should be considered classified information; such challenges would most logically come from the media, but they might also arise from other legislators as they attempt to learn things which could help them decide on how they should vote.

Frankly, it would have been better for the U.S. to have taken a much quieter approach to the whole affair than to appear the bully and thereby turn Mr. Assange into the martyr for free speech he’s now become. See Slate’s analysis.

No, u take 2 long to reply back almost an hour…. peace dude


I thought I’d share the stupidest response I’d heard from 2010 to a personals ad. Interested in meeting? No, u take 2 long to reply back  almost an hour…. peace dude.   What? You’re not thinking of candy and flowers? That’s funny, me neither. How seriously can this person expect to be taken if they expect a reply in under an hour every time he or she wants a date?  Isn’t part of  the reason texting and email exist is to allow asynchronous communication?

A runner up would be “I’m not really into facial hair.”  I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, facial hair could be shaved.  Just for the record, I had a mustache in the picture. A trim mustache. Not a beard or sideburns to the floor. Just a mustache. Presently, I have it almost completely shaved. How seriously are you looking for a relationship if you reject every person on the planet who USED to have a mustache??

I also have to ask the $64,000 question. What are these people doing to win MY favor, affections, or approval ???

The silver lining is that I didn’t meet these people face to face; which is a huge relief…

Dating to find a spouse is very different from dating to have fun and party. I’m looking for a wife and someone I’d think would make a good mother to my children.

Here’s some qualities that make the checklist:

1) Ability to place the needs of others before her own.

2) Ability to defer pleasure for practicality.

3) Ability to nurture others.

4) Low-maintenance. Does not except diamonds  or mink coats for every birthday and anniversary.

5) Independent. Able to pursue and fulfill her own goals without ever expecting anyone to hand her anything or treating others like they owe her something.

What are YOUR 2010 dates-from-hell stories?

Julian Assange & WikiLeaks

This has been a hot topic for the last couple of weeks. Mr. Assange has been both reviled and hailed as a martyr of sorts for free speech. Although I think it’s pretty easy to make a case against Mr. Assange’s choice to release classified information obtained via questionable means, I also think  government officials need to come to grips with the simple notion that privacy is an illusion.It’s also time for Big Brother to realize that he, too may be spied upon. We live in an all-media-all-the-time age, and there’s very little that can’t be discovered about an individual or a group these days, unless the person or group lives entirely “off the grid” without credit cards, bank accounts, utilities, realty leasing or ownership.

In short, it’s fine if the U.S. government wants to sue Mr. Assange and wikiLeaks, but I have to side with critics who cry foul at the closure of his bank accounts and PayPal accounts without due process. The reason given for the closure of Mr. Assange’s bank account was laughable at best – because he lied and gave a bad address?  Would this bank like to produce all of its applications in the last 10 years to see how illegible or inaccurate some address entries have been ? Should every person in the world who lies have his or her bank account closed?  How would THAT help boost our economy?

There are a few other things that are  driving me a little crazy about this case is that people are behaving as if Mr. Assange WERE WikiLeaks. Hello, people, this website and the organization behind it, is far bigger than one man. It’s also maddening to think people in government believe that C could not be arrived at once A and B are known; round up the housekeepers and nannies of any five diplomats and I’ll bet you might get some juicy tidbits. Why the information leaked so far has been considered otherwise undiscoverable, I’ll never know. Government officials need to get up to speed on how much is already out there and how other people can learn whatever secrets they have.  The other thing I can’t understand is why some people think that all threats to our information security would end with the demise of WikiLeaks. Do you really think that would be terrorists aren’t taking notes on this and panting for the chance to collect intelligence and imitate WikiLeaks?? We’ve given our enemies a wonderful idea on how to shake us up and keep us on the defensive. Law enforcement officials frequently give interviews which reveal our “soft targets” and which weapons/chemicals have been used in previous attacks, so I don’t see why this pushing of the envelope really comes as much of a surprise.

The only surprise should be that it’s taken this long for classified information to be leaked to the public. The U.S. military and government agencies have had laptop computers go missing or stolen several times in the past five years. (See also).