Anyway, here's the quote that caused the controversy:
An email from famed blogger/blog commenter* Assistant Village Idiot:I stick by that, but let me give full disclosure of my prejudices for context.
Assistant Village Idiot here. People who have a hair across their ass in general about the family court system are trying to keep the Thomas Ball story alive as if he is some kind of victim. In his efforts to have unsupervised visits with his daughter, he was told to have his visits supervised by Monadnock Family Services. He refused because he blames them for his problems.
I deal with that agency all the time, though not the children’s services – I have for 30 years. They are entirely reasonable people who make adjustments and accommodations for people who don’t like them or are suspicious of them all the time. Hell, they are a mental health center, so most of their clients are difficult and suspicious. They are not some Orwellian controlling agency. Ball decided that being pissy and proving that he was right about one incident ten years ago was more important than seeing his daughter. He’s no victim.
Family courts may indeed be prejudiced against fathers – I hear that, but I don’t know. I’ve certainly dealt with many cases of NH courts ruling in favor of fathers in custody disputes, though, and I don’t see a massive trend here. It pays to remember that MFS cannot tell its side of the story because of confidentiality, and that some pathological people hide by trying to tie themselves to legitimate causes. Wolves hide in sheep’s clothing, because it doesn’t do any good to hide in wolves’ clothing, does it?
Most of us only ever get one side of any family court (or divorce, or heck, any) story, and really, there may be three or four sides. I do sometimes get more than one side. The events over the years which brought our fifth son to us show some pretty strong examples of anti-male bias by a family court judge. So I know it happens, and I know it's bad.
But for many situations, there is one party that is wrong, and another that is far worse. So when someone is painting themselves as an innocent, a victim who contributed little to the whole mess, I get immediately suspicious.
Here's my prejudice: growing up under the shadow of a parent's suicide is hard on a child, even if the events are not advertised and well-known. Children blame themselves. They are sensitive to ostracisms that are mostly imaginary. It is a terrible burden to lay on your own child. When you make that exponentially worse by making it public and dramatic, so that your kids have to either move or be a pariah, so they have to keep explaining all their lives what the hell was up with your Dad to do that, it is hellish. If you were depressed, I have mixed sorrow with my anger, because in the throes of depression people do dumb stuff because it hurts so bad. But if your "depression," as revealed in your suicide note, was not clinical depression but narcissistic injury because you couldn't get everyone else to admit it was all their fault, you have lost my sympathy. Feeling bad and depression are not synonymous.
You do that to your kids and I have a hard time believing you love them. What you loved was the appearance of a nice family, and the approbation you got for yourself. Trying to hide behind a legitimate cause only makes me more disapproving, because now you are delegitimising people with real grievances.
* "Famed" is nice, but a bit thick. Identifying me as a blog commenter as much as a blogger is accurate, though. I may be better at the former than the latter, actually.