criminal behavior

My Letter to Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler
anarchy | criminal behavior | dystopian | errors | evil | harassment | horror | tragedy

My Letter to Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler

I emailed this letter to Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler

Dear Mayor Wheeler,

Like millions of Americans, I am shocked by the violence of Antifa in Portland, Oregon.

In particular, I am horrified at the assault on journalist Andy Ngo.

But the trouble in Portland has been going on for a while.

My husband and I have been hearing reports of how bad things are in your city. Last spring when our daughter in her last year of medical school was creating her list for internship and residency, we counseled her against Portland. She has a close childhood friend in Portland, and she liked the program where she interviewed, but we advised her to look elsewhere to complete her medical training.

We discussed with her how Antifa controlled Portland and harassed citizens who were not in line with their radical beliefs. That was before Antifa attacked Andy Ngo.

I said, “Antifa is an aggressive, psychopathic militia—like the Brown Shirts under the Nazis. Don’t be fooled by their claims of trying to help the unfortunate. They are an intolerant and totalitarian group of enforcers who use violence to achieve their goals. And they are being condoned by the Mayor and the governance of Portland. You deserve a safe and peaceful city for your medical training.”

She is a fine student and a splendid doctor and she was matched to her first choice: it was NOT Portland.

For your consideration, I am a registered Democrat. So is my husband.

I wanted to let you know that there are consequences for Portland when a group of thugs controls the city. Wise people avoid Portland.

Sincerely,

Traci L. Slatton

Factual Error in The New Yorker: Is this how fake news starts?
anarchy | art | authors | autobiography | criminal behavior | dystopian | errors | hard work | healing | hope | literature | love | marriage | maturity | Memorial | politics | psychosis | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture | vulnerability | WW1 Memorial

Factual Error in The New Yorker: Is this how fake news starts?

Factual error in the New Yorker: I write this post not just for myself, but for all women whose ideas were misattributed to a man, and who were told to leave it be and not to rock the boat.

New Yorker Factual Error

My husband Sabin Howard is making a national memorial, the National World War I Memorial.

He began with drawings. He drafted several iterations of a relief that would tell the story of the Great War.

One morning over breakfast, he was talking about the design and showing it to me.

“My goodness,” I said. “You’ve got Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey there.”

Sabin said, “Explain that?”

So I did. As a novelist, I’ve worked with Campbell’s ideas for years. For the purposes of storytelling, the beats of the hero’s journey are useful and important. I’ve been so entranced by Campbell’s work that I’ve talked about getting a PhD in it.

And so, with my explanation over coffee and scrambled eggs, began a critical and oft-repeated piece of the story around the WWI Memorial. The Hero’s Journey connection has been publicly broadcast, by Sabin and by others associated with the Memorial, including PR people.

This is my contribution to this worthy endeavor and I’m proud of it.

Sabin is an honorable man. He consistently credits me with telling him about Joseph Campbell. He says, “My wife told me about the Hero’s Journey…” in every public venue where he’s spoken–including at a meeting of the Commission on Fine Arts in Washington DC.

In the worlds of literature and academia, claiming credit for someone else’s work is called plagiarism. Sabin is well aware of that. He is extraordinarily brilliant, but I was the one who came up with the Hero’s Journey.

The idea is to give credit where credit is due. As a matter of integrity–don’t take credit for other people’s work. Sabin doesn’t. He’s honorable.

Then came a big opportunity: The New Yorker magazine decided to do a Talk of the Town piece on Sabin and his sculpture at the New York Academy of Art.

The publicist for the NYAA was happy and excited. She had done a great job! This piece would add luster to the NYAA, to Sabin, who was showing the WWI Memorial Maquette at the NYAA, and to the Memorial itself. This was a coup!

Sabin was happy. Despite the extraordinary–unparalleled–quality of his work, he has struggled for acceptance here in the New York art world.

“A prophet is not recognized in his home town,” I tell him.

The Talk of the Town piece went live online yesterday.

It contained a factual error:

“I realized, Oh, my God, this is like Joseph Campbell’s ‘the hero’s journey,’ ” Howard said. “It’s a very simple story that everybody in every single culture has experienced.”

Sabin was out when I texted him about the error. He stepped away from a meeting to contact the publicist at the NYAA and ask for the article to be corrected for factual accuracy.

Here’s where the story gets interesting.

The NYAA publicist was less than enthusiastic about the update. She forwarded the request to the writer at The New Yorker.

Then she emailed back, “Anna…consulted with the fact-checking department on the request, and they feel since the piece doesn’t go into “how” the realization was made, it should stay as is.”

This is disingenuous. Sabin was directly misquoted and asked for his words to be represented correctly. He always says, “My wife said, “This is Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey.”

The New Yorker‘s misquote creates a factual error in the piece.

Sabin and I continued to push for accuracy. Sabin felt it was an injustice that his words were manipulated and that he was misquoted.

The NYAA publicist responded with increasing unpleasantness. She even told Sabin, “The story wasn’t pitched to The New Yorker as a piece about you and Traci.”

I emailed her,

Adding the words, “My wife remarked…” certainly does not make it a story about me and Sabin. Three words could not do that in a piece of this length. It does, however, become factually correct. It gives the piece an integrity that it currently lacks. Whether or not the magazine is attempting to be vindictive, they are acting in a way that has become a sore point with the parties involved. The magazine has been informed of a misquote and has chosen, this far, not to correct the piece.

The publicist was so appalled that I would continue to stand up for myself and my ideas that she got the head of the New York Academy of Art to email Sabin to tell me to back down.

Is that how the NYAA chooses to behave: by attempting to bully women who are standing up for their contributions? By attempting to get an authority to squelch the quest for accuracy and integrity? Women applying to the New York Academy of Art: BEWARE!

Regarding The New Yorker, here are my questions:

Is this how fake news starts: with journalists twisting subjects’ words any way that pleases them, and being unwilling to correct their piece when told about the error?

If The New Yorker makes a mistake and doesn’t correct that error because of specious and disingenuous reasoning, how is this publication any different from the fake news outlets they descry?

It’s disappointing that a venue that lauds its own integrity isn’t showing its integrity.

And there’s one more wrinkle in this sordid story. That is, there’s a concern about vindictiveness. The NYAA publicist and the head of the NYAA wanted us to stand down for fear that we would alienate people who had “been on our side.”

The NYAA publicist wrote us,

No press will be inclined to write on Sabin again, because it appears that he goes and attacks press who cover him. In addition, “fake news” is very inflammatory language to use and the New Yorker takes accusations like that extremely seriously – they have to, because of their political journalism. Claiming that the New Yorker is publishing fake news will attract a lot of unpleasant attention to you.

It’s a craven concern, but a real one. In today’s world, with its emphasis on expedience, the press might just step away from a subject who insists that his words be accurately represented.

Sabin said to me, “The New York Academy of Art will never work with me again because of this.” In order to uphold his personal integrity, he himself has to make a personal sacrifice that directly affects his career.

And so…I write this blog post for myself, for all women whose ideas have been misattributed to a man and were told to leave it be and not to rock the boat, and–come to think about it–for all the wives who are the unsung heroes supporting their husband.

Sabin Howard and Traci Slatton

Sabin Howard WWI Memorial relief drawing

Latest on the HuffPo: The Phenomenon of Lashing Out
criminal behavior | errors | evil | kindness | language | Uncategorized

Latest on the HuffPo: The Phenomenon of Lashing Out

Here’s my latest on the Huffington Post, an article about The Phenomenon of Lashing Out

Trolls, Harassers, Haters, and Shamers: The Phenomenon of Lashing Out

I promote my books. For one novel, I hired a publicist who turned out engaging press releases. She sent them to me for approval and then emailed them to every contact on her extensive list. She sent out dozens. That’s what I paid her to do and she was a responsible publicist.

A junior editor looked at one release, decided I thought I was better than other authors, and initiated a Twitter shaming campaign that lasted about eight hours.

It struck out of the blue. Suddenly my Twitter feed lit up with nasty tweets, many personal, directed at me. It was shocking and confusing. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. Then I did the best damage control I could.

I can only imagine how horrible a longer Twitter shame-barrage would have been. Eight hours was enough to leave me with a few weeks of mild PTSD. I never understood the point of the shaming episode. What pleasure did the junior editor and her cohorts take in such scathing nastiness? What did they hope to accomplish beyond making me feel badly? I certainly never felt that I was better than other authors, though I will balance that by saying that I have worked hard over the decades to write thousands of pages of prose. I take pride in whatever craftsmanship I accomplish.

A very different episode. I went to pick up my daughter at her bus stop. As a writer, I work out of a small home office. I seldom dress up for that. I brushed my teeth that morning and swiped on sun block–that was the extent of my ablutions. I trotted to the bus stop in my usual stinky yoga clothes.

At the bus stop waited an attractive young African American woman. I sidled up to her and casually chatted, the way parents do.

She suddenly snapped, “I’m not the nanny! I’m the mom!”

Given the current racial tensions, I must preface my remarks by saying that this was a bus stop for a private school in Manhattan. I am sure that this well-turned-out young woman had been mistaken for the nanny. Probably more than once. Few of the private schools here are as well integrated as one would hope. Most are putting honest effort into greater diversity.

On this particular occasion, this young woman correctly noted the calculation in my eyes. Then she incorrectly interpreted it. Yes, I certainly did look at her and make a judgment. But it wasn’t the one she projected onto me.

I was thinking, “Traci, look how nice she looks. You need to dress better. You don’t have to come to the bus stop looking like a schlub. For pete’s sake, woman, take twenty minutes to make yourself presentable.”

I think women of any race will relate to this self-criticism. But until the other mother spoke up, the issue of race had never occurred to me. It was about me looking dowdy.

At the time, I was surprised and flustered. I murmured something like “That’s what I thought.” I felt badly for this woman whose life experience had brought her to this point of assuming that another mom was judging her when I was only judging myself.

Another example. Now I confess to a certain tolerance for unconventional people. There are many worthy trapezoidal pegs; I don’t want to force them into square holes. Unfortunately, this attitude means that sometimes nutters slip inside my sphere. I did business with one such. My husband and a friend gleaned that this person was shaky; they warned me. I didn’t heed them. I should have, because when I made a decision this person didn’t like, they sent me dozens of crazed, threatening emails full of violent imagery. I blogged about this before, because I was helped by an organization called haltabuse.org that works to stop email harassment.

What these painful and bewildering episodes have in common is the phenomenon of projection. The Twitterers, the other mom, and the business fruitcake took something within themselves and projected it outward onto me. I knew this intellectually at the time, but it didn’t solace me. I had to work with myself to return to my center in the face of the onslaught. I think, for the Shamers and the Harasser, that’s what they wanted: to hurt me.

Obviously the mom felt that she was standing up for herself. Though she was projecting onto me, my interaction with her fits into a different category because she didn’t intend to cause harm. Nor did I feel hurt by her. I felt surprised, then I felt compassion.

Indeed, what continually surprises me about our culture now is how little compassion there is, and how widespread the phenomenon of lashing out has become. It often goes along with high self-righteous indignation that reeks of self-pleasuring. I have come to believe that self-righteous indignation is best enjoyed in private.

Recently my husband sculptor Sabin Howard came into the spotlight when he, with architect-in-training Joe Weishaar, won the WW1 Memorial design competition. Someone used social media to disparage Sabin, claiming that Sabin’s beautiful neoclassical works were “Nazi-like.”

The irony is that Sabin is at least one-quarter Jewish. His grandmother was a German Jew. His mother is Italian and I will never forget the dinner when Zio Carlo, upon hearing that I am Jewish, leaned over and whispered, “Ours is an Italian Jewish name. We are descended from Jews who were forcibly converted.”

One hater posted a video of Sabin sculpting in a friend’s studio as “proof” that Sabin’s work is Nazi-esque. But this studio belonged to a dear friend who happens to be gay and recently married to his long time partner. Since Sabin is famed for his male nudes, which are sublimely beautiful but not eroticized, we have, in our inner circle, many cherished gay friends. The Nazis would not have appreciated Sabin’s Jewish heritage nor his inclusiveness. Nor, I dare say, his Jewish wife.

I remain proud of Sabin’s neoclassicism. Beauty is beauty; we don’t have to allow a single ideal of beauty to languish as the province of murderous sociopaths. I wouldn’t give the Nazis that satisfaction.

Ultimately, I don’t want to give satisfaction to those who lash out, either. But it’s worth noting that negative projection causes pain. We are all human beings here, even if social media and email allow for depersonalization and anonymity. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Indeed we all do.

Phenomenon of Lashing Out

My Personal Statement on Frank Gehry & the Eisenhower Memorial
anarchy | art | blogtalkradio | criminal behavior | Huffington Post | interview

My Personal Statement on Frank Gehry & the Eisenhower Memorial

What follows is my personal opinion about Frank Gehry and the Eisenhower Memorial based on my family’s experience with him.

Statement about Frank Gehry

I am the wife of classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, who was courted by Frank Gehry to be the sculptor for the Eisenhower memorial, asked to write a proposal and give ideas, flown to LA for a lengthy meeting with Gehry and his team, promised the gig to the tune of a verbal statement: “You are the sculptor for the Eisenhower Memorial and you will start next week,” and then suddenly dropped.

Sabin says outright, “He stole my ideas for creating a relief that places general Eisenhower as part of his troops and at the same time at the head of his troops. He hired a less competent sculptor who does not have the ability to pull it off.”

This kind of dishonorable behavior and intellectual theft on Gehry’s part convinced me that Frank Gehry is not to be trusted. I began to pay attention to the Gehry camp’s arrogant shenanigans around the Eisenhower Memorial, starting with his blatantly rude and condescending disregard for the Eisenhower family’s staunch opposition to his plans.

Gehry’s ill conceived plans call for gargantuan woven metal curtains and a tiny sculpture of the boy Ike. The curtains are ugly and reference only an elderly architect’s egotistical notion of himself as a groovy post modernist—they have nothing whatsoever to do with our beloved and plainspoken president, statesman, and military general.

It’s not just the way Gehry treats the Eisenhower family that’s scandalous. The cost of these hideous metal curtains is astronomical, more than a hundred million dollars. Those curtains aren’t in production and yet, to date, more than forty million dollars have disappeared into Gehry’s pockets, with only spin doctoring to show for it. Gehry has hired a team of full-time publicists to keep the machinery of his self-aggrandizing monument going.

I have written in the Huffington Post about the disappearance of this taxpayer money. Forty million dollars is a lot of cash! I have queried high profile media venues, trying to garner interest in some real journalism, some real investigative reporting.

In this I was aided and directed by my neighbor, the venerated and sadly recently deceased international bestselling author Frederic Morton. He personally spoke to people at the New York Times and the NBC investigative unit. Fred was an Austrian Jew who wrote poignantly of his father’s internment at Dachau. He had met and dined with Eisenhower and Mamie; he held a deep respect for President Eisenhower and felt distressed that the Eisenhower family was being disregarded and condescended to, he agreed with me that Gehry’s plans were inappropriate, and he felt that the vanished tens of millions of taxpayer dollars was an outrageous scandal that warranted serious investigation.

Despite Fred’s stature, these news outlets failed to respond.

I can only surmise that these news outlets are as smitten with Gehry’s celebrity as were the cronies who handed him the Eisenhower memorial in the first place despite the fact that Gehry is patently the wrong man for the job.

I do intensive historical research for my historical novels. I published one novel set during WW2 and I am still researching that period for another novel. The more research I do, the more certain I am that Eisenhower the statesman and president of simple dignity would have been horrified by the gargantuan metal drapery. Absolutely horrified. His family has spoken up in his memory and in his honor and they deserve to be heard.

In continuing to press his plans, Frank Gehry is thrusting up his middle finger not just at the American people, but at President Eisenhower as well. I would say, “the very man whom the Eisenhower Memorial is supposed to honor,” but it is clear that Gehry’s plans honor only Gehry and no one else. They certainly do not honor President Dwight Eisenhower.

I have been told that Tom Brokaw and Bob Dole have been sucked into the slick chicanery of Gehry’s PR efforts. If so, then I say to Brokaw and Dole, Shame on you!

Pushing to get money for Gehry’s hideous plans would only be throwing good money after bad money, and that’s the sign of rank foolishness. Gehry’s advanced age is the only reason to rush ahead with widely-loathed plans despite obvious chicanery, massive quantities of vanished tax-payer money, and the Eisenhower family’s objections.

Some politicians and TV personalities who are also elderly like to pontificate that it’s time to get the monument done after the 15 years of wrangling over it. To them I say: after an open competition, it only took a few years to get Maya Lin’s breathtakingly gorgeous Memorial Wall done.

And Lin’s Memorial demonstrates the better way to move ahead: a fair and open competition, as is currently being done with the World War 1 memorial.

So to those aging cronies and TV personalities who are smitten by Gehry’s celebrity, I say, Don’t throw good money after bad. It’s time to cut bait and move on. Hold a fair, open, and blind competition. That’s what would truly honor Eisenhower, a man of famed and celebrated humility.

To anyone who is listening, I say: don’t buy into Gehry’s shenanigans. President Eisenhower, his remaining family, and We the American People deserve better. We deserve to know about how our money is lining Gehry’s pockets. And we deserve a truly beautiful and magnificent Eisenhower Memorial, something on the order of the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial wall.

HEAR THE BLOGTALKRADIO SHOW ABOUT THE GEHRY MEMORIAL.

DR. BRUCE COLE’S ARTICLE “GEHRY’S MIDDLE FINGER

DR. BRUCE COLE’S ARTICLE “A MONUMENTAL SHAME

NATIONAL REVIEW “CONGRESS NEEDS TO KILL FRANK GEHRY’S AWFUL EISENHOWER MEMORIAL ONCE AND FOR ALL

Traci L. Slatton about the Gehry Memorial on the Huffington Post

Ongoing Chicanery With the Gehry Memorial

The Problem With the Gehry Memorial

Check Out Art Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Independent Artists and Thinkers on BlogTalkRadio

 

Eisenhower Memorial

Terminator Genisys: A Review
5 star review | anarchy | apocalyptic | art | criminal behavior | evil | freedom | movies | terrorism

Terminator Genisys: A Review

Go see this movie, it’s GREAT!

Now that my loyalty has been assuaged, let me discuss the movie more thoughtfully.

This latest addition to the franchise pays loving homage to the first Terminator. For people like me who are fans of the first Terminator, that’s a beatific thing. There were moments…lines…scenes…that made me cheer, because they precisely evoked the first Terminator.

The first Terminator is a perfect movie. Artistically speaking, it was extremely well done. I’m talking as a writer now, as a professional storyteller. The first movie has no loose ends, no extraneous moments, no extra dialogue, no unnecessary anything, no flab whatsoever. The entire movie argues to the specific value that machines can never be human.

What’s the name of the bar where Kyle Reese first reveals himself to Sarah Connor, when he saves her? Tech Noir. What’s on the answering machine for Sarah and her roommate? “Machines need love too….” Nope, they don’t. That’s the point. Machines don’t need love…they never feel remorse or pity. Machines are not human.

Machines will destroy humanity.

The original casting of Arnold Shwartzenegger as the Terminator was brilliant. As a young dude, he was so buffed up on lifting and steroids that he didn’t look human. He looked like a machine–like living tissue over metal endoskeleton.

In Terminator Genisys, Arnold looks…old but not obsolete. Never obsolete. No, never. I don’t care how many children he sires out of wedlock. As the Terminator, he can be gray, but he will always be relevant.

This movie was fun, and it had appropriate slow moments, too. What I mean is that, in order to be satisfying, movies need to flow between heightened intensity and lowered intensity. What I see lately–even in Mad Max Fury Road, which I enjoyed, [HELLO: CHARLIZE THERON, YOU ARE MY QUEEN!!!] is that too many movies are one long chase with explosions, boobs, and cars. Not good.

You get that kind of crap when you have too many suits involved in the process. Those people should not give a creative opinion. They should keep their traps shut and count beans. They should not try to weigh in on art–because when they do, they destroy art.

Terminator Genisys had moments of reflection and pause to balance and heighten the moments of wild over-the-top intensity. Someone exercised a little bit of control over those stupid suits.

My husband didn’t love the movie as I did. He’s not a fan of the first Terminator, that perfect movie. He asked me, “Why do you like those kinds of after-the-world-ends movies?”

Fair question.

Since I was a kid, I’ve looked around and noticed the insanity and evil in the world at large. Genocide. Monsanto. Bio-engineered fruits and vegetables that look good but taste like crap. Terminator genes. The unrepentant, unbridled financial ambition of large, multinational corporations that function as sovereign nation states without oversight or accountability.

The apocalypse is coming and it will be unleashed by one of these companies.

Am I really the one person who sees Google in Genisys? The head of Google says they come up to the line of being creepy but don’t cross over. I disagree. It is my personal opinion that Google crosses right over. Data mining is the latest iteration of EVIL. Big Brother is watching: Brought to you by Google.

I think Google is Genisys is Skynet.

So I am attracted to these themes because I see them being played out in front of our eyes.

Few people care. As long as they have the latest iPhone, Netflix, Spotify, and access to marijuana, they don’t question what is really going on.

A stoner is a subject, not a citizen.

The suits are winning. In the real world and in the making of movies.

Go see Terminator Genisys. And think about it.

Terminator Genisys

Lost Parents: When High Conflict Divorce Leads to Parental Alienation
criminal behavior | errors | healing | Huffington Post | parental alienation | redemption | vulnerability

Lost Parents: When High Conflict Divorce Leads to Parental Alienation

This is my latest article on the Huffington Post. It’s about Parental Alienation. I interviewed Dr. Bill Bernet on Independent Artists & Thinkers a few weeks ago.

The space of time sandwiched between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can bring unique anguish for people whose children have become alienated from them through a high conflict divorce.

Parental alienation happens when a child becomes enmeshed with one parent, strongly allying himself or herself with that parent, and rejects the other parent without legitimate justification. These children are encouraged by one parent, the favored parent or alienating parent, to unjustly reject the other parent, the targeted parent. The children can fall prey to the alienating parent’s tactics as a means of escaping the conflict.

According to psychiatrist Dr. William Bernet, professor emeritus of Vanderbilt University and a researcher into the phenomenon, “Almost every mental health professional who works with children of divorced parents acknowledges that PA—as we define it—affects thousands of families and causes enormous pain and hardship.” (Parental Alienation, AACAP News, Sept 2013, pp. 255-256.)

Bernet and other researchers refer to eight criteria for diagnosing parental alienation, including a campaign of denigration against the targeted parent, the child’s lack of ambivalence, frivolous rationalizations for the child’s criticisms against the target parent, reflexive support of the alienating parent against the target parent, the child’s lack of guilt over exploitation and mistreatment of the target parent, borrowed scenarios, and the spread of the child’s animosity toward the target parent’s extended family or friends.

These criteria sound academic but their effect is exquisitely awful in the most human and primal way. The child basically constructs an alternate reality where the parent is some kind of monster. There’s no longer any sense of the parent as a human being with the ordinary nuances of the gray scale, or as a good-enough parent; the parent’s actions and statements are twisted, distorted, and massaged to “prove” that the parent is unworthy of contact.

Children will adamantly maintain that they themselves have compiled their list of rationalizations for the parentectomy in progress. This is called the independent thinker phenomenon.

For a parent who would willingly give his or her heart or liver to a beloved child who needs it, it’s a nightmarish turn of events. The pain is surreal, and it’s frequently heightened both by outright viciousness on the child’s part and by the child’s complete lack of remorse about the way he or she has treated the targeted parent. The child feels entitled to demonize the targeted parent and justified in doing so, and therefore entitled to behave with extreme nastiness toward the parent.

Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, one of Bernet’s research colleagues, writes about seventeen primary strategies used by the alienating parent to foster conflict and psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent.

Parental Alienation

These include poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable, such as, “your mother is a rage monster who shames you”; erasing and replacing the targeted parent in the heart and mind of the child, “you can trust mommy, she doesn’t judge and malign you like daddy does”; encouraging the child to betray the targeted parent’s trust, “how bad was daddy this weekend?”; and undermining the authority of the targeted parent, “your mom’s rules don’t apply, you don’t have to listen to your mother, do whatever you want.”

See the whole article here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/traci-l-slatton/lost-parents-when-high-co_b_7400462.html

huffington-post