February 6, 2014

Stephen King weighs in on Dylan Farrow's statement: "There’s an element of palpable bitchery there."

Full quote: "Boy, I’m stumped on that one. I don’t like to think it’s true, and there’s an element of palpable bitchery there, but...."

Palpate any bitches lately, Steve?

What does "palpable" add? Is it just verbiage — meaningless padding — or is it a way to say that he feels it — he senses it? (It's his truth.) Or does it mean there's some substantial bitchery?

And what's with "bitchery" and "element... of bitchery"? That seems like a way to avoid saying that the woman is a bitch. There's some bitchery in the letter she wrote.

Oh, I see he says he "probably used the wrong word." Probably! Ha ha. And he adds: "Still learning my way around this thing. Mercy, please." Ha ha. This thing seems to be Twitter. Well, I clicked "follow." Use more words, Steve, more words that might be wrong.

I'm moved to look up "palpable" in the Oxford English Dictionary. "That may be touched, felt, or handled; perceptible by the sense of touch; tangible." That supports the theory that King felt the element of bitchery. "I like what one touches, what one tastes. I like rain when it has turned to snow and become palpable." Guess the author. (It's Virginia Woolf, who may or may not have an element of palpable bitchery.)

Another meaning is "Readily perceptible by a sense other than touch; plainly observable; noticeable." That's the idea that King meant that the bitchery is pretty apparent. One of the examples here is Melville's "Moby Dick": "Soon that peculiar odor, sometimes to a great distance given forth by the living sperm whale, was palpable to all the watch."

And this is the most apt meaning: "Of a fact, idea, quality, characteristic, etc.: easily perceived by the mind; manifest, obvious, clear." The best quote here comes from John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1690): "The first and most palpable abuse [of words] is, the using of Words, without clear and distinct Ideas."

Oh, Stephen! Have you used words without clear and distinct ideas?

And I looked up "bitchery" and was rather surprised — palpably surprised! — to find it in the OED. I see it goes back to 1532 for the meaning "Lewdness, harlotry," which is not apt. The relevant meaning is "Malice, vindictiveness, bitchiness," dating back to 1936. Cecil Day-Lewis, "Friendly Tree": "How I hate the Womanly woman and all her bitchery!" (And, yes, Cecil Day-Lewis is related to Daniel Day-Lewis. He's his father. And a Communist.)

59 comments:

Jon Burack said...

I think King's comment is totally off and out of line. It's too bad, because it only gave the Salon writer a chance to go on about Dylan as a poor victim taking on the big bad Director and how hard her task is in being taken seriously.

I have no idea what Dylan is like. All anyone can know from that virtually content-free letter is that she decided to stir up a hornets' nest. The hornets have no way of knowing a thing about her or the justness of her reasons for stirring them up. All they know is now they want to sting someone. Some of them go off to sting Woody. But some go off to sting her. It is all she has any right to expect from this - which is why I think it was very wrong for her to do it in the first place. But otherwise, I know nothing about her and neither do the vast majority of hornets she'd like to see fall into formation. Hornets do not fly in formation and never will.


rhhardin said...

Dick Cavett this morning on Imus said that the NYT was out of its mind publishing the thing, as was Kristoff.

Also said that Woody was the only one of the bunch who volunteered for and passed a lie detector test.

So it looks like nutty females.

Elise Ronan said...

Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the last bastion of an inadequate man who has lost his palpable ability to argue with reason and intelligence. It is the purview of the narcissistic self-deluded male who needs to go in for this ad hominum attack, which is supposed to disarm and denigrate their female opponent. Little do these spineless neanderthals understand that when they use that word, or its sister the "c" word, that it only empowers us to fight harder and actually lets us now the true underlying nature of the useless man before us.

Virgil Hilts said...

Agree with rhhardin again!
Also, the secret report posted by http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/02/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-sexual-abuse-secret-report-exonerated/ seems to support Woody. Drudge was linking to this earlier.

rhhardin said...

Cunt is friendlier than bitch.

Lydia said...

Dick Cavett this morning on Imus said that the NYT was out of its mind publishing the thing, as was Kristoff.

The Los Angeles Times apparently was the first paper approached to publish the letter but passed. Good for them.

Valentine Smith said...

He can taste it.

Virgil Hilts said...

King used the wrong words, but I wonder if he really had in mind Mia rather than Dylan when he tossed that off. Also Aaron Bady sounds like a clueless idiot (being a clueless idiot is, in my book, a worse crime than slipping up and using a non-PC expression).

FullMoon said...

The Farrow Gang targeted Woodys two young daughters with this smear. They are suffering which is how the Farrows make Allen suffer.
The Farrows are rich white trash.

mit05punchslap said...

I don't know why this particular issue has been bothering me so much over the past few days but just to clarify:

The evaluation performed by the Yale New Haven team was incredibly flawed yet is used as the basis of every argument that Dylan Farrow is lying or had implanted memories.

1) The team leader Dr. Levanthal never directly interviewed Dylan. She was interviewed by a psychologist and social worker who destroyed all of their notes prior to the custody hearing. This in Joe Biden's words "is a BFD". Those notes are usually discoverable and can be subpoenaed as they provide evidence for how forensic experts reach their opinions.
2) They made no audio recordings or video recordings of the 9 interviews they conducted with Dylan. This is not standard forensic practice as this is used to prove and adequate exam and that you didn't use misleading techniques. (It is also protection for malpractice suits)
3) 9 interviews is an astounding number of times to interview a 7 year old for a forensic. It is no wonder her responses sounded "rehearsed" as the team put it.
4) Dr. Levanthal misdiagnosed her with a "thought disorder" and "loose associations". However when he was deposed for the custody hearing he had to admit he was completely wrong. They had not followed up on a couple of comments that Dylan had made about seeing "heads in the attic" to realize there were in fact heads in the attic that Mia kept her wigs on and that explained her comments rather than assuming these were hallucinations. Further, her being emotionally disturbed was a reason they didn't believe her (sad since the mentally ill are actually at much higher risk of sexual assault since they are "easy marks")
5) Most child sexual assault cases have no physical evidence. Finding no evidence of sexual assault is not the same as finding evidence of no assault and yet that is the logical fallacy that the Yale team jumped to in the case. Scary since research has shown that professionals do worse (46%) than just flipping a coin in determining whether children are telling the truth or lies about abuse (they also do worse than non-professionals).
6) Implanted memories- was a huge disturbing trend in the 80s but generally involved reports of satanic ritual abuse and a history of a person being seen by a therapist who worked with them on their "repressed memories" for months prior to allegations.

The reason this has bothered me as a psychiatrist is that it seems the Yale evaluation was extremely prejudicial in determining whether charges were brought. Everyone is right that only Dylan and Woody know what happened. But I think that if that evaluation wasn't so shoddy that there would have been charges brought and this would have worked its way through the justice system. Which for all its flaws is still generally the best way we have of determining these things.

Inga said...

"Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the last bastion of an inadequate man who has lost his palpable ability to argue with reason and intelligence. It is the purview of the narcissistic self-deluded male who needs to go in for this ad hominum attack, which is supposed to disarm and denigrate their female opponent. Little do these spineless neanderthals understand that when they use that word, or its sister the "c" word, that it only empowers us to fight harder and actually lets us now the true underlying nature of the useless man before us."

2/6/14, 6:49 PM

Hallelujah sister! Worth repeating.

Henry said...

I'm really sick of this story. No one knows the truth. No one can know the truth. Please, Nick Kristof, and Aaron Bady, and Katie McDonough, and all you other truth-seekers with your reflexive allegiance to pitchforkery, please go away.

paminwi said...

There was a video Mia Farrow made at home when Dylan first talked about this. Mia said the state's attorney saw it and that there was "probable cause" to charge Woody Allen but that Dylan was "too fragile". I would guess she was if she was interviewed 9 times.

There will be no resolution to this at this point - just lots of mud slinging and personally I hope Woody gets blacklisted. But, knowing Hollywood and their loose morals and covering all kinds of things up it will never happen.

Too bad. We, as consumers, really have to think about where our $ are spent when it comes to entertainment and make the conscious decision not to support scum like Woody Allen. Give me a good book instead!

Michael K said...

"It is the purview of the narcissistic self-deluded male"

Sounds a little bitchy to me.

Laslo Spatula said...

I am so old I remember when King wrote an enjoyable book.

traditionalguy said...

I love the word studies of the writers. But this soap opera of villains and victims seems like a third rate Downton Abbey script.

Lord and Lady Grantham can be bitchy with class...they call it being witty.

David said...

Elise Ronan said...
Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the last bastion of an inadequate man who has lost his palpable ability to argue with reason and intelligence.


But when you are arguing with a certain kind of person, who is elementally unresponsive to reason and intelligence, and that person is female, "bitch" may be a useful descriptive category.

Just as certain females might refer to a category of unreasoning males as assholes, dicks, pigs or scumbags.

Sticks and stones, Elise.

Joseph Blieu said...

So Whoopie, is Woody guilty of raperape?

Joseph Blieu said...

So Whoopie, is Woody guilty of raperape?

David said...

mit05punchslap:

How about a link to some sources for your assertions, for those of us who like to check.

SGT Ted said...

If Elton John said she was being bitchy, no one would complain.

SGT Ted said...

Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the ...blahblahblahblah, whawahwah, wahwah and yet more ballcutting and shaming language.

The End.

Such narcissism.

Inga said...

Ballcutting.....Clutch yer jewels!!

William said...

The Allen/Farrow family turns are like the Kardashians for the literate.

William said...

You can plausibly argue either side of this case. Still here's a few points for Mia. People say she's overreacting. Maybe, but can someone explain what is the proper response to discovering that your boyfriend is taking nude photos of your daughter. Emily Post is silent on the subject. The whole cascade of malevolence started with Allen's courtship. He was sleazy not only in targeting a teen age girl but also by taking nude pictures of her and casually leaving those photos out in the open.....I maintain that there are better ways of breaking up with your girl friend than by showing her naked pictures of her daughter.

William said...

Allen's got a black belt in passive aggression, also known as bitchery. His current film, Blue Jasmine, is a libel proof take down of his relationship with Mia. Jasmine, as presented in the film, is a high strung woman who's willing to look the other way at her husband's transgressions so long as he provides her with starring roles--make that expensive jewels-- and a facade of respectability. When the husband tells her that he's leaving her for a teen age girl, Jasmine/Mia becomes unhinged with vindictive rage. She drops a dime on her husband. He is driven to suicide and she is driven to madness all because she was unable to accept her husband's love for a younger woman.....Gaslight. Why do you carry on so every time I leave a cobra on your bed.

elkh1 said...

If Woody Allen was a conservative, Dylan would be airing her accusations on The View and sobbing over Oprah's shoulder.

Michael K said...

Inga, is this you ?

When men view our blogs in such large numbers, it’s a threat. They’re not just looking at it, they view it with the intent of harming radical feminists and women in general. They do it to collect information so they know what next to do to prevent women from going there.

Sounds a little bitchy to me.

When I was in college a hundred years ago, "Bitchin" was high praise. To be a "bitchin guy" was to be a really sophisticated man.

Funny how language changes.

Chip said...

I don't care about the underlying controversy, but I think "palpable bitchery" is a fine and vivid turn of phrase. Althouse proves as much in her lexicographical parsing, whether she meant to or not.

Revenant said...

Also said that Woody was the only one of the bunch who volunteered for and passed a lie detector test.

While I think it is pretty obvious that Woody is telling the truth, so-called "lie detectors" don't mean shit.

They simply do not work. Saying someone passed (or failed) a lie detector test is akin to saying you consulted a ouija board and it proclaimed him innocent.

Revenant said...

Maybe, but can someone explain what is the proper response to discovering that your boyfriend is taking nude photos of your daughter.

Adult daughter, with her consent.

Were it me? I'd be pissed off. But at some point in the next TWENTY FUCKING YEARS I'd get a life and move on.

Especially if, like Mia, I myself had both cheated on exes AND been the "other woman" in breaking up marriages.

Revenant said...

Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the last bastion of an inadequate man who [yadda yadda yadda...]

"Bitch" is the feminine form of "asshole". Or "asshole" is the masculine form of "bitch", if you prefer.

Men are assholes, women are bitches. Calling a woman an asshole or a man a bitch sounds odd to English speakers.

It is as simple as that.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The palpable bitchery is prologue to the final "but ..." That's the statement, and while it's full meaning is left dangling, it feels like Steve is giving Dylan the benefit of the doubt.

Unpalpable support perhaps but still support.

Gene said...

Even if everything in Dylan's statement is completely true, there is something about it that still rings false.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Calling a woman a "Bitch" is the last bastion of an inadequate man who has lost his palpable ability to argue with reason and intelligence. It is the purview of the narcissistic self-deluded male who needs to go in for this ad hominum attack, which is supposed to disarm and denigrate their female opponent. Little do these spineless neanderthals understand that when they use that word, or its sister the "c" word, that it only empowers us to fight harder and actually lets us now the true underlying nature of the useless man before us.

Shorter: "Calling me a bitch stings so much that I wrote up a retaliatory strike"

Fen said...

"Call me a bitch again and the seas will rise to swallow you, volocanoes will erupt to drown you, the land itself will split beneath your feet and drag you into the deep abyss."

"Bitch"

"....."



Valentine Smith said...

Michael K: What a fascinating website you linked to! Oh the accidental irony of "blowing through female outer space"! If that nut job were any further out she'd be back at the big bang. If I wasn't too busy rotflmao I'd be terrified. And the comments, mein gott, they make the nazis look like the Sisters of Mercy.

SOJO said...

I love this dynamic where someone who has really been wronged gets called out for having a bad attitude. Errrr...yeah if you were raped, murdered, screwed over, cheated on ... that would likely lead to a Palpable Character Flaw and prove, rather than disprove, sincerity. It's like some guy gets betrayed by his wife, turns bitter, and then people just focus on his being bitter.

How would that work in other areas? Run over by a truck? Piss off. You're just whining about the truck driver because you are bleeding and in pain, so you have it in for him.

Eyes on the ball, folks. It's a diversion.

Meade said...

"How would that work in other areas? Run over by a truck? Piss off. You're just whining about the truck driver because you are bleeding and in pain, so you have it in for him."

Well, since you asked - I happen to know someone who was, literally, run over by a truck.

After the bleeding and most of the pain ended (one arm was sheared off and a leg was crushed), I have never once in 10+ years heard him whine about or in any way "have it in for" the driver of the truck.

His attitude seems to be: It was an accident. Life, itself a gift, is already too short. Why shorten it further by surrendering to endless bitterness, retribution, and litigation?

Even though growing up with him could at times be a real bitch... whenever I talk to him, he seems to be filled with palpable joy and gratitude.

Jon Burack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Burack said...

I can see why Ann is upset about King's "palpable bitchery," but I am even more with Meade and his celebration of "palpable joy." Meanwhile, as I said at the start, most of what is here are various hornets buzzing and looking for someone to sting. Forget about, I say, it's not your problem. A new day is dawning, and that's not a fire or a fire in the sun, it's just a new day dawning.

acm said...

Run over by a truck?

---

Wasn't King actually seriously injured by a van? I wonder how he speaks of the driver, and of people who minimize the driver's responsibility or his (Kings) suffering?

Elise Ronan said...

When told they can't use the word "bitch" watch some male head explode

http://usa2mom.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-told-they-cant-use-the-word-bitch-watch-some-male-heads-explode/

gerry said...

This is palpable bitchery. And here is a woman enjoying the victory in the gender wars.

SGT Ted said...

When told they can't use the word "bitch" watch some male head explode

Actually, I just laughed at you and your sexist nonsense and attempts at using shaming language to make me conform to your unreasonable demands to censor my speech, just to make you feel better.

You are just being bitchy. And controlling, which seem to go hand in hand with the bitchiness of females.

What would any feminist woman know about being a man? Who are you to judge any mans speech?

Suck it up, bitch, we're equal now.

paul a'barge said...

@mit05punchslap - if you can write that much and that well and make it that interesting, isn't it time you kept up your blog?

Interested readers await. Bring it.

Jupiter said...

Henry said...

"I'm really sick of this story. No one knows the truth. No one can know the truth. Please, Nick Kristof, and Aaron Bady, and Katie McDonough, and all you other truth-seekers with your reflexive allegiance to pitchforkery, please go away."

Actually, both Woodie Allen and Dylan Farrow can and do know the truth. Ms. Farrow wants to discuss the matter, while Mr. Allen does not. Henry sides with Mr. Allen. Ms. Farrow's claims are inconvenient for both of them.

jr565 said...

Ten indisputable facts about the case:

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/02/woody-allen-sex-abuse-10-facts

I recommend those pushing th Allen story read it, as many of the points undermine his story.

For example, I myself made the point that Allen took a lie detector test Asa. Reason to support his story. But as mentioned in the link he didn't take a lie detector test administered by the police, but instead one administered by his legal team. And the police rejected the results of those tests

Another was that Allen was already dealing with a child psychologist over innapropriate behavior concerning Dylan, prior to any allegations being brought forth.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Maybe, but can someone explain what is the proper response to discovering that your boyfriend is taking nude photos of your daughter.

Adult daughter, with her consent.

Were it me? I'd be pissed off. But at some point in the next TWENTY FUCKING YEARS I'd get a life and move on.

Especially if, like Mia, I myself had both cheated on exes AND been the "other woman" in breaking up marriages.

when she did that did she break up the marriage by dating her exes son or stepson? kind of a different situation. Since of course it utterly destroys the child's relationship with the parent.

Not that this means that Allen is guilty of moleststion.

jr565 said...

To show the way it is transgressive in ways that Mia's infidelity doesn't come close to, just read Ronan's tweet where he said that Allen is both his father and his brother in law married to his sister.
Your father is also married to your sister. And is your brother in law. That is warped.

jr565 said...

He'll might as well point out another indisputable fact:

6. Dylan’s claim of abuse was consistent with the testimony of three adults who were present that day. On the day of the alleged assault, a babysitter of a friend told police and gave sworn testimony that Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes, while she was at the house. Another babysitter told police and also swore in court that on that same day, she saw Allen with his head on Dylan’s lap facing her body, while Dylan sat on a couch “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.” A French tutor for the family told police and testified that that day she found Dylan was not wearing underpants under her sundress. The first babysitter also testified she did not tell Farrow that Allen and Dylan had gone missing until after Dylan made her statements. These sworn accounts contradict Moses Farrow’s recollection of that day in People magazine."


So, three people said things at the time suggestive of Allen's involvement. Allen and Dylan went missing for 20 minutes. Allen was seen with his head in Dylan's lap. And that Dylan was seen walking around without underwear under her dress.
Which are not proof again, but are troubling. Particularly the allegation that allen had his head in her lap.

jr565 said...

And here is the ruling from the judge when he denied Allen custody which again pokes more holes in the story that Allen was echo notated or that there is any proof Mia farrow implanted a memory:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-shea/heres-the-1993-woody-alle_b_4746866.html

jr565 said...

Virgil wrote:
Agree with rhhardin again!
Also, the secret report posted by http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/02/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-sexual-abuse-secret-report-exonerated/ seems to support Woody. Drudge was linking to this earlier.



Does it though? the jusge at the time said its truth couldn't be corroborated, because the notes were destroyed, no one appeared to be interviewed in court etc.

jr565 said...

From what I've read, those suggesting that Dylan was making stuff up didn't actually interview Dylan directly.
Kind of a big omission, if true.

mit05punchslap said...

David:

The link to the opinion of Dr. Wilks in the custody case that point out some of the issues with the Yale investigation.

http://whatcanidoaboutit.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/woody-allen-court-report.pdf

As to the conduct of the forensic evaluation itself- the best protocol out there for a forensic evaluation for child abuse is "Tell me what happened- Structured Investigative Interviews of Child Victims and Witnesses" by Michael Lamb (AKA NICHD protocol). It has been the most extensively tested (although there are 2 other protocols that are also used frequently) and which includes a review of the following literature on how well professionals and nonprofessionals do at detecting true allegations. The 46% figure comes specifically from Ceci, S. J., & Crotteau-Huffman, M. L. (1997). How suggestible are preschool children? Cognitive and social factors. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 948–958. However there is also (Jackson 1996) which cited a figure of 43%. There have been studies that cite higher numbers (in the fifties and low 60s) but generally these studies used extremely well trained forensic psychologists in non-field studies who are not really representative of the population being discussed. As to the difference between professionals and non-professionals (Ceci, S. J., Loftus, E. F., Leichtman, M. D., & Bruck, M. (1994). The possible role of source misattributions in the creation of false beliefs among preschoolers. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 42, 304–320, Horner, T. M., Guyer, M. J., & Kalter, N. M. (1993a). Clinical expertise and the assessment of child sexual abuse. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32, 925–931., Leichtman, M. D., & Ceci, S. J. (1995). The effects of stereotypes and suggestion on preschoolers’ reports. Developmental Psychology, 31, 568–578.)

mit05punchslap said...

Paul A'barge:

No I can't keep up my blog, because instead I went to medical school.

beowulf said...

"From what I've read, those suggesting that Dylan was making stuff up didn't actually interview Dylan directly.
Kind of a big omission, if true."
-----
Of course they interviewed her.

"In 16 interviews stretching from Sept. 8, 1992 to Dec. 4, 1992, investigators spoke with all parties involved (Allen, both of her parents, two babysitters and two psychotherapists, per the report) and “interviewed [Dylan] on nine occasions.
radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/02/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-sexual-abuse-secret-report-exonerated/

Darrell said...

mit05punchslap said--

The evaluation performed by the Yale New Haven team was incredibly flawed yet is used as the basis of every argument that Dylan Farrow is lying or had implanted memories.

1) The team leader Dr. Levanthal never directly interviewed Dylan. She was interviewed by a psychologist and social worker who destroyed all of their notes prior to the custody hearing. This in Joe Biden's words "is a BFD". Those notes are usually discoverable and can be subpoenaed as they provide evidence for how forensic experts reach their opinions.
2) They made no audio recordings or video recordings of the 9 interviews they conducted with Dylan. This is not standard forensic practice as this is used to prove and adequate exam and that you didn't use misleading techniques. (It is also protection for malpractice suits)
3) 9 interviews is an astounding number of times to interview a 7 year old for a forensic. It is no wonder her responses sounded "rehearsed" as the team put it.
4) Dr. Levanthal misdiagnosed her with a "thought disorder" and "loose associations". However when he was deposed for the custody hearing he had to admit he was completely wrong. They had not followed up on a couple of comments that Dylan had made about seeing "heads in the attic" to realize there were in fact heads in the attic that Mia kept her wigs on and that explained her comments rather than assuming these were hallucinations. Further, her being emotionally disturbed was a reason they didn't believe her (sad since the mentally ill are actually at much higher risk of sexual assault since they are "easy marks")
5) Most child sexual assault cases have no physical evidence. Finding no evidence of sexual assault is not the same as finding evidence of no assault and yet that is the logical fallacy that the Yale team jumped to in the case. Scary since research has shown that professionals do worse (46%) than just flipping a coin in determining whether children are telling the truth or lies about abuse (they also do worse than non-professionals).
6) Implanted memories- was a huge disturbing trend in the 80s but generally involved reports of satanic ritual abuse and a history of a person being seen by a therapist who worked with them on their "repressed memories" for months prior to allegations.

The reason this has bothered me as a psychiatrist is that it seems the Yale evaluation was extremely prejudicial in determining whether charges were brought. Everyone is right that only Dylan and Woody know what happened. But I think that if that evaluation wasn't so shoddy that there would have been charges brought and this would have worked its way through the justice system. Which for all its flaws is still generally the best way we have of determining these things.


He also gave a link--
http://whatcanidoaboutit.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/woody-allen-court-report.pdf

Read them both before you "add" anything to the conversation.