Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Mike's Story Part 54 - Q and A
A couple of emails came in from a colleague of Mike's who's versed in his work going back to the nineties. They raise valid points which force me to articulate the thinking behind this account, a useful exercise in itself.
Email 1: On Rosebud, I wonder if you go too far. Although I suppose at this point, it's all or nothing, but I wonder.
Much of this detail is known only by you.
I think the comparison with Citizen Kane is inappropriate. Kane was a fraud, morally ambivalent, miserable, pathetic, a liar. He was only a mess and nothing else. He did none of the genuinely courageous and heroic things that Mike did. I wish you hadn't used it.
Email 2: There are moments reading your series that I wonder if you unintentionally make the strongest case that Mike was so psychologically compromised from childhood that he was unfit to be a whistleblower. Vulnerable. Easy to manipulate and strongarm. Easy to destroy.
We know that he accomplished great things in spite of the tidal wave of personal traumas.
But does this case need to be made at all?
How much, before it begins to tarnish the work?
Comment: Much of this detail is known only by you.
Response: Sure; we all know stuff that no one else knows which is what those of us who write tend to write about. There are other people who know about Mike's memories of childhood sexual abuse, which is what I assume you're referring to. About the shaking, fear and consequent self-loathing, I may be the only person outside the medical profession who knew the details of that. And there are probably people out there in cyberland who will blame Mike for it. But one can't tutor one's actions to accommodate such warped thinking.
Comment: Is there any detail that you would refrain from revealing?
Response: Yes. I've refrained from revealing certain scenes on the grounds that they're petty. The point is not to smear Mike; the point is to reveal what I know that might help other people understand him better.
I don't know if I'd refrain from revealing something significant. There's one more skeleton in the closet that will come out in some form; I haven't yet figured out how to deal with it. But let me assure you right now that as skeletons go, it's not so terrible, I think. Others will not agree and I'm betting you'll be among them. Please remember when we get to that one that at no time did he do anything illegal and that's a tremendously important line not to cross. That sin was more in the realm of "thought crime."
Comment: I think the comparison with Citizen Kane is inappropriate. Kane was a fraud, morally ambivalent, miserable, pathetic, a liar. He was only a mess and nothing else. He did none of the genuinely courageous and heroic things that Mike did.
Response: OK. You've given me pause. I've forgotten the bulk of that movie. For a long time, I'd thought of the incest as Mike's Rosebud. It explains much about him: his ambivalence about women, particularly those of the age that his mother was when he was growing up and his father abandoned him to her for long stretches. This, I think, is another reason, in addition to the constant moves throughout his childhood, that male companionship was so important to him, the band of brothers which was the LAPD.
So it was only Rosebud that I had in mind, rather than Citizen Kane himself. But then I thought, there's a whole generation out there who don't know who Citizen Kane was, so I googled for a synopsis. This led to Orson Welles' description of Kane himself as such a controversial character. I thought the quote intriguing since Mike was also a newspaper man and also aroused great loyalty and its evil twin, twisted disinformation. I did say that Kane's rag was diametrically opposed to FTW but maybe that distinction got lost in the over-all impression. Kane ended his life enormously wealthy (as he'd also begun it, at least, after his "adoption" by the bank) but empty. Mike had no money but thousands of grateful followers. Obviously, though, he felt something to be missing. Since, as several people have observed, he was making it in the mainstream and had a place to live as well as a wonderful woman in his life, the missing link was probably within him.
Comment: There are moments reading your series that I wonder if you unintentionally make the strongest case that Mike was so psychologically compromised from childhood that he was unfit to be a whistleblower. Vulnerable. Easy to manipulate and strongarm. Easy to destroy.
Response: They strongarmed him by seizing his bank account and destroyed him by taking a sledgehammer to his computers. If the female employee who sued him was indeed a honeypot, then he succumbed to the time-honored trap which has worked with virtually every man whom TPTB have wanted to take down; he was no more susceptible to it than the average guy in this ceo-rock star/groupie society of ours.
He couldn't be manipulated in relation to the final skeleton which we haven't come to yet because, as I said, he didn't do anything illegal. He did think the government was aware of it.
Of course he was vulnerable; who isn't? This is why torture works. On everyone, Mike said. So that wouldn't render someone unfit to be a whistleblower.
Comment: We know that he accomplished great things in spite of the tidal wave of personal traumas. But does this case need to be made at all?
Response: This is a variation on a theme. Each variation shows the theme in a new light.
Comment: How much, before it begins to tarnish the work?
Response: "Anything you say may be used against you." If we praise Mike, even in the form, "He could be difficult but...," we'll be vilified as blind members of a sort of cult. If we point out a flaw, the enemy, if they're so inclined, may run with it. If we do nothing, it'll all be forgotten which is what they'd really like.
There's no question that I've provided fuel to anyone who wants to belittle Mike. But again, if we live according to the rules of misguided or malicious people and what they might do, information remains unshared and those who might benefit from it won't.