Monday, February 23, 2009

Mike LaSalle

Alec Baldwin: A Promise to Ourselves

Alec Baldwin made a promise to cherish his marriage until death.

He broke that promise, and then made another: to protect his daughter from the tumult of his divorce. And then he broke that promise, too.

An alpha male conspicuously privileged by God,  Baldwin would seem to have no need of “father’s rights” or “men’s rights”, or any part of the baggage of human wreckage that goes along with those dangerous terms.

But Alec Baldwin made a promise, and this time he kept his word.

Alec Baldwin, A Promise to Ourselves

His word is his book: A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, written by Alec Baldwin with Mark Tabb.

A surprising number of men in America would be familiar with his story:  a man, a husband, a father, is summarily removed from the life of his child even before the bang of a single gavel. Suddenly and to his utmost surprise, he is re-assigned as a minor stakeholder in the family unit.  Virtually disposable, he is invited to fade away quietly, while still providing a significant portion of his taxable income to be spent by his ex-spouse at her sole discretion.

Like Kafka’s Josef K, Baldwin was burdened for years with uncounted court dates and appearances, made to jump through hoops, and forced into official relationships with a parade of judges, lawyers, social workers, and psychological specialists. And all the while pleading for the only thing that really mattered as it slipped away before his very eyes:  a stable, ongoing relationship with his only daughter.

“The American Family law system has degenerated into a disgraceful mess for far too many fathers, mothers, and children.”
–Alec Baldwin

The child’s mother and Baldwin’s former spouse, actress Kim Bassinger, expresses her anger through hired proxies and formal declarations.  Blinded by her own emotions and empowered by new legal customs, their child becomes her weapon.

She is encouraged to use the legal process to vent her frustration and rage.

And so someone’s childhood is robbed and a family’s fortune is spent, while lawyers, mediators, and court-appointed specialists play their parts at equity rates until the money’s all gone. It’s an old and ugly story that no one wants to hear again, and everyone wants to forget.

But the fleece goes endlessly on. Baldwin put it succinctly:  “Family law is a racket.”

Under the right circumstances, Parental Alienation is a predictable outcome of any prolonged contest heard under the U.S. Family Law system. But, if a mother in a Family Law proceeding raises objections over the father,  his parental rights are likely to be curtailed while an investigation ensues. A series of well-timed allegations made by the mother during a custody proceeding could take years to unwind. Fathers must wait on mother’s due process, while childhoods are stolen in spite.

Outside of the self-interest attributable to those employed by the Family Court industry, what could be the cause of such a gross, widespread and systematic miscarriage of justice ?

According to Alec Baldwin, the answer lies in the frills of feminism’s new and unprecedented supremacy across US civil and criminal law:  Governance Feminism.

In the course of researching the book, Baldwin visited Harvard Law School and interviewed Jeannie Suk, a professor of family and criminal law.  The full interview is published in Chapter 14.

Professor Suk said the term “Governance Feminism” was first coined by her colleague, Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley. The following is an excerpt from Baldwin’s interview with Professor Suk:

JS: … [Governance Feminism is] the idea that feminism, which once criticized the law from the outside, is today actually in charge in many places in the law — among police, prosecutors, lawmakers, judges, and other legal actors. The feminism that often “governs” today is that strand developed by the legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon and that focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate sexual relationships. Her influence on our legal system’s understandings of men and women cannot be overstated. If you talk to police, prosecutors, law-makers, and judges about domestic violence, perhaps they have not read MacKinnon, but they often subscribe to the premise that men subordinate women through sex and violence.

AB: And what are some of the results of that?

JS: The rise of this powerful theory has been accompanied by the legal embrace of uniformity, mandatory protocols, and the disfavoring of discretion. … The definition of violence itself has expanded to include a lot of conduct that is not physical violence. ….The theory of subordination makes it likely that any man/woman pair who comes into the criminal system will be viewed in these terms.

So it appears that Feminist theory has invested the entire American legal system with a “Bush Doctrine” of sorts, wherein Male Fault is now preemptively assumed in any case where gender is a factor. As Baldwin discovered, the practical effect of Governance Feminism on Family Law is that the father-child bond has become collateral damage in the quest to protect the rights of women against possible subjugation by men.

Observing that “Men have fewer rights in a family law courtroom than women do,” Baldwin is careful to fix the blame on a self-serving  and self-perpetuating legal system, not the women and men who are subject to it. So, while blowing the whistle on Governance Feminism, Baldwin pulls his punches at the appropriate moments, arguing that the blame must be shared with violent men and with family law professionals who have misused the intentions of the law to exploit families at their most vulnerable moment.

Besides exposing the origins of the legal crisis we face under the assumptions of Governance Feminism, the book also provided a much needed context for a man I have only seen as a movie actor.  I admit readily dissing actors who proclaim their politics like self-righteous cheerleaders, but in this case  I have found that Alec Baldwin is a most informed and able fellow with a genuine thirst for justice. Despite his politics and the taint of Hollywood, his sense of duty is obvious, and the man is a born activist.

The book is highly recommended.

A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, written by Alec Baldwin with Mark Tabb. St. Martin’s Press, 2008

Mike LaSalle is editor emeritus of

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  1. Dabir Dalton said,

    In order to prevail in the fight to reform the family court system and regain their rights as well as their proper status within the family unit itself…Men from all walks of life and political parties will have to set aside their differences, join together and begin a protest movement on the order of the nonviolent civil rights movement…It seems to me that Alec Baldwin by writing his book "A Promise to Ourselves" has taken that first step…

    January 3, 2009 at 7:52 am

  2. amfortas said,

    I hope he had a lot of Publisher's copies for his friends' Christmas stockings.

    He joins a growing list of men who have detailed their horrific journies through the Star Chambers. It will take many more men willing and able to write their books before the 'remainders' table attracts attention. Well Done AB.

    January 3, 2009 at 8:52 am

  3. POIUYT said,

    There are no shithead men in relation to their ex-wives or children , as there were no shithead jews in relation to the germanic race. Emphasised male-type misdemeanors the feminist antimale ideology measures of men, is purely an artifact of a world view that favours femaleness over maleness.

    Males as husbands and fathers are forced to and must make the most of a bad and unwinnable situation they are faced with in this degenerate society. No man on this earth willingly abandons his own flesh and blood in children that are biologically his. It is in fulfilling his lifes worth in the posterity of healthy children he is able to sire that his humanity is demonstrated. Abandoned or bastardised children are decidedly made unhealthy or threatened with the hazard of growing up defective.

    Better adjusted, more healthy and robust children grow up in households their fathers reside in. For he is there, not just for the wifes economic purposes, whatever her character, but for the life chances, prestige, dignity and spiritual assurance of the kids. The children in such households with resident fathers are more than just stooges or chattels in a wayward and disorderly womans arsenal. They are the salt of the earth and their society.

    So mere visitation as far as the mens movement is concerned is less than useless to the father and kids. Mere visitation is a thing which only serves to sanitise and rationalise an abominable sacrilage of the systematic bastardisation by deprivation of children of their fathers for profit. No, they need each others enduring presence in the formative, the adolescent and even their senior years.

    God damn forever in hellfire those elite and leading men or radical women whom see children or their fathers purposes, as anything otherwise than from the above

    January 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

  4. Squiggy said,

    Thanks, Mike. No way could I have considered reading something from Baldwin, until your article. I think the man is less than pond-scum when it comes to his politics - he's a pompous, self-righteous blowhard who physically threatens those who disagree with him. I've always thought he's one who might actually grow some by having his butt kicked, but apparently not.

    Bassinger royally screws him over, and thus ever-after he sees this ONE single area where true injustice occurs (never mind that he and his bedfellows built this house of pain over many, many years of "activism") . Never mind that "his side" is destroying the rest of our world a piece at a time. He at least sees (finally) this one small area of mayhem. Now he's on "our side" (with this) and we welcome him here, slime and all.

    But if you get near him, keep some antibiotic hand wipes in your pockets. And don't get too close. That left-coast touchy-feely stuff smells sweet at first but quickly putrefies.

    January 3, 2009 at 12:39 pm

  5. Robert Stevens said,

    There is a not so old saying, things have gotten soo bad that even the liberals are complaining. Well Mr Baldwin is a liberal and so is the culture, which ironically enough, did end up turning on him. Dabir is correct, all the men and some women too, who have been made a victim of this "government sponsored kidnapping and extortion racket" will have stand together. There are enough of us to force a change.
    It will take organization on an unprecedented scale, millions upon millions. Once the politicians and others who profit off this racket see millions of angry men coming at them, they will abandon their little racket and the rotten women who started it.
    Oh, it will be a fight, they ain't gonna give up easy, but lose they will.
    You see ,in Gods Universe, wrong is wrong, no matter how you try and dress it up and no matter what politically correct excuses you make. Stick you finger in Gods eye and he will get you and you will now you have been got!

    January 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm

  6. George Jones said,

    If Baldwin has "seen the light" how much of the money he makes from his book will he donate to Fathers Rights? Don't hold your breath. Baldwin is only saying what much better men have said for years. Why would you support such a Hollywood lame ass.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:35 am

  7. BernardChapin said,

    Good of you to post this Mike. You know, I don't like this leftist loser but his new book persuades me to give him another chance. You never know who may come around eventually.

    January 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  8. rogerfgay said,

    So where is the acknowledgement that family law has left the realm of private issue law and become an intense political issue? Where is the acknowledgement that the destruction of marriage was created for corrupt money flow controlled by politicians - and that the Democratic Party led the way? Baldwin advocates accuse people of politicizing the issue when they raise this concern. Are they stupid, or just refusing to remove themselves from the left side of Hollywood far enough to tell the truth?

    I have the book. It's not worth the money. It's misleading re: the problem in general, self serving, and the details are unique to the life of someone with lots more money than the average Joe.

    January 7, 2009 at 4:20 am

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