Horrible Mothers, Nursing Homes, the Treaty at Versailles
A Response to
"Betty" and to
Gregory Bateson
on Versailles


Ay, Carramba, the text on Betty is almost unreadable!! The story is as cute as a dozen kittens. I hated it.

My mother is a veg in a nursing home in Pasadena -- what happens when the last of her $400,000 is spent? (There is only $60,000 left after 8 years) Do I toss her out on the street, or my wife and daughter?

My mother kicked me out the day I graduated high school. Then when she has a series of strokes, I become responsible for the woman who went out each night at 6pm to come home blazing drunk with some stinking cowboy at 2am from the time I was 5.

I'm sure she looks sorry and pathetic and in need of cheering up to people who never knew her --- If she died right now it would be a great relief to me.

You can know doubt sense my apoplexy by the almost entire lack of punctuation, etc. in that paragraph.

--- mitch56@aol.com

Go to "Betty"


The author replies:

Oy, veh!! (which is Yiddish for Ay, Carramba!)

I am sorry about his mother. I am sorry that he didn't have the good mother that he deserved --- that we all deserve.

Why doesn't he spend down his mother's money now --- buy an Aston-Martin, take the Concorde around the world for the Millenium? When he has spent all her money (which he must do ostensibly for her benefit), Medicaid will kick in and together with Medicare, will cover all the expenses of the nursing home.

Who knows what Betty (in my article) was like when young? Who knows why her son stays in Indonesia and never comes to visit? Was she a charming and loving woman when younger, turned sour by the ravages of a devastating stroke, or was she a bitch from the git-go?

When I consult with people in nursing homes, I have the luxury of seeing them for brief periods of time, taking little snapshots that I can touch up and make cute as a dozen kittens to suit my fantasies. I don't have to live with them all day and night, listen to them scream, be spit on when I try to change their diapers.

We read about the abuse of patients in nursing homes, but most of the people who work there are more like Cheryl in my little piece --- devoted caregivers who return venom with love-- or, if they can not, have a sense of the irony and absurdity of the situation.

Your friend is a bitter boy. Understandably so. Let him find love elsewhere. Just because he didn't get it from his mother doesn't mean there aren't other kinds of love and rewards and pleasures for him in the world.

No charge for this gratuitious and unsolicited advice, therapy, or bullshit, whatever he calls it.

--- Michael Ingall


Reading Michael Ingalls' piece the latest RALPH reminded me of an old woman at my mother's nursing home. She shuffled over to us one day and start and started gabbing away in a totally incomprehensible language I could not even place.

I later learned that she had forgotten her English, after 70 years in the USA, and reverted to her childhood Estonian, a very, very strange language. (Of course, now I have actually visited Estonia and, sure enough, Estonian is what they speak there. I would not have believe it.)

I was also impressed, in Ingall's piece, that he and the nurse managed to dance a Yerakine, inasmuch as I thought Ingall is on crutches.

--- Dr Phage



[This is in reference to the excerpt from
Steps to an Ecology of the Mind
by Gregory Bateson]


I have just read the excerpt (I presume) of the essay, "Versailles and Cybernetics." There is less here than meets the eye.

Allmammals remember relationships rather than scenes? Eh?

Then there is the statement that "The Fourteen Points" were hack writer George Creel's idea rather than Wilson's...

Wilson was one of the finest wordsmiths of all times. "A war to end all wars." "A war to make the world safe for democracy." "Open treaties openly arrived at." "Who slapped Annie in the fannie with a flounder?"

Then the statement about Western bias "changed with the Versailles Treaty." How about the first battle of the Somme? How about the endless slaughter of four years?

If the US had ratified the Treaty and joined the League and Wilson had not had his stroke --- if all those things had come to pass, the horrors of reparations and all their repercussions might have been mitigated.

Like FDR at Yalta, Wilson got everything he could --- and pinned his hopes on keeping the powers talking in the League. It all came crashing down.

FDR was luckier with the UN. The powers did keep talking and the gotterdamerüng with the Soviets was avoided.

--- hg1932@aol.com