In Which We Review His Last Acts In America

one good man

American Vacation

by JACQUE DE VRIES

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to go to India. But he could not afford it, so he went to America instead.

When he first stepped foot in lower Manhattan, he was cowed by the size of the buildings. The year was 1930, and the Empire State Building was only just being built. I do not myself believe in the existence of an all-knowing being, but sometimes I feel I understand those who do better than those who don’t.

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Most troubling to Bonhoeffer about this country was its lack of freedom. Instead of being prohibited from drinking large beverages in restaurants, Bonhoeffer could not consume alcohol while in this country. He wrote to his Jewish friend that “Unfortunately I cannot even drink your health in a glass of wine, which is forbidden by law. This prohibition which nobody believes is a dreadful absurdity.” Back home, the Nazi party consolidated its election gains.

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at the Union Theological Seminary

Many churches in New York desired his presence, but he expended the majority of his efforts in Harlem. He first surveyed the densely populated region from an airplane. He led groups of black women in Bible classes; his evenings were completely filled, and he never neglected his sight-seeing.

He did not want to stay in America, refusing a Harvard appointment at the age of 25, because of the legacy of slavery. He celebrated his birthday in the company of the New York Jews that housed him.

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After he was arrested for trying to overthrow the Nazis, his first months in jail were full of hope that the plan would come to fruition. The letters he wrote and received in prison never despair. He was married shortly before his arrest, to this eighteen year old:

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He was executed three weeks before Hitler’s suicide effectively ended the war.

Bonhoeffer was surprised by the communal freedoms Americans took entirely for granted, what he called “social courage.” In the academic life of his native Germany, it was verboten to each approach a professor outside of class if, for example, you saw him limping across campus. He was both envious and disdainful of his American peers in the Union Theological Seminary. He considered some of the students he met too jaded, others he found hopelessly innocent, and the qualities shifted even between individuals. He quantified it as a kind of naive pessimism.

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The outreach programs of the churches he visited, and the social life that surrounded them seemed to replace the idea of a dedicated Christianity. The distinction, which Bonhoeffer eventually grasped, is completely misunderstood by many secular people. The foreign attitudes displayed in Bonhoeffer’s appraisal of American literature were also confusing at first. The mixture of hard-won cynicism without a corresponding knowledge of the world baffled Bonhoeffer.

He had barely concerned himself with novels before now, and the ones he read, often autobiographical accounts by black writers, stoked a certain interest. He wrote his grandmother to say that the novel “always awakens in one the wish to get to know the man himself.”

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in prison

Before his execution, Bonhoeffer was moved to Buchenwald. On the truck the prisoners were enclosed in darkness. He shared his cigarettes with the other prisoners; he only liked to smoke every so often and had more than enough to satisfy that particular urge. He had been learning Russian in his last camp.

Even when I read de Tocqueville I feel first and foremost how easy it is to misunderstand America. With Bonhoeffer, there is nothing he says of this place that is not still true, and yet there are so many sins of omission it is difficult to decide where to start. It would take more than one lifetime, and he did not even have the one he was given.

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The day of his death he did not want to hold a service demanded by the guards. He feared offending the other prisoners, many of whom were Catholics or not Christians at all. He was forced to do so anyway. His parents were the last to know he had been murdered.

His last act in America was to drive south with his friend Jean Lasserre. They traveled to the Mexican border in a decrepit Oldsmobile and entered the country by train. They made it all the way to Mexico City and then had to talk their way past the border on the return trip. If he had never left America. If he had never left Mexico. If he had never left Germany. These are just three of the infinite number of ways he might still be alive.

Jacque de Vries is a contributor to This Recording. This is his first appearance in these pages. He is a writer living in Chicago.

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In Which We Prioritize Our Own Particular Problems

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

I have a colleague in my workplace who I will call Kevin. Although I have given him zero encouragement of any kind, Kevin feels the need to confide the vast details of his inner life to me at every opportunity.

Since he does so without my permission, I will reveal what he has told me without his. He has a very tumultuous relationship with his fiancee, who seems to be some kind of monster. Or maybe she is wonderful and Kevin is the monster, which seems as likely. The two argue often, and my supervisor has even reprimanded Kevin for raising his voice on his cell phone.

Despite the fact that I never engage with him in conversation, Kevin constantly asks me for advice and coworkers see as a pair. This is counter to all of my aims and probably not great for my career. At the same time, pissing Kevin off is going to make work even more unpleasant and difficult, so I need him happy. Can you help me?

Doug R.

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Dear Doug,

If you attempt to get Kevin to help you with an even more unappealing problem, he will probably be less likely to involve you in his own. This is a very risky road to take however, since there is a possibility he will spin you even more fluidly into his sick web. You can test the waters in this direction and see if this gets him off your back, since many people are as naturally uncomfortable being involved in others’ affairs as they are comfortable talking about themselves.

What Kevin may find useful about your presence is that you require nothing from him. If in fact this only draws Kevin closer, you can now take more extreme measures. It is best that you use another coworker, preferably female or male or if you are gay, and bring him or her into your confidence. You can replace Kevin; it is like when Indiana Jones switches out two idols of the same weight on a pressure sensitive podium. Sidenote: why was the treasure sitting on a pressure sensitive podium in the first place?

If you can make Kevin’s problems seem insignificant in comparison to the ones your other coworker is suffering through, he may genuinely understand his don’t need to be confided to you as often. It is up to you to determine how little emotional intelligence this disturbed creature has before selecting your choice.

Hi,

Recently, it has been bothering me how snobby my girlfriend is. She always has some elaborate explanation for whatever is going on, and it generally places her far, far above whatever is going on, like in the stratosphere. Even though we have a similar education, and I have technical knowledge she can only dream of, she finds a way to talk down to me about it. I have spoken with her somewhat about this, and I am not even sure she understands she is doing it.   

What should I do?

Sarah E.

Sarah,

This behavior most likely masks some basic insecurity developed in this person’s life where someone told her that she was stupid. Given how arrogant she is acting, you are probably even more unlikely to praise whatever actual acumen she possesses, so maybe try going overboard in that direction. If she feels you understand and appreciate your intelligence like no one else ever has, she will be less afraid of seeming stupid or foolish. Introduce her to anime.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

In Which We Complete One Vile Task After Another

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Human Events

by ETHAN PETERSON

American Gods
creators Bryan Fuller & Michael Green
Starz

american-gods-promo-art.jpgReading Neil Gaiman’s writing has always been more of a drag than it is worth. His extended graphic novel The Sandman is the most overrated work in the medium not created by Alan Moore, and his novels are equally fraught with various gimmicks, impotent violence, and a bizarre appropriation of black culture meant to be inclusive, but that really comes across as tone deaf. His chief literary technique is overwriting, and his questionable command of various cobbled together mythologies, a subject Gaiman is fascinated by because writing about human beings is beyond his capabilities, emerges onto television in American Gods.

Are you prepared to be alternately excited and tremendously bored for long stretches? American Gods will probably be your favorite show now that Hannibal has been canceled. Bryan Fuller is fresh off completing the abominable achievement of making a Hannibal Lecter series boring. Even a serial killer who eats his victims could not be kept entertaining on that graphic and dreadful show that made real life into some bizarre fantasy whirlwind, just because people were dying. Occasionally in Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen would kill someone. The rest of the time he spent giving extensive lectures on god-knows-what before dramatically not taking someone’s life. Fuller’s sometimes enthralling aesthetic sense demanded that blood be evoked in nearly every scene, along with a hokey slow-mo used so often it was simply the key signal to fast-forward the show on DVR.

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American Gods gives him a larger canvas and possibly a larger budget for the one thing he excels at in this medium: special effects and dream sequences. Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is released from prison three years early on a six year term for assault. He finds out his wife and friend were killed in an automobile crashed while she was giving the fellow oral sex. This is the kind of over-the-top schtick Gaiman loves in lieu of actual characterization and scene work. It is like watching the bullet points in a character sketch read on screen. (American Gods even features more than one different voiceover.) On his way to bury his wife, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who is reprising his character from Deadwood in virtually every aspect.

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Whittle has about three or four facial expressions of which he is capable. His most recent acting performance in The 100 showed about as much range as a tin can. Watching him try to emote is physically painful, as are the awkward and lame scenes where a Russian god played by Peter Stormare asks him if he is black. There is really no reason Orlando Jones, an actor of considerable talent and range, couldn’t have played Shadow much better. Instead he, along with Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, Yetide Badaki and Crispin Glover, are gods who have relocated to America for some reason, I guess to give extended monologues or have sex with mortals, since this is all they really do.

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Many British writers have written excellent books about America. Gaiman is not really among them. He has a weird jealousy for this painfully diverse nation, but he also views it as a central hub for the intersections of commercialism and the evil manipulation of various technologies. Stop me if you’ve heard this dreck before. Mr. Wednesday, along with various other characters, takes predictable shots at low-hanging fruit like gun control, cell phones and the American midwest. These edgy hot takes are somewhat out-of-date, but who cares? Here’s a scene where Peter Stormare murders a cow.

The sad thing is that there is a good concept for television buried underneath all these indulgences, but American Gods never brings out any of the considerable pathos involved in viewing how actual deities might react to human events. You see, there are not any human events in American Gods, or at least not any we are driven to care about. Even the historical phenomenon of human enslavement is brought up as if it began only four hundred years ago; apparently Gaiman can only be bothered to think back that long. There is nothing so dull as a worldliness that begins and ends with blaming America.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.

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In Which The News Of The Day Remains Poor

A Lonely Lie

by DICK CHENEY

Great News
creator Tracey Wigfield
NBC

MV5BNDA3YmNkN2QtODExZC00MmFiLThlM2YtZDc2ZjczNjlmM2VlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjMxNzcwOTI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpgNothing short of a writer’s strike could ever stop the people who work in television from making shows about themselves. These approximations/reflections had various levels of reality built into them until NBC’s Great News, which concerns a local New Jersey newscast that does stories about homicides in Texas for some reason. Accepting this level of seriousness is pretty much de rigeur these days – imagine a television show being important to anyone outside of the people who star in it? – but it took me back to 1988.

I argued strongly and with visual aids of Dan Quayle’s face on the head of a horse that I should have been the vice president on the 1988 presidential ticket. You see, Dan would spend most of his free time hate-watching Murphy Brown, the seminal CBS sitcom that in a way created all of us. He would post on the show’s messageboards begging the creators to give investigative reporter Frank Fontana more screen time, or a spin-off called Fontana.

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Candice Bergen did a service to every single person hovering around the age of 40 on this show. She was presented as a recovering alcoholic who later decided to have a baby in 1991, and a situation that was all completely fine. This state of affairs incensed Dan Quayle a lot. “Why would an attractive single woman have a baby?” he screeched, tearing his hair out and jutting his pelvis at me as if I were unsure how children were in fact produced.

Murphy Brown actually had a real job. In those halcyon days, Murphy Brown creator and all-around legend Diane English made it seem like people cared what the news reported. Granted, national newcasts did have a lot more weight when CBS was like one of seven channels you got on the air. Murphy had this beautiful office that had no windows, but it was still very cozy. I still don’t understand why she had all these magazine covers on the wall; maybe she had a print background. All her coworkers were for the most part sexist assholes, but she just put them in her place. When she went home, she had this great house where she was sleeping with her cute house painter (Robert Pastorelli, predictably dead of a drug overdose in 2004) who hung around. I never really understood that relationship until my wife explained it to me.

Murphy Brown was actually referenced by Dan Quayle publicly in the 1992 presidential race, because he hated the idea of a woman having a child without a man that much. I guess he thought it was real or maybe just important, and it kind of was. Candice Bergen had just the right amount of toughness and grit to have a baby and keep on working her job. You had to admire her; also she was perfect in every conceivable aspect. She even wore pantsuits at home, even when she was just relaxing comfortably after a tough day.

Briga Heelan plays a producer named Katie in Great News. Her Jewish mother gets a job as an intern on her newscast, which leads to her shouting “Mom!” a lot when her mother screws up which piece of tape they should be running before air. Creator Tracey Wigfield does not really care how actual news is produced. Great News is more going for how it was revealed that the entire run of Newhart was just a dream of the character in The Bob Newhart Show. Despite being evidently Irish, Katie has a Jewish mother named Carol Wendelson, played by the Armenian-American comedian Andrea Martin.

Since the entire show is really about whatever Catholic upbringing Tracey Wigfield suffered through as a child, it would only have been appropriate for her to cast herself in the lead role. (As The Mindy Project showed, she is a fantastic comedic performer.) Looking back at 30 Rock, the insanely verbose show that Wigfield wrote with Tina Fey, I don’t understand 60 percent of the jokes that were made in it. Like Great News, the show is about a talented woman who falls in love with her gruff but exasperating boss. This storyline has not aged well after Bill O’Reilly harassed all those women, and yet the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace is treated very lightly in Great News.

Nicole Richie plays one of the show’s two anchors. All of her jokes are about what a terrible millennial she is, and most of her sentences end with a hashtag of some sort. An extremely recurring joke is that Richie’s character, Portia Scott-Griffith, will say a word that has a double meaning for people of each generation. For young folks, it will mean the name of a rapper, but for older people it will represent a food product. Are you laughing, because if you are not, or if you do not know the name of every single working rapper today, you will not enjoy Great News.

As Dan Quayle feared, none of the women or men in Great News are married or are particularly concerned about their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. “I’ll never have a real relationship,” Katie tells her mother as she goes through the e-mails of a guy who is living in her apartment for a week, even though Briga Heelan herself is married with a kid. This is how you know that Great News is someone’s nightmare – there is no chance of any of these fictional characters reproducing or caring for children, which maybe is for the best. They are a lot more invested in topics like a bear rampaging through Central Park or the comfort of hugging your mother in the workplace when you feel sorta down.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing in these pages here.


In Which We Cared About So Many Of Them

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My Friend, Who At Last

by LINDA EDDINGS

My friend said her boyfriend broke up with her last night. When pressed to explain the reason why, he told her, “Things don’t feel quite right.” They had planned on moving into an apartment with ceilings just as high as the exaggerated windows, too tall to see out from clearly. Cleaning them is such an ordeal.

My friend said she took the train to Saratoga, and saw cows and horses along the way. When she arrived, her host told her that she was late even though she always comes early. Morning somewhere new is such a lucky chance.

My friend said that her boyfriend had become markedly less communicative. She asked me for ways to alter this trajectory. “I don’t want to just pull away,” she said. I said that it seemed like she was afraid of losing him even more. My friend said she was concerned she might lose herself.

My friend said the high line is the worst time, since it makes no sense to wander quietly away. My friend said that just once she wants to bring a guy into a bookstore and have him not be checking his phone the whole time.

My friend said that when the most recent guy disappeared, she actually went to confront him. “I just want to know,” she said softly, since that is the best to express pain without showing its true depth. “I’d like to know why you stopped answering my calls and texts without the slightest word.” He sort of brushed back his hair and said that it was August.

My friend said it is best to not expect anything. My friend raises her arms and leans forward to stretch. “You never know what exactly keeps them coming back,” she said, holding a picture of herself as a child in the light.

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My friend said that a psychic explained the reason why some of us are unhappy. My friend said that the earth revolves around the sun. We are like the earth, she told me, only we do not know what to revolve around.

Flies spring up in this stagnant swamp.

My friend said that she has another test, since the bookstore rules out so many men so completely. “I get in a elevator,” she said, “and I press every button. If an expression of utter dread comes over his face, I get out at the next floor.”

A spider dropped down from her web, halting before the linoleum.

My friend said that she struggles with intimacy in a way she never did before. “He holds me in his hands, and it only reminds me of other ways this has happened before. I wonder if I am rushing home from work to something that is never there.” She has alopecia, and wears a wig when we go out. No one notices except for her.

My friend has this analogy of a strange thing pressing against her leg. She doesn’t know exactly what it is that makes the sensation, but she has a general idea.

My friend said that her boyfriend’s mother loves her. All her boyfriend’s friends love her. So why doesn’t her boyfriend love her?

It is best to sample each ingredient. These fine things, arranged on the softest pillow imaginable. Tasting one will give you a sense of the whole. Tasting them all will make you sick.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

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In Which Emma Goldman Served Her Time In Missouri

This is the second in a two part series. You can read the first part here.

Emma, Incarcerated

by ELLEN COPPERFIELD

Time meant nothing. The world was immediate, without past or future. Every tree and bristly bush attained a sharp, stark clarity. Faces loomed, split by immense grins. Crisp light poured through them all, illuminating everything with an even, eternal glow. Each stored increment awaited only a release of control in order to speak its pain. – Gregory Benford

Being arrested was becoming de rigeur for Emma Goldman and her boyfriend Dr. Ben Reitman. As her interests turned to the rights of women, passing out birth control and information about it regulary led to both members of the anarchist couple being forced to spend time in jail or a workhouse. Later, Reitman served six months in prison for distributing illegal pamphlets in Cleveland.

Emma Goldman’s penalties for the same crime were usually not quite so severe, and sometimes her convictions were overturned in New York courts. Given the choice between prison and a fine, she always selected the former out of principle.

But prison changed Emma Goldman no matter how long she was inside. “I don’t know whether you will understand the feeling since you have never had the experience,” she wrote, “but I felt more miserable yesterday and today than on the day I was sentenced and in fact the two weeks while I was in prison. However there is no time to contemplate one’s feelings.” Once Reitman had served his time, he begged Emma more forcefully than ever to marry him and settle in one place.

She declined the nuptials, but at the end of 1913, Emma Goldman purchased a Harlem brownstone on 119th Street. With four floors and a tremendous open feeling, this house was quite spacious. Ben suggested his mother move in with them, and Emma tentatively agreed. She may have intimated the disastrous effect having Ben’s mother on the premises would have on her sex life and overall well-being.

Instead of being one happy home, the experience of living together was nothing short of a disaster. Emma’s ex-boyfriends and fellow travelers used the house as their own, and Reitman grew resentful of being financially dependent on Goldman. “I am 35 years old, and I haven’t a thing,” he told her, “and I am only the jester, joker or clown. I don’t amount to a damn in the movement and I know it.” Reitman and his mother bailed and moved back to Chicago.

Ben suggested they live in a small apartment of their own, but Emma had grown tired of the domestic experiment. The house consumed most of Emma’s income from lectures, and hangers-on ate any food on the premises. She moved into more spare quarters on E.125th. “I am so tired of lectures, meetings and the mad chase,” she told Reitman. She asked him to go on the road with her again, and he hesitantly agreed. During that trip Reitman met Anna Martindale, an English expat who was crusading for a woman’s right to vote. He began seeing Anna when Emma was at meetings or in other towns.

In 1917, Ben Reitman married Anna Martindale. Emma was distressed, but a part of her knew this was inevitable. She turned to her work, where she found that she missed her manager as much as her sexual and emotional partner. Protesting the first World War was her focus. Police arrested anyone at her lectures who could not produce a draft card. Eventually, they arrested Emma in her home. She prepared for trial at the age of 48. The charges were outlandish, but the political climate was completely against her. Goldman was accused of accepting German money, of inciting violence, and preventing draft registration. A jury aided by a deeply biased judge found her guilty and Emma was sentenced to the maximum: two years. The New York Times enthusiastically praised the verdict.

Emma avoided jail on appeal for the moment and helped her friends, many of whom were also pursued by the law. Ben Reitman served his time in a workhouse; others were deported. The post office refused to mail any of her newsletters, and she was forced to shut her magazine (Mother Earth). Emma finally thought of leaving her adopted country. She knew that it was unlikely she would be allowed back if she left for Russia, and this scared her.

Before she could flee of her own volition, the Supreme Court rejected her appeal and she was sent to federal prison in Jefferson City, Missouri. “In moments of depression I look to Russia,” she wrote in a letter. “She acts like a ray of sunshine working its way through black clouds.” It was a most half-hearted hope.

Missouri State Penitentiary was the biggest prison in the United States, with a population of 2300 inmates. The cells for the 100 women situated there were 7×8 with a working sink and toilet. Straw was both mattress and pillow. Prisoners spent their days manufacturing clothes in the shop; the smell throughout was pervasive. The dining hall was filled with cockroaches. Breakfast was sugar, bread and coffee. Potatoes were inedible. Twice a week, the women got oatmeal. Lunch featured beef, dinner incorporated a soup ridden with worms. Talking during meals was not permitted, and overall conditions were wretched.

Most of Goldman’s fellows were mentally ill. The library would not have been much use to them anyway, but women were not permitted to have books until the prisoners appealed. Bent over a sewing machine all day, Emma suffered intense pain in her neck and spine. Going outside was only permitted on Sunday, although this brief pleasure was denied Goldman because she would not attend church. The day was still a blessing, since she was allowed to spend all morning reading and writing letters.

Upon her release from prison in 1919, Emma Goldman took a train to Chicago. She had not seen Ben Reitman in years. Traveling with her niece, she met Ben, his wife, and their daughter in that city. After leaving prison, Reitman had opened up a private practice and was researching birth control in free hours. In Rochester Emma saw her mother for the final time. She would be deported to Russia on December 21st, 1919.

Whether she was angry to be forcefully removed from the United States is not evident in her letter to Ben Reitman. “Their mad rush in getting us out of the country is the greatest proof to me that I have served the cause of humanity,” she wrote. She continued:

I was glad to have been in Chicago and to see you again, dearest Hobo. I never realized quite so well how far apart we have traveled. But it is alright, nothing you have done since you left me, or will yet do can take away the 10 wonderful years ith you. If it is true that the power of endurance is the greatest test of love, Hobo mine, I have loved you much. But I have been rewarded not only in pain – but in real joy – in ecstasy – in all that makes life full & rich & sparkling.

Ellen Copperfield is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in San Francisco. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.


In Which We Protect The Long Road From Harm

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

My daughter has been dating a guy for over six months. He is 24, and unable to hold a steady job of any kind. He never graduated from college, and comes from a troubled family. I have no idea whether he uses drugs or not, but he looks like the kind of person who has at least sampled a few.

My daughter is bright, highly educated and on a great career path in health care. I feel like this guy is a waste of her time and I have told her how I felt. She has informed me that I have misjudged her boyfriend and wants me to get to know the guy. I feel like drawing him any deeper into our family is saying the relationship is acceptable. It’s not.

How can I end this thing before it gets more serious?

Kelly K.

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Dear Kelly,

Level of education and outward physical appearance is probably not the best way to judge someone, unless that person is Kid Rock. There are plenty of monsters who look like apple pie, and plenty of wonderful people who look like Rob Kardashian. I don’t know any, but basic faith in humanity suggests they probably exist.

With that disclaimer out of the way, people do not come to Hard to Say for vague pronouncements about having faith in humanity. I am not your priest.

Sometimes questionable goals require questionable means. Shit-talking your daughter’s boyfriend isn’t really going to do anything but push her away. If they eventually break up, perhaps she will forgive you in time and subtly incorporate your judgment into her further pursuit of romantic partners. Or the complete opposite could happen and she could begin hiding her relationships from you.

A simple expression of disapproval can work over time, but the problem is that this is not a very intricate dichotomy and you have lost control. If you keep restating your feelings, you become an awful person, which I presume you do not desire. You want to be a good person who is loved by your daughter, and still accomplish your goals.

You need to broaden the complexity of this situation. If you never get to know your daughter’s boyfriend well, it is impossible to truly criticize him in the way this situation eventually requires. Your daughter can just suggest you don’t have all the information, and she will be right.

The first thing to do is weave praise into criticism. This approach comes across as more realistic, because the world is not a chorus of black and white.

Next, you’ll want to establish your own personal relationship with the boyfriend. All of a sudden, your daughter sees that he now has this relationship with another woman, you. Jealousy cannot help but come into play. When a woman sees a man seeking the approval of two women, she subconsciously wonders how many more he is willing to please.

The boyfriend can make so many more mistakes if you get to know him. If he is really not a great match for your daughter, you will be giving yourself ample ammunition, and him ample chance to hang himself.

Then there is also the outside possibility that you will grow to love your new son-in-law. It can happen. I mean it never has for me, but I’m sure it can, I saw it on Lifetime once.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.