In the Virtual Land of the Lotus Eaters


“The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory,” by Salvador Dalí


All too frequently, I wonder whether I’ve somehow taken up residence in the Twilight Zone, or in one of Salvador Dalí’s paintings.


Today, for example, I came under attack elsewhere for my supposed criticism of Elizabeth Smart on Friday.  I was, it seems, very harsh toward an innocent victim, and, in my post, as I typically do, I behaved like a “jerk.”  (I’m not reproducing the more unsavory descriptors that were actually applied to me.)  It’s my cruel, vicious writing, I was told, as exemplified in that blog post, that has led discerning people around the world to hate me.


(I had thought that I was — gently, obliquely, and without even naming them — criticizing people who, seemingly for their own agendas, had distorted what Ms. Smart, now actually Ms. Gilmour, had said.  That seems to me a form of abuse.  But no, I was attacking the victim.  And, then, by replying that I had been grotesquely misrepresented, I was compounding my crime by illegitimately trying to claim her genuine status as a victim for myself.)


Moreover, also today, elsewhere on this blog, I’ve come under criticism for my silly supposition that Cuba is an oppressive, totalitarian regime whereas the United States isn’t.


I have a Cuban daughter-in-law, born in Havana, and I was deeply involved in the Elizabeth Smart case (for both Brian David Mitchell’s competency hearing and his kidnapping trial) and I think very highly of my daughter-in-law, her extended family, Elizabeth Smart, and her family.  But no matter,  I’m a bad guy, and, even when I don’t actually say bad things, they can still be recognized between the lines in the penumbra of the implication of things that I haven’t really said.  And no denial on my part can erase those invisible, inaudible thought crimes.




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  • Jeff Elhardt

    Another gaffe?
    Tough week

    • DanielPeterson

      No. No “gaffe.”

      As the saying goes, it’s impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.

      How anybody could so completely have misread my post regarding Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour’s alleged comments is beyond me.

      • Kent G. Budge

        I dont’ understand it, either. I thought your comments on Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour were very reasonable.

        On a lighter note, if you’re any kind of Dali fan (or antifan), you might appreciate this:

        • Daniel Peterson

          LOL. Great photograph. I really like cats. (My cat while I was growing up was named “Stupid.”)

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Our family has three; Uschi, Muschi, and Schwartzl. Over the years, their names have changed to fit the guilty. One is a very cantankerous Maine Coon who insists on not only being a Mensa kitty with her constant retrieves and feats of “other stuff”, but always seems to be perched above the other two. Great fun.

  • kiwi57

    I fail to see how being wilfully or carelessly misrepresented constitutes a “gaffe.”

  • brotheroflogan

    I find it ironic that the critics think that you think like they do, so they assume what you said is evil, not realizing that they are coloring your words with the effusions of their own souls. Psychologists recognize this kind of displacement. A person feels shame about their own attitude and as a part of their cure, they act over-zealously to condemn the same perceived failing in others.
    By saying this, I do not mean to say that all criticism is illegitimate, but the critic that does not take the time to understand the behavior/words of the person being criticized is probably suffering from this problem.

    • DanielPeterson

      I’ve seen a lot of this “displacement” or “projection,” too. Critics who attack me for being “nasty,” for example, routinely say things about me and to me that I would never say, and have never said, about or to any other human being.

      And they seem totally oblivious to the irony of their behavior.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    It’s good that you have critics methinks. If everyone always agreed, what fun would that be? I like reading and responding to your writings because it at times requires researching subjects of which I know very little. Frankly, some of your blogs evoke some irritation, yet at times, I’m quite taken by your humanity and grace. And it is pretty cool that you take the time to respond to your critics. It seems that learning can take place in such an environment.

    Having read the nasty comments of Kore Kosemou, I wonder how this person would hold such resentment? It seems cowardly to attack you under complete anonymity, while you are so very public in everything you write. If this person had any guts, and truly had a problem with you, one would think that he or she would have enough moral sinew to reveal themselves to you and make a complaint.

    • DanielPeterson

      I don’t mind critics. Sometimes I even learn from them. In a few cases, though, I simply find myself wishing they were of higher quality.

      I don’t know what Kore Kosmou’s problem is. (S/he goes by various spellings of that name, as well as by several other names, and has manufactured wholly fictional autobiographies. Unfortunately, none of them are very interesting.)

      Thanks for the kind words. You’re one of the critics that I appreciate and value.