There are several very important issues about Dr Ford’s accusations that have not gained nearly the prominence in media or political circles they deserve.
One of these is the issue of false memories, sometimes called confabulation or the Mandela effect. False memory is well known in legal circles, given how crucial eye-witness identification can be. Repressed memories of sexual assault are a similar phenomenon in court cases. See here and here for detail . One fact that should be stressed is that it is untrue that traumatic events, even if ‘seared,’ can never be misremembered, forgotten, or wholly imaginary. Our mind wants a particular memory to be a seamless cloth. But often it can be patchwork, composed of patches that are true, partially true or misremembered, and false or imaginary, all woven together to present a whole garment to our conscious mind.
A few crucial issues regarding Mrs Ford’s testimony are brought forward in the Legal Insurrection blog here. One is Dr Ford’s refusal to share the notes her therapist compiled. They could reveal other mental problems as well as suggestions – we humans are suggestible, notably with therapists – that gave her the opportunity to review which acquaintances might have attacked her in 1982 as well as to fixate on Brett, whose possible ascension to the Supreme Court caused her immense torment.
Dr Ford is or at least has been employed by a pharmaceutical manufacturer marketing mifepristone, an RU-486-like abortifacient or day-after pill. See here.
An article in the journal Science, the number one scientific journal worldwide, shows how “social reinforcement could act on the amygdala to persuade our brains to replace a strong memory with a false one.” See here for more detail. Dr Ford ‘s concern over the future of abortion on demand with Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court could have triggered implanting a false memory of Brett grinding on top of her, hand over her mouth.
Could not a memory, true, false or partially true, of an assault at age 15 distorted by inebriation, combined with suggestions from her therapists, and her personal and professional interest that Brett Kavanaugh not be confirmed be revealing of what is at play here and explain the many inconsistencies in her claims and testimony? Yes, of course, this is speculative, but not implausible. Or “credible,” to use the now usual term.
My original post, Thirty years ago Bugs Bunny sexually assaulted me, is below:
It happened at Disneyland. Every detail is searingly hot and fresh. It really happened. More in Part III below.
Part I. Decades after the fact, I was relating to friends that I could still rec all the sensation of the braces in my adolescent teeth: the metal wires, the rubber bands. Mom happened to be there and blurted out: “You never had braces.” Well. She obviously misremembered and I need to be believed. The lawsuit against our lying orthodontist who will not corroborate my memory is proceeding. (Disclosure: the first bit above is actually true; the second was suggested by Rod Rosenstein, my sarcasm mentor.)
Part II. Our memory is fallible, its fallibility increasing in somewhat direct proportion to the distance back in time to the triggering event. Details disappear and reappear in changed form. The blanks are filled in with pseudo or enhanced memories, like crabgrass in the lawn.
“The more remote a memory is in time, the less reliable it tends to be, partly because of decay and partly because recalled memories can be corrupted by new information. New and old memories can be conflated, sometimes emerging as totally false memories. Memories can be warped by leading questions from therapists, lawyers, journalists or others.”
The above is from a Wall Street Journal article by Prof. Richard B. McKenzie, A Stumble down Memory Lane (25 Sept, 2018, A19.)
Prof. McKenzie relates a fascinating psychology experiment conducted by his colleague Elizabeth Loftus.
She “was able to “implant” false memories in a subset of laboratory subjects by showing them an official-looking poster of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. Many subjects later remembered meeting Bugs Bunny on a childhood trip to Disneyland. Some of them even reported that Bugs had touched them inappropriately. That was impossible. Bugs Bunny isn’t a Disney character.”
This reminds me of the Child-care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s. Children were queried suggestively, using dolls so they could point to where they were touched or penetrated. The parents believed even the most fantastic and improbably details and prosecutions ensued. Many of us will ‘remember’ the Fells Acres preschool scandal, the modern-day Massachusetts witch hunt, which sent several to jail for a very long time. Their innocence was covered up by the authorities. More detail here. An interesting run-down of the many cases of Day Care Sex Abuse Hysteria can be found here.
Any resemblance to Prof. Christine Ford’s recollections is purely intentional. As for Deborah Ramirez, the Yale freshman whom ‘Brett Kavanaugh’ confronted penilely, the less said about the Yale administration’s Sex Week the better. Sneak a peek here.
Troglo (L. H. Kevil)