Lately a women from New Jersey , Patricia Krentcil, is receiving a lot of attention for allegedly taking her five-year old daughter to the tanning booth. I believe she was arrested, but I really know nothing about the details. Besides, the legal aspect is not my central theme today.
She is dubbed by the media, blogs, and the public as “Leather Face”. To me, this is a spot-on description of her physical appearance and I could instantly relate to the headline, even before even looking at her photo. Why could I relate? Because it conjured up an unpleasant image of another I think of as a leather face, Turns out, I found the similarities striking. It was almost like looking at a twin.
Obviously, I didn’t make any connection to her guilt or innocence based on her appearance. It’s entirely irrelevant. I did, however, question her health-related judgement and decide if she did take her daughter tanning (yet to be proven) then her parenting is also suspect.
We describe people by the way the look all the time. Why? Because it’s efficient and precise. It’s how we humans identify people. If we where in a room full of people you didn’t know and I asked you to point out a felon, you wouldn’t be able. Now, if I asked you to point out the women with the leather face you would instantly do so. Am I right? Now, if we we’re a different species, say whales, we would use sonar to identify others. Dogs? Smell would be the way to go.
The thing is, it’s all relative too. If we were at a “Little Person Convention” and I asked you to pick out the tall man, he might only be five feet in height but towers over his peers. Given most other settings, he’s likely identifiable as the short man. Looking at it another way and getting back to the leather face theme, let’s suppose not only does a women have facial skin damage but also has a pointy nose, bleached hair, and protruding chin. Chances are, the most prominent feature would be used if only one was allowed. If we put all these, one might relate this to a hag and rely on that word alone. Finally, let’s put a huge pair of hooters on this hag (like beach balls, let’s imagine), then I suspect to women she is still a hag, but maybe a guy’s description is focused elsewhere. At least initially?
My point is, like most things, it must be taken in context.
Let me try to explain myself. If we label a sun-worshiper as a “Leather Face” it means just one thing. Most would immediately get the meaning. Obviously it doesn’t mean this person underwent a cowhide facial transplant. Nor does it mean that they somehow descended from an acquired bovine gene. But, if it were explained in the context of a laboratory experiment, any could be plausible.
So, is it unfair to apply this same thinking to a person’s character? I’ll just do a quick, four question poll here to see. Obviously, this relates to our situation. Please feel free to answer to yourself or in the comments section below:
- What would you call a person who sucker punches another?
- What would you call a person who kicks a man when he’s down and unconscious?
- What would you call a person who causes catastrophic injury to another then runs and hides?
- What would you call a person who doesn’t accept accountability and responsibility for their actions?
After answering these questions, is it fair to make a characterization of someone who does all — or even just one — of these?
I completely agree that it’s all about context.
If someone attacks another person, but we later find out he had been attacked first, we might chalk it up to reasonable self-defense. Even in cases of battered woman syndrome, attacking someone unconscious is not necessarily criminal because there is the continuous perceived threat based upon years of abuse.
But if someone attacks another person, whom they have never met, who is actively trying to disengage and continues that attack after the person is knocked unconscious, it is entirely fair to label that person as violent and cruel. And when that person, despite numerous opportunities to accept responsibility and to show remorse for his actions, continues to refuse to face the consequences, it is entirely fair to judge his character and label him as a sociopath.
1. It wasn’t my description, it was me personally relating to this description given in the media, blogs, and public.
2. You’re claim of vulgarity didn’t extend to little people, hags, or men objectifying big-breasted women.
3. The theme of my post had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with healing. It had EVERYTHING to do with taking things in context. If I wanted to promote healing I would have talked about sunscreen (oh, wait, that’s prevention) or facial transplants. I just don’t think a deep exfoliation would cut it here (short of a power sander)…
4. To wrap it up: I was talking about the human attribute of assigning physical descriptions and moral characterizations.
I invite you to read it again, my theme is taking things in context… this time, though, take it in context.
This blog entry does nothing to promote healing. Your description of a woman you don’t know is vulgar.
Well I like coward. Evil is also a good discription. But sociopath sounds just right. I just hope the ones who hurt Ryan, his family and his wider family over the internet will come to the realization of what they did and offer help. I also hope they never have children. The world can’t contain anymore people like them.
Everytime I look at the picture of Ryan I ask why Lord, why. I haven’t got the answer to that question as of yet but I do know that our Lord is always with you as you care for Ryan each minute of the day. He is working through your hands as you bring His strength and healing to Ryan. And in return I know the our Lord is working with Ryan’s Dad and Mom and Sister giving them the strenght and hope for another day. Keep a candle always lighted for Ryan and in the flame feel the presence of God.
[soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-] Show IPA
noun Psychiatry .
a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
The word “coward” is not doing it for me, no just seems like an easy way out.
When I answer question one I think “Stupid MFIng ASSHOLE”.
Question two and three are answered ……. “Stupid MFing ANIMAL”
Question four, well the only answer to that is ……” WHO raised this person to have no character, responsibility or value? How ashamed they must be as parents.
Now, Ken, of course this is a hypothetical answers to hypothetical situations.
Gail Doyle says
Ken,One word comes to mind for those 4 questions,COWARD,.I was always told “you don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but for Ryan’s attackers ,there is no need to read further,the faces and denials and all they’ve said and haven’t said and not done tell the story….
Hoping your day is a little better and thinking of you all love Gail
Kenneth, you are way out there today, but to answer questions 1-4, the answer to all is “evil!” Wish we could come over and take you out for a beer today.
Caring thoughts across the river.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, A coward would come to mind for those 4 questions.I was always told ,”you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”,but believe me in Ryan’s attackers you sure can judge the book ,no need to read further….
Hope you’re having a little better day today.Thinking of you all and praying for good results from all the testing Love Gail