You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jan 4, 2005
Memo to Paul Bastine: YOU ARE DUMB.
Specifically, Judge Paul Bastine. More specifically, Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine. Even more specifically, Superior Court Justice Paul Bastine of Spokane, Washington*. Paul "Not A Spray-On Antibiotic" Bastine is upholding family values, the rights of the unborn, and the sanctity of marriage, and he doesn't give a fuck who gets hurt in the process.
Or so I assume. I'd love to be wrong, for a change. I'd love to think that there's more to the divorce case that made Bastine a household name over the weekend. Well, at least a name in my household. I'd like to think that there's a very good reason Bastine disallowed the divorce of Shawn Hughes from her husband. That maybe I don't know all the facts, and there are mitigating circumstances, to use a bit of judgespeak, why Paul Bastine isn't a complete fucking asshole.
Can't imagine what that would be, of course. Ockham's Razor is slicing off a big old chunk of northwestern right-wing thickheadedness.
You see, Shawn Hughes husband is abusive. He's in JAIL for beating her. You would think that once your husband has been locked away from the rest of polite society for almost three years because he HIT YOU, that you'd have a pretty good case for ending the marriage. But that doesn't matter to Bastine, because Shawn Hughes, you see, is pregnant. It's ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"There's a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that children not be illegitimized." - Bastine, who then checked his shelves and realized he'd forgotten to renew his subscription to the American Caselaw Series in 1954 and had just never noticed before now. Seriously, I'm pretty sure being born out of wedlock stopped being a stigma around the same time "being John Travolta" started being a stigma. The first time.
But let's give Bastine the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's like those British guys, so caught up in the cause of "father's rights" that they dress up in superhero costumes and climb Buckingham Palace, forcing a standoff with police. Maybe he feels so passionately about the rights of the child's father that he was forced to rescind the divorce order. Which would, admittedly, reduce his diagnosis to ALMOST completely insane.
The only way it could be more insane, in fact, is if the guy who's been in jail since 2002, the abusive husband, is not in fact the father of Hughes' child. Which, if you take five seconds to work the math out on that, turns out to actually be the fucking case.
Bastine seems unsympathetic to a degree that may actually mark him as the fabled Missing Link between rectum and man: "It's not the child's fault that Mom got pregnant. The answer is, you don't go around doing that when you're not divorced." And now we get to the heart of the matter. Bastine is punishing a woman for getting on with her life and having a relationship after her husband, and I have to say this again because it is very fucking important, was CONVICTED AND IMPRISONED FOR BEATING HER. IN TWO THOUSAND AND TWO.
But wait! Bastines prickery doesn't stop there! Get a load of this reasoning: "One of the problems here was that the child was not made party to the litigation. There are statutory provisions that deal with paternity. Those are the statutes that are critical ones that determine the rights of the child." - And here we get some of that lovely, subtle fetus-fetishist bullshit in there. The unborn child should have been a party in the divorce litigation? Good luck getting it to hold a pen. What "rights", exactly, is Bastine defending? The right to be legally tied to a convicted-wife beater who's not your father?
I'm afraid that, barring the revelation that Hughes husband was (a) framed for beating his wife by a one-armed man, (b) managed, through a superhuman feat of ejaculation, to impregnate Hughes from halfway across town and through a barred window, and (c) is currently working on a plan to use those ejaculative powers in a daring, yet disappointingly unfilmable, escape attempt so he can clear his name and reclaim his beloved wife and son, we are forced to conclude that Paul Bastine is a complete and utter dipshit who will make people suffer in order to act out his own twisted morality play.
BONUS EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION: Calculate the odds we'll see an outcry over this "activist judge" from Jerry Falwell. Don't show your work.