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“Hare, hunter, field” — Castration for deviancy
Get Religion ^ | March 21, 2012

Posted on 03/22/2012 6:06:05 AM PDT by NYer


Montgomer Clift in Judgment at Nuremberg

The New York Post usually wins the award for best worst headline amongst the New York metropolitan papers. “Headless body in topless bar” remains my favorite.

The New York Times however is giving the Post a run for their money. In the 21 March 2012 issue on page A4 we have “Dutch Church is accused of castrating young men”.

This is not a story for the faint of heart. And, if you were looking for a fair, informed treatment of the story, look elsewhere.

Here is the lede.

A young man in the care of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands was surgically castrated decades ago after complaining about sexual abuse, according to new evidence that only adds to the scandal engulfing the church there.

The case, which dates from the 1950s, has increased pressure for a government-led inquiry into sexual abuse in the Dutch church, amid suspicions that as many as 10 young men may have suffered the same fate.

“This case is especially painful because it concerns a victim who was victimized for a second time,” said Peter Nissen, a professor of the history of religion at Radboud University in the Netherlands. “He had the courage to go to the police and was castrated.”

It is unclear, however, whether the reported castration was performed as a punishment for whistle-blowing or what was seen as a treatment for homosexuality.

The article recounts the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Netherlands in 2010. It also reports that this claim of castration as retribution for reporting abuse had been investigated by a commission of inquiry led by a former government minister. A friend reported the incident to the abuse commission — the victim died in motor accident in 1958, two years after the surgery. The commission said it

…was unable to reach any conclusions on the case from the evidence at its disposal.

According to the Times

The victim, Henk Heithuis, lived in Catholic institutions from infancy after being taken into care. When he complained about sexual abuse to the police, Mr. Heithuis, 20 at the time, was transferred to a Catholic psychiatric hospital before being admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel, where he was castrated.

After the commission released its findings, the friend went to a reporter who broke the story in the Dutch press last week.

Mr. Dohmen, the investigative journalist who broke the news in the daily NRC Handelsblad, said that correspondence from the 1950s and Mr. Heithuis’s testimony to [the friend] suggested that there could have been an additional nine cases. Mr. Dohmen said he uncovered another case. A gay man, who had not been abused, was also castrated, he said. That man has asked that his identity not be made public.

Mr. Dohmen said he did not know whether Mr. Heithuis was castrated as a punishment for whistle-blowing and could not provide further evidence of the other possible victims.

In an e-mailed comment, Mr. Rogge said he believed that the castration was a punishment.

This is a disturbing story. But is it fair or thorough reporting? No.

The lede states there is “new evidence that only adds to the scandal engulfing the church there.” The body of the story reports that there was no new evidence to be found.

What is also missing from this article is a comment or statement from the church, the hospital, the state — anyone representing the authorities that had this poor man castrated or the commission that reviewed this case. The voices we hear are of a professor of religious history — who offers an opinion that this was a bad thing, but has no knowledge of the particular case; and of a reporter interviewing another reporter about his story.

Does this failure to offer a second side to the story necessarily render it suspect? I can see an argument being made that there is no need to hear a justification of castration. But as the New York Times ran with a headline that accuses the Dutch Catholic Church of castrating young men, I would hope there was an attempt to elicit an explanation.

Another piece that is missing from this story is context. How many people were castrated in the Netherlands during this period? The Dutch reporter cited by the Times believes there were 10 cases. A quick search through the academic literature reports that there were around 400 cases.

An article entitled “Eugenic and sexual folklores and the castration of sex offenders in the Netherlands (1938–1968)” published in the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 39, No. 2, June 2008 by Theo van der Meer states that castration of sexual offenders was part of the Dutch state’s eugenics program. Pedophiles were castrated to prevent them from re-offending as were those adjudged to be mentally deficient.

The abstract to the article reads in part:

From 1938 to 1968 in the Netherlands, after a decade of debates, 400 sex offenders who had been committed to asylums for the criminally insane were ‘voluntarily’ and ‘therapeutically’ castrated. For political reasons debates on castration, meant to create consensus, eliminated any reference to or connotation with eugenics, yet these policies were unthinkable without them.

Read through the journal article and you will find all the details you will ever want to read about a dark chapter of Western medicine which saw castration as a tool in a public health program to improve the human race through eugenics and to combat what that age saw as criminal sexual deviancy.

The Times story fails the test of good journalism on several levels. It begins with an over the top headline and lede that implies the existence of Catholic cabal worthy of Dan Brown that preyed on young men — abusing them and castrating them.

It offers uncorroborated anecdotal evidence from a man dead 54 years to insinuate the Church was complicit in a gruesome crime — yet we don’t know if it was a crime. The history offered is full of gaps and makes assumptions — was the victim in the care of a Catholic institution when he reported the abuse? Was he passed from Catholic institutional custodial care to a Catholic-affiliated psychiatric hospital to a Catholic-affiliated surgery center for sterilization? Under what circumstances was the claim of abuse made? The journal article reports that castration was ordered by the state for those found to be mentally deficient or who were incorrigible sexual offenders. Who was the victim? Could the Catholic Church order the castration of a young man? How was that possible?

Professionally this is sloppy work. It is also offensive. The Catholic pedophile scandal in Holland is a horrific case of abuse, betrayal and evil. Tossing the incendiary charge of castration into this cesspit of moral corruption cheapens the suffering of those who were abused. It tells the true victims of abuse, “well it could have been worse, you could have been castrated.”

There is a story in this mess that a good journalist could bring out — a story of state sanctioned abuse of those whom science adjudged to be defective — of a church that relaxed its standards in the face of government and public opinion. We do not get that here. (One of the lacunae in the journal article is the objection by Catholic theologians in the 1930s to state castration programs on moral grounds and its disquiet over the whole field eugenics.)

What say you GetReligion readers? Is this a case of shoddy journalism, or courageous reporting of unpalatable truths?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: castration; catholic; holland; nyt

1 posted on 03/22/2012 6:06:24 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Mrs. Don-o; crosshairs; Hulka; NYer; dangus; livius; Vaquero; Bon mots
Read through the journal article and you will find all the details you will ever want to read about a dark chapter of Western medicine which saw castration as a tool in a public health program to improve the human race through eugenics and to combat what that age saw as criminal sexual deviancy.

Vindicated!

2 posted on 03/22/2012 6:09:03 AM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


3 posted on 03/22/2012 6:10:54 AM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer
“This case is especially painful because it concerns a victim who was victimized for a second time,” said Peter Nissen, a professor of the history of religion at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

He was castrated twice?

4 posted on 03/22/2012 6:23:16 AM PDT by immadashell
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To: NYer

Exactly.

Aside from the fact that this was a common procedure (the Dutch have always been leaders in eugenics and involuntary medical procedures, such as death...), the whole premise that the Catholic Church could “order” the castration of anybody is ridiculous.


5 posted on 03/22/2012 6:23:16 AM PDT by livius
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To: NYer

Exactly.

Aside from the fact that this was a common procedure (the Dutch have always been leaders in eugenics and involuntary medical procedures, such as death...), the whole premise that the Catholic Church could “order” the castration of anybody is ridiculous.


6 posted on 03/22/2012 6:23:49 AM PDT by livius
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To: NYer

Vindicated?

“The Catholic pedophile scandal in Holland is a horrific case of abuse, betrayal and evil. Tossing the incendiary charge of castration into this cesspit of moral corruption cheapens the suffering of those who were abused.” - article

Facts not in dispute:
- A boy growing up in Catholic care was sexually abused
- At age 20 this victim of abuse was castrated

Vindicated?

Really?


7 posted on 03/22/2012 6:26:03 AM PDT by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: NYer

Now abortion serves as the primary tool of eugenics. And it’s not being promoted by the Church.


8 posted on 03/22/2012 6:35:42 AM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Triple

As other replies have pointed out, castrated by whom?

Also as other replies have pointed out, the pedophile/homosexual abuse scandal in Holland has been exposed and rightly vilified and so even more reason for the church to reject homosexuality.

So what’s your point?


9 posted on 03/22/2012 6:39:59 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: squarebarb

Q: As other replies have pointed out, castrated by whom?

A: A doctor, I would presume.

While I agree that the reporting at The Times is slanted and atrocious, the Church should keep to a *much* higher standard.

One of the open questions I have here:

Was the victim under the authority of a legal guardian at the time of castration? If so, who?

My point:

THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT FOSTER AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE ANYONE IS MOLESTED.

The story should get the facts correct, but the Church’s actions are indefensible, and are not “justified” under the facts not in dispute.

Vindication: “justification against denial or censure” - Webster

Am I clear?


10 posted on 03/22/2012 7:05:43 AM PDT by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: Triple
It helps to read a thread in its entirety:

Read through the journal article and you will find all the details you will ever want to read about a dark chapter of Western medicine which saw castration as a tool in a public health program to improve the human race through eugenics and to combat what that age saw as criminal sexual deviancy.

Facts not in dispute: - A boy growing up in Catholic care was sexually abused - At age 20 this victim of abuse was castrated

Again, according to the article:

It offers uncorroborated anecdotal evidence from a man dead 54 years to insinuate the Church was complicit in a gruesome crime — yet we don’t know if it was a crime. The history offered is full of gaps and makes assumptions — was the victim in the care of a Catholic institution when he reported the abuse? Was he passed from Catholic institutional custodial care to a Catholic-affiliated psychiatric hospital to a Catholic-affiliated surgery center for sterilization? Under what circumstances was the claim of abuse made? The journal article reports that castration was ordered by the state for those found to be mentally deficient or who were incorrigible sexual offenders. Who was the victim? Could the Catholic Church order the castration of a young man? How was that possible?

Perhaps like the NYT, you would prefer to view the Catholic Church as the oppressor.

11 posted on 03/22/2012 7:11:16 AM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: Triple
I would presume.

Presumptions aren't facts. You should see what Webster has to say about that.

Am I clear?

No, you're confused. During voir dire you'd be challenged by both the defense and the prosecution.

12 posted on 03/22/2012 7:12:32 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Triple

Yes, Triple. In this case, the Catholic Church acted in precise accord with ethical standards. The offense was reported by people within the Church, two people went to prison, and the abused were treated in what was at at the time considered ethical and humane.

In contrast, the modern standard would probably be to tell the victim to “celebrate his newfound sexuality,” leading him to a life of debauchery, perdition, and quite likely a host of STDs.


13 posted on 03/22/2012 7:14:43 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus; NYer

OK -

I get it.

No problem here, everyone just move along. It’s old news anyway. The Church did what it should have. The Times is biased. Some of the facts are in dispute. The church did not castrate the victim, a doctor did under legal conditions. Are we sure he was really a victim of abuse?


14 posted on 03/22/2012 7:27:20 AM PDT by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: squarebarb; livius; The_Media_never_lie; dragonblustar; NYer; immadashell; Mr Ramsbotham; ...
OK, so now it turns out that the "uncontested" facts are:

There's the story.

What? That wasn't in the story? Why not?

Because 97.5% --- or up to 99.5% --- of the truth, was not considered by the media to be "news we can use".

And The Media Never Lie!

15 posted on 03/22/2012 7:32:41 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Stet.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I agree with your post. I submit that you missed just one point, that Henk Heithaus was a victim of abuse while a minor in the care of Catholic institutions.

Now look at two of your own five points:

“Henk Heithaus-— had this done [castration - triple] to him at a psychiatric institution sponsored by the Catholic Church. One, “and possibly nine others.” “ - MD

“In fact, castration for eugenic, psychotherapeutic or punitive purposes, is forbidden by the moral doctrines of the Catholic Church.” - MD


16 posted on 03/22/2012 7:44:09 AM PDT by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
There's the story. What? That wasn't in the story? Why not? Because 97.5% --- or up to 99.5% --- of the truth, was not considered by the media to be "news we can use". And The Media Never Lie!

No, they just castrate the parts that they don't want to disclose.

17 posted on 03/22/2012 8:31:29 AM PDT by immadashell
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To: Triple

>> No problem here, everyone just move along... Are we sure he was really a victim of abuse?<<

Obviously there’s a problem. Someone was sexually abused. But your absurd straw-man arguments contribute nothing to any conversation; no-one suggested he wasn’t really a victim of abuse. In fact, the Church turned in the culprits, and he was sentenced and sent to jail, so your reason for putting hateful and ridiculous statements into other people’s mouths is what?

You apparently feel like haranguing on the malfeasance of church officials. There should be plenty of good targets: Mahony, Bernardin, Weakland. You write like I’ve been arguing to whitewash the episcopacy, when I know very well that you’ve read my posts about black masses, the pink mafia, etc. But apparently you have nothing constructive or informative to say, so I’ve had enough.


18 posted on 03/22/2012 8:45:59 AM PDT by dangus
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To: immadashell

>> No, they just castrate the parts that they don’t want to disclose. <<

You mean where in this case, the Church actually helped send him to prison. Find a different thread about a different case.


19 posted on 03/22/2012 8:47:35 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Triple
Thank you for the tone of good will in your last comment.

From what I've read from various sources,- A boy growing up in Catholic care was sexually abused; the criminals who abused him were reported by Catholics who made sure they were prosecuted and imprisoned; and the victim of abuse was later castrated while resident in a Catholic institution to "treat" a sexual disorder, in accord with psychiatric doctrines of the time, and an violation of Catholic doctrines then as now.

Further inquiry into the reprehensible details of this story (including the aspect of a Catholic institution operating in Heithuis' case in violation of Catholic doctrine) is impeded by the fact that the people involved have been dead for two generations.

Nobody can justify this: it is utterly repugnant morally, medically and religiously.

My point is that this revolting incident, evil in itself, is being used worldwide to defame something which is not evil: the Catholic Church in its millionfold holy doctrines, people, and ministries.

The deeds done against Henk Heithuis are damnable, and it is precisely the Catholic Church that teaches that they are damnable. Those who use this to globally defame the Church have as their larger agenda the destruction of faith and morals, teachings and ministries of Catholics everywhere.

How can I say that? Because the worldwide headlines are not "Psychiatrists castrated boys," but "The Catholic Church castrated...">

The "Catholic Church" did nothing of the sort.

I detest broad-brush slanders and defamatory lies. I presume you do, too.

Are we finished with that now?

20 posted on 03/22/2012 8:49:35 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The first duty of intelligent men of our day is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

wow.

So basically, the Catholic Church might have done none of them.


21 posted on 03/22/2012 12:52:45 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: Triple; Mrs. Don-o
“Henk Heithaus-— had this done [castration - triple] to him at a psychiatric institution sponsored by the Catholic Church. One, “and possibly nine others.” “ - MD

Again, referencing the text from this article:

From 1938 to 1968 in the Netherlands, after a decade of debates, 400 sex offenders who had been committed to asylums for the criminally insane were ‘voluntarily’ and ‘therapeutically’ castrated.

IOW, he chose castration, not the Catholic Church ... period.

22 posted on 03/22/2012 1:36:21 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer

A disciple of Kinsey? Enough said.

http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-histsex&month=0411&week=d&msg=WYiwmgMxTaC/Vpfhf9HIaw&user=&pw=

Watch the Children of Table 34

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vltmeBPKAAo

Absolute Wickedness (Interesting to see the effect across culture, scary)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1VVuraWrMQ

Note: Make sure your kids aren’t around when you see this.

Remember his sex studies affected the social structure, laws, education as well as the church. He and Masters and Johnson were the ‘groundbreaking’ sex authorities, so-called ‘researchers’ and ‘scientific experts’. He spoke They were the case law books re: sexuality.

L v. Texas, others, case in point:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=2135

And culture has never been the same.

I know things about Kinsey that would make people kill themselves. Like other ‘sex’ researchers, they projected their sicknesses into ‘everybody does it’ normalcy. This took a huge toll on soldiers returning home after WWII, after more women were in the workforce and not with the kids. The perverts headed straight for the home, feminism, everyone cheats, kids are sexual from birth (sex ed), the courts, etc..


23 posted on 03/22/2012 2:46:31 PM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: NYer
This is one of Kinsey's charts re: orgasms, anyone see anything insidious? Read Architects of the Culture of Death by DeMarco. He was one of the sickest men ever (hanging out with satanists and absorbing Darwin whole).


24 posted on 03/22/2012 2:47:35 PM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: NYer
As far as I am concerned there could only be ONE mitigating circumstance.

If the Priests who did the abusing were also castrated for “homosexuality”.

It seems to me that the kid who complained that he was being sodomized was much less in need of castration for homosexuality than the Priest who sodomized him.

But it seems that homosexual pedophilic sodomizing rapist Priests were NOT castrated - just 10 of their victims.

25 posted on 03/22/2012 2:53:58 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to DC to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: dangus
Where did you get that the (accused) abusive Priest went to Prison?

From the NYT article...

“Mr. Dohmen said that the man accused of abusing Mr. Heithuis was investigated but not prosecuted. He was transferred to Nova Scotia, where he started a home for boys.”

A home for boys. How sweet of him to continue his particular affinity for troubled young men! /s

So a guy was castrated, and the reason given was homosexuality, but no homosexual abuse actually took place if we are to believe the investigators. So what was Mr. Dohmen castrated for?

26 posted on 03/22/2012 3:07:52 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to DC to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: AliVeritas

Insidious .. absolutely the proper choice of adjective. I don’t want to know who or how the chart data was compiled.


27 posted on 03/22/2012 3:07:52 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: allmendream
Ahem.....

CORRECTION.

Last sentence should read...

“So what was Mr. Heithuis castrated for?”

28 posted on 03/22/2012 3:08:59 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to DC to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Thanks for the update...I'm not a bit surprised my suspicions from the “Dutch Roman Catholic church ‘castrated’ boys in 1950s” thread were more than confirmed.
29 posted on 03/22/2012 5:03:59 PM PDT by Red Dog #1
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To: allmendream

Oops, I guess I’m wrong. I presumed this was the same case that had been on Free Republic earlier, involving a priest. In this case, there’s nothing in the article at all to suggest it was a priest who did the abusing. So I’m not sure what the ruckus is about, or how the author suggests that it MIGHT have been punishment for whistle-blowing. Whistle-blowing what?

But since this article makes no reference to a priest, I’m all the more confused why the Church is the target of criticism; its hospitals handled the cases in the same way that public hospitals do, and it certainly is NOT up to Catholic officials to debate psychiatric medical practices.


30 posted on 03/22/2012 7:00:20 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I hope you realize the media often lie. My FR name is a joke. Did you realize that?


31 posted on 03/22/2012 8:27:16 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (A free counttry and a lying media are incompatible.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I hope you realize the media often lie. My FR name is a joke. Did you realize that?


32 posted on 03/22/2012 8:27:40 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (A free counttry and a lying media are incompatible.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I hope you realize the media often lie. My FR name is a joke. Did you realize that?


33 posted on 03/22/2012 8:27:45 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (A free counttry and a lying media are incompatible.)
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To: The_Media_never_lie
I hope you realize my reference to your FReepername was directly intentional and ironic.

(Note to self. Never use irony on FR. Never, never, never.)

34 posted on 03/23/2012 5:10:51 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Your sarcasm tag: don't leave home without it.)
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