Wednesday, March 19, 2008

At Least He's Honest?

Remember when Silicon Valley was home to that oh-so-likely techno-geek S&M crowd as well as the sadomasochistic branch of the Russian mafia? And remember how from time to time they would get involved in crazy antics such as killing the wife of a questionably sane, definitely strange, computer programmer? Ah, yes. Takes me back. Well, back to February anyway.

February is when we last heard testimony in the Hans Reiser murder trial in Oakland. Mr. Reiser has been charged with killing his wife Nina. Since we're in the middle of a trial, you can safely assume he has pled "not guilty". You can also safely assume that, since Mr. Resier was testifying again today, he irritated the judge, pissed off his attorney and was politely defiant. But even with those assumptions, you can't safely assume that he will make any sense at all when he's on the stand (see first paragraph for an example of that).

Mr. Reiser took full liberty to describe himself as an "asshole" while he was on the stand. His defense attorney, William DuBois, also took full liberty to describe Mr. Reiser as an asshole during his questioning. Now, even though this guy is his attorney, they haven't always been civil to each other. Nor have they always agreed with each other. But today? Oh, today they both agreed that Mr. Reiser is an asshole. I think I may concur.

Initially, Mr. Reiser let it be known that he was an "egotistical asshole" for thinking that once his now missing wife (who may or may not have been done in by the Russian mafia, techno-geek, S&M crowd of Silicon Valley) would want to care for their children after he got her pregnant. Apparently, it was "his dream" to have her be a mother (thus the impregnanting, I suppose). Too bad that it was "her dream" to be a doctor.

A short time later in his testimony, Mr. Reiser said that he was being a "patronizing asshole" when remarking to another individual that his wife and his children were a "financial burden" to him. (Yeah, they'll be that way sometimes. Financially burdensome. Damn wife and multiple minor offspring!) Mr. Reiser elaborated with, "So what I was saying is that men don't really need for themselves wives and children that demand to be taken care of." And that provided Mr. DuBois with an opportunity he had likely been waiting for up until this point. The opportunity to say, "It does sound like you were being a patronizing asshole." (Oh, how I wish that I was given that same opportunity with some of the people I've worked with before. That would have been better than a raise!)

Now, most people have a pretty clear idea of what the term "patronizing asshole" is referring to. But Mr. Reiser, apparently a stickler for details, really wanted the full scope of his asshole-ness to be known when he responded to Mr. DuBois, ""Yeah. And can you find the thing I wrote? I said it a lot better. It's a lot more precise." While I appreciate the effort, "patronizing asshole" seems plenty precise for most to grasp the meaning intended when using such a term. Especially when using such a term to describe ones SELF. If someone says that they were a "patronizing asshole" I'm pretty much just going to take them at their word and leave it at that. I guess he didn't want to take the chance that someone wouldn't think he was a "patronizing asshole".

While another attorney was looking for a document that would, supposedly, give a crystal clear picture of a "patronizing asshole" (Not literally, folks. That's just a figure of speech.), DuBois decided to run with it while he could. "We'll come back to it. But why were you being a "patronizing asshole?" (brief pause) "On this occasion?" Yep. Nothing like having your own attorney make sure that it's clear that he is only referring to one specific occasion when you were a "patronizing asshole". Not ALL of the times that you were a "patronizing asshole". Just this one specific time. So you don't get confused and start telling why you're ALWAYS a "patronizing asshole". How helpful. It is nice to have direction.

The specific occasion in which Mr. Reiser was being a "patronizing asshole" that was being referred to was when he wrote a note to his wife that expressed his feelings that "Marriage is altruistic in the financial sense. It's a lot cheaper to hire a housekeeper." (Housekeeper, yes? Hooker? No.) Mr. DuBois surmised that the discussion over such an opinion must have been a "scintillating conversation." (Do you think?!)

Never one to miss an opportunity to call himself an asshole in public (apparently), Mr. Reiser responded with, "I was being an asshole. I'm sorry." So far be it from Mr. DuBois to miss an opportunity of that nature either, by asking, "Is that a posture you adopt often?" And again, always one for the details, Mr. Reiser responded, "I don't think I was consistently an asshole, but I had my moments," he said. Moments of assholery. I'd say.

So what have we learned? Well, we've learned that you can call yourself a "patronizing asshole" even when you're testifying in your own defense at your murder trial. We've also learned that your attorney CAN agree that you ARE, in fact, a "patronizing asshole". I think that we might have learned that while none of this seems to be helping Mr. Reiser, it doesn't seem to be not helping him. "Patronizing asshole" or not.

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