Let me start by saying that I don’t know for a fact what San Diego mayor Bob Filner did. All I know what he’s been accused of, which sound really, really creepy and repellent. And it is possible that maybe all these women who are now coming forward, including a retired Navy admiral and San Diego State University dean, are just wantonly making up these consistently creepy, oddly specific tales. That seems highly, highly unlikely — Filner even admitted some degree of responsibility during a baffling Friday press conference – “The behavior I have engaged in for many years is wrong,” he said – but it’s possible.
What does seem impossible, though, is the idea that, if he did what he’s accused of doing, he can somehow fix this with two weeks of therapy.
Yet that is what Filner seems to think: that attending two weeks of therapy — while receiving daily mayor briefings on mayor things — will fix what looks to be a pattern of behavior that’s gone on for YEARS. I can’t even lose two pounds in two weeks, and he’s somehow going to be able to fix what he describes as a “monster” inside him in that short time frame?
There are maybe three settings where this has been shown to work. Two of them are inspirational movies about camp. The other one is “A Clockwork Orange.” They are also fictional.
I’m not running down therapy. It can do wonders — but only if you take it seriously. And the insistence that after two magical weeks of it he will suddenly transform into the leader the people of San Diego deserve shows that Filner is not taking it seriously. It’s not magic. You can’t just wave a therapy wand at your problem and vanish it. You have to actually want to change. And the only change he seems to want is for people to stop yelling at him.
But what kind of intensive therapy can possibly fix what he’s accused of? Is this Clockwork Orange-style reprogramming? Because that’s the only one I can think of that would do this in two weeks or less. And if that’s your option, maybe you should just listen to everyone who’s been clamoring for you to resign. That way you keep Beethoven, the taxpayers don’t have to sit there while you heal yourself on their dime, and we can all move past this.
Then again, if a real therapy exists capable of working so miraculous a change in so short a period of time, there’s a list miles long of people who’d benefit. Line forms on the right.
That seems highly, highly unlikely. But I guess it’s possible.