Lucas Abuse

by Kieran Healy on May 4, 2006

I feel bad for _Star Wars_ fans, I really do. Most of them are in a kind of “abusive relationship”: with George Lucas. I see “via John Gruber”: (a Vader-codependent himself) that, prior statements notwithstanding, Lucasfilm will “release the first three remastered Star Wars films unaltered”: on DVD, together with the original theatrical release of each. This is the fake kiss-and-make-up period: now that everyone has bought the currently-available retroactively-reprocessed collection, and cried about that for a while, they can all go out and buy them again. “See.” they will say, “I _told_ you he was a good man!” Nine months from now he’ll announce an Ewoks/Gungans musical or something — “The Wizard of Endor,” maybe, or “My Fair Leia” — and the whole process will start over again.

Sue Gerhardt’s Why Love Matters (UK) has gotten less attention than it should have in the US, and almost none in the blogosphere as far as I can tell (even on the “mommy blogs”). I want to prompt some interest in it, and also to see whether anyone else who has read it has the reactions I do (or can point me to good critiques). Gerhardt is a practicing psychotherapist who specializes in working with parents (and especially mothers) of young children. When I started reading about child development I was struck by how much attention is given the cognitive and physical development, and how little to emotional health and development. Why Love Matters is the best I’ve found on emotional development. It’s a primer on the current science of brain development in the early years, looking at how well that work confirms various assumptions that therapists make about the importance of early attachment for emotional regulation. From what I can judge Gerhardt is supremely careful about her presentation of the science; where it clearly supports her therapeutic approach she says so, where it is merely suggestive her presentation is honest about that.

[Update: Sue Gerhardt’s comment at 46 below answers a lot of questions people have had — I’ll quote some of it at the end of the post]
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