March 2015 update

It has been just over a year since last I wrote on this blog.

I stand by what I wrote in that last post, which was that I was deeply sorry for years of dishonest, disappointing, manipulative and embarrassing behavior.

A year later, however, I want to clarify something about my regret. As probably more than a few suspected, I was deceitful not only prior to my breakdown, but during it as well. In conversations with curious journalists, and in my own periodic twitter “meltdowns,” I consistently exaggerated my own sins. Much of what I confessed to was true (including the messy extent of my mental collapse) — but quite a bit wasn’t. No one wants or needs a line-by-line examination of the truth of what I said or wrote in the summer of 2013, and fear not, such an unwelcome revisiting is not in the offing. (It scarcely need be said that I completely lack the requisite credibility to do such a revisiting.)

What is worth mentioning is this: in those interviews and social media tantrums, I lied to make myself look even worse than I was. My intention was to drive absolutely everyone away. In a tailspin of self-absorbed self-destruction, I wanted attention from all — and compassion from none. I tried with no small degree of success to represent myself in the worst possible light. If a narcissist in free-fall can’t have adoration or at least sympathy, hatred seems next best. Expressions of dismay and disgust were preferable to what I feared most, which was indifference. Continue reading

On the Los Angeles Magazine story

As a quick glance will reveal, I haven’t updated my blog in many months. I am in the midst of what will be a very long break from public writing. The promise of an extended hiatus is one I made many times last summer, but invariably failed to keep. For some time now, however, I’ve been able to stay away from doing interviews, publishing articles and blogposts, and otherwise unhelpfully inserting myself into the conversation.

The April issue of Los Angeles Magazine includes a long article about my fall from grace. Written by Mona Gable, it’s based in part on interviews she did with me in late August of last year while I was staying with my mother in Carmel. These interviews were given during a time when I was in an emotional tailspin, fresh off a psychiatric hospitalization, and heavily medicated on a considerable number of psychotropic drugs.

Though I stand by what I told Mona in our conversations, I deeply regret having spoken with her and with the many other reporters to whom I compulsively repeated my story. One of the most unpleasant and unfortunate features of my breakdown was an irresistible urge to talk about myself and my pain to anyone who would listen. I wish I had heeded the counsel of those who urged me to stay silent and away from media. I am able to practice that restriction now, but was not able to do so last summer.

There is no way at this point for me to have a healthy public presence. Both my recovery and my amends to the many, many people whom I betrayed and hurt are contingent upon my staying out of the public eye for the foreseeable future. I am (briefly) breaking my silence now to make it clear that while this painful piece in L.A. Magazine is almost entirely accurate, I am so very sorry both for having done these interviews and for having behaved in such a dishonest, disappointing, and embarrassing manner for so long.

Official statement on leaving PCC

As of today, my resignation is official. A joint statement with the college (soon to appear on their web site too):

Pasadena City College has accepted Dr Hugo Schwyzer’s resignation effective October 8, 2013. This brings to a conclusion all matters relating to Dr Schwyzer’s employment at PCC. The investigation being conducted under the supervision of outside counsel will not proceed any farther. Dr. Schwyzer expresses his appreciation and thanks to his students and colleagues at PCC.

No further statement will be forthcoming.

Picking up a felony DUI

On Friday, while driving with my mother to the family ranch, I caused an accident. I was driving while under the influence of 6 milligrams of Klonopin (three times what I should been taking) and other soporific medications, and we were traveling just outside of San Juan Bautista on Highway 156. The collision left my mother and I well, but I injured a young woman driver. That 25 year-old young mother was airlifted from the scene to San Jose Regional Medical Center and will make what I pray is a full recovery. Before she left, I apologized and admitted full guilt.

I was 100% at fault and drugs played a part. I EARNED a felony arrest.

As the chopper departed, I confessed my drugged state to the California Highway Patrol and was arrested at the scene. I admitted that I had caused the accident and never should have been driving with the multiple meds in my system. I was charged with felony DUI while causing injury, a charge which can carry severe penalties. I was eventually released on $100,000 after several hours in San Benito County Jail. It was my longest stint in handcuffs in years. I waived my Miranda rights and made a full confession.

I was initially reluctant to allow a lawyer to plea bargain anything down. When someone drives under the influence and hurts someone, he or she should pay the penalty. How much have I gotten away with in my life? At last at last I’m caught, facing serious jail time, perhaps a year or more. Isn’t it time? Aren’t I due? My kids will live with a dad who at least knows how to pay a price.

My court date is November 5 in Hollister. I may try to act in pro per and make a full guilty plea.

I will shut up now and listen to the lawyer my family is paying good money for.

In the Daily Telegraph

I may be off social media, but I can’t say no to an interview. Today I’m in the Telegraph: The rise and fall of America’s most infamous ‘male feminist’: Hugo Schwyzer:

He admits this desire to be commercial has impacted on the brand on male feminism he espouses. “The serious sort of feminists I grew up with would have looked at what I was writing and would have said it was frivolous. My mother is a classic second-wave feminist when I was growing up. She was very disappointed in the direction my feminism took. She wanted me to be writing about wage equality and things like that. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in that, but it wasn’t sexy enough.”

Despite his own behaviour Schwyzer still believes that male feminism has a place. “Feminism points out ways in which rigid gender roles don’t work out for men and women – particularly for women. But not by any means exclusively for women, we’re all handicapped
“Maybe the most obvious generic example is that we live in a culture where young women in the work place are invariably sexualised which can be deeply uncomfortable and which young men at home and in the work place are not allowed to express a full range of emotions. Women can’t unsex themselves and boys can’t cry.”

But what do men add to the argument? “Male feminists play a vital role by bringing up the male aspect of this. We know what it’s like to live in a male body, we know what it’s like to have testosterone. And we can answer the question is testosterone driving us? Or is it a tool?” he shares candidly.

The strange evolution of cowardice

And one more: my post today at Times of Israel looks at the misuse of a familiar word: Why do we call terrorists who are willing to die for their cause “cowards?” Excerpt:

Coward is the epithet of choice when referring to terrorists, even when it so regularly seems misapplied. American comedian Bill Maher was famously forced off the air after the September 11 attacks. His offense? Daring to suggest that calling the hijackers “cowards” made no sense, as a willingness to give up one’s life was an inoculation against the charge. Chastened by his example no one has dared point out the obvious problem in continuing to use the term for men who are prepared to die. Coward is such a necessary word that its use must not be questioned. But why?

It was Homer who introduced the idea that cowardice was the worst of all masculine failings. Heroism, he argued, was indistinguishable from physical bravery – and to be seen as lacking courage was the greatest disaster that could befall a man. “How can I face my fellow Trojans if I walk away from battle like a coward?” argues Hector to his wife, shortly before he meets his doom. Odysseus reminds himself that “Cowards flee the fight, but a hero in war stands stubbornly, whether he be smitten or whether he smite another.” It’s not that cowardice meant something different to Homer than it does to us – Odysseus’ remark could be uttered nearly verbatim by a contemporary MMA fighter. It’s that Homer believed cowardice, especially a cowardice that was seen by others, deserved elevation above every other failing.

Read it all here.

Beauty and Weakness: Reprinting a Relevant Magazine Piece

This piece first ran in Relevant Magazine in April 2012. Following the revelations about me, the site chose to take the post down. I am reposting it here for anyone who might still find value within it.

It’s spring again; time for some to talk baseball, others to talk graduation or prom or taxes. For some Christians, springtime is also the favorite time to lecture girls about keeping their hemlines long and their necklines high; it’s the season for the “modesty wars.”

If you’ve been around the Christian blogosphere long enough, or been in a youth group any time in, oh, the past 30 years, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard or read the usual catchphrases and snatches of proof texts: “don’t cause a brother to stumble;” “don’t let your vanity be a man’s undoing;” “faith matters more than fashion.” Don’t get me wrong; I think these discussions are important. How we dress – and more basically, how we carry our bodies out into community – matters. Yet these discussions (or lectures) often end up shaming rather than encouraging the young people who are their targets. That shame falls on both sexes, albeit in very different ways.

Our contemporary cultural dialogue about men emphasizes the decisive role that biology plays in driving behavior. Evolutionary psychologists, brain researchers, and TV doctors regularly produce studies “proving” that men are hardwired to be visually stimulated or to cheat on their wives. The emphasis is on men’s helplessness in the face of their own physiology, an emphasis that many women find disillusioning and many men find disheartening. Continue reading

A Wayward Son and Absent Father, at Home

Since July 30, I’ve been living with my mother in my hometown, Carmel. Through four hospitalizations and much emotional turmoil the past two months, I’ve called this house home once more. It is not easy.

One of my pledges for a return to writing was that I wouldn’t engage in exploitative memoir any longer. I wrote too many pieces about my exes that, while accurate as to fact, needlessly exploited private exchanges for page views. So in the spirit of contrition, I won’t write about the breakdown of my marriage to Eira. The root causes of what are now divorce proceedings are essentially public knowledge now.

On July 30, a counselor told Eira and me that we needed to separate as soon as possible as our marriage was over. Three hours later, I was on a plane to Monterey. I have not seen my soon-to-be ex-wife or my children since.

When that flight landed and the taxi came to a stop, I was home. My mother bought this house in 1974, when I was seven; I lived here until I was 18. And for the first time since I was 18, I’m living under my mom’s roof again, sleeping in the same bed I called my own as a boy.

Mom is 76, on the cusp of being genuinely elderly. She has her moments of great energy offset by those of lassitude. What doesn’t vary is her concern for me, a concern as comforting as it is oppressive. I’ve been the designated patient in my family since I was a teen; for nearly 30 years, my mother has worried about my mental health, my addictions, my penchant for self-destruction. Continue reading