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Froggy’s Last Story
September 13, 2010 9:20 AM   Subscribe

“Immortality is for suckers. If even a few of my words outlive me by even one hour, then I have cheated death.” - F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre
posted by brundlefly (63 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
He sounds like a creep, and it is a bit terrifying to hear that torture can apparently be pled down to a misdemeanor in New York, but I have to say, getting a line like this

There were countless devices and literature suggesting an encyclopedic array of sexual deviancy.

into your obituary is pretty impressive.
posted by enn at 9:30 AM on September 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also "In 2000, MacIntyre was arrested after a neighbor said he duct-taped her to a chair, shaved her head, and painted her black. He wound up pleading guilty to third-degree misdemeanor assault." Yeesh!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:33 AM on September 13, 2010


I got a lot of "profoundly mentally ill" out of that. I don't see the mystery or the glamor, just a troubled soul and a sensationalized article.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:34 AM on September 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


It makes me sad that people really live these kinds of lives.
posted by bardophile at 9:34 AM on September 13, 2010


I saw this and thought about an FPP, but hesitated as I am totally unfamiliar with him as a writer. Can anyone here chime in more about this angle (from the NYT article):

“Among the science-fiction and online community, he was accepted and praised and feted,” he said. “He wasn’t a creepy old guy who lived in a rotten apartment.”

I did find this intriguing:

A characteristic of MacIntyre's writing (both fiction and non-fiction) is his penchant for coining new words and resurrecting obscure words. Language authority William Safire had acknowledged MacIntyre's neologisms.
posted by availablelight at 9:35 AM on September 13, 2010


I'm not registered at NYT so I can't read the article (I thought that was verboten). I don't know what it takes to be part of the "science-fiction and online community" but I have a library card and an internet connection and I've never heard of this guy. The "Works" section of the Wikipedia article lists magazines he was published in but very few actual works, so I don't know if I've read anything by him but it seems unlikely.
posted by DU at 9:38 AM on September 13, 2010


NM, his bibliography is right below "Works" (what?).
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2010


I'm not registered at NYT so I can't read the article (I thought that was verboten).

Huh. I'm not logged in but can read it fine. Weird.
posted by brundlefly at 9:44 AM on September 13, 2010


I'm getting the paywall too.
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on September 13, 2010



Huh. I'm not logged in but can read it fine. Weird.
I can get in sometimes, and not others. I think they check to see how many times you've visited before redirecting you to the paywall? So maybe you can slip in through a proxy? Alternately there are firefox plugins that allow you to change the user agent that might help you slip through.

Sooner or later, we really just have to stop aggregating links that the majority of people can't ready though!
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:54 AM on September 13, 2010


I'm not registered at NYT so I can't read the article (I thought that was verboten).
Jesus, just get an account dude. I've had one since I've been in highschool. It doesn't cost any money to read the articles and hasn't for years.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2010


No paywall for me.

Yes he sounds weird. Yes he sounds like a creep. Yes it sounds like a catastrophic spiral downwards into mental illness. And yes, it's pretty messed up that the final consequence of it all was his taking a whole apartment building with him.

But it's also kind of nice to hear that he did have admirers, fans and friends, and that they did love him.
posted by Ahab at 10:02 AM on September 13, 2010


Paywall? Have they started charging for article access? The last time I hit any kind of registration page, it was still free. It's still annoying, of course. Bugmenot usually works OK if I recall correctly.
posted by kmz at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2010


kmz: "Paywall? Have they started charging for article access? "

No, people are using the word paywall inappropriately.
posted by boo_radley at 10:05 AM on September 13, 2010


Suicide by fire?

That says to me that this was someone who really hated themselves.
posted by quin at 10:05 AM on September 13, 2010


I totally could not finish my lunch after reading that, and I'm not sure why. It was just completely offputting--the story itself, the way it was written, everything.
posted by padraigin at 10:06 AM on September 13, 2010


“Immortality is for suckers. If even a few of my words outlive me by even one hour [because I am an attention whore who risked other people's lives to go out with a bang], then I have cheated death.”

Ordinarily I don't like to snark about people who have left others behind to mourn, but this guy sounds like a jerk and a half.
posted by Madamina at 10:08 AM on September 13, 2010


For free access to this article and more, you must be a registered member of NYTimes.com.
posted by Gator at 10:08 AM on September 13, 2010


.
posted by hermitosis at 10:09 AM on September 13, 2010


Oh, dear! I've actually been a fan of his for a long time, but that kidnapping the neighbor thing is a bit... much. :-( And the whole story is completely at variance with his SF-nal persona - though it's both ghastly and sad and, well, a little funny too.

Really interesting though, great read! Surprised the Times couldn't find an SF magazine cover with his name on it, heck, I know I have at least one.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:10 AM on September 13, 2010


First the flames consumed a lifetime of possessions; then they feasted on his weary flesh, ending his painful 59-year earthly existence.

"On his weary flesh"? Christ. As in so many ways, the NYT remains a decade behind The Onion.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:13 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope someone grabbed those manuscripts out of the dumpster. Or else I hope the rats enjoy great(?) unpublished literature. Either way, salut.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:16 AM on September 13, 2010


I made a free New York Times account for anyone who wants to read the story and can't access it without registering. (I could read it without logging in.)

name: nytmefi
password: metafilter
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on September 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I finally registered after this being about the fifth NYT link this week, it didn't ask me for money but previously I could read links from here without it asking, dunno what's happened to make a difference.

I'm kind of uncomfortable with the whole mental illness/genius writer cliche. He sounds like not a good person to have had as a neighbour at the very least and I'm not sure the article doesn't lean heavily on it.
posted by shinybaum at 10:30 AM on September 13, 2010


zarq, that's a great idea. Do you think it'll last if everyone uses it? If so, should someone post it over at metatalk so people who don't read this thread know about it too?
posted by Ahab at 10:46 AM on September 13, 2010


No one wants to point out that he could have burned up a lot of innocent people during his suicide?

A-hole
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 10:47 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was put in mind of Chris Ware's failed writer/fanboy/nutcase, Rusty Brown. Acme Novelty Library #19, the most recently published book, contains a graphic novel visualization of Brown's sole SF-mag published story, "The Seeing-Eye Dogs of Mars," which is brilliantly integrated into Ware's exploration of Brown's deeply damaged psyche.

From D&Q's description of the issue (linked above, and almost certainly penned by Ware):

"... a new chapter from the electrifying experimental narrative "Rusty Brown," which examines the life, work and teaching techniques of one of its central real-life protagonists, W. K. Brown. A previously marginal figure in the world of speculative fiction, Brown's widely-anthologized first story "The Seeing Eye Dogs of Mars" garnered him instant acclaim and the coveted White Dwarf Award for Best New Writer when it first appeared in the pages of Nebulous in the late 1950s, but his star was quickly eclipsed by the rise of such talents as Anton Jones, J. Sterling Imbroglio and others of the so-called "psychovisionary" movement. (Modern scholarship concedes, however, that they now owe a not inconsequential aesthetic debt to Brown.) New surprises and discoveries concerning the now-legendarily reclusive and increasingly influential writer mark this nineteenth number of the ACME Novelty Library ..."

Please note, Rusty Brown is not an actual real-life person, AFIAK.
posted by mwhybark at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2010


Intriguing but disturbing. "He stripped me and buzz-shaved my head and then spray-painted me black — my whole body".... I'm surprised he was still allowed to even live in the building after that! The article seemed to portray him in a better light, especially considering that he could have killed people by lighting a fire at 9:30 at night, when people were probably sleeping.
posted by mdbronco at 10:57 AM on September 13, 2010


zarq, that's a great idea. Do you think it'll last if everyone uses it? If so, should someone post it over at metatalk so people who don't read this thread know about it too?

To the best of my knowledge, the New York Times doesn't track logins by location, and they allow multiple login instances for each account. I used to belong to a scifi mailing list that established their own login for list use, and we never experienced any difficulties.

If you'd like to post to MeTa, feel free.
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on September 13, 2010


I should note that this review identifies the author of the story cited above as not Rusty, but his father, Woody. That would make sense given the prior depictions of Rusty as a kid in the seventies while Woody is shown as a person at work sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

I did not make a distinction between the characters when I read the work, probably partially attributable to the long production time Ware requires.
posted by mwhybark at 11:04 AM on September 13, 2010


Sad man. Shame about the derail.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:05 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I totally could not finish my lunch after reading that, and I'm not sure why. It was just completely offputting--the story itself, the way it was written, everything.

The reason we find the story so disturbing is because he comes very close to being someone we would very much admire and in fact probably want to be: A member of the league of anachronistic gentlemen, accomplished with words, a mind stuffed with arcane knowledge, an apartment crowded with fascinating bric-a-brac and old ephemera, cocooned in a world of private obsessions, invisible to the world at large, but hugely appreciated by a small group of cultivated cogniscenti -- a tall man with individualistic facial hair who might very well have gone out in eccentric dress with a walking cane. We think he's a lot like us, or our vision of ourselves -- until we learn the extent of his howling insanity, find out he is a kidnaps women and tortures them, and unsucessfully try to imagine a state of mind so depraved that it would not only burn itself to death with actual fire, but take any number of other lives with it. Then we get sick, and set aside our lunches.
posted by Faze at 11:10 AM on September 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


...find out he is a kidnaps women and tortures them...

Well, there was only the one. Thank God.
posted by nomadicink at 11:16 AM on September 13, 2010


The reason we find the story so disturbing is because he comes very close to being someone we would very much admire and in fact probably want to be

...

We think he's a lot like us, or our vision of ourselves


You're being a little free with the "we" there.
posted by zarq at 11:21 AM on September 13, 2010


Wow, fascinating.

His Fly-Tipping In New York article, tellingly about his conflicted relationship with garbage.

Both as a former New York City building super and as a person who went to various group therapy meetings for years, I'm all too familiar with people who are chronically depressed, sitting on a volcano of unprocessed and unresolved rage, survived evil parent/s, have/had the hoarding-messy-apartment-food issues-obsessive-compulsive-brilliant-but-dysfunctional-split-public/private-persona lifestyle of Fergus. Some people with hoarding issues choose to heal and are capable of working on it. Messies Anonymous.

Most any super in NYC will tell you that they have to deal with the side effects in the building of at least one hoarder tenant, often with some variation on the issues like Fergus. Just a couple of winters ago, a fire in a hoarder's apartment two buildings over from me went up in a blaze that took out three floors of the building (nobody killed). On hearing the sounds of shattered glass, I looked out the window next to my computer, as it happened while writing a comment on MetaFilter, and saw the firemen shoveling the masses of papers into the back alley in a shower of sparks. A hundred of us neighbors shuffled out into the winter night, almost all in pajamas, many holding their laptops to their chest protectively. We waited to see if the monster fire might spread from one tenement building to another.

It's my speculation that hoarding, like certain types of weight gain, is an expression of physical boundaries that arise when a person was sexually abused in childhood, or violated with parental suffocating over-control. The hoarding mess, I think, is a way of creating a physical fortress, an island of sorts, an imaginary safe-haven that puts a barrier between the person and The Other.

One of my tenants was a hoarder. She was brilliant, a writer, eccentric. I learned from her mother that she was raped by her father. Neighbors were fed up with both the river of roaches and rats that poured out of that person's apartment. It took two years and many trips to court with numerous neighbors to evict the hoarder. No amount of offering her help to clean, time for her to clean it up herself, cajoling, made a difference. When they went in after an emergency, firemen told me the entire building was in danger with the masses of paper. The tenant was evicted on grounds of endangering the safety of her neighbors' lives by fire. I saw her in Port Authority years later with a shopping cart, she was homeless.

While I feel sympathy for Fergus, the wounded adult child of possibly sociopathic parent/s, he was not merely a victim. He then acted out his agony by torturing a neighbor and set fire to the building with the intention of burning it down, wanting to destroy his neighbors' homes and commit multiple murders too. That is, in my opinion, also sociopathic.

In spite of his acting out, I can't help being curious about his writing, his neologisms.

Although it quite likely destroyed at least one neighbor's apartment and belongings with the smoke damage, I'm very glad nobody else was hurt in the fire.
posted by nickyskye at 11:30 AM on September 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Thanks to Faze for the phrase of the day: "individualistic facial hair"
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:51 AM on September 13, 2010


Well, there was only the one
Thank God


..... Oh, well, *that's* all right, then. Surely that's below the number of kidnap/abuse victims any reasonable person would find cause to object to. (Remind me, what is the cutoff number these days? Four? Five?)
posted by webmutant at 12:12 PM on September 13, 2010


I don't find the mentally ill amusing.
posted by maxwelton at 12:19 PM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On Sept. 10, 2000, according to Ms. Lapointe, Mr. MacIntyre grabbed her, duct-taped her to a chair and began torturing her and threatening her life. "He stripped me and buzz-shaved my head and then spray-painted me black — my whole body,” said Ms. Lapointe, who broke free and ran to a friend’s house.
There is something really strange to me about this account, and considering all the other lies Froggy has spread about himself even though this isn't recounted by him I'm wondering how much of it to take at face value.

He allegedly has a whole array of sex toys yet he uses duct tape to tie her up? And how do you tie someone up with duct tape, then strip them? And the word torture is used here yet it's not a word I'd use to describe either to an involuntary haircut or body paint job (though those acts do sound pretty awful and reek of ritual humiliation), so it seems that a great deal is not being said here, and I'm wondering if that's because it might make even less sense than the logistical problems with the duct tape which don't make a lick of sense to me unless there is some cooperation involved.
posted by localroger at 1:20 PM on September 13, 2010


The Kosinski tie-in is rather interesting. I haven't read this man's work, but he seems like a more vicious Ignatius J. Reilly, interested in science fiction rather than Boethius.
posted by adipocere at 1:22 PM on September 13, 2010


Immortality is for suckers. Wait, is he talking about vampires?
posted by asfuller at 1:27 PM on September 13, 2010


Oh, well, *that's* all right, then.

If you believe that zero is better than one, that implies that one, no matter how many shades of messed up even one might be, is preferable to two. Etc.

The part that makes it REALLY disturbing part is you can plea this down to a third degree misdemeanor. Would the details of that even show up in a background checks or could you just claim a guy in a bar took a swing at you and your were just trying to defend yourself? You know, when you applied for a job at the nursing home or day care center.

I think I need to go take a shower.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:13 PM on September 13, 2010


Really interesting though, great read! Surprised the Times couldn't find an SF magazine cover with his name on it, heck, I know I have at least one.

Actually, they asked for specific covers (I provided the Times with that cover scan of Asimov's), so I assume they had something in mind when they chose that one in particular.

Anyway, he was always very professional with me, and honestly, in science fiction, that's more than a lot of people can manage. I have to admit that I was a bit uncomfortable around him and didn't exactly go out of my way to be more than simply professional in return (and I often felt bad about that, because he really was nice), but that his issues went beyond simply SFnal idiosyncrasies was fairly apparent to me.

So as others have said, it's really no great surprise that he was seriously mentally ill, but that only adds to the tragedy, as far as I'm concerned.

.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:19 PM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you think it'll last if everyone uses it?

If not, there's Bug Me Not.
posted by Evilspork at 3:08 PM on September 13, 2010


Considering the way-too-often-assumed 'pattern' of anti-social/deviant behavior, there is something strange about the fact that he committed such an extreme/protracted act ONLY ONCE. Possible explanations (none of which get much play in the media): (1) he 'satisfied' himself so thoroughly that the 'need' to do something like that ever arose again, (2) he ended up disgusting himself with his own actions sufficiently to keep it from bubbling over again (or at least until his suicide/arson), (3) the mere threat of punishment cowed him (which it does for a few people), or (4) he did do other things as heinous in the years since but never got caught (extra rare; those who get caught the first time usually get caught the second too).
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:33 PM on September 13, 2010


oneswellfoop: There is a fifth option, which is that he didn't do it. People plead guilty to things they didn't do all the time, and no matter what occurred that night, the story is deeply weird, as localroger points out.

I saw Froggy once at a sci fi convention in the mid 90s. He was funny and super strange, which, combined with a ringing endorsement from Harlan Ellison at the con, was enough for me to at least try one of his novels. I read The Woman Between the Worlds, which I'd enjoyed, but I stopped reading much sci fi not long after and hadn't thought of him since. All I can say is, 15 years later, he left enough of an impression on me to know exactly who "Froggy" was. What a sad, strange story.
posted by Doug at 4:14 PM on September 13, 2010


oneswellfoop, that's another good point. It's also curious that in the list of odd things he did to her, sexual assault is conspicuously absent. Which is undoubtably why it pled down to a misdemeanor. But c'mon, how many guys with this kind of inclination tie up a girl, take off her clothes, and then nobody alleges there was sexual contact? Or you completely forget to mention that when recounting the incident?

There are many reasons why this smells like another one of the Big Fish stories Froggy obviously liked to spread about himself. The question if so is why the girl is telling it for him.
posted by localroger at 4:20 PM on September 13, 2010


Oh, and wouldn't there be a chair with paint on it somewhere? I mean the more you think about this thing...
posted by localroger at 4:21 PM on September 13, 2010


What the hell is it with Metafilter having trouble believing women when they claim to be assaulted? Running to a neighbour naked, bald and painted black is something that I'm sure is pretty easy to confirm.
posted by Jilder at 9:38 PM on September 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


The NYT article references Gwynplaine (and links to Conrad Veidt playing him) from Hugo's The Man Who Laughs. MacIntyre chose this name and it must have had meaning for him. In Hugo's novel, Gwynplaine is kidnapped as a child by Comprachicos who cripple or mutilate children and turn them into carnival attractions. Gwynplaine's face is carved up so that he has a perpetual grin and his other features -- ears, nose -- are mutilated in such a way that everyone who looks at him laughs. Gwynplaine, of course, has no option but to respond with his eternal smile. MacIntyre also claimed to have monstrous hands.
NYT: ...he kept yelling, ‘I want to die and I’m going to take everyone in the building down with me,’ ...
There is some terrible self-loathing here.
posted by CCBC at 12:35 AM on September 14, 2010


Here's a little more with some book covers. And this entry in the ISDFB. Some great short story titles there: "Teeny-Tiny Techno-Tactics", "The Unpleasantness at the Baloney Club", "Schrödinger's Cat-Sitter"...
posted by CCBC at 1:01 AM on September 14, 2010


What the hell is it with Metafilter having trouble believing women when they claim to be assaulted?

This is a rather unusual circumstance, since very other single alleged "fact" about Froggy's life cited in the article is open to at least some question. And having more than a passing fascination with both crime and sexual paraphilia, I can say this sounds like nothing I've ever read about, and I've read quite a lot on both topics.
posted by localroger at 5:50 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What an asshole.

You want to kill yourself? Fine. That's a personal decision. But setting a fire in an occupied multi-family dwelling? That's attempted murder. Fuck that.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:32 AM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a rather unusual circumstance, since very other single alleged "fact" about Froggy's life cited in the article is open to at least some question.

"Staring into the charred mess, she said, weeping, 'It's what he deserves, for what he did to me.'""

Unless she's also mentally unhinged, something serious happened between the two that made her both deathly afraid and unable to ever forgive him.

Running to a neighbour naked, bald and painted black is something that I'm sure is pretty easy to confirm.

And that. There's no way he would have pled guilty if it was a "he said, she said" case.

Well, there was only the one. Thank God.

Yes, there was one. That we know about. I shudder to think.

And how do you tie someone up with duct tape, then strip them?

You tape their wrists and ankles to a chair and then rip off their clothes. How is it so hard to imagine?

"he was a staunch right-winger"

No comment.

"I want to die and I’m going to take everyone in the building down with me!"

Stay classy, Froggy.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:36 AM on September 14, 2010


mrgrimm, it is obvious that Froggy is a very disturbed and potentially dangerous person. But many people picked the incident with Ms. LaPointe out as being particularly heinous, while it strikes me as being just as full of holes as all of the other stories told by and about him.

Considering we take at face value that LaPointe did indeed flee naked, shaven, and painted black to a neighbor's house (which itself is a neat trick since both Froggy and LaPointe were neighbors in a mid-city apartment building this must have been a considerable run, consider:
  1. Somehow, acting alone, he managed to subdue an uncooperative person and tie her up with duct tape without injuring her (would have been heavier charge), using a weapon to force compliance (again, much heavier charge), or using some quicker and more practical restraint like handcuffs (surely would have been mentioned) to quickly secure her. Trust me, it is not all that easy to tie up someone who is only pretending not to cooperate because they like a little realism under those circumstances.
  2. Despite owning an extensive collection of sex toys he ties her up with duct tape.
  3. Somehow, after tying her up with duct tape, he manages to disrobe her. If you can figure out how he did that I have a moustache-twirling evil villain character who would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
  4. After going to all the trouble to get her tied up and naked he does a couple of things calculated to look and sound awful in description but which do no permanent harm, and no mention is made of sexual assault. None. At all. Not even by accusation. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Me neither. And despite the use of the word "torture" there must not be any injuries or evidence thereof sufficient to let the DA file charges over her objections, which he certainly would if he thoght he could get a conviction.
What I suspect happened here is that this was supposed to be a cooperative contribution to the dramatic tableaux that was Froggy's fictional life, but it got out of hand, LaPointe freaked out, and Froggy handled that badly. But the end story is also structured to clear LaPointe of certain embarrassing things -- Froggy gets the blame, the whole blame, and nothing but the blame, but any hints that it might not have been a random unprovoked spur of the moment assault have been swept under the rug by both parties. The resulting story doesn't make much sense but the cops have at least a small charge, and Froggy probably feels the result is a suitable addendum to the legend that is Froggy.

That is at least something I can picture in three dimensions like a little movie in my head where all the parts connect together and make sense. What is literally described in the account, not so much.
posted by localroger at 2:45 PM on September 14, 2010


Oh, and on afterthought:

You tape their wrists and ankles to a chair and then rip off their clothes. How is it so hard to imagine?

Because that's not how you tie someone up with duct tape, at least if you want them to stay put. You can slip the tape along the legs and arms or back of the chair, and twist the join, which will quickly stretch the tape.
posted by localroger at 2:57 PM on September 14, 2010


localroger, your extended skepticism and persistence in convincing anyone is a little boggling here. You think Froggy pleaded guilty to a crime he didn't commit to further his reputation? Huh?!

What I suspect happened here is that this was supposed to be a cooperative contribution to the dramatic tableaux that was Froggy's fictional life, but it got out of hand, LaPointe freaked out, and Froggy handled that badly.

Is there ANY evidence of this, aside from your imagination? I'm not going to waste much (more) time on this, but some of your points seem bizarre to me.

I'm sure that he could have lured her into the situation willingly, but at some point, she obviously changed her mind and was forced to be tied up and then assaulted.

Trust me, it is not all that easy to tie up someone who is only pretending not to cooperate because they like a little realism under those circumstances.

Look at how fat he was. He could have sat on her. (Not a joke.)

Despite owning an extensive collection of sex toys he ties her up with duct tape.

So WHICH of his sex toys should he have used instead? I have bondage toys, but nothing that would work quicker or easier than duct tape (maybe plastic twist ties (not sex toys), but those seem breakable) in tying someone to a chair.

After going to all the trouble to get her tied up and naked he does a couple of things calculated to look and sound awful in description but which do no permanent harm

Does non-violent rape with no physical damage do no "permanent harm"? I'm pretty sure LaPointe would disagree with your conclusion. Apparently, she believes the fitting punishment for his behavior was death.

And the things he does (shaving her head, painting her black) don't sound "awful." They sound "twisted" and "sexually perverse" to me.

Somehow, after tying her up with duct tape, he manages to disrobe her.

Listen, I'm not going to get into too much detail, but if you can't imagine how you could remove someone's clothes after securing their wrists and ankles (especially if they are wearing a skirt and/or short sleeves), your imagination is limited.

no mention is made of sexual assault

So tying someone up involuntarily and ripping their clothes off is NOT inherently a sexual assault? I just want to clarify your POV here (because, again, it seems rather alien to me.) What if he stood there and masturbated? What if he stood there and videotaped her and then masturbated to it later? Would either situation make it a sexual assault?

Because that's not how you tie someone up with duct tape

How do YOU know how I tie people up with duct tape?!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:15 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there ANY evidence of this, aside from your imagination?

There is little evidence here for anythiing. There is an account which makes no sense, like a lot of other stories about this person's life which makes no sense either. To think that this one must be taken at face value just because it is an assault report from a woman about a man is about as shallow as it gets. This guy obviously had a lot of shit going on and none of it was at all normal. Having slept on it myself the very idea that this should be taken at face value seems even stupider than it did yesterday.

I'm sure that he could have lured her into the situation willingly, but at some point, she obviously changed her mind and was forced to be tied up and then assaulted.

I think what you have backward here is: the situation he lured her into was tying her up. That part was consensual. It was only what happened after she was tied up that went off the rails.

Look at how fat he was. He could have sat on her. (Not a joke.)

Having until recently been pretty obese myself I can tell you that doesn't work too well, particularly if you're trying to tie her to a chair. Spread-eagle, with ready hooks in the floor, maybe. Chair? No.

So WHICH of his sex toys should he have used instead?

HANDCUFFS. THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE INVENTED FOR. It is not very simple to subdue a person all by yourself who is resisting, and with DUCT TAPE? Have you ever noticed that it takes TWO HANDS to deploy duct tape? While you are doing that what hand are you using to HOLD THE VICTIM DOWN?

Does non-violent rape with no physical damage do no "permanent harm"?

If there was any suggestion of rape or sexual contact of any kind, even without the victim's consent the DA would have prosecuted. That's how it works. There was no sexual assault. If there had been either accusation or evidence the charge would not have been a misdemeanor. DA's who have even the flimsiest of cases of that type do not plead them down. For a DA, that's re-election meat.

Listen, I'm not going to get into too much detail, but if you can't imagine how you could remove someone's clothes after securing their wrists and ankles (especially if they are wearing a skirt and/or short sleeves), your imagination is limited.

YOU CANNOT SECURE SOMEONE BY WRISTS AND ANKLES WITH DUCT TAPE. THAT DOES NOT WORK. FILE THIS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, ETC.

You secure someone with duct tape by semi-mummification. Trying to use duct tape the way you would use handcuffs or cuffs leads to a stalled scene where your girl is laughing at you because she got out.

You can get someone in a position where they can't get out, such as both forearms and forelegs duct-taped to legs of a suitably strong chair, but not effectively without cooperation. In most RL criminal cases this is arranged by threat with a weapon, but in Froggy's case no weapon was used. There was neither evidence nor accusation of the use ofa weapon, because if there were either it would not have been pleaded to a misdemeanor.

So tying someone up involuntarily and ripping their clothes off is NOT inherently a sexual assault?

No, actually, it isn't, those things have definitions you can look up. You have to at least touch someone's crotch, and really with a skeptical grand jury penetrate something with something for it to be sexual. Otherwise it's just plain assault.

How do YOU know how I tie people up with duct tape?

I don't tie people up with duct tape because I have better tools. As Froggy almost certainly did.

I think what happened here is the DA realized he had a kinky sex scene gone bad and got what he could out of it mainly because neither partner wanted the real truth to be known, and the real truth would have just embarrassed everybody to hell and resulted in laughter instead of a conviction.
posted by localroger at 7:51 PM on September 15, 2010


So, I found this intriguing, and hopefully it will defuse some of this fightiness, but I tried googling Helene LaPointe to find out more about the assault she reported.

At first, I just tried putting in "LaPointe" and "duct tape" and wouldn't you know it, there is a blogger named LaPointe (not the same woman, alas), who actually put "duct tape bondage" in her profile.

So, apparently, it's a thing. Huh.
posted by misha at 8:38 AM on September 16, 2010


Duct Tape Bondage.
posted by misha at 8:39 AM on September 16, 2010


How do you explain Ms. LaPointe's continued bad feelings towards him, even after Froggy's arrest and conviction? If the alleged crime were actually "a kinky sex scene gone bad" you think she would downplay it now.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:37 AM on September 16, 2010


mrgrimm, I find it easy to believe Ms. LaPointe went into the scene expecting one thing and got another, and when she protested Froggy didn't back down. I'm NOT claiming that he did nothing wrong -- what I'm claiming is that the scene as described does not make sense, and that the impression it creates, that he might have pounced on random women and assaulted them in this way, is probably wrong and it probably started as a consensual (if poorly negotiated) game.

I find it worth going back to because everyone pounces on this particular thing as THE proof that Froggy really was BAD. I'd say that Froggy probably was not a danger to random women. LaPointe was known to him. I seriously suspect she entered the game, probably including taking off her clothes, willingly, but playing BDSM with someone who obviously hated himself as muchas Froggy did is probably never a good idea.

If you want BAD it's probably more the setting a fire in the apartment thing that cinches that.

Oh and for misha, yes, there are people who do like duct-tape bondage. I'm not saying you can't tie someone up with it, I'm saying that if you don't have an accomplice or some threat like a gun to make a person sit still, you're not going to duct tape someone who's resisting. Duct tape has a particular fan culture because the way it works, as I wrote before, is semi-mummifcation. It's like a pliant but impenetrable cocoon. Some people like that effect and the sex toys that mimic it are very expensive and, if you're into that sort of thing, really don't work as well.
posted by localroger at 4:55 PM on September 16, 2010


I'd say that Froggy probably was not a danger to random women.

Fair enough. My knowledge of him and his situation is so limited I shouldn't form any opinions anyway.

If you want BAD it's probably more the setting a fire in the apartment thing that cinches that.

Uh, yep. The whole "I want to kill everyone in this building" probably ruined his rep as a "crazy but not dangerous guy."

re: duct tape, etc. I'm willing to cede to your apparent authority in the subject, but I am still fairly convinced I could subdue someone much smaller than me and tie her to a chair with duct tape, even if she was resisting. I guess it depends on the size differential.

Crazy semi-derail ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:51 AM on September 17, 2010


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