Freud, Jesus agree: Kerry Morrison finds LA County mental health court plans to be “hindering progress, in the way”

He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
As outlined here, Kerry Morrison, Executive Director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, recently wrote to California State Controller John Chiang asking him to force the State Judicial Council to pay the $42,857.88 that the HPOA claims they are in arrears. Well and good, we suppose, but in her letter, we find this argument:

Finally, though the courthouse has significantly scaled back its operations in the past couple of years, I understand that there are ambitious plans underfoot to centralize the county’s mental health and diversion courts into this facility. As such, with the anticipated crush of people — court employees, jurors, family members, and professionals — coming to Hollywood to do business each day, the services provided by the BID will help to enhance this experience for everyone.

Oh happy day! Imagine that you’re a mom or a dad coming to the Hollywood Courthouse to watch, e.g., your schizophrenic kid get locked up in Atascadero, where he will spend the rest of his natural life pumped full of thorazine and shut away in the restraint room but at least, thanks to the BID, you don’t have to step over a bunch of homeless people drinking Taaka vodka as you make your way into the building. Your experience surely would be enhanced, would it not? After all, what are drunken homeless people if not unwelcome reminders of the likely fate of the schizophrenic kid if he’s ever let out of the snakepit?

But that’s not the subject of tonight’s post.

Kerry tells John Chiang of her understanding that “there are ambitious plans underfoot to centralize the county’s mental health and diversion courts into” the Hollywood Courthouse. The indispensable Fifth Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language tells us that “underfoot” means “hindering progress, in the way.” The principle of charity directs us to consider the possibility that Kerry may have meant to use another word here. But “afoot,” an adjective often applied to plans, would certainly be a cliché, so that particular attribution wouldn’t be charitable. Perhap she meant to say “underway?”

We must turn for guidance to two heroic figures of textual analysis: Sigmund Freud and Jesus Christ. Sigmund tells us that no one can keep their thoughts secret. In other words, what they say is what they mean, even if they think they meant to say something else entirely. According to Sigmund, “underfoot” was intended, even if not consciously so.

Jesus vandalizing a corrupt fig tree because it had evil fruit (Matt. 21:19)
Jesus vandalizing a corrupt fig tree because it had evil fruit (Matt. 21:19)
Jesus has a complementary lesson for us: Don’t be so quick to believe what people profess their intentions to be.1 Instead, discern their meaning by looking to what they actually do.2 And what do they do?

The blind get helped across the street by gunmen, and the lame get told to stand up because they’re violating LAMC §41.18(d), the lepers are arrested, the dead are mocked, and the poor have Egg McMuffins given to them as they’re told to move along, move along. “Underfoot” is the right word after all: the progress of real estate development is being hindered, the homeless are in the way of Hollywood’s future. Evil fruit indeed.

  1. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt. 7:21-3
  2. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matt. 7:15-20

Image of Sigmund Freud with a putative cigar is public domain, having been made in 1922. You can get your own copy courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation here. Image of Jesus messing up the fig tree is by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib and appears here through the ever-flowing courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

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