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Newcombe, R. (2007). Beyond Redemption. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(3):447-461.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(3):447-461

Beyond Redemption

Rachel Newcombe, LICSW

Now that, with the passage of years, I have stopped brooding over the chain of infamy and ill-luck that caused my imprisonment, I have come to understand one thing: the only way to escape the prisoner's state is to know how the prison is built.

—Italo Calvino, Time and the Hunter

Standing on the steps of City Hall in a formal wedding gown with opera length gloves, Dennis Rodman, the cross-dressing bad boy of the NBA flashed a mischievous smile as the media stood by waiting to capture another antic of the infamous basketball player. His fans went wild. Rodman informed the world that he was going to get married, in drag, to a mystery woman. You can't get more outrageous than that. Though in the end, it was just one more of his numerous publicity stunts, Rodman went on to defiantly parade his unconventional behavior before swarms of people. Sports fans continued to laud his athletic prowess while seemingly ignoring his polymorphous perverse behavior—they accepted him as a total package, and for years I was extremely jealous of Dennis Rodman.

For many reasons, still baffling to me, psychoanalysts are not as accepting as sports fans when it comes to tolerating and forgiving wayward behavior, which is ironic, because we are a profession that professes to be interested in all meanings and expressions of behavior.

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