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I READ WITH SHOCK and dismay the reckless and irresponsible review of my book, Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior by Maria Ware (“Artifacts,” 3/22). In her review, Ware says the following: “Deep down, you’re no better than Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, or some wacko who walks into his office and starts shooting. At least that’s what psychiatrist Robert I. Simon posits in [his book].” First of all, I drew very clear distinctions between the mind of people considered to be normal and the minds of serial killers. Secondly, I never used the demeaning word “wacko,” nor did I speak of anyone walking into my office and shooting. By inserting totally gratuitous notions of her own and blurring careful distinctions that I made in the book, Ware performed a disservice to me and any potential readers.
Ware goes on to fabricate the following: “Simon considers it normal, for instance, to imagine torturing one’s spouse or even one’s children.” This is absolutely outrageous. I never wrote such a thing, nor do I believe that to be true. People considered to be normal do not think about torturing their spouses or children. Many parents, however, do have angry feelings toward their children from time to time. Then Ware writes darkly that “charges of oversimplification don’t ruffle him.” What charges? No one has made such a charge. This book is anything but an oversimplification, a point that anyone would grasp immediately who read it.
In her final misrepresentation of my book, Ware writes, “After 30 years in practice, it is disappointing that Simon believes we all just need a good shrink.” Incredible and ridiculous! I believe no such thing. I would not have said that after one year of practice. I made very clear in many places in my book that relatively few people can benefit from insight therapy regarding their darker impulses.
Ware quoted me reasonably accurately from our phone conversation; it is quite clear to me that she did not read my book. At best, she might have scanned it. If Ware did read my book, then she is totally incompetent. She has attributed false statements to me that are defamatory and injurious to my reputation. She also grossly misrepresented my book to the public.
How can it be that a reporter would pretend to read a book, write a fictional review that attributes patently false statements and opinions to the author, and then pan the book? The fact that supposedly good people perform a variety of antisocial acts is one of the main observations of my book. But Ware does not have to read my book. All she needs to do is to take a closer look in the mirror.
School of Medicine