59 thoughts on “I Dare You to Find a Weirder Story Today

  1. He’s probably secretly hoping one of the children they’ll bare will be ‘born straight’, to put it mildly.

    As for finding weirder stories, this is the Internet. Shouldn’t be that hard..

  2. John,

    Do you remember Dr. Cecil Jacobson? You were living in the area at the time:

    During the course of the criminal investigation, another type of fraud came to light. For a variety of reasons, some patients had arranged to be artificially inseminated with sperm provided by screened, anonymous donors arranged by Jacobson. In order to preserve the anonymity of the donors, Jacobson explained, he identified them in records using code numbers; only Jacobson was to know their true identities. Investigators found no evidence that any donor program actually existed. Some of Jacobson’s patients who had conceived through donor insemination agreed to genetic testing. At least seven instances were identified in which Jacobson was the biological father of the patients’ children, including one patient who was supposed to have been inseminated with sperm provided by her husband. DNA tests linked Jacobson to at least 15 such children, and it has been suspected that he fathered as many as 75 children by impregnating patients with his own sperm.[

  3. Peter, I would be very, *very* surprised if he thinks sperm donation counts as cheating on his wife. Even if she does.

    I have a hunch that he’s the kind of person who is all about the technicalities of an agreement rather than the spirit of it … especially as applied to himself. (“We never had sex! How could it be cheating?”)

    Of course we don’t know whether they had some sort of non-traditional relationship agreement. Seems kinda unlikely, though.

  4. One of Spider Robinson’s stories said it all:

    If a felon is one who commits commits felony, God is an iron.

  5. Well, the headline implies hypocrisy but when one reads the article they discover that charge is false. Sure he was “anti-gay” (really anti-gay marriage) but, the article explains, he didn’t know he was donating to lesbians. As to the ick-factor of him needing to donate sperm to have more children, I find that a heck of a lot more among high-IQ Scientists/mathematicians than in Christians. I have spent decades working in the sciences and in mathematics and them listing high-IQ and chemistry degree for him just screamed “Asperger’s”.

  6. Actually, the article doesn’t say he had no idea they were lesbians; it says he claimed not to know the mothers’ “relationship status”, which is very odd coming from a man who says he intended to be part of the children’s lives.

    This doesn’t scream “Asperger’s”. It screams “asshole”.

  7. Good grief, people, be careful: the man is a member of Mensa. Insult him and he’s likely to come to your house and beat you at word puzzles.

  8. @Mythago, if he was dealing with women who wanted to be impregnated with his sperm and he didn’t know who these ladies were in a relationship with it’s a pretty solid bet he didn’t know he was dealing with one-half of a lesbian pair. So solid that an assumption that he didn’t know that they were lesbians is 100% safe.

  9. Oh come on…. he was having lunch with one of them when the newspaper interviewed him and has been financially supporting at least two of them, if he didn’t know their “relationship status” then I have some land in the Bering Straight to sell you

  10. @Scorpius: what Kathleen said. It also strains credulity that he wanted and expected to be a parent to these children, but had no idea if, say, these woman had a husband or partner who might object. The guy was apparently lying to his wife and stepchildren as well as to many of the women he impregnated; one wonders how much he was a “donor” as opposed to a daddy.

  11. I’m no expert, but I’d say he’s doing this cheating and being a conservative politician thing wrong. Luckily, he’s doing a pretty good job at the accidental incest thing.

  12. Donating sperm and financially supporting pregnant women while not knowing their relationship status. Wifey was not supposed to find out until after the kids are born.

    Puts a whole new spin on “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”

  13. Scorpius:

    Your crack that people with Asperger’s need to donate to sperm banks in order to have children was hugely offensive.

    I’m aware that you don’t care, but understand this: whenever someone says something like that, they come across as a raging asshole.

    Seriously. Don’t talk about things that you don’t have any knowledge of.

  14. Ian,

    That wasn’t my point. My point was that people with Asperger’s, especially the really smart ones, have a higher probability of wanting to procreate under any circumstances in order to “improve the stock” of humanity. Like I said, I’ve worked around a lot of Aspie’s (and have been accused of being one myself many times) and I see this attitude a lot.

    @Mythago and Kathleen, you’re assuming facts not in evidence, and you know what they say about making assumptions…

  15. you’re assuming facts not in evidence, and you know what they say about making assumptions…

    No, they’re going off the evidence they have available.

  16. On the face of it, this story does not appear remarkable (minus the first paragraph which I think was somewhat sensationalist) however the more one thinks about it, the more head scratching questions appear. At minimum, this is one of those incredibly odd what the hell stories.

  17. Speaking of assumptions:
    *The article implies that he donated “the old fashioned way” but….
    * His family needs to heal from the fact that he wasn’t honest with his wife about wanting children….need to breed is equal to need to eat? (*^*&%*)

    Might I point out that many anti-gay men (usually men) don’t consider lesbians as “gay”. It seems to me that only gay men are GAY. More human weirdness. But there you have it.

    I think he is a pig. (Apologies to swine everywhere)

  18. Scorpius,

    You’re making over-generalizations. Maybe the Aspies that you know have had this belief. That’s fine. None of the Aspies I know believe that.

    There is as much variation in people with autism as there is with all other people. Just because you know a few Aspies who have believed in procreation at all costs doesn’t mean all of us do.

    You’re assuming facts that are not in evidence. You know what they say about making assumptions…

  19. How about Ian P Johnson at 8.34 apologising for misunderstanding Scorpius? How in all the Hells do you get

    “Your crack that people with Asperger’s need to donate to sperm banks in order to have children was hugely offensive.” from a statement that this chap needed to donate sperm in order to have more children and he is likely to be a person with Asperger’s? His wife has had her womb removed, he could not have had children with her. How else would you have recommended that he have children if he found the urge was undeniable?

    Did anyone else notice the phrase “higher probability”? “Over-generalization” may come from your ignorance of semantics rather than the statements of Scorpius. Perhaps the Aspies you know are aware of what your opinion of them would be if they mentioned their attitudes and keep them private. I spend a lot of time modelling in my head what I should be saying.

    Asperger’s can certainly lead to people ignoring the obvious hurtfulness of their actions to their loved ones. Other arseholeries are available.

    If I wasn’t a Malthusian convinced that the world has already tipped beyond saving from disaster and our descendants will be doomed to death or savagery I would think humanity could do with more of my lovely Aspie genes (and a bloody good head of hair). But you don’t effin deserve them.

    But, on a lighter note, they say Assumptions can get you into Heaven.

  20. You know what, I’m calling a close to the Asperger line of comments in the thread. It’s not on target to the topic, and people are getting obnoxious. So no more, please.

  21. The bit I find weirdest (he’s a conservative American politician, I expect the crazy)- I live in Christchurch, and yet have never heard of the aid outfit he is with. What does Ceres do? There has been a hell of a lot of international support come here since the quakes, for which we will always be grateful. I would like though to know what his group does!

  22. Sarah:
    I was almost afraid to guess what Ceres does.
    Outside of this case of providing sperm to lesbians, I have never heard of this bunch.
    There is a website: http://www.ceres.org/ Looks like a coalition of big businesses and investors out to play at being green and sustainable. If they are legit, I wonder why so few people have heard of them.

  23. @Pat: Let’s pretend for a moment that feeling a strong desire makes that “undeniable” such that it’s perfectly OK to indulge it, no matter how selfish or hurtful it is. You can’t imagine any other way to deal with the desire to have biological children other than “having married a woman you knew could no longer bear children and having changed our mind about being OK with that, go behind your wife’s back, get a bunch of other women pregnant, and don’t tell her or them or, for that matter, your stepchildren what you’re doing until the kids are older”? Srsly?

    @Scorpius: as long as you’re embarrassing yourself playing lawyer on the internet, here’s another useful phrase: “credibility of the witness.” We have someone who lied to his wife, intended to tell her about his multiple children with other women only after they were born, intended to involve himself as a father in those children’s lives as much as possible (again, without ever having discussed it with his wife, has or is planning to impregnate at least six women (while acknowledging this is outside of ethical guidelines), provided financial support for at least two women and was interviewed while having dinner with a third…….and we’re supposed to infer that when he says ‘golly, never bothered to ask if they were single or whatever, who knew’ that now he’s Honest McTruthypants?

    I don’t see whether the women in question were lesbians as the biggest or even most hypocrisy-displaying issue here. If you marry someone knowing you can’t have kids with them and then almost ten years later your gonads start weeping, you owe your partner a little more in the responsible-behavior-marriage-respecting department than “Surprise, honey! I got half a dozen strangers knocked up.”

  24. I’m mostly weirded out about the sheer number. The world is full of hypocrites and people living secret lives. Its not all that marvelous.
    But the fact that until he was stopped he would have just kept going. – And could possibly still keep going – he only has to change locations.
    What’s to say he wasn’t already doing this same thing in Alabama?
    And eventually some over zealous donor is going to cause an awkward moment for his children, who find themselves in love with a sibling.

  25. I dare you to find a working link to the story. Honestly, Scalzi, sometimes you’re worse than Gaiman with webfailing. :P

  26. The whole thing makes me want to cry on his wife’s behalf more than anything else; what a colossal slap in the face. If she actually did want to have her husband’s baby but couldn’t, then Mr. Wonderful just turned something that I imagine was a pretty tender spot for her into a very public excuse for infidelity, and that’s got to hurt. And even if she didn’t want to have more children (not that I suspect he would -gasp!- lie about that), he’s still trying to weasel his way out of responsibility for his actions via the super classy combination of handwaving and pointing to his wife’s missing uterus. I’m sure we’re all thrilled that this man’s genes are being passed on.

    As far as the other women go, well, my sympathies to them for getting taken in by a lying scumbag in such a devastating way, and a note to self: if you ever decide to go looking for a sperm donor on the internet, of all places, do a little investigating first and try to make sure he’s not crazy, cheating on his spouse, or a politician. It’s just not worth the risk of something like that getting passed on to your baby.

  27. The whole thing makes me want to cry on his wife’s behalf more than anything else; what a colossal slap in the face.

    Um, Kendra, perhaps we could do Kathy Johnson the courtesy of letting her get weepy on her own behalf?

    It’s just not worth the risk of something like that getting passed on to your baby.

    I really hope the remedial genetics classes are working out for you. You know what, with all the judgemental crap gay and lesbian parents already face you’re not being particularly helpful with dirty genes cracks.

  28. mythago at 1.27, where did I say it was perfectly OK for him to be hurtful? You know humans act on these urges despite knowing the pain that will almost certainly result. Perhaps you would find the word “irresistible” more appropriate than “undeniable”? He found it irresistible/undeniable like addicts, gamblers, philanderers, trolls and adulterers do. I was asking what other options would be open to someone in that position, I was not approving his actions. In fact, I disapprove. I think his wife would be better off without him but that will be her decision.

    Srsly, you want to hassle me rather than state what you think he could have done? Or do you not believe in irresistible? I certainly can’t understand it with fertility issues, why would anyone want more than one child except because of self-indulgent narcissism? Give into biological urges by all means but let us be sensible about it (see above re: Malthusian beliefs).

    As for credibility of the witness, we are talking about a press report. Duh? The only time I was in a paper I was misquoted and they spelt my name wrongly.

    I don’t get the idea that light rather than heat is going result from further discussion so I’ll take IPJ’s stance:

    My work on your planet is done.

  29. Oh, except to say, Julia at 1.31, that I have no trouble with the link to that news article and a search on Google gives 52 live news links. There are significant developments in the story over the last few days that you might all want to look into.

  30. >> He moved to Christchurch after the February quake without his wife Kathy
    It gets lonely and every sperm is sacred?

  31. Welcome to Alabama….. its fun down here….. just don’t be gay, an immigrant, liberal, think about others, be ready for the lack of education you will get, and the lack of high taxes you have to pay, make sure you only believe and talk about the “right” christian values (which you don’t have to follow)… and be ready to eat some great bar-b-que and watch some good college football…. its great! Come on down! We are better than Mississippi… at least on Saturdays.

  32. My favorite quote from the article:

    “Asked if his wife knew he was donating sperm, he said: “She does now.””

  33. @Craig Ranapia

    Sorry, just can’t turn the empathy off like that, and wouldn’t if I could. It’s entirely possible I’m projecting, since I’m unable to have children myself, and have spent more than one sleepless night agonizing over it; if so, I may owe her an apology, should I ever meet her. Not sure why it seems so personally offensive to you that the story makes me sad for her, though.

    “I really hope the remedial genetics classes are working out for you. You know what, with all the judgemental crap gay and lesbian parents already face you’re not being particularly helpful with dirty genes cracks.”

    And…wow. I was so not referring to the genes from the lesbian parents in any way. I seem to have demonstrated the failure mode of clever there; I was trying to be snarky about the sperm donor, not the female parents, at least some of whom have been victimized by a lying sack of crap that calls itself a man. I was trying to be cute by suggesting that a tendency towards politics was both inheritable (obviously not true) and less desirable than insanity or infidelity (a matter of opinion)

    In all seriousness, though, there are a lot of genetic disorders that can cause problems for a child, ranging from the merely annoying (bad eyesight, for example) to the utterly devastating (like Huntington’s disease), which wouldn’t necessarily be obvious from a casual acquaintance with someone. One of the things a reputable sperm bank should do is screen for some of these conditions; it’s a lot less chancy that way than meeting a random person on the internet.

  34. I’ll take you up on your dare. How about this one:

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/mayor-bizarre-family-christmas-photo-goes-viral-165229261.html

    I am talking about the first half of the video — the Christmas photo story. The idea of Charlie Sheen using Twitter to send Justin Bieber a message IS a bit on the weird side, but since this is Charlie Sheen, it would have to be quite a bit stranger to out-weird your story.

    Now, if someone had reported that Charlie Sheen had been donating sperm to New Zealand lesbians, that would definitely be stranger.

  35. @Kendra:

    Thanks for the response, and fair enough. God knows if my (male) partner was fathering children on the downlow, I’d be bringing out that close relation to the Mallet of Loving Correction: The Rolling Pin of Domestic Disharmony. :) Sorry for coming across more hostile than was really called for, but I know just how tough it is for gay/lesbian parents of my acquaintance. Emotional and legal minefield is putting it mildly; especially when New Zealand is a pretty gay-friendly country, but there are still a lot of legal barriers in place. How crazy is it that basically I could legally adopt a child if I was single, but under current law my partner and I can’t?

  36. Wonder if it was a ploy so that he could immigrate to New Zealand (proof of a family ) which he’s now blown as per A5.1 Requirement of good character …

  37. @Craig

    Crazy, yes, and horribly unfair. There are an awful lot of kids out there whose parents don’t appear to want them very much, and a lot of potential parents who can’t have children of their own. Seems like it should be a no-brainer to put the two together, but we humans seem to have an infinite capacity to complicate things.

    It isn’t too hard to grasp that these women might have thought finding a donor would be easier or better than trying to adopt singly. I’m sure this guy came across as likeable enough, too; he’s a politician, it’s pretty much his job to tell people what they want to hear. I’m not even sure the situation would strike me as wrong (weird, yes, but not wrong) if it weren’t for the lying and infidelity; they were all consenting adults, after all. As it is, though, I wonder if they even make a big enough rolling pin to knock sense into this guy! Or maybe it should be quantity over quality; if all the women involved got together and threw rolling pins at him…

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