prominent republican wives, latent feminism and the epidemic of ‘kabong syndrome’

The latest ugly incidence of wives of well-known Republicans attacking their husbands with stringed instruments has been the cause for a number of lurid headlines:

–Gary Skoien, Former Cook County GOP Chair, Beaten
By Wife
After Being Found With Prostitutes

–Fmr. GOP chairman caught with hookers, beaten by wife

Police report: Skoien with two prostitutes

Inverness Police say former Cook County Republican Chairman Gary Skoien admitted having two prostitutes in his children’s playroom when his wife walked in on him early Sunday morning.

The allegation is in a domestic battery report from Skoien, 55, against his 36-year-old, 5-foot-4-inch, 110-pound wife. He said she beat him with her fists and an electric guitar…

The police report said Skoien “told [the responding officer] he did in fact have prostitutes with him in the playroom when his wife caught him.” The playroom looked like “a struggle of some kind took place there…There were items turned and tossed around the room,” the report said.

“That’s how it was reported to us,” Barrington/Inverness Police Deputy Chief Jerry Libit said…

On Sunday night, he said his wife was driven home from a function and she went to bed. Skoien called a friend who came over and they were talking in the playroom when his wife woke up and began beating him with her fists and “a hard heavy electric guitar,” he said.

“I called police because I thought I was going to be killed,” Skoien said.

In an effort to understand this violent phenomenon, becoming more widely known as ‘Kabong Syndrome,’ we turned to an expert. In an online posting on her forensic blog “Tragic and Pre-Modern Feminism“, Professor of Women’s Studies at Webfeau University in Whitetower, Maryland, Emma Keen wrote that blood-letting domestic confrontations by well-to-do Republican wives is reaching epidemic proportions.

‘Forced to stand by their spouses and appear matrimonially satisfied under a mind-numbing array of conditions and insults, the tension between fantasy for them and reality for the rest of the adult female world starts out as a sore point, but eventually grows into a bristling, volcanic emergency. Unattended, it only requires a final relationship assault for a cataclysmic eruption to follow.’

These wives’ unique choices of weapon to register their dissatisfaction, the ‘Kabong Syndrome,’ is a particularly effective method of causing injury, both physical and psychological says Keen. Battered husbands are often left with years of therapy to recover; teenage children’s posters consisting of Who and Nirvana concert footage often cause panic attacks. The question, Keen believes, left for investigators and sociologists in the aftermath is ‘why’?

“The key to understanding the phenomenon, I now believe, is assessing the psychological perception of the household stringed instrument from the wives’ perspective. In most Republican homes, this object–say a guitar–holds almost no practical value: unattended, unplayed, nothing more than a decorative object. Yet there it remains every day, ever-present, on display. Still, it’s taken out when friends or family show up, but for no real reason: to be handled clumsily by strangers and then returned to some quiet corner after the event.”

“There is something powerful in the perceptions about the forlorn family instrument that causes wives in crisis to reach for it and vengefully crown their husbands.”

The most famous incident of the ‘syndrome’ may be nothing more than a myth: does the Professor put any stock in the rumor about the former first lady, Laura Bush, beating the President with an acoustic guitar in early 2006?

“Ah, yes, that story–she supposedly hit him over the back of the head with Hank Williams jr.’s Martin D-12 after George began secretly drinking with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What a great relief it would be to the suffering Party wives if she admitted it were true. But I doubt we’ll ever really know.”