Return to Transcripts main page
Lindsay Lohan Case: The Inside Story; Domestic Violence Today
Aired May 12, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go now.
We`ve got a big exclusive for you. She was the prosecutor in the Lindsay Lohan case until last week. The deputy district attorney is here with me tonight.
Also, women savaged by their own partners, the secret shame of domestic abuse. We`re going to bring it out in the open.
Plus, a big shot Hollywood director has chucked the trappings of fame. I think he`s on to something.
Let`s get going.
The woman who was the prosecutor in the Lindsay Lohan case is with us exclusively tonight. Danette Meyers is no longer on the case because it went to city jurisdiction, which I`m going to tell you what that means in just a second. That happened last week. She`s going to take us inside the trial.
And I want to give people a reminder here that Danette is running for L.A. County district attorney.
So let`s talk a little Lindsay here.
Explain what happened that got you off the case.
DANETTE MEYERS, L.A. COUNTY DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, what happened was at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the judge, although she found that there was sufficient evidence that Lindsay Lohan had committed the grand theft --
PINSKY: This was the necklace stealing.
MEYERS: Correct. She found that instead of a felony, it should be a misdemeanor. So there`s a specific provision of the California penal code. It`s 17B5. It gives the court jurisdiction to reduce it on its own mission to a misdemeanor. Once Judge Sautner did that, it then became the jurisdiction of the city attorney because of where the incident occurred.
PINSKY: So she`s now with the city attorney.
MEYERS: She`s now with the city attorney`s office.
PINSKY: Did it surprise you that it went to a misdemeanor?
MEYERS: It definitely surprised me, and it surprised me because she was on probation, and she was on formal probation. Additionally, she had violated her probation on a number of times.
And, therefore, I thought, you know what? She`s in that category of folks that we want to continue to have this as a felony because of her conduct and because of her past. And so when the judge reduced it I was quite surprised.
PINSKY: I`m sort of rooting for Lindsay.
PINSKY: Are you?
MEYERS: Well, I`m rooting for everyone who comes into the criminal justice system, because I don`t want them to come back into the criminal justice system.
PINSKY: That`s my question. Let`s say you had a child who was getting in trouble like Lindsay. Would jail do you think help her?
MEYERS: I think jail helps when you continually violate your probation. My position is that you have to catch the person`s attention first, and then rehabilitation second.
I`m all for rehabilitation. As a matter of fact, I love rehabilitation, because that means my job is easier. You don`t come back. You don`t come across my desk, and it`s great. It`s great for society. You go back into society, and we all benefit from that.
PINSKY: Now, in this case, I went off yesterday -- I think that`s why you`re here today -- about Lindsay`s -- the judge in Lindsay`s case and this recent sort of -- she, from the bench, said, you don`t have a substance problem, you have a psychiatric problem. And that really disturbed me as a clinician.
Do you have reaction to that?
MEYERS: Well, normally what happens in case -- because I`m a deputy D.A., and I have absolutely no expertise in whether or not someone has a substance abuse problem.
PINSKY: I would disagree. You must interact with enough of my patients, you have some understanding of it. But you don`t have expertise. I understand that. You go to the experts.
MEYERS: I don`t have the expertise. I go to the experts. So, normally what happens is, we have the court appoint experts, and we tell them, these are the parameters, we want you to render an opinion.
PINSKY: And that`s what happened earlier in Lindsay`s case. Right?
MEYERS: That`s what happened earlier.
PINSKY: And then she got treatment and things were going well for her.
MEYERS: Correct. And so that`s what happens.
We`re the experts on punishment in terms of, OK, the expert has rendered an opinion, now how do we get to that issue? Do we get to it without incarceration, or do we get to it with incarceration and rehabilitation?
So those are the parameters that I deal with, and I like -- what I like to see when someone continues to violate their probation, I want to catch their attention. I want them to know that we`re serious, that we`re concerned about them. The court system is concerned about them. And I think that jail does that for some people.
And then after that jail time, I want to see rehabilitation. I want to see programs. I want to see you doing things.
And in this particular case, my opinion was that there needed to be some jail time, and then there needs to be some rehabilitation. And I`m not opposed to rehabilitation. I think it`s fabulous. I think we need to have it more in the criminal justice system, and we don`t.
PINSKY: What do you think is going to happen to Lindsay?
MEYERS: I don`t know. I can tell you what I hope happens.
I hope that now she wakes up and realizes, you know what, I have a future, I have a life, and let me get on the straight road. That`s what I really hope. And I hope that for every defendant who comes across my desk.
PINSKY: It doesn`t usually happen like that.
MEYERS: It doesn`t usually happen, and normally I don`t handle these kinds of cases. Normally, I`m the handling the defendants who are going to be incarcerated the rest of their lives.
During the Lindsay Lohan case I had prosecuted a death penalty case. The defendant received death. And just recently, I prosecuted, along with a colleague of mine, prosecuted a Mexican Mafia case where both the defendants are going to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.
So this was sort of something in my career I normally don`t do at this point in time.
PINSKY: Well, the sad part for me is that Lindsay doesn`t get the sustained treatment that she needs. I agree with you, putting somebody in jail may catch their attention. But then they need long-term treatment with some accountability along the way, like a year or two years.
MEYERS: Oh, I agree.
PINSKY: Are the courts comfortable with issuing those sorts of mandates?
MEYERS: I think the courts are comfortable with it. You have a probationary period for three years. And normally what happens if you have a problem, a substance abuse problem, the judges will put you on three years` probation. If it`s a felony, it`s a formal probation. If it`s a misdemeanor and you keep violating, they then put you on formal probation.
And they outline a program. Sometimes it`s a yearlong residential treatment program. I`ve done that on a number of vases.
PINSKY: Do you think that they`re going to require that of Lindsay? Or is she signaling something by saying this is a psychiatric problem? Is she --
MEYERS: You know, I don`t know. I wasn`t the prosecutor when Judge Sautner made that ruling, so I`m not sure. And I have to tell you, I admit to you that I did not watch it, so I don`t know. I know what the sentence was. It was 120 days.
PINSKY: Is she going to go spend time in jail with that, or is she going to walk in one door and out the other? Is she going to set bail?
MEYERS: It all depends. It depends upon the population at the time. Normally they do 20 percent of their sentence. So if the population --
PINSKY: Does that frustrate you?
MEYERS: In some cases it frustrates me, in other cases it doesn`t. In other cases, it gives you an opportunity to tell to the person, I want you to do this amount of jail time, knowing they`re going to do a short period of time, to catch their attention and say, you know what? We mean business. And a lot of times it works. It does work.
PINSKY: Well, Danette, thank you for joining us and sort of helping look into this a little bit. It was concerning me greatly yesterday.
MEYERS: Thank you.
PINSKY: And I feel a little better about knowing that somebody is looking out for treatment for those folks.
All right. Next, a horrific and shocking story. This is the stories of abuse. And you need to know this. It`s probably happening to someone you know, a woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Which one of your neighbors is being abused by a man? Straight ahead, the warning signs and how you can help. And the real reason women stay with abusers. It`s not out of love. The truth may surprise you.
And later, would you give up a mansion for a mobile home? A big-time Hollywood director did and tells me why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: This is just staggering statistics. Four women in our country died from domestic violence today. Four more will die tomorrow and four more the day after that.
In California alone, there were 167,000 calls made in 2009 about domestic violence. There`s a renewed focus on the crime tonight.
Missouri right now is overhauling the state`s abuse laws for the first time in decades. Watch this and then we`ll talk.
PINSKY (voice-over): Rihanna, Robin Givens, Tina Turner, Oksana Grigorieva, a few public faces of domestic abuse. The private hell is experienced by millions every day.
This very second, as you watch this public service announcement, bodies and spirits are being broken by partners who hit, cut, kick, burn, humiliate, and even kill. Abusers are from all races, every income and educational level, and most bet away with it.
Why? The majority of domestic violence cases are never reported to police.
PINSKY: It really is just one of the saddest stories today. And you know how I go off on bullying. This is where that can go. These are not trivial issues.
One of those four women I mentioned might be your sister, your mom, your best friend, your aunt. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says a quarter of all women, 25 percent of women, will experience some kind of domestic abuse.
Think about that. Are we going to do something about this?
A woman all too familiar with these horrifying odds is here. We`re going to call her "Jessica." She is in the shadow because she is still hiding from her abusive ex-partner.
Also, I have TuLynn Smylie. She is the executive director of the WomenShelter of Long Beach.
Kathy Westfield, she says she was involved in two domestic abusive relations.
And Irma Sandoval is a domestic violence survivor.
All right, TuLynn. I`m going to start with you.
This sounds just staggering. It`s hard to even get my head around it.
Let me -- maybe I should go to, what does it look like from your vantage point? And what -- you see the lucky few, I imagine, the one that come to help.
TULYNN SMYLIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WOMENSHELTER OF LONG BEACH: Well, that`s true. As somebody mentioned earlier, it`s a woefully underreported crime.
There`s a lot of fear involved and a lot of perhaps cultural issues that might prevent somebody from coming forward and letting people know that they`re being abused. So it is -- these numbers, as staggering as they are, are woefully underreported.
And Irma, can you tell us a little bit about your story, what happened?
IRMA SANDOVAL, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR: Yes. I was 18 years old when I got into this relationship. It was so abusive that, at the time, I couldn`t -- I felt like I was mentally sick because of -- he was very manipulative. So everything he would tell me I would believe. I knew I needed some type of therapy.
PINSKY: So it`s like a Stockholm Syndrome, brainwashing.
PINSKY: And you have kids with him. Is that right?
SANDOVAL: Yes, I do.
PINSKY: OK. How many kids?
SANDOVAL: I have Five kids.
PINSKY: OK. I want to read something. And this is not to sort of drill in and make things worse, but I need people at home to understand this.
When it comes to children who witness domestic violence -- which I imagine your kids did -- listen to this information that`s provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"Witnessing violence between one`s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults."
I cannot say this strongly enough to my viewers, if you think it`s OK to hit your kids or to hit one another, there`s a cycle of abuse that kicks in here. And even if they`re little children`s, I wouldn`t say infants, but even under the age of 2, when kids witness domestic violence in partners, it impacts their brain.
Jessica is still in the shadows because of how bad it got.
How bad did it get for you?
"JESSICA," IN HIDING FROM ABUSIVE EX-PARTNER: Very bad -- 18 years of domestic violence, the last 13 years without four of my children because I was kidnapped from them, nine fractures and multiple burns, teeth being pulled out by pliers. Very, very, very extreme.
PINSKY: Whoa, slow down, Jessica. Teeth being pulled out by pliers?
PINSKY: That`s too much to be believed.
PINSKY: And how did you get stuck in it?
JESSICA: Well, I originally got stuck in it similar to Irma in the sense that I come from an abusive home. And I reached out and latched on to the first person that was going to take me out of that.
So I went from one victimization type of situation to another, who preyed on me, as a matter of fact. And I think a lot of men like this -- and I`m not saying it`s just men, because there`s females that also abuse men. But the mentality is that they look for a victim. I was asked very pointed questions to decide whether or not I fit the type of person that he wanted, and unfortunately I did.
PINSKY: Jessica, what do you say to people that look at this and hear this conversation and go, why didn`t she just leave, that`s silly that she didn`t leave, how stupid she didn`t leave? What do you tell those people?
JESSICA: Survival. Survival is of the utmost importance. And everything else seems not to matter. You understand what I`m saying?
PINSKY: I do. Fear. You`re saying fear and coercion.
Kathy, you had the same experience, did you not, where they lock you - - do you fear harm to yourself, harm to your children?
KATHY WESTFIELD, WAS IN TWO ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: Of course, harm to yourself, harm to your family members. They threaten you. They isolate you so you do not have a support system.
PINSKY: And so you start to believe what they`re telling you.
WESTFIELD: You start to believe everything they tell you.
PINSKY: TuLynn, is that a common story?
SMYLIE: Absolutely common. I think it occurs in every single case that we see at WomenShelter Long Beach.
PINSKY: Talk to me about the cycle of abuse. What can we do to break that? And when people hear cycle of abuse, I think they kind of tune out little bit. They don`t really understand what that is.
SMYLIE: Well, there are several cycles of abuse. One of them is the intergenerational cycle that you`re talking about.
Children learn what they see at home. And so without something to break that cycle, they`re going to grow up and repeat that cycle, and the will be either, as you said, become an abuser or a victim as they grow up.
The actual cycle of abuse we describe initially as somebody who is in the honeymoon period. They may be full of hearts and flowers, "I love you," everything`s great. Tension starts to build in that relationship, and then something sets the batterer off and the abuse occurs.
After the abuse occurs, you go back to the honeymoon period, where, "Oh my God, honey. I`m so sorry. You know I never meant to hurt you. I love you to death. This would never have happened if you hadn`t done" x..
PINSKY: Well, let`s take a look at some of the warning signs of an abuser. Here they are. I`m going to put them up on full screen.
Because if you see this, or you`re starting to go down this path, you need to know it: jealousy; controlling behavior; isolation, as we talked about; disrespectful or cruel to others; insensitivity to pain and suffering; blaming others for problems; a use of force, during sex particularly; rigid sex roles; past battery; and, of course, use of force during arguments; breaking or striking objects; and this Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde sort of phenomena that I think TyLynn is talking about.
And by the way, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is code for alcoholic addict, because when they`re using, then substances must figure into this very prominently as well.
Do they not?
SMYLIE: Yes. Well, we say that substance abuse and drugs and alcohol are not the cause of domestic violence. But if they`re present, and there`s a domestic violence relationship, it tends to escalate the violence.
PINSKY: Ladies, I want to ask you a sort of -- again, for people at home, we`re trying to get their head around this. The way I try to explain it is that you see this violence and it becomes your sort of map, your love map, and you become attracted, as you said, Irma, to somebody that`s going to be strong and take you away from the misery at home -- a life preserver. But that life preserver ends up being the problem.
Is there anything you can tell people at home to watch out for that?
Jessica`s got something.
JESSICA: Yes. First and foremost, to women out there who may be listening to this and experiencing this, and might have the opportunity to actually watch this without the perpetrator around, you need to know that more than likely, you`re being told that there is no help out there, that you will amount to nothing, no one will believe you, no one loves you, you`re not a good mother, you`re not a good person, and you account for nothing. And if you ever get out of his grasps, he will sure that you`re so disfigured, that no one will ever want, help, or love you.
JESSICA: So know that there is help. There`s the WomenShelter Long Beach. There`s the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry who is going to be performing dental work for me so I can start my life over, going to school right now. But women need to know I was told that police and everyone else were evil.
PINSKY: And I think that there`s another side of the coercion that usually is the early part of it, where it`s, when it just gets going, the cycle, as TuLynn described it, the perpetrator goes, "If I didn`t love you so much, this wouldn`t happen. It`s because I love you so much that I can`t stand seeing you like that."
Irma is shaking her head very strongly.
SANDOVAL: Yes. I went through that for so many years. And "If I didn`t love you, you think I couldn`t get a better" -- "I work with lawyers, and I could have gotten a paralegal or other women, and look at you, and look who you are. You didn`t even go to school, you haven`t finished high school, you don`t have this."
PINSKY: This makes me so sad.
SANDOVAL: They minimize you so little, that you really believe it.
PINSKY: Kathy, you seem like a very strong woman. How did it happen?
WESTFIELD: Well, you know, you didn`t pay attention to the red flags, because they`re there.
I came from an abusive background. I should have recognized it when I first encountered it.
My first relationship, I was 15 when I met him. The abuse started when I was 17 in college. It continued for another five years, until I finally had it one night and I left the next day and didn`t look back.
However, I turned around, and I ended up, in less than a year, in another abusive relationship because I didn`t deal with the issues at hand that had to deal with me, personally. That relationship, I stayed in about seven years. It was a marriage, and I finally left.
PINSKY: In a beat, can you tell us what those issues were that maybe could help people struggling with the same thing?
WESTFIELD: Just not feeling good about yourself and knowing that you deserve better. And that anything -- no one has the right to put their hands on you. They will say it`s your fault. It`s not your fault.
PINSKY: TuLynn, I want to thank you.
I want to thank you, Kathy, Irma, Jessica. Thank you, ladies. It was very courageous for you to step forward like this.
But I want to say, I`ve got to say this to my audience, if this has started -- and TuLynn, back me up on this -- it will not stop without treatment, without intervention.
SMYLIE: Without help, without intervention.
PINSKY: Without help, it will not stop. If this has started in your life, it`s coming back. You`ve got to do something if this is happening.
The other thing, as you heard here, be careful with your attractions. If you come from an abusive family, you`re going to be strongly attracted, lightning bolts, to people that are potential abusers. So learn to read your attractions. Go to people that are more butterflies, not lightning bolts, because the lightning bolts are the guys that are going to be the abusers.
Also, I see from our Facebook traffic that there`s a lot of questions and concerns about domestic violence. I`m going to address them right after this break.
PINSKY: OK. A lot of you have something to say about our domestic violence discussion, so we are going right to the phones.
Kim in Missouri, you`re up first.
What are your thoughts?
KIM, MISSOURI: Hey there, Dr. Drew. How you?
KIM: I was a victim of domestic violence. I just think that some women feel threatened, intimidated, or just scared of what the outcome may be if they do reveal their current situation.
PINSKY: Thank you for your comment.
And we have also got Nicole in Missouri.
NICOLE, MISSOURI: Hi, Dr. Drew.
Yeas, I believe it`s the emotional abuse that really breaks a person down, and that causes them not to report it. I mean, they really are made to feel worthless in those situations. You know?
PINSKY: Yes, I do know. And I`ve worked with a lot of women that have been through this experience.
And it really is a hard one for me, because it breaks my heart. I mean, there`s no one out there that doesn`t know someone that is going through this.
There`s just 25 percent of women go through it at some point in their life. And it`s one of the saddest indictments I know of on our society today.
And it bothers me that so many people look at women like these wonderful ladies we have here today and go, oh, why didn`t they just leave? It`s a condition.
They were abused as children. It conditions them and bonds them to the trauma. It causes them to freeze and be unable to come to their own defense when they`re in the face of it. And it absolutely erodes their self-esteem to nothing.
So they can`t even contemplate leaving. And then, of course, they believe, sort of a Stockholm Syndrome, what the perpetrator say, that they`re going to be killed or their children are going to be killed, or some sort of terrible harm. And by the way, they`re not worth anything.
They get locked in, but the lock is put on them when they`re children. So, if you see this going on in families, know that the children that are witnessing this are at the risk of the same thing.
Got a Facebook question. It is from Carrie (ph). She says, "I`ve been abused in a domestic violence situation and my child is always worried about my safety. What should I do?"
Now, if what I`ve said so far doesn`t sufficiently pull on your emotional heartstrings, think about that. Think about a 4-year-old worrying about mommy being OK because daddy is abusing the hell out of her.
Think about that. You don`t think that affects a kid`s brain development, as well as their soul and psychology?
And that`s a child that we`ve just spoken of that is going to be either a victim or a perpetrator in the future. More likely a victim, unfortunately.
Let`s go back to the phones. This is Laura from Louisiana.
How can I help, Laura?
LAURA, LOUISIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
My question is, even after having some domestic violence counseling, why does the pain and fear resurface when entering into a new relationship years later?
PINSKY: Wow. Laura, that is a great, great question, and it shows how insidious these things -- how they affect you so deeply.
I would say, not knowing you, and not knowing your particular circumstances -- but, boy, I`m going to try -- in my limited time left, I`m going to try to help people understand this, that closeness, proximity, intimacy, brings into bold relief the injuries of childhood. It revokes the deficiencies, the things that weren`t there that you needed. It`s reminiscent of the traumatic abuse tat might have been evoked, and all the wounds are sort of opened again, let`s say, as a way of thinking about it in proximity, in intimacy, in closeness with another person.
It`s the most challenging thing for an abuse survivor, to re-enter the frame of closeness and tolerate it. But it`s the work. It`s how you heal.
All right. Now, a rich and famous director chucked it all for a simpler life. Is he crazy or is he on to something we all should think about?
Thank you for your calls tonight, by the way, and you`re questions. They`re really good.
So, stay tuned for the director and his crazy behavior. We`ll see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Right now on DR. DREW, cars, houses, clothes, TVs, appliances, stuff. Do you own your possessions or do they own you? Pop culture says you should want all those things, but you don`t. Take it from a Hollywood director who had it all and gave it all up. Tom Shadyac`s simple solution to complicated problems.
And later, a grown man who spends half of his time living as an infant for pleasure. What? I`m drilling down on this most unusual story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Yes, most unusual, indeed. My goodness. But, listen, something stayed with me across the commercial break, and I want to sort of Harkin back to what we were talking about before the commercials which was this issue of domestic violence, and we had this great, great questions you, guys, brought into the studio here. And I was talking about why it is that -- our last caller was why it is it`s so painful still even after treatment when she tries to have a close relationship that`s it painful.
And I was trying to help people understand, and I thought there might be another thing I could say that would help people as well which is that in the circumstance of closeness, an intimacy, the expectation, again, people have been in domestic violence, have been abuse in childhood, the expectation of closeness is shame, violence, abuse. When you have that expectation, of course, it`s painful and scary to get close.
But as I said before the break, tolerating closeness, building closeness is where happiness comes from and where emotional health comes from. And this is a very pertinent. This what I`m describing is very pertinent to the topic in hand. So, I have successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac. He was living the dream, at least, as he thought it was at the time, expensive houses, cars, private jets, but some thing was missing.
Tom Shadyac says he was living a lie, and he finally decided to do something about it. Watch this, and then, we`re going to talk to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): If you know Ace Ventura, you know Tom Shadyac. Shadyac was winning at the game of life with that blockbuster and many more. Ten years ago, he rode a wave of success in meteoric fashion.
TOM SHADYAC, DIRECTOR, "I AM": There I was, standing in the house of my culture that taught me was the measure of the good life.
PINSKY: Then, at his career zenith, a strange emptiness.
SHADYAC: I was no happier.
PINSKY: He started a personal journey for deeper meaning in life, but it was violently interrupted by a debilitating accident. Shadyac survived. He endured agony, faced death, and rose from the ashes with an inspiring message. The one he`s about to deliver right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): And I want to welcome Tom. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.
SHADYAC: Thank you. Good to be here.
PINSKY: Good to see you.
SHADYAC: Thanks, doc.
PINSKY: Now, I`ve got a bunch of questions. I watched your movie and stuff. So, let`s just start back at the beginning. You were a successful television producer.
SHADYAC: I was actually film director. Ace Ventura was my first film.
PINSKY: And had you lived your dream at that point? Was that what you always wanted to do kind of thing?
SHADYAC: Well, I lived the dream I think the culture had taught me, you know, to be successful. As an artist, that was a dream. It was a beautiful dream, you know, as an artist to be able to tell a story, to make somebody laugh, to make somebody think, but what came with that dream, I think, was toxic, which is the more success you have, let that success be reflected in your lifestyle, red carpet lifestyle with a jets and the homes and things.
And I found those things absolutely neutral. They weren`t bad, and they certainly weren`t good. They were neutral. And the problem was my culture had taught me that once you get there, there will be a there there, and there was no there there. I found my happiness level absolutely didn`t improve, and I --
PINSKY: That`s what did you do?
SHADYAC: Well, I began to question my life. For a while, I kind of just got co-opted into the dream, and I bought more stuff, and you know, got little further down that path, but eventually, I realized that I was being a bit hypocritical, because on my moral side, I believed in the moral teachings, not in the dogmatic way of the Jesuses and Gandhis who say don`t store up treasures on earth. We`re more -- and yet, I found myself storing up plenty of treasures on earth. And they say you have to be empty to be full, but I was quite full.
PINSKY: Did you know that about yourself before you accumulate all the stuff? Or was the accumulation what sort of brought that understandably (ph) out?
SHADYAC: No, I certainly didn`t know that. Maybe at a very deep level I knew that, but I wasn`t operating on that deep level, but I felt something. When all of this stuff came at me after "Liar, Liar" is basically -- I did "Ace" then "Nutty Professor" and then "Liar, Liar" and then it all came, and I thought, this isn`t right, you know? I`m an artist. I have a gift.
I`ve been given a gift, and I should serve with that gift, and yet, what I was doing was taking advantage of that and saying I own it, and I`m more valuable, and I built an economic life around that which I think many of us are encouraged to do.
PINSKY: One thing -- it was all for yourself. For you. I guess, what I`m asking, behind that question is, did you have a wife? Did you have children? Were there other people you were building on behalf of?
SHADYAC: I`ve got a large family not in the traditional sense. There have been people that I`ve sort of adopted informally along the way, but I had far too much. The question we don`t ask ourselves is much how much is enough? What do you need to make you happy?
PINSKY: I love the question, but before we go unto it, because I think when you think about it as a solitary person, it`s different than when you think about it as a father. In other words, I`m worrying about paying for college education, paying for graduate school. I mean, consumed with that.
SHADYAC: But to me, the fundamental question is the same. It`s how much do you need? Now, I`m a father. That is part of my needs. I have to take care of my child. I have to feed them. But how much do I need to feed them? The problem is for us is we want to do the things that are very moral teachings tell us not to do which is store up into barns. That`s the greatest, you know, arguably one of the greatest moral teachings is the Sermon on the Mount.
Don`t even store up into barns. Consider the birds of the air. But we want to be safe for the rest of our lives, which is unheard of a nature. And so, we got to take more and more and more. We make ourselves sick to lay up something for a sick day. That`s what Derow (ph) said. And I don`t want to reflect that kind of life. I want to have a relationship with you so that if I`m in need someday, because I didn`t store up forever, maybe you`ll meet my need because I`ve Helped to meet your need.
PINSKY: Got it. And so, what have you done? What did you do?
SHADYAC: Well, I just started moving away from that kind of life but found something much more powerful. So, I don`t think about this moving away. I gave up -- you know, the first thing I gave up, the jet allowance, and so, I was able to give a fair amount of money, you know, the studio universe was gracious to allow me to do that. I gave that away, and I sold the houses.
I begin to downsizing and got rid most of my stuff and gave away larger and larger sums of money. And now, I retooled the way I do economy in my life. I don`t want to stand on top of a picture and say, I`m more valuable than you pay me more.
PINSKY: But how much -- I`m trying -- I think people at home want to know exactly what -- you gave it away to charities and how much did you give away?
SHADYAC: I don`t have a figure, to be honest.
SHADYAC: It`s in the millions, but that`s looking at things in sort of a linear way, and I want the person at home to know, whatever they do, even if it`s bake a meal or share a smile or give someone dignity for a moment, it`s the same thing.
PINSKY: Is it?
PINSKY: Because that`s a really interesting point. We got a couple of minutes here in this segment. We`re going to talk more, but, to me, this whole thing turns around that point.
SHADYAC: Let`s talk about it.
PINSKY: OK. Which is that there are people out there, become the U.N. ambassador for whatever and doing all these grandiose things for people. I`m not sure that is the same thing as putting your arm around somebody and taking them to a homeless shelter. Simple selfless acts of service.
PINSKY: They can be on a large scale, but oftentimes, they`re not.
SHADYAC: I agree, but it depends. I can`t necessarily judge that ambassador because that may be his journey and his truth. But I think we, as a culture, tend to see those big things as the good things.
SHADYAC: And the person who puts their arm around a homeless person and says, I want to know your story. We don`t elevate that like we elevate the multibillion dollar gifts that people in my industry give away, and they`re the same thing.
PINSKY: They can be the same thing. Often, they`re not. Often, they`re sort of grandiose gestures, but let -- you got a new documentary. It`s kind of -- we`re talking about here.
PINSKY: It`s called "I Am." It explores this notion that our way of life is based on selfish materialism, and that we need to wake up as a culture. So, let`s take a look at this first. Here, he is talking about his first house in Beverly Hills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHADYAC (voice-over): When more success came my way, I bought a bigger house and more stuff. I was flying privately everywhere, vacationing, looking for properties. But something odd happened to me when I move into my first Beverly Hills house that kind of took the edge off my buzz. I was standing alone in the entrance foyer after the movers had just left, and I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling. I was no happier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Right? In your documentary, I notice you point out that if you`re cold in the woods and unhappy and miserable, somebody brings you into a cabin and gives you a warm meal and a blanket, that`s an increase in happiness.
SHADYAC (on-camera): Yes.
PINSKY: But to go from that cabin to your Beverly Hills house, not necessarily create any happiness.
SHADYAC: That`s right. And we`ve studied that now through positive psychology, and we know kind of the monetary levels where happiness is increased. That was around $50,000 to $75,000.
PINSKY: I`m going to hold you right there.
PINSKY: I want to keep this conversation going. There`s more to your story and there`s more to this conversation. I`m intrigued. Now, we`re going to talk about one of the things that happened to you which a bad accident.
PINSKY: Pain that followed that and amazing journey of recovery. So, back with more Tom`s story after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): All that glitzy stuff you see on TV, the same screen you`re watching right now, Tom Shadyac says it`s a big lie, and you don`t need it. Straight ahead, the terrifying ordeal that inspired him to share that message.
SHADYAC (voice-over): My symptoms were brutal and intense sensitivity to light and sounds, severe mood swings and a constant ringing in my head. Traditional medicine was no help, so I turned to alternative therapy. Nothing seemed to work. After several months of what I can only describe as torture, I welcomed death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHADYAC: Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose. If I was, indeed, going to die, I asked myself, what did I want to say before I went? It became very simple and very clear. I wanted to tell people what I had come to know. And what I had come to know was that the world I was living in was a lie. And the game I had won at, which I thought would help to heal the world, might very well be what was destroying it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): That was a clip from Director Tom Shadyac`s new documentary. It`s called "I Am." We are talking about his film and his transformation to a simpler way of life, I guess, a more important life?
SHADYAC (on-camera): Well, I simply say, certainly, a happier way of life.
PINSKY: Happier life.
PINSKY: Which is a whole other topic --
PINSKY: Tell us first about the accident that sort of created clarity, some clarity for you.
SHADYAC: Well, yes. I had been shifting my life for over 10, 12 years, you know, making these steps that we just talked about, but I didn`t have the courage to talk about it. Well, I got in a bike accident?
PINSKY: Why? Why not?
SHADYAC: Because my culture, everything that`s in your head says we`ll make another big movie, you know? Nobody wants to hear about this stuff. They`re going to think you`re crazy, which is exactly what happened. But, when I faced my own death -- I got in a bike accident. I got a concussion. It wasn`t erratically bad concussion, but my concussion chips are out of the bank. As you know, concussion damage is cumulative.
And I had post-concussion syndrome which was a brutal condition, and I isolated myself. I thought literally I`m not going to make it. I mean, you know, you hear a sound in your head. You`re sensitive to light and sound. I isolated myself. I had to sleep in a closet for weeks on end. And I thought if this is as good as my health gets, I`m simply going to pass.
And so, when I asked myself if there`s anything as an artist I want to say before I go, what is it? I wanted to share the journey that I`d been on and ask those two questions in the film, what is wrong with our world and what can we do about it?
PINSKY: Can you put that into a simple frame? What it is and what we should do?
SHADYAC: Well, yes. The film is a journey, but it`s how we look at the world. You know, it`s like we -- as if we have a set of operating instructions. If you have a computer and you`re using the wrong operating instructions or you`re hitting alt and delete, and your computer keeps freezing up, that`s because you don`t know the operating instructions.
That`s how we are operating now as a species. There are operating instructions, I believe, that are available. They`ve revealed themselves through nature, and over time, through philosophy and science, et cetera. And I believe that we`re just operating outside of --
PINSKY: We`re ignoring them.
PINSKY: Now, before the break, you mentioned this sort of happiness threshold. I want to emphasize this because it is important. In this economy, in this country, there`s a certain amount of income that people need in order to feel OK. Isn`t that what you said?
SHADYAC: Yes. That there`s a certain level that they`ve studied through positive psychology.
PINSKY: There`s a realistic number.
SHADYAC: It meets your needs.
PINSKY: Yes. What number was that?
SHADYAC: It was around $50,000 to $75,000.
PINSKY: That`s what I heard, too. So, you know, people under that are going to have trouble being happy. That`s a reality thing.
SHADYAC: It`s a challenge.
PINSKY: Yes, it`s a challenge.
SHADYAC: Of course, because they can`t educate their children. If anything, God forbid, happens to them medically, they may not be able to meet those needs. And of course --
PINSKY: OK. So, I think it`s important to state that. And then, the other thing is that I`ve talked to a number of my friends over the years who had great success, and when they get there, they often say this, too. It`s like now what?
SHADYAC: Yes. Exactly. This didn`t do it.
PINSKY: How do I make meaning?
SHADYAC: Yes. Exactly.
PINSKY: And the one thing I`ve seen over and over again, you used the word to serve a couple of times I noticed.
PINSKY: And service ends up being that thing. Can you speak about that a little bit?
SHADYAC: Yes. You find yourself by losing yourself in the service of others. Well, again, if you look at the fundamental nature of reality, what we`re tell telling ourselves is, you and I have nothing to do with each other. I have to bitch (ph) you. If I get a show, I got to be -- my show has got to be better than yours. I got to be number, you got to be number two because then I`ll survive and you won`t. And reality seems to be the opposite. That you and I are connected.
PINSKY: Well, funny you would say that. We got the footage of you doing an experiment with the yogurt.
SHADYAC: Yes, my friend.
PINSKY: But it`s just an interesting visual representation of something that I know, somebody that tunes to people throughout my career. This is a researcher who was doing an experiment on how living things are connected and that human emotions can affect the living world. They demonstrate this actually with a plate of yogurt. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put these two electrodes in the yogurt. Cross it like so. Cover it up. Then, we`ll turn the meter on. The trick is to really do something to get that unexpected spontaneous kind of a --
SHADYAC: OK. Maybe I should call my agent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe that would do it. We actually are getting a bit of a response.
SHADYAC: As soon as I said my agent, I can call my lawyer. I haven`t talked to him in a very, very long time. Oh, God. We have a lot of stuff between us literally. Ladies and gentlemen, my co-star, the yogurt. Now asking about per diem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: See, the co-star was asking about a per diem.
SHADYAC: Yes. My co-star, the yogurt. Yes, yes.
PINSKY: That`s interesting, but it`s illustrative of something that I think you and I sort of intuitively know. It`s interesting we started this conversation the previous break about domestic violence and relationships. Would it be accurate to say that we do affect one another as human being?
PINSKY: And that you mentioned also the word happiness a few times. We`ve established that people have a certain amount of comfort in, structure in their life in order to be OK and money.
PINSKY: Where does happiness come from?
SHADYAC: That`s a beautiful question. Stay tuned for the answer after we ponder this and enables for centuries.
PINSKY: Right. And I think we`ve lost track of that completely in our country, haven`t we?
PINSKY: That we certainly lost track of.
SHADYAC: Well, if you look at television, everybody talks about indexes that are not the happiness index, you know? A culture like Tibet, they talk about the happiness index. We talk about the stock exchange index as if that leads to happiness. So, we`ve lost that connection. It`s -- we should have the how are you feeling, you know, index every night. How is the culture feeling?
PINSKY: I believe that happiness, we`ve got to define the term. And I believe happiness ultimately is a flourishing life. And that a flourishing life includes service. Would that fit with your understanding, too?
PINSKY: And ultimately, real happiness comes in -- I`m happy right now talking to you.
SHADYAC: Yes. I am as well. I love the word contentment because it`s the word content. Happiness can sometimes mean happenstance like what`s happening? Oh, something sad is happening, I`m not happy, but content is what`s inside, who we are. And so, that contentment can include a difficulty, a sadness, a loss, a joy, a celebration. So, it`s the whole fabric of life.
PINSKY: Of living.
PINSKY: We have a Facebook question about your future here. It says what kind of movies do you see yourself involved with in the future now that you look at life differently? Do you have a concept for something like that?
SHADYAC: Well, yes. I hope -
PINSKY: "I Am" is that.
SHADYAC: "I Am" of course is that. I hope they`re movies that in some way solicit a conversation about who we are as people. So, that could be laughter, that joy that`s evoked. It can be something more, you know, profound and emotional. I want to do movies that serve.
PINSKY: Tom, thank you very much --
SHADYAC: Appreciate it, man.
PINSKY: I think your movie -- if you want to see it, guys, because there`s a conversation he has with his dad. We`re over here. There, we`re over here. A conversation he had with his dad that is deeply moving, frankly. He seemed like a great guy.
PINSKY: Now, Tom, I`m going to have you sit by here. We`re going to move from your topic to something problematic? Why would a grown man want to behave like a baby? OK. I`m talking about diapers and the whole thing. That is up next. Take a look at this footage. It`s called infantilism or a diaper fetish, I think, it`s called. It`s something I`m trying to get my head around, and I`ll tell you my thoughts later in the show.
PINSKY: All right. Now, a couple of things. Few days ago, I, Shelly Sprague was up here talking about cannabis, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, pot, and its addictive properties. And I can`t tell you how startled I was at the reaction. Literally, somebody assaulted me on the street today which I found rather interesting. I`m not interested in bumming anybody`s high. If you guys want to smoke pot, smoke pot. I have no -- it`s not me.
I`m not interested in telling you what to do or not to do. I`m just reporting as a physician. I treat marijuana addiction regularly. And why would I say that would I lie about that if -- I have no agenda. In fact, I think you`d be surprised to hear my opinions about marijuana legalization. I think you would. So, I have no agenda here, but I think to not speak truthfully about what this thing is and what it does for some people, it`s going to work against people that are trying to assert their sort of political objectives with the drug, with the medicine.
Well, drug. And the fact is, for some people, not for everybody, given how we have now manipulated this plant, it is exceedingly addictive for some people, and the addiction develops very rapidly. Now, a lot of people you all know will smoke it for many, many years and be OK. What I`m telling you is, eventually, there`s a price to pay biologically like putting any drug in your system, and it stops working, that things wear off, and people get into trouble with it. I`m here to help when people want to change.
If they don`t want to change, they should spark up and enjoy themselves. I`m not encouraging it, but I`m here to help people that want to change. I`m not trying to change how people look at these things.
OK. Now, for a most bizarre and disturbing story, why does a grown man want to behave like a baby? Meet Stanley Thornton. He is a 30-year- old man who wears diapers, sleeps in a crib, and is bottle fed. Take a look at this from the show "Taboo" on National Geographic Channel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STANLEY THORNTON, 30-YEAR-OLD BABY: I like to play or be treated as a baby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, baby.
THORNTON: Just to get the love and affection, safeness. Basically, just go back to a time when you`re caring for a one or two-year-old, and that`s what it is for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Wow. It is really hard to look at that. And I don`t want to pretend I`m -- I just want to say that we`re going to be looking for interesting things on the internet going forward here, and this is what we came across today. Not that I`m going to turn into Daniel Tosh (ph). That is not going to happen, I promise, but this one caught my attention. It was actually uncomfortable to watch. It was almost painful, but not just him, but also that caretaker you see there in the picture.
Of course, if you know, I do a radio show with Psycho Mike, the guy on "Dancing with the Stars," and he wants to know exactly what the diaper was used for, but I`m not interested in that. But, basically, this can be a sexual fetish. It can be just sort of a lifestyle choice. Apparently, these people often lead relatively normal lives outside of these bizarre behaviors. I did a lot of reading on this and could not find a cohesive construct for understanding why it occurs except to say often as with many thing it`s a regressive behavior, it was often a big-time trauma.
That woman right there, actually, in the interview, alludes to the fact that he had a lot of things happen in his life. So, listen, the reason we kind of recoil from it is it looks like it`s hiding some very profound pain, and I`m not sure there`s a great strategy for dealing with that.
All right. Tomorrow, we have an hour on sex and relationships. We had that last week. People responded positively to it. So, we`re going to do it again. If you have questions, ring in, I`ll answer them. And I want to thank you for watching. I will see you tomorrow. We have this show on sexual relationships, but it`s going to be a good one. I set this one up just the way I wanted. So, be there.