Law and Disorder

The Ugly Duckling

A Tale With No Moral(s)

By A.J. Wagner

There is an old cheerleader cry that I never heard on the football field but I often heard on a Cincinnati radio station in the eighties that went: C-U-T-E we’re as cute as we can be. We’re cute! We’re cute! U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi. You ugly! You ugly! M-O-M-A we know how you got that way, your Moma! Your Moma!

After a presidential campaign in which China became a central issue as to our import and export of goods and jobs, I bring you another ugly story from the Orient about justice, Chinese style. This is a story that makes the U.S. look better, perhaps better than we actually are. It is a story of judging a book by its cover.

As you read on, please remember that we are not the Enquirer. This paper is free. This story is as well researched as I could muster with limited resources. It was reported by an ABC affiliate in Fresno, a FOX affiliate in Denver, the Huffington Post, the Irish Examiner and The Week. Is it true? We report, you decide.

Jien Feng did not like the looks of the situation. His newborn child looked nothing like him. She looked nothing like her mother either. Feng and his wife were a dashing pair, a glamorous duo, a handsome couple. Their newborn daughter, on the other hand, was ugly.

Feng asked himself how this could be and answered with the assumption that his wife had had an affair. He sued for divorce on the grounds of infidelity.

The wife submitted to a DNA test to show her innocence and the results proved her to be the mother. After undergoing more scrutiny the wife came clean – she was ugly. Before she had met her husband, the wife went to South Korea and paid more than $100,000 for plastic surgery. Her beauty was only skin deep.

With her fidelity proven the husband switched legal theories and now accused his wife of fraud. Feng accused his wife of tricking him into their marriage under false pretenses. Feng is reported to have lamely testified, “I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues. Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me.”

Many readers know that I come from a large family but some of you don’t know me that well. I am one of eighteen children – one mom, one dad, one at a time. Fifteen of my siblings are younger than me. I have seen many babies and, until I had my own daughter, I didn’t think much of their looks. You will find in my book, “A Pocket Full of Smirks,” a poem about my views as they were in my youth.

The poem is “New Baby Blues”: Babies are ugly,/ Not snugly./ That they’re cute,/I refute./ You can bet/That they’re wet./ They cry/’Til you die./ When they eat/They repeat./ When they go/ You know./ So, Mom,/Don’t prolong./ No more flack./Take her back!

Such musings would make you think that I would be sympathetic toward this cad of a dad. When I was twelve, maybe I would have been. But, I am not twelve; I am a dad and I have two beautiful daughters. Even those fifteen younger siblings of mine grew up to be a handsome bunch. So, no sympathy here. Feng is the ugly character out of this story. Anyone would agree with that. Except for one person who made this story worth reporting – the judge.

After hearing this poor husband’s pleas, after reviewing the evidence of before and after pictures of his deceitful wife, after seeing his ugly baby the judge awarded the husband a divorce and $120,000 in damages. I think both Obama and Romney would agree that this is not justice. We did not export nor do we want to import such thinking into our country.

Editor’s Note: By the way, if you like the poem, consider buying the whole book from the Artemis Center. For a ten dollar donation, all of which goes to the Center, they will get you a copy of A Pocket Full of Smirks. (They might ask for some postage money.) Call them at 937-461-5091 to place an order.

Not all justice comes from a court. The work done by Artemis, to protect abused women and their children, produces the kind of tangible justice we need – the kind of justice that provides a safe place for the innocent victims of violence. Check them out at

If you are a victim of domestic violence, before you call an attorney, contact the Artemis Center at 937-222-SAFE (7233). The Center can provide shelter and counseling for you and for your children.

Disclaimer: The content herein is for entertainment and information only. Do not use this as a legal consultation. Every situation has different nuances that can affect the outcome and laws change without notice. If you’re in a situation that calls for legal advice, get a lawyer. You represent yourself at your own risk. The author, the Dayton City Paper and its affiliates shall have no liability stemming from your use of the information contained herein.

A.J. Wagner is an attorney with the law firm of Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman and Swaim at 15 W. Fourth Street in Dayton. A.J. and his firm would be glad to help you with all of your legal needs. You can reach A.J. at (937) 223-5200 or at

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A.J. Wagner is an attorney with the law firm of Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman and Swaim at 15 W. Fourth Street in Dayton. A.J. and his firm would be glad to help you with all of your legal needs. You can reach A.J. at (937) 223-5200 or at

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