Truth, Trauma, and Imagined Responses

In the tradition of the esprit d’escalier – the French term for thinking of one’s ideal response to a question only once one has left the party and is already down the stairs. Although in this case, the staircase is more like a hamster wheel, as I am asked the same question repeatedly.

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The Roots of Narcissism | Psychology Today

It’s a constructive exercise to encourage discussion on this, and to allay misconceptions due to NPD apparently being social media’s darling disorder, but I somewhat disagree with this interpretation from author and clinical psychologist, Dr. Seth Meyers. As he establishes early on, the narcissistic personality certainly doesn’t stem from a sense of superiority; that’s just how this maladaptive behaviour presents itself. Continue reading

Trump’s rhetoric: a triumph of inarticulacy

An interesting look here from the UK’s The Guardian newspaper at President-elect Donald Trump’s use of language*, and what it can tell us. I’m reminded of Austrian writer Karl Kraus’s observation that:

The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.

The author of the article, Sam Leith, tells us that reading-level algorithms “found [Trump’s] speeches pitched at fourth-grade level, i.e. the comprehension of an average nine-year old”. By sheer coincidence, just before last Christmas and while browsing laboriously through my Sina Weibo feed (China’s answer to Twitter), I came across the following Weibo tweet:

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which translates, roughly (and witheringly), as “One of the reasons why I like Trump is that I can understand his tweets with my fourth-grade English”.

“Sad!”

*And an equally interesting article, published today, on Trump’s facial expressions and what they indicate, by psychologist Peter Collett.

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“His spelling and grammar are disastrous, he contradicts himself, trails into incoherence, never sounds dignified or recognisably presidential – but none of it does him any harm. In fact…”

Source: Trump’s rhetoric: a triumph of inarticulacy

The Persistent Pain of Family Estrangement

 

The subject article that appeared in the online edition of Psychology Today really resonated with me, so if you’ve been following any of my blog posts at all, you can probably empathise with the almost desperate alacrity with which I jumped at the chance to write a bit about something other than farcically dysfunctional politicking (#ThanksObama). The added bonus, of course, was that so (too) many people come from similarly unpleasant backgrounds, so in addition to the evident cathartic aspect, the simple fact of sharing one’s experiences and insights can at the very least foster a sense of solidarity, and at best, help someone else gain a different perspective, and perhaps even some food for thought or techniques for self-help. Continue reading

McCarthyism and the 70-Year Stain, or Atheist-bashing from the Religion of Love

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I was gladdened to stumble across a fellow Wordplogger’s post just recently, entitled “Why Atheists Call Out Christians on Morality“. It’s a heartfelt and I think quite representative account of the sort of vitriol, negative typecasting, and unempathetically demeaning comments that regular and otherwise inoffensive atheists can be subjected to, by the followers of the “religion of love” (who paradoxically tend to be the most vociferous in claiming persecution, but that’s for another blog post). Continue reading