When 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called Donald Trump a carnival barker, he couldn’t have been more right. And this empty suit’s inane, incessant barking – or tweeting, rather – and the rest of the Trump sideshow featuring Americans’ worst impulses is broadcast at me as breaking news, sponsored by pharmaceuticals one might be tempted to, indeed, ask our doctors about in order to cope with this bullshit — at least while we can afford to before congressional Republicans take away taxpayers access to healthcare … again. Yes, pay no attention to those boring legislators quietly pulling levers and pushing buttons behind the curtain over there in dull old Washington. No, here’s the latest incendiary statement from Donald Trump and reactions to it from very important people whose opinions you must care about. Can you believe it!? How exciting! Have some more! There’s always more.
To err is human. To forgive is divine, but to repeat is stupid.
For those of us estranged from our families during the family fetishized holidays shoring up the end of the year, the pressure to forgive and forget can be especially pronounced. Society at large tells us that – to borrow a turn of phrase from the poet, Alexander Pope – to err is human; to forgive, divine. And that the victim is the perpetrator, the betrayer, the pariah should forgiveness be withheld — to be pitied, subjected to public scorn and, ironically, unforgiven for being unwilling to forgive. Rather than emphasis on understanding and compassion, this is institutionalized blaming of the victim that I think most of us were raised to believe, wrongly.
For decades Republicans have turned out so-called family values voters but none have excited these people more than Donald Trump. These are the people Barack Obama referred to during his 2008 presidential campaign who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The people Hillary Clinton referred to during her 2016 presidential campaign as a “basket of deplorables.” Both candidates backtracked but their assessments of an angry, fearful, ignorant undercurrent in America – turned outright riptide of naked hatred by Donald Trump – is, unfortunately, spot on.
One of my favorite features of the holiday season is Christmas lights. They’re like a cheerful “fuck you” to what is otherwise the darkest, bleakest, coldest, dirtiest, deadliest, most expensive and yet least prosperous time of year.
In keeping with moving these old needles out into the light and deconstructing them with the benefit of hindsight, this is another flying monkey autopsy.
This exchange occurred on Facebook several years ago between me and a childhood friend of Brother’s — she’s his flying monkey. We all took the same bus to school but her and I didn’t have anything to do with each other outside of that. In retrospect, this dialog is an example, I think, of someone who’s suffered (and probably continues to suffer) abuse, has very weak, porous personal boundaries leaving her extremely vulnerable to manipulation and predisposed to overstepping others’ boundaries (as she does not recognize them anymore than her own) — namely mine.
No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.
Mencken’s famous quote continues to resonate in Donald J. Trump’s case – arguably the bloviating presumptive billionaire’s modus operandi – and has once again borne fruit for the consummate confidence artist in the office of president overseeing one of the most powerful nations in the modern world. Though, whether Trump holds his most recent acquisition as a reward is yet to be seen — the presidency rapidly ages those who occupy the office, something Trump’s fast food diet can only exasperate (I’m half this asshat’s age and I can’t eat that way!), he is already the oldest president ever elected and, so far as I can tell, this will be the first actual job this daddy’s boy is expected to show for up in the seven decades since he began his creep on the world that he now holds in his stumpy hands.
The narcissist exhibits an intuitive, almost preternatural awareness of who we are and what buttons to push in order to elicit the responses they want. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and diagnosed NPD, labels this sense “cold empathy” — that is to say, a dispassionate, more strictly cognitive form of empathy. But I don’t think it’s any kind of empathy.
A friend of mine wanted to watch one of her favorite movies, Casino, the other day. She owns a copy on DVD but her Blu-ray player was being uncooperative so she looked through the Roku catalog online for it. No luck whatsoever. But twenty years ago she could’ve walked into a video rental store, found the movie there and enjoyed it that day (assuming her VCR worked).
As a black hole is a failed star collapsed under its own gravity into an inescapable singularity, the narcissist is a failed child reduced to a single function: the insatiable acquisition of attention to feel special (narcissistic supply). We can’t see black holes but for the distortion of space and effect on objects surrounding them. Similarly, narcissists hide in plain sight belied only by the social disruption left in their wake.
I hate shopping. But inevitably I need new things to replace old, worn out things. Such is the tyranny of maintenance, to paraphrase Tom Robbins. Threadbare things, in this case. Clothing.
It wasn’t enough that Vans no longer made the suede high-top shoes I’d grown fond of (and nearly walked the soles through) over the last six years and that every brand carrying a similar style vandalized the damn things with their trademarks emblazoned so obscenely large across them that they should pay people advertising revenue to wear them (Adidas, I’m looking at you!). Nothing screams quality like a walking billboard you too can have the distinguished privilege of paying to wear! By the time I ended up settling on a nice pair of DC brand shoes that satisfied most of my criteria, the sales person had long since given up trying to help me make up my mind.