Now that yet two more credible allegations of sexual improprieties and assault have come out about Trump, bringing the total to 10, I have to wonder what will happen as Trump has to defend himself against behaviors he knows are true. He has denied ever meeting any of the women recounting his undated sexual advances; but he can’t claim that about the the latest one since they clearly knew each other.
It is in his nature to counter-punch. This is what he will do. That’s on the outside, on the inside psychological defenses are at work but we can only make educated guesses as to what they are. This isn’t all that relevant because we know that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
I’ve written about what the final straw, which bombshell, would break the back of Trump’s campaign. That has happened. The campaign camel has a broken back and four broken legs. But now I wonder what will happen when Trump continues to blame Hilliary and an imaginary evil conspiracy including nefarious (possibly Jewish) banks, the press, and even establishment Republicans. What will his brainwashed supporters do. And as a clinician, I wonder what will happen to Trump himself.
You don’t have to be a psychotherapist like me to conclude that Trump is an extreme narcissist. The DSM-5 is so easy to use laymen can make the actual clinical diagnosis themselves.
I want to get this online quick, so I apologize for republishing excerpts from what I wrote on August 22nd — with one addition which I will put here rather than at the end.
I am now consulting with several other psychotherapists to see if they think that someone with a personality make-up like Trump has would be susceptible to a psychotic break when he finally realizes that he has lost any chance of becoming president. As a clinician who was never interested in learning about narcissistic personality disorder in depth until Trump, this is all new to me.
Because Trump is such an extreme narcissist and has so much of his self-worth invested in winning the election, we need to understand narcissistic injury and narcissistic rage. We must understand what happens when circumstances drive extreme narcissists into a state of rage, and consider what might happen when one has the power to influence and persuade a significant portion of the population to act out.
"Narcissistic rage is the response of a narcissist to anything they perceive as a threat to their ego, their control or their power. It is usually intense, out of proportion, often random and is used to manipulate."
This is what we can expect: "And at the same time the narcissist may also be plotting how to get revenge on the person who dared to challenge them. So the person gets twice the punishment...!"
Instead of his directing his rage against only person (Hillary Clinton) he may direct it against the system.
In it conservative radio host Charlie Sykes wrote about how Trump is leading his supporters to believe that the election is rigged against him and the the polls are also rigged. Sykes says: emphasis added.
“There’s a sizable portion of his fan base that will believe these things, and it’s toxic to our democracy,” he continued. “You’re basically taking ideas and voices that have been on the fringes — justifiably — and Donald Trump is bringing them squarely into the mainstream and weaponizing them. This is something we’ve not had to confront before. At one time there were responsible voices that would have drawn some lines that would have kept these voices from dominating our discourse, and they don’t exist now.”
Their last paragraph gives me pause, to say the least!
"My hope is that if he loses big, anyone who’s not a racist nationalist says ‘Never again’ and the racist nationalists just retreat to their basements where they belong. But my fear is that Bannon and Trump uniting could be about them looking to do something long-term that would ensure this fringe element remains.”
I wrote the following in August, but now we know he is encouraging those who are so angry they want to act out. In fact as of this morning reporters we booed and shout at when the press pool entered his rally.
I think a Trump loss even if he doesn't absolutely nothing to encourage it, there will be a real feeling among the farthest fringe that they are been given license to act out on their feels of white entitlement. The more Trump encourages them by ranting about how he lost because the system was rigged, the more he throws gasoline on the rage of zealous supports who are possibly mentally unstable supporters. These the risk of this rage turning into a flaming and dangerous fury.
It should go without saying what could happen when unstable people feel empowered to act on their anger. Trump has made me afraid, and I no long fear what will happen if he wins, I fear what will happen when he looses.
Quick to being aggressively defensive if you call them on any deficiency, fault or responsibility
Can’t apologize or if do, can’t do it sincerely
Rarely say, “Thank you” or “Congratulations”
Don’t feel or demonstrate remorse
Feel entitled to enthusiastic and appreciative approval, adoration, agreement and obedience
Gloat in victory, sullen in defeat
Quick to rage if you humiliate
Below, emphasis added:
What is really at the core of narcissists is an instability in their ability to feel and sustain feeling bigger, larger, smarter and more successful than everyone else which they need to feel stable. And just as Hamlet’s mother said, “the lady doth protest too much,” “the narcissist doth brag, scorn, talk down, primp and belittle too much” in order to continually prove to the world and themselves that they are larger than life. This is not to increase their self-esteem as much as it is to continually spackle the holes in their core that lead to a feeling of instability—and that, if not spackled, will lead to brittleness followed by fragmentation.
Narcissistic rage occurs when that core instability is threatened and furthermore threatened to destabilize them even further. Not unlike a wounded animal being the most vicious (because they think the next wound would kill them), narcissistic rage occurs when narcissists believe the next insult/assault to their grandiose based stability would shatter them.
I think he is suffering his narcissistic injury all the time but has developed quite an efficient and effective system of defenses to keep it covered. . .at least covered enough so as not to expose to much about his wounds. . . What will happen when the wall he has built (did the Mexican's pay for it) around his aggrandized sense of self comes crumbling down is anybodies guess, but we can safely say it won't be pretty. and all the kings horse and all the kings men. . .
Paul Berger was my friend. He was my roommate in 1961 at Michigan State when the university made an effort to recruit a large number of freshman from New York with its excellent secondary education system because, frankly, they wanted to raise the acadmeic level of the students.
Paul was from White Plains, 10 miles down route 22 from Mt. Vernon where I live. Paul was a lingust who
I was pretty naive in 1961. Paul was reckless
in his risk taking. I remember he once had
sex under a blanket with a woman acquaintance
in the lobby of the dormitory dining room.
By 1969 my wife-to-be were living together
in an old farmhouse outside Mason, Michigan.
was already fluent in five languages. He was on the swim team. He was also a confirmed non-conformist bordering on an anarchist who before long was a frequent guest of the Dean of Students who warned him that his behavior would get him expelled.
He flouted every rule, although he never hurt anybody. His behavior with women was Trumpian -- he would sometimes just walk up to a woman and embrace her and kss her on the lips. But the things that got him in trouble were along the lines of sitting down at empty table in the Union luch-room and eating the leftovers. He called this progging, a word he coined.
Eventually he was not only exprelled but had a no trespass order so he couldn't cross Grand River Avenue, the street that seperated town from gown.
Paul then went on to wander around Europe where his language skills were put to good use. He told me he slept under bridges in Spain and, although always attracted to women considered himself bisexual and said he “turned tricks with men” to make money.
Eventually Paul moved to New York City.
Once when my wife to be and I were living together Paul came to visit to get away from the lure of herion. He said he'd been "chipping." By that he meant he wasn't using it that heavily.
We talked about what the experience of being on heroin was like and I will never forget what he said: “it is like being totally loved.”
This fits with what Richard Farrell wrote in Huffington Post:
There is nothing on this planet more euphoric than sticking a needle into my vein, watching the blood register like a snake slithering quietly before it strikes its prey, slowly pushing down on the plunger, feeling the warmth moving up into my shoulder, exploding into a head-to-toe rush the instant the white liquid hits my heart. It’s without a doubt, a hundred times more exhilarating than that millisecond right before you explode in a massive orgasm.
I’m in love. Nothing can stop me from getting heroin. I will rob you. I will manipulate you. If my mouth is moving, I am lying. I don’t care who you are or what kind of history we had together. You are nothing to me. Heroin is my god.
Paul stayed with us for a month and without too much physical discomfort kicked the habit.
As far as I know he stayed clean and when he went back to the city he got a job as a cab driver, married, and had children.
Tragically his I.V. heroin use caught up with him and when he was in his fifties he died of hepatits C.
Mike Pence Won’t Answer An 11-Year-Old Girl’s Question About Donald Trump Objectifying Women
He made it about foreign policy.
There was a Girl Scout troop, came to our station the other day for a tour, and afterward, there was an 11-year-old girl who told our staff, and she said this completely unsolicited. She was talking about Donald Trump’s words in campaign commercials. She said this: “When I hear those words and look in the mirror, they make me feel bad about myself.” Again, she said that totally unsolicited. What would you say to that 11-year-old girl?
Pence: “Well, I would say to any one of my kids and any children in this country that Donald Trump and I are committed to a safer and more prosperous future for their family. The weak and feckless foreign policy that Hillary Clinton promises to continue has literally caused wider areas of the world to spin apart, the rise of terrorist threats that have inspired violence here at home, and we’ve seen an erosion of law and order in our streets. And we’ve seen opportunities and jobs evaporate and even leave Ohio and leave this country. I would say to any of our kids that if Donald Trump and I have the chance to serve in the White House, that we’re going to work every day for a stronger, safer and more prosperous America.”
Chris Mathews just noted that Trump used “slings and arrows” in his rally today, quoting Hamlet. Chris, amused, says “my God, who is this guy quoting Hamlet” and then he went on from memory to recite the verses above. Watch video clip of Trump here.
Trump said "I take all of these slings and arrows gladly; so we can have our country back.”
In other words, he is saying he will take all the weapons being thrown at him to save the country for his supporters. He want to convert the image of standing up to “malicious attacks,” as he called them, like a soldier in ancient times being bombarded by rock and arrows.
What Chris Mathews didn’t say is that Trump has no idea what Hamlet was talking about.
Hamlet says these lines feeling so despondent that he is contemplating suicide and his own death, and wondering whether death — perchance to dream — would be worse than living.
The “to be or not to be” soliloquy is the most famous from all of Shakespeare, if not the most well known from all of literature.
Here’s what educator William Delaney has to say about why this is:
I think it is entirely possible that Shakespeare wrote the “To be or not to be” soliloquy as a separate piece expressing his own personal feelings about life and death and then put it away in the bottom drawer, as writers will do, until he found a convenient spot for it when he was writing his play Hamlet. What is important in this soliloquy, and what explains its great popularity, is the truths it tells about human existence, not what it reveals about the character of the moody Prince. We have all personally experienced some of the slings and arrows Hamlet complains about, just by being alive and having to deal with people and struggle to keep a niche in the crowded, competitive world. And we have all felt discouraged and wondered whether existence was really worth the trouble. Reference
What Hamlet is musing on is the comparison between the pain of life, which he sees as inevitable (the sea of troubles - the slings and arrows - the heart-ache - the thousand natural shocks) and the fear of the uncertainty of death and of possible damnation of suicide.
Hamlet's dilemma is that although he is dissatisfied with life and lists its many torments, he is unsure what death may bring (the dread of something after death). He can't be sure what death has in store; it may be sleep but in perchance to dream he is speculating that it is perhaps an experience worse than life. Death is called the undiscover'd country from whichno traveller returns. In saying that Hamlet is acknowledging that, not only does each living person discover death for themselves, as no one can return from it to describe it, but also that suicide os a one-way ticket. If you get the judgment call wrong, there's no way back. www.phrases.org.uk/...
Trump quoting Shakespeare is insane enough. His not knowing what the hell he is talking about is Trump being Trump.
Two of my Time covers:
Current Time, my suggestion for next week, and after the election.
It’s another great front page for the New York Daily news which has had many of them about Trump. This is about a story that could eclipse all the others about women coming forward with traumatic accounts of Trump sexually assaulting them. That is because this is about a child.
I think they decided to emphasize the story about the 10 year old girl quite deliberately. And emphasize it they did with huge typeface and a lascivious looking Donald Trump.
The top heading calling him a perv certainly fits with this revelation. No doubt some men among his supporters don’t think anything he did makes him a sleazy perv, even his barging in on naked 15 year olds at Miss Teenage America (unless it was their daughter).
On the bottom is the headline about the 4 women accusing him, after all that’s old news.
The editors know that some boorish men admire Trump being able to get away with this actually engaging in the locker room bragging from the bus. However, ogling a 10 year old — leering at her — and saying he has a fantasy of having sex with dating her when she’s 20 is another matter.
These misogynistic men would probably beat up someone who said this about their daughter.
The primary heading calling him a perv certainly fits with this — some men among his supporters don’t think anything he did makes him a sleazy perv, not even his barging in on naked 15 year olds at Miss Teenage America (unless one of them was their daughter).
Crystal ball time:
My hunch is that no matter what comes out Trump will be Trump. He seems to have reacted with fury. Remarks are being convey to the press that he is ready to go to war with the media. There have been threats of suing the media and the women making the accusations. If anyone in his inner circle tries to suggest he withdraw he will fire them.
He will lash out in narcissistic rage until the bitter end, and it will be a bitter, bitter end. And tragically it won’t end after the election. His hardcore supports represent the potentially dangerous unbelly of our society. To call these people a basket of deplorables is to minimize the risk to civil order that they represent.
My friend just brought me a copy here in the coffee shop at Willamette View, the liberal senior place where I live (shown in photo), and the first thing I thought was that the National Enquirer was having a psychotic break.
The cover is laid out in National Enquirer format with their usual typeface, colors, and sensational headlines. The only difference is that instead of making hateful and outrageous claims against Hillary, it is all pro-Hillary.
The 2016 presidential race has been one of the most exhausting shouting matches in recent memory.
The ruckus appears to be obscuring what elections are about: creating a marketplace of ideas so voters can choose among those candidates and proposals that offer the best hope for the future.
In some ways, this year's marketplace looks more like a half-stocked convenience store. It offers, in Donald Trump, the least-qualified, least civil presidential candidate we hope we'll ever see, and a candidate of extraordinary qualifications (and considerable flaws) in Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Some ideas about what to write about the election are kind of bouncing around in my mind. While it’s midmorning for the majority of you it’s just after 6:00 AM here in Portland (the one where it’s 6:00AM). The coffee cup is on it’s first Keurig.
I woke to the great map top of the page on Kos…www.dailykos.com/... and found a graphic to express how I felt about it.
I’m not sure about the words Trumpageddon and Trumpocolapyse because I’d use those to describe what it would be if Trump won. Of course Trump would at some mental level perceive this landslide loss this way.
On the news now just briefly was the idea of sending people to Mars who would never return. Alas I won’t be alive when they do it. If it was possible now and Trump won I’d try to sign up if my dogs could come along.
A morning thought was what Obama pillow talk must be like when they discuss Donald Trump, the man responsible for the birther movement.
I imagine Michelle waking up and saying “Barak, you’ll never what I dreamed you did to Trump.”
What I’d give to hear about that dream.
If I was tasked to provide therapy for the Obama family now it would be play therapy. I’d have them freely draw what they’d fantasize happening to Trump, or make PlayDough figures of him and have go with the playroom kid’s tool set.
As I write this the TV is showing a discussion of Alex Jones and his paying people to disrupt Clinton rallies. I handle this by writing that he and his miserable hoards are disgusting paranoid evil miserable cesspool dwelling trogoldytes.
Hell, my recommendation as a therapist for any of you who is overwhelmed by Trump and worries that he might just win and talking it out with like-minded friends isn’t doing it for you, try the play therapy.
PS: Check out my friend Howard Covitz’s story “Call It By Its Right Name”
www.dailykos.com/… This remind me of another health way to deal with your feelings engendered by Trump which even psychotherapists like Howard and I find helpful : writing about it on Daily Kos. I should have thought of this right off, since I was engaged in doing it as I was writing this story. In fact, journal/writing therapy is well recognized and was something that helped me cope after the death of my wife.
In his OpEd today, David Brooks writes about “the essential loneliness” of Donald Trump in “Donald Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life.” Brooks say he sometimes find himself “experiencing feelings of deep sadness and pity” as he pictures Trump as a deeply isolated and lonely person. As a psychotherapist I feel no sadness or pity for Trump. I have no sympathy for the Devil. Why should I?
Trump seems incapable of that. He is essentially adviser-less, friendless. His campaign team is made up of cold mercenaries at best and Roger Ailes at worst. His party treats him as a stench it can’t yet remove.
He was a germophobe through most of his life and cut off contact with others, and now I just picture him alone in the middle of the night, tweeting out hatred.
Trump breaks his own world record for being appalling on a weekly basis, but as the campaign sinks to new low after new low, I find myself experiencing feelings of deep sadness and pity.
Imagine if you had to go through a single day without sharing kind little moments with strangers and friends.
Imagine if you had to endure a single week in a hate-filled world, crowded with enemies of your own making, the object of disgust and derision.
You would be a twisted, tortured shrivel, too, and maybe you’d lash out and try to take cruel revenge on the universe. For Trump this is his whole life.
Brooks has his own psychological analysis:
Trump continues to display the symptoms of narcissistic alexithymia, the inability to understand or describe the emotions in the self. Unable to know themselves, sufferers are unable to understand, relate or attach to others.
To prove their own existence, they hunger for endless attention from outside. Lacking internal measures of their own worth, they rely on external but insecure criteria like wealth, beauty, fame and others’ submission.
In this way, Trump seems to be denied all the pleasures that go with friendship and cooperation. Women could be sources of love and affection, but in his disordered state he can only hate and demean them. His attempts at intimacy are gruesome parodies, lunging at women as if they were pieces of meat.
Don’t worry if you had to look up alexithymia. I did too even though it is considered a psychiatric term. It means simply difficultyinexperiencing,expressing,anddescribingemotional responses.
I forgive you for skipping the more technical definition:
Alexithymia is a personality construct characterized by the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating. Furthermore, individuals with alexithymia have difficulty in distinguishing and appreciating the emotions of others, which is thought to lead to unempathic and ineffective emotional responding. Alexithymia is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population and is known to be comorbid with a number of psychiatric conditions.
I added to my psychological assessment of Trump’s overall this morning after I read about his inability to understand what other people would find funny:
This is about how difficult it was for writers to work with him when he was the subject of a Comedy Central roast.
“One thing that stuck out to me during rehearsal,” Larsen (executive producer) said, “is he would always poll the people around him if they thought it was funny. He never really seemed to have a grasp on what was funny and why it was funny. He was always looking at others to validate if it was funny.”
“I have done this a long time and nobody blacks out punchlines,” said Jesse Joyce, one of the writers. Scrapping punchlines represents “a classic lack of an understanding of how a joke works,” he added.
What people find amusing tell us a lot about them. The meanness of Trump, his taking pleasure in other people’s discomfort or pain which could be defined as sadistic is illustrated by this:
Trump made a few lackluster attempts at cracking wise. He changed a joke meant to slam MacFarlane from: “The only way you’ll ever draw a crowd is with a pencil.” Trump’s revision: “The only crowd you’ll attract is flies.”
I could treat Donald Trump if he became my client because I would engage in the intellectual discipline of empathy. It would be difficult. For most therapists, I’d say for all effective therapists, empathy comes naturally. But there are rare instances where you really have to work on putting yourself in a client’s place so you can, as the saying goes, walk in their shoes.
For example, I’ve had abusive men in therapy who had little insight and blamed their wives for their own behavior, but I still had to try to grasp their experiential world. When some of the men were Trump-like in having little ability to appreciate the pain (emotional especially) they were causing their wives, all I could try to do was work on convincing them that behavioral change would benefit them if they valued their marriage and family.
When I was working in a clinic I knew that their wives were in therapy with a colleague who was counseling them so they had the self-esteem to get out of the marriage. I can’t count the times when I had men drop out of marital couples therapy because they felt I was siding with their wives. However, when men and women (or in a few cases same sex couples) were both willing to admit they needed to change, my success rate was excellent. I could tell what the chances were by whether or not they both came in willing together for the first session. In all modesty I was a very good marriage counselor.
There’s about as much chance of my becoming Trump’s therapist as there is of a Zombie Apocalypse. Besides I’m retired and would have to renew my license, and he couldn’t afford my fee.
I listened to the exchange with Cooper on the radio and without being distracted by visuals it was more disturbing and reprehensible, and unhinged in a way that my psychotherapist friends and I can’t figure out — from a neurological perspective nobody can figure out what’s wrong with his brain… does he have weird seizures under pressure? We have put our collective psychoanalyst minds together on the content of his ISIS escape. To go in a split second from minimizing what he said on the bus to ISIS cutting people’s heads off and drowning them in cages and ranting on about that until brought back to the subject. Then back on the bus topic he avoids answering the question about whether he ever did any of the things he bragged about he uttered a lot of blather before said he did not. I think he was working up the guts to make that lie and reckless fool realized that he had to lie — although he hinted that other women may make allegations which he would deny.
A Freudian could say that his instantly leaping to the example of beheading could symbolize unconscious castration anxiety. This using the example of being drowned in a cage could symbolize death in the womb.
Huffington Post called Trump a “monster schmuck.” It is true that he is a monstrously contemptible and detestable person who is the captain of the basket of deplorables.
However, there are two meanings of the word “schmuck” which most adults familiar with Yiddish slang know.
One is the simply the dictionary definition which is how the word is commonly used, i.e., a foolish or contemptible person, or as Wiki defines it:
"Schmuck", or "shmuck", in American English is a pejorative term meaning one who is stupid or foolish, or an obnoxious, contemptible or detestable person. The word came into the English language from Yiddish (שמאָק, shmok), where it has similar pejorative meanings, but where its original and literal meaning is penis.
However the second meaning from it’s Yiddish origin is penis. I obviously don’t know the size of Trump’s penis, although it would be pleasant to discover from the wacky Doctor that he needs Viagra. I just want to call him a little big schmuck because it puts him in his place in two ways.
It is interchangeable with saying a man is a prick. I know from personal experience that some Jewish adults thought it was vulgar in the fifties. It was commonly used as a minor insult — he’s a jerk, he’s a prick, he’s a schmuck, were all pretty much interchangeable— among my Jewish peers and as a general putdown by lots of other kids, girls as well as boys.
Since Trump when mocked for having short fingers assured us that in the other department he was well endowed.
This is yet one of the extraordinarily surreal aspects of Trump’s candidacy. Can you believe that a major news source would have the headline “Donald Trump defends the size of his penis?”
"He's always calling me Little Marco. And I'll admit he's taller than me. He's like 6'2, which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5'2," Rubio said in Virginia on Sunday. "And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can't trust them.”
Trump responded by saying:
"Look at those hands, are they small hands?" the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination said, raising them for viewers to see. "And, he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee.”
Trump is one of those insecure males who enjoys bullying and being his version of machismo.
He is a man who wants everyone to admire him because he has a big penis.
While I can find no science to correlate hand (or foot) size with penis size, we know that urban legend and school yard wisdom has it that one can do this.
That Trump “would go there” suggests, not necessarily that he is embarrassed about the size of his penis, though it could, but that he feels he needs to assure people that he is a manly man in every way.
Rule 1. Men need to carry a moniker like Hose or Rod or Dick or, of course, Donald. Think of all the great Donalds you know ... starting with me. Don't ... I repeat Don't ... Don't ever let your son think his name is Rinse, Jr. Try calling him Hose'emDown-Don (long names with lots of initials do the trick). My Dad used to tell me every morning: Hose'em Down, Don and then he'd chuckle. So, that's Rule 1. and really important.
Rule 2. From an early age, teach your son what to call little girls. The Little Guy must come to realize that being a Guy has power. Calling your sister, Sis, is for Sissies. That Dokteur (Freud) from Vienna said that boys need to have pride in their penises ... Phallic Narcissism, he called it.
What help most are two things:
Teach your little guy that he has the biggest penis since Alex Phallics, the First Prince of the Weimar Republik and no other man's is as big. To settle the matter, tutor him in calling his boy playmates by endearing names like ... Little, Lyin', Crooked, Wee-Wee-Macher and Phyllis. He's gotta learn early how to make other guys feel small.
In the German language the word Schmuck means "jewelry, adornment". The etymology of the pejorative meaning is a matter of some disagreement.
The lexicographer Michael Wex, author of How to Be a Mentsh (And Not a Shmuck), writes that the Yiddish term and the German term are completely unrelated. "Basically, the Yiddish word comes out of baby talk," according to Wex. "A little boy’s penis is a shtekl, a 'little stick'. Shtekl became shmeckle, in a kind of baby-rhyming thing, and shmeckle became shmuck. Shmeckle is prepubescent and not a dirty word, but shmuck, the non-diminutive, became obscene."
According to Leo Rosten in "Hooray for Yiddish!", the pejorative use of the German "schmuck" derives from Schmock, which is closer to the original Yiddish word: and the transition of the word from meaning "jewel" to meaning "penis" is related to the description of a man's genitals as "the family jewels".
Because of its generally being considered a vulgarity, the word is often euphemized as "schmoe", which was the source of Al Capp's cartoon strip creature the "shmoo". Other variants include "schmo" and "shmo".
In Jewish-American culture
In Jewish homes in the United States, the word normally has been "regarded as so vulgar as to be taboo".Lenny Bruce, a Jewish stand-up comedian, wrote that the use of the word during his performances in 1962 led to his arrest on the West Coast, "by a Yiddish undercover agent who had been placed in the club several nights running to determine if [his] use of Yiddish terms was a cover for profanity".
In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten wrote: "Never use schmuck lightly, or in the presence of women and children", which was a common view among Jewish people who felt a connection to the language, and who still viewed it as an obscene reference to a penis.
In popular culture
Although schmuck is considered an obscene term in the Yiddish, it has become a common American idiom for "jerk" or "idiot". It can be taken as offensive, however, by some Jewish people, particularly those with strong Yiddish roots. Allan Sherman explained in his book The Rape of the A*P*E* that, if a word is used frequently enough, it loses its shock value and comes into common usage without raising any eyebrows.
The term was notably used in the 2010 comedy film, Dinner for Schmucks, in which the plot centered on a competition among businessmen to see who could invite the biggest idiot to a monthly dinner. In her review of the film for the New York Times, film critic Debbie Schlussel took issue with the movie's use of the term "schmuck", and with its use of Yiddish at all, adding: “The more correct title would have been ‘Dinner for Schlemiels'.” She added, "At The New York Times, where the word is still considered potentially offensive, the title of [the] film may be mentioned only sparingly. Still, advertisements for the movie would probably pass muster", and suggested that the main characters in the film might be more appropriately called "shmendriks".