Showing posts with label Heather "Digby" Parton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heather "Digby" Parton. Show all posts

July 12, 2023

Whether they're dim bulbs or bright lights, does it really matter?


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By Hal Brown

Heather "Digby" Parton wrote this about Sen. Tommy Tuberville:

"Whether he's dim or whether he's calculated, it really doesn't matter."

It is from her Salon article: 

Senate Republicans grow more radical in the minority

Mitch McConnell may soon have a Freedom Caucus of his own to contend with

In context:

After the media went into a frenzy on Tuesday, he did finally relent and admit that that white nationalism is racist but it's pretty clear that he doesn't believe that. Like his brethren in the House Freedom Caucus, Tommy Tuberville is a MAGA performance artist and he put on quite a show. Whether he's dim or whether he's calculated, it really doesn't matter.

In one respect she's correct, although in another she's not. It does matter. This doesn't apply just to Tommy Tuberville, but to all the ultra-MAGA group from those making the news to the clownish crowds at Trump rallies and others who make up both the Trump cult MAGAs the no longer Trump worshipping MAGA world.

Consider, just in the news, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo and her newsest conspiracy theory (here) 

Ask whether it matters whether or not she believes this. If she does she's not only a dim bulb but a demented bulb who needs psychiatric intervention. After all, what Philip Bump is describing as unmoored means unmoorred from reality and this is a sign of severe mental illness.

Then there's Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) who suggested "penguins" were to blame when scientists testified that Covid-19 was created in nature (story here). She was questioning scientists testifying about the origins of Covid at a House Oversight Committee meeting:

"The scientific literature, you know, the publication of the pangolin genomic sequence showed that there was a receptor binding domain," Garry said. "And it was a very important piece of data because it showed that a lot of the theories about, you know, the virus having been engineered or put together in a laboratory were not true because here was a virus in nature that had a receptor binding domain with exactly the same structure."

Malliotakis confused the research on pangolins, which resembles an anteater, with penguins.

"I just find it all interesting based on what my other colleague here, the chairman of the committee, said in reply to the issue of the penguins," she said.

To give her the benefit of the doubt I'd say her bulb is rather dim when it comes to science, nature, and even common sense considering the fact that penguins live in Antartica. Perhaps it was just a slip of the tongue since lots of people don't know what pangolins are.

Then we come to the more notorious well-known purveyors of conspiracy hokuum from the once mighty Tucker Carlson to Marjorie Taylor Greene and  those who mouth the nonsense promoted by QAnon. 

Those with a brand to sell, whether politicians or pundits on the far-right, have a motive to spit the silly and stupid to the gullible. At the worst they pander hate and fear to their audience. Case in point, yet another timely example comes from Fox News host Jesse Watters who is heir apparent to Tucker Carlson:

'People told me' I have 'done more for women’s sports than Meg Rapinoe'


Watters then declared, without citing any sources, that "some people have told me that I have actually done more for women's sports than Meg Rapinoe has done, that maybe she's a traitor in the war on women and I have fought valiantly in that war, obviously on the women's side. And that's not me saying that, and I actually disagree with that. I'm just saying it's something that's being said."

Watters also asserted of Rapinoe that "women have also told me because — she's a lesbian, I believe. Is that true? — that she may have a different feeling about the trans issue than straight women, that she feels an allyship. Am I using allyship correctly?" Watters wondered.


We just don't know whether he believes this or whether he is only hyping homophobia for his far-right audience. My hunch he is engaging in brand building. He knows this is the kind of hateful rhetoric that will increase his viewership. He knows he has big bigot boots to fill if he's ever to top Tucker. 

Getting to the title question as to whether these people are mentally dim bulbs or bright lights, I view this through the lens of a retired therapist trying to have some empathy (not easy to do) for the small army of influencers who spew their hateful propaganda to so many susceptible people. If they do do this with deliberation they should all be exiled to an inaccessible and inhospitable island where they can sustain themselves by devouring each other's flesh.

If they are clinically delusional they need and should receive psychiatric treatment.

If they are dim bulbs who were born with impaired mental capacity they ought to have remedial education. 

How's this for empathy?

Disquis comment section on bottom of page. 

September 27, 2022

Digby posits three reasons Trump stole the documents, I have a fourth


A psychological reason Trump might have stolen the top secret documents 

By Hal Brown 

Scroll down for articles that piqued my interest today

In Heather "Digby" Parton's Salon column she speculates on the following:

Why did he steal the documents? Maggie Haberman's book may hold the answer

Let's review: He's a pack rat; he hoped to sell them; he meant to use them for blackmail. Yes, yes and yes

Of course none of the reasons are mutually exclusive, but I propose a fourth possible reason:

There’’s plenty of speculation as to why Trump wanted to bring top secret documents home to Mar a Lago. I have yet to hear one that isn’t nefarious.  These include his wanting to sell them to foreign adversaries or curry favor with them, but I am posing a different reason just as consistent with his personality. If he wanted to use them to benefit himself in the former way it speaks to his being a traitorous sociopath. I suggest another possiblity. It is based on another aspect of his psychology. This is that he may have wanted to use them as trophies, either to enjoy by himself or to show off to select mucky-mucks who he wanted to impress. This speaks to his over-the-top pathological grandiose narcissism.

If he didn’t take them for evil reasons I lean towards his wanting to show them off because I don’t see Trump as the kind of wealthy person who is like the collector of illegally obtained fine art which he keeps in a vault where he enjoys just sitting by himself enjoying the work of the masters only he is able to look at.

Trump most likely knew he wasn’t allowed to take home gifts from foreign leaders to show off to his pals but figured that showing these off was no big deal (see From chess sets to model jets, foreign leaders lavish gifts on Trump White House) compared to flashing a document labeled Top Secret with the locations of our nuclear submarines on it. For example Chinese President Xi Jinping gave Trump a paper panel with five columns of calligraphy, valued at $14,400, that’s a big ho-hum.

Of course I may be totally wrong here, but then again sometimes a simple explanation is the right one. Both reasons are consistent with who we know Trump is.

My possible, emphasis on the word possible, reason is not as newsworthy as those being suggested. It doesn’t paint him as an evil traitor. In fact while it might be embarrassing to him to offer this as a defense should the case end up in court, it might be offered to exculpate him. It would be a kind of “not guilty by reason of pathological narcissism.”

On a personal note, I was friends with Biggie Munn’s daughter Jane when he was the athletic director of Michigan State University. She showed me the trophy room he had in his beautifully furnished basement. The walls of the room were lined with shelves and displays of fancy trophies which he or his teams had won dating back to when he was an All-American at the University of Minnesota through his coaching career, to when he eventually became athletic director at MSU. In one way or another he earned each and every one of them. None of them were stolen.

Articles that piqued my interest today

This article makes it sound like Bandy Lee was isolated among the community of mental health professionals. Of course there was a concerted effort to marginalized her in some quarters, but not enough media attention was given to those who agreed with her, and there were lots of us.
As members of the Duty to Warn society like me know, this is not true. There were thousands of therapists saying in various ways the same thing. Some made a diagnosis (John D Gartner , myself, and others, a malignant narcissist, Lance Dodes, MD, a sociopath) and some not, but all saying he was dangerous.
I viewed the reluctance to go public with an actual diagnosis was for some therapists as a way to avoid being accused of breaking the Goldwater Rule or subject to the criticism that one couldn't make a diagnosis without a clinical interview. It seems to be common sense that we have much more information about Trump's psychopathology than we would after a typical clinical assessment interview.
We also have the observations of a family member the way we might when we interview a family member in some kinds of therapy, and in Trump's case this family member, Mary Trump, is a clinical psychologist.

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