Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Twisted, Tortured Shrivel

PM Updated: A little more fisking and video at bottom.

David MacDonald's Devil Girl from Mars (1954), via Jimmy at Pinterest.
That's actually a phrase used in David Brooks's latest attempt ("Donald Trump's Sad, Lonely Life") to demonstrate that the Trump phenomenon has no relationship to conservative ideology or the Republican party:

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.
I can't get over what a ghastly dreadful writer he is.

Donald Trump actually lives surrounded by worshiping sycophants anxious to satisfy his every whim, who transport him from town to town where he basks in the adoration of enormous, transfixed crowds swaying in synchrony with the rhythm of his hypnotic oratory. Of course it's never enough. He's aware that there are some people out beyond the skin of his bubble who don't respect him, and every time he hears about it he explodes with unconcealable public rage.

(You know who really lives in isolation, abandoned by ex-wife and angry children, mocked for his shabby work performance, bad faith, and spitefulness in his workplace—this weekend his editors felt compelled to run another columnful of devastating reader critiques, this one on his September 30 anti-Hillary piece...)

David Brooks thinks Trump is unable to express his emotions:

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.
Again, Brooks misunderstands the definition of alexithymia, a condition in which patients don't recognize that they have emotions—not repressing their feelings but unable to find them. They seem to themselves and to others like affectless robots, unless to the extent they can learn to imitate the others. Nothing illogical ever happens in their dreams.

Donald Trump, in contrast, seethes with emotion, though he lies a lot about what his emotions are; he thinks other people are affectless robots, as Brooks somewhat accurately noted from the Sunday debate:

Trump treated his questioners as unrelatable automatons and delivered his answers to the void, even when he had the chance to seem sympathetic to an appealing young Islamic woman.

He is not alexithymic. I don't know why Brooks keeps insisting on this.

(You know who really shows marked symptoms of alexithymia? Hint: trying to describe how Trump makes him feel, he says, "I find myself experiencing feelings of deep sadness and pity." Those are the words of a man trying to imitate feelings he's read about, not emotions he's felt.)

On Monday, one of Trump’s conservative critics, Erick Erickson, published a moving essay called “If I Die Before You Wake… .” Erickson has been the object of vicious assaults by Trump supporters. He and his wife are both facing serious health ailments and may pass before their children are grown. Yet as the essay makes clear, both are living lives of love, faith, devotion and service. Both have an ultimate confidence in the goodness of creation and their grace-filled place in it.
Like Trump, Erickson is not alexithymic. The essay (no idea why Brooks or his assistant failed to link it) is here. Sounds like he's been having a really rough time, and I'm sorry for him, but I'd be sorrier if he would do a Lee Atwater and show some recognition of the part he has played over recent years in the spread of hatred and dehumanization of black people, gay people, immigrants, Muslims, atheists, women who want to control their own bodies, and so on, to creating Trump's political base among the aging Beavises and Butt-Heads of our republic. No, Erickson—like Donald Trump, that Christian who has never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness, is guilt-free and self-congratulatory:
Thankfully, though there has been fall out with advertisers and fall out with listeners and more books could have been sold, my ratings have held and I sleep well at night knowing I’m still saying and believing and advocating for those things I was saying, believing, and advocating a year ago, three years ago, and five years ago. I have not changed.
Instead, Erickson is full of satisfaction and that parfait sweetness, just like Brooks:

Most of us derive a warm satisfaction when we feel our lives are aligned with ultimate values. But Trump lives in an alternative, amoral Howard Stern universe where he cannot enjoy the sweetness that altruism and community service can occasionally bring.
Brooks could reserve some of his "deep sadness and pity" for people who suffer from mental illness without that billion-dollar cushion. Here's some testimony from an actual alexithymic sufferer, from an anonymous commenter on a Reddit thread:

What I am bad at
  • I have no first person memories of anything in the past, everything that happened more than 1 second ago is remembered like someone else told me about it.
  • I cannot remember any visual, auditory or other sensory input - however at the time of an event, I can take note of something if I remember.
  • I cannot learn anything via instruction, I must learn from a person. I can learn some things by trial and error - but some things (such as cooking) became too expensive to do that way.
  • I cannot write down anything creative, however - I am a very creative person. I have in my head a full novel (called Craznar Millenium). To write creatively, I require a co-writer, I have no such beast - so I don't write.
  • I cannot develop useful interpersonal relations, as I either act mechanical (you know like a vulcan) or I imprint, Imprinting is where I copy the personality and actions of the person I am talking to and reciprocate. This makes me excellent troll fodder.
  • I do not establish patterns or behaviours based upon positive and negative experience, as I don't have any first person memory of such experience.
  • I cannot talk to automated voice machines (the ones thay ask you to speak to them), however with some difficulty I can leave a recorded message.
  • I cannot get treatment for mental illness, either via drugs or traditional (language based) therapy, and am counter productive in group therapies.
You may ask - doesn't this make you an Asperger sufferer. Well, I'm sort of the exact opposite. I love interaction with people, love variety and change - however I get neither because people cannot deal with me.
What I am good at
  • I do not hold preconceptions, be they grudges or favour. I treat everything as it is now, relying only on facts (not feelings) from my past. This makes me a perfect witness for the crime, however whilst I can accurately describe the exact trajetory of the car, I cannot tell the police officer what colour it was.
  • I am very good at analytical work, which is what has kept me in a job for the last 15 years - however I can never excel, or advance in my job as I cannot relate.
  • I am very creative, I have mutliple inventions stored in my head (which of course I can't afford put anywhere), I have a novel and a few short films also in my head.
  • I am very innovative, given the resources I am very good at creating innovative solutions to difficult problems - I have the advantage of decades in my profession, without the baggage of doing things as they have always been done.
Where I am now
  • Pretty much friendless and for ever alone, and no prospect of that changing
  • Pretty much penniless, as my previous attempts at creativity failed costing me money.
  • I spend 99% of my week in a room where I work, sleep, eat and play WoW sometimes (mostly solo because of the condition).
  • Looking at a future which has no hope of getting better, and trying to stave off suicidal thoughts long enough to maybe win the lotto and enable my creativity to flourish again.

Just saying. Bad writing bonus fisk:

His attempts at intimacy are gruesome parodies, lunging at women as if they were pieces of meat.
That's meat locker room talk. #NotAllMen lunge at animal parts. Most of us use forks and knives.

at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.
You mean he's not even there himself?

Donald Trump’s life, by contrast, looks superficially successful and profoundly miserable. None of us would want to live in the howling wilderness of his own solitude, no matter how thick the gilding.
He's only a bird in a gilded howling wilderness. Where the trees fall silently. This video is glorious (goes bop after the intro!).

No comments:

Post a Comment