To Chuck Todd on Trumpian Necrophiles

Just when one gets her hopes up for Chuck — who on MTP today followed, quite remarkably, the Nazi specter of Stephen Miller with Bernie Sanders, brilliantly juxtaposing the darkness of fascism with the light of its opposite — he manages to disappoint:


Well, I say two things, right now we are in a pivotal moment in American history. We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar, somebody who is trying to–


Those are strong words.


–divide us up.


Can you work with–


Those are strong words.


Can you work with a pathological liar?


Well, it makes life very difficult, not just for me. And I don’t mean, you know, I know it sounds, it is very harsh. But I think that’s the truth. When somebody goes before you and the American people, say, “Three to five million people voted illegally in the last election,” nobody believes that. There is not the scintilla of evidence.

What would you call that remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion. 

Chuck still cannot see the pathology in Trump’s blatant lies, proving that this country, and the world, is way overdue for a serious discussion on mental health and its lack.

But never mind that now or the rest of the bizarro-inane punditry (is there any other kind?) that came afterwards.

We shall focus — because we must, this blog being a public service ‘n all — on highlighting a peculiarly unpleasant but crucial aspect of Trump/ism: its narcissistic worship of death and destruction, manifested not just in its ideology that informs its actions, but in the characters involved. Not surprisingly, of course, as our beliefs flow directly from our characters, showing to the world, though usually much less effectively to ourselves, who we are.

Enter Stephen Miller:


Miller made Sunday talk show rounds and there is no doubt that Trump chose this individual on purpose to represent him this morning, following the last night’s humiliations of the SNL parodies.

If you do not feel a cold shiver running down your spine when you watch Miller on TV, you should probably see your doctor.

Afterwards, please do read Erich Fromm’s The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, especially the chapters on malignant aggression. There, Fromm delineates several destructive character types and discusses their psychopathology, along with their characteristic appearance.

One of those types is a necrophile, a term Fromm uses to describe someone who is enamored with and motivated by death and destruction, as opposed to love for life and creation. Ideologically, necrophiles are typically associated with fascism, which provides the “proper” outlet for their desires to control, dominate, and destroy The Others:

Many necrophilous individuals give the impression of constantly smelling a bad odor. Anybody who studies the many pictures of Hitler, for instance, can easily discover this sniffing expression in his face. This expression is not always present in necrophiles, but when it is, it is one of the most reliable criteria of such a passion. [I would attribute it to narcissistic contempt for and distrust of others — Emma.]  

Another characteristic element in the facial expression is the necrophile’s incapacity to laugh. His laughter is actually a kind of smirk; it is unalive and lacks the liberating and joyous quality of normal laughter. In fact it is not only the absence of the capacity for “free” laughter that is characteristic of the necrophile, but the general immobility and lack of expression in his face. One can observe that such people in reality never “laugh” but only “grin.” While watching television one can sometimes observe a speaker whose face remains completely unmoved while he is speaking; he grins only at the beginning or the end of his speech when, according to American custom, he knows that he is expected to smile. Such persons cannot talk and smile at the same time, because they can direct their attention only to the one or the other activity; their smile is not spontaneous but planned, like the unspontaneous gestures of a poor actor. The skin is often indicative of necrophiles: it gives the impression of being lifeless, “dry,” sallow; when we sense sometimes that a person has a “dirty” face, we are not claiming that the face is unwashed, but are responding to the particular quality of a necrophilous expression.

(There’s more — see Fromm’s book, it’s a good read.)

I would add to this description their dead, unseeing eyes, a feature that Fromm describes in a later chapter on Hitler; and, in men, peculiar, effeminate (for lack of a better word) mannerisms (e.g., Richard “Watch my right pinky” Spencer).

There are no doubt common neurological underpinnings of these characteristics, linking them to stunted emotional and moral development that manifests in attraction to fascistic and fundamentalist ideologies of all kinds. Curious neuroscientists should look into that.


To Chuck Todd about Something Trump Did

[image source]

This is the second installment of what likely will become a regular feature of this blog: translating Trump for the glorious make-benefit of Chuck Todd, an overexcitable host of Meet the Press, whose heart, I believe, is in the right place, even though his mind cannot always keep up. Snarky as that sounds, I have great — well, ok, moderate– hopes for the man, as I watch his growing spine, strengthened after every encounter with Kellyanne Goebbels Conway and other representatives of Agent Orange.

Chuck is quickly discovering the WTF Zone, in which most Americans have lived their lives, watching in mute horror the disaster developing in and around them thanks to the political grandmasters who use them as fodder for their profiteering schemes.

WTF Zone is like The Twilight Zone, minus its whimsy and uplifting message. There is no way out of it, other than (falsely) through numbing the pain it creates with mind-altering substances (and/or virtual reality), which for most Americans lead to more alienation, suffering and, increasingly, death; or (authentically) through a radical self-transformation, which is rare and seemingly — so far at least, though this may change — beyond the reach for most.

On today’s MTP, Chuck tried to get an answer from Mrs. Goebbels to a simple but loaded question: why Trump sent his  press secretary Sean Spicer — a small man in every sense of the term, who always looks as though he’s seconds away from blowing his gasket along with the collar of his tight-fitting shirt — to lie, shamelessly and angrily, about something as silly as the size of his inauguration crowd.

Of course Chuck got no answer, but instead a stream of obfuscations and deflections which are the specialty of the Agent Orange Propaganda Corp, and in which Kellyanne excels like no others. That’s Psychopathic Lying 101: no sweat, no conflictual emotion, no whiff of discomfort or scruple over one’s smoothly delivered “alternative facts” (she actually used that very term).

Chuck later tried to extract the answer from another of Trump’s snake-like surrogates, Tom “Soft Sensuality” Barrack.

The SS moniker comes from Barrack’s creative and jaw-dropping spin of the impossibility to secure A-list celebrities for Trump’s inauguration. Instead of confirming what’s obvious to everyone — that no person with a conscience and a right mind would want to associate with Trumputin — Barrack ventured that Donald prefers the soft sensuality of the surroundings free of A-listers and other such nuisances. What a great example of the forked golden tongue at work.

If we are to associate Trump — or Barrack himself, for that matter — with soft sensuality, then we may as well grandfather Marquise de Sade into that exclusive club, and seriously consider Jack the Ripper’s application too.

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post, which is helping Chuck Todd understand Trump.

The reason why Trump sent Spicer to bark lies at the press about the size of his inauguration package is the same reason why he, Trump, always brags about the size of his anything. His malignant narcissism demands to assert at every opportunity that he is the bestest, most tremendousest, huugest, and amazingest, bar none, and crush anyone who may disagree. (And I suspect you know it already, but bless you for asking anyway.)

Having had pictures of his meager inauguration crowds, much smaller than those of Obama (an unforgivable slight), circulated by the media, and then being upstaged by the world-wide women’s march must have been an intolerable injury to his ego.

And we know what happens when a narcissist’s ego is injured: hell hath no fury.

You could see that fury, by proxy, twisting Spicer’s tongue, making him avoid eye contact with the audience, trip over his words, and bring him close to apoplexy, averted only by his scurrying, cowardly exit that prevented taking and answering any questions from the journalists. (That’s what “press conferences” under Trump will look like. Get used to it –or, better yet, not.)

Some folks on twitter used the term Pravda-esque to describe this “press conference,” but I don’t remember such levels of aggression and contempt during communist pressers way back when. This is really more Hitler, from what I saw, than placid Kosygin or clueless Brezhnev, although Stalin may have qualified — but that was before my time.

The Orange One, meanwhile, had a disgraceful in person “meeting” with the intelligence community, which he used to (yes, you guessed it) brag about the size of his inauguration crowds and peddle other lies to a seemingly shocking — until we remember that Trumpists hire cheerleaders for his public performances — applause from the audience. He also told the intel people “I’m so behind you,” which sounded more like a threat than support (and you can bet that this is what it really was), reminiscent of his stalking behavior during the second debate with Hillary.

This is what Trump’s increasingly staged and choreographed contacts with the public will look like from now on, as the man continues to become more withdrawn from reality and consumed by his dreams of glory, supported in this dangerous but inevitable development by his sycophants, but also by his opportunistic enemies who are already plotting his demise.

It will be important for his loyalists to keep him isolated and protected from facts, because as his grandiosity, now fully validated, intensifies, so will his rage whenever the unpleasant truth breaks through the veil of his narcissistic delusions.

When that happens, anyone in his vicinity is vulnerable.

This aspect of his decompensating psyche will be carefully — well, as carefully as it is possible — hidden from the public; but we will see reflections of it in the behavior of his proxies — not the smooth snaky, softly sensual (gaah) Barracks, but the bull-terrier Spicers and Piersons (yes, she’s still around). As they deliver his messages of calibrated rage, Trumputin will be watching and deciding whether their ire meets his expectations and if the lies sound convincing to him — because that’s what really matters from now on; while the brazen destruction of what remains of our democracy will proceed right on the GOPers’ schedule — unless we, the people, intervene, of course.

So, Chuck, welcome to kleptofascist pathocracy. We’ve been in it for a while, so we are a tad more experienced in deciphering its ways. You are just opening your eyes, but that’s a good start. Keep at it. I have faith in ya.


Bonus feature:

Kellyanne’s opinion on the women’s marches:

“We certainly respect people’s First Amendment rights. But I frankly didn’t see the point. I mean, you have a day after he’s uplifting and unifying and you have folks here being on a diatribe where I think they could have requested a dialogue. Nobody called me and said, ‘Hey, could we have a dialogue?’”

Yes, because if there is one thing that Mrs. Goebbels excels in, it is the art of, um, dialogue. She is as good at that as she is at redefining words — uplifting and unifying prime examples.