A blast from the past. Does this mean you are coming out of your retirement?
Witchcraft as a metaphor for psychopathy
In the film, Bell, Book and Candle, witches are sexy, charming and in possession of inscrutable powers the rest of the world can only envy. But they have emotional deficits. They cannot love or cry. Emotionally “flat” like psychopaths allegedly are. These witches and warlocks are confined to a ghetto of hip, trendy existence where it is always Halloween and never Christmas even when it is. The story begins when a new neighbor, Shepherd Henderson (James Stewart), moves into the apartment house of Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak). Gillian sets her sights on him because that’s her thing. She is especially keen when she finds out that he’s engaged to Gillian’s old enemy from her college days. She casts a love spell on him but loses her powers when she genuinely falls in love with him.
Just like psychopaths, witches (in the film) are alien from the rest of the world and have to keep their true nature a secret. The title, Bell, Book and Candle, is a genuine method of excommunication by anathema, imposed on a person who had committed an exceptionally grievous sin. Evidently introduced by Pope Zachary around the middle of the 8th century, the rite was once used by the Roman Catholic Church. Although the film is comic and witchcraft is shown as cute, it’s still forbidden and something that keeps practitioners from partaking in the true life of humanity.
Portrait of a Sadistic Psychopath
William Lewis is a character in four episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. This character is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, he has a godlike detachment from pain. In the first scene, he presses his fingertips to a hot griddle to burn his fingerprints off while not flinching in the slightest degree. For another thing, he usually presents with a smile that has little to do with the normal vicissitudes of everyday emotions people go through from moment to moment. I’ll go ahead and call his smile “psychopathic.”
This man has committed a string of outrageous crimes and gotten away with all of them through a combination of luck, charm and sheer manipulativeness. He seemed gifted with enormous stores of cold empathy. He just knew how to get into the head of everyone he needed to bend to his purpose. So far, he managed to have two female defense attorneys fall in love with him. He ended up murdering the first one and killing the father of the second. A female juror became convinced he was a victim of misjustice after her jury had convicted him and she helped him escape.
As a sadist, even his in his merciless tortures, he still has soft touches speaking in a low voice, showing his victims his awareness of what they are feeling. Contrast that to out-of-touch caregivers who do all the right things for their charges but treat them as if they were blocks of wood.
He loved to turn accusations around on the accusers. Olivia Benson was “obsessed” with him. SVU had a “vendetta” against him, an innocent man. A certain type of woman loved to mother what appeared to be the victim in him.
A lot of viewers have felt a dark attraction to William Lewis as they have confessed online. “I know it’s wrong, but I LOVE the way Lewis says Olivia” when she calls him at his ex-lawyer’s apartment…makes me wish MY name was Olivia so I could set it as my ringtone or something.” and “Is it really bad that I find myself really attracted to William Lewis? Like not even just the actor, the actual character….” Oh course, Hannibal Lecter also had fans. Of course, Hannibal and William are only fictional psychopaths. But actual killers are notorious for their groupies. As was said in The Believers, “It’s always the badass who makes a girl’s heart beat faster.” But the preferred subject matter of Hollywood movies proves that much, anyway.
And look at America’s electoral politics. The ultimate badass, Trump, is president. Two contenders for the Democratic presidential ticket are still in the race. One is a corrupt, mediocre and boring shadow of a man. The other is an idealistic, genuinely sincere crusader who has something real to offer. Dear reader. You are a voter. Who are you going to vote for?
All my years as a public school student in the USofA I was taught what a moral country I belonged to. It wasn’t even open to question. We were the good guys. Other countries were often bad. Sometimes they were good but we were always good. Sometimes I actually thought it was schmucky of us to be so good all the time but it’s amazing how little I questioned the idea that we were so good. It wasn’t until I read the book Prairie Fire written and published by the Weather Underground Organization that I actually faced the fact that my dear, sweet country was founded on genocide and slavery. Not that I had been totally ignorant of the facts. Of course we had been told about slavery. But that had something to do with the ignorant past. People were just less enlightened back then. It wasn’t really the fault of our country. And slaughtering the “Indians” wasn’t “our” fault either. It was a misunderstanding. The settlers were farmers. They lived by clearing the “wilderness” and building farmland which destroyed the hunting land of the “Indians” who naturally turned hostile as their livelihood became diminished. But the settlers hadn’t meant any harm. What I hadn’t realized was that the indigenous people of what is now called the United States also cultivated the land they occupied.
Immanual Kant called a moral rule a categorical imperative. That meant something is either right or wrong, absolutely, no ifs ands or buts. Historically, the idea of right and wrong has undergone changes as society has developed politically. Today, many people say Americans “stole the land from the Indians,” a concept that reflects some complex changes taking place over the years. The very concept of “theft” invokes that of not only ownership but of crime. The land originally occupied by the indigenous people wasn’t “owned” by modern concepts of ownership. The indigenous people didn’t think of land as something people could own. Nations had been fighting over land for centuries in Europe before the settlers brought their colonial behavior to the New World. The moral rule seems to have been one of might is right. Ethics were just rules that applied within an existing society. Outside a society, the “law of the jungle” still applied.
Is moral law universal?
Christianity is universal in it’s statements of morality and Western man is nominally Christian even if he is often far from it in practice. Throughout most of history, countries thought they had to be guided by a particular Christian church so they fought wars over which one was to lead them. The United States wisely choose to be a secular nation so they could dispense with religious warfare. Still, they believed in some sort of universal morality. This notion of morality found it’s way into the classroom. Everything was supposed to be fair. We were taught “the policeman is your friend.” Obey the rules. They rules are fair. Things are the way they’re supposed to be. Later in life, if you complain about a bum deal, a scornful voice asks, “Who ever said life was fair?” As adults, we are ridiculed for expecting justice.
But we keep on demanding it, especially in political discussions. We are permanently embroiled in a twisted web of idealism and cynicism. We are supposed to have a conscience. We are supposed to want to be “good.” But we “know” the way the world works and only a fool or a child thinks it’s run according to the rules of any categorical imperative. At best, we stay within certain parameters society allows which seem to shift a great deal. A president getting a blow job in the oval office used to be grounds for impeachment. Now, he can be the playboy of the western world and nobody raises an eyebrow. Atrocities such as putting children in concentration camps, something only Nazis were known for are only winked at. But weren’t the trail of tears just as cruel? Has morality ever been other than situational? Has empathy ever been color blind? Let’s discuss it but make sure the kiddies aren’t around when we do.
Trump and Netanyahu:
How the Right uses the
concept of “Anti-Semitism”
Trump’s affinity for Eastern European forces such as Russia is too well known. Bob Altzar Djurdjevic is an American living in Belgrade. His article in Truth in MediaTruth in Media, George Soros: Psychopath Trying to Change the World to his Own Liking is an unrelenting attack on George Soros. In that, he is acting like a typical right-winger. Soros is practically Public Enemy Number One to the Right. He is rich but he is left-wing. I guess that makes him some sort of traitor.
Although most Jews have traditionally been much more numerous on the left, the nation of Israel, especially under Netanyahu, has been aggressively on the right. Disturbingly, conservatives are claiming the mantle of Judaism for the Right and, even more disturbingly, they are equating any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Rudy Giuliani, Italian American, former Mayor of New York, is claiming to be more Jewish than George Soros because he supports Israel. Israel is now the dividing line in some circles between “real Jews” and “treif.” In perfect synchronicity, Trump has recently filed an executive order making it a crime to criticize Israel on American campuses, calling it “anti-Semitism.” In an Orwellian act of chutzpah, Trump and his henchmen are even rhetorically divesting Jews of their Jewish identity while claiming such identities for themselves. Soros is a Jew (and a Holocaust survivor) but he is on the wrong side of the Trumpian ideological divide so Bob deals with him the way all these Zionists deal with Jews who fight for the rights of Palestinians. They dismiss such Jews as self-hating Jews.
But Djurdjevic isn’t content with just applying the self-hating label and letting it go at that. He has a very special label for Soros: PSYCHOPATH! As he slips the knife in good, he whispers, “For, my research has shown that he is a deeply troubled man who belongs in a psychiatric ward.” Nice and dirty, Altzar. Anyone who has been zapped with the psychiatric label knows the nasty subtlety of it all. Of course, this blog is devoted to fighting the stigma associated with psychopathy and it is already full of examples of people who have been attacked for being psychopaths. Djurdjevic’s first source from there is Newsmax, always a fine place to find right-wing dirt. Seems Soros gave out some deceptive leaflets as a teenager and for that got called a collaborator. From there, Djurdjevic invokes Sam Gerrans article, A Psychopath’s Psychopath. A taste of the ideological tenure of this entire piece can be had in this little gem by Djurdjevic, “Gerrans’ examples refer mostly to Europe and Russia. But Soros is a global psychopath. His support of violent groups in the US, like Antifa or MoveOn, has proven it.” Good grief! Support of Antifa proves Soros is a psychopath? That’s bad enough! But MoveOn? He almost sounds as bad as Trump, himself, who refers to Nancy Pelosi as an “extremist.” I guess anything to the left of the John Birch Society is a Communist to these guys.
Clearly, Djurdjevic’s politics follow Trump’s. Soros is acting psychopathically every time he advocates policies Trump dislikes. He is in favor of letting refuges in. Well, that proves psychopathy, doesn’t it? All psychopaths are pro-immigration.
Yes, the presidency of Trump has indeed divided the United States of America between
a nation of adults and a pack of brats
I never thought Clinton should have been impeached for sexual delinquency. Yet something positive did come from his impeachment. Clinton was able to give us an example of how an adult handles something like that with true dignity. Now we have his example to compare with the spectacle of Trump’s reaction to the same experience.
Compared to Clinton, Trump shows a stunning lack of dignity. He has always acted like a child. Lately, he’s been acting like an infant.
In the first place, Trump takes no responsibility whatsoever. He claims no wrong doing. He wrote a six page letter to Nancy Pelosi which accused her of declaring “open war on American democracy.” His letter which is barely literate goes on to say
You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nulli?cation
scheme?yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America?s founding and your
egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build.
Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by
continually saying pray for the President,? when you know this statement is not true, unless it
is meant in a negative sense. It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it,
His histrionic bombast does on to include the incredible statement that he was afforded less due process than the accused during the Salem Witch Trials. His full letter can be accessed here.
Perhaps more disturbing than Trump’s words are some of the words of his followers (whom some chattering commentators say the impeachment are disenfranchising — as if the other presidents who have been impeached weren’t also duly elected). Some actually compare the impeachment with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Some more modestly, perhaps, only compare it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Since we have freedom of religion, no matter how bizarre, Republicans have the right to worship Trump. But isn’t electing a man one worships like a god a breach of the separation of church and state? If Republicans really believe their president is a god who can do no wrong, aren’t they reverting back to a much more primitive form of government? How can they be so critical of Islam? How can they speak so scathingly of Sharia law when they are investing the government which is supposed to be secular with a sanctity that is only appropriate for religion? And what of Americans who don’t share their faith? What of Christians who don’t think Trump is Christ? What of Americans who don’t share the Christian faith at all? Will we end up going back to the Salem Witch Trials? Can a secular republic such as the United States of America function at all when a sizeable portion of the electorate are flaming theocrats?
This poem exemplifies narcissism excellently. I suppose you’re supposed to feel sorry for the girl. And I do. She sounds like an innocent, free spirit. But he sounds like he felt trapped. He couldn’t even criticize her because that would have been “stooping.” He was at her mercy in a way. She could devalue his 900 year name simply by being as pleased by other things as she was by that. He couldn’t own anything as alive and free as his Duchess. He could only own a painting of her.
My Last Duchess
Hillary Clinton is a Psychopath
A lot of people hate Hillary. I never did until now. But I have finally joined the ranks of Hillary Haters. After the bilge she has spewed about Bernie on the Howard Stern show, I loath her forever.
It was bad enough that she elbowed her way into the nomination in 2016 when the people really wanted Bernie. But Hillary and Her Towering Ego just had to have the nomination. She had lost to Obama which must have been a devastating blow. But now, she wasn’t about to lose to Bernie as well, not Hillary, the consummate insider. So she got what she believed she was entitled to: the Democratic nomination to president for 2016. After all. She only had to run against crazy Donald Trump. A walk in the park. She thought. She wouldn’t even have to break out into a mild sweat. So she didn’t make much…
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It’s Thanksgiving Day again so let me count my blessings.
I am grateful for my psychopathy. I thank my sacred Self for the freedom of my mind.
I thank my parents for my DNA. To my mother for bearing me.
I thank my soulmate for constantly sharing our rocky ups and downs.
My friends who make it worth while.
My enemies who keep me strong and focused.
My Purity who knows who she is.
Bernie Sanders, our next President.
Sparkie, my smartphone
HiPi, my desktop
For government benefits of those who helped me make the most of them. You know who you are. For Social Security without which I couldn’t survive. And hate to Republicans who would deprive me and other Americans of those benefits. May the terrors grab you!
To Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Johann Goethe, Fyodor Dostoevsky and other greats who illuminated the hours.
a question for each of us…
I mean, really. Do you believe in science? Science tells us we have, maybe 12 years in which we can get it together to stop our suicidal emissions to save the planet before we will have destroyed it beyond our ability to fix it. Greta Thunberg has been crying out as a voice in the wilderness. Some of us are even listening and working on solutions. One of those people is Bernie Sanders. He’s running for president. But he has to get the nomination first. And he is up against a “Democratic” establishment that seems manifestly insane. They are insanely opposed to progressive forces in their own party even if those are the only forces that have a chance of saving the planet. They attachment to neoliberalism are more important to them than saving the planet. YES. That IS insane. There’s no other word for it.
I am 76 years old. I’m going to die in a few years no matter what you nut jobs decide to do about your planet. Yes. I’m psychopathic enough not to really give a flying FUCK what happens to this ill fated planet after I’m gone. If you want to destroy everything of beauty and brilliance here, that’s your call. Too bad for those of you who wanted to save it. Those of you who vote for inertia will have won by default. My sympathies are with those who are trying to save the earth. If you naysayers were at least honest with yourselves and admitted you choose death, I could respect you. But living in denial as you are doing only curdles my guts with disgust. I can’t even look at you. Go, die if you must.
High FIVE TO Bernie Sanders, Alexander Ocasio-Cortez, Naomi Klein, Greta Thunberg and the other great folk I didn’t name but who deserve to be included here.
I just read something from Christianity.com about a Christian message slipped into Peanuts. In Crosswalk.com, Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas gives the usual Christian sermon and I realized why it must be difficult for Evangelicals to believe in climate change. They expect God to take care of everything and probably think it shows a lack of faith to think we have to solve the problem. But then I thought further. The average person isn’t used to thinking he or she can be responsible for either creating or solving any major problem on earth. If it isn’t “God” doing it, it’s the corporations. I’ve been guilty of such thinking myself. When scolded to take matters into my own hands, like don’t waste resources, for example, my response has been, “What about the big companies who squander resources in a major way? What is my two-cents worth of waste or thrift going to matter as long as they are doing their thing?” This kind of thinking assumes we, the “little people,” have no power and no responsibility. It’s the thinking that keeps us powerless. It’s the kind of thinking that keeps revolution from happening.
… which takes us back to the original question. Will we choose action?