“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” -Charles Mackay (1841)
David Letterman’s greatest televised offense, if you ask us, occurred some years ago when he bumped the brilliantly twisted songwriter Warren Zevon from his scheduled slot to create space for then-nightly-news anchor Dan Rather who, it emerged, wanted to sing old train songs, a cappella…which he then proceeded to do, at agonizing length, all the while keeping time by hammering his thigh with his palm. WOOF is not making this up. And in our considered opinion, this is the most egregious example of Letterman’s fawning overindulgence of liberal newscasters–egregious enough that we felt compelled to revisit it; though more recently the focus was on Letterman’s tête-à-tête with the unfortunate Brian Williams.
In 2013 Williams appeared on Letterman’s program and recalled his death-defying chopper ride into Baghdad back in 2003. “We were in some helicopters,” Williams told his grimly attentive host. “What we didn’t know was, we were north of the invasion. We were the northernmost Americans in Iraq. We were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the Third Infantry could cross on them. Two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47!”
Williams had, in fact, been telling this story regularly since the liberation of Iraq. As a guest on Alec Baldwin’s now blessedly defunct radio program, hilariously entitled “Here’s the Thing!” (we thought James Arness was The Thing, but oh well), Williams told the same story but added a bit of self analysis, explaining “I’ve got this attitude— I guess I do say to myself and others, ‘I’ve got this.’ and I don’t know where that unbridled confidence comes from and I’ve done some ridiculously stupid things under that banner—like being in a helicopter I had no business being in, in Iraq.” Williams recounted the familiar details, prompting The Thing, er, Alec Baldwin to inquire “Did you think you were going to die?” to which Williams replied, “Briefly, sure.”
Apart from the disturbingly messianic belief that he might die “briefly,” there was a great deal more the matter with anchorman Williams’s war story than syntactic ambiguity, for as almost everyone is by now aware, the biggest problem with his story was that it never happened.
Williams has been telling the helicopter story for so long, it seems bizarre that it didn’t catch up with him sooner, or, perhaps more bizarre that it ever caught up with him considering that nobody in the liberal media ever fact-checks liberals in media. Consider Dan Rather’s forged documents on which he based his 2004 pre-election “expose” of “W’s” alleged military misconduct. The supporting documents were obvious forgeries, but this was spotted by bloggers, not by anybody at CBS. Until then Rather had built a sterling reputation airing award-winning exposes of scandals that never really happened, based on evidence that was patently fake, (interested?) and nobody in the Liberal Establishment Media ever raised an eyebrow. Poor Rather was simply doing his job, like always. Nobody told him about the blogosphere.
Similarly, it speaks volumes for how little attention is paid by our armed forces to NBC that it took a New York Rangers hockey game to catch the attention of vets in a position to call shenanigans on Williams’s oft-recited helicopter yarn. Although most sources attribute his undoing to his boldfaced retelling of the story on his nightly newscast of January 20th ,Williams might well have evaded detection had he not first elected to do Army veteran Tim Terpak a good turn by escorting him to the game.
The result was nearly Sophoclean in its balance of hubris and hamartia. In William’s version of events his stricken chopper was forced down, whereupon, “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.” But this is hyperbole, to put it charitably. Despite a USA Today story claiming that Williams was “stranded in the Iraqi desert for three days” until rescued by an American armored column, his helicopter actually landed routinely at a forward operating base west of Baghdad about an hour after an earlier flight of Chinooks came under attack in a fashion identical to what Williams later recounted as his personal experience. Armored security was indeed provided but provided primarily for the valuable Chinooks, and by forces on the base, not forces hurled into the desert to extract a downed cadre of NBC stalwarts. Williams was stranded for three days in a secure area, and only because severe winds were sweeping the vicinity and the base commander didn’t want to lose a bunch of newsies in a sand storm.
It was during this lay-over that Williams became friends with command sergeant major Terpak, the gentleman he recently escorted to the Rangers game. In viewing that game, several veterans of the helicopter flights in question took critical note of Williams’s version of events, recounted as he and the now-retired Terpak stood for a hearty round of applause. On his following newscast, Williams again described his narrow brush with death over the pitiless sands of Iraq as prologue to praising Terpak for “rescuing” him. At this point a small but outspoken cohort of veterans took exception.
“…my ears are just fine!”
“It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing,” observed Lance Reynolds, who served as flight engineer aboard a Chinook that was actually attacked. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.” Chris Simeone, who piloted the CH-47 on which Williams was a passenger took a similar view, telling a reporter that “All that hit us was dust,” adding, “Our flight…was uneventful, with the exception of a desert dust storm that caused deteriorating conditions not suitable for flight.” Reminded that on Letterman, Williams had insisted his pilot was wounded in the ear during the attack and awarded the Purple Heart, Simeone rejoined, “I was the pilot in command of the aircraft carrying Brian Williams, and I do not have a Purple Heart, and my ears are just fine.”
Let’s be frank about the proportionality of all this, if for no other reason than because we at WOOF are the very personification of fair-mindedness. In context, Brian Williams is merely the latest in a long chain of correspondents who have confected, embellished, and/or inserted themselves into narratives that would not hold up under scrutiny. Ever since Mathew Brady’s photographers were caught rearranging bodies on Civil War battlefields to achieve more dramatic imagery, the news profession has often conflated fact and fiction at the front. Many war correspondents, to be sure, are courageous men and women who share the burdens of the war fighters and expose themselves to enemy action armed only with the implements of their craft, but many also indulge in various levels of fakery and deceit. Minimally, what reporter in a war zone doesn’t strive to ensure his background appears battle torn, his attire looks warrior-like, and his hushed tones convey the nearness of the surrounding foe? Williams should not be drummed out of the press corpse for gilding a lily or two– but his lifelong habit of confusing substance with fantasy suggests something more portentous, we believe, than a mere penchant for rodomontade.
The apology that speaks for himself…
Williams apologized for “conflating” and “misremembering” his Chinook flight on the air, and on his Facebook page, where one could presumably “like” his apology, but legions of critics did not like his apology, including a great many military and ex-military personnel, the entirety of the AM radio Right, bloggers too numerous to tally, Drudge, and NBC news veteran Tom Brokaw (once included by Saturday Night Live on a list of people dolphins are definitely smarter than). Brokaw thundered around the offices of NBC demanding that Williams (who replaced Brokaw as the nightly news anchor) be summarily fired. An insider assured the Daily News that Brokaw was acting in” good conscience,” emphasizing that, “Tom Brokaw and [former NBC News President] Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it!” Uncomfortable with it? Consider the oddness of that characterization. One might be uncomfortable with a nephew who claims he saw Bigfoot–the usage in such a context hardly connotes intractable oppugnancy, merely a degree of uneasiness alloyed with a familial reluctance to scoff aloud.
Despite Brokaw’s pique, an NBC spokesman officially assured reporters that “He [Williams] is not going to be suspended or reprimanded in any way. He has the full support of NBC News,” to which a second representative added “…we believe that Brian’s apology on the air speaks for himself.” Thus it became immediately evident to anyone with a serviceable brain that Williams was finished and would never again report the nightly news. But WOOF remains content to let everyone else suss out the gravity of “Chinook-gate.” What intrigues us is not a single war story from a liberal newsreader, but the much larger picture. Consider what has subsequently emerged about Mr. Williams, now that the media have condescended to double check.
Something warm, squishy, and furry….
WOOF invites you, gentle readers, to contemplate a mere handful of the “misremembered” incidents that accrued during Brian Williams’s career. Revisited in brief, these appear to include: Reporting bodies floating by his New Orleans hotel room in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina although his hotel was situated at a safe remove from any flooding; declaring that he contracted dysentery from swallowing floodwater during his Peabody Award-winning coverage of the same storm and adding to this his further remembrance that “Our hotel was overrun with gangs. I was rescued in the stairwell of a five-star hotel in New Orleans by a young police officer – we are friends to this day.” (Apparently the 3rd ID was unavailable.) Williams is also on record describing “the great honor of flying into Baghdad [with SEAL Team 6]” at the outbreak of the second Gulf War, which is painfully ridiculous; announcing that he was “at the Brandenburg Gate the night the [Berlin] wall came down,” which is impossible, because he is known to have been elsewhere; and recounting in increasingly complex detail how he managed to meet and clasp hands with Pope John Paul II who conferred a special blessing on him.
Williams is also fond of saying that upon his desk rests a memento—a chunk of the special ops helicopter that crashed during the raid on Osama bin Laden. According to Williams, the mission commander thought of him even during the perilous business of exfiltrating his operators and paused to procure the fragment as a token of the SEAL’s esteem. The only other such chunk, according to Williams, rests on the desk of President Obama. A few SEALS have subsequently broken cover long enough to remind interviewers that SEALs don’t give away souvenirs to anyone (perhaps especially to President Obama) and none of them knows Brian Williams.
Let’s end with this: In 2011 Williams told USA Today that he rescued a puppy from a burning building, explaining that, “…the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke. I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat.” WOOF assumes that Williams and the puppy remain friends to this day.
Getting briefly mental….
We know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking Brian Williams is old news (no pun intended), so why belabor his decreasingly topical kerfuffle? We do so by way of registering a larger concern. As we mentioned earlier, WOOF doesn’t begrudge Williams a bit of Irish moonshine—albeit Williams probably isn’t Irish, especially if he ever claimed to be. But when one realizes the full extent of his implausible anecdotes –when one catalogs a professional lifetime of blatant “misremembering,” one is left to ponder whether some peculiar mental twist plagues poor Williams; and this is all the more perplexing when one considers how easily disprovable the majority of his fantasies were, how publicly he enunciated them, and how long it took NBC to care. What gives? In search of the larger picture, WOOF is willing to get a bit mental for a moment. Bear with us!
Let us briefly engage ourselves in something the political and social Right almost never do—saluting psychologists! No, not the kind you’re probably thinking of—not the oedipally challenged Freudians, nor the pathologically mechanistic Skinner, nor the insensately scatolaliac Albert Ellis nor even Dr. Phil, who, we are given to understand, has a television program. No, we speak in praise of American psychologists Sheryl C. Wilson and Theodore X. Barber, who are probably also screaming liberals who would doubtless abhor WOOF if made aware of us—but that’s not important now.
What matters is that back in 1981, these dedicated researchers put aside their chi squares and Friedman ANOVAs long enough to inform America that about 4% of its population suffered from a mental disorder they called Fantasy Prone Personality. Besides identifying the disorder, Wilson and Barber suggested it was common in those who responded dramatically to hypnotic induction. And this is extraordinarily interesting, we contend, not only because the ultra-leftist American Psychiatric Association steadfastly declines to officialize the diagnosis, but also because one additional diagnostic predictor seems apparent to us in light of our own research.
If you guessed “liberalism,” you are keeping pace nicely. Not to wax boresomely clinical (yet), but early psychology—at least insofar as derived from psychoanalytic methodologies– was largely based on inductive reasoning applied to case studies. Case studies to this day play a vital role in psychological research. And when we assembled a conglomeration of case studies (like, say, Williams’s) in hopes of acquiring insight into the fantasy prone personality, whom did we come up with? Liberals. And as the more alert reader has already inferred, we are now about to submit additional evidence!
Say goodnight, Gracie!
WOOF had never heard of Lena Dunham (our next case study) until she gained notoriety for her 2012 campaign commercial in which she exhorted young people to vote for Obama by analogizing the thrill of voting to experiencing coitus for the first time (unless, presumably, one voted for Mitt). We confess we were also dimly aware that Miss Dunham published a book entitled Not that Kind of Girl, and that it did well—but in the rush of events we forgot all about that…we live in a cave, after all.
On the other hand, if you function in that pop-glitzy realm of cultural vitiation celebrated by flashy magazines and in-crowd televisual icons, you are fully aware that Miss Dunham not only created the fabulously successful HBO TV series Girls, she is also the recipient of umpteen zillion awards including Golden Globes, Emmy nominations for her acting (because, apparently, she acts), the Gotham Breakthrough Director Award, (which has nothing to do with Batman–we checked), whatever the Independent Spirit Award is, the Critic’s Choice Award, a Gracie Allen Award (an award for ditziness?) and an award for liking and supporting Gay people—but we forgot the name of it.
But, if you are like us, (or even if you aren’t) you may have paid no attention to any of this, until the revelation that the biggest, most discussed, and ostensibly traumatic event in Miss Dunham’s college career, the basis for her book’s title, Not that Kind of Girl, and the riveting crescendo of that literary narrative, was complete twaddle–allow us to refresh your memories. In her book, Miss Dunham chronicles her life at Oberlin College, which she describes as “a liberal arts haven in the cornfields of Ohio,” (take that, flyover country) while treating readers to various autobiographical tidbits. But the book’s central complaint, its symbolic nucleus, is the part in which Miss Dunham recounts the horror of falling victim to a predatory right-wing sex maniac, and in the telling of that tale, hangs a tale!
The Rape and Lucrativus
The New York Times recently invited its more sensitive and passionate readers (isn’t that all of them?) to rejoice at the topicality of the Julliard Opera’s current production of Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, because, the Times avers, it draws “a clear parallel between ‘college rape culture’” and the themes of female subjugation examined in “this harrowing…chamber opera…first performed in 1946.”
Maybe you are wondering what the Times is trying to tell you here—maybe you are asking yourself, what college rape culture? And what college rape culture could Benjamin Britten have conceivably had in mind in 1946? Maybe you haven’t kept up with the latest adjustments to our national canvass by the landscape painters of the feminist wing of the worldwide socialist totalitarian conspiracy that governs us. That’s okay. By way of enlightenment, WOOF has arranged for you to skip the volumes of buncombe gushing from the Liberal Establishment Media on this topic, certain that the following carefully selected and mercifully redacted item will suffice to put you in the picture:
From psychoanalyst and author Joyce McFadden’s recent Huffington Post article, we offer this poignant excerpt: (Readers may access the entire piece by simply clicking here) Dr. McFadden’s piece opens on a conciliative note. “Let me say right off the bat,” she writes, “it’s not my intention to blame parents for actively creating college rape culture.” There’s a break! However, she deems it her duty to prevail upon “parents of small children — children who will all too soon be college age — to take an honest look at rape culture’s impact on today’s older daughters and then ask ourselves: How could we not want to do everything in our power to help change this culture?”
WOOF pauses here, in the spirit of public outreach, to remind anyone who may be unaware, that the quickest way to disperse a rapist (by doing “anything in [one’s] power”) is to kill or maim him while he is attempting to perform the rape. Handguns are useful for this. However, in the event that circumstances or humanitarian concerns preclude the use of force, and escape is impossible, the next best idea is to call the police, file charges, and put the rapist in prison. This often works better than writing a bestseller about it nine years later. Our legal system is actually quite accommodative of such initiatives, and thousands of prosecutors nationwide are intensely sympathetic to women seeking to put rapists behind bars. But Dunham seems never to have regarded her brush with college rape culture as actionable– so much as publishable. And it was into this rich vein of mythomanaical lore that the award-winning Lena Dunham tapped when she described her humiliations at the bestial hands of a savage young college Republican who was, beyond the grotesqueries of his disgusting politics, also an exponent of …. college rape culture.
Dunham’s bestselling contribution to this construct recounts her tragic involvement with “Barry,” who was not just any campus Republican—but the campus Republican; an outspoken, “mustachioed” champion of conservatism and the living embodiment of everything liberalism considers hate-worthy. We are obliged, given this description, to assume that only Miss Dunham’s sophomoric naïveté led her to believe for an instant that so manifest a villain could be safely interacted with, but how soon—and how brutally–she is proved wrong!
We must compress the account here, as Miss Dunham requires two chapters to completely describe her defilement, and we have also omitted certain graphic terms and descriptions owing to our hopelessly Victorian editorial policies. Suffice it that the authoress’s “ill-fated evening of lovemaking with our campus’s resident conservative” began with Dunham deciding to accompany Barry to some parties despite dire warnings from friends that he was a Neanderthalic misogynist known to assault unsuspecting females with sociopathic enthusiasm at any opportunity and who was reputed to, among other specialties, punch women in the breasts leaving them black and blue. To make matters worse, Dunham is so sophomorically naïve and trusting (one must assume) that she admits getting drunk on her date with Barry and describes asking him to play the gentleman and divert his gaze while she pulls her panties aside to urinate in a parking lot. But it is exactly here that Barry seizes the moment to insinuate himself (digitally) into the area of immediate narrative focus, prompting Dunham to write, “he’s trying to plug me up. I’m not sure whether I can’t stop it or I don’t want to.” Incredibly, her ambivalence persists, for in her (aforementioned) sophomoric naïveté and innocence Miss Dunham next decides to invite Barry up to her room where the worst occurs, during which Barry even furtively removes his condom. (“It was terribly aggressive”) and caps off his animalistic savageries by refusing even to “say hi to me on campus the next day.”
Barry’s depredations upon Dunham’s person are described as so savage and unremitting that “the next morning I had to sit in a hot bath to soothe myself.” Sobering up in her tub, it dawns on Dunham that “…at no moment did I consent to being handled that way. I never gave him permission to be rough, to stick himself inside me without a barrier between us. I never gave him permission.” Dunham next reveals that her friend Julia once “woke up the morning after sex with Barry, and the wall was spattered with blood. Spattered, she said, ‘like a crime scene.’” Dunham appears to have survived an encounter with a psychopathic serial abuser—and concluded to sit on the story for almost a decade until her book required promoting. And as nearly everybody knows by now, especially since we mentioned it at the outset of this segment, everything Dunham reported on the matter is balderdash. Notice we did not say “a lie,” because we are not suggesting Miss Dunham is lying. Not in the strict sense. As the discerning reader has already inferred from our review of the research presented by Wilson and Barber, we are suggesting instead that Miss Dunham is crazy—well, all right, fantasy prone, and afflicted with an intensity that seems oddly reserved to the standard bearers and followers of the political Left. Consider the pathology implicit in Dunham’s highly-detailed account.
The authoress not only names her assailant, insofar as “Barry” is at no point said to be a pseudonym, she also supplies enough additional detail that Inspector Clouseau could track him down in a thryce! Dunham not only supplies a correct first name, she also tells us that her assailant hosted a right-wing radio program called Real Talk with Jimbo; that he wore cowboy boots, sported a moustache, “worked part time at the library” and was the campus’s foremost conservative –not a description that evokes an abundance of candidates at Oberlin where conservatives are as welcome as pulled pork at Ramadan. And none of this would seem particularly odd if in fact Miss Dunham had been violated in the ways she claimed and was determined to fearlessly pinpoint her rapist, however belatedly; but since nothing in Dunham’s account really happened, the details bespeak a mentality lost in the realm of magical thinking—a creative universe in which the authoress appears constitutionally incapable of separating fact from fabulism.
Like Brian Williams, Lena Dunham could not seem to insert enough checkable details into her account—adorning it with precisely that wealth of material that makes for untenable falsification but which is often the hallmark of our richest, most enticing fantasies. Somewhere between Oberlin’s greenyard and the blinding lights of liberal celebrity, Lena Dunham lost the ability to distinguish between the actual and the imaginary. Dunham wasn’t perpetrating a hoax, she was perpetuating a narrative–or as one Oberlin employee told Breitbart during their investigation of the rape allegations, “Asking whether or not a victim is telling the truth is irrelevant; it’s just not important if they are telling the truth!”
A series of “unfortunate surreal occurrences…”
The liberal media not only cater to viewers who “respond dramatically to hypnotic induction,” they also employ producers and reporters who embody the identical trait. Consequently, nobody bothered examining Dunham’s story. Instead, “journalists” welcomed her allegations as reinforcement for their own psychic schema and marshalled their resources to hunt down Barry. By doing so they fully expected to intensify viewers’ cognizance of college rape culture while simultaneously subjecting Dunham’s conservative assailant to unrelenting demonization. Although investigative journalism vanished in America with the advent of Barack Obama, even today’s media functionaries can dig up a fact or two on those rare occasions when doing so serves the sinistral cause; thus it wasn’t long before reporters were leaking all sorts of factoids about “Barry,” causing him untold emotional and professional agony. But suddenly, the defamatory media accounts mysteriously stopped. An unforeseen problem had arisen, namely that most of the details the newshounds unearthed seemed, well, alarmingly exculpatory. It turned out that while Barry was real, and a Republican, and an Oberlin graduate, and met Dunham’s description in almost every respect, he could not have committed the actions detailed in Dunham’s fantasy. Oops. And yes, this is where the liberal media went silent leaving it to the blogospheric Right to publicize the surfacing incongruities. Barry, in fact, could not have been where Dunham placed him at the times she specified. He not only hadn’t been sexually involved with her, he’d never met her. He wasn’t even monstrous, worst luck.
Confronted with these findings, Dunham explained that her involvement of Barry in her rape account was the result of an “unfortunate and surreal coincidence,” (she omitted the opportunity to say ‘ misremembering’), while Random House, which initially dismissed Barry’s complaints, subsequently issued an apology to him, paid the legal fees he’d amassed in the process of getting them to apologize, and promised to change future editions of Dunham’s book so that Barry’s name is excluded and less inculpatory descriptors are offered. In the real world, Barry now seems an odds-on favorite to win a substantial settlement from Random House for dragging him, unvetted, into Dunham’s lurid alternative reality. None of this matters on the Left, however, so long as the template of college rape culture is maintained, and Dunham’s “unfortunate surreal occurrences” will be valued as gospel so long as they serve that template.
“It’s not a reality I ever thought I’d exist in!”
Another salient aspect of Fantasy Prone Personality overlooked in the early research seems to be the extent to which it thrives symbiotically within liberal social elites whose members become variously entwined in one another’s bizarre delusions. Dunham’s HBO TV show, for instance features the scripted sexual escapades of Allison Williams, the daughter of none other than Brian Williams, and Brian Williams, it transpires, is great friends with Dunham, whom he calls “Leans.” Leans, speaking of her friendship with Williams, whom she calls Bri, (rhymes with lie) told David Letterman (naturally) “We always make jokes about how when there’s a sex scene with Allison we want to have like a BriWi-cam, like just like a camera on his face where we can register it all.” Leans paused to take a breath and then added dreamily, “It’s not a reality I ever thought I’d exist in!” But of course, it’s not reality at all—it’s just another bubble in the contiguous, interactive phantasmagoria of the Glitter Left.
Meanwhile, back at Giant Rock…..
In the 1950s, UFOs were still called “flying saucers,” and a wacky assortment of middle aged fabulists peddled books filled with blurry photos of “spaceships” and exciting tales of meeting benevolent, androgynous “Space Brothers” who took the authors for rides in spacecraft and returned them to earth, usually after enjoining them to preach peace, oppose nuclear weaponry, and write a book. One of these “contactees” as they came to be called, was George Van Tassel who sponsored teeming conventions of true believers on his Giant Rock estate in the Mojave Desert—and why are we discussing this? Here’s our point:
Outsiders exposed to the cosmic woo-woo that customarily engulfed these conventions were always astonished by the odd sense of harmony that prevailed between innumerable “contactees” despite the fact that none of their stories matched. Each of these individuals had a different version of who was visiting earth, from which planets, what they looked like, and how their “saucers” were shaped and powered, never mind why they were dropping in to chat up lower-middle-class earthlings, and yet a kind of unbounded credulity ruled at Giant Rock, as though neither spectators nor “experiencers” detected the slightest discrepancy between any two or more extraterrestrial sagas. So far as the faithful were concerned, it was all true.
Similarly, today’s liberal seems unable to muster the most rudimentary powers of discernment when exposed to even the most transparently specious and often mutually contradictory contentions, so long as their unqualified acceptance advances the progressive narrative. Like the congregation at Giant Rock, American liberalism seems united in its determination to suspend its critical faculties so long as its communal enthusiasms are thereby upheld. In his classic study Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay wrote that “…millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.” How better to describe the progressive mentality? To consider one example among thousands, consider how easily the “second ice age” predicted in the 1970s became the global-warming hysteria of the 1990s and just as suddenly metamorphosed into “climate change,” which, although scientifically meaningless, excites liberalism to the same heights of irrational certitude as “Tulipomania” produced in Holland in 1630. Apparently, when everybody is dissociative, everybody seems okay!
She did hear it, she did!
This may help explain the fact that Brian Williams, while out of work, is fast attaining iconic status on the Left, as though the narrative, in a kind of postmodern sense, has transcended the absence of substance. He drops in on the set to watch his daughter fonicating for the TV cameras and jokes causally with his dear friend “Leans,” who tweets pics of herself with fake, mascara-blackened eyes to her followers, the better to emphasize her victim status despite her rape story’s exposure as nonsense. Later, perhaps they all grab a limo and head for a Hillary Clinton event where the former Secretary of State may or may not claim to have dodged sniper fire on a tarmac in Serbia, insist that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary (despite being born before Hillary climbed Everest), and straight-facedly declare that she and hubby Bill left the White House “dead broke.”
Hillary also speaks passionately and not infrequently about her daughter Chelsea eye-witnessing the hijacked airliners striking the World Trade Center on 9/11. She was recently contradicted by Dick Morris, a recovering Clintonista, who pointed out that given Chelsea’s own published account of the event, this could not have been the case. Morris discussed the implausibility of the ground-zero yarn on the Jim Lehrer radio show, following which Clintonian fury descended on the management at WNYC in New York, the offending station. In short order management realized it had drifted awkwardly from the collective template and released a “correction,” explaining that “on closer inspection of both Clinton’s [sic] accounts, the truth is a little more nuanced. Chelsea wrote that she was watching television in a Union Square apartment when the planes hit, but was in the World Trade Center’s vicinity when they actually collapsed. Senator Clinton seemed to indicate Chelsea was there ‘when the planes hit,’ seemingly confusing this with the event that happened an hour later.”
Nuanced? Heck, it’s ground fire peppering Williams’s Chinook all over again. Hillary wasn’t making stuff up–she just “misremembered” it. Somehow, then, Chelsea watching the planes hit the towers on TV is essentially the same thing as standing at ground zero during the impacts, and events therefore unfolded pretty much as Mrs. Clinton stated (which by logical extrapolation would mean that almost all of us were standing at ground zero when the planes hit, but never mind). Once in this rabbit hole, it becomes apparent that Chelsea must have been at ground zero when she wasn’t because she might have been if she’d gotten there an hour before she thinks she may have gotten there, depending on what one supposes “in the vicinity” means in Clintonese. So her mom told the truth after all (and contextually, therefore, Dick Morris must have been lying). And as if in homage to the flying-saucer faithful at Giant Rock, the management of WNYC and the vast majority of liberals familiar with the controversy, agreed that it was all true.
In fact, Mrs. Clinton did not scruple to regale the indefatigably obtuse Jane Pauley (on NBC’s Nightline) with the same story, except with sound effects. When Mrs. Clinton brought her tale to its breathy climax, Pauley abandoned her role as interviewer and became a Greek chorus unto herself, asserting, “She was close enough to hear the rumble!” to which Mrs. Clinton emphatically added, “She did hear it! She did!” Leaving Pauley to apply a finishing stroke of aposiopesis: “And see the smoke…”
Bury my heart at U of C!
An engrossing strain of liberal delirium appears to manifest as a bizarre extension of intercultural relational empathy, so beloved on the Left. That said, readers who cannot endure psychobabble are hereby warned of its imminent approach and advised to skip immediately to the next paragraph, because if pressed we might contend that in these cases the Freudian Morality Principle (which liberals almost universally experience as ‘social consciousness’) induces shame and attendant anxiety which is repressed through maladaptive reconfigurations of the Jungian imago during which the liberal’s intrapsychic self image forms around an Adlerian introjection derived from the object of shame and guilt, thus creating a dissociative sense of identity, often racial. If further pressed we might even link this to an adolescent failure to negotiate the Eriksonian stage of ‘identity versus role confusion’ manifesting as incomplete self-definition, but that’s enough of that.
Allow us to simplify: Liberals are so obsessed with the putative theft of North America from its native inhabitants, they often fall victim to an unconscious belief that they themselves are American Indians. Take Ward Churchill, the lantern-jawed radical who parlayed his penchant for billingsgate, Gloria Steinem’s old hair-do, and his imaginary Native Americanism into a tenured professorship at the University of Colorado. He got the position by claiming to be part Cherokee. (Cherokees are the coolest Indians according to liberals, who especially enjoy repeating the fiction that Benjamin Franklin got the Constitution from their tribal laws, which, no matter what Common Core tells your kids, he did not.) After denouncing those who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11 as a bunch of “little Eichmanns” Churchill drew the fury of conservative commentators, as well as the populist FOX News maven Bill O’Reilly. Under sustained pressure, the University’s Board of Regents found it propitious to descry a whole slew of previously unnoticed improprieties warranting Warren’s dismissal. Somehow, until the firestorm over his 9/11 aspersions, no one had noticed that the tenured Ethnicity Professor was a serial plagiarist whose published works comprised a virtual anthology of other scholar’s essays and insights stolen with wanton disregard for academic propriety (and copyright laws); a fabricator of purported historical events and details for which there was no supporting scholarly evidence; and a racial counterfeit who gained prominence on the faculty by claiming in his 1978 application to be of “American Indian ethnicity;’ specifically Creek and Cherokee.
“Goddamned Sitting Bull”
When DNA testing proved he was an unadulterated wasichu, Churchill snarled, “I have never claimed to be goddamned Sitting Bull.” Indeed not! Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, whereas Churchill wrote in 2003 that he was “of Muscogee and Creek descent on my father’s side, Cherokee on my mother’s, and am an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.” Again, note the obvious ease with which these absurdities could be checked, and yet nobody bothered until bothering seemed expedient. In liberalism’s enabling victimology, you’re an Indian when you say you are, and the rewards are instant and substantial.
Churchill was finally handed his walking papers only because enough dwellers in the objective universe highlighted his nonsense to cause disturbances in the the contiguous dreamworld of postmodern liberalism. Even after his exposure as an academic disgrace, Churchill’s mythomaniac propensities led him to sue the University of Colorado for violating his First Amendment rights. Enjoy the manifest irony first, gentle readers, and then consider the latent one: Churchill was charged with 9 counts of academic misconduct and found guilty of seven of them–nobody on the Board of Regents sought at any time to dismiss him because of his “little Eichmanns” slurs or any of his other bilious rantings. Yet to this day it is canonical among Leftists that Churchill was axed because he dared “speak truth to power” about America’s responsibility for the September 11th attack. Once again, it seems, the contactees speak impossible nonsense from the podium at Giant Rock, and the true believers ooh, and ah, and solemnly recite the malarky until everyone agrees it’s true.
Red like me
In a nearly identical instance of what we shall provisionally call Fantasy Prone Personality Disorder (Ethnic Perceptual subtype) professor-turned-politician Elizabeth Warren–a radical leftist–grew increasingly dominated by the irrational belief that she was of Cherokee descent, a belief she clung to until it nearly derailed her campaign for the U.S. Senate. Oddly, Warren’s history seems free of any sign of encroaching ethno-perceptual delusion until the late ’80s. What major stressors triggered the observable escalation of her break with reality remain mysterious, but Warren’s symptoms clearly spiked in 1986.
When Warren began undergrad studies at George Washington University she knew she was White. We know this because she marked herself as White on her application. When Warren applied to Rutgers in 1973 she again listed herself as “white,’’ and did so again on joining the faculty at University of Texas in 1981. In 1986, however, Warren submitted an autobiographical paragraph to the Legal Directory in which she declared herself “proud of [her] Native American heritage,” and eager to connect with more “people like me.” Warren next sought jobs at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, claiming on both applications to be “Native American.” She got the jobs, and Harvard, at least, went out of its way to tout her as a minority hire. By this time, Warren’s disengagement from reality had advanced to the point that she began claiming Delaware blood in addition to Cherokee. The delusion might well have taken possession of Warren’s patently fragile ego structure altogether had she not sought the Massachusetts Senate seat held by Republican Scott Brown in 2012. When Warren began telling audiences that her high cheekbones were indicative of her Cherokee heritage, she ran afoul of Howie Carr, the dean of talk radio in New England, who led the effort to restore Warren to sanity by confronting her delusions with solid data, including the fact that her ancestry is English, German, Irish, and Swedish, without the slightest trace of American Indian.
It cannot be helpful to Warren that despite attempted interventions by Howie Carr, Scott Brown, and numerous indignant Indians (some of whom may be accessed here),the citizens of Massachusetts chose to risk strengthening her denial by co-signing it at the ballot box and electing her to the Senate. Nowhere was the liberal abandonment of objectivity more evident than in press treatments of the Warren debacle. While the Boston Globe dealt with any and all exposures of Warren’s instability by ignoring them, the Washington Post did its part by first agreeing that no credible evidence of any tribal heritage could be found in Elizabeth Warren’s family tree, and then by offering the joltingly incoherent conclusion that “Obviously, this doesn’t preclude Warren from having traces of Native American heritage.” The Post then sprang upon Warren’s opponent, Scott Brown, insisting that “the Republican incumbent conflated conjecture and sketchy information to make a claim not supported by the available evidence, and so he earns Two Pinocchios.” To recap: the Post investigated Elizabeth Warren, found her guiltless despite unassailable evidence to the contrary, and awarded two “Pinocchios” to her opponent–the one they weren’t investigating and who didn’t claim to be an Indian.
Christmas in Cambodia
One thinks also of the fantasy prone John Kerry, who sat out the fall of the Egyptian government on a yacht in Massachusetts, but cannot recall the fact, while he clearly recalls spending Christmas Eve in Cambodia on a Swift Boat conducting a secret mission for the CIA, even though he was never in Cambodia. Clearly, Kerry is a victim of the same syndrome that led Barack Obama to forget entirely that he was friends with Bill Ayers, or ever meeting his Kenyan uncle with whom he lived during the ’80s. Meanwhile, the president vividly recalls his other uncle who was “part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz” even though Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army.
The president doesn’t remember changing his name, nor can he explain his documented history of believing himself, alternately, to be an American citizen and a Kenyan exchange student. He recently informed an audience in Cleveland that Obamacare is “working better than even I expected.”
Even the communist World Socialist Website declared itself dumbfounded by the president’s embarrassing recital of absurdities, admitting that, “The delusional character of Obama’s State of the Union address…presenting an America of rising living standards and a booming economy, capped by his declaration that the ‘shadow of crisis has passed’—is perhaps matched only in its presentation by the media and supporters of the Democratic Party.” And wasn’t Noel S. Williams hinting at clinical truth when he wrote in the American Thinker that Obama looks at the world “through a myopic mask of delusion?” Only last week the president’s embarrassing fantasy that he shoots skeet “all the time” came eerily to mind when Mrs. Clinton explained that she illegally deleted nothing of significance from her illegal email accounts, only “yoga routines… things you typically find in inboxes.”
Communal syndromes and physical symptoms
As Calmeil wrote in his seminal De la Folie, Consideree Sous le Point de vue Pathologique, Philosophique, Historique et Judiciaire, (1845), collective delusions are “the spontaneous, rapid spread of false or exaggerated beliefs within a population at large, typically affecting a particular region, culture, or country.” Much like the epidemics of St. Vitus Dance in 14th century Germany, the emergence of fantasy-proneness as a communal pathology affecting vast numbers of American liberals merits consideration as the 21st century’s first major outbreak of what the American Psychiatric Association calls a “culture-specific syndrome.” And while we chose to limit this screed to a review of the cases presented, the skyrocketing rate of fantasy-proneness should be apparent to any rational observer. Recall also that Wilson and Barber discovered the earliest manifestations of the disorder in 1981, and consider how exactly the disorder’s expansion from a statistical rarity to a virtual pandemic correlates with our national devolution from the Age of Reagan, during which liberalism was a label eschewed even by liberals, to our current status as an Obama Nation in which liberalism pervades an establishment whose rankest exponents babble that they are “speaking truth to power” (even as they strive to eradicate dissent and consolidate their rule).
One need look no further than the spectacle of American lawmakers thrusting their hands skyward and parading around the floor of the House of Representatives chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot,” to observe a modern version of St. Vitus Dance. Even now, with the Ferguson shooting so thoroughly divested of any taint of police brutality that even our criminal Attorney General declared it a righteous shoot, the belief that a “gentle giant” was mercilessly executed by a racist cop despite reaching for the sky and pleading for his life is the prevailing narrative. This fallacy only recently climaxed in the shootings of two police officers and threatens to escalate further, based on nothing more substantive than the entrenched fantasy that Ferguson (a Missouri town governed by elected or appointed liberal Democrats of both races) is hopelessly steeped in racism–an illusion spread by elected and appointed liberal Democrats of both races.
For years, Michael Savage has argued that “liberalism is a mental disorder,” and although Dr. Savage took his terminal degree in nutrition, he may well have originated an insight that will prove valid in the realm of psychiatry. Each new day heralds the confection of absurd new liberal beliefs, statements, and behaviors that defy rationality, compounding the evidence that American progressives are uniquely susceptible to the syndrome hypothesized in this article. We of WOOF have chosen to provisionally dub this “Fantasy Prone Personality Disorder, (communal–type, presenting with collective delusions, bizarre variety)” and rest assured, our research continues! Meanwhile, when your liberal dinner guest explodes at the mention of, say, Sarah Palin, and glares across the table at you with bulging, demented, unblinking eyes, snarling “She’s so stupid she thinks she can see Russia from her house!” please consider: It may not be a choice–it may be a disease. Thus, rather than wax ill-tempered or raise our voices indignantly, let us, with Benjamin Rush, calmly seek out “The causes which induce intellectual derangement, by acting upon the body through the medium of the mind.” We owe it to our fellow Americans to find the cure, gentle readers! Somewhere, a liberal you love needs your help!___________________________________________________________