And of the New York Times: Is Donald J. Trump "mentally ill" in some way? Might he be cognitively impaired?
It seems that such questions are implied by the contents of Bob Woodward's forthcoming book about the Trump White House. Consider this anecdote, newly reported by the Washington Post:
RUCKER AND COSTA (9/4/18): At a National Security Council meeting on Jan. 19, Trump disregarded the significance of the massive U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula, including a special intelligence operation that allows the United States to detect a North Korean missile launch in seven seconds vs. 15 minutes from Alaska, according to Woodward. Trump questioned why the government was spending resources in the region at all.Is Trump a victim of mental illness or of cognitive impairment? We've raised those question on many occasions.
“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him.
After Trump left the meeting, Woodward recounts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like—and had the understanding of—‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ”
In Woodward’s telling, many top advisers were repeatedly unnerved by Trump’s actions...
That said, we've sometimes wondered about the mental status of some within the New York Times. Just yesterday, we wondered again about the "mental age" which may obtain inside some parts of the Times.
Why has our national discourse been so pitifully low-IQ over the past thirty years? Consider the "Here to Help" feature on yesterday morning's Page A3 (print editions only).
Yesterday was Labor Day, and Labor Day is a holiday. In one of its strangest manifestations yet, the "reimagined" Page A3 asked Tim Herrera to help you figure out how to spend it.
How should Times readers spend holidays? The feature started like this:
Here to HelpIn hard copy, Herrera proceeded to list five suggestions. We'll skip the supporting detail he offered in each case. His five suggestions were these:
WHAT TO DO WITH A DAY OFF
Happy Labor Day! If you’re fortunate enough to have the day off from work, the most important thing on your to-do list today is to actually take the day off. Studies have shown that “people only send 40 percent less email” on holiday Mondays compared with regular Mondays. (Thank you, smartphones and tablets.)
So, great, we’re all out of work mode and ready to enjoy the day. But what to do? Here are a few suggestions on how best to spend your day off. TIM HERRERA
Herrera's five suggestions:No, we aren't making that up. Now that we were "all out of work mode and ready to enjoy the day," Herrera's first suggestion was that we could give our refrigerators the deep clean they so richly deserve.
Give your fridge the deep clean it deserves.
Have a family meal.
Do that one thing you’ve been putting off.
Get introspective about your career.
Do absolutely nothing.
We wondered about the mental state of an editor who would publish a feature like this. We wondered what that editors might think, perhaps correctly, about the general mental state of this foppish newspaper's readership.
We also wondered who Herrera could be. Here's what we learned about Herrera on our own day off:
According to his official Times bio, Herrera is "the founding editor of Smarter Living, where he edits and reports stories about living a better, more fulfilling life."
Smarter Living, we came to learn, is a New York Times blog. As Herrera's bio continued, we learned more.
"In a previous life," the bio says, Herrera "was a metro reporter for amNew York and Newsday." After that, he worked as a reporter and editor at the Washington Post.
This made it sound like Herrera has been around a while. Apparently, not so much! He seems to be eight years out of college (NYU, class of 2010). That "previous life" at amNewYork began in September of that year.
For several years, we've wondered about the mental status of President Trump, whose possible illness and/or cognitive issues makes him seem like an extremely dangerous man. We've also wondered about the New York Times, which is branded as one of the nation's top journalistic guardian.
Yesterday, we wondered again about the mental status of people inside the Times. Some editor assigned a youngish reporter to tell Times readers how they might spend their day off. This struck us as strange all by itself, but first suggestion the newspaper published took the cake:
Now that we were "all out of work mode and ready to enjoy the day," we could go ahead and spend the day cleaning out the fridge!
The western world has long run on the pleasing fuel which says that we the people are primarily "rational animals." Nothing in recent human behavior justifies that upbeat notion, and the New York Times routinely makes us wonder about the mental age of our modern upper-class elites.
Donald Trump strikes us as impaired, and dangerous. The New York Times routinely strikes us as impaired and foppish, inane.
For the original post: Yesterday's hard-copy Here to Help feature was derived from this original Smarter Living post.
In his original post, Herrera listed six things we could do on our day off. The first suggestion he listed was this:
"Fix your finances"
Now that we were out of work mode, Herrera's original first suggestion was that we might do that!