TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2020
Could commander in chief "Wag the Roids?": Before we return to lingering concerns about the global conflagration which has been described as Mister Trump's War, let's revisit the hero's journey.
We were introduced to the concept when we were juniors in high school. Our literature class was taught The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the book in which Joseph Campbell defined "the monomyth."
We won't offer a critique of Campbell's presentation or reasoning, mainly since we have none. But we thought of Campbell last evening as a chopper touched down on a lawn.
The chopper carried a classic hero returning with the boon.
The leading authority on the monomyth thumbnails it as shown. Last evening, a fellow who may have been stoned on roids was performing this ancient tale:
In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.
Various scholars have introduced theories on hero myth narratives, including Otto Rank and Lord Raglan...Eventually hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung's analytical psychology. Campbell used the monomyth to deconstruct and compare religions. In his famous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), he describes the narrative pattern as follows:
"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."
Last Friday afternoon, the commander was airlifted out of "the world of the common day."
He ventured into "a region of supernatural wonder," encountering "fabulous forces." Last evening, he returned from his adventure, and he said that he carried the boon.
In the current case, it has long seemed possible that the hero in question may be mentally ill in some significant way. Complicating the current tale, journalists have agreed that this obvious possibility must never be discussed.
Also, the hero may be juiced on steroids at the present time. Still and all, Campbell's universal pattern prevailed as he described what he'd learned:
TRUMP (10/5/20): I just left Walter Reed Medical Center, and it’s really something very special. The doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and I learned so much about coronavirus.
One thing that’s for certain, don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it.
I went—I didn’t feel so good. And two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago, I felt great. Like, better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than 20 years ago. Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen.
We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going back—We’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front.
As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk. There’s a danger. But that’s okay, and now I’m better. Maybe I’m immune. I don’t know.
But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful. We have the best medicines in the world, and they’re all happened [sic] very shortly, and they’re all getting approved. And the vaccines are coming momentarily.
Thank you very much. And Walter Reed, what a group of people. Thank you very much.
John Wayne once claimed to have "licked the big C." Now, the commander has followed suit
He has returned from his adventure with a vast store of new knowledge. Last evening, he told his fellow man [sic] that the virus isn't going to hurt them unless they let it do so. It will all be OK!
For what it's worth, this statement seems to conflict with the current projections from the science-soaked eggheads at the IHME.
As Nicholas Kristof noted in Sunday's New York Times, the IHME is now projecting that nearly 3,000 people will be dying from the virus on a daily basis by the end of the year.
On a daily basis! For the record, if that projection turns out to be accurate, the virus won't be "dominating" those people's lives. It will be ending their lives, and possibly ours and yours.
This projection has largely been ignored within the upper-end press corps. On what basis has this projection been made? Why would anyone think that such a killing field will develop?
We've seen no interviews with the people who have advanced this prediction. We've seen no serious attempt to evaluate the worth of this projection, or even to report it.
More importantly, the commander was back among us rubes last night, and he carried the boon. He'd learned about the virus while he was gone, and he's getting back to work.
Meanwhile, a second opinion:
In the world of everyday cable, some observers were suggesting that this proclamation might be the steroids speaking. With that thought in mind, we offer a basic question:
Is it possible that this disordered commander could end up "wagging the roids?"
The commander still holds the nuclear codes. As far as we know, there is no back-up procedure that could ever stop him from using the codes.
In the wake of his recent crazy behaviors, the commander's poll numbers seem to be plummeting. If the commander really is mentally ill in some serious way, might he decide to create a distraction?
More crazily, might he decide to bring the temple down around him? It's been done before!
Back in 1997, it was largely viewed as an amusement when Wag the Dog appeared. (It starred De Niro and Hoffman.) Today, various strands of incomprehension merge within the public discourse as we pose our questions.
In January 2018, the New York Times instructed the upper-end press corps not to discuss the possibility of serious mental illness.
The people who would later produce a reality show to explain their dual endorsements for president told us that we can observe the commander's behavior. They said we didn't need additional insight or speculation.
Sadly, we'd have to say no. The possible problem with a major disorder would be this:
At some moment of truth, the person with the major disorder might behave in a deeply "crazy" way—in a way which no one in those everyday huts would have foreseen or foretold.
At some moment of truth, the hero with the major disorder might even decide on the craziest course of all.
For ourselves, we always would have liked to see (carefully selected) medical experts interviewed about this president's mental health. The editorial board at the Times told the guild not to go there.
In the past few years, we've been reporting something we've been told. Major experts have repeatedly told us that they're communicating from the years which lie beyond a global conflagration—a conflagration they describe only as Mister Trump's War.
Last evening, a heroic commander returned from an adventure saying he carried the boon. If his fellow humans decide to rejects him, what might this apparently disordered person possibly choose to do?
Could he decide to wag the roids? We'd have to suggest that he could! Is there any way that decision could be blocked? As with the resistance, so too here:
You will see that discussion start right after the war breaks out.
Events are moving very quickly at the present time. The commander still has a large gang of "willing enablers." Our own tribe is angry but soft.
On the bright side, unfolding events have created a remarkable chance to study human nature as it truly is, as it always has been. These events continue to create a large anthropology lesson.
On the other hand, a person who may be mentally ill does hold the nuclear codes. Also, the giants of the upper-end press refuse to discuss this problem.
If memory serves, our literature class was taught The Hero With A Thousand Faces in the spring of 64. If memory serves, this type of instruction helped us robots earn a boatload of 5's on our AP tests.
Since then, the vast appeal of the monomyth has been widely ignored. Last night, the ancient tale was enacted again, above the White House lawn.
Tomorrow: Who has the slightest idea?