SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2020
Surprising name gets dropped: At present, Donald J. Trump is making no apparent effort to deal with the rapidly expanding public health crisis.
He has stopped pretending to care. It seems fairly clear that he actually doesn't.
Cable stars and cable pundits continue to act like this behavior is shocking, perhaps inexplicable. They continue to be "shocked, shocked" by Trump's peculiar conduct.
For today, we offer only one point. As far as we know, Donald J. Trump is behaving exactly the way a "sociopath" likely would.
Is Donald J. Trump a "sociopath?" We can't answer your question. According to everything we've read, that isn't even a formal diagnostic term.
Still and all, in her best-selling book, Mary Trump referred to Trump's father, Fred Trump, as a "high-functioning sociopath." More significantly, she suggested that Donald Trump's array of "psychopathologies" may make a "sociopath" too—or may make him even worse.
We mention this because we heard an unusual name mentioned on cable last night. Joy Reid was interviewing Steven Hassan, a "cult and authoritarian control expert" who has written a book about followers of Trump.
Mary Trump also appeared as a guest. At one point, Hassan said this:
HASSAN (11/20/20): People don't knowingly join a cult, but they get deceived. And the pathological lying that Trump does, and the conspiracy of the media and the right-wing authoritarian cults that are part of the cult of Trump, is what's driving the mess that we're in right now.
I just hope that Americans can step back and get past the "I can't believe he's doing this" phase into "Yes, he's very predictable."
Michael Cohen has predicted it, Mary Trump has predicted it, Bandy Lee has predicted it. So the point is, we need to do everything within our power to reach out to people who have been under the spell of Donald Trump, explain hypnosis, explain the authoritarian control mechanisms that are being used...
Good God! Did someone mention Bandy X. Lee? Did we actually hear her name, spoken right there on cable?
Later last night, Brian Williams interviewed John McWhorter concerning Donald J. Trump. Because he doesn't work from tribal scripts, we're generally a fan of McWhorter's work.
In this case, he was the wrong guest to interview. He discussed Trump in standard upper-end pundit terms. As we watched, we wondered why Williams wasn't speaking with Lee instead.
Is Donald J. Trump a sociopath? If so, what might he actually decide to do in the next seventy days?
These strike us as very important questions. But as part of our society's upper-end cognitive fail, our major pundits are still unwilling to ask.
What might this badly disordered man actually end up doing? By the rules of the mainstream press, the question still can't be asked of (carefully selected) medical experts.
Dr. Lee is a Yale psychiatrist. When she published her own best-selling book (as editor) in 2017, she called it The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. She said that Trump was dangerous, and that his condition would only get worse under the pressure of office.
As Hassan suggested last night, Trump is now doing the sorts of thing Dr. Lee predicted. But as part of our basic cognitive fail, our pundits refuse to move past what Hassan called "the 'I can't believe he's doing this' phase."
As far as we know, Trump is behaving exactly the way a sociopath likely would. That said, our pundits continue to play a game. That unhelpful pundit game goes by this name:
We'd like to link you: We'd like to link you to the text of McWhorter's discussion with Williams.
We can't offer you that link. Aping the culture of Fox News, MSNBC no longer prepares and posts transcripts. The channel has even disappeared the ghosts of transcripts past.