Thursday, November 21, 2013

as for the people and planet being subordinated to power and profit - they barely even register

medialens | The focus on the 'narcissism' of leading dissidents is a recurring theme across the corporate media. Bloomberg Businessweek featured an article entitled, 'The Unbearable Narcissism of Edward Snowden.'

Jeffrey Toobin condemned Snowden in the New Yorker as 'a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison'.

On CBS, Bob Schieffer commented:
'I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us.'

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post:
'Everything about Edward Snowden is ridiculously cinematic. He is not paranoiac; he is merely narcissistic. He jettisoned a girlfriend, a career and, undoubtedly, his personal freedom to expose programs...'

Cohen detected no cognitive dissonance in the idea that a narcissist would be willing to sacrifice his girlfriend, career and personal freedom to expose political corruption. In reality, this is exactly what narcissists are not inclined to do.

Similarly, Seumas Milne protested in the Guardian that, despite not having been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime: 'as far as the bulk of the press is concerned, Assange is nothing but a "monstrous narcissist", a bail-jumping "sex pest" and an exhibitionist maniac'.

Sir Harold Evans commented in the Observer: 'I have not been impressed by the blather about "freedom of the press" surrounding the narcissistic Edward Snowden...'

Glenn Greenwald who, unlike most of the above critics, has met Snowden and worked closely with him, observed:
'One of the most darkly hilarious things to watch is how government apologists and media servants are driven by total herd behavior: they all mindlessly adopt the same script and then just keep repeating it because they see others doing so and, like parrots, just mimic what they hear... Hordes of people who had no idea what 'narcissism' even means - and who did not know the first thing about Snowden - kept repeating this word over and over because that became the cliche used to demonize him.

'The reason this was darkly hilarious is because there is almost no attack on him more patently invalid than this one. When he came to us, he said: "after I identify myself as the source and explain why I did this, I intend to disappear from media sight, because I know they will want to personalize the story about me, and I want the focus to remain on the substance of NSA disclosures."

'He has been 100% true to his word. Almost every day for four months, I've had the biggest TV shows and most influential media stars calling and emailing me, begging to interview Snowden for TV. He has refused every request because he does not want the attention to be on him, but rather on the disclosures that he risked his liberty and even his life to bring to the world.'

But according to the Daily Banter blog, none of this should be taken seriously. Why?
'Glenn Greenwald has been looking to take down Obama and feed his own depthless narcissism for years now. He just managed to accomplish one of these goals in spades...'

Further ironies afflict these many casual denunciations of Assange, Brand, Snowden and Greenwald as 'sexists' and/or 'narcissists'.

Most commentators – including many on the left - appear to have little or no understanding of what these terms actually mean.

As the psychologist and social theorist Erich Fromm noted, narcissism in fact is characteristic of individuals 'who are preoccupied with themselves and who pay little attention to others, except as echoes of themselves' (Fromm, The Heart Of Man, American Mental Health Foundation, 2010, p.66). A narcissist is unable to see issues from the point of view of others and has 'a lack of genuine interest in the outside world'. (p.67)

But as Fromm (and Freud) also noted, 'even in the case of normal development, man remains to some extent narcissistic throughout his life'. Indeed, 'The "normal," "mature" person is one whose narcissism has been reduced to the socially accepted minimum without ever disappearing completely.' (pp.60-61)

In other words, rare corporate bodhisattvas aside, the critics damning Assange, Brand, Snowden and Greenwald as 'narcissists' are busy throwing stones in greenhouses. But this only scratches the surface of their hypocrisy.

Sexism, of course, is a prime example of 'group narcissism', the idea that: "'I am somebody important because I belong to the most admirable group in the world – I am white"; or, "I am an Aryan".' (p.76) Or indeed, 'I am male.'

Group narcissism is so dangerous because it generates extreme distortions of rational judgement. Fromm commented:

'The object of narcissistic attachment is thought to be valuable (good, beautiful, wise, etc.) not on the basis of an objective value judgement, but because it is me or mine. Narcissistic value judgement is prejudiced and biased.' (p.70)

This, of course, is in direct collision with rational analysis, scientific method and simple common sense. Alas, Fromm concluded that despite some ameliorating impacts from higher education, 'it has not prevented most of the "educated" people from joining enthusiastically the national, racial, and political movements which are the expression of contemporary narcissism'. (p.81)

And this, indeed, is the great irony of so much criticism of Brand the 'narcissist'. Because Brand is a rare dissident precisely throwing off the corporate chains of 'contemporary narcissism' to point out 'the absolute, all-encompassing total corruption of our political agencies by big business'.
'The planet is being destroyed. We are creating an underclass. We are exploiting poor people all over the world. And the genuine legitimate problems of the people are not being addressed by our political class.'

These are some of the central truths and crises of our time that corporate journalists employed by the very system doing the damage will not and cannot discuss. Brand's willingness to discuss them in the face of intense pressure to do otherwise - the corporate system will continue to strongly punish him for speaking out – his empathy with victims of corporate power, are again the exact opposite of what one would expect from a narcissist.

On the other hand, the determination of corporate commentators to ignore the importance and truth of Brand's arguments, and to focus instead on his 'sexism', 'narcissism', and his relationship with Jemima Khan, are classic examples of group narcissism; of journalists prioritising their careers, their corporations, their class, 'not on the basis of an objective value judgement, but because it is me or mine'.


makheru bradley said...

Speaking of water issues:

Speaking of the ethics crisis:

Nakajima Kikka said...

Whistleblowers of any persuasion are routinely denounced as "narcissists" in the English-language media. No surprise there.

OTOH, the nearly wholesale cooptation (and masculinization) of feminism by business corporations is quite interesting. I suspect it partly explains Assange's and Brand's on-going needling of the feminist left.

CNu said...

The use of feminist tropes to criticize, shame, ostracize, or banish critical masculine voices (particularly warrior voices that insist on discipline/competence/integrity/merit) is premier weapon in the arsenal of engineered cultural degeneracy. When objective standards fell prey to gender, sexual, race, ethnic identity protest and "valuing diversity"....,

CNu said...

Is that ethics or mental illness and sadism?

makheru bradley said...

“ Ethics are behavioral standards agreed upon by human groups.” This child abuse by a DSS supervisor and a ER nurse reflects a crisis in ethics. Do they have mental issues? I would think so. OBTW, I was down in Monroe a few weeks ago. Searched for and found the grave site of the great Robert Williams and, of course, poured a libation.

CNu said...

Nice, far too little true warrior spirit and uncompromising testicular fortitude left here at the end of days...,

Back onto the question of compromised ethics; One basic reason for this is that human beings have evolved wonderful mechanisms for observing and reacting to sudden changes, in part by mentally holding the environmental background constant to make the changes stand out. But individuals are not so well equipped to perceive changes in that background, such as the gradual accumulation of greenhouse gases and toxic compounds in their environments.My wife spent several years as a realtor. She would regale me with stories of sheer "moral" horror wrt the insufferable environmental conditions she would see inside the houses of people who had the nerve and audacity to put those same houses on the market for sale, unstaged.

When I imagine this nasty pair to whom you linked, with their medieval tolerance of filth and brutish standards toward themselves and the children they had the nerve to adopt, I bet you a dollar they sincerely believe that they've done nothing wrong.

CNu said...

Between the banksters and the corporate military state, foundations for the new order of the ages were put into place 70 years ago - and have been tweeked and adapted as necessary - ever since that time. I find the MAHB call for a "religious" movement laughable if such a movement is to be set in opposition to the trillion$, the $ystemS, and the weapon$ of the bankster-corporate-military triad.

Inch by inch, piece-by-piece - this triad has been socializing its existence with/to/among the masses, including its highly ritualized hierarchies and its inevitable aim to cull the two-legged herd to more manageable population levels. If you think about how long the issue of radioactive waste management has gone unaddressed, how long these humans have possessed cleaner, more abundant, and far safer nuclear power options - and the extent to which these alternative options have been ignored, as surely as the competent handling of spent fuel rods and damaged nuclear cores, it is very difficult for me to imagine that any of this is a time-lapsed compilation and compounding of errors - instead of a systematic plan and design.

Life on this planet will endure the pending human cull. The religion and collective belief in accidental anthropocene catastrophe has been phenomenally well established and documented in the mainstream. Yet, some of us, knowing what we know cannot possibly be lulled into the great sleep which will have future generations of the minimal regret human population believing that this massive die-off was anything but a masterfully planned solution to a problem with otherwise intractable difficulties.

Vic78 said...

Why are farmers growing rice in Texas?

Nakajima Kikka said...

The "religious movement" MAHB strives to create is already here, and has been since 1876: Ethical Culture.

Since its founding, its ability thus far to influence people or history has been insignificant.

Nakajima Kikka said...

Speaking of subordinating people and planet to power and profit:

Nakajima Kikka said...

Speaking of why more and more people are giving up on politics:

CNu said...

It appears that these hearty strivers managed to bring their aspirational cart well ahead of their psychological horse. That can never work. OTOH, even those who put the horse before the cart and the driver and the passenger all in their rightful places - are hard-pressed to influence the masses

CNu said...

That one too?!?!?!

CNu said...

It would seem there really is only one answer remaining

Angry Leprecauhn said...

We grow it by the thousands of acres in LOUISIANA also!Have been for a few hundred years.

Vic78 said...

Your label makes things look hopeless. Then I read Plato and find people were pretty much in the same place 3000 years ago.

Vic78 said...

So much for sustainability.

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