Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trump Derangement Syndrome in Action

One would like to think that the letter is a hoax. A married white woman writes to “Ask Polly” to complain about her husband. You see, she is totally distraught about Donald Trump. She is so distraught that she cannot function in her marriage. She is completely out of control over social injustice. She wants her husband to beat himself up about his white privilege. If he doesn’t she will do it for him. He feels some guilt, but, by her lights, not enough.

Dare I say it, this woman is deranged. She is a fanatical true believer. Not in the clinical sense of the term but in the brainwashed sense of the term. She cannot think at all and has no idea of what a marriage is about. She has bought the nonsense about white privilege, social injustice and the evils that white males have visited on the culture and the world. Now she wants to punish her husband for it.

To that Polly will wisely tell her that she is completely wrong. Bringing an absurd political fiction into your home is a very bad idea. Polly feels the woman’s pain and suggests that having a child might focus and ground her.

Polly is correct here. Obviously, she cannot tell the woman that she is deranged. She cannot tell her that she is an abusive spouse who is alienating her husband and damaging her marriage. Polly suggests as much, and I agree with her approach.

I would only add that said husband should run for the hills at his earliest convenience. He is married to a woman who wants her married life to sound like a Stalinist self-criticism session or a round of interrogation in front of the Red Guards. Or else, if you prefer, she has made her marriage into an Inquisition.

It is a bad idea to marry a fanatic. It is a worse idea to stay married to one.

I assume that the letter writer comes from New York. If you do not live in New York, this will seem like an exaggeration. If you do live in New York and consult for a living, you will still think that this seems like an exaggeration. One fears that it is not. One fears that it represents a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The letter writer, dubs herself “I Wish Hillary Won.” She tells us nothing about her husband. She says that she works in the comedy field but does not tell us what he does for a living. She does not see him as a human being, but as a bundle of defective opinions. She has made it her task to brainwash him, so that they can have a meeting of the minds.

Think I’m kidding? Here goes IWHW:

My husband is a funny, weird, supportive white man (I’m also white) who hasn’t really ever had anyone ask him to examine his privilege. We’ve been together for a few years now, and we’ve definitely had a lot of conversations about gender and race and institutionalized racism and sexism. He’s already learned a lot through our conversations and is usually very good about listening and growing. I know on a broad level that he’s on my side when it comes to these things. I’m more of an activist, and I feel things more deeply than he does — especially injustice.

Apparently, IWHW is deranged because her husband is not sufficiently deranged:

… since Trump was elected, I have very little patience. I want him to wake up right now. And he’s angry and sad and scared about Trump and what he’s doing to our country, but he’s not angry and sad and scared ENOUGH for me. 

She is naturally appalled by the fact that he is a white male who receives certain privileges. She does not tell us which ones. She cannot stand the fact that he does not feel sufficient guilt for his privilege—what makes her judge, jury and inquisitor?-- and has not allowed guilt to destroy his mind… as it has his wife’s:

… he can also retreat into white-male-privilege-keep-head-in-sand-until-it-all-passes land. I wish he was more personally motivated to learn about privilege and that I didn’t have to be the one forcing him to think about it. Sometimes he doesn’t get things and I feel so disappointed and afraid that maybe I settled. That’s harsh. I hate even typing it. Everything is just so fucked right now.

Why does she believe that she has the right to force anyone to think or feel anything? As I said, her husband ought to flee her presence.

Given that women are increasingly powerful in the world, she only sees men. Is it wish fulfillment? Who knows?

I’m just so damn tired of being surrounded by men. Movies, TV, politics, my life. I’m tired of men running shit. And I feel so permeable since the election. I’ve always been emotionally watery — I often feel overwhelmed by my emotions, and I feel like I lose my boundaries and control over myself when I’m very sad. I’m so sad and anxious about the future, both in a broad sense and with my relationship.

At least, she's in touch with her feelings. 

Now, thanks to her derangement the unhappy couple will be going to therapy. Good luck to both of them. And yet, IWHW still believes that her wifely role involves a cultural reeducation and indoctrination in the dogmas of political correctness. Isn’t this why people turned to Donald Trump?

She concludes:

We’re going to go to therapy, but how can I help my husband unpack his privilege?

For her part Polly tries to put it in perspective. She tries to get through to a woman who sounds like she will not allow anyone to get through to her. Polly’s attempt is correct and valiant. She makes the salient point: namely, do not allow your political fanaticism to destroy your marriage:

You can’t turn the story of ignorant white men into a story about your actual husband. Sure, we’d like some of the ignorant white men who voted for Trump to wake up, not to mention the ignorant white ladies who have swallowed society’s hatred whole-hog and therefore believe that being ruled by a mean daddy who doesn’t respect you is somehow preferable to being led by a woman — or, worse, who believe that a faceless mob of Muslims and Mexicans is out to ruin their good life. But let’s not fuck with the good men by our sides. Let’s not fuck with the liberal guys who are just as anxious for a woman to take a shot at the job as we are.

She continues with a bout of male-bashing, on the grounds, I imagine, that this crazed letter writer will not listen to anyone who does not feel the way she feels. I consider this tactical, not strategic:

 Men, specifically, can be really fucking dull. Many (but not all!) men are repetitive, avoidant simpletons who really do have feelings and souls deep down there somewhere, but they prefer to pretend that they don’t a lot of the time. Now I’m not saying that plenty of women aren’t the same way.

Polly continues, and we hope that she does not believe her indictment of the culture as misogynistic. After all, one of the leaders of the Women’s March was one Linda Sarsour, a woman who believes in Shariah Law and who has argued that women have it better in Saudi Arabia.

Again, let’s hope that Polly is being tactical and not strategic here. After all, she is writing to a fanatic, and it is very difficult to deal with a brainwashed fanatic:

But because our culture hates the shit out of women, their feelings and souls are usually leaking out all over the place in spite of their best efforts to hide them. Sometimes these leaks can feel toxic, particularly if the lady in question isn’t really owning up to the fact that she’s making a giant mess, and instead wants to blame you for the fact that her sewage is staining your nice new shoes. But at least something is happening! Poisonous leakage can be exciting! At least everyone else can talk about it, or analyze it behind her poisonous blamey back!

Finally, Polly has some useful words of wisdom:

In a marriage, you really have to resist the urge to scapegoat your partner for things that you’re feeling.


Katielee4211 said...

Wow.You'd think I'd be used to the hateful man bashing and derangement, but it never fails to amaze me.
But then, maybe I haven't unpacked my female oppression at the hands of these dull males and white privilege. Maybe I'm in denial...yes, that must be it. I'm simply deluded.

David Spence said...

I was married to a woman like this for 29 years. The last straw was in October 2012 when she saw an "I Like Mitt" banner that someone had posted to my timeline. She got in my face and demanded to know how I could possibly vote for such a Nazi and asked me if I intended to vote for him. I said yes (and a couple other things), then went and started packing my things. I left five pets, a house full of furniture I had paid for, a car, a boat and took only my work clothes and musical instruments. I moved into a 300 sq. foot hovel a couple blocks from my job. It was heartbreaking to leave my dear animals but at least I had my pride intact. She was a feminist, with a law degree and active license who chose not to work. I didn't have that luxury. We had no kids, thank god, but her greatest concern was abortion rights. Liberals don't worship God-they worship politics. And everything is political-food, the trash, the weather, the coffee, etc.
One day we are in the car and she flies into a rage-cursing and screaming. I ask her what the problem is and she points to a handmade sign stuck in the front-yard of a house out on a country road. "That kind of shit pisses me off," she said. I looked at the small sign that simply said, "God Bless America!"

art.the.nerd said...

Stuart, is this the first time you have actually agreed with Polly?

Stuart Schneiderman said...


Sam L. said...

Better mark it on you calendar!

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I felt that IWHW was so far gone, so completely lost in her mania, that any effort to get through to her, to make contact with her, was worth trying. Points to Polly for making the effort. I didn't want you to think I wasn't fair.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

David Spence, God bless you. Glad to have you in the Deplorables category. And congratulations for escaping such virulent unhappiness. Welcome home.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Okay, let's assume men are addicted to power, always being right, never asking for directions, etc.

In fairness, there's something women would be wise to own up to:


I understand it may be a Darwinian conspiracy to help children survive to adulthood, but c'mon. In today's world, it is totally misplaced.

And it warps women into this working frenzy when there aren't real risks around. The risks are imminent. They're very mplied. They're lurking. But they're not REAL.

That built-in "anxiety radar" is the source of women's insanity, and it has nothing to do with a penis. That, and women #%$&ing hate each other for the least transgression and hold onto it forever.

What am I supposed to do with THAT???

Ares Olympus said...

I thought Polly's long response was over the top, but maybe anything direct is useless and won't be heard.

It does seem like "white privilege" is a sort of mind virus that is passing through the liberal circles, and it is contagious in the sense that it creates a short of "shame response" that has no logical defense. If you have "privilege" and other people are oppressed, then your "social duty" is to be silent and spend the next 20 years trying to be caring and understanding to the oppressed people. And not only do you have to let them speak, but you have an obligation to speak for them when they can't speak, so even if their are no minorities or oppressed people immiediately present, you must listen as if you could imagine what they would hear, and react as they would react, but then speak for this imagined reaction, and shame the perpetrators for not being aware of their privilege.

Anyway, the "virus" part seems to be via shame. If someone shames you for "not checking your privilege", you're surprised, then confused, then angry, and then try to be understanding, and aren't smart enough to to back to anger and put up a wall against someone else's crap, then instead you internalize the virus by saying "How can I check my privilege" and imagine a path to escape the shame exposed by this false charge, and finally once you've correctly internalized it, then you can test what you learned by calling out other people, and if they get angry and refuse, they're "bad people", and if they are understanding and agree, they're "good people." And you never go back to remembering your own repressed anger you had in the first place.

I suppose I first saw this "white guilt" stuff at a Christian 6-day camp over a decade ago where they had a worshop on racism, and I tried one or two day, but really couldn't get it. The trick there was to stop projecting racism as something "out there, things other people do", but imagining it in all of us, and perhaps in our own unconscious attitudes and assumptions, in stereotypes, etc. Back then they did yet talk of "white privilege" but just worked on a general sense of "virtue signalling", and a conviction that we could make the world a better place by being aware of these biases. And to be fair, it did seem more honest than the projective versions that called other people racists.

Actually from my bible study this week, they talked about the days around Jesus, where the scribes, like the Pharisees created ever larger do's and don'ts that were about a sense of purity, and people who wanted to be religiously pure felt compelled to atone regularly for their sins and in part by going to the temple and giving money that became a primary source of wealth for the priests and scribes.

One heresy of Jesus came from his directly offering forgiveness, without having to go through the Temple offerings, and threatening the legalistic order of sin forgiveness.

The whole topic seems surprising, and it shows me how important the conscience is, and if you community gives you a path to forgiveness, even a corrupt one, like temple donations, it still serves a psychic value. It allows a process of reset, so you can let go of the path and move forward without that burden.

It's not clear what Jesus would make of "white privilege", but he could be cruel, like the rich man who wanted to follow him, but had to give up all his wealth first. But stories like this are not necessarily what Jesus really said, and might be misunderstood, and we all know Jesus admitted his stories had levels of truth, depending on what people had ears to hear.

I agree with IAC, anxiety is a part of it, but the question is what would satisfy this? And perhaps telling the women to give up all her wealth and join a nunnery would work as well as anything to give her some perspective.

And then her husband can safely run, if she decides to do that.

Anonymous said...

Just think...all that white privilege, and #that's# the woman he ended up with.
Maybe he settled. ;0)