A continual barrage of news and commentary about politics – particularly today’s politics – can be exhausting.  Personally, I have cut my viewing of the news considerably, probably watching only 30 minutes a day.  This has been a good thing.  In the run-up to the 2016 election I was listening to or watching the news several hours a day.

An unexpected benefit of the Trump election has been that I am spending more time in my pottery studio, in reading, and in talking to actual people.  I like to read articles about the brain; neuroscience and psychiatry.  I subscribe to a couple of services that point me to articles and news in fields in which I have an interest, so I get articles from Discover magazine’s Neuro Skeptic, and an occasional article from Live Science.

A recent article, from the Conversation, reprinted in Live Science, presents a very clear view of the difference between lies and falsehoods and of the continuum of distortion of reality from the least distorted, “wacky view”, to completely distorted delusion.

The author, psychiatrist, Ronald W. Pies, Tufts University, is forbidden legally from making comments about the mental condition of public figures, and would not make an observation without actually examining a person, but there is little doubt of whom the discussion is about.

I am not in the habit of giving people lists of suggested reading, but for anyone, lay or professional, this is short and worthwhile.  It gives a better understanding of the difference between the neighbor who thinks the earth is 6000 years old and the one who thinks Martians are living in his garage.


Views: 97

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 20, 2017 at 3:58am


Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 20, 2017 at 5:28am

I'm with you.  I'm a political junkie.  I started my post surgical recuperation looking forward to it, because I could watch the news nonstop guiltfree.  So started it watching about seven or eight hours of the news.  Not nonstop, but I'd have it on and watch about half and listen to the rest.  Half of it is the same thing anyway.  

I can't do that now.  It's too alarming to me.  I'm down to MJ in the morning and at night VICE and sometimes Chris Mathews.  MSNBC is mostly Trumptalk and I can't stand hearing it all day.  It's incredible, bizarre and insane and I don't say that lightly.  It's Fellini. 

I feel as if we're watching someone lose their mind or there's a coup or he's simply redefining what we can expect from our publicly elected officials.  So what's alarming to me isn't that he's in over his head, but Congress isn't as alarmed as I am.  WHERE IS THE OVERSIGHT?

Day in day out that's my thought - where is our protection from this?  where is the oversight?  How can a sworn president lie to the country and not be held to account?  

unfortunately martians are living in nation's garage.

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 20, 2017 at 6:01am

Thanks, FM.  That's it. We're like that patient example who said he was being stalked by the FBI.  No one would believe him until the FBI came and arrested him in the psych hospital.

I think that Trump's handlers have figured out how to sidestep all of the checks and completely unbalance the country.  Or, maybe it is that the system was deliberately designed so that the system would have to be way out of balance before the checks kicked in.  Trump may have been right when he said that he could shoot someone in Times Square and nothing would happen to him. 

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 20, 2017 at 6:12am

At the time I think Trump was pretty on point when he said he could shoot someone in TS and walk away scott free but I don't think so now.  I have to believe we're not alone in our concern and worry at who is at the helm of our country.

What truly alarms me Rodney, is what your blog is about - that we can't watch this circus anymore.  That we're starting to tune it out.  

Comment by koshersalaami on March 20, 2017 at 6:23am

Congress has embraced power over country. I'm with FM about the lack of oversight. I think Mitch McConnell may be as dangerous as Trump. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 20, 2017 at 6:51am

Do you know what scares me?  The recent Fox News poll - which incidentally was well done - showed that 22% of respondents had never heard of Mitch McConnell, and another 10% or so had no opinion about him.

OTOH, almost everyone knew Bernie Sanders, and he had the highest approval rating of any politician, by a lot (61%), almost everyone had heard of the ACA (51% approval) and Planned Parenthood (even higher approval).   People had heard of the politicians whose names continually came up during the campaign, but not others.  Nineteen percent had never heard of Elizabeth Warren!

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 20, 2017 at 7:07am

I listen to 89.3 KPCC most of the day and occasionally watch the evening news.  When I can't stand the news any more I listen to Jazz24.  Now that I've moved to Texas there's always KUT Live  or KOOP.  The joy of the WWW internet thingy is that you can pretty much listen to what you want when you want.  R&L

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 20, 2017 at 7:43am

JMac, I envy you.  Because we live nestled among the mountains we can only get one radio station, a local top 40 station.  I have to stream things like Morning Edition or All Things (re)Considered on my tablet.  It's not bad, it's just that all I had to do where we used to live was turn the radio on.  I'll have to look at Jazz24.  Most of the streamed theme music eventually go to some sappy caricature of whatever music they are trying to represent.

Comment by vzn on March 24, 2017 at 3:43pm

thx for sharing, from the article, "As writer Adam Kirsch recently argued, "more and more, people seem to want to be lied to."" ... this seems to be one of the symptoms/ precursors of totalitarianism acc to hanna arendt, was just reading that elsewhere


Comment by Rodney Roe on March 24, 2017 at 9:30pm

I saw that Hosni Mubarak was released from Egyptian prison.  So much for Arab Spring.  There is some world wide move toward totalitarian governments combining dictators, intolerant religion, and military acting as civilian police.

I listened to a discussion on The Terry Gross show about the Eugenics movement in the U.S. - which was actually used as a model for the Nazi program - that had such an impact that the Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of forced sterilization for the "feeble minded" which came to include about anyone the white northern European believers wanted it to be.  Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority (8-1) opinion for a law that has never been overturned by the court.  It's there anytime the tide turns back. To quote Trump, himself, "so sad."


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