Reblog: What if the president really is a very stable genus?

EXCELLENT perspective that all of us should read and think about.

Twitter for Longer Thoughts

Early in the morning on January 6, 2018, the president took to the new era bully pulpit, Twitter, to defend his mental stability. In an infamous tweetstorm, one which coined a future book title, he proudly labeled himself, among other things, “a very stable genius.” Like many of his tweets it was met with wide-ranging responses; critics cited its absurdity, supporters defended his overconfidence, but most able-minded people agreed on one thing: this statement was not true. But what if it was?

I’m going to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. It will not be enjoyable or hopeful or comical, nor will it use scientific methods or concrete data. It will be based on perspective and examples with which we’re familiar. As I seek to legitimize a claim many find irrational, I wonder if this framing can help us understand, genius or not, how to counteract easy-to-consume bias and…

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17 thoughts on “Reblog: What if the president really is a very stable genus?

  1. Interesting perspective. I think being intelligent is a complex issue. And many people fill one or a few areas but are lacking in others.
    No question he knows how to play a crowd better than just about anyone I’ve seen. He is different than Hitler in that he can inject sarcastic humor into his rants. Hitler was always very serious. Humor attracts.

    He’s cunning and knows how to BS his way into business affairs, especially if they are shady and he has the ability to ruin someone if he so chooses. And he does all this because no one stops him; not the republicans, not the courts and the media plays right into his plan because they don’t report the important news, but just his latest outrageous statement.

    So you do have to wonder…..yes he speaks terribly, like a 6 yr. old, but it also is a way of talking to the dumbing down of many American types that love him so. They don’t want fancy words or long sentences.

    And then he has the legal maneuvering of Barr and the federal courts he has flooded, under the wire to his advantage.
    And is this all to help Russia or Putin? Maybe or maybe it’s just pure money, greed and power to get more and more and if his cozying up to Putin helps, so be it.

    And he’s been able to totally brainwash 40% of the country with a little help from Fox, Limbaugh etc. to where the truth can stare them in the face and they don’t see it or don’t want to see it. He has worked a psychological enigma on them that is entrenched. That is no small feat.

    So I do feel he is certainly more cunning than we think and he’s able to do this also because he is probably a psychopath…no ability to feel empathy towards others or toward a notion of right and wrong being worthy of consideration.

    I’m glad I’m old…I can’t even imagine 5 years from now.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Rachel Madow always warns, “Watch what he does, not what he says.”
      He has been written off as a bungling buffoon, but look who is in control of our government. He owns the SCOTUS, the GOP legislators, past and present, he owns the Department of Justice.

      Please bear with me and read through these quotes. See if there is anything you recognize:

      “Truth, honesty, integrity have no place in his world. No matter how absurd the lies and no matter how often they are debunked, he pushes them ahead. The thugs among the people keep them in line. ”

      “Ignorance to facts and exposed lies do not diminish his growing popularity. The more he speaks of reorganized government, growing economy, freedom from conflict, the doing away with law, and forgiveness of debts the more the masses come to his party. Reading and writing are causes for suspicion and considered elitist. The majority of the people being uneducated develop resentment to scribe and lawyers; anyone exhibiting education. Speaking a second or third language is criminal.”

      “The current leaders, no matter how successful are attacked as weak, ignorant, and deceiving the public. Accused of either fomenting war or kotowing to enemies, whichever causes the most distrust. The officers of the government are named ‘the swamp’. Educators are criminals. Laws are only to protect the elite, the courtiers, landlords, and merchants.”

      “He can use the resentment the poorest of the poor have for authority. He will use his minions and sycophants to stir them to rally to his party. They will urge the uprising, but the tyrant will maintain “plausible deniability”” with the dissenters. They will be fed lie upon lie of voodoo economics, promises of prosperity which are beyond possible, but it only matters that the masses are seduced by the idea.”

      Who is that? I took all these quotes from a book by Stephen Greenblatt named “Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics”. If we overlay the two pictures, nearly all the features line up.

      All tyrants have mental, emotional, and physical issues. There is something in that witches brew that drives them on. They can no more stop than those sycophants who are drawn to them can resist the allure of being so near possible greatness. Maybe Putin owns him. That would explain a lot. How would that explain the capitulation of the greater part of a party’s elected representatives?

      Just saying.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I think it is a mistake to focus too much on Putin and Russia. Russia is not really going to dominate half the world like it did under the Leninist-Stalinist era. Trump does what he does because it benefits Trump. Putin “owns” him in the sense that Putin shoveled money into his failing business empire. The people who support Trump are not Russian stooges but in it for their class interests.

        Otherwise, excellent post and comments!

        Liked by 6 people

        • Most certainly Trump is in it for himself. He is his own ‘main squeeze’. I just found the similarities between Trump and a play on Richard III to be more than coincidental. But as Greenblatt pointed out, those are the traits of all tyrants.

          Intelligence says do not dismiss Russia. We don’t know just how much money Trump got from them, but we do know what others got. Especially Moscow Mitch. I think I posted that earlier. It can be found at FEC.

          There is no such thing as a little enemy.
          B. F.

          “News outlets allege an unidentified source is making unsubstantiated charges”
          Bottomliners Eric and Bill Teitelbaum

          Liked by 4 people

        • I’m with you in de-emphasizing Russia. Not to be entirely dismissive of the threat Putin levies on our democracy, but I don’t believe it’s ever been adequately balanced in terms of media. There are so many domestic issues that deserve our attention, but for so long we heard almost solely of Russia, with the occasional distracting presidential tweet to break up the news cycle. Even when the investigation was ongoing, cable outlets had around-the-clock analysis about the every angle of the Russia investigation and beat it to death. Let’s better understand how POTUS does serve his own interests and, even more importantly, how inequalities are plaguing our nation, climate change is becoming more of a pressing issue, just so much more than the surface-level reports that fail to capture.

          Liked by 2 people

        • It depends on the source of news whether it is “Russia, Russia, Russia” as Trump exclaimed to a reporters question a few days ago. I don’t think I’m getting too much coverage on Russia as compared to all other issues. My news is pretty well rounded. Not much for sports.

          There is an abundance of coverage on Trump and his bungling of the covid-19 pandemic. West coast fires, with Trump in a presser declaring scientists have climate change all wrong, “they don’t know”. There are a couple of people coveringWoodwards report. Trump is infatuated with dictators. He is using taxpayer money to pursue his opponents.

          A huge portion of a Mont Blanc glacier is at risk of collapse, residents of Italy’s Aosta valley have been told to evacuate their homes.

          Putin opponent out of coma; wants to return to Rusia. ad infinitum.

          Reporters have to report the news. Without reporters and the free press, we are blind and ignorant. It is not the fault of reporters that everything about Trump leads to Russia. Six convictions.
          So, I’ve responded to your strawman.

          The issue, the question we have is whether Trump is a very stable genius.

          On the shelf behind me is a book by Philip Rucker and Caroll Leonig titled. “A Very Stable Genius.” They make a pretty good case for not so much. I read Mary Trump’s book “Too much. Never enough” which explains many things in his character, or lack thereof.

          From A Very Stable Genius:
          He had a face to face meeting with Putin in Hamberg. After that, he decided he was an expert on Putin.
          “I have had a two-hour meeting with Putin,” Trump told Tillerson. “That’s all I need to know,,,,I’ve sized it all up. I’ve got it.”
          Tillerson tried to explain that Putin was trained in manipulating people.
          Trump waved him off. “I know more about this than you do,” Trump said.
          “I know more than the Generals do.” I know more than the doctors, the scientist, the meteorologists. I have a very good brain. I know words. I have good genes. I am a very stable genius.

          Trump scorns normal progression of pentagon officers, appointing the rejected Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata to ‘acting’ Under Secretary for Defense Policy.

          Why does Trump Want control of that office bad enough to make such an appointment?

          The reason Trump wants to manipulate all covid-19 testing, cases, deaths?

          Trump seeks overhaul of spying laws and any others which get in his way.

          “I don’t care. I believe Putin”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Columbus, just a word to the wise — my blog is set up to “moderate” comments that contain more than a couple of links. I’m approving this, but please keep the link limit in mind for the future. Thanks! 🙂

          Oh, and BTW, I deleted the link to newsandguts as it brought up a “404.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • I stand corrected. I’m sorry about the useless link.

          I don’t like to make statements without a source. And I’m long-winded.
          Verbiage? Maybe.

          Thanks for the clarification on posting.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Even without the sources, I certainly agree with you; these examples reek of instability, thoughtlessness and narcissism. I’ve only read a little of “A Very Stable Genius” to date, but am getting the point loud and clear.

          I don’t feel as though my response deserves a ‘strawman’ label per se, because I’m trying to underscore my key message from the original post. The question for me has never been about his mental stability, let alone “genius.” I think most people understand how far from reality that statement was. What I’m seeking to better understand is how we fall victim to consumption of bad information and trivial information by means of distraction, and how these distractions can bury issues of critical importance. As you’ve said, without reporters we are blind and I agree wholeheartedly. I just feel that sometimes he plays into their hands, and vice versa. You can’t enter the sphere of modern politics without mention of modern media.

          Re-reading your Greenblatt example, I certainly see where you’re coming from. POTUS definitely exhibits many of those traits and patterns and it is frightening. I guess what I’m most trying to highlight is that I’m not concerned with his intellect as much as I am with how his whims send us down rabbit holes – perhaps the very rabbit holes that keep our attention while he quietly fulfills Greenblatt’s prophecy.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Trump, like his father, is a psychopath. I don’t think he’s a genius, but I do believe he is an entertainer–a very good entertainer who possesses zero critical thinking skills. The people who voted him into the presidency were spurred on by their own hateful degree of racism and sexism and their love of spectacle. Remember the debates where Trump put on his show? The crowds loved it. We also know that Trump did not believe for one minute, like all the rest of us, that he could win. It was an act, a burlesque, to beef up his brand, and as maryplumbago says he knows how to play a crowd. Otherwise, he’s a blithering idiot. If he manages to get through his goofed up rallies in the next two months without contracting COVID 19, it’ll be a miracle. He gives Bob Woodward eighteen interviews for a damning book that comes out two months before an election. Hell, even George Dubya Bush would have known better than to do that. How does he manage? His enablers. He has the power of the Whitehouse. He knows how to slander. The rats on the ship are smarter than the captain. They keep the ship going, but its sinking, nevertheless. If the social fabric can hold together for fifty more days, then hopefully we can get through this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, part of the point I’m trying to argue here is that it doesn’t really matter at all. The idea behind the thought experiment is not so much a reflection on his mental stability as it is on the manipulation and inconsistencies of both the administration and the media. For me, the headline was more of a means to draw attention to the fact that our attention is often misguided and misplaced. Does the president take advantage of that? Most definitely. Does that make him a genius? Like you, I’d argue the answer is ‘no,’ but also that his active ability to dilute important issues in cable news and social media almost seems like the most diabolical strategy ever. I’ll admit, the title is a bit baiting. The real question is, do we as consumers fall victim to whims of meaningless tweets and irrelevant “breaking” news cycles that contribute to distortion of truth? I think that necessitates discussion.

      Liked by 3 people

      • What if he is a
        very=to a high degree
        stable=not subject to insecurity or emotional illness
        genius=extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity?

        If he is then we can expect a successful and fruitful administration with all our citizens enjoying the full benefits of our constitution. I believe a stable genius would work for the good of the Republic. If we remove the ‘stable’ qualifier, then we can suppose anything, but I doubt we could imagine as much positive action. If we perform an IQ test, then, no doubt, we can remove the supposition of genius, leaving us with the ‘very’ qualifier. Now we can supply some new nouns, or maybe verbs used as nouns.

        Now as to irrelevant breaking news. I don’t know any way reporters can avoid the flashy objects and rattling keys. If they don’t cover him, we don’t know what he is doing. Now, I do think that when he starts lying they should just turn off all recording equipment and walk out. In the event he is being interviewed, as soon as he starts lying, call him out on it. He cannot bear to not have his face in a camera, so he will not take away all credentials or stop interviews or pressers.

        There is no reason, except by choice, that any citizen cannot determine the truth in news coverage. Watch more than one network. When the news with video clips is the same on all sources, the news is not being manipulated. Not by major networks. Those people in other venues who take snippets and use them out of context and all their other tools do not maintain any credibility when found out. A major network can make mistakes, such as putting out an article not fully vetted, etc. They always pay a price in rebuttal from others in the industry.

        Liked by 1 person

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