A Mental-Health Expert Says WH Staffers Have Solicited Her Advice About Their Boss

My father is a moderate Republican and a psychologist. During the Trump campaign, he called the man a malignant narcissist. He wasn’t making an official diagnosis; he was in his living room, talking to his family. In the following post, Slate interviews Dr. Bandy Lee, who is also not focused on making a diagnosis, but is very devoted to her duty to warn. The whole article is worth the read, but the crux is that Lee has been contacted by people who work with Trump and who have concerns about him. Lee also believes that Trump’s psychosis is getting worse. Here’s an outtake:

Q. What sorts of things are you talking about, besides lying?
A. The increasing frequency in lying, the increasingly belligerent tweets, his inability to vary his responses to situations. For example, he cannot let a criticism go. He has to fabricate reality to situations that are distressing to him. And the thing about pathology, as opposed to normal reaction, is pathology actually becomes more rigid and more predictable. A healthy individual might be able to vary their response, especially if it’s strategy. They can choose to act differently if something is not working. Whereas pathology tends to become more and more rigid as it worsens. And what we’re seeing is simple repetition now, and worsening, greater frequency of his poor coping mechanisms.

Read the rest here:  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/trump-mental-health-bandy-lee-psychiatrist.html

Trump’s First Disaster Alert

My guess is that it would go like this:

Hello, this is THE REAL PRESIDENT of the United States, talking on everybody’s own telephone, because I want all of you to listen to the national disasters: The news media—almost the whole news media—is a national disaster. It’s a real disaster for all the real people in this country. My alert system will give you the TRUE information when this and other disasters are getting out of control. Also: We have a national disaster at the border. This disaster’s been around longer than the media, and it’s really a very illegal disaster. It will do all sorts of non-lawful things to all the people who actually stand for what the United States really means—which is not taking any more of anybody else’s disasters, which are very much out to cheat us. We have enough disasters of our own, so be sure to vote. Unless there’s a disaster, which I’ll tell you about. Like a big black out or a brown out. Those are worse disasters than you think. Far worse than Puerto Rico, which, believe me, wasn’t really a disaster at all. I know all this, and now you’ll also know, because thanks to my alert system, you can count on me to bring you the disasters. Go USA.

Walk with Purpose, Please.

Season 9 of The Walking Dead is creeping upon us, and I watched the trailer with as much attention as a person can maintain while also trying to eat her Spaghetti-Os. I keep rooting for this show. There’s lots to like:  the zombies, the grit, the fact that I still care when characters die WHILE ALSO coming to care about the characters who replace them. But something needs to change. The zombies haven’t evolved, so their menace starts to stagnate. The whole 28 Days Later bit about human morality was interesting, but we’ve had years of that. We need the next thing. Show us the wider world. Or show us a Patient Zero. Or show us a cure, or a mutation, or I don’t know… some dire weapon (like a nuke) that would stop the epidemic at the price of millions of lives. (That’s a little too Fallout maybe. But you get what I mean.) We need something big to progress. And although the establishment of an early-industrial civilization (and a glimpse of a helicopter) might be a baby step in that direction, I don’t want to watch twenty hours of people fighting over legal codices and a windmill. Nor do I want to come across another band of people who add a third (or fourth) variation on The Lord of the Flies. That sort of plot device really needs to shuffle off. (Get it?) And really, the next goal has to involve the zombies. Otherwise, we’re all just wandering around with them.

I’m Afraid the Answer is Yes.

Ali (my sister): Let me tell you. There is a special place in hell for those who cut a cream-filled donut in half, and leave the rest of it just oozing there in the conference room.

Megan: Absolutely.

Ali: All the innards rush out. Irretrievable and utterly useless.

Megan: Indeed. I suspect this is a complaint that most lions have about leftover antelopes.

Dad: What are you guys? Niles and Frasier?

The Thing in the Forest

Joe Marcus.jpgOn Friday, I went for a walk down an all-but-deserted road that runs near the cottage I’m visiting in Michigan. This was about a week after straight-line winds passed through, and left much of the region without power for three days. The storm lasted ten minutes. It knocked down so many trees that at first we thought that their crashing was thunder.

Along this road, seven days later, the clearing crews had certainly visited; some of the surrounding branches had saw cuts. That said, there were still a lot–I mean, a lot–of limbs in the road. You could probably drive over them if you had a good truck, but even then, you’d likely drag a few of them with you. So as part of my daily exercise, I hauled some brush. I felt pretty mighty, tossing my branches. And then I came to this.

I decided I could take a hint about when to quit. I turned around–and as I did, I peered into the surrounding woods. There, beyond all the No Trespassing signs, the trees had been tossed in clumps. They’d been sheared, left a-dangle, torn up by the root ball. This upending probably went on for miles. If, from above, you’d been able to watch the storm that did this, it would have looked as if it were parting these woods.

Last week, about an hour after those winds came through, the coyotes started to howl. I hadn’t heard Michigan coyotes for years. The next morning, my mother drove past a clearing, and saw a congregation of turkeys with their chicks. She said it all resembled some kind of moot.

I remember that it had been awesome enough to watch that storm from my back, bedroom window. The treetops looked as if they were just hopping off their trunks. But houses have a way of mitigating the Terrible. There goes a roof, and that is humbling–but it’s all still framed in the human context. Elmo’s pontoon boat washes down to the bridge–but there still is a bridge, and a waterlogged Evinrude, and also the guys at the Hart Haul and Tow. If you were in the woods when that storm came upon you–if you had witnessed all those trees laying themselves down, well, you would too. Wouldn’t you? I mean, wouldn’t you try to make yourself utterly low? I read somewhere that there exist in this life both the ethical sublime and the aesthetic sublime. The ethical sublime–the German schoolmaster, say, who chooses to accompany his students to the concentration camps–is holy, no doubt. But the aesthetic sublime is also such. And many times, at its height, it has nothing to do with us.

Some people ask that idiotic question about whether a tree falling alone in the forest makes a sound. And the answer, every which way, is that it does. Of course it does. It makes an address. It makes a testament. And if we aren’t there to hear it, then it simply discloses itself to its own country, which is wilderness.

An Investigator’s Interview with the Cat

Q. What do you do in the middle of the night?
A. I watch the raccoons and I clean my toes.

Q. And then what?
A. I find her in the bed.

Q. What do you do when you find her?
A. I sit on her belly. Sometimes I have to head butt her until she gets on her back, and then I stand on her belly. And then I stomp on her.

Q. On her belly?
A. On the soft part. And then I bite her.

Q. Why do you do this?
A. Because she’s irreplaceable and I love her to bits. And because I’m thirsty.

Q. You’re thirsty?
A. Yes. I’ve been cleaning my toes.

Q. Then what does she do?
A. Then she makes a noise, and she gets up.

Q. She gets out of the bed?
A. She goes to the room with all the water, and she sits down. And while she’s there, I make her turn on the tap.

Q. This is what you’ve wanted all along?
A. And she’s irreplaceable and I love her to bits.