Bernie v. the Donald; To Fall in Love with Anyone

What’s it like to use a scientific formula to fall in love?

beingthereChris asked:

Something I find interesting about both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump – the two most popular candidates that Nate Silver says don’t have a chance in hell – is that their supporters repeatedly cite their authenticity.

Maybe that says something interesting about the American psychology in 2015. What do you think?

Well, I suppose so. And if people actually voted, maybe either one COULD be elected. But Donald’s “authenticity” is ersatz. To that point: Far from destroying our democracy, he’s exposing all its phoniness and corruption in ways as serious as he is not. And changing it in the process. Frank Rich compares him with a couple of fictional characters.

I would suggest another one. In the movie Being There (1979), Peter Sellers, in his last film before his death, played a gardener of limited intellectual ability, but who eventually awes the Shirley MacLaine character and others with his supposedly deft political insight. (That was one of the first three movies I ever bought on VHS tape.)

Erick Erickson, the conservative pundit from – hey, I’m using donotlink – may well also be correct:

I think Donald Trump’s success is a reflection of the frustration people have in being told to act like adults. I really do. I think we’ve become such a repressed society in terms of what you can say to people these days (largely due to the damn lawyers like me). You can’t say anything about anyone – either at your workplace or anywhere in public, without being called into the HR office or getting sued or having the government come knocking at your door…

I think we’ve become a nation full of people who are painfully repressed and that there’s a significant part of the population that is sick to death of it. I think that’s why people behave the way they do online. The things people will say through their phones and through email are things you never hear people say real life, and I think that is reflective of the fact people are dying for an outlet to just achieve catharsis sometimes and just let it all out – and Donald Trump is just a personification of that.

I don’t think the Trump support is reflective of any issue at all. I don’t think it’s even reflective of disgust with the GOP. I think it’s reflective of the disgust we have with the new unwritten rules of society…

The reality is that people are excited to see, hey, here’s a guy who goes on TV, and if he wants to pop off at the mouth, he pops off at the mouth, and if this guy can rise to being President of the United States then maybe I don’t have to always shut my mouth and I can sometimes say what I feel and maybe I can call my annoying coworker ugly and not have to risk being sued, too.

Those guys who used to make jokes about women’s periods, or someone’s looks, or whatever, feel oppressed. I believe that they think so. And truth is, being a grown-up is a drag. Popping off and saying whatever crosses one’s mind, with no consequences – hey, wouldn’t that be great?

(This, BTW, is why I don’t tweet anything except news stories and blog posts because I prefer to think before I write, or speak. But maybe that’s just me.)

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has been relatively the same guy his whole political life. He is authentically authentic if one can (or need to) say that. He doesn’t worry that people will discover he’s (HORRORS!) a self-described democratic socialist, which he has not hidden.

He’s appealing to that group of folks that believe the Occupy Wall Street folks were pretty much right, that the 1% are getting richer at working people’s expense.

What Bernie and the Donald DO have in common is that they seem to bug the political parties’ establishments, terrified that if he is nominated, a chance to win the 2016 will have been thrown away. Scott Walker, in his departure from the GOP race, specifically targeted Trump. The Democratic liberal establishment frets that it won’t be Hillary.

Not that anyone asked me, but I can’t help but think Marco Rubio will be on the ticket in 2016, probably as someone’s vice-presidential running mate.
Chris also noted:

This really interesting TED talk about questions that made me think of Ask Roger Anything. Interested in your thoughts.

The link is to that video, but here’s the background:

What’s it like to use a scientific formula to fall in love, share the tale in the New York Times and then find yourself overwhelmed by a world fascinated with your love life? Hear the story from Mandy Len Catron, whose essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” set hearts and minds aflutter.

Originally from Appalachian Virginia, Mandy Len Catron now lives in Vancouver, B.C., where she teaches English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Her New York Times article, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” received more than eight million views and was syndicated all over the world. She’s now working on a book about the dangers of love stories. For more information, visit The Love Story Project

My thoughts:
1) I’ve seen a number of TED talks, and this isn’t my favorite. The presentation style was a bit flat.

2) Given the fact that this story went viral, I was oddly unaware of it.

3) That said, she was absolutely right not to put her boyfriend out there in the spotlight. They would become that couple on the cover of US Weekly, where every aspect of their relationship would be under scrutiny. That might well have crushed it.

4) To the primary question: sure, having a conversation can create intimacy (and by intimacy, I don’t necessarily mean sex). Intimacy could create that feeling of “in love.” But that phase almost never survives. Once the spark is lit, a couple must keep stoking the fire.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Bernie v. the Donald; To Fall in Love with Anyone”

  1. I think Trump may be extremely fake. I think your suggestion that people interpret him like some sort of political Rorschach/Thematic Aptitude/Forer statement is intriguing. If that’s so he may actually be a lunatic, i.e. he’s spewing word salad and people are interpreting it like a bigoted, foul mouthed Oracle of Delphi.

    I thought the TED talk was fascinating and helped explain so many things, such as why I feel so close to some people on the Internet, why I’m not attracted to my friend Matt and how I built bonds at my church so quickly.

  2. I don’t follow the debates of Donald Trump or the other candidates, but I do hope that the best man for the world wins.
    Good luck this week and get better soon.
    Wil, ANBCW Team

  3. Interesting take on “Being There,” and of course I have also had a movie on my noggin as pertains to the Trump situation: “Network.” Trump as Howard Beale (except Howard was much nicer at heart and manipulated by Koch-like powers). The idea that network TV is simply so cynical; that news must generate income; that Sybil the Soothsayer is ready for her own show!

    Both movies are classic. Aren’t both also Paddy Chayevski, or do I have that wrong?

    Peter Sellers was never, ever better. Not even in Strangelove, for my money. He had to deliver a much subtler performance, no tricks with makeup. Also, the edited version overlaying outtakes on the credits is not to be missed: “Do you know Rafael? I have a message for him… let me see if I remember it…” Lex and I both fall out of our chairs watching Sellers crack up until he’s sputtering, trying to get all the swears out without laughing.

    Love this post, Roger! Amy

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