Saturday, March 18, 2006

Once upon a projection

I've been thinking how much the corporate-Republican tribe uses projection as a key attack strategy.

But first, to clarify, I'm referring to projection as the psychological defense mechanism, as defined below.

Check it out at wikipedia:
it is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings—basically parts of oneself—onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.
As used by the corporo-Republican tribe, this has morphed into a deliberately nasty switch-and-bait process to screw with your mind. Not surprising. I think projection is just one of many mindbending ruses common in families unable to cope with secrets such as untreated alcoholism. In many ways, I'm struck by how much the Republican tribe is like a such a family but here I'm getting off the topic.

Back to projection: I know you all know it, and we all could dig up truckloads of egregious examples. But here's a few recent ones rolling around in the media:

o O'Reilly uses projection like candy, scroll down to the paragraph on cowards here on Mediamatters.

o Here, Limbaugh questions the patriotism of the left, from Mediamatters.

o Gingrich projecting onto the Dems what the Repubs do (that would be: putting politics first).

o An older example: O'Reilly's coward list from Mediamatters.

Why does projection work? To be sure, a lot more can be said on this but it works well because we have unfortunately become a nation of nice passive sheep, untrained in the ability to critically analyze and think. Most Americans are simply not in the habit of questioning process , the understanding and analysis of meta. I know the bloggers who rock are the ones who routinely identify the process, the larger picture of what's going on, not just the content. But two whom I consider exceptional, however, are Digby and paperwight.

But more to the point of why projection works: one singular problem has been our lack of response when the target, that'll be our side, is attacked.

Today I'm happy to see this good response by Barbara Ehrenreich , of the Nickle and Dimed fame, now under attack by Dobson et al,labelled as a "homewrecker".

Barbara doesn't miss a beat. She niftily pinpoints the projection and blasts back, countering that the real homewreckers are corporations whose policies don't provide adequate wages, requiring workers to work long hours and/or work two jobs or more.

What she does works well. My hope: let there be tons more responses like Barbara's out there.