Sunday, April 23, 2006

Projections: they work cuz they feel good

I've written about projections in more detail here but one quick definition is this: when the kettle calls the pot black.

Why I think projections are effective:
1) at it's simplest, a projection is the act of blaming, which works for people who generally trust the authority figure who is doing the blaming. It works because that authority figure is being idealized. Who wants to mess with one's idealization no matter how irrational it is?

2) if you generally accept the ideology of the authority figure, criticism is just too painful of a thing to do to your favorite authority figure. This would be the equivalent of questioning and criticizing your own self, which is something most people would rather not do. I bet most people would rather drink, eat, or indulge in some other favorite obsession, anything, rather than question or criticize one's own beliefs.

3) Even more important, I think it makes people feel good to see the projection externalized in an object, especially when this object is painted as a bad no-good varmint.

Recent examples of projection:
Hewitt on the democratic party's black soul (per digby):
Here we have alleged liberal Joe Klein being confronted by alleged human Hugh Hewitt with a comment that the Democratic Party's [black]"soul" was on display when it argued that illegal ballots cast after election day shouldn't be counted (for good reason, as it turned out.) Does Joe Klein argue that the the Republicans staged fake uprisings and attempted to get the Cuban community to rise up (among many other things) thus showing that using the Florida debacle as an illustration of the "soul" of a party wasn't really a smart thing to do? No. Does he point out that the Republican party has a funny way of showing its "soul" when it supports torture? No. Does he laugh in Hugh Hewitt's supercilious face? Of course not.

Hitchens describing Joe Wilson as clueless ( as translated by Larry Johnson over at Booman):
In his latest diatribe, Christopher Hitchens declares Joe Wilson clueless and then proceeds to demonstrate that he is the one floundering in fantasy land and devoid of clear reason. Maybe this is a consequence of sleep deprivation (lack of sleep can have deleterious effects on one's mental acuity). I cannot explain his addled ways, but look at what Hitchens writes and you will agree, the man is clueless.

(via Karena) A Rumsfeld/Limbaugh duet with the talking point that the media is terrorist-influenced, as analyzed by ThinkProgress:
So, according to Rumsfeld, the media isn’t just failing to report the “good news” from Iraq, it is being actively manipulated by terrorists. Those that are critical of the war are simply buying into the propaganda.

The only way to circumvent the terrorist-influenced U.S. media, apparently, is to listen to Rush Limbaugh.
I'm not sure what would be the best antidote against projection. I'm glad bloggers are filling a media vacuum by pointing out projections, and say, look, here are the facts. When you shine a strong light on a thug, you know it's not a pretty sight.