Ritual humiliation 101

ProudProgressive 2012/05/15 11:35:56
Ritual humiliation 101
by digby
May 12, 2012

This is an interesting post about Romney's high school years as a bully ringleader and what it say about him today:

I don't mean to suggest that Romney is without compassion. I believe, for instance, that he loves his wife and his children, and that he believes in God and the flag. But there is something in his character that I am starting to get frightened about, an unwillingness, or an inability, to feel remorse, to simply own up to a moral failing, to apologize not just if "somebody was hurt" but because you know, deep down, that you hurt someone.

Think about it: here are these half dozen men who took part in a savage act nearly fifty years ago. It has haunted all of them. And the ringleader, the guy who made the plan and led the mob and cut the victim's hair off remembers … nothing?

It's just bullshit, total fucking sociopathic bullshit. And it makes me sad that such an episode comes to light and all Romney can do—a guy who wants to be elected to our highest office—is nervously lie and make excuses, as if this were political problem. It's not a political problem. It's a moral problem. It's a sin he committed for which any believer would seek atonement.

The other bully anecdote in the story has been somewhat overlooked, but it's just as telling:

One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed "the Bat" for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows. Once, several students remembered the time pranksters propped up the back axle of Wonnberger's Volkswagen Beetle with two-by-fours and watched, laughing from the windows, as the unwitting teacher slammed the gas pedal with his wheels spinning in the air.

As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life's indignities.

How different, really, is that from this?

I wasn't joking when I said this would actually help Romney with the base. This bullying is one of the defining characteristics of modern American conservatism. The idea that the good people all work hard and it's only the lazy that ever need help is fundamental to their worldview. Even the Tea Partiers who are on government assistance insist that unlike all the others, they have worked hard and so deserve it.

I've been writing about this for a long time, often in the context of the torture debate. But it also plays a large part in our political system. It's actually a very well developed form of social control called Ritual Defamation (or Ritual Humiliation:

Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions or beliefs of the victim, with the intention of silencing or neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so as to discourage similar independence and "insensitivity" or non-observance of taboos. It is different in nature and degree from simple criticism or disagreement in that it is aggressive, organized and skillfully applied, often by an organization or representative of a special interest group, and in that it consists of several characteristic elements.

It's a form of control that Mitt seems to have shown an early talent for. It worked well for him in business and I'd guess he's quite adept at using it in politics. One wonders how it will play on the world stage, especially considering this:

Mitt Romney's recent declaration that Russia is America's top geopolitical adversary drew raised eyebrows and worse from many Democrats, some Republicans and the Russians themselves, all of whom suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a cold war mind-set.

But his statement was not off the cuff — and it was not the first time Mr. Romney had stirred debate over his hawkish views on Russia. Interviews with Republican foreign policy experts close to his campaign and his writings on the subject show that his stance toward Russia reflects a broader foreign policy view that gives great weight to economic power and control of natural resources. It also exhibits Mr. Romney's confidence that his private-sector experience would make him a better negotiator on national security issues than President Obama has been...

Mr. Romney was a leading opponent of the most recent arms-reduction treaty with Russia, ratified by the Senate and signed last year by Mr. Obama. Russia figures prominently in Mr. Romney's book, where he calls it one of four competitors for world leadership, along with the United States, China and "violent jihadism" embraced by Iran and terrorist groups.

Here's hoping he doesn't think he can lead a "coalition of the willing" to hold Vladimir Putin down and give him a haircut.

Read More: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/ritual-humi...

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Top Opinion

  • Jimbo 2012/05/15 14:29:04
    The only leadership he has ever shown success with is vulture capitalism. Being a good hedge fund manager making coin whether it hurts others or not is not something I look for in the leader of the free world.

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  • urwutuis 2012/05/18 23:58:51
    Romney, like Bush, is incapable of feeling someone else's pain. They both have absolutely no compassion whatsoever.
  • Tigger Too 2012/05/17 20:03:53 (edited)
  • luvguins 2012/05/15 15:38:41
    The Rombot has bullied his way through his whole life, and now thinks he has found a home with the extreme GOP who have become the idolaters of crackpot, Ayn Rand. This means trampling on the rights of the poor, minorities, elderly and disabled who Rand called scum, and bums before she took Social Security and Medicare herself.

    Romney, the great job creator had his state of MA 47th in job creation as governor, and Bain Capital ruined some good companies while he was CEO leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab for pensions they looted. He has no character, courage, nor sane foreign policy to lead the country.
  • Eric 2012/05/15 15:17:04
    Let's get real, here. Is there anyone who hasn't done something stupid when they were young?
    But, more importantly, is there sufficient evidence to belief this story without reasonable doubt? The 2008 election year saw numerous slanderous stories about candidates, prompting legal action, that mysteriously disappeared after the election. In some cases, prosecutors were admonished or disbarred for reprehensible behavior, after the election and after the damage was done. It is too easy to smear people.

    The question should be, is this part of a pattern of bullying that continue into his 20s and is properly documented?
  • dominic... Eric 2012/05/15 16:25:52 (edited)
    dominic garcia
    Good common sense Eric.......good job! Some people on here just love to judge other people, they think they were and are perfect. How silly!
  • Tigger Too dominic... 2012/05/17 20:23:02
    Tigger Too
    Mitt Romney opened himself and his actions up to judgment by the American people as soon as he became a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney's been around for a long time now, and he didn't just fall off the political turnip truck. He knows full well how the game is played, and he and his campaign staff surely knew that everything about his life, past and present, would become fair game. You're being very disingenuous to say that people shouldn't judge Romney, because nobody is perfect. However, conservatives will say that about THEIR candidate in one breath, and in the next, they'll absolutely CRUCIFY Barack Obama without mercy. I believe that's called hypocrisy.
  • dominic... Tigger Too 2012/05/18 02:03:37 (edited)
    dominic garcia
    It is all fair game..... by the way Obama's Presidency was like no other in history. He did not get vetted like he was supposed to have been. The mainstream media hid, who he really is. It is only now that people are starting to speak out. They did everything possible to cover up anything that would make him look bad. Obama does not have the experience to be running our country even "Bill Clinton" has said it. I am ready and willing to hear all the negatives about Romney, of coarse I am sure all the other conservatives don't want another thief in the White House, but we are not going to believe made up stories from the left wing radical liars.
  • Tigger Too dominic... 2012/05/18 21:51:04
    Tigger Too
    My comments weren't meant to be a referendum for or against either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, so I won't enumerate any of Romney's faults. I'm merely saying that it's hypocritical to dissect every aspect of Obama's life, while saying that Romney's past is off-limits. As I said, and it's not meant to be a pro or con statement about the man, Mitt Romney opened up his personal and private life to media and public scrutiny the minute he became a GOP presidential candidate. Granted, nobody's perfect, but then again, not everybody is running for POTUS, and those who are should prepare to be judged by the American people. Period.
  • twocrows Eric 2012/05/15 17:19:59
    you're absolutely right, of course. we all do stupid things as children. and then, as adults, if confronted by them, we have the choice to stand up and apologize. or claim to have forgotten the incident that SEVEN former classmates say they are eaten up inside over and ashamed of to this day.

    this is Mitt's pattern. "I did something wrong? Really? **chuckle**
    1] well, I sure don't remember it
    2] the dog just LOVED riding on top of the car. and getting sick. and getting hosed down while sick. just loved it. after all, what's not to love about getting doused with cold water when you're sick?
    I could go on but that's enough for now.

    vote for the man - - don't vote for the man. that's fine. your choice.
    but making excuses for this sort of behavior is unbecoming.
  • Proggy twocrows 2012/05/17 07:49:50
    Thanks for putting it so fools could understand it.
  • Rebel Yell 2012/05/15 14:58:15
    Rebel Yell
    It could be argued that Willard has psychopathic issues. But then, he pales in comparison to the last Republican psycho, Dick Cheney who spent trillions of dollars driving up America’s debt to wage torture and war across the entire planet.

    But here is what highly delusional Mitt had to say about Darth Cheney ( in reference to VP picks).... “And I listened to him speak and I said whether you agree or disagree with him, this is a man of wisdom and judgment, and he could have been President of the United States ! That’s the kind of person I’d like to have – a person of wisdom and judgment!!”

    There you go, Mitt. Great thinking. I'm sure there are still a handful of children in Iraq or Afghanistan that Cheney didn't get around to firebombing. I'm sure he pines for the days of torture on Saturday, church on Sunday.
  • Tigger Too Rebel Yell 2012/05/17 20:57:45
  • ken 2012/05/15 14:46:47 (edited)
    Another excellent source, PP.

    Edit: To whom it may concern. The above comment is sarcasm.
  • Lana ken 2012/05/15 15:23:22
    Sure is !
  • Roger47 2012/05/15 14:36:22
    If he honestly does not remember doing such hurtful and sadistic things, perhaps he is one of those rare individuals who are not able to feel empathy for those who they are hurting. They can hurt others and just move on, as if nothing happened. Most such people end up in prison for crimes of violence. He is lucky he was born to a very wealthy family.
  • Jimbo 2012/05/15 14:29:04
    The only leadership he has ever shown success with is vulture capitalism. Being a good hedge fund manager making coin whether it hurts others or not is not something I look for in the leader of the free world.
  • Lana Jimbo 2012/05/15 15:28:47
    Not to worry at all. Even the repukes seem to not like him ! He had the money to buy the nomination. Leopards DON'T change their spots !
  • Risk 2012/05/15 14:22:53
    well .... at least he doesn't eat dogs !
  • Singerar Risk 2012/05/15 15:48:12 (edited)
    Really? Still beating that dead horse?
    His Step father in INDONESIA gave him him dog meat (along with crickets!..both popular in poor countries) when he was 9!!!!
    Get over it already.
    These third world countries will eat anything if it walks or crawls for protein.
    Go to poor parts of China and try their Rat on a stick.
  • dominic... Singerar 2012/05/15 16:29:47
    dominic garcia
    How about the fact that Obama has a problem with telling the truth? I guess that would be his parents fault also for not teaching him to be HONEST?
  • twocrows dominic... 2012/05/15 17:11:58
    gotta love how you toss out the accusations with nary an example to back them up.

    way to show your credibility. or to do what you are accusing the president of doing.
    good job.
  • dominic... twocrows 2012/05/15 17:36:11
  • LindaM dominic... 2012/05/16 15:51:41
    your sites are all Con sites.
  • dominic... LindaM 2012/05/16 15:57:47
    dominic garcia
    One question for you. Are you ok if Obama turns America into a communist country?
  • LindaM dominic... 2012/05/16 16:19:43
    Don't be rediculous. He won't, he has no intention of doing that. Your all drama gueens and your rein is over.
  • dominic... twocrows 2012/05/15 17:47:29
  • LindaM dominic... 2012/05/16 07:02:40 (edited)
  • dominic... LindaM 2012/05/16 15:36:59 (edited)
    dominic garcia
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/0... If Romney makes it for President we are not going to let him abuse his Powers like Obama is clearly doing. Now we know what he meant, when he said he was going to transform America.
  • LindaM dominic... 2012/05/16 15:50:31
    and your point is?
    Seems the article said that's what all presidents have done.
  • dominic... LindaM 2012/05/16 15:45:12
    dominic garcia
    Changing your mind or heart about something is not a lie. Even MSNBC'S Rachel is starting to notice the big LIAR that Obama has become. Rachel was in-love with President Obama, I can't believe that the Obama spell is starting to wear off! I will study and consider the Romney lies and determine for myself, which ones are legitimate
  • dominic... twocrows 2012/05/15 17:48:30
    dominic garcia
    There you go sir. I hope you open your heart and accept the truth yourself.
  • Singerar dominic... 2012/05/15 17:55:19
    The truth doesn't come from RWNJ Propoganda sources. Read a newspaper once in awhile.
  • dominic... Singerar 2012/05/15 18:16:36 (edited)
    dominic garcia
    How can you confuse supposedly RWNJ Propaganda with Obama's own words. You just showed me your blindness and intelligence level. Thanks!
  • dominic... Singerar 2012/05/15 20:31:46
    dominic garcia
    I'd like to know which newspaper it is, that you are getting your information from? Some of the information I read is from the "NEW YORK TIMES" whom everyone knows, has always been a liberal leaning newspaper!
  • Singerar dominic... 2012/05/16 05:37:44
    We receive the L.A. Times and The New York Times. You posted a RW website with an article written by a RWNJ. It's BS.
    If the article is from The Associated Press it's Journalism written with fact checkers.

    Obamas own words were NOT in that article you posted.
  • LindaM dominic... 2012/05/16 07:03:50
    Hope you accept the truth about mutt.
  • twocrows dominic... 2012/05/17 00:46:21
    sigh. I am not a 'sir'. too much trouble, I suppose, to hover your mouse over my pic and see the 'F' clearly posted by my name.

    as to opening my heart - it IS open. that's why I don't lie about Romney even though I dislike him. see - THAT'S what an open heart looks like.
  • dominic... twocrows 2012/05/17 01:12:36
    dominic garcia
    I apologize twocrows, I only saw your little picture without all the writings around it. I went to your profile, the short hair threw me off, but I do see it looks good on you. I am very sorry again. From your writings, I can feel you are a gentle, good person. Question for you... do you really agree with all that Obama is doing?
  • dominic... twocrows 2012/05/17 01:20:21
  • Risk twocrows 2012/05/15 20:18:26
    ... how about this ?

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