“We are witnessing the politics of humiliation” - Siri Hustvedt, Joyce Carol Oates and more on the US election
There is an old phrase often credited to the American demagogue Huey Long, but which was actually written by an obscure American professor: “When fascism comes to America, they will call it Americanism.” It has come, and it has come by public vote. I am convinced that we are witnessing the politics of humiliation. People who grew up with a powerful sense of white, masculine privilege (as well as others who sympathise with that image of power), people for whom that sense of superiority was always precarious and always needed protection, found in Donald Trump a figure for their own fantasy of the restoration of an era now gone.
An interview with WDR, German public broadcasting's editor in chief Sonia Mikich, published in Tagesschau.
Clinton vs. Trump: Reason against the emotion, worldliness against paranoia. What's going on in the US?
Let’s talk about the misogyny in the traveling carnival that is the presidential race, shall we? I don’t mean the obvious strain of the disease, the DTs. Donald Trump sickness is a well-known contagion by now, a virus that attacks the especially vulnerable: aging, white men who never went to college.
“The Spectacle of Skill” is a compilation of selected writings by Hughes with new material from the unfinished memoir he was working on when he died in 2012. The collection’s title is taken from a passage in an earlier book about his life, in which he tells the story of the horrific car accident that nearly killed him in Australia in 1999, as well as the legal wrangling and lurid press coverage that followed. His fellow Aussies in the media cast him as “a vile elitist,” an uppity, vainglorious heretic to the egalitarian faith of the continent known as Oz.
In August of 2002 I survived a car accident. Although I can still see the van speeding toward us, I cannot bring to mind the crash itself, only its aftermath.
I am convinced that during bouts of insomnia I have sometimes slept without knowing it. The thoughts of waking seem to mingle with thoughts that may be part of sleep. Has the clock moved too quickly? Did I doze off?
I remember a lamp that stood on the floor in the opened doorway to the bedroom where my sister Liv and I slept. My mother put it there every night so the darkness would never be total. This is an old memory and around it are the usual fogs that dim recollection, but the light offered the hope that blackness would not snuff out the visible world entirely during my anxious transition to sleep.
The narrator of Chaucer’s poem, “The Book of the Duchess,” cannot sleep. As his fitful thoughts come and go, he lies awake. He hasn’t slept for so long, he fears he may die of insomnia. But what is the reason for his sleeplessness? “Myselven can not telle why,” he says.
I've been puzzling over an old question. What is mental? What is physical? The most recent DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders IV) describes the separation of mental and physical as "a reductionistic anachronism of mind/body dualism." That dualism—we are made of two things: spirit and matter—is very old, but it is a philosophical conundrum of the most befuddling kind, and the authors of the DSM want to make it clear that they haven't fallen into that trap.
I am very grateful for the thoughtful comments I have received about my small essay, “Bipolar Epidemic?” The surge in bipolar diagnoses in children is understandably a sensitive and controversial subject for many, especially those with children who are directly affected. My broader point, however—that whenever there is an explosion in a particular diagnosis, there is some cause for worry—seems not to have been fully understood. A few additional comments may help clarify what I had hoped to say before.
About two years ago, within weeks of each other, two teenage children of dear friends of mine were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, one in the Midwest, the other on the East Coast. The diagnoses were given by psychiatrists whom their parents had consulted. I am not a physician, but I am deeply interested in diagnostic categories and have read extensively in the history of the subject.
Sigmund Freud makes people irritable. Whenever someone mentions Freud, say, at a dinner party, I see eyes roll and listen to the nasty remarks that follow. The received knowledge, even among some highly educated and informed people, is that Freud was wrong and can be relegated to history’s garbage can where we discard outmoded ideas. There are still defenders of Freud’s theories, of course, but in my experience, the general attitude is one of out-and-out hostility.
To look and not see: an old problem. It usually means a lack of understanding, an inability to divine the meaning of something in the world around us.
There is a migraine aura phenomenon named after Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s (Lewis Caroll’s) story of myriad transformations: Alice in Wonderland syndrome. The afflicted person perceives herself, or parts of herself, ballooning or diminishing in size.