Trump Taunts Christine Blasey Ford at Rally

Playing to the crowd of thousands gathered to cheer him on, the president pretended to be Dr. Blasey testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. “Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,” said Mr. Trump, channeling his version of Dr. Blasey. His voice dripping with derision, he then imitated her being questioned at the hearing, followed by her responses about what she could not recall about the alleged attack.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd applauded. “But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

.. Then, continuing in his own voice, he said: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.” Referring to those who have championed Dr. Blasey’s case, he added: “They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, criticized the president’s mocking of Dr. Blasey.

“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right, it’s just not right and I wish he had not have done it,” Mr. Flake said early Wednesday on NBC. “It’s kind of appalling.”

.. Mr. Trump’s taunts could inflame a struggle over power and sex that has consumed the capital in recent weeks and risked alienating two of the undecided moderate Republicans whose votes will decide the fate of his nomination, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

.. Earlier Tuesday, the president’s advisers were privately marveling at how measured — for him — he had been throughout the controversy around Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. But his patience appeared to run out on Tuesday night, as Mr. Trump seemed eager to charge up his supporters against Dr. Blasey.
.. Mr. Trump’s portrait of Dr. Blasey was met with cheers and laughter by the crowd of several thousand supporters at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. And it mirrored the increasingly sharp attacks against her by conservative news media
.. Mr. Trump has expressed similar sentiments in the past in response to sexual misconduct allegations against Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host who was forced out after multimillion-dollar settlements of sexual harassment claims; Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama who lost after being accused of child molestation; and Rob Porter, his White House staff secretary who resigned after two former wives accused him of abuse.
.. Asked if he had a message to men, the president said: “Well, I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time.”

What Men Say About #MeToo in Therapy

“I have something I need to talk about and I’m afraid you’re going to judge me,” he said. He told me that he had been thinking about women he had slept with and that he felt terrible about some of the encounters.

“I didn’t rape anyone or anything like that, but I think I made them pretty uncomfortable.”

I’m a psychotherapist who works largely with men in New York City. Before last fall, I can’t remember hearing a statement like that — a voluntary admission of coercive or manipulative behavior with women. The #MeToo era has changed my work. If therapy has a reputation for navel gazing, this powerful moment has joined men in the room, forcing them to engage with topics that they would have earlier avoided.

.. But I am also heartened by the private work that men are doing in therapy and how it can help us understand the relationship between what has been called “toxic masculinity” and the reservoirs of shame that fuel these behaviors.

.. I began to feel the effect in my work not long after the stories about Harvey Weinstein broke, with a noticeable uptick after a report on the comedian Aziz Ansari. Though the accusations against famous men were in one sense far from the people I saw, they were relevant to the questions they often brought to therapy. Why did they so misunderstand the women in their lives? Why were they often being accused of hurting them?

.. He’d been experimenting with approaching women in a more “dominant” and assertive way, since he’d heard that’s what women wanted. He had made an aggressive move on a prospective date and was told that his approach was creepy.

.. he had been so focused on performing for dates that he wasn’t really connecting to them, unable to accurately read his date’s reactions.

.. appear either flat and emotionless or superficially engaged but hiding behind impenetrable niceness.

.. Most men have spent little time with their feelings and have very limited vocabulary to describe what is going on in their hearts.

.. has done such a good job of disconnecting from his feelings that he can’t ever really tell if he’s had a good time on a date.

.. Almost always, the men I work with notice a tight tension in their chests and stomachs — anxiety. They often admit that they feel this tension most of the time.

.. underneath the anxiety that is always humming along are layers of shame. Shame at having feelings at all, shame because they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, shame that they are not men, they are just boys.

.. Shame is the emotional weapon that allows patriarchal behaviors to flourish. The fear of being emasculated leads men to rationalize awful behavior. This kind of toxic shame is in direct contradiction with the healthy shame that we all need to feel in order to acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility.

.. still a 15-year-old boy craving the approval of his peers: “I actually don’t even like the sex that much, but there’s something satisfying about adding a notch in the belt. I imagine other guys would be impressed if they knew.”

.. In their efforts to manage the feeling of shame, some men numb themselves. Others sink under it and slip into depression or chronic underachievement. And others take the pain that they feel and project it back out into the world with violent words and deeds.

.. They begin to heal when we can both embrace them and hold them accountable.

.. “I want you to know that I respect the courage it takes to acknowledge something like that and to share it with me, but I also don’t want you to numb yourself out, because then you’ll just forget about this and move on,” I said.

.. He began to cry and then sob. Waves of sadness emerged as he imagined the hurt that he caused these women. As the tears subsided and we began to process it, more tears came, this time tears of relief — that he’s not a monster, that he’s capable of remorse and empathy.

.. He had been desperate to boost his self-esteem through sexual conquests. He ultimately put his own pleasure before someone else’s discomfort, behavior that was forged in moments in which he had felt worthless

.. He had been thinking about one of the women he had told me about. He reached out, they met for coffee and he apologized.

The Jordan Peterson Moment

My friend Tyler Cowen argues that Jordan Peterson is the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now, and he has a point. Peterson, a University of Toronto psychologist, has found his real home on YouTube, where his videos have attracted something like 40 million views.

In his videos, he analyzes classic and biblical texts, he eviscerates identity politics and political correctness and, most important, he delivers stern fatherly lectures to young men on how to be honorable, upright and self-disciplined — how to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives.

.. His worldview begins with the belief that life is essentially a series of ruthless dominance competitions. The strong get the spoils and the weak become meek, defeated, unknown and unloved.

For much of Western history, he argues, Christianity restrained the human tendency toward barbarism. But God died in the 19th century, and Christian dogma and discipline died with him. That gave us the age of ideology, the age of fascism and communism — and with it, Auschwitz, Dachau and the gulag.

.. Since most conflict is over values, we’ve decided to not have any values. We’ll celebrate relativism and tolerance.

.. Chaos, the eternal feminine, is also the crushing force of sexual selection. Women are choosy maters. … Most men do not meet female human standards.”

.. Life is suffering, Peterson reiterates. Don’t be fooled by the naïve optimism of progressive ideology. Life is about remorseless struggle and pain. Your instinct is to whine, to play the victim, to seek vengeance.

.. “The individual must conduct his or her life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike.”

.. Instead, choose discipline, courage and self-sacrifice.

.. Much of Peterson’s advice sounds to me like vague exhortatory banality. Like Hobbes and Nietzsche before him, he seems to imagine an overly brutalistic universe, nearly without benevolence, beauty, attachment and love. His recipe for self-improvement is solitary, nonrelational, unemotional. I’d say the lives of young men can be improved more through loving attachment than through Peterson’s joyless and graceless calls to self-sacrifice.

Sad Songs And The South

the South is a shame-honor culture, and one where people are deeply rooted in a sense of family and place — for better or for worse. Might it be that non-Southerners, for cultural reasons, simply cannot understand why it’s difficult for Southerners to execrate their ancestors, even if their ancestors did bad things?

.. The researcher discovered that rock music is extremely repetitive, lyrically speaking. Gladwell says that this makes sense: because everybody is from somewhere different, you have to write in cliché, or you’ll lose people.

.. Southern white people are a people of loss, and traditionally an agrarian people. Their Scots-Irish cultural heritage imbues them with a deep sense of pride and loyalty to family and place.

..  Unlike crops, animal herds are much more vulnerable to theft. A herdsman could lose his entire fortune in one overnight raid. Consequently, martial valor and strength and the willingness to use violence to protect his herd became useful assets to an ancient herdsman. What’s more, a reputation for these martial attributes served as a deterrent to would-be thieves. It’s telling that many of history’s most ferocious warrior societies had pastoral economies. The ancient Hittites, the ancient Hebrews, and the ancient Celts are just a few examples of these warrior/herder societies.

.. These rough and scrappy Scotch-Irish immigrants not only brought with them their ancestors’ penchant for herding, but also imported their love of whiskey, music, leisure, gambling, hunting, and…their warrior-bred, primal code of honor. Even as the South became an agricultural powerhouse, the vast majority of white Southerners – from big plantation owners to the landless — continued to raise hogs and livestock. Whether a man spent most his time working a farm or herding his animals, the pastoral culture of honor, with its emphasis on courage, strength, and violence — characterized by an aggressive stance towards the world and a wariness towards outsiders who might want to take what was his — remained (and as we will see later, continues even to this day).

.. While both the North and the South saw the war in terms of honor, what motivated the men to fight differed greatly. In the North, volunteers joined the cause because of more abstract ideals like freedom, equality, democracy, and Union. In the South, men grabbed their rifles to protect something more tangible — hearth and home — their families and way of life. Their motivation was rooted in their deeply entrenched loyalty to people and place.

.. I am not ready to make for the preservation of the Union save that of honor.” Lee did not favor secession and wished for a peaceable solution instead; but his home state of Virginia seceded, and he was thus faced with the decision to remain loyal to the Union and take up arms against his people, or break with the Union to fight against his former comrades. He chose the latter. Lee’s wife (who privately sympathized with the Union cause) said this of her husband’s decision

.. In a traditional honor culture, loyalty to your honor group takes precedence over all other demands — even those of one’s own conscience.

.. The North’s cause was right, but even if I knew nothing of the history, I can feel in my bones the mandate to fight on the side of one’s people.

.. Southerners see him as a tragic figure: a good man who fought in a bad, doomed cause, from a sense of loyalty to his people.

.. Northerners think they’ve found us out when they point out that we are the most religiously observant region of the country, but also the most morally unruly (to put it delicately). “Hypocrites!” they say. We just shrug. We see no contradiction there.

.. even though Northern iconoclasts are morally and historically correct to judge the Confederate cause wicked, they would do well to understand that the fact that we white Southerners feel a visceral sense of piety towards our ancestors does not mean that we hold them blameless. They would also do well to understand that they are asking us to despise our family and our homeland to prove to them that we are morally acceptable.

That’s not going to happen.

James Mattis: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy

This overwhelming support goes beyond enthusiasm for his record of military competence. His sometimes shocking public statements and quiet triumphs point to both an extraordinary level of compassion and the capacity for ferocious lethality.

.. Mattis chose a path in life that has brought him repeatedly into mortal combat with the most barbaric evil of our time, Islamist terrorism. Yet he continues to defeat it with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion not only for his fellow Marines who volunteer to follow him through hell’s front door but also for the innocent victims of war. He encouraged his beloved Marines in Iraq with this advice: “Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”

.. Robert H. Scales, a retired United States Army major general, described him as “one of the most urbane and polished men I have known.” Mattis’s personal library of more than 7,000 books — including many obscure, scholarly titles — is as famous as his habit of carrying a personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius with him into battle.

.. People perhaps mistake his ferocious aggression for a lack of discipline. Anyone who has served with him will tell you just the opposite: As a field commander, he maintains strict discipline, even sleep discipline, continually striving for “brilliance in the basics.”

.. His competence and level-headedness are so trusted that the president of the United States has given him essentially a free hand to fight America’s wars as he sees fit. Characteristically, in announcing the change of policy toward ISIS from one of “attrition” to “annihilation,”

.. The Art of War, a recently translated treatise dating from the fifth century b.c., by Sun-Tzu, a legendary Chinese general. The emphasis on duality in Sun-Tzu’s philosophy, the yin and yang of war, coincided with Mattis’s deep appreciation for the ebb and flow of the natural world and human interaction. Sun-Tzu’s concept of “winning hearts and minds” was a natural fit for Mattis and would serve him well in the wars to come in the East.

.. This human aftermath of the American military retreat from Vietnam and resulting political instability crowded every available inch of deck space around Mattis. Refugees filled the sweaty hold of the ship, clutching their children and meager possessions and often shaking with fear and trauma. This was Mattis’s first real-world experience of war as a Marine. As the Navy’s ground troops — the first in and often the last out of smaller, Third World conflicts — Marines frequently end up with the responsibility for evacuation of war victims. Compassion is a necessary part of an officer’s training, and Mattis’s was put to the test as he shared overheated sleeping spaces, food, and few toilets, often for days on end, with successive swarms of desperate, frequently ill people who didn’t speak English.

.. A few days before departure, Alice suddenly realizes that as a Marine’s wife, she will move frequently to different parts of the world and will face the constant threat of having officers knocking on her door one day in full dress uniform to deliver the worst possible news. As much as she respects the sacrifices that Marines make, she is not prepared to do the same. She insists that Mattis resign, that he choose her or the Corps — he cannot have both.

.. “Y’know, Dave, the privilege of command is command. You don’t get a bigger tent.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450464/james-mattis-no-better-friend-no-worse-enemy?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170819%20Weekend%20Jolt&utm_term=Jolt

.. He will never marry. Instead, he will devote himself to his adopted family of Marines.

.. Mattis told Krulak that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas Day had a family, and he had decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family. So he chose to have duty on Christmas Day in his place.

Before Manliness Lost Its Virtue

The Trump administration is certainly giving us an education in the varieties of wannabe manliness.

  • There is the slovenly “I don’t care what you think” manliness of Steve Bannon.
  • There’s the look-at-me-I-can-curse manliness that Anthony Scaramucci learned from “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
  • There is the affirmation-hungry “I long to be the man my father was” parody of manliness performed by Donald Trump.
  • There are all those authentically manly Marine generals Trump hires to supplement his own.
  • There’s Trump’s man-crush on Vladimir Putin and the firing of insufficiently manly Reince Priebus.

With this crowd, it’s man-craving all the way down.

.. example, 2,400 years ago the Greeks had a more fully developed vision of manliness than anything we see in or around the White House today.

.. For them, real men defended or served their city, or performed some noble public service. Braying after money was the opposite of manliness. For the Greeks, that was just avariciousness, an activity that shrunk you down into a people-pleasing marketer or hollowed you out because you pursued hollow things.

The Greeks admired what you might call spiritedness. The spirited man defies death in battle, performs deeds of honor and is respected by those whose esteem is worth having.

.. The classical Greek concept of manliness emphasizes certain traits. The bedrock virtue is courage. The manly man puts himself on the line and risks death and criticism. The manly man is assertive. He does not hang back but instead wades into any fray. The manly man is competitive. He looks for ways to compete with others, to demonstrate his prowess and to be the best. The manly man is self-confident. He knows his own worth. But he is also touchy. He is outraged if others do not grant him the honor that is his due.

.. That version of manliness gave Greece its dynamism. But the Greeks came to understand the problem with manly men. They are hard to live with. They are constantly picking fights and engaging in peacock displays.

.. So the Greeks took manliness to the next level. On top of the honor code, they gave us the concept of magnanimity. Pericles is the perfect magnanimous man (and in America, George Washington and George Marshall were his heirs). The magnanimous leader possesses all the spirited traits described above, but he uses his traits not just to puff himself up, but to create a just political order.
.. The magnanimous man has a certain style. He is a bit aloof, marked more by gravitas than familiarity. He shows perfect self-control because he has mastered his passions. He does not show his vulnerability. His relationships are not reciprocal. He is eager to grant favors but is ashamed of receiving them.
.. The magnanimous man believes that politics practiced well is the noblest of all professions. No other arena requires as much wisdom, tenacity, foresight and empathy. No other field places such stress on conversation and persuasion. The English word “idiot” comes from the ancient Greek word for the person who is uninterested in politics but capable only of running his or her own private affairs.
.. Today, we’re in a crisis of masculinity. Some men are unable to compete in schools and in labor markets because the stereotype of what is considered “man’s work” is so narrow. In the White House, we have phony manliness run amok.
.. Of all the politicians I’ve covered, John McCain comes closest to the old magnanimous ideal. Last week, when he went to the Senate and flipped his thumb down on the pretzeled-up health care bill, we saw one version of manliness trumping another. When John Kelly elbowed out Anthony Scaramucci, one version of manliness replaced another.

The old virtues aren’t totally lost. So there’s hope.