What is a Post-Jesus Christian?

 

Post-Jesus Christians are “Christians” who have decided to postpone following Jesus’s teaching until Jesus returns and ushers in 1000 years of peace.

Post-Jesus Christians hold that Jesus’s teachings do not need to be followed in our present era if they are a hindrance to obtaining the power they fear they need to help usher in the Kingdom of God.

Post-Jesus Christians (privately) hold that Jesus’s teachings are a nice thing to follow when dealing with the in-group of their fellow PJCs but may be disregarded when dealing with non-PJC neighbors.

Prophecy: What God Can Do For You

Post-Jesus Christians talk a lot about about prophecy, and unlike the Biblical Prophets, when they do, they punch down, rather than up:

You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence“, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”.

Later Craig Greenfield writes:

In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.

  1. Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
  2. Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.

An Inversion of Ben Franklin’s Morality

While many Post-Jesus Christians appeal to a historical “Christian Nation” , Post-Jesus Christians appear to be an inversion of founding father Ben Franklin, who in historian John Fea’s description, wanted to discard Jesus’s Divinity but retain and celebrate his ethical teachings.

Examples:

So what does this look like in practice?

Below are public quotations from prominent Court Evangelicals.  These quotations are less extreme that I would expect to hear in private.  A friend of mine speaks to supporters in private.  He reports that they would (privately) celebrate the stuffing of election ballots in favor of their preferred candidate as a righteous act.

1) Court Evangelical: Anti-Sermon on the Mount


John Fea wrote about a conversation he had with Rob Schenck  for the “Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer” podcast @ 19:27.  Here’s a quote from Schenck talking about a conversation he had with a prominent evangelical at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service:

I must tell you something of a confession here. I was present at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral — not the smaller one held  at  Saint John’s Episcopal church across from the white house, but the one following the inauguration at the National Cathedral and I saw one of the notable Evangelicals that you’ve named in in our conversation. One of them, I won’t say which and we had it short exchange and I, I suggested to him that we needed to recalibrate our moral compass and that one way to do that might be to return to The Sermon on the Mount as a reference point. And he very quickly barked back at me. “We don’t have time for that. We have serious work to do.”

2) Jerry Falwell Jr:  Anti-Turn the other cheek

John Fea writes:

We have blogged about Liberty University’s Falkirk Center before.  The more I learn about this center the more I am convinced that it does not represent the teachings of Christianity.   Recently someone on Twitter pointed out this paragraph in the Falkirk Center mission statement:

Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient. There is too much at stake in the battle for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic action and initiative is needed, which is why we just launched the Falkirk Center, a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.

John Fea’s Update:

Several smart people have suggested that I may have misread Liberty University’s statement.  They have said that the Falkirk Center was not denying that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individuals.  Instead, the Falkirk Center is saying that we should not “abdicate” (the key word here) our responsibilities to engage on the “culture battlefield.”

I think this is a fair criticism, and I indeed may have misread the statement.  For that I am sorry.  But I don’t think I want to back away too strongly from what I wrote above.  While several have correctly pointed out that Liberty University is not saying Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individual Christians, the Falkirk Center does seem to be suggesting that it is “insufficient” for culture engagement.

Matt Taibbi “Insane Clown President”

09:07
people there’s only a small small group
09:11
of people who can travel every day for
09:13
weeks and weeks and weeks and months and
09:14
months on end so it’s only that specific
09:17
small subset of sort of corporate funded
09:22
media that’s on on the plane of those
09:26
people the schedule for reporters has
09:30
gotten drastically different in the last
09:32
twelve to sixteen years back in the 70s
09:36
and 80s newspaper reporters who traveled
09:39
on the plane the toughest schedule they
09:41
usually had was to file maybe at most
09:44
once a day you had to write one article
09:45
a day if you’re on the plane when the
09:48
internet came along that changed people
09:52
who work for the major dailies suddenly
09:55
had to not only write stories for the
09:58
print edition but they had to do two
10:01
three four five website updates a day
10:04
and the people who worked for the cable
10:07
news stations instead of doing one
10:09
report for the 6 o’clock news broadcast
10:11
or the 11 o’clock broadcast they were
10:13
doing 5 6 7 8 9 hits a day and they were
10:18
constantly constantly working and if
10:20
anybody’s ever read about cults like
10:21
ouch in Rico or anything like that one
10:24
of the things that they tell you is that
10:26
the working people constantly and
10:29
keeping them sleep-deprived is a way of
10:32
sapping their will and and reducing
10:35
their ability to think critically and
10:37
this is something that happens
10:38
absolutely on the campaign trail a
10:40
typical schedule for a reporter and also
10:45
for the politicians interestingly enough
10:46
especially when you get into the second
10:48
half of a presidential campaign is you
10:52
leave a hotel at 5:30 or 6:00 in the
10:54
morning you will follow the candidate
10:57
you’ll be writing constantly as soon as
11:00
the candidates
11:00
as anything you start writing your story
11:02
at the end of every event they heard you
11:05
into a little room called the filing
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room you do your work you go from you go
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back to a bus you go onto a plane you
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repeat the process three or four times
11:14
and you don’t get to your hotel until 11
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or 12 o’clock that night and then you
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repeat it all over again and for most
11:22
people their writing or reporting pretty
11:26
much constantly from the time they wake
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up in the morning till the time they go
11:29
to sleep and then they’re waking up
11:31
again the next day at 6 o’clock and that
11:34
was pretty much everybody in the plane
11:36
who covers who covered presidential
11:39
elections except me because as a
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magazine writer and there are very few
11:44
magazine writers who regularly cover
11:46
presidential campaigns my deadline was
11:49
once every six weeks every two months
11:52
and so they would heard all the
11:56
reporters into these filing rooms and
11:58
while everybody else sitting there
11:59
furiously clacking away I would be doing
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nothing in fact the first time I went on
12:06
the on these trips I actually got in
12:08
trouble with some of the other reporters
12:11
because I was too loudly flipping the
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pages of a Sports Illustrated at another
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stop in Houston they busted me for using
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or having a Rubik’s Cube which they
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found annoying so for actually two or
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three election cycles

 

 

26:32
and years um I noticed that the campaign
26:37
marketing process is a very strange
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thing it’s it’s extremely sophisticated
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in some ways and extremely simple-minded
26:45
in other ways if you listen to the
26:47
speeches in the in the pre Trump era
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they were basically just strings of
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meaningless cliches piled on top of one
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another and it didn’t almost didn’t
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matter which candidate was speaking if
27:01
you took out certain words from each
27:03
speech you wouldn’t be able to tell
27:05
which party the person represented or
27:07
what of what policies he or she
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supported they just they were just sort
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of anodyne meaningless phrases strung
27:15
together one after the other and just to
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give you a couple of examples of actual
27:19
campaign rhetoric that was very common
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here’s one for millions and millions of
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American the-dream millions and millions
27:26
of Americans the dream with which I grew
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up has been shattered the choice is
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between the right change in the wrong
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change between going forward and going
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backward this is totally meaningless of
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course but within these meaningless
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phrases there was actually you know as
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we found as I found out an incredibly
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sophisticated marketing phenomenon and
27:48
what we now know and in fact they
27:51
actually introduced this to to consumers
27:55
that they were they were using
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incredibly sophisticated technology to
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find out which words people liked more
28:01
than other words I’m sure everybody
28:04
who’s watched debates now and they
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you’ll sometimes see there’s a crawl on
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the bottom with a little graph and when
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a candidate is talking you’ll see it go
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up or down and this is what they call
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dial survey technology and basically
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what they’ll do is they’ll get a group a
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control group into a room and they’ll
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have a bunch of people sit there and
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you’ll have a candidate read off a
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speech and if the people like the word
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they’re supposed to turn the dial
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this way and if they don’t like the word
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they turn they turn it that way and what
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people the people who are running these
28:36
campaigns found out is that certain
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kinds of voters just like it they like
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hearing certain kinds of words and what
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they would do is they would write these
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speeches which were essentially
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collections of words that had
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meaningless sentences connecting them
28:50
together and so for progressive voters
28:54
if you listen to speeches that are
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directed towards that kind of voter
28:58
you’ll find that they are very often
29:00
contain words like futuresmart and
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compassion but for a right-wing voter
29:07
you’ll often see words like family tough
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work obligation and so what these
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candidates were doing they were using
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this very very advanced technology to
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basically lay this incredibly idiotic
29:22
kind of politics on millions and
29:24
millions of people and the way I like to
29:26
think of it is they were building like
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the most advanced rocket in history to
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deliver the world’s worst cheeseburger
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to the moon basically it’s just it was
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very very sophisticated marketing very
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very dumb politics and so why is one
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part of the process done in one part of
29:43
its smart well the politics part when
29:45
you think about it doesn’t need to be
29:46
smart really most people only have one
29:51
of three choices when it comes to
29:53
politics they can either vote Democratic
29:56
they can vote Republican or they can not
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vote at all of course interestingly not
30:01
voting at all it continues to be the
30:03
overwhelmingly most popular choice among
30:06
the three but the level of marketing
30:11
sophistication that you need to get
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people to make one of three choices is
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relatively simpler than it is to get
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people to watch a political show at all
30:23
compared to everything else that’s on
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television right so in other words it’s
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easier to get somebody to vote
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Democratic or republican than it is to
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get a person to watch a political speech
30:35
instead of Monday Night Football or
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Keeping Up with the Kardashians or or
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porn or whatever it is they’re you they
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watch
30:42
so as time went on the sort of reality
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show aspects of campaigning this all the
30:51
trappings of campaigns the the lighting
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the the production values the the back
31:00
the backdrops the scenery all of that
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became more and more sophisticated over
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time while the actual politics became
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more and more simplistic over time so
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what you ended up getting was an
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incredibly sophisticated television show
31:17
about very very unsophisticated politics
31:20
and Donald Trump’s insight and a lot of
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this had to do with the fact that he was
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a reality television star was that not
31:30
only had our politics devolved into a TV
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show but it was basically a bad TV show
31:38
any TV show that planned to have its
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leading characters be people like Jeb
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Bush Scott Walker and Lindsey Graham you
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know probably needed new producers and
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Donald Trump turned he took what was you
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know a television show that was constant
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had drama every single day something
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happens in the campaign every day so
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it’s great for reality TV format from
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that’s perspective there’s always some
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kind of thing going on there was a
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back-and-forth between the candidates
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but the content tended to be relatively
32:15
a non sensational compared to Survivor
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or you know Tila Tequila show or a you
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know whatever flava flav Flavor of Love
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Donald Trump wasn’t competing with other
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Republican candidates he was repeating
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competing with Flavor Flav and Tila
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Tequila and he turned the
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the presidential campaign add to this
32:45
this crazy can’t-miss wild reality
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television show and for the news media
32:55
that makes its money by getting people
32:57
to watch their program this was like
33:00
manna and heaven for them um so so
33:06
that’s one thing that he understood that
33:08
other candidates didn’t he also
33:11
understood how to how to make the
33:14
process more intimate and how to bring
33:15
people into the process one of the
33:18
things that have happened over the years
33:19
is that people actual people became
33:22
irrelevant to this television show that
33:23
we were making the way the campaign is
33:27
structured as you fly around with with
33:29
the with the press corps you don’t have
33:31
enough time when you’re in each city to
33:33
actually talk to people and the
33:35
campaign’s increasingly didn’t talk to
33:38
them either they just needed people as
33:39
sort of stylized backdrops they were
33:41
there to be props basically in a
33:44
television show they were there to you
33:46
know if he needed somebody to to show
33:49
that he was sort of down with
33:51
construction workers or with the working
33:53
person they would have a bunch of people
33:55
in hard hats up on stage or the you know
33:57
they wanted to appeal the farmers they
33:59
would visit a farming town and you know
34:01
be photographed you know hugging a
34:03
farmer but they didn’t actually talk to
34:04
these people and the people in the press
34:09
started to fall into the trap also of
34:12
just using people for quotes we would
34:14
descend on mass into these towns we
34:17
would not really spend a whole lot of
34:18
time with them and then we would just
34:22
hustle them for quotes do you like this
34:24
/ Canada do you like that candidate
34:25
oftentimes we were looking for the
34:28
people in the crowd to say a certain
34:30
thing and we would search people out and
34:34
until they actually said the quote that
34:36
they were looking for – another very bad
34:38
practice that journalists do and people
34:40
of course they resented it and what
34:45
ended up happening was is that both
34:47
politicians and the media started to
34:50
lose touch with actual people and they
34:53
increasingly relied upon each other
34:56
especially upon pollsters to sort of
34:58
take the temperature of the people out
35:00
there and if you’ve ever traveled in in
35:03
a campaign it’s actually like it’s
35:05
literally a prison once the Secret
35:07
Service gets involved you can’t leave
35:10
the group after the general election
35:13
campaign starts because security is so
35:16
tight I would bet back in my first
35:18
campaigns I was a pretty heavy smoker
35:20
back that I’m not anymore but you
35:22
actually had to get what they called
35:24
Sherpas to leave there were like people
35:27
who carried bags for the campaign’s they
35:29
would leave the group to go to stores
35:31
and get cigarettes and other supplies
35:33
for people because you’re so cut off
35:35
from the actual voters that you can’t
35:39
leave the group and so you lose touch
35:42
with what’s going on you and what
35:43
happened is over over in decades not
35:47
only do you do you lose touch with what
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people are thinking but you lose touch
35:51
with the ability to talk to people and
35:53
to understand the cues that they’re
35:55
saying and to learn for instance people
36:00
would would start to rely on polls to
36:02
tell them whether or not
36:04
voters liked or disliked this or that
36:06
candidate what polls can’t tell you the
36:08
difference between say you know rage and
36:10
mere disapproval they’re they’re able to
36:14
tell you that people are drifting them
36:16
one way or the other but until you get
36:17
that qualitative experience of sitting
36:19
down with people and really
36:20
understanding what their frustrations
36:22
are you’re just going to miss what’s
36:24
actually going on um and so Trump he
36:28
took advantage of all this he took
36:30
advantage of the fact that we were out
36:31
of touch and he used that again to help
36:36
solve his own problems what he started
36:38
to do was he started to incorporate the
36:40
press into his act I remember being in
36:44
at Plymouth State University in New
36:46
Hampshire and Trump you as it usually
36:49
happens is there’s like a Arizer in the
36:52
middle of the hall and there’s a bunch
36:54
of reporters and camera people and we’re
36:57
stuck behind ropes like zoo animals in
37:00
the middle of the crowd and Trump he
37:03
started to experiment with mentioning us
37:05
in the middle of his speeches and he
37:07
would say things like look at these
37:08
people look at these
37:09
suckers they hate me they never thought
37:13
I would make it this far they’ve never
37:15
traveled so far for an event look at
37:17
them they hate you you know and what
37:20
would happen over time was his rhetoric
37:22
became more and more aggressive and
37:25
crowds would start to physically turn
37:27
towards the the media during his
37:30
presentations and it would hiss and Boo
37:33
and sometimes even throw stuff and you
37:34
know occasionally like you little
37:36
scuffles broke out and it got a little
37:39
bit dangerous in there and you know on
37:42
one level it was horrible and terrifying
37:44
because it evokes images of a lot of
37:46
sort of fascistic techniques from other
37:51
sort of strongman type politicians but
37:54
on the other hand he was also using a
37:57
sort of a WWE style method of turning
38:03
what had been a sort of supernaturally
38:05
boring phenomenon which is the
38:08
presidential stump speech to just you
38:10
know if anybody has ever been to one if
38:12
you can survive one that’s amazing but
38:15
you know for the press corps to be able
38:16
to listen to the same speech 50 or 60
38:19
times like we do I used to have a
38:22
numbered cliche system I heard one
38:26
candidate’s cliches so often that I knew
38:28
the top 20 by heart and instead of
38:32
writing down notes from his speeches I
38:34
would just have collections of numbers
38:36
it would be like 3 8 15 11 you know and
38:42
so Trump took this this terrible boring
38:45
format and he turned it into this
38:47
intimate menacing real physical
38:53
experience where the representative of
38:57
the hated establishment was literally in
38:59
the room and that was us and again a lot
39:04
of this this was this was years of the
39:08
press gradually losing its ability to
39:10
talk to ordinary people had turned
39:12
around and allowed this fatuous New York
39:15
billionaire to sell himself as closer to
39:18
the common man
39:19
and then reporters and and when I talked
39:23
to people who were at Trump crowds I
39:25
would ask them you know why do you what
39:29
do you feel this way or that way why do
39:30
you like this guy and they would say
39:32
well he’s real he’s not reading from a
39:34
script’ which was true you know unlike
39:36
the other you know the numbered cliches
39:38
Trump literally couldn’t keep it would
39:41
pass out his speeches but the text of
39:45
what was supposed to be his speech and
39:47
he would deviate from it in the second
39:49
word because he is the attention span
39:51
and so it’s so short that he couldn’t he
39:54
couldn’t read actual prepared remarks
39:56
people would say things to me like he’s
39:59
real and you people aren’t you know I
40:02
remember one guy in Washington Wisconsin
40:03
saying to me you know I’m going to clean
40:07
up his his speech here a little bit but
40:09
he says basically you jerks were always
40:12
trying to tell us how to live our lives
40:14
but you can’t change a goddamn oil
40:15
filter and you know he was right you’re
40:19
sort of right you know the the people
40:21
who represent the press corps tend to be
40:24
the suit of a feat again rich for the
40:27
most part because we’re you know the
40:29
people who are there they have to be in
40:31
order to in order to afford the trip
40:32
they have to come from a certain class
40:34
they’re almost all from New York
40:37
Washington and LA they went to the best
40:40
schools and they have a certain attitude
40:42
towards life and and Trump used that and
40:47
he used that to sort of bridge the gap
40:48
between himself and ordinary people and
40:51
so the last thing I want to talk about
40:52
is is sort of the appropriation of
40:56
bogeymen Trump did something that was
40:58
really strange but interesting the
41:01
traditional method of winning elections
41:02
in this country is you get up in front
41:05
of a group of people you say to them you
41:07
know I know you’ve had it hard in the
41:09
last four or five years and I’m going to
41:11
tell you who to blame and then X Y Z and
41:15
then a B and C they’re all there they’re
41:17
to blame for your troubles and you know
41:19
don’t don’t we hate them and that was
41:22
that’s sort of the traditional format of
41:24
a campaign speech the only difference is
41:26
that they’re a different bogeyman on the
41:29
Republican side and on the Democratic
41:30
side on the Republican side
41:33
the the villains tend to be immigrants
41:36
you know welfare moms liberal professors
41:39
terrorists they actually have a very
41:41
long list of villains on the other side
41:43
you know on the Democratic side it’s
41:46
it’s a little bit smarter and a little
41:48
bit more sophisticated it’s it’s
41:50
corporations it’s it’s health insurance
41:52
companies etc etc and what’s interesting
41:56
is that the traditional candidate never
41:57
crossed lines that you you know if you
42:00
were either used one group of villains
42:01
or another group of villains Trump just
42:03
gobbled up all of them he’s just he’s so
42:07
omnivorous in in his sort of the way he
42:12
approaches life in every way that he
42:15
used both lists you know he would go to
42:17
every crowd and he was all things to all
42:19
people at all times I’m against the
42:21
corporations I’m against Goldman Sachs
42:23
I’m against immigrants and against this
42:24
and that and the other and whatever you
42:27
hated Trump would eventually get around
42:30
to it in his speech and again the reason
42:33
that people didn’t do this in the past
42:34
traditionally is because the media would
42:36
say well look this is a contradiction
42:38
you can’t be this and that because those
42:41
two things don’t really go together but
42:43
Trump was tuned into the fact that the
42:48
people had tuned us out they had stopped
42:50
listening to us and that you know all of
42:52
us sort of News reporters who love to
42:56
correct people spelling on Twitter and
42:58
you know or just didn’t know how to fix
43:00
cars that what we thought about what we
43:03
know his his politics didn’t really
43:04
matter anymore
43:05
and his ability to sort of continue to
43:09
continually survive the negative
43:14
editorializing of the press and our
43:16
attempts to sort of bounce him out of
43:17
the race through this or seal of death
43:19
episodes which increased in frequency as
43:22
the campaign went along and as as
43:25
reporters became more and more aware of
43:27
their role their financial role in
43:29
helping Trump win but we we became more
43:31
cognizant of it you heard of things like
43:33
les Moonves with CBS everybody here this
43:36
you know these famously said Trump is
43:38
bad for America but good for business
43:41
you know as as that kind of spread in
43:45
press we became more and more aggressive
43:49
in our in our editorial stance towards
43:51
Trump and that just worked to his
43:54
advantage the the meaner we got Trump
43:57
has this uncanny ability to turn
43:59
everybody in his orbit into another
44:01
pro-wrestling character and when he gets
44:05
up there and he says that where we were
44:06
the opposition after a while it actually
44:09
turned out to be a little bit true we
44:11
you know he he cartoon eyes his own
44:13
opposition he eventually gets everybody
44:16
to sort of lower themselves you think
44:19
about you know Rubio making sort of dong
44:24
jokes during the middle of the debates
44:27
or you know people throwing water at
44:29
each other and Ted Ted Cruz started
44:32
acting like a ham during debate doing
44:35
impersonations from The Princess Bride
44:37
and and Ron Paul was chained selling
44:40
things in half and shooting the tax code
44:42
and everybody starts acting like a
44:45
reality star when they’re around Trump
44:47
long enough and and we were like that
44:50
too in the news media and what ends up
44:53
happening was that the symbiotic
44:57
relationship started occurring where we
45:01
paid more and more attention to them
45:02
even even though even though the things
45:05
we were saying about them were negative
45:06
we never took the cameras off of him
45:07
fret for a second and we still haven’t
45:09
and what is the end result of that
45:12
here’s some striking statistics sense
45:15
the since the election in November cable
45:21
news ratings are up 50% at CNN they’re
45:27
up 50% at Fox they’re up over 35% at
45:30
MSNBC and some programs are up higher
45:32
than that on that channel CNN expects to
45:36
make over a billion dollars this year in
45:38
profits and again what what starts to
45:42
happen after a while is that
45:45
unconsciously this the fact that he’s
45:48
making everybody so much money and make
45:50
no mistake about it it’s the fact that
45:52
that politics has begun to eat into the
45:55
entertainment world
45:57
and the the profitability of
45:59
entertainment and we’re taking some of
46:01
Hollywood’s market share by creating
46:04
politics as this giant reality show
46:09
unconsciously the people who are
46:10
covering Donald Trump whether they know
46:12
it or not they legitimize it the whole
46:14
thing and that’s why you’ll see periodic
46:16
episodes like you know he gives that
46:18
speech after the joint speech to
46:20
Congress and and there’s a you know CNN
46:24
will say you know he became president in
46:26
the United States tonight or that
46:28
happens after he lobs missiles you know
46:30
Tomahawk missiles that Syria you know
46:33
Fareed Zakaria will get up and say
46:34
exactly the same thing you know Donald
46:36
Trump became President of the United
46:37
States tonight and this is a company
46:39
that’s making a billion dollars this
46:41
year because of Donald Trump and so it’s
46:43
just a symbiotic relationship this had
46:49
been going on for a long time
46:50
it with this sort of synthesis of all
46:53
these different things the the the
46:55
collapse and Trust in news media the
46:56
declining profitability of news media
46:58
which was suddenly turned around by this
47:01
candidate who suddenly made money for
47:03
everybody nobody could make money for
47:05
for a longest time and then suddenly
47:07
everybody’s making money you have to
47:09
think about this when you think about
47:11
how politics is covered in this country
47:12
and it’s not just Trump that’s that’s
47:17
you know so my final word of caution
47:20
would be that the network’s have learned
47:23
and a lot of us in the business started
47:26
to talk about this last year that that
47:29
you know what Trump does his total
47:32
indifference to whether a thing is true
47:34
or not and the fact that he knows that
47:37
his his core supporters don’t really
47:39
care all that much the network’s have
47:41
also learned that lesson two in the last
47:44
year or so they knows we sort of by
47:48
custom and because of the libel laws
47:50
which don’t you know are incredibly weak
47:52
in this country and and really don’t
47:54
apply all that much the public figures
47:57
you know by custom we we we we try very
48:01
very hard to get things right and to not
48:03
be careless about citing sources that
48:05
aren’t reliable
48:05
that sort of thing but in the age of
48:07
Trump that’s really it’s starting to go
48:09
out the window everywhere and you know
48:13
it just as a sort of general warning I
48:14
would say again this whole phenomenon of
48:19
Trump and how he sort of unlocked he’s
48:23
converted politics into a show that has
48:28
implications that go beyond Donald Trump
48:30
as well I think everybody should just be
48:31
aware that this is a phenomenon that has
48:34
negatively impacted the entire business
48:37
and everything that was bad about
48:40
for-profit media in the past has gotten
48:44
exponentially worse in the last year and
48:47
you can expect you know going forward
48:51
that we’ll see we’ll see less and less
48:52
coverage of you know actual things that
48:55
matter you know environmental issues you
48:58
know if corruption and contracting in
49:01
the military disasters like flint you
49:06
know those things will get less and less
49:07
airtime and what will we get instead is
49:09
a very heavily polarized media landscape
49:15
where there’s one set of viewers that
49:17
hates this politician and one set of
49:19
viewers that hates another politician
49:20
and they’re all going to they’re all
49:22
going to tune in and watch and the
49:24
standards are going to go out the window
49:26
so it’s just in some I would just say
49:28
just be careful you know not without
49:31
commenting on any particular story that
49:34
the arc of the sort of failure of our
49:37
business has has really steepen in the
49:40
last year or so and I think as news
49:42
consumers people should pay more and
49:44
more attention to independent media and
49:46
alternative media and worry more and
49:49
more about the commercial media going
49:50
forward and thank you very much and I
49:52
would love to talk
49:53
[Music]
49:59
[Applause]
49:59
[Music]
50:02
[Applause]
50:07
so if you have questions please come
50:11
this way and we’ll do a line back that
50:13
way thank you I mean amazing talk I was
50:16
wondering if you could talk about some
50:18
of the unseen kind of new levels of
50:22
thought control such as Cambridge
50:26
analytical and how Trump used data
50:29
mining how that’s even a bigger climate
50:33
that were it right now and how that’s
50:35
affecting us jump using data might mean
50:37
all the candidates use data mining I
50:38
mean I I think that’s you know without
50:43
knowing exactly that exact thing but I
50:48
know that that was a phenomenon that
50:50
dated back to the Kerry the first Kerry
50:54
Bush campaign that was when that first
50:55
really started and I think it’s
51:00
worrisome I think the whole idea of
51:04
targeting shaping a candidate’s policies
51:09
based on the on your on the research
51:12
that you do into people searching habits
51:14
I think that’s going to be something
51:14
that’s more and more true going forward
51:16
they’re going to be able to target
51:17
political advertising the people based
51:19
on what they search for and on the web
51:22
and all that’s incredibly disturbing I
51:25
you know in the same way that they’re
51:27
they’re selling that data to to
51:30
prospective employers so they get
51:31
they’re going to be able to tell what
51:32
you what websites you look at the idea
51:36
of politicians being able to look at is
51:37
just horrifying
51:39
and I think yeah that’s definitely
51:41
something to worry about
51:46
so I was just going to see if you agree
51:48
at this opinion and I think it presents
51:50
a problem and I’m wondering if you know
51:52
of a possible solution to it
51:55
but I like that you compared it to him
51:58
not competing with the other politicians
51:59
but the reality stars because when he
52:02
got primary to actually said that the
52:03
only way that Clinton could win is if
52:05
she changed her name to Hillary booboo
52:06
right and but the problem is I feel like
52:11
because it is so entertainment
52:13
centric that’s almost kind of like a lot
52:16
people like to compare like the Empire
52:18
of America
52:19
Rome but then it’s kind of glad it’s
52:20
gladiator kind of asked where I feel
52:23
like it’s it’s good that you we do have
52:26
these critiques and that you are
52:27
addressing this and I love it is
52:29
actually directed at the press even
52:30
though it says president on your book
52:32
but I think a lot people hook get on
52:34
Trump and try to analyze him as a person
52:36
instead of looking at the system that
52:38
created them because I feel like for him
52:39
it’s self-fulfilling he doesn’t have a
52:41
clue like he’s not right and essentially
52:43
doing this but as long as we’re giving
52:45
attention to it it’s like a growing
52:47
beast and and where’s where’s it going
52:49
to end like how do you stop that how do
52:51
you it’s a great question there’s a
52:52
couple things that are really
52:53
interesting you know that I’d love to
52:55
talk about here first though is that one
52:58
of the things that one of the huge
52:59
weaknesses of the political press in
53:01
this country is that we we always think
53:04
when we see a political phenomenon we
53:06
always imagine that it originates with
53:10
the politician right like just to give
53:12
you a classic example the Bernie Sanders
53:15
phenomenon wasn’t was all about Bernie
53:18
Sanders to Washington reporters right it
53:20
wasn’t it wasn’t 13 million people
53:22
expressing themselves and being upset
53:24
about you know the their feelings about
53:27
the Democratic Party it wasn’t this
53:29
organic thing that rose up from the
53:31
population it was because some you know
53:34
independent socialist backbencher jumped
53:38
the line and got you know and so they
53:40
that’s the way they like they always
53:41
look at the Washington character first
53:42
and they don’t look outward at the at
53:46
the actual people and then the larger
53:48
thing that’s going on
53:50
Trump is is horrible for for that
53:54
instinct because he he concentrates so
53:57
much attention on him and his person and
54:02
he deflects so much attention not only
54:04
from the system but from the larger
54:06
forces that are going on in the
54:08
population that everybody imagines that
54:10
Donald Trump is the only problem and not
54:12
that there have been you know growing
54:15
trend towards nativism and racism in
54:18
this in the population cetera et cetera
54:20
et cetera so the what the solution is I
54:24
think we just have to focus out more as
54:27
in the media we got to focus on systemic
54:29
problems more we got to talk to people
54:32
more and and make it less about the the
54:35
fairy tale soap opera which is the easy
54:39
way to do the story you know that and
54:41
that’s that’s why we do it because
54:42
that’s easy you know and so yeah I think
54:46
the what the solution is we just got to
54:48
do our jobs better and I don’t know how
54:50
that’s going to happen so if we assume
54:56
that the Trump’s the nominee in 2020
54:58
which he most likely will be barring
55:00
something serious like impeachment or
55:04
something like that if he is the nominee
55:05
and based on your experience what you’ve
55:08
seen
55:09
if this dynamic is still present where
55:11
he’s he’s he he is who he is he’s
55:14
gladiatorial what will be the formula
55:16
for the Democrats the counter that
55:17
should they have someone who’s also like
55:19
him or should they have someone who’s
55:22
who’s somehow a foil to him I mean based
55:25
on what you’ve seen what’s the answer
55:26
for the left in 2020
55:32
it’s a great question um see how what I
55:38
worry about is that is the I already
55:41
hear people in Washington talking about
55:43
this and saying that we have to get our
55:45
own version of Trump all right and we
55:48
have to get a media figure we got to get
55:51
you know whether it’s Dwayne the rock
55:54
Johnson or Mark Zuckerberg or whoever it
55:57
is right like we we need to go that
55:59
route and what’s interesting to me is
56:01
that they’ve already forgotten the
56:03
lessons I think of Barack Obama Barack
56:05
Obama is a diametrically opposite
56:07
character to Donald Trump he is someone
56:10
who prefers you know he’s reserved
56:13
polite he doesn’t act like a real
56:15
reality star he comports him even though
56:18
you know for me personally politically I
56:20
don’t agree with Obama life he’s been a
56:22
disappointment to me a lot of ways
56:23
style-wise he won by appealing I think
56:29
to people’s better imagination right and
56:33
what I see in Washington is a lot of
56:36
pessimism they don’t believe that that
56:39
you know finding a better way to
56:42
communicate with people that get it you
56:44
know telling people that they understand
56:47
what their problems are making a sincere
56:48
effort to find out why people are
56:50
disaffected I think that’s the easiest
56:52
route to winning you know is going out
56:54
and actually finding out what’s wrong
56:58
and coming up with solutions that people
56:59
can connect with you know and but you
57:03
won’t they won’t do that you know I
57:05
think they what they’re going to do is
57:07
they’re going to look at a lot of polls
57:08
and they’re going to they’re going to
57:09
look at the media media centric version
57:13
of how to win elections and they’re
57:15
going to try to do their own version I
57:16
think
57:22
hi so I started thinking about this a
57:25
couple days ago in terms of you know the
57:29
backlash if Trump continues to try and
57:32
dig his own grave and put his foot in
57:36
his mouth and all that other stuff
57:37
eventually things will start to roll
57:40
against him but there’s going to be a
57:43
backlash from that in terms of all the
57:45
people who support him and it’ll be like
57:46
you know why are you taking away my toy
57:48
and you know the that could be the media
57:52
that could be the Democratic Party that
57:53
could be the Republican Party and so you
57:55
might have a phenomenon where
57:56
everybody’s trying to be like no you and
57:59
Peacham I don’t want to impeach um you
58:00
impeach him you know so that they don’t
58:02
deal with that backlash and I’m
58:03
wondering if you see any signs of that
58:05
and how that would play out yeah I think
58:11
actually I would say that there’s not a
58:14
lot of hesitation about taking on Donald
58:17
Trump in Washington now anything I would
58:20
say that there’s sort of an opposite
58:21
problem which is that being against
58:24
Trump has become whatever the only thing
58:27
that a lot of politicians are about now
58:29
and I I think that the key to succeeding
58:34
going forward is they have to have some
58:35
other kind of messages in addition to
58:37
that politically going after Donald
58:39
Trump doesn’t seem to be anybody’s
58:40
problem and they’re the the knives are
58:42
out in full force right now for for
58:44
Trump and they’re gunning for
58:47
impeachment there’s no question about
58:48
that except for people like Mitch
58:49
McConnell well he’s a Republican first
58:51
well he is but but but in terms of like
58:54
I was kind of surprised about uh not
58:56
completely but you know cuz he’s trying
58:58
to control this thing
58:59
you know whoa look impeachment is a it’s
59:06
a very extreme step and and think think
59:11
about approving it for a member of your
59:13
own party and think about think about
59:16
doing it in this situation you know um
59:20
there’s a lot of political will to try
59:23
to end Donald Trump’s presidency right
59:24
now and it’s far harder than it’s been
59:26
for anybody since since Bill Clinton so
59:29
I wouldn’t say that that’s a problem I
59:31
think there going to be plenty of
59:32
candidates we’re going to want to play
59:33
that role of the person who took on
59:35
Donald Trump I mean they’re practically
59:37
stepping over each other to do it Warner
59:40
Schiff all these people that these
59:42
committee chairs are anxious to be that
59:45
person in front of the cameras oh
59:46
there’s political opportunity there the
59:49
the problem the problem that I see you
59:54
know I just I just worry that the palace
59:57
intrigue aspect of it is has occupied so
60:00
much of the Democrats time that they’re
60:02
they’re not paying attention to other
60:03
things Thanks hi thanks for great talk
60:11
the thing that I noticed about the two
60:15
sides of the bus the politicians in the
60:18
front and the reporters in back is that
60:21
there is a kind of underlying logic
60:23
which is a profit incentive in both
60:25
cases and to me that bespeaks the fact
60:30
that capitalism is something that feeds
60:32
off the systemic pathologies of
60:34
societies and right now it seems like
60:37
it’s gotten the point where it’s just
60:39
reached a level of death Drive and like
60:41
there something about the Trump
60:43
phenomenon that feels like it could
60:45
really just unleash some really
60:47
pathological forces in our society to
60:50
the point where the situation you’re
60:52
describing with the media is just one
60:53
component of a kind of embrace of sheer
60:55
irrationality and I feel or my question
60:59
for you is that whether you think some
61:01
kind of like deep and systemic
61:04
paradigmatic changes is called for as
61:07
part of what were yeah no I totally
61:10
agree I I I think one of the things that
61:15
I believe that one of the reasons that
61:18
Trump happened is because people are on
61:22
some level they’re screaming out for
61:24
something drastically different you know
61:26
and it’s it’s for a lot of people it’s
61:29
an inarticulate longing you know for a
61:32
new way to experience life and and I
61:34
think the sort of this is relentless
61:37
heartlessness of modern American you
61:40
know industrial capitalism and it’s it’s
61:43
a sort of really casual immorality and
61:47
and I think it’s tough for people you
61:49
know even if they don’t understand it
61:50
you know it and we need I think we need
61:54
something we need to at least have
61:55
somebody who’s capable of opening a
61:58
discussion of can we live another way in
62:01
this country you know and that question
62:04
has been suppressed at the at the
62:06
presidential level you know it’s not
62:08
really it hasn’t really been possible to
62:10
have that dialogue because words like
62:13
you know socialism is of course a taboo
62:15
bernie has made it less so but even you
62:17
know other ideas you know like you know
62:20
there’s a European you know guaranteed
62:22
income movement you know like these
62:24
really interesting thoughts they’re not
62:26
did we can entertain them because our
62:29
politics are so narrow and yeah I agree
62:32
with you and and and just to talk about
62:35
one thing about the media in terms of
62:37
capitalism for ages we insulated
62:41
ourselves from the profit motive problem
62:44
in media by having this sort of unspoken
62:48
understanding you know the FCC they
62:50
licensed out the airwaves to the PUC to
62:51
these private companies and there was a
62:54
there was an understanding that that
62:56
they would get to make all this money by
62:59
having these TV stations and radio
63:01
stations but in return they would have
63:03
to do something in the public interest
63:04
in terms of news so traditionally news
63:08
was a lost leader for four television
63:11
stations radio stations and they made
63:13
their money covering sports and
63:14
entertainment other stuff and they
63:16
didn’t worry about making money off the
63:17
news well that changed started changing
63:19
in the 80s and now you know this is what
63:23
you get when one news is all about
63:25
profits it just becomes insane you know
63:28
unfactual unobjective and you know it’s
63:31
I think it’s really disturbing Thanks
63:35
[Applause]
63:39
hi Matt I’m today on Netflix the
63:43
Rogerses movie debuted and up until
63:47
Trump who are justö was more or less a
63:50
husband how influential was he in the
63:54
2016 election sorry who the one
63:58
Rajasthan Rajasthan how influential is
64:01
he um my understanding of Roger stone is
64:07
that he’s a big talker who uh who has
64:13
less access to powerful people than he
64:16
has always claimed so I don’t know you
64:19
know Roger stone he was an advisor to
64:22
the Trump campaign he’s um
64:26
really not in position to really answer
64:29
that question very well you know
64:30
obviously he figures a lot in this this
64:32
Russia drama depending on who you talk
64:35
to but that’s just you know I I couldn’t
64:39
speak to it because I never haven’t
64:41
uncovered that story okay I have a part
64:43
to it this question if the media did not
64:48
cover Trump like they did because they
64:52
would concern with the ratings do you
64:55
think he would have gotten as far as you
64:57
did so that’s a great question but I
65:01
think it goes hand in hand with a couple
65:03
of things so if if we as had as a habit
65:07
did not have a for-profit media we would
65:11
have a different kind of audience
65:13
leading into 2016 we would have a more
65:15
thinking audience we would have a more
65:17
discerning audience you know Trump isn’t
65:20
something that happens overnight it
65:21
happens after decades of watching the
65:24
dumbest possible television and lowering
65:28
your attention span to half a second
65:34
and I think you know the fact that
65:37
nobody reads anymore and I mean the
65:41
ability to think critically about what
65:43
people are looking at is a phenomenon
65:45
that’s been that’s been degraded for
65:47
decades and if we if we had a different
65:50
kind of media dating back decades
65:52
there’s no way Donald Trump would win
65:54
because he was so plainly unsuited for
65:57
the job but he was perfectly suited for
66:00
what this actually was which is a
66:03
television show I mean and and and so if
66:06
we didn’t have that format he would
66:08
never have been successful thank you hi
66:16
hi so um what the person said earlier
66:20
about uh the Democrats opening their own
66:22
Trump I was thinking that too like he
66:25
maybe he’s gonna open his own franchises
66:26
like his University or something so
66:29
we’ll teach you
66:29
political hacking but um you were saying
66:34
stuff about being in the bullpen and
66:36
that he got the crowd to turn on you and
66:39
like all this up for the press in
66:40
general but despite all that I’ve
66:43
noticed you’re really objective about
66:46
this guy still like you’re able to look
66:48
at it from many sites like you don’t I
66:49
get the sense you don’t like Trump but
66:51
you know you can you can like kinda you
66:55
can kind of see through like his tactics
66:57
and like oh he’s like he’s like flipped
66:59
it around he’s like he figured out a
67:00
deal for these politics so if Paul if
67:04
politicians are actors is a Donald Trump
67:07
the greatest actor and can you respect
67:08
his hustle as an actor well that’s a
67:13
tough question I mean I find Trump
67:15
fascinating on a lot of levels and um
67:17
and and there’s a huge question
67:22
philosophical question with Trump which
67:24
is is it did you do this on purpose did
67:27
he did he intend to have all these
67:29
tactics work this way
67:31
or was it just a total accident of his
67:33
insane narcissistic personality that
67:35
just happened to fit like a glove into
67:38
the equally insane format of our
67:40
presidential system when and that’s the
67:43
form that’s the thing I leaned toward
67:44
but
67:46
you know I remember another New
67:48
Hampshire incident you probably all
67:51
remember it in Manchester when Trump
67:55
said there was a woman who stood up in
67:58
the crowd and said can I swear here she
68:02
sees he says Ted Cruz is a right
68:05
and and Trump looked at the woman and he
68:09
said oh that’s terrible what she said
68:10
that’s terrible and you shouldn’t you
68:12
shouldn’t have said that say it again
68:13
all right so so she says it again and
68:17
you know all of us in the media we’re
68:20
watching him and you could see him
68:21
thinking he’s he’s thinking if she says
68:25
it’s a six-hour story if I say it it’s a
68:27
four days story you know what I mean and
68:29
he he paused and he thought and then he
68:33
goes she just said Ted Cruz ooh
68:35
right and now there’s video right and it
68:39
Rockets around the internet and
68:40
obliterates everything else you know the
68:42
involved with the New Hampshire election
68:44
so Trump I think on some level he just
68:47
he can’t help himself like you know he
68:49
watches his tweeting habits and
68:50
everything there’s no way that this guy
68:52
is sitting there and calculating it’s a
68:54
good idea to tweet about Meryl Streep
68:56
and stuff like you know like no way but
68:58
he part of it you know he does have some
69:02
instincts that some of it is conscious
69:03
so I think it’s a mix of things like you
69:06
know you know as a reporter you have to
69:08
resist the easy interpretation that X Y
69:11
or Z I think it can be all things you
69:13
know I think he’s crazy and an actor and
69:15
you know and a manipulator and all that
69:17
stuff so the bypassing disgusts you
69:19
or as fascinates you well it’s
69:23
disgusting clearly I mean no the the
69:25
it’s everything you wouldn’t want in a
69:28
politician but the you know on some
69:30
level if you read the book clearly early
69:34
in the campaign when I I thought I saw
69:36
Trump I thought his historical role was
69:40
going to be that he was going to destroy
69:41
the Republican Party because it seemed
69:44
pretty clear early and early on that he
69:47
was he was sort of steam rolling through
69:49
the whole process almost like a like a
69:52
classic farcical parody of everything
69:55
right and he made everybody who was on
69:56
stage with him
69:58
look more ridiculous than he was and on
70:01
some of them on a literary level it was
70:03
kind of perfect right it was a perfect
70:06
story and the fact that it was people
70:07
like Rubio and Jeb Bush and all those
70:11
people who were the victims of it kind
70:13
of didn’t make you feel so bad about it
70:14
I mean to me it made it a much funnier
70:17
story and then and then after the
70:19
nomination it took this incredibly dark
70:22
turn where it’s like this is actually
70:24
going to happen and he’s going to get
70:26
elected and when that started to happen
70:30
you know that it stopped being funny and
70:32
then it started to be like insane and
70:34
crazy and terrifying and and you know I
70:37
think that’s where we are right now so I
70:40
had I had different feelings about it
70:43
the whole way through I thought I would
70:45
imagine everybody did great did you uh
70:48
I thought the longer he was in the race
70:50
more likely he was going to win and that
70:53
was even when he was with Hillary right
70:56
so it’s like okay it’s like one week so
70:59
he’s probably gonna win right at this
71:00
point right right excellent
71:02
excellent well you it was a good good
71:04
job thanks Matt I really thought I was
71:10
excellent I might take a different kind
71:12
of direction on this uh when I hear you
71:14
discussing this issue first of all the
71:17
idea of focusing not on the incident but
71:18
the context but I guess the context of
71:21
your profession in particular like the
71:22
fact that you’re a magazine writer and
71:24
at a news writer enables you to engage
71:28
more of your critical thinking
71:29
facilities than other people might be
71:31
able to I think we all have recognized
71:33
that we make poor decisions when we’re
71:34
rushed but given that like I mean like
71:37
right now I’m a professor and I have
71:38
many students who want their papers
71:41
immediately more they’d rather their
71:44
papers be done quickly than accurately
71:46
right given that we’re all rushed for
71:48
time what is the hope for your
71:50
profession is there hope because it
71:52
seemed like there’s a positive feedback
71:53
loop that you point to being a problem
71:55
is there a point where that just the
71:57
human body cannot take any longer or do
72:00
we you know stand in the ruins of
72:01
democracy before then
72:03
Wow that’s a great question and a scary
72:07
one no I I’m really worried about it
72:10
because um you know it’s this is this
72:13
has been a problem going back in our
72:15
business for decades and it started off
72:18
really I would say in the mid 80s and
72:21
early 90s and what started off with
72:24
seemingly small problems like the
72:26
appearance of free alternative
72:29
newspapers right and we started to give
72:32
give gift papers away then the internet
72:35
came along and people got their ads from
72:38
you know they didn’t have to go to buy
72:40
the Village Voice anymore to find to get
72:43
an apartment or put up a want ad they
72:45
could just go on the internet so that
72:46
depleted massively depleted the income
72:50
streams of alternative media and what
72:53
was the first thing that newspapers cut
72:55
when they stopped making a lot of money
72:57
they stopped they cut the people who
72:59
only spent who worked five or six weeks
73:03
on one story right the first thing they
73:05
cut was investigative reporting the
73:07
second thing they cut was fact-checking
73:09
right and so you know in the old days
73:13
you would have things like the
73:14
Cincinnati Enquirer doing a ten-part
73:16
series on the Chiquita banana company
73:18
right and they would send these two
73:19
reporters down to South America and they
73:22
would they would you know they would be
73:24
very well funded to do these long
73:26
investigations and and people were were
73:30
psyched for that kind of stuff they had
73:31
an app but the public had an appetite
73:32
for that kind of reporting well now you
73:35
two things would happen number one the
73:37
audience’s don’t have the attention span
73:38
to devour four and five thousand more
73:41
piece articles about things they’re
73:44
consuming tweets right and the other
73:47
thing is that the companies have found
73:49
out that they don’t need to do that to
73:50
make money you know so they they’re
73:52
they’ve invested all their money in
73:54
graphics and presentation and and the
73:58
content gets smaller and smaller and and
74:01
less weighty all the time and so there’s
74:04
no investigations there’s no critical
74:06
thinking there’s no reflection
74:08
it’s just reactive and it’s become like
74:10
this animalistic thing almost right and
74:13
I really worry about that because not
74:15
not only are you not getting good
74:16
reporting but you’re also training your
74:18
audience right to be rushed like that
74:22
right and and and you sure you see it
74:25
kids come up now they just they just
74:28
don’t have the the stomach to read
74:31
through long things anymore and I think
74:34
it’s a serious problem and I don’t know
74:36
how to fix it do you have an idea I mean
74:38
I you know I I mean I guess in general
74:40
it just seems like like speed is kind of
74:42
the enemy of democracy although we seem
74:44
to love speed so much I don’t know
74:46
myself except I just refuse to acquiesce
74:48
sometimes and right right throw sand in
74:51
the gears I think is a common popular
74:53
way to scribe it yeah no I mean I I wish
74:56
there was some way to do it but yeah I
74:59
think it’s you’re absolutely right speed
75:00
is a huge problem with us in Trump with
75:02
Trump again Trump was perfect for this
75:04
because you had to check Twitter every
75:06
ten seconds to see what he was up to he
75:09
was that he’s the perfect futuristic
75:11
speed candidate right like you know you
75:13
could be high on something at 4:00 in
75:14
the morning and he’d be changing doing
75:16
something you know he’s yeah it’s it’s
75:20
it’s very bad thank you good evening
75:26
Matt thanks for the talk tonight a
75:29
couple of observations maybe from you
75:32
can we agree that probably we don’t this
75:36
des gentleman before me the only one who
75:38
use the word all night but a democracy
75:42
and can we agree that we it’s a myth
75:45
probably in the United States it
75:47
probably more closer we live in a
75:48
corporate fascist state the way you win
75:52
elections also it seems to me is whether
75:54
it’s Republican or Democrat you want the
75:56
fewest people to turn out right and in
75:59
the end result was that maybe there was
76:00
52 or 54 percent of people that voted
76:03
for president which means that the man
76:05
at one got probably 25% of the total
76:08
vote yeah no it’s it’s ridiculous
76:12
yeah I know I agree with the quite
76:14
otally agree the wait the way we elect
76:17
presidents in this country has nothing
76:18
to do with democracy it has nothing to
76:20
do with it’s you know it’s a very
76:23
strange process then and
76:28
in the degree to which people are not
76:31
concerned with the lack of turnout you
76:34
know and and aren’t horrified that that
76:38
that neither you know beats both of the
76:41
candidates you know by factor of two to
76:43
one other than Russia for a long time
76:46
and they used to use to be able to vote
76:47
for none of the above in elections and
76:50
in a couple of races that it actually
76:52
won and and you know that it’s this is
76:58
really the crazy thing is the Trump what
77:02
what Trump did last year was almost more
77:05
democratic than the other system which
77:06
is just we’re going to give two sort of
77:08
preordained sort of corporate-funded
77:10
parties the ability to choose between
77:14
you know to spend a billion dollars
77:16
apiece on on a couple of marketing
77:19
campaigns and people will get to choose
77:20
between one of those two things you know
77:22
that’s not terribly democratic either
77:24
and and yeah I worry about it sure hi my
77:30
question is that you said that Trump
77:32
brought out the polarization that’s been
77:35
happening do we have time to unify or is
77:40
it too far for that and Trump being
77:44
someone that I don’t I didn’t vote for
77:46
but if he were baby impeached behind him
77:49
is pence and then behind him is Ryan so
77:52
and I’m hard pressed to find a
77:54
politician that I can really believe in
77:56
regardless right right I mean it’s a
77:59
great question the one thing I would
78:03
worry about with the whole idea of
78:05
unifying is that these the campaigns in
78:07
general have just become so become so
78:10
aggressive that the idea of you know
78:15
Democrats and Republicans ever coming
78:18
together again on any you know or people
78:20
or the whole country feeling good about
78:22
anyone who could be President I just
78:24
don’t I don’t see that happening going
78:26
forward I think you’re going to have one
78:27
half of the country that’s just furious
78:28
and you know that the template of you
78:32
know started with Obama you know the
78:34
people were hysterical on the other side
78:36
and now and now we have this with Trump
78:38
and um you know
78:40
both both sides are in this militaristic
78:43
mode and hate each other hating each
78:45
other mode and I don’t know I don’t
78:46
think that’s good either
78:47
first I’ve just been asked to announce
78:49
that there’s there’s a couple people in
78:50
line but that’s the last couple
78:51
questions and then my question is that
78:53
as a big believer that government and
78:57
policy should be deeply engaging to the
78:58
broader public is there any opportunity
79:00
to pivot here when we have sort of what
79:02
seems like unprecedented public
79:04
attention to is there a way to keep that
79:06
without continuing to appeal to the
79:08
basest interest it’s a great question um
79:11
I
79:14
I thought the Sanders movement was
79:16
really amazing in a lot of ways because
79:19
Sanders also you know he was again kind
79:23
of opposite to all the things I was
79:24
talking about he he’s exactly what
79:28
reporters mean when they talk about
79:29
someone being unelectable right
79:31
he doesn’t look good on TV he’s got a
79:35
funny speaking style he’s a socialist
79:38
right and yet there was an outpouring of
79:43
support for him and when you when he
79:45
gave speeches he what did he talk about
79:47
he talked about inequality and you know
79:50
all these actual problems it was a you
79:52
know it was amazing to see America
79:55
actually tuned into this for a while um
79:58
and I thought that that was proof that
80:02
you know there there is the ability of
80:04
politicians to engage people on
80:05
something other than stupidity in this
80:08
country but you know you right now you
80:13
know it’s it’s hard to say I hope people
80:16
get the lessons from the Sanders thing
80:19
and say that you know being just sort of
80:23
an honest politician who makes an effort
80:26
to try to reach out to people that that
80:28
can be successful to you know is there
80:30
an opportunity for the media in
80:31
particular there to entertain more of
80:36
those discussions well if you look at
80:37
what happened with Bernie Sanders you’ll
80:38
see that even though you he and Trump
80:41
were very equivalent stories actually in
80:44
a lot of ways they were they were both
80:46
rebels within their own party who were
80:48
taking on the
80:49
or at their own party structure but
80:51
Trump got 23 times the amount of
80:53
television coverage of Bernie Sanders
80:55
you had phenomena like you know an empty
80:58
mic stand whoop you know cable even
81:01
MSNBC publishing you know showing people
81:06
waiting for Trump to speak whereas when
81:08
Sanders spoke he would they wouldn’t
81:10
keep the cameras on it for very long and
81:12
I think you know he was still considered
81:18
taboo in a lot of ways and I don’t think
81:20
they’re really past that yet so you know
81:23
I mm-hmm yeah yeah yeah exactly yeah
81:28
Trump’s I met you had some negative any
81:34
deservedly negative comments about the
81:37
mainstream media I’m most concerned
81:38
about the control of information what
81:41
people can get now I’m retired I’m kind
81:44
of in the position that you were in when
81:45
you were writing and you had weeks and
81:46
weeks and weeks to do I’m I can spend
81:48
hours right looking for things and I
81:51
know how to sift through things I’m a
81:53
scientist to begin with but I’m most
81:55
concerned huh what kind of science
81:57
environmental science excellent
82:05
so I’ve come across things on the
82:08
internet that like for instance not not
82:11
that I agree with everything he says
82:12
Lord Monckton
82:13
is a tremendous speaker it’s got
82:16
completely contrary information to what
82:19
everybody gets on the mainstream media
82:21
about climate change hmm and you don’t
82:24
get any debate about that you don’t see
82:26
any of that how do you what’s your
82:27
advice on the people on how to sift
82:30
through what’s on the Internet and to
82:33
find the good stuff so it’s really
82:35
really hard these days because because
82:39
the standards really aren’t good
82:41
anywhere anymore again as the business
82:45
because because we’ve had this huge
82:48
decline in profitability and then in the
82:49
news media for years fact-checking you
82:53
know have
82:54
it used to be in order to get anything
82:56
into print you had to go through this
82:58
whole very long process now that’s
83:00
completely gone for daily Daily News
83:03
writing for magazine writing it’s mostly
83:06
all gone you know it still exists in a
83:08
few places our magazine still has a
83:10
little bit of it but nowadays when
83:13
you’re trying to decide whether
83:15
somebody’s reputable news source or not
83:16
you’re mostly relying on whether or not
83:19
that person has a track record of caring
83:23
about whether or not they’re factual you
83:26
know the institutions themselves don’t
83:27
really have time anymore to try to catch
83:31
everything and they don’t they don’t
83:32
worry about it anymore as much as they
83:34
used to so um you know I I don’t I don’t
83:37
know what to advise you except to say
83:39
that academic journals are tend to be
83:42
more respectable people who will link to
83:46
a primary source you know that that’s
83:49
always a good sign but even things like
83:52
can be you know it’s I was talking about
83:54
this with the reporter the other day in
83:55
the old days when when a member of
83:59
Congress would cite something a fact in
84:01
a prepared remark we always felt good
84:03
about using that as a fact in a story
84:06
nowadays even even members of Congress
84:09
have no problem using unsourced material
84:11
when they when they give speeches and
84:13
and so there’s this epidemic of kind of
84:16
unverified stuff flying around and it’s
84:19
just become really really hard so that I
84:22
think the main piece of advice is just
84:23
to read a lot on every subject and just
84:26
try to see what the most common story is
84:28
you know just one more thing on on the
84:31
published books are the publishers still
84:34
doing the fact-checking publishers do do
84:37
fact-checking but um it’s not it’s not
84:42
it depends on the project let’s put it
84:44
that way there’s there’s a legal vet for
84:48
pretty much every book but the kind of
84:51
line by line thing that used to be
84:53
standard in this business and it like
84:58
you know I used to write these six and
84:59
seven thousand word features for Rolling
85:00
Stone and literally every line you know
85:03
the sky was blue this day they would
85:05
check you know was it blue that day
85:07
that doesn’t happen anymore in books
85:09
they’re mostly concerned about what can
85:10
we be sued for and you know what are the
85:15
major factual issues in this book and
85:17
let’s just check those out but they
85:18
don’t you know the little things you
85:20
know really depends on the publisher and
85:23
you know you can’t you can’t depend on
85:25
somebody being everything being vetted
85:28
anymore I really appreciate your
85:37
analysis of the corporate media and also
85:40
how it’s not actually just about Trump
85:43
about their these systemic problems of
85:45
anti-immigration
85:46
anti-immigrant and nationalism and so
85:50
I’m wondering is there a practical way
85:52
to look at is our profitability to
85:58
talking about immigrants and say Middle
86:00
Easterners who have had traditionally in
86:03
the media kind of like a one-dimensional
86:05
perspective is there a way to reap or
86:08
tray them in part because it can help
86:10
maybe go against that tie that has been
86:13
actually set by the media historically
86:15
that and is there a way to do that in a
86:19
profitable way to entice the corporate
86:22
corporate entities to be interested in
86:24
that um it’s a great question
86:27
unfortunately I would say that you know
86:30
clearly the model is hate sells and you
86:35
know discernment doesn’t and if you look
86:38
back at our recent history advertisers
86:42
are terrified of being seen as for
86:46
instance you know back in 2003 2004
86:50
the cable networks made enormous
86:51
enormous sums of money promoting the
86:54
Iraq war and there was literally zero
86:58
incentive for those companies to put a
87:01
halt to the you know Islamophobia to any
87:04
any of that that’s that’s never going to
87:07
be a moneymaker for the network’s you
87:09
know being being discerning you know I
87:12
would even say right now there’s a thing
87:15
about being anti Russian that that
87:18
you know you’re not going to find
87:20
anybody who is going to be willing to
87:24
kind of stand up and say hey you know
87:25
I’m pro-russian like that that’s that
87:27
there’s not going to be an incentive for
87:28
that I think some of the networks have
87:31
tried to do a better job of that in
87:34
their news coverage but that you know in
87:36
terms of a financial incentive you just
87:37
won’t find it unfortunately so a few
87:43
final words please support us this is
87:46
this place is dedicated independent
87:48
media and it is really fulfilling to us
87:51
to see all of you in this room and we
87:53
have sanctuary resist t-shirts everyone
87:56
needs one and we just really want to
87:58
thank Matt because you’re really a hero
88:00
in the movement right now and it’s so
88:02
important that you’re here
88:12
thank you soon

How To Win With People You Don’t Like – Jocko Willink

If I am so smart, why am I know winning.

You should build relationships with people you don’t like for the good of the mission.

If you don’t like someone, most of the time that is your ego.

Transcript

00:00
do you talk about building or you talk about building relationships a lot at
00:03
work even when people whom you might not like even with people who mean you don’t
00:09
like have you always been this way or did you also feel difficult also
00:16
difficulty in wanting to build relationships with those people if the
00:20
latter what are the things that help you to actually want to build relationships
00:25
with him things so when I was a young seal
00:32
I was pretty typical young seal pretty typical young man meaning I thought I
00:39
was invincible I thought I could beat everyone in a fight cuz I didn’t know
00:45
jiu-jitsu so you just think you’re just gonna win but that you’re wrong I
00:48
thought I knew everything of course and I thought I was smarter than everyone
00:54
else kind of typical sometimes I would rub people the wrong way and the people
01:01
that I would rub the wrong way were especially people that I third thought
01:05
were not squared away in the chain of command so if you weren’t square if you
01:09
if you were my boss and I didn’t think you were squared away I was gonna rub
01:12
you the wrong way no cuz I was gonna be slightly offensive yeah as a matter of
01:17
fact I got an evaluation it’s one of the first evaluations that I got when I got
01:20
to a SEAL team and back in the day yeah you’d get you were rated 4.0 was the
01:27
highest you could get and it would go all the way down to whatever like one
01:31
but at this time basically everyone got four oh and everything right you
01:36
basically got four oh and everything and like you’d have to mess up you have to
01:40
mess to get deviate from the four so I got all four O’s and I got a 3.8 which
01:47
was like a major dig and the dig was in I think it was like in relation like I
01:54
don’t know what the word was but when I got debriefed on it what the
01:59
guy that gave me the 3/8 what he what he told me
02:03
which I actually was proud of because that’s how stupid I was
02:07
he’s like you you you’re too hostile with people that aren’t squared away
02:12
that’s literally and I was all like whatever you’re damn
02:17
right I am hostile towards people that aren’t square to go to war right just an
02:23
idiot that’s what that’s what the situation
02:25
was and you know it made me mad if a leader was weak and I would form these
02:33
antagonistic relationships with leaders if I thought that they were weak
and one
02:39
of these bosses eventually that I fought I was better than right I thought I was
02:45
smarter I thought I was smarter than him right I thought that he was an idiot
02:50
sure I should have his job right how often do you think that right I should
02:58
have that guy’s job I’m smart and the more I showed this attitude the worse
03:03
our relationship got in the world and the less he listened to me and the less
03:08
influence
I had over how we did things and therefore the the worse we did and
03:17
the and the the worse our ability to perform God because he was just doing
03:22
things the way he thought without any good input from anyone below him in the
03:26
chain of command mm-hmm all because I had formed this antagonistic
03:31
relationship with him which was bad because then he’s not listening to me
03:34
and then one day one day I said to myself if I’m so smart if I’m such a
03:47
smart guy why am I losing why am I losing if I’m so smart if I am so smart
03:56
why can’t I get this guy to do what I want him to do even though he’s my boss
04:02
doesn’t matter if I’m so smart yes they were smarter than him why can’t I get
04:07
him to do what I wanted me to do hmm why if I’m so smart how come I can’t
04:14
have more influence over the way we operate if I’m so smart and he’s so dumb
04:18
mm-hmm and that’s that’s when I realized that’s when I had an away
04:25
an awakening that instead of blaming him for being stupid I was the one who was
04:33
being stupid I had lost the ability to influence my boss because I was being
04:43
stupid and because of my ego
I literally thought I deserved his job okay I
04:48
thought pretty much anyone could anyone in the platoon should have his job and
04:55
therefore since I thought that I I understand of supporting him they said a
05:02
building a relationship with him i undermined him now once I got humble and
05:09
I started to build a positive relationship with him
instead of an
05:13
antagonistic one that started to change and because because then he started
05:19
listening to me he started to change some things and my influence over the
05:24
whole situation became better because I now had a relationshi
p despite the fact
05:29
I liked the guy despite that fact I built the
05:33
relationship and the situation got better I had more influence and that
05:39
became kind of my standard operating procedure was to build relationships
05:43
with people even if I didn’t like them to build relationships with people so
05:48
that I could have more influence now does what does that sound like right
05:53
that sounds like I’m kind of this manipulative two-faced superficial
05:58
disingenuous guy yeah that’s that’s being devious and conniving not keeping
06:03
it real not keeping it real right but the fact is that is not true that’s not
06:10
that’s not that’s not who I am you don’t know who I am I’m a guy that’s trying to
06:17
accomplish the mission that’s what I am I’m a guy that is trying to accomplish
06:22
the mission who is putting my own ego in check to build a relationship with
06:27
someone that I don’t like that I don’t respect but what I’m trying to do is
06:34
improve our operational capability what’s more important to me trying to
06:43
arrange the situation build the relationship so that we do better not so
06:49
that I get promoted not so that I’m getting some accolades but so that we as
06:54
a team do a better job I put the little feelings aside because I want the team
07:03
to win so if you’re having having some trouble getting over your feelings and
07:11
getting over your ego to build relationships for the good of the team
07:15
ask yourself the same question I asked myself a long time ago
07:21
which is this if I am so smart why am I not winning and if you answer that
07:31
question honestly then you’ll put your ego in check
07:34
you’ll go build the relationships that will make you and your team accomplish
07:38
the mission and win hmm there you go
07:46
can’t help but agree with that one you know what’s funny is if you think
07:51
about like why you wouldn’t like someone mm-hmm what what causes you and not like
07:56
someone most of the time that’s your ego anyways most of the time that’s your ego
08:01
anyways yeah and so you know you had that story of the you know you were
08:08
consulting somebody it was like a big CEO of yeah like a lacrosse guy that
08:12
story is probably the most common story I mean the way you handle it different
08:18
yeah but that scenario that you started with with us are so common man
08:21
where ya they rub you the wrong way because right off the bat you see him as
08:24
some kind of competitive figure to you like they’re you know some you know
08:28
compare you know you’re competing with them in your own mind in whatever and
08:31
the feelings probably meet you a lot of the time you know see kids don’t like
08:34
each other you know one anything he says you’re you know you’re already defensive
08:38
but it’s weird man how you can how that happened like that’s happened to me
08:41
before not is it wasn’t as overt but just like yeah I don’t really feel that
08:45
guy you know I don’t like I would because I not only is he like when you
08:49
look at them whatever they’re kind of competitive with you but maybe they do
08:52
something just this much different than you you know like it’s just different in
08:55
philosophy or something like that I was like oh let me again second and then
08:58
they open their mouth and say one word to you and it’s real nice you’re like oh
09:01
I love that guy you know just one little thing just one little like hey I’m cool
09:05
you know I like you kind of thing and it’s like oh man yeah when they say
09:08
something humble to you yeah it disarms your ego and you’re all of a sudden
09:12
you’re bros yeah it’s so weird but if they don’t if they escalate the ego
09:16
situation
which then it’s very problematic happens all the time I mean
09:19
really that’s the natural course of things because you do have to put on the
09:23
brakes on your feelings and be like okay let’s make a different kind of decision
09:27
than the automatic one I got to switch to manual real quick and then bling but
09:31
the bottom line is you’re gonna interact with all kinds of different people if
09:33
you’re in any kind of team want so ever which is most most human beings interact
09:37
with other human beings through their job through their life through I mean
09:41
you could apply this to your family too right
09:42
there’s someone in your family that you don’t get along with well what good does
09:48
it do does it make your family unit better when you let those emotions play
09:53
out and let your ego play out no it doesn’t you’re better off you’ll get
09:56
further and you’ll have a better you’ll have a better life in your family if you
10:03
put your ego in check and then say you know what I’m just gonna build a
10:06
relationship with this person it’s gonna make everything better and smoother but
10:09
it’s like man if you it I feel like you can take the place of any marriage
10:15
counselor by just saying that for real like all you have to do is in and they
10:19
got to do it but all you got to do is ask like is this gonna help the
10:22
relationship with my wife or my family whoever it is in your is this gonna help
10:26
the relationship if I do this or don’t do this or is it gonna hurt it and
10:29
that’s it that’s it that’s super general question or whatever but it’s it’s so
10:32
cut and dry most of the time yeah of course it’s exceptions but generally
10:35
speaking it’s pretty cut and dry okay and a lot of time just like I said it
10:39
has to do with like your ego or your you know this this sense of vengeance little
10:44
micro sense of vengeanc
e because I can’t believe she doesn’t respect the fact
10:49
that I took out the trash you know she asked me to take the trash all the time
10:52
finally when I do it nothing you know like chilli its I was talking to a
10:59
friend of mine and we were talking about you know I’ve talked about the mutiny
11:03
that I had yeah yeah Co platoon but we had a mutiny we fight
11:07
we had a mutiny against uh our platoon commander we fired he got fired and then
11:12
the other guy that came in to take his place was like the best guy mm-hmm and I
11:15
was talking to a guy that worked with him much later when he was a senior
11:18
senior guy and I was telling him I was like oh when I talk on the podcast about
11:24
the platoon commander that was like the best that’s who I’m talking he’s like no
11:28
way and and this guy working with he’s a senior guy and he says you know when he
11:34
when I worked with him he would take out that he would take out the trash from
11:38
the office every day
and he and I started laughing said that’s right and
11:43
I’d be look and he was saying like oh I look at him and be like sir you know you
11:47
don’t need to do that it’s like no no it’s not good you know someone’s got to
11:49
take out the trash I got it mm-hmm this is a seat a guy that shouldn’t have
11:53
been taking out trash for 25 years taking out the trash
11:57
well is he picking up breath picking up brass taking out trash you know that’s
12:02
that’s being humble yeah being humble goes a long way

Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein

The Dire Dangers of Narcissism

Though I’m professionally distant from today’s media luminaries, I have a particular personal interest in the current narcissistic spectacle du jour: I went to college and was friends with Harvey Weinstein nearly a half a century ago.

With an admixture of feelings, I watch the scandal unfold. I’m horrified and angry at what Weinstein is charged with perpetrating. I’m confused and saddened by my former friend’s behavior. Yet, I’m not surprised, given what I remember about Harvey when we were students. That’s not to say I could have predicted this. I don’t identify with interviewees solicited by journalists to tell what they knew of ignominious scoundrels before they committed their heinous acts. Harvey Weinstein—from first impression of him being grandiose, sycophantic, and magnanimously generous to the progression of his unstable and rampant ambitionwas intense, needy, insecure, ingratiating, and over-the-top in his endeavors.

I’m not invested in justifying or scourging Harvey. He’ll get whatever the consequences of his actions bring—spiritually and legally. I feel sorry for him, but ever more sorry for, and indignant about, the victims he is accused of abusing, exploiting, bullying, and oppressing. Such injustice must be vindicated—but that is not up to me. As a psychologist, my goal is to unravel and shed light upon the inner forces that develop into disastrous behavior. Since I consorted with Harvey and knew him well decades ago, I want to lay bare the seminal roots of an accused tyrant before he became one.

As a psychologist, I have something to contribute by explaining the wily dangers of narcissism, thus allowing potential victims to be informed and better protected. As an American citizen, I am alarmed and wary about the course and future of our country, our people and our principles. As a father, husband, and person with strengths and weaknesses who is desirous of healthy relationships, I, too, am vulnerable. Narcissism is an insidious monster, born of a needy and unstable ego that lurks for years, nursing its perceived wounds, until it explodes in aggressive and blind perpetrations. A healthy self-image must be nurtured. It can be achieved by hard work that includes the basis for self-respect and the practice of respect for others. Though the development of narcissism is neither predictable nor clearly delineated, certain factors may contribute to a self-aggrandizing ego and overbearing sense of entitlement:

  • a “silver-spoon” upbringing, where material things and excessively indulgent opportunities became integral elements in the family culture;
  • exposure to a series of traumas and humiliations;
  • use of embarrassment to modify childhood misbehavior;
  • employing self-flagellation to cope with insecurity; or simply
  • relying on an escapist fantasy and the transformative illusion of becoming a legend and hero in one’s mirror.

Though we may recoil from the exaggerated hubris of the narcissist, we should also be respectful and thankful for not traveling along such an isolating and destructive path. As my mother often said: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” To live a life of worthiness and honor, one must embrace gratitude and humility.

What Happened to You, Harvey Weinstein?
Do you remember me, Harvey? I know you’ve got a lot on your mind these days; but I’ll bet that if you heard my name, you’d say, “Mark… how the hell are you doing?” We go back a long way, Harvey, to some wild days at the University of Buffalo.

Remember the crowd? Janis Siegel (affectionately called Pumpkin), who went on to acclaim as a singer with Manhattan Transfer. And the creative and iconic Jay Beckenstein, jazz saxophonist with Spyrogyra.

Remember those all-nighters, the 4:00 AM greasy burgers at Your Host Restaurant? The anguished, drugged-out rants and discussions about the universe, who we were, and where we were going?

We grew up and went out in the world to different places. You were amazing, Harvey: intense, sycophantic, driven, disturbed, and needy. I identified with you—Jewish kids from New York, arrived in a blue collar city, ready to take over and show how much we knew and how things should be done.

You floundered, and then soared. It wasn’t long before you traded academics for an entrepreneurial path, on your way to becoming a juggernaut. You founded Harvey & Corky Productions, bringing big-name musical talent to downtown Buffalo. You soon rubbed shoulders with the top names and icons of our generation. It must have been intoxicating, far beyond the drugs that most used to reach for peace and imagined self-importance.

Throughout the years, I watched your movies and cheered you on. There goes Harvey Weinstein—I knew him in college; we were friends. I envied your success. From my intimate knowledge of your personality, I suspected that you were not happy or fulfilled. How could you be, never filling the immense void within you with something other than riches and accolades? Not to diminish your sweeping achievements. But you were so needy and insecure. How could anything the world had to offer be enough?

I wrote to you fifteen years ago, hoping to reconnect. But I never got a response.

Apparently, you tried to fill your deep inner void with surreptitious trysts, using your money and influence to sway and dominate young women—impressionable and aspiring beauties you used for your lustful and egotistical purposes. You used your money, power, and influence to lord it over people, to take advantage of them, and to coerce their silence. The chickens have come home to roost; the truth will not be hidden; you are exposed and in trouble.

It’s not for me to judge you Harvey. I just want to tell you something about women and men and power and accountability.

Females are not immune from deceit, hypocrisy, and the fleshly litany of sins. But females are to be protected and respected. They are “weaker” in some sense, but immensely more powerful than men in many respects. Our society inherently imposes on women mixed messages, psychological traumas, economic discrimination, and often the raw end of many deals. Our culture exalts and worships physical appeal, but quickly disregards and discards worthwhile human beings when their outward beauty fades. Ironically, we exalt and worship physical beauty, and yet we exploit it. The fleeting blooms of pulchritude and stardom leave women vulnerable and with undeserved dismissal or ostracism. Too many men strut their machismo, stricken with envy (and with the fantasy) that a woman can have sex any time she wants (whereas many men have to feel they must lure or seduce). Unfortunately, some men act out of this context to take advantage and force or exploit women. When the playing field becomes overly imbalanced, many women either withdraw into resentful passive aggressiveness—avoiding or manipulating intimacy—or act out with hostile projection—rejecting men or typecasting them as insensitive and only interested in exploitative sex. Though there’s plenty of blame to spread around, men bear the burden—historically, we have been at fault by dominating women and isolating them from full and equal participation in society.

With your overarching success, Harvey, you now have trouble (tsouris, in Yiddish) on a grand scale. My heart aches for you, and I pray for you.

I have some advice for you, Harvey, my dear old friend: it’s time for you to make amends, to acknowledge your wrongdoing, to seek forgiveness, and to make restitution—no holds barred. I know you must now resort to posturing for strategic legal reasons, but you are going to sacrifice a lot of money to pay for your mistakes. You can no longer “buy” people (and certainly not their silence). You will feel alone, and will be alone. You will have to give up the pretenses you have long abused to fill the abyss and mollify the gargantuan ego that hides the empty Harvey Weinstein.

Yet, there is someone valuable, tender, sensitive, worthwhile inside the blustering and offensive Harvey. This is an opportunity to find out who you really are, to change the offensiveness, and to develop into an honorable person.

God has used you, Harvey, and he is not done yet. Through these scandals, he is using you writ large to teach others; and he is bringing you to your knees in the hope that you will stay there and begin to acknowledge and worship him.

Truer riches await you, my friend, if you will only repent and ask for divine forgiveness and guidance. You must also seek forgiveness from the people you hurt, so many of them. It’s time to be open, sincere, and humble. You must unequivocally repent.

Years ago, you founded a big company—Miramax—named after your parents, Max and Miriam Weinstein. What would they think of their son now? I never knew Max or Miriam, but I am sure they always loved you. Why, Harvey, has it been so difficult for you to feel love?

The Harvey Weinstein I knew nearly half a century ago could never relax. He always had to prove something, to get more and show more. You were an intense and difficult person. But you were likable, Harvey, and you didn’t have to try so hard.

Narcissism Exposed

The term narcissism is taken from Greek mythology. Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. He was drawn to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it (himself), not realizing it was merely an image.

Today, narcissism is a psychiatric diagnosis and considered a mental disorder. It is also often used disparagingly in common parlance and description. Narcissism involves extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, and has come to characterize a personality type. Narcissists think extremely highly of themselves and are often driven to seek validation of their worthiness and inflated self-opinion by soliciting and even demanding the approval of others. They delude themselves that their boorish machinations and manipulations of others testify to their own self-worth. Though they may be capable of compassion and empathy, narcissists are so preoccupied with their own selfish interests and with validating themselves that they typically ignore or do not consider or recognize others’ needs, even the people closest to them.

Narcissists’ classic “me-first” posture often leads them to resort to aggressive acts that allow them to dominate or “win,” regardless of the costs. They love and need to be the center of attention, often usurping the limelight, dominating conversations, and controlling situations and people to serve their own ends.

It is when they are challenged or confronted with reality that the true pathological character of narcissists flagrantly emerges. Narcissists’ fragile self-image and ego structure do not allow them to acknowledge the egregious nature of their self-importance. Thus, is it is rare for them to apologize or admit wrongdoing. Remorse and repentance for their offensive actions almost never occurs (think Trump).

Thus, narcissists often have a problem with reality-testing; that is, they can only perceive events and circumstances from the same perspective as others when such “reality” supports and buttresses themselves in a positive and flattering light. Unfortunately, this infrequently happens. Instead narcissists twist and distort reality to suit their own views, inevitably causing confusion, alienation, and damage to relationships and the integrity and well-being of others. They constantly use people in devious ways, and invariably deny their motives and the unpleasant effects upon others. Narcissists have confounding and appalling obsession to blame others for what they themselves have done. A psychological term for this is projection. This is denial at its craftiest, and it is infuriating (again, think Trump).

When dealing with and referring to people who thought too highly of themselves, a dear friend of mine use to quip. “I’d like to buy you for what you’re really worth, and sell you for what you think you’re worth.

We can shake our heads in disbelief or disgust at narcissism, and we can mock this condition with humor. However, don’t underestimate the dire danger of narcissism as the disorder affects all those who come into contact with the narcissist. Narcissists cannot have good relationships because they view others as opportunities to validate and gratify themselves. In psychoanalytic terms, they have poorly developed object relations. In plain language, this means that they cannot separate and distinguish between themselves and the legitimate perceptions, opinions, values, desires, and needs of others. What others experience (including hurt or neglect perpetrated by the narcissist) is blocked by the arrogant, center-stage prominence of the narcissist’s own needs.

Dealing With Narcissists

Because narcissists live in a bubble of self-absorption and denial, it’s very hard to break through their manipulations and defenses. Normal people (allowing for differences among individuals) have varying abilities to admit mistakes, acknowledge wrongdoing, apologize with sincerity, recognize their flaws and trespasses along with the negative impact upon others, and modify their behaviors to minimize the negative effects of selfishness. Not so with narcissists, as this is the core of their personality disorder.

It may be helpful to review the following guidelines in dealing with people you suspect of narcissism:

Expect self-centeredness and reality distortion

Because narcissists’ self-absorbed attitudes and responses are often provocative, it’s tempting to react with consternation, indignation, umbrage, and the like. However, if you keep your dismay and outrage to yourself, you’ll be in a better position to question the behaviors with a strategy of setting limits. Instead of expressing your emotional reactions to narcissistic self-centeredness, practice the strategies listed below.

Refrain from demonstrative emotional reactions

Tie responses to facts, evidence, and questions

When faced with narcissists’ bold claims, quietly question the bases for such statements. Or, just ignore them. For example, someone may proudly announce, “These people don’t know how to drive. I happen to be one of the best drivers on the road.” You could say, “ I guess so. But there is the issue of your three moving violations and numerous parking tickets.” Or, you could just let it go, and smirk to yourself.

Sometimes, simply questioning the basis for outrageous statements is enough to slow down the narcissist’s bluster. Remember Trump’s tirades about how he “knows more about Isis than any general in the military,” and his defiant complaint that he is “the victim of the greatest witch hunt in history”? There is no shutting down such an ego. However, one might ask, “Where did you acquire your military knowledge, and why were you not consulted and solicited before you became president?”

Please give us some details about the other witch hunts against which you compare your own alleged persecution.”

And don’t expect an intelligent and coherent response to your questions!

Preface accountability and confrontations with acknowledgment and legitimate praise

Narcissists perceive questions, challenges, and alternate opinions—even facts—as threats to and defamation of their integrity. Therefore, it’s helpful to preface and intersperse your messages of accountability with reasonable and relevant praise toward the person whom you’re trying to get to really listen to you. Even appealing to their putative sense of discernment and justice may get you farther along on your attempts to bring reality into the conversation.

When I deal with pie-in-the sky people who live inside dreams inflated by their own sense of self-worth and entitlement, I find it prudent to ask, “I understand that, given your abilities and track record (?!), you expect this to work out as you’ve favorably planned…, but because you are smart, have you formulated an alternative scenario and plan?”

Set boundaries and repeat if-then consequences as they pertain to the narcissist’s behaviors

Inevitably, narcissists repeatedly step on the toes of others. Their transgressions may be verbal and/or they may take vindictive actions (hello again, Mr. Trump). Their self-aggrandizement can make it hard to keep a straight face; or, their attitude of entitlement may carry implicit threats for noncompliance or resistance. (Harvey Weinstein got away with his egregious behavior in large part due to his political and economic influence, much of which he wielded against much less powerful women. When he ultimately confronted a woman who was formidable and courageous, she pulled the plug, and the dirty slimy water that had accumulated in the bathtub over the decades slurped down the drain. Harvey was left sitting naked and shivering in his own filth.)

Granted, it’s not for individuals to take on the President of the United States. But the collective violations and outrage are propelling Trump to his comeuppance. Kudos to the brave people who have spoken the truth and challenged Trump, even at risk to their own reputations and careers! That takes integrity, confidence, and courage!

And Harvey? My old friend, your bullying and predation have ironically transformed the zeitgeist. Your secret life of lust, aggression, and intimidation now exposed has caused trauma and harm—shame on you! However, the notoriety has caused a groundswell of indignation, objection, and cries for justice. You have become the agent of change, long overdue.

The message is clear: If you abuse or intimidate women, it will come to light and you will pay.

Solicit commitments, promises, and contracts in writing

Remember that, as part of their sense of entitlement, narcissists do not hesitate to change the rules—including their agreements, commitments, promises, and respect for others’ needs—when it suits their purposes. Therefore, it’s wise to make a habit of solidifying commitments and promises in writing, with dates and signatures if possible. Though the self-entitled may scoff and sneer at such requests, pretend you are prone to mistaking the details, since your memory might not be as good as theirs (!) and remind them of the pithy saying, Black and white on paper is a lot clearer than the gray matter of the brain.

In other words, play dumb, like a fox. The narcissist may pity you and indulge you.

At the very least, keep your own meticulous records with details of words, actions, and dates. E-mails and texts establish a continual, accessible, and practical audit trail, useful for holding the narcissist accountable, especially when deception and conflict arise.

Be prepared for breaches of trust, intimacy, and fidelity

Precautions and attentiveness notwithstanding, you cannot change the basic flawed character of the narcissist. That’s not to say that people don’t change. Life experience, traumas, pain, and consequences are all great teachers. They even teach to the seemingly robust and impregnable bravado of narcissists (and, at best, it takes awhile). In his own way and with his own timing, God chips away at the lives and consciences of the foolish and hurtful. At his own discretion, he causes miracles to happen.

But the very nature of narcissism attacks trust, empathy, and consideration. Don’t be surprised when the narcissist (repeatedly) violates boundaries, flaunts rules, and sabotages trust, intimacy, and even your own faith. Remain loving, but be cautious and be prepared. Your sensitivity and good intentions are no match for the power of narcissism. Engaging in an argument or a major adversarial battle with a narcissist can be akin to stepping into the ring with a mixed martial arts fighter. No holds are bared. Be prepared for the unexpected. Be on guard. Protect yourself at all times. Expect hyperbole, manipulated facts, concocted falsehoods, inconsistencies, and outrageous lies. It’s all part of the package.

Narcissism’s Dire Consequences

Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein are but two notorious narcissistic icons—caricatures writ large in a field of opportunism. Their transgressions leave us aghast, wondering how such egregious behavior could have escalated and continued.

Surely, someone like Weinstein, if indicted and convicted of a crime or crimes in a court of law, must be thwarted and punished. Trump is a much more complex matter involving political and constitutional issues that are still in the process of unfolding. However, the important take-home message is that there are many like them—young, old, male, female, prominent, less significant—who foist their attitudes and perpetrations upon the unsuspecting and vulnerable, the psychologically and experientially less sophisticated, and those with fewer defenses and resources.

Narcissists may be overtly offensive, or they may be furtive and wily—sheep in wolves’ clothing. In a culture that has inveterately promoted self-centeredness and a “me-first” value system, narcissists may seem to embody the cultural virtues, to blend in and prevail over the competition. But you will recognize them by their intransigence and lack of compassion for the basic welfare and psychological well-being of others. As legends in their own mirrors (or pools, as with the Greek Narcissus), they deem themselves the only ones who matter.

As a society, we should focus attention on identifying, dissuading, and modifying the development of narcissistic character. Respect for women—pervasive societal, legal, accommodating respect—is surely a good place to start. We are beginning to painfully learn those lessons.

But the battle against misogyny is not enough. Parents must teach their children that the world does not “owe” them. The government should provide more than minimal education and health care—service, schooling, and training that focuses on character development and resources for the ravages of character failure, including disorders of emotional bonding, anxiety, depression, trauma, and the depredations of addiction.

We need to return to God, individually and collectively. Each of us determines our own personal relationship with or abandonment of our Creator. Religion should not be forced. But spiritual living should be foundational and institutionally encouraged. The development of the soul and its conscience and compassion is incompatible with the “me-first” ethos that culturally reinforces narcissism.

When tragedy strikes, we become voracious Monday morning quarterbacks. We scrutinize the history of assassins and predators, looking for clues that should have exposed them earlier. However, social autopsies on misfits will not relieve us of the larger problem, nor will those efforts alone avert the perverse development of unhealthy, megalomaniac egos.

We must become a society, through and through, that values humility and teaches people, rank and file, to put others first. Against such a social norm, the Trumps and Weinsteins will identify themselves early as faulty people who need discipline, correction, and guidance to develop true and healthy self-love.

Narcissism may never be eliminated, for we are a prideful and sinful species. With regard to selfish insensitivity, some are given to robust excess, even to the point of outright cruelty. Recoil as we might from Trump and Weinstein, we should learn that we need to expose them earlier in order to prevent the devastating potential of narcissism from exerting its will.

Farewell to the Harvey I Knew

We can’t live in the past. The Harvey Weinstein I knew nearly a half century ago has gone his own way, as have I.

In college, you looked up to me, Harvey. In your desperate neediness, you couldn’t see through my pretense, my needing to appear hip and avant-garde. If I’d had your talents, Harvey, perhaps I would have gone much farther astray than I did. Money and fame eluded me, but I guess I was luckier than you. And life did not let me get away with what, in my insouciant arrogance and ambition, I secretly wanted to.

If we could have coffee, I’d share with you some of the ordeals that happened in my life, what I’ve learned and about the people who taught me. Despite many setbacks and traumas, I’ve been fortunate. I have loved and been loved. Women have been great teachers to me, some intimate, some maternal, and many have been platonic, wonderful influences. I have learned to respect women and to not take advantage of them. Except for my wife, I regard them as sisters, mothers, and daughters. I treat them with biblically directed protection, respect, and deference. I joke (respectfully) about the differences between men and women. I note with professional acumen the stereotypes that frequently characterize the brains and demeanors of the two sexes. I’ve written a book about this, too, aimed at improving harmony and satisfaction in marriage relationships.

With maturity, I have more confidence and less need to prove myself or be the center of attention. I’m more able to appreciate the difficulties women have in a male-dominated world. I’m grounded enough to speak up and to model for males how to respect, value, protect, and share equally with females.

With God’s help and the stringent sanctions of many people who knocked me off my self-constructed pedestal and put me in a proper place, I’ve tamed most of my narcissistic tendencies.

The Harvey Weinstein I knew has grown and devolved. Farewell naïve and callow college buddy. I still recognize you, Harvey; beneath the atrocities, there is a boy, now a man, desperate for satisfying love. I hope this is God’s way of teaching you how to find it.

— Mark Steinberg, Ph.D.