There are different kinds of psychological projection. One is where because we like something we assume everyone else does to and if they do not, they should. This kind of projection happens a lot with media consumption like TV and with consumer products. Another kind of projection is frequently found in discussions about politics, religion and cultural issues. Someone will attribute to other people desires, agenda, insecurities and various other traits to the person or group they are making an argument against. There is another kind of projection, closely related to the second group that is especially pretentious, the debater will take on the attributes of a mind reader. You’re behavior or writing or lifestyle is due to these factors I see so clearly through your transparent skull and all the circuits firing off. Like lying, we’re all guilty of these kinds of projections on occasion and to various degrees. Like some lies – that tie looks great, I love your hair shorter, are generally justified in the greater cause of relationship maintenance. The particularly troubling projectors are the ones who psyche embraces projections as frequently used and essential truths. Lets say someone like a further senator, has latent homosexual feelings combined with moral convictions which define homosexuality as deviant behavior. That person will project their disgust outwardly, punishing those whose behavior he is guilty of in order to save themselves from temptation to give in to impulses which make him feel self-disgust. This is not routine behavior, not everyone projects their disgust on others.
The mind readers can be disconcerting if you are familiar with and like to keep close to the guidelines of logical debate. They tend to attribute traits to others which they really have no evidence for. Getting at the truth in such arguments is difficult. rather than building a case like a procedural crime investigation they project attributes that they use as evidence – women who are passionate about a topic are neurotic, men who are pleasant are hiding a sordid agenda. Both those cases could be true, but where is the DNA evidence, the finger prints, the witnesses that saw them at the scene of the crime. These projecting individuals sometimes unconsciously see their own overly aggressive, shy, departmentalizing, shame, adequateness or other distasteful personality traits in others. Most people are drawn to people who smile a lot, who laugh easily and are outgoing. Does that mean they are good people or are we projecting goodness into them. Serial killer John Wayne Casey used to do volunteer as a clown at charity events and children’s parties. There were probably some relatively shy cranky people at those parties. The crowds liked Casey, but probably merely endured the shy moody people, who other than being less than great conversationalist, never did anything to anyone. Projecting thus causes some issues in terms of reality itself. Rather than identifying with or carefully deconstructing one’s own thoughts and identity, the projector cast out unpleasant feelings to those who do not deserve them and bestow distortions of themselves onto people who have fooled them. Few people do this all the time or to the degree they lose complete touch with reality, but it does happen a lot. For some people it seems reserved for special occasions or topics. Hot button issues about parenting, abortion, currently the history of labor unions, marriage, public education, gender issues and science are web topics that usually get a few specialists in projecting. These also happen to be topics where one’s consciousness of facts and essential truths are challenged. Projecting becomes a way to deflect the facts and truths. A way to protect one’s psyche for those whose grasp of the facts is tenuous and whose psyche would suffer some short circuiting to admit the truth of a counter argument and its train of logic. To make matters more migraine inducing are the people who combine pieces of rationalism with projection. I find this sub-group of people especially frustrating, whether we disagree and even when we’re generally on the same side of an issue. Maybe because they do have a fairly good foundation of facts and the tools of logic at their disposal combined with an uncanny facility for twisting every thought, concept, idea or personal preference into some unattainable level of purity. A level of purity, they themselves will never attain. It is almost as though they wish they could be the puppet master. To pull strings and manipulate every thought down to the n-th degree, to the most intimate level. That is darker than the darkest Twilight Zone and is outside of just subscribing to a political philosophy. That zone has tenuous attachments to real issues in cultural or political discourse. It is about psychology and not being able to rise above one’s own inner demons.
Kos post some of his hate mail once in a while and they are generally good examples of a certain type of projection and deflection.
I am not about to do a post on Charlie Sheen, but this did remind me of an issue related to the public and the media, Exploiting Charlie Sheen
So why are they interviewing him? Not because they expect him to say smart things that give insight. Neither are they trying to give a picture of mental illness, for they give no context. On Piers Morgan’s nightly exhibition of ratings neediness, the star dismissed doctors’ mentions of bipolar disease and then Morgan stepped up to give him a clean bill of mental health, telling Sheen he is “alarmingly normal.” I think in the field they call that enabling.
What Sheen does may be news. What his network didn’t do is also news — when he abused women, they kept him on the air to keep the ratings he gets. What his network did do is news — they yanked him only after he issued a manic rant against his producer.
Jeff Jarvis makes a good point about Sheen and the media. Thou two related issues come to mind. One si the media sees its job as getting and keeping eyeballs. While the media should take some blame for pandering, it is viewers who fuel the continuing coverage of Sheen-Lohan type news. Until viewers who buy the deodorant and paper towels start hitting the off switch we’re guaranteed more over coverage of the latest celebrity melodrama. While abusing people is news, one celebrity’s saga does not require the hours of coverage devoted to this one story. This is a good example from 2006 when a federal court ruled against Bush’s sweeping and indiscriminate use of secret domestic-surveillance, Mainstream TV Media Drops The Ball On NSA Ruling, Instead Devotes Attention To JonBenet Ramsey
Yesterday, a federal judge in Michigan issued sweeping rebuke of the once-secret domestic-surveillance effort the White House authorized following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The ruling was a significant blow to Bush’s attempts to expand presidential powers, but you wouldn’t know that by watching last evenings network newscasts.
All three major TV networks led their evening news with stories on JonBenet Ramsey’s death and the comments made by arrested teacher John Mark Karr. The networks offered multiple segments and numerous expert analyses to provide in-depth coverage on the legal case. The NSA decision received only a passing mention from two of the newscasts, while ABC devoted a full segment to it.
Still, ABC devoted twice as much time to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story. More egregiously, CBS offered seven times as much airtime to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story, while NBC devoted 15 times more airtime.
A child’s murder is certainly news worthy, but twice to 15 times more coverage than the president violating his oath of office. The co-called liberal media did the same thing in covering the death of Anna Nicole Smith and reporting on developments in Iraq in 2007. Why did the deaths in Iraq deserve only 25 percent or less of the news coverage than the death of a celebrity. My crystal ball is still in the shop, but I can safely predict that the Monday morning news programs will tell me more about the newest electronic gadgets and spring fashions than it will about Rep. Michele Bachmann(R) irrational threats and attacks on Planned Parenthood.