Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) ” an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society.”
One could think of Emerson’s warning as a counter balance to the contemporary concept of self-esteem. A sure way to screw up any concept, even one with the best intentions, is to let percolate for a while in the public consciousness. High self-esteem is not always what it’s cracked up to be, especially when it comes to being insecure and defensive
Increasingly, psychologists are looking at such behavior and saying out loud what may go against the grain of how many people act: high self-esteem is not the same thing as healthy self-esteem. And new research by a psychology professor from the University of Georgia is adding another twist: those with “secure” high self-esteem are less likely to be verbally defensive than those who have “fragile” high self-esteem.
“There are many kinds of high self-esteem, and in this study we found that for those in which it is fragile and shallow it’s no better than having low self-esteem,” said Michael Kernis. “People with fragile high self-esteem compensate for their self-doubts by engaging in exaggerated tendencies to defend, protect and enhance their feelings of self-worth.”
Any news day would provide at least one example. Today’s news provides two, Sarah Palin Taken Aback by Hollywood’s Reaction To Her
Sarah Palin apparently hadn’t known that a lot of people in the entertainment industry don’t like her very much before last night, when after she saw The Undefeated, Steve Bannon’s documentary about her, she told the Hollywood Reporter she couldn’t understand why the celebrities who bash her in the movie’s opening montage can’t stand her:
It makes you want to reach out to some of these folks and say, What’s your problem? And what was the problem? And what is the problem? What would make a celebrity, like you saw on screen, so hate someone that they’d seek their destruction, their death, the death of their children? What would make someone be so full of hate and, I guess, a sense of being threatened that they would want to see that person destroyed?
Some of the language used to describe Palin was harsh and abrasive( as one would expect from comedians – see Fox News “comedy” show Red Eye for some examples of conservative harsh and abrasive here and here) and some like Matt Demon’s calling her a Disneyland character pretty tame. The Right, including Palin, spews so much hate, falsehoods and disinformation what can explain Palin’s disconnect from her own words and actions. Her speaking tours and books are all about demonizing people who disagree with her. During the 2008 presidential campaign she claimed Obama hung out with terrorists. During 2009 and 2010 she claimed the ACA – health care reform contained “death panels” to kill grandma. Those would be panels similar to the ones Republicans voted for overwhelmingly in 2003 that would provide end of life counseling. Gosh gee wiz she can’t understand why people might find her morally repulsive. Maybe some of that fragile high self-esteem is getting in the way. Palin’s will not allow her the possibility that she is wrong. That carefully constructed bubble of pride she lives in will not allow her to consider that her political prescriptions are anything but patriotic. They are in line with certain strains of fanaticism that has haunted the U.S. from day one. Her views jell perfectly with the kind of movements that historian Robert O. Paxton warned about in “The Five Stages of Fascism”, and modern far right conservatism as “movements that employ authentically American themes in ways that resemble fascism functionally.” In short what David Neiwart calls “pseudo-fascism”. Remember that Palin’s husband Todd belonged to a treasonous pro secession group in Alaska. Inside the mental bubble is the political bubble. No wonder Palin cannot fathom that she subscribes to a dangerous and deeply un-American political beggars stew. If her mental insulation were not enough, her like-minded followers reinforce her deeply radical beliefs.
More “fragile” high self-esteem at World Net Daily: Birthers Sue Esquire Over Parody, Seeking More than $200 Million
Farah, the CEO of WorldNetDaily.com, and Corsi, author of “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President,” have filed suit against Hearst, Esquire magazine and writer Mark Warren over a satirical article that they say defamed them and damaged their business interests. They’re seeking compensatory damages of $100 million and punitive damages of $20 million, plus legal costs. [Update: As a commenter points out, that’s only for one of the five counts; the full amount sought totals more than $285 million.]
[ ]…In their suit, Farah and Corsi say this update itself was “another actionable attack on Plaintiffs and exhibited the malice of Defendants toward the Plaintiffs.” The malicious intent that that allege spawned the article succeeded, they say, in interfering with their ability to sell books through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Tower and other retailers. The plaintiffs also say that Warren’s parody exposed them to “extreme ridicule in the community where they reside and where their works are viewed and read.” I don’t see Warren challenging them on that point.
How dare someone ridicule their baseless malicious attack. When someone lives in a fantasy world of their own making and that fantasy clashed with reality, the acid trippers like Farah and Corsi will be damaged in a way. The real world has come crashing down on their fairy tale world. It has ruined all their fun. Reality is mean like that sometimes and eaten up some of the profits from their poisoned well.
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall
White Rabbit Lyrics by Jefferson Airplane
Data collected by the World Bank and Unesco confirm this bleak assessment. A study of 20 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference found that these countries spent 0.34 percent of their gross domestic product on scientific research from 1996 to 2003, which was just one-seventh of the global average.
Those Muslim countries have fewer than 10 scientists, engineers, and technicians for every 1,000 people, compared with the world average of 40, and 140 for the developed world. And they contribute only about 1 percent of the world’s published scientific papers. Another study of OIC nations found that scientists in 17 Arabic-speaking countries produced a total of 13,444 scientific publications in 2005, which was 2,000 fewer than what just Harvard University produced.
There is hope for the modernization of Islam. In the west fundamentalist Christians, and the New Atheists for that matter, have tied evolution to atheism. It is possible, at least some enlightened Muslim scholars hope so, to separate atheism from religion. The late paleontologist Stephen J. Gould made that point. The west’s Christians, the ones who are frightened by the fact of evolution anyway, want to keep injecting their quasi-science into the discussion – like the earth and universe are only a couple to a few thousand years old or all fossils are fake. That tends to take the discussion down the usual dead-end. Their god can still exists within the framework of evolution. After all Darwin was a minister. As the full article explains the stakes are high for the west and the world’s one billion Muslims. In the next fifteen to twenty years are Muslims going to hang on to the 19th century and fall further behind the west in technology, economic well being and culture. The west and China would certainly benefit from a truly global economy and the modernization of Islam might allow some westerners to be a little less paranoid.
Public Speaking (2010) a documentary about Fran Lebowitz. Bloggers who are serious about writing might find it discouraging. The curse of why bother if you cannot do something well. She has very high standards for herself and the art of writing. For those who would rather skip the movie an interview from the NYT, AT LUNCH WITH: Fran Lebowitz; Words Are Easy, Books Are Not
“I’ve never met anyone who even comes close to me in laziness,” Ms. Lebowitz says. “I would have made a perfect heiress. I enjoy lounging. And reading. The other problem I have is fear of writing. The act of writing puts you in confrontation with yourself, which is why I think writers assiduously avoid writing. The number of alcoholic writers makes a lot of sense because if you’re going to be face to face with yourself, maybe it’s better that you don’t recognize that person.” (She herself doesn’t drink because she has hypoglycemia.)