Thursday, June 28, 2007

Racial Profiling

Racism.  The US Supreme Court yesterday stood up in support of racism by deciding against the Seattle School Board's practice of ensuring racial diversity in Seattle schools by taking race into account when deciding which students attend which high schools.  Seattle has 10 high schools in diverse economic neighborhoods.  The school at the center of the case, Ballard High, is a highly regarded, progressive, artistically oriented school, like Garfield High, in South Seattle, whose graduates tend to go on to college.

Apparently the Justices want to create a "color blind" society in which race is not an issue.  What they are taking aim at are quotas, preferences and the concept of "reverse discrimination" if that indeed exists.

Nothing needs to change.  The school board can learn from the lessons taught by Republican racists themselves.  To wit: the redistricting of Texas by Tom Delay.  You can get around the issue of race, yet achieve the same racial aims by making the quotas and preferences have to do with economics and geographic location. 

Use their own weapons against them. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pushing the Envelope

Apparently Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler) is pushing the envelope in his independent film Suffering Man's Charity, given a screening recently in New York.  It provoked a stampede for the exits and fainting spells.  "Margaret!  My smelling salts!"  Subject: a whipping/torture scene between Alan and David Boreanaz.  I say: Bring it On!!!  The salient question on my mind: who was whipping whom?

Oh De Sade can you see?
'Neath the whip's forceful lash
As so loudly we whaled
Upon the buttocks' pale gleaming....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Plotzensee and Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise hit a snag in his desire to portray German hero of the Nazi resistance, Von Stauffenberg.  Von Stauffenberg was the pivot point behind a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and other Nazi top brass on July 20, 1944.  The plot failed when the heavy wooden table at the Wolf's Lair bunker muffled the blast from the bomb left in the attache case at Hitler's feet.  Hundreds of conspirators were tried in the notorious people's court (where Roland Friesler presided as judge, prosecutor and jury).  All were condemned to death, and executed at Plotzensee prison in Berlin, where they were hung in rows of eight.  I've heard reports that they were hung with piano wire and the executions filmed for the delectation of der Fuhrer.  Somewhere I heard that.  Don't know if it's true, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Plotzensee also had Germany's last functioning fallbeil (guillotine).  It mysteriously disappeared after the war.

Apparently, in a move that would leave American officials stymied, wringing their hands, Germans have no trouble whatsoever denying the right of Scientology to proselytize in the Fatherland.  Moreover the Bundeswehr (German military) does not want Von Stauffenberg to be portrayed by Cruise--for whatever reason.  And there the matter stands. 

I just saw the infamous South Park Scientology episode the other night.  Hilarious.  They should take to heart the lesson of Microsoft: with success comes exposure, with exposure and money the sharks will circle.  Up to now, though, they've made brilliant strategic moves, attracting celebrities, disguising the extent of their assets within corporations and subsidiaries wholly owned by the church, but not generally known to be, such as Earthlink: all tax free courtesy of the U.S. Government.  Time for congress to revisit this issue, perhaps?

Monday, June 18, 2007


Sometimes I worry too much what other people think, which is why I hesitate to write this entry.  But I've been dealing with a desire to leave Seattle ever since I gave up acting.  In retrospect, buying the condominium was not a fortunate decision.  Now I have a strong desire to return to my roots, like a salmon, not to spawn, but to reconnect with my family, and to spend time writing in a slower paced environment that doesn't have such a high cost of living.  Living in Seattle costs $50,000 a year minimum.  Eventually salaries will catch up with that reality but it just hasn't happened yet. 

My father is aging, and he is now the sole caretaker of his invalid wife.  It would be nice to be around to help him out.  I want to be of service to the people who mean the most to me.  I needed these two decades in order to establish my own identity, but now it's firm.  I can return without becoming mashed potatoes.

I spoke to my sister about this and she doesn't think it's crazy.  Knock me over with a feather.  I thought for sure she would think it was nuts but she was actually supportive.  Big check in the "pro" column.

Found a wonderful online I-Ching.  I asked the question, "Should I leave Seattle and move to Decorah to write and reconnect with family?"

Lin-Approach.  Above: K'un-the receptive, Earth.  Below: the joyous, lake.  The judgment: approach has supreme success.  Perserverence furthers.  When the eighth month comes, there will be misfortune.

About the clearest positive response one can possibly receive from the oracle.

I plan to hang on here at the minimum, until we discover whether the Supreme Court will take the Exxon appeal.  I'll sell and move in the Spring, after profit sharing.  Either 2008 or 2009.  Probably 2008 (that's about 8 months though.  I may wait until after the window of misfortune according to the oracle).  Next June.  Maybe I'll be back in Decorah for my Dad's 75th Birthday celebration.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Official English does not mean English Only

English.  When did it become something to be ashamed of?  England was imperial, no doubt about it.  But our founding fathers spoke English (and probably French, Dutch, some Spanish, and very likely German -- King George III, as a Hannoverian, likely spoke German--and perhaps French). 

But History is no comfort to us as we face this issue.  I'm taking the moderate road.  I favor the establishment of English as the official language as a practical matter.  Not as a way of disenfranchising any special group or population, but as a way of warding off future strife.  Make no mistake it's only going to get worse.

At some point in the future, some parts of the United States will see a majority of Spanish speaking residents.  When that happens, will legal forms, documents, descriptions of property, laws, writs, summonses, and the courts, human services, public policy, etc., switch to Spanish?  And if and when that happens, will the presumably white, English only speaking minority reflect on how difficult it has been for those who have spoken only Spanish in this country, living in a society wherein all the rules, laws, et al. are codified in a foreign language?  Will we English speakers pause then, and say, how insensitive we were?

Absolutely not. 

The hue and cry will make the debate now seem like a garden party.  Civil war?  You bet.  Language is power.  And the sooner we recognize that the better.  We are engaged in a cultural war.  One of the battle fronts is the battle over language.  If English speakers lose that battle, then all power and privilege will be lost with it.  And all because we let it happen.  Here's where I part company from my liberal friends.  Call me a xenophobe if you wish.  I hate and fear no one.  But I do think there should be practical standards.  English is the international language of business; so, why isn't it good enough to be the national language of our government?  Why?  Because certain people want to take away the language power of the entrenched, presumably white, English speaking majority.  Nothing wrong with wanting a piece of the pie.  But the best way is to earn it.  And it's historically been the sad problem of immigrants in the US that it often takes a generation or two to fully assimilate.

Official English doesn't mean English only of course.  We can and must communicate.  But when writingour laws, when codifying the public will, describing who owns what, I want that to always be in a language I can understand.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Transcontinental traveler/TB patient Andrew Speaker will be forgiven by the media for putting fellow travelers at quantam risk for TB infection because (1) he's good looking: if he was fat and middle aged, he'd have already been arrested.  (2) he's good looking and heterosexual: his travel was the result of his desire to get married and go on his honeymoon, hubba-hubba.  How can one preserve umbrage at such red-blooded American motives?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Steve asked yesterday why I was blogging about these psychological defense mechanisms.  Well, it had been my intention to delve deeper into them, once I had established precisely what they were.  Tip of the hat to Wikipedia for the definitions. 

When I see projection in others and myself, I'm disgusted.  As the Wikipedia states, it is a primitive defense mechanism, but it's also so vile, so based in willful self-deceit, that it can only be deemed evil--when it is given expression either in word or deed.  Aesop knew that the grapes were sweet and nourishing.  But the fox, unable to get across the stream, despite his wiles, to taste them, was sure that the grapes were sour. 

When we do this with people--then it's ugly, depraved and evil.  Projection was the grease between the gears of the Holocaust.  When people don't do what we want them to do, when they won't give us what we need, or when we make ourselves feel better by denigrating someone else, then we are projecting--and it's heinous.  It's primitive, disgusting and vile--animalistic and brutish.  It's pernicious because it's so unconscious, and I must be on guard.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Projection and Transference

I'm still grappling with the most interesting of all the defense mechanisms: projection and transference. 

In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes to others one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them. The theory was developed by Sigmund Freud and further refined by his daughter Anna Freud.


According to Sigmund Freud, projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else.

To understand the process, consider a husband who has thoughts of infidelity. Instead of dealing with his undesirable thoughts consciously, he subconsciously projects these feelings onto his wife, and begins to think that she has thoughts of infidelity and may be having an affair. In this way one can see that projection is related to denial, the only defense mechanism, some argue, that is more primitive than projection. The husband has denied a part of himself that is desperate to come to the surface. He can't face his own feelings of infidelity, so instead he will project the feelings onto his wife and dwell on that.

Historical uses

Peter Gay describes it as "the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable—too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous—by attributing them to another."[1]

The concept was anticipated by Friedrich Nietzsche:

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection, i.e., the idea that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man's anxieties and desires.

Psychological projection is the subject of Robert Bly's book A Little Book on the Human Shadow. The "Shadow"—a term used in Jungian psychology to describe a variety of psychological projection—refers to the projected material.

Psychologist Marie-Louise Von Franz extended the view of projection to all cover phenomena in Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths: "... wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image."


When addressing psychological trauma the defense mechanism is sometimes counter-projection, including an obsession to continue and remain in a recurring trauma-causing situation and the compulsive obsession with the perceived perpetrator of the trauma or its projection.

Jung writes that "All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject."

Common definitions
  • "Projection is the opposite defence mechanism to identification. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have."
  • "A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits."
  • "Attributing one's own undesirable traits to other people or agencies."
  • "The individual perceives in others the motive he denies having himself. Thus the cheat is sure that everyone else is dishonest."
  • "A man harboring attractions for a woman would perceive other men as having the same attractions for her."
  • "People attribute their own undesirable traits onto others. An individual who unconsciously harbours his or her aggressive/sexual tendencies may then imagine other people acting in an excessively aggressive or sexual way."
  • "An individual who possesses malicious characteristics, but who is unwilling to perceive himself as an antagonist, convinces himself that his opponent feels and would act the same way."


In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used defense mechanism in people with certain personality disorders:

Transference is a phenomenon in psychology characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings for one person to another. One definition of transference is "the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood." Another definition is "the redirection of feelings and desires and esp. of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object." Still another definition is "a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, esp. of childhood, and the substitution of another person . . . for the original object of the repressed impulses." Transference was first described by Sigmund Freud, who acknowledged its importance for psychoanalysis for better understanding of the patient's feelings.

It is common for people to transfer feelings from their parents to their partners (emotional incest) or to children (cross-generational entanglements). For instance, one could mistrust somebody who resembles an ex-spouse in manners, voice, or external appearance; or be overly compliant to someone who resembles a childhood friend.

In The Psychology of the Transference, Carl Jung states that within the transference dyad both participants typically experience a variety of opposites, that in love and in psychological growth, the key to success is the ability to endure the tension of the opposites without abandoning the process, and that this tension allows one to grow and to transform.

Transference is common. Only in a personally or socially harmful context can transference be described as a pathological issue.