Tuesday, January 13, 2009

George W. Bush as Aphasic Bully

Two interesting Bush links, one sobering and one hilarious. The former, a clinical take-down of sorts by Justin Frank at The Daily Beast, argues that Bush is a classic bully, comprising deep inadequacy with a cold and distant upbringing, and a bully whose callous and sadistic ways have in fact carried forward into his Presidency.

I am not a student of Bush--I didn't even see Oliver Stone's W. So I will defer comment on the individual. But to my eyes the bullying attitude has gained remarkable ascendancy in both political and popular culture. In my opinion this has been the particular province of the Republican Party and Fox News as its media mouthpiece.

By comparison, the Democratic Party and MSNBC are not innocent of this sort of thing, but they are as the moon to the sun, one reflecting the intensity of the second. Rather than respectful disagreement about issues, bullying involves a sneering demeanor, an implacable self-regard, and a gleeful contempt for vulnerability. The explosion of reality TV, which usually seems to involve humiliation of contestants, entails this kind of sadism as well (let's all laugh at how poorly he or she sings on American Idol).

The second piece is Jacob Weisberg's collection of the 25 greatest Bushisms at Slate. How could the Broca's area of one brain produce so many stunning malapropisms, even over a period of years? We don't want to pathologize it of course, so the only thing is to be amused. Highly recommended.


Anonymous said...

I think if there's anything positive to be gleaned from Bush's presidency, it's that he has inspired the idea that mandatory psychological screening of future candidates should be instituted.

'Putting firecrackers into frogs....'

That's at least one point on the checklist...

John J. Coupal said...


It sounds like someone is still suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome)!