Friday, June 10, 2011

Advice for the Modern, High Functioning Flasher

I don't know about you, but when I am facing a particularly thorny ethical dilemma, I always ask myself: what would Alec Baldwin say?

For example, let's say I'm a prominent politician -- one of the most visible and combative in my party, even -- and I'm caught gifting anonymous women with candid photos of my congressional staff. Predictably, our puritanical press goes nuts.

Now what do I do? I mean, after denying it, then lying about it, then asking the ladies (none younger than high school) to help me cover it up, and then smearing my accusers? I do what I should have done at the outset: obtain the wise counsel of my good friend Alec Baldwin.

First of all, Alec is a forgiving man, so long as you're not married to him, or employed by him, or maybe happen to be his thoughtless little pig of a daughter.

I know what he'd say: hey, kid, cut yourself some slack. You're a modern human being. No, check me on that: like me, you are a modern, high functioning man. Do you have time to figure out why you have a compulsion to open your raincoat over the internet?

Hell no! Besides, all that crap about "know thyself" and "the unexamined life yada yada" is for the ancient or medieval man, not the space-age modern man.

I know it takes a lot of time and energy seizing upon every opportunity to tell people how great you are as a human being. Hell, I'm the same way. Who has time at the end of the day for self-analysis? You've never been a business man -- or frankly had any way to make an honest buck, for that matter -- but you are surely a busy man. You are under the constant pressure of self-analysis before adoring and uncritical audiences, so forget about what I just said about having no time for it. It's all you do!

Like me, politicians are special people. Not as special as actors, but special nonetheless. We need something to take the edge off. The low functioning modern man might choose, I don't know, having a couple of beers, playing with his children, or maybe even having sex with his wife.

But you? You are always on the go. You don't have time for that. Besides, how can sex with a real woman compare with the reliable high of cyber-sleeping with someone?

Does this make you "pathetic?" Maybe in the eyes of the premodern world, but not to the modern, high functioning man. For us, this is sex nowadays. No time for romance! Porn? No way! Too two-dimensional for the modern man. You want someone breathing, something you can feel, someone -- okay, someone cheap, but nevertheless, someone doing it just for you -- unlike real women, who are so concerned with their own selfish needs that it's not worth the hassle.

Married? Yeah, that's a factor, but only one. You know what it's like to have that cell phone bursting with numbers of gals just waiting around to gaze at your junk mail. So you do what any modern, high functioning man would do: you open your digital trenchcoat, yield to the gentleman from down south, stand firm with the little guy, and wave your congressional probe.

To shift if not grind gears back to the subject at hand, we were discussing... what, exactly? I would say we are discussing universality, which is at once a hallmark of truth, but also the cure for the type of moral relativism that would place Baldwin's "high functioning, modern man" on the same plane as the actually high functioning man.

But if there is no high there can be no low, so low becomes high. As has been oft commented, one of the rewards of being a leftist is that it is impossible to be a hypocrite, since they have no objective standards.

Which is obviously not quite correct, not by a dongshot. For the leftist does have standards. It is just that these so-called standards replace -- and displace -- the classical virtues.

Thus, so long as one has the correct political stance -- unless it is a little too wide -- all else is forgiven. In the case of Weiner, yeah, it's not ideal that he's a pervert with a psychiatric disorder. But on the other hand, he's always fighting for you, e.g., the dispossessed, the disenfranchised, the disordered, the dissolute, the disgruntled, the dyslexic. As they say, troubled times require a troubled man.

Ratzinger, in the same lecture we were discussing yesterday, makes the critical point that in its earliest years, Christianity did not attempt to align itself with other religions. Rather, it "sought a connection with philosophies," even the finest philosophy available. Some misguided Christians regard this as some sort of error, an intrusion of "Greek thought" into what should be pure revelation. But this would not only particularize Christianity, but put it on the same plane as any other pagan religion.

The point was surely not to associate Christianity with a particular culture, but to attempt to transcend culture through the universality conferred by abstract philosophy. This is not to place philosophy above revelation. Rather, the point is to "connect with those movements that seek to escape from the prison of relativity."

Thus the identification of the Son with the logos, not to reduce the former to the latter, but to elevate the latter to the former. The logos is not just a philosophical abstraction that knows nothing of our being, but a person with whom we can form a vibrant relationship.

Conversely, the high functioning, modern man can know nothing of this relationship. Nor does he take full advantage of one of its analogues in the herebelow, marriage. The passionate interior relationship of sacramental marriage could hardly be more different from the externalized and self-divided relationship of two internet strangers.

In psychoanalytic developmental theory, there is a critical distinction between what is called "part-object relating" and "whole-object relating." Our developmental telos is away from the former -- situated in what is called the paranoid-schizoid position -- and toward the latter, which is in the depressive position.

Put simply, whole-object relating is between person and person, in a fully integral sense. Conversely, part-object relating is unable to transcend the ambivalence attendant to any relationship. The person in the paranoid-schizoid position deals with ambivalence by splitting it off into a sub-personality that is impelled to seek an object relation outside the central self. (This is essentially the same as a mind parasite.)

For example, let us say that I am unable to integrate love and lust in the same object. Love is reserved for, let's say, the wife, while a more immature and unintegrated form of primitive desire is split off and directed toward another object, say, a stranger in cyberspace (which is all the better, because knowing the real subject might interfere with the fantasy needs of the part-object relation).

According to the Dictionary of Kleinian Thought, "A part-object exists... in relation to the bodily sensations of the subject. Through projection into the object it becomes a narcissistic extension of the ego's own experiences and the separateness of the good object is not acknowledged. Only when the object comes to be recognized as whole does it properly take on a separate existence from the subject."

It is fair to say that this represents not the opposite, but an earlier stage on the way to what Pope John Paul II wrote of the "celebration of human sexuality as a gift of God for the sanctification of husband and wife," and "marital intimacy as an icon of the interior life of the triune God."

32 Comments:

Blogger Brazentide said...

A soberingly clear window into the disturbed mind of an elitist.

Baldwin high functioning?

As a kite perhaps.

I've always liked him better as someone else.

6/10/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

If sex is a need there are no limits to what can be excused in the pursuit of it. (how long until it is treated as a "right", I wonder.)

In truth, we all need sex, but only once... nine months before we are born.

6/10/2011 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Thus the identification of the Son with the logos, not to reduce the former to the latter, but to elevate the latter to the former. The logos is not just a philosophical abstraction that knows nothing of our being, but a person with whom we can form a vibrant relationship.

Brilliant.

As to the Weiner thing, I recall someone defending Clinton's escapades by saying that Curly Bill was publicly moral rather than privately moral. Like Veener, Clinton fought for the downtrodden and the oppressed -- as they as they didn't try to fight back before he finished.

I watched one episode of 30 Rock under duress and thought that Baldwin was doing a pretty good parody of himself. Not as good as you've done here by any means, but not bad.

6/10/2011 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

LOL! Weiner's gonna need a new congressional staff after this post!
A very well done roasting of one of the most despicable democrats and that's sayin' a lot.

Two...um...thumbs up, Bob!

6/10/2011 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

According to the Dictionary of Kleinian Thought, "A part-object exists... in relation to the bodily sensations of the subject. Through projection into the object it becomes a narcissistic extension of the ego's own experiences and the separateness of the good object is not acknowledged."

Or, as Alec Balwin would say in a psychological role,
"The part-object transforms into the ho object when democrats are doing the projecting. Because we...ha ha, I mean they are too functionally high."

6/10/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Mushroom said:
"Like Veener, Clinton fought for the downtrodden and the oppressed -- as they as they didn't try to fight back before he finished."

It helped that he was the first black President. Afterall, he felt their pain.

Okay, perhaps they actually felt there pain more, but he empathised as manager of the national der weinershnitzel.

As for Weiner, he was just trying to tap into the national weinershnitzelgeist. Surely that proves how virtuous he really is.

6/10/2011 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"I always ask myself: what would Alec Baldwin say?"

I suspect Alec'd say "Put that coffee down!", because those were the words that David Mamet put into Alec's mouth when he him to sound like a smartalec modern, high functioning man in Glengarry Glen Ross.

I suspect he'd put some very different words in his mouth today... pity really... I seriously doubt that Alec will read for that part, the part of a Man I mean.

Just as well though, I mean, what a serious case of mis-casting that would be.

6/10/2011 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Thus the identification of the Son with the logos, not to reduce the former to the latter, but to elevate the latter to the former. The logos is not just a philosophical abstraction that knows nothing of our being, but a person with whom we can form a vibrant relationship."

The difference that makes all the difference in the world.

6/10/2011 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of projecting, it's little wonder that the democrat rank (and I do mean rank!) n' file are standing by their little man.

As their geistopo Weiner embodies the core penisiples of the democrat party.
So it's easy for them to condom what he did.

Next I expect them to sue viagra for causing this distraction.

6/10/2011 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "Next I expect them to sue viagra for causing this distraction."

Afterall, puns don't Bill, penileple do.

6/10/2011 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

"Just put the pun down, and step away."

(This message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood SWAT Team)

6/10/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Mushroom sez:

"(This message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood SWAT Team)"

They're all the rage these days, you know.

This "everybody has a SWAT team" revelation is disturbing me more than the regular disturbing news of late.

6/10/2011 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I would say we are discussing universality, which is at once a hallmark of truth, but also the cure for the type of moral relativism that would place Baldwin's "high functioning, modern man" on the same plane as the actually high functioning man.

I would expand on that just slightly, to note that the actually high functioning man is also in essence a timeless man, not a modern man.

6/10/2011 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

That's our probable next President you are steering to sabotage there, you lowlives jill, arthur...

ANNALS OF BLIND HATE/CREEPY PRIVACY-INVASION, DERELICTION OF SEMBLANCE OF journalistic dooty

N Y Slimes:

Alaska Releases Sarah Palin’s E-Mails
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR 6:17 PM ET

More than 24,000 printed pages of e-mails from Sarah Palin’s time as governor were released on Friday.
Documents: The Palin E-Mails

The Slimes is publishing the e-mails and invites readers to point out items of interest...hopeful gotcha's!
Glossary of Abbreviations...

'The prince finally tapped for coronation [of being NYT publisher] was Punch's son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the paper's current publisher. ''Arthur Jr.,'' in the book's shorthand, was a curly-haired young man with a wisecracking, irreverent manner and a fondness for motorcycles and rock climbing. Even as he rediscovered his roots, he confessed, ''I have The Times, that's my religion, that's what I believe in.''

Much like his father, he started out beset by self-doubt, but he soon developed a management style that deviated from his father's posture of detached constitutional monarch. Both before and after he assumed the title of publisher in 1992, the junior Sulzberger argued passionately for greater sensitivity to women, blacks and homosexuals at the paper and didn't shrink from a more assertive manner with editors.'

---dirtiest of dirtballs they are

6/10/2011 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Mushroom:

You can have my puns when you pry them from my cold, dead brain. :^)

6/10/2011 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

a rare weekend indeed: Limbaugh and Pelosi on same page: ie
'ze Veiner should stay!'

6/11/2011 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

As Bob pointed out, Weiner doesn't actually have any skills outside of being elected, so he's pretty much stuck fighting to keep his job to maintain his income.

His district is going to be eliminated in the next redistricting, so all of his fellow NY democratic congresscritters want him to stay right where he is.

I'm honestly tired of hearing about Weiner. It's not even interesting because he is clearly a spiritual psychological mess.

6/11/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Awful quiet out there today, so here's a completely off topic question:

Anybody have a suggestion for a good Father's Day gift? I'm trying to think of something nice-ish that actually pertains to fatherhood in some way, so for instance no appliances, no grilling tools, and no gadgets that would entertain him but exclude the boy. Probably no ties, either. Coming up blank so far, and Amazon is less than helpful.

6/11/2011 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

Legos?

wv: spilitym - man, where do I start with this om?

6/11/2011 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

It's now up to your profession Bob!
Cure the whiny weepy narcissiwuss weiner...what if he got delivered to your doorway and that was the month's assignment?
I'd go back to Pavlov, Seligman -- & be liberal with the zaps.

6/11/2011 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

PSG,

:D

Maybe in a few years. Legos are still a choking hazard.

6/11/2011 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Anyway, I think I found something. Amazon was helpful after all :)

6/11/2011 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

For future reference, I think we need to start referring our trolls to this article for some helpful tips on how not to sound insane.

6/12/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Julie - That was great.

Especially: "Anyway, if someone expresses an opinion that’s well known to be held by a supermajority of people, don’t act surprised by that opinion."

And the part about honing in on a trigger word, then writing an irrelevant soapbox/pet treatise: "Like if someone mentions when Hanukkah is this year and you respond with a rant about Jews controlling the banks, you’re not actually having a sane person conversation."

Classic. The whole article is quite funny and topic well-captured. :) I wonder if Lileks could muster some corresponding reply.

6/12/2011 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

wv says: busta ...gut?

6/12/2011 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

- Bloggerel, Take THREE -
Bobbb! Tristan gots pubbished! In the LATimes, no less!

wv: skeryl, the harrowing process of posting a blogger comment.

6/12/2011 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberal bias. His head isn't really misshapen like that.

6/12/2011 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

Julie,

I thought about that, but decided to leave the seed planted. So, what'd you pick?

wv: unnesti - OK, so now Blogger's mocking my boohemian lifestale. Sigh...

6/12/2011 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

Well, at least they're consistent. And he'll get his first taste of it early - should help toughen him up as he hits his teeny ears...

wv: pingo - OK this is getting spooky...

6/12/2011 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

PSG - for context, he gave me a ring for Mother's day with all of our birthstones. It's tough to find a male equivalent, but I ended up getting a set of engraveable cufflinks (he wears suits pretty regularly) that are also little lockets. Plain silver on the outside, but hopefully I can fit a small pic of the boy in one, and of me in the other. Probably sounds dorky, but I think he likes the idea.

6/12/2011 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Julie,
I read the article about how to not sound insane when commenting.
And then I came to the comments.

6/13/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, I know - it's disturbing how many people engaged in the listed behaviors in apparent seriousness. Yikes.

6/13/2011 08:24:00 AM  

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