A recent article in Psychiatry by Felix Strumwasser has an unexpected resonance in this election year. It begins:
“Using puppets, they showed children the following scenario: One puppet, Maxi, puts some chocolate in a box and goes out to play. While he is out, and unknown to him, his puppet mother takes the chocolate out of the box and puts it in the cupboard. The children were then asked where Maxi would look for his chocolate when he comes back into the house. Older children (usually five years and older) answered correctly that Maxi would look in the box (where he had put the chocolate and falsely believes that it still is). But the threeand four-year-oUt answered that he would look in the cupboard (where they know that the chocolate actually is).
-Suzanne Cunningham (2000), describing experiments by Wimmer and Perner (1983) on false beliefs
"THE preceding description of an experiment on children is just one of many that illustrates how the human mind is developing. By 3 years old, children have surpassed the "language" abilities of our nearest living relatives, the great apes, in particular, chimpanzees.”
This about targets the age level to which the Bush campaign would prefer to reduce its supporters. A puppet named Maxi takes a whole lot of weapons from a puppet named Flopsy. Flopsy keeps it a secret from Mommy in order to keep it a secret from Maxi. Silly Maxi! Where would you look for the weapons, boys and girls? In the hands of the insurgents that are killing all the funny stuffed puppets around Flopsy? No. The correct answer is: You would look for them up your ass! Then you’d say a funny thing about the puppet that criticized you. He used the word global! He used the word sensitive! he must be a secret homosexual French puppet.
Although the media, in their quest to be as subservient as possible to Rove’s strategy of making Bush seem inevitable (a tried and true method by which the national security states in many Latin American countries have tamped down dissent and extended their vampiric reigns) have pulled out fuzzy poll stat after poll stat to make it look like Bush is making vast inroads on the ever incompetent opponent (Judi Wilgoren at the NYT has become a past master of the factoid in this respect), LI was struck by a factoid in Kerry’s favor that slipped out via the LA Times: college educated white males, a demographic Bush owned last election, are leaning to Kerry:
“Strikingly, Bush leads Kerry in the poll among lower- and middle-income white voters, but trails his rival among whites earning at least $100,000 per year.
Bush also runs best among voters without college degrees, whereas Kerry leads not only among college-educated women (a traditional Democratic constituency), but among college-educated men — usually one of the electorate's most reliably Republican groups in the electorate.”
Could it be that economic interest is being trumped by pure shame? After all, infantilization to the degree that Bush demands from his supporters is, above all things, shaming. It is shameful, for instance, to believe that Bush had nothing to do with the deficits, but should be credited with the tax cuts. It is shameful to believe that, after two inquiries by the U.S. government, there were WMD in Iraq (although, as LI likes to point out, WMD is a totally bogus category of armament, allowing Western arms manufacturers to sell with impunity to whoever has the money to buy their wares). Here is the official explanation of why the Bush people kept secret the amount of weaponry that the American military has let slip into the hands of the enemy it is fighting (an issue that LI highlighted continually back in October, 03): they didn’t want to reveal this information to the enemy. To believe that requires a regression to that golden age when animals and humans communicated, and Mommy couldn’t hide the chocolate from Maxi. No sir..
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." In this case, a very little child indeed. But what things can be found in the kingdom, once entered! Every day, excuses to injure other little children in the Middle East without consequence and for their own good; the bliss of obeying the divine injunction, to those who have it shall be given, to the extent of 600 to 800 billion bucks; the bliss of borrowing unsupportable sums from the heathen Chinese, in order to support the worst of compromises between the Grover Norquists and the New Deal entrenchment of the middle class ever conceived.
Oh well. LI voted today, and – a first – we used the straight ticket option. Not that it will do too much good in our district, one of those that Tom Delay stole from Austin. This pretty Democratic city now has been so cookie cut that barely a fifth of the population will enjoy an ideologically compatible congressman. I’m to be represented by some Republican idiot named Smith, apparently. We all can’t wait.