Projection is a concept frequently employed by psychologists to describe the act attributing to another something we fear in ourselves. It occurs when one feels powerless to deal with, or even face, an unpleasant aspect of oneself. With this in mind, perhaps we can begin to understand the insanity that has engulfed many in the media, and caused them to project their own castration anxiety upon Donald Trump.
The process of projection is unwittingly captured in a recent episode of South Park, wherein a character called Mr. Garrison becomes increasingly frustrated by his thwarted attempt to build a wall between Canada and the United States in order to keep out illegal immigrants. Though it was Scott Walker who talked about erecting a wall on our northern border, here the plan is attributed to Donald Trump. When he discovers that the Canadians have beaten him to the punch, and built the wall themselves, Mr. Garrison is left impotent.
He can’t very well tear down the wall and rebuild it, and he has become obsessed with the wall. Unable to deal with his helplessness, Mr. Garrison becomes enraged. So he engages in a fantasy wherein he becomes so potent that he’s able to rape Donald Trump. Trump is once and for all emasculated when Mr. Garrison a** f***s him until he’s dead.
In a less theatrical, but perhaps more telling, instance of the same phenomenon, we were treated to the spectacle of a conservative editor of the uptight National Review—Richard Lowry—having a complete melt-down on Fox News Channel’s Kelly File. According to Lowry, Carly Fiorina, whom he described as “a tough lady,” cut Donald Trump’s “balls off with the precision of a surgeon” during the second debate. She did this, apparently, when she ungraciously refused to accept Trump’s clarification of his comment about her face.
“I think women all over this country heard what Mr. Trump said,” whined the “tough lady,” as she universalized a comment pertaining to a strictly idiosyncratic grimace she is wont to make. If this constituted the castration, then the “steely look” with which she is said to have met Trump’s attempt at an apology—“I think she’s got a beautiful face”—must be the surgical precision part.
I didn’t see it that way. As I saw it, she played the hurt little woman and the audience rewarded her with applause. As for her “steeliness” folks, it’s the botox, but never mind. Some gentlemen perceive her immobile face as “steely.”
So how’s all this understandable in terms of the media’s castration complex? First, let’s not forget how the media is accustomed to being treated. As gods. Remember all the great candidates for the Republican nomination in 2011? Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann. One by one the media knocked them down as “too conservative,” and they anointed Mitt Romney—the wrong man at the wrong time. Just as they’d discarded Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney as too conservative and coronated John McCain in 2008. They were dead wrong both times, but that didn’t stop them from thinking they could do it again.
And so they went after Donald Trump, certain that they could trash him the way they did the others. Only it didn’t work out that way. The harder they hit, the stronger Trump became. And worst of all, they had no hold over him. He didn’t need them. And he made that fact plain. He wouldn’t cringe or apologize for any perceived offense. In fact, he’d double down on everything they critiqued. He upset all the rules that had previously governed the relationship between the media and a political candidate.
If the media treated him unfairly, Trump let them know. And they’d inevitably cave, as Fox News’ Roger Ailes did after the Rich Lowry fiasco on the Kelly File. Trump has once again been invited to meet with Fox executives to discuss his grievances with them. Unheard of!
So imagine you are the media, and you’ve just been stripped of any power you thought you had. You knew you weren’t as rich or as talented or as powerful as many of the folks you encountered in the course of your work. But at least they needed you from time to time. Despite their glamour, you were their link to the American people, and so they’d curry favor with you. And now all of that has been taken away, and you see yourself as the middle class, talentless, powerless jerks that you really are. You’re the naked emperor, the wizard of Oz when the curtain comes down.
You’ve been castrated—fully and completely—and you can’t deal with it. So you project it onto the person who’s done this to you. Onto Donald Trump. And then, because you are weak, you hide behind a woman’s skirts. You look to Carly Fiorina to salvage your self-respect. In psychological terms, she becomes the nourishing mother who makes you feel that Trump is not invincible. She becomes the castrating mother who relieves Trump of his testicles.
Face it guys, you’re delusional. And however this falls out for Trump in the end, you will never be the same again.
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