Recent postings at Clio's Psyche concerning what would happen if Obama was linked to #metoo (all names of conversation participants other than mine, altered)





me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change


Nov 17


Paul Kinsmaun has said some interesting things about Obama's relationship with his mother  -- of how he felt mostly abandoned by her -- that strikes me as rather pertinent right now. One of the reasons #metoo is emerging right now is not only because we've evolved but because this is a populist moment where victims, where violence against women, where used, spurned women imagined together as an angry, chasing, annihilating horde, can be used to discredit arenas of liberal power -- Hollywood, Washington -- and as well the previous reigning societal "philosophy" -- neoliberalism -- with any possible defence of why the massive horrible prevalence, totally absconded from view. (There are actually a number of them, all hopelessly politically incorrect/vile: one, as Ann Douglas argues in her book on the 1920s, "Terrible Honesty," perhaps in certain historical periods creativity requires the presence of the Terrifying Father -- a predator, that is -- to back down the felt presence of intrusive, smothering mothers on our lives [regarding the '20s, the Victorian Titaness]. In our own period, one was the dictator producer, enabled by the idea that if you want to have resourcefulness and creativity and true love of Art in our time, brash, bullysome HE had to be at the centre of it. Two, we may delegate both Washington and Hollywood to serve out group fantasy needs to see unvarnished, unapologetic pursuit of happiness both absolutely fulfilled AND completely rendered. Emotionally unhealthy people in both places might have picked up on our obvious cuing of them and moved as we "told" them to and both enabled and destroyed people. Three, society in general might in the late '70s entered a more problematic period where social growth [for beginning after so many postwar years of seeming justified to seem spoiled] could no longer be shared by all -- a rising tide of boats -- but granted some while completely withheld to others, so that we felt considerable sacrifices of devastated and lost lives were being sufficiently supplied to a hungry maternal maw, thereby keeping her from rising and rendering from us, all of our growth... she was occupied, and temporarily sated. Actresses being those who still must "put out" on a casting couch, who are not generally associated with higher education, and who represent the immodest, immoderate, working class wish "to be a star!," could not maintain themselves as sufficiently distinct from the designated out-groups in society... the occupations that if you held them you would not like educated professionals find yourself garnering increased respect these last forty years of information age competency and with-itness, but made to seem as deserving whatever sign of disregard you might want to administer to them -- restaurant workers, retail... all low-wage earning jobs, for instance -- for already being in the way of the future; a pest whose future depends on luck, random accident, rather than on guarantees... on having a diligent manner of applying yourself; on having a PhD.) As such, if there is any way that Fuchsman is right about Obama we need to know if it is possible that Obama inflicted revenge on other women for his mother's own crime of abandoning him, that we may have totally bleached from our view in order to make our association with him an absolute guarantee of our virtue during a time of our own prospering. 

For if he too's got "a history" too, that’s what populists will be on the hunt for, ultimately. It would discredit our age, everything about it being unquestionable in its virtue for it being so sane and civilized and decent while its opponents rage senselessly, mindlessly on, and leave a lot of the great defenders of it essentially dismantled from further speaking sane opposition to spreading regressive populist movements across the world, for their not realizing that part of their self-balance, their equilibrium, their ability to respond with intelligence and vigor and quick wit, rested on a certain particular essential figure retaining himself as an absolute emblem of virtue. I've seen it happen, a spark of it... when the Gore marriage of two brilliant, empowered people who love one another in a fully reciprocal way... devoted to the end of time, was revealed to be myth, the leading feminist of her generation and possibly -- along with Solnit -- of our time, NYMagazine's Rebecca Traister, was left as if struck by a blow. I think she might have realized for a minute that if a curtain came up over certain other things she might have assumed, not though knowing quite what they might be at that moment, she wasn't beyond losing all grip; going insane. 

Incidentally, I may have mentioned it in another post but I'll say it again here: if anyone is wondering how powerful men will find their way out of this fix, as more of their rank get culled daily, it's to sacrifice their existence as independent, self-actualized adults and agree in way some to become boys dependent on their mothers again. That's what Zaretsky argues happened in the 1930s/40s: people surrendered their 1920s adulthood and regressed to become Depression/WarYears boys loyal to their mother nations. By doing so, they'll know they've basically placed themselves in the same space conservatives are in (wonder why we aren't as interested in them as "bad boy" predators, even as they're worse? here's why--)... who are each one of them those whose childrearing was insufficient to ever allow them to part ways with their parents' will and fully become individuated adults (and therefore press for progress), and will feel that what had earned their being punished -- that is, presumption, personal enjoyment, "spoiling"... all held as evidence of sinfulness from children of all parenting "styles" other than the most recent one -- was no longer any part of their being. They won't FEEL guilty, for they know their minds have placed them in a state where they will sacrifice everything truly worthy about life to please and serve somebody else, and we won't see them anymore as guilty either. The gaze will pass them over... the gaze connected with populism and all its insistence that people aren't individuated and distinct but part of an indistinct mass, will pass them over. And all it will of cost them is the loss of their own individuality, as quite permanently they will have sacrificed their own self-will and will do now as their mother country directs. They'll become part of the mass of Bernie Bros., or some such, very much willing to junk their careers, if you asked them to. Watch for it. It'll be real: not a PR move -- their own brains will be behind it, willing the most interesting parts of themselves to be forever nudged out of prime spot, replaced by complete selflessness. (Want to know why the 1930s felt like they deserved a Roosevelt... why in a sense Obama, contra Fuchsman, could never have gone Roosevelt?: because along with his provocative reforms came a mass who abstained from the individuality we've resourcefully found ways to insist on, again and again and again. [Incidentally, about Roosevelt... do you know about his love for the dictator-love film dedicated to him, "Gabriel Over the White House"?]) 




Paul Kinsmaun 


Nov 17


Patrick,

One of the things Obama learned from his mother was to control his emotions, not to express anger or discontent.  It has often made him a self-contained individual, one who often keeps his distance from others.  You seem to me to make a leap from Obama's feeling abandoned by his mother to that he might have wanted to seek revenge on  women.  There are certainly many other characteristic ways Obama or anyone else who felt abandoned might respond to being abandoned.  Obama searched for and found in Michelle Robinson someone who was rooted where his mother was not, and whom he felt would not abandon him.  As a father, what he has also been intent on doing is providing being there for his daughters as he did not feel happened for him with his parents.  You should read some of what he says about his being a father.  It also seems to me you are asking a question about Obama and women, but do no indicate what evidence might be needed to find out if your suspicion is warranted or off base.  I suggest before you make further statements on Obama and women, you might read some of the good sources on Obama.  You should read Janny Scott's A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother.  The other is David Marannis's Barack Obama: The Story.  In psychohistory,it is always important to have sufficient evidence at hand before making statements. 

Paul   .    .   .   













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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change


Nov 18


Paul, 

I do make one hell of a leap... and I have no idea if he has "a history," only that he mostly certainly could have and we would have ignored it, even if it was considerable. But in psychohistory perhaps what one ought to do is begin to loosen the possibility of actually undertaking an exploration, for someone, anyone, actually doing it, that we might have shielded ourselves off of for our own equilibrium. You yourself did research, but the Clio Psyche' reaction to your reveal of his abandonment by his mother was initiated by your own willingness to accept the idea. You admire Obama, but you didn't need him... you didn't need his relationship with his mother to be exactly one way in order for you to do so (though do you need his relationship with Michelle to be a certain way?... fits a bit too neat. Traister did with the Gores). The way in which people reacted to your research suggested to me that some others might however require prompting, a preparation of the way, before they could even begin to on their own find evidence contra their preferred estimation of him, or accept it if others did so. If this is the case then first you need to prepare people to begin to be sure, in this period where we were clearly weighted to assume Obama as an upstanding gentleman and then mostly leave off him -- a perfect guardian against all our identity troubles -- that we actually knew who he was, that we actually wanted to know who he was, before you would even undertake to do the research. A hegemonic estimation of him needs unsettling first; otherwise "proof" won't be able to nestle in anywhere, for the membrane they're trying to stick to is still steel and sure. 

So this is my prompt: #metoo might not only be getting its impetus because this is finally a time for victims, for feminism, for progressive emergence, but because populists know that the previous age of liberalism was undeniably a predatorial one (and I think if was necessarily so, for societal growth always being "problematic," cruel, after a few decades of postwar permission has finally ended... the deMausian idea/conception of stages). The two seemed necessarily connected: there would be ongoing advancement in our recognition of the humanity of previously stigmatized peoples, but there would also be enlarged permission in how you could stigmatize, how you could destroy, OTHER different sorts of people. There would be an increasing mass of people who come to know themselves as possessed of an individuated, professional identity, with money and status to effect great change in the world as well as to enjoy their own lives immensely, and to flesh our their own developing identity (consumerism is good!), but there would also be a large mass of people who would know only disenfranchisement and instability and who would find that not only was no one was listening, that no one cared, but they made sport of their discombobulated condition -- see the showcased liberal in "Manchester by the Sea," for an example. Populists, who whether of the Chris Hedges/bernie bros. sense or rightwing Breibart sense, know that the professional liberal class no longer controls the narrative anymore... there is massive dissent within, as well as outside. And they know that they have worked to deprive the populace of any way of accepting their "rule" -- as Zaretsky has argued, feminists and homosexuality advocacy groups have worked to ensure Freud is out, and so the only explanation for adverse behaviour is simply evil -- if they can be made to be shown to be a particular kind of way... that is, the way they are beginning to seem now, as brutal repeat mass victimizers of women AND of children, all while having a whirl of fun. And it occurs to them, right now, that as they watch former supporters of the Clintons, former makers of films which upheld identity politics liberalism rather than populism (Weinstein), former politicians of the Clintonian mold, former liberal comedians, go down, that they could shortcut to the ultimate takedown of a whole political era if they took down only one particular person during this #metoo awakening. 

If we are to continue functioning as effective psychohistorical commenters on this very dangerous era, we need to think deep on the requirements we may have made on Obama that might have shielded us from doing certain kinds of research on him, shielded away others from doing certain kinds of research on him. David Mannanis... does he strike us as the kind of person who would find evidence that would completely betray his own preferred image of Obama? If there were reports by women that Obama had abused them, is this something he would have made sure to note, or would he have elided it. If he, like pretty much everyone on the left, would have elided it -- his brain not allowed him to see it -- the women who experienced these harassments would have taken note -- here is about our best defender, and even he wouldn't see it! -- and never said a further word. They knew they would be destroyed if they ever said anything, as an angry mob went at them for trying to disturb the perfect solution to their troubled existence as liberals individuating almost admittedly over other people's backs. If the likes of the wonderful, self-aware Gloria Steinem could have seen Clinton(!) as not truly a victimizer of women, we should ourselves caution people when advising them to take note of previous respected biographers of Obama; what they found. Without having read their works, it strikes me as very likely they would not have seen what a generation of #metoo activists would now be able to see, if Obama has any kind of a similar history with women as these other powerful men who felt abandoned by their mothers are proving to have had. (Also, just as a note: I've never believed the Obamas were more emotionally healthy than the Clintons were. This not by research but just by my sense of them. I think the Clintons came out of more nurturing backgrounds, yet Bill's, truly wonderful Bill's, was adverse enough for it to have likely lead to his raping women and destroying them.)      


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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change


7:58 AM (2 hours ago)


And for example, are we prepared for this about Elie Wiesel. Commentary's reaction suggests, maybe no

I know I will be vilified for this, but Listman’s tale is hard to believe. She not only describes behavior on Wiesel’s part that no one, in his half-century as a major world figure, has ever even whispered about; she seems to know he thought she was religious and was underage and would therefore never report his offense against her. How could she know what he had thought, what she had looked like to him? The fact she is free to advance these wild speculations as though they were truth impeaches her credibility.


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