Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oedipal issues

Paging Dr. Freud! Mark Morford bares his psyche:
[T]he ideal presidential wife, one tepid, timid, thoroughly useless Laura Bush.
[D]ocile, prudish, former librarian Laura Bush, she of the nonexistent inspiration and dull-as-dishwater personality? Yes indeed, that Laura Bush. . . .
Laura has also come to epitomize the compliant, unobtrusive woman, the worst kind of example for modern young women today. This is, of course, why conservative Republicans and fundie Christians love her. They call her "classy."
What they mean is: She knows her place, keeps her mouth shut, possesses exactly zero sexuality, speaks only when spoken to, lets the men do the "real" work, stays so far off in the background she might as well be wallpaper.
Get it? In Morford's universe, women are supposed to be either (a) sex objects or (b) "in your face" like Teresa Heinz Kerry. The idea of a woman as wife and mother -- this ordinary "dull-as-dishwater" image fills Morford with fear and loathing.

The tepid, timid Michelle Malkin says:

[Morford] earns his pay by railing against Laura Bush because she isn’t an obnoxious, left-wing elite bigmouth like Teresa Heinz Kerry and because she doesn’t believe, as Hillary Clinton did, that her role as First Lady gives her the prerogative to plan the massive government takeover of huge swaths of the private sector.
I think it goes beyond the political. I think Morford has psychological issues that involve a hostility to traditional sex roles.

Call it Post-Feminism Syndrome. Guys who don't want to deal with the responsibilities of traditional masculinity -- husband, father, breadwinner, all that stoic and steadfast stuff -- tend to project this fear onto women who epitomize traditional femininity: wife, mother, homemaker, all that kind and nurturing stuff.

Post-Feminism Syndrome is the obverse of the well-noted tendency of feminist women to lash out at men who epitomize traditional notions of masculinity. And both tendencies are rooted in the individual's personal discomfort with traditional sex roles.

Please note what I'm not saying: I'm not saying that everyone has to fit into traditional roles. I'm just saying that such over-the-top attacks on traditional roles -- or on people who in some way epitomize those roles, as in the case of Morford's attack on Laura Bush -- are outward expressions of a troubled personality.

Clearly, the prim-and-proper matron type represents some kind of psychosexual threat to Morford's damaged ego.

UPDATE: Continuing our analysis of Morfordism, let's see if there is a pattern in the descriptors he applies to Mrs. Bush:
. . . tepid, timid . . . useless . . . docile, prudish . . . dull . . . limp . . . nice, meek, domestic . . . compliant, unobtrusive . . . docile . . .
Apparently, he scraped the bottom of his thesaurus so he had to use "docile" twice in the same column.

Something tells me -- and this is just a random guess -- that Mark Morford does not aspire to be suburban Dad: Puttering around in his woodshop, mowing the lawn in front of his 4BR/3BA home, attending Rotary meetings, driving the kids to softball practice in a station wagon, commuting five days a week to a 9-to-5 job in an office somewhere.

No, no. Morford has no ordinary ambitions. When he looks in the mirror, he espies no Ordinary American. Not for him the middle-class Middle America middlebrow life. His life is exciting! adventurous! urban! hip!

Morford's pose is ironic, his attitude sarcastic, especially as it regards the Ordinary American -- that mayonnaise-on-Wonderbread stereotypical suburbanite who looms large in liberal imaginations as the epitome of all that is wrong with America. Here is the unspoken subtext of Morford's column (not just this particular column, but of his column in general):
Plastic People, living their boring little lives out there in the vanilla suburbs, voting Republican and worrying about their kid getting a "C" in chemistry -- why, they wouldn't even know a burgundy from a merlot! They probably can't even spell merlot!
Such insipid surburban sameness! Uptight timid men with their tidy little lawns in front of their tidy little houses, with their tidy little wives. Tepid, docile, dull, prudish, meek, compliant, docile -- did I mention "docile"?
You see what I'm getting at? Morford is not merely contrasting Laura Bush with Hillary Clinton and Teresa Kerry, he is contrasting two visions of The Good Life. His worldview is primitively Manichean, so that one is either Us (sophisticated, enlightened and progressive) or Them (ignorant, benighted and reactionary).

Morford doesn't hate Republicans because of policy or ideology. He hates Republicans because he mentally associates Republicans with things that are dull, ordinary and boring. In the mind of Morford (as in the minds of many like him) Republicans are bad because they are stuffy, uptight, sexually repressed, suburban . . . docile.

This stereotype is a reverse projection, a psychologically constructed contrast with the liberal's idealized self-image. It is a puerile defense mechanism, similar to the way high-school students form cliques as a means of identity-seeking.

Hannah Arendt famously titled her book about Eichmann, "The Banality of Evil"; Morford reverses this into "The Evil of Banality."

Morford's 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not be boring," and his hatred of the ordinary is rooted in an obsession with maintaining an image of himself as extraordinary.

If you wish to get more insight into the psychology of liberalism, please allow to me to recommend Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.


  1. Message for Mr. Morford: The feminists called and they are holding your manhood in ecscrow.

  2. I suspect that Morford is so derisive of Laura Bush because he has absolutely no idea what to do with a woman who is willing to look to him for leadership and publicly support him without reservation.

    Such women require a man who is sure in himself, caring and strong, and willing to listen to her sage advice. In other words, the sort of man Morford is least likely to encounter in his social circles.