Narcissism Will Kill Us

Jammie Wearing Fool, quoting a story at TheHill about the VA scandal:

On the “Daily Show,” Stewart joked that Shinseki’s “mad as hell face” looked “a lot like your, ‘Oh, we’re out of orange juice’ face.”

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said Shinseki is an ineffective front man for the administration’s clean-up efforts — much like Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius during the ObamaCare rollout.

“His affect is impassive and unemotional — a pure technocrat,” Jillson said. “So it looks like when a serious problem is uncovered that has an emotional dimension to it, that they didn’t get it, didn’t care, weren’t moving as forcefully as they should have been.”

JWF sees this as progress, and maybe it is, but notice what all these comments are about: pwecious widdle feewings.  Jon Stewart and this Cal Jillson fellow are suggesting that it’d be all good in the ‘hood if Shinseki just looked madder.

Jonah Goldberg has written about a billion words on this, so I’m paraphrasing him here:  When it comes to brain surgery, I’d much rather have a dispassionate doctor than a passionate plumber holding the scalpel.  Because, you know, feelings aren’t results.

Our culture’s narcissism is terminal. I mean that literally — it’s gonna kill us.  Because what’s the next logical move here?  Obama’s not going to “fix” the VA.  He can’t — the VA is what government-run medicine is.  So he’ll do the only thing he can do, which is to make sure that all his appointees look “madder than hell.”  Endless histrionics, combined with a few splashy firings of mostly low-level, completely redundant underlings.  So not only will the waiting lists and the rationings and the coverups continue — cf. the definition of government medicine — but now even more time will be wasted on showy emotional pabulum.  The docs at the VA will all get a week’s worth of mandatory sensitivity training, in which they too will learn to sham being “mad as hell.”

And meanwhile patients will still die from lack of care, but hey, we’ll all look appropriately upset about it.

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2 thoughts on “Narcissism Will Kill Us

  1. tim

    Look mad, give a press conference and say how mad you are and that you will “get to the bottom of it”. Then do nothing and eventually everyone, that being the press and the low information voters, will forget about it. And if brought up by a journalist who’s accidentally doing their job, just say it’s a “phony scandal” or “not serious” or some such.

    Hell, another scandal is right around the corner anyways so who cares.

    Almost forgot, keep blaming Bush. That always works.

    1. Severian

      Almost forgot, keep blaming Bush. That always works.

      Which is why I continue to believe — sorry, Gary — that cognitive dissonance is at least somewhat bullshit. Because

      1) Bush was the dumbest president EVAR, and
      2) Obama is the smartest president EVAR, so

      3) shouldn’t we have all this sorted out by now?

      I mean, the main problem with Bush / conservatives / Republicans is that they’re so stupid, right? Didn’t we hear for eight straight years how every American would have a Skittle-shitting, rainbow-pissing unicorn in his garage right now if only we got the Smart People in charge?

      Six years later, and I’m still waiting. C’mon, guys …. how hard can it be?

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