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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 12-Nov-17


Sunday 19-November-17

Basil Fawlty, Donald Trump and a whole conference of psychoanalysts

There's an episode of the quintessential British situation comedy 'Fawlty Towers' where a psychiatrist, having experienced Basil Fawlty's bizarre dysfunction, shoots a parting comment over his shoulder as he leaves, 'He's an entire conference'. It sums up John Cleese's manic invention well, where lunacy seems to know no end. It's a part of the genius of the show that it avoids slapstick, yet has you stuck between appalled outrage and side-splitting laughter.

The Donald Trump Show is another macabre, incredible and hypnotic performance, which many psychiatrists have already discussed, yet hardly have scratched the surface. And indeed, if we survive the show, will be the subject of endless future analysis.

A recent foray was into passive aggression where, in his spat with the equally scary North Korean leader, he expertly shows us how to throw oblique, deniable insults.

So here it is, in his standard tweetform. A masterclass in how to passively-aggressively call somehow short and fat:

Why would Kim Jong In insult me by calling me 'old'? I would NEVER call him 'short and fat'?

Neat, huh? He starts by playing victim, grabs the moral high ground, then speaks his insult by saying he would never say it. The capitals on 'never' adds an aggressive shout that both deflects from the subsequent insult and marks it out.

Having done the aggression, now it is time to wallpaper it over with passive soap.

Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend -- and maybe someday that will happen.

Friendly? Peaceful olive branch? Perhaps in another context, but not after the previous sentence. This just adds another subtle, passive-aggressive insult. If you accept an outstretched hand after the other hand has just knifed you in the back, you are clearly a fool, and this is what is really being said here.

Yes. I know. More Trump stuff. I'm trying to give him up, but there's still so much great conference material to gather.

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