I. "McShingles" is what I am referring to my recent shingles outbreak as. At the current rate of inflammation progression, it looks like I will be under their spell until, ohhhh, November 4th. Really! When the election results are finally known, I will breathe a big sigh of relief and suddenly notice my McShingles are eradicated. Absolutely!
II. "Gaslight" is the name of a classic Victorian thriller play I attended last week. Written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938, set in London in the mid 1880's. The play takes the audience into a world of mystery, gaslight, secrets, hushed fears, deception, paranoia, and the stark edge of madness.
Note: Enigma's post about the Alaska Governor's Mansion and the comment thread about the mysterious Obama sign by HelenWheels and Hairball made the "gaslight" connection in my mind.
The term "gaslighting" entered the English language, coined directly from this play! It originally referred to a form of psychological abuse where there is a deliberate attempt to convince someone they are losing their grip on reality. Gradually, "gaslighting" has acquired the meaning of ruthlessly manipulating an individual, for nefarious reasons, into believing something other than the truth...
III. Which brings me to Sarah "Gaslight" Palin and her two-minute hate speeches wherein she "gaslights" her audience by invoking terror of the other, the unknown. John McShingles flings out "that one", then offers a few false-sounding reassurances when the pyschological melodrama becomes overwhelming. Meanwhile, Sarah Gaslight protects his back & keeps the audience dangerously stoked.
Her rallies remind me of the Two-Minute Hate speeches George Orwell wrote about in his novel, "1984". These were the canned broadcast speeches everyone was required to attend every day. Here is Orwell's description ... does any of it sound familiar? Warning: this way lies madness ...
The horrible thing about the "Two Minutes Hate" was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.
The Hate rose to its climax. The face of Goldstein (DK note: Goldstein was "that one", "the other") ... changed into ... the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine-gun roaring, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backward in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother ... full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen.
Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:
WAR IS PEACE - FREEDOM IS SLAVERY - IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had on everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately ... At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmic chant of 'B-B! .... B-B! .... B-B!'—over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second—a heavy mumurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamps of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.
IV. Well so, we have come to the end of the "Hate" portion of this post. Many others have written how dangerous this type of mindless crowd can become. I would like to think part of this is the result of an extraordinarily long campaign season. I would like to think thoughtful people recoil from this this type of manipulation.
But never fear, there is hope. Hope is the antidote! Here is the legendary Sam Cooke singing "A Change is Gonna Come" written during the civil rights movement of the 1960's ... you know how this will end .... (a 3-minute history of civil rights, with hopeful ending):
There have been many covers of this song, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin & Tina Turner come to mind, even Bob Dylan (which is appropriate since Sam always credited Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" with inspiring him to write this):
"There were times when I thought I couldn't last for long,
But now I think I'm able to carry on.
It's been a long, been a long time coming,
But I know a change is gonna come ... oh yes it will"
FINAL "DEBATE" TONIGHT!!! 9PM EDT, 6PM PDT