Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Palin Manipulates Self-Esteem of Audience Per Vanity Fair Article

A lot has been written about the new Vanity Fair piece up about Sarah Palin, so I won't go into it in depth, but one point was made towards the end of the article that I think was overlooked in much of the analysis that I have seen.

Much of the criticism has focused on the reporting of Palin's behavior and treatment towards others, particularly her family. I believe it comes as no surprise to those of us on the blogs who follow her that her children are (to her), little more than props, and everyone else is simply a tool. Tools are to be used as needed and discarded when their usefulness ends.

Palin supporters responded to the piece with anger, claiming that it was just more of the same, however, the additional information about her demands for more clothing ($3,000 worth of underwear paid for by the RNC? really?) and her treatment of service workers is so in line with everything else we have learned, that it is easy to believe and just adds to the base of information we have about her without doing anything to change opinion, pro or con. It is just confirmation of an existing belief that either 1) the left is out to get her, or 2) she is an evil, corrupt woman (my personal favorite).

But, what struck me, was this: [emphasis added]
"...she is also planting the idea with audiences that they might not be good enough, by telling them she thinks they’re plenty good, no matter what anybody else may say. (“They talk down to us… They think that if we were just smart enough … ”) To some, the message sounds like an affirmation. But is it really? Or does it seed self-doubt and rancor among her partisans, and encourage them to see everyone else as malign?

Absolutely correct. Reverse psychology at its most basic and so unexpected in this setting that no one would believe its use. Palin may be lacking in intelligence, but she is canny and manipulative, and has a highly developed ability to give people what they want - a characteristic of certain personality disorders. By injecting negativity into the conversation, she ensures that she adjusts the perspective of her followers so that they see themselves and others in that negative light and have to work to see anything in a positive light.

Palin has reportedly quite an anger management problem, with this author saying that she frequently throws things and can go off on others with minimal provocation. This behavior, coupled with her pathological lies, raises a lot of red flags. The ability to chip away at the self-esteem of her audience without their awareness is particularly troubling and I am pleased to see at least one member of the major media able to recognize her actions as such and to educate his readers.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.


  1. I think she is just projecting...we think SHE is not smart enough, true that! Then she projects the feeling onto her sheeple, who share her lack of sense. Nothing cagy or smart about it. Just comes naturally. But it's effective.

  2. Anonymous:
    Thank you for your comments. I agree that she is projecting (click on the label to the right and see my posts on the subject) but regardless of intelligence levels, I believe that persons without empathy develop an ability to manipulate those around them, and a canniness (a protection of her self-interest if you will) that is highly developed. Smart and canny or cagey are not necessarily synonymous. I use intelligence from the diagnostic perspective meaning learning and the ability to learn - something she has not demonstrated a capacity for. True intelligence includes the ability to learn from one's mistakes, which requires a self-awareness to acknowledge that you've made some. Don't think we've ever seen that from Sarah. Working on people's sense of self and their emotions is very effective and even highly intelligent people can be caught up in movements - especially when religion is involved. Fear and anger inhibit rational thought and immoral politicians understand that very well.

  3. As always you have taken a small part of the article and illuminated it...quite nicely. I have always liked how you explain the psychology and the dis-ease that is Palin.