Saturday, January 05, 2008

Seeing only what you want to see

Dick Meyer, the editorial director of, explains Sen. Obama's appeal:
Sen. Obama is a Rorschach test. I see hope! I see brains! I see a whole new kind of politician! I see an amazing life story! I see an orator! I see a natural! I see a hero!

Well, real people aren't Rorschach tests. They aren't blank slates. And by January 2008, Senator Blank Slate, D-Ill., will be a messy chalkboard.

Seeing what you want to see ("a Rorschach test") is common in politics.

A news story that appears to me to be as much a Rorschach test as Sen. Obama is the disappearance of some colonies of bees, dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder." Some reporters claim the cause is "global warming." Some blame "cell phone radiation." Others blame genetically modified crops. What all these explanations have in common is only that they represent currently popular liberal anxieties. More plausible explanations, such as a new virus (plagues are as old as history), do not appeal to liberal imaginations.

Continuing on the subject of presidential candidates, but touching on a separate theme, Dick Meyer also writes
So tell me how you're feeling about Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. Because I think you are in denial about some very important issues your fellow citizens have in their relationships with these two potential parent figures. [emph. added]
Here we see yet another appearance of the bizarre president-as-parent analogy which is just one member of a larger group of childhood analogies.

Hat tip: Dr. Helen.

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