October 15, 2012

Nation Tunes In To See Which Sociopath More Likable This Time

Need a hearty laugh about now? Wow...I certainly do! Read this hilarious article from: The Onion "America's Finest News Source". In case you didn't know it already, this is satire folks. It's a joke and it's particularly funny in light of all the websites and all the blogs and all the armchair diagnosing this election year. PLEASE, don't turn this into a political debate or use this opportunity to pick on my favorite write-in candidate for POTUS: W. Keith Campbell, University of Georgia. ha!

October 12, 2012
From TheOnion.com

HEMPSTEAD, NY—According to reports, millions of viewers across the country are expected to tune in to tonight’s town-hall-style presidential debate at Hofstra University in order to determine which complete and utter sociopath they find more likable this time around.

“I’m very curious to see which one of these two clinically sociopathic individuals will present the most convincing and authentic approximation of an actual human conscience tonight,” said Cincinnati-area voter Miranda Harrick, 40, adding that both candidates, like all successful politicians, were undeniably skilled at such calculated artifice. “I think whoever is able to best manipulate me into thinking they experience normative emotional states such as empathy and regret will probably have my vote come November, so I’m excited to see what happens.”

The debate figures to be especially important for undecided voters, 91 percent of whom said in a pre-debate poll that they were still waiting for one sociopath to win them over with the perfect combination of superficial charm, deluded grandeur, and pathological lying.

According to polls, viewer consensus following the first debate suggested Mitt Romney had performed a far more convincing impersonation of someone with real feelings and a capacity for human compassion. Voters praised the former governor’s ability to conceal his complete social disconnection and underlying hostility behind a wall of colloquial rhetoric and an approximation of warmth they described as “much more realistic” than Obama’s.

“Last debate, Romney was a great sociopath,” said Florida voter Jeff Yu, 28, who remarked that the Republican candidate’s impressive ability to simulate the appearance of caring had improved markedly since the beginning of the campaign. “He looked very comfortable and confident up there, even against a seasoned sociopath like Obama. He really helped me ignore the reality that to him, as to any politician, social interaction is nothing but a never-ending game of deception and psychological subterfuge, the only object of which is personal gain.”

Following Obama’s noticeable hesitancy during the first debate, many of his supporters expressed worry that he was struggling to effect emotional normalcy with the same single-minded cunning and feigned humanity he exhibited in 2008. They agreed the pressure is now on the president to show that he has not forgotten how to callously manipulate the American public into thinking he is anything at all like them.

“I want to see that same beguiling sociopath who, four years ago, conned me into believing his psyche was somehow differently wired from every other charming, sociopathic politician who had ever lived,” said Obama supporter Phoebe Greenwald, 43. “What happened to all his seemingly earnest, though of course meticulously contrived, rhetoric about hope and change that made us all like him and think he was in some way psychologically healthy and well-adjusted, which of course no human being in the history of modern politics ever has been?”

“Obama just needs to do what [sociopathic Vice President] Joe Biden did last week,” Greenwald added. “I mean, he masterfully out-sociopathed Paul Ryan, which is no easy task, believe me."

No matter the outcome of tonight’s debate, sources agreed that the most talented sociopath will likely be elected in November and, depending on what kind of support he might receive from like-minded sociopaths in Congress, will then spend the next four years satisfying his malformed brain’s ceaseless thirst for power and glory."


  1. Unfortunately, the only people who really WANT to control entire nations are, probably to a man, self-serving sociopaths. All the nice, community-minded folks are humble and don't tend to lust after world domination. The political system is set so that only the ruthless and charismatic and slightly dodgy make it to the top.... We really need to rethink this whole set-up. ;-) Human beings are funny, aren't we?

  2. It's hard to know what Obama's personal investment is, but having read both his books, I think he's trying to leave a legacy for his mother, grandmother, and perhaps even for his father. My heart hurt when his grandmother died a week before he was elected President. There's sociopaths and sociopaths. The Onion is priceless; but I personally wouldn't tar Obama with Romney's brush. Romney will say ANYTHING to get elected; and the Repugnicans are still the party of the birthers and other crazies. IMHO.

  3. Hey...this is s'posed to be funny!!

    Hi Quercus and CS,

    This article made me laugh at the way people's criticisms have changed. We used to say a political candidate was a 'scalawag', that he had 'no character'; that he lacked integrity and was a hypocrite. But back in my day, religion was the standard measure of goodness (spiritual health).

    Now that psychology is our standard measure of mental health, we say they're Narcissists or they're Sociopaths. LOL It's just a thought. My sense of humor covers ALL extremes, left-right, wing-wang wallawalla bing-bang.

    In my opinion for whatever it doesn't matter a whole hill of beans, our Presidential candidates are neither of them sociopaths. I'd diagnose them as "extraordinary narcissists", such as Michael Maccoby describes is his book, "The Productive Narcissist."

    Elsa Ronningstam lists the characteristics of extraordinary narcissism in her book, "Understanding and Diagnosing the Narcissistic Personality." We don't understand extraordinary narcissism that well but I really really like the idea. Extraordinary or Productive narcissism is considered to be "normal" narcissism, not pathological.

    (have you ever noticed how I can't write a three-sentence reply to anything other than a pick-up line????)

    Extraordinary narcissism, such as both Obama and Romney manifest includes these traits: unusual sense of responsibility and commitment to a specific task or role; heightened self-confidence and self-worth; superego regulation with exceptional ideals; high and unusual standards for performance and achievement; heightened exhibitionism, potentials for leadership, charisma, and capacity to conceptualize and embody ideas or mission in relationship to to others. Exceptional capacity for devotion. (excerpted from Elsa Ronningstam's list)

    Living with these guys might not be every person's dream but they are capable of deep loyalty, remorse, and attachment. That keeps them out of the 'pathology lab'.

    I hear your points though---only the charismatic, ruthless and slightly dodgy make it to the top. Even though we know the importance of our vote, a lot of us don't even bother. I've had periods of powerlessness and hopelessness myself and didn't even bother to vote.

    Maybe our task today in a "narcissistic society" is knowing the difference between extraordinary and malignant narcissism? They say we get the President who best exemplifies we the people, right? ha!

    Happy Monday Morning!

    1. Absolutely. That's why this blog is about the whole continuum. I don't think a President could do the job without knowing how to generate charisma; but charisma is a by-product; you can't make people find you charismatic. So it's tricky--does it take narcissism to produce charisma? at what point does self-confidence veer into narcissism? I think we need to be careful how we use the word. Never call someone narcissistic just because they disagree with you; don't make that a fallback word for an entire range of behavior. Although there's a spectrum, if I had to define it, it would be that narcissism requires one central component: lack of empathy and an inability to see how your behavior impacts others; or worse, seeing it and not caring.


    2. The issue with current DSM criteria for the NPD is that everyone has narcissistic traits and that's why we see narcissism in others and ourselves.

      One thing I've appreciated in this year's election is that both men have clean backgrounds as far as caring for their families. I voted for Clinton but got so sick of his sexual escapades (and other candidates, too) that it's been a RELIEF to have two candidates who, as far as 'we' the people know, have a clean track record. We each have our bugaboos. Infidelity is definitely one of mine.

      We used to look up to the President as a role model so I feel kinda sad for kids today, who view political candidates as sociopaths. We've become cynical and jaded, haven't we? I want me sum of dat good old-fashioned idealism that makes you feel good about being part of the human race!

      I will be sooo glad when elections are over. My family is completely polarized with no hope of bridging gaps through mutual compromise. (especially now that compromise is a dirty word!)

      Imagine what woulda happened to the human race without the ability to compromise? We'd be on opposing sides of the ravine with bridge-builders viewed as evil.

      All Bridge Builders Will Be Shot On Site!

      ACK! I hate politics!

    3. Yeah, but politics are so interesting.......
      I'll be glad when it's over too, as long as Obama wins a second term. Just my opinion, my vote, and I'm a taxpaying citizen entitled to both. Romney will say anything, turn on a dime, lie up the wazoo. All politicians lie, but I've never seen anything like Romney in my adult lifetime! But both good family men and husbands, true dat.

    4. Love, love, love this silly Onion article. "Liked" it to my FB page. Thanks for sharing. I am pretty cynical about politics. I'm kind of with QG in my appraisal of most politicians. That said, I'm with you that both O. and R. seem to be decent human beings for the most part...I think politicians are a fascinating mix of self- and civic-interest. The really successful ones manage to align their personal goals with those of helping or bettering the community. But when they have to choose between self and community, sadly I think the majority of them choose self. There is just so much evidence of this everywhere.

      And man, oh man, will I ever be glad when election day has passed. The whole thing is exhausting. One trait politicians definitely have is tenacity.

      I also love your insight about how what was once measured in spiritual terms is now measured in medical terms (my words). It's really true that psychiatry has largely replaced religion as our standard of mental wellness. There are all sorts of fascinating implications to this, many of which you've written about. I mean, what does this say about our cultural standards when vice/virtue is now seen largely in terms of health/disease? I've been thinking about whether narcissism is getting worse or not since our last discussion. I ordered Keith Campbell's book and can't wait to get started on it...oh, I pretty much failed to make a connection here between the new "standard of wellness" and narcissism, didn't I? And frankly I can't do so just yet. But I think you prolly get what I'm saying so poorly. I hope so, because maybe you can find the words I can't. :)

      Anyway, thanks for another delightful and thought-provoking post. Good work, CZ!


  4. I got a good chuckle from the Onion article...thanks!



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