post hoc

What They Voted For: That Most Special of Interests

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Who: Darren Samuelsohn (Politico)
What: “Trump’s kids to run businesses via ‘blind trust,’ Trump attorney says”
When: 10 November 2016

Politico offers the necessary context:

Donald Trump’s vast business holdings will be placed into a blind trust with his oldest three children in charge, according to the president-elect’s attorney.

Trump during his campaign faced questions about how he’d handle his business dealings and potential conflicts if he were to become president, saying repeatedly he’d separate himself from the company. And while his lawyer Thursday used the term “blind trust” when discussing the family’s upcoming financial arrangement, putting Trump’s children in charge of a set of assets that their father is aware of does not constitute a blind trust. Under the legal definition of a blind trust, a public official places his finances under the management of an independent party. The official would have no knowledge of what is in the trust or how it is managed. On CNN, Cohen conceded Trump would have a difficult time satisfying critics who continue to raise doubts about their plans.

(Samuelsohn; boldface accent added)

This is how Trump voters and supporters will work around the cognitive dissonance of cronyism and nepotism in their ostensibly anti-corruption, anti-cronyist, anti-Establishment, anti-institutional figurehead: Ego defense. Redefining terms like nepotism and cronyism in order to exclude what one desperately wishes to protect requires some manner of neurotic complex; there is no precise classification for cravenly making it up as you go, so denial and suppression cannot in themselves suffice, as it is not so straightforward. There is some pretense of intellectualization and rationalization, but scrambling to justify post hoc projection and displacement―while flailing into concomitant secondary denial about whatever prior sentiments and processes one is replacingα―is neither intellectual nor rational.

(more…)

A Question of Faith, and Other Notes

Detail of 'Corpus Hypercubus', by Salvador Dali, 1954.

“What we have in the Gospel of John is a biblical portal between Christianity and Islam. If we choose to walk through it in faith we will discover that our religions issue from the same divine source; we will discover that we are siblings in faith, meant to bear witness to the truth side by side (John 15:26-27) and collaborate in manifesting God’s will on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach

Quite honestly, the first thing to mind reading through the Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach’s reflection on the Gospel of John as a predictor of Islam is to recall that nobody has quite figured out how to deal with the question of pages or single-page, the difference between flipping back and forth and scrolling up and down.

And it’s true; in the end, books still have contexts that the internet simply can’t match.

As to useful commentary, though, we might simply start with the milquetoast proposition that it is a strong, albeit obscure effort; it is easy enough to say, “Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad, Joseph Smith”, but actually drawing the connections that run deeper than the superficial, obvious point of “Abramism” is harder, and seemingly offers a low return on investment unless the larger community of the corpus Christi decides to pay genuine, faithful attention. That is to say, this is not the kind of discussion suited to sound bites.

And, of course, we ought not pretend that any given Muslim will agree, or even appreciate the effort.

Still, though, Mevorach’s missive is intended for Christians, and in that context it is worth suggesting that the basic term synoptic gospels, in my own experience, actually confuses many Christians who never learned what the phrase means; one wonders just how obscure the question of Christianizing the Hebrew experience post hoc actually is. It doesn’t come up much in broader discourse, but is also at the heart of a dispute among Christians regarding the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which was in turn replaced by the New Revised Standard Version, and there are plenty who claim the further revision only made the problem worse; the original complaint was that the RSV showed too much respect to the Hebrew experience. (No, really, part of this was about whether Christians should rewrite the definitions of Hebrew words in order to smooth rough spots on the long-accepted article of faith that Jesus fulfilled old prophecies.)

The sum of that critique, quite simply, is that Mevorach’s entry for the Huffington Post probably won’t find much audience among those Christians who most need reminding. To that end, we can only wish the Reverend good luck and Godspeed.

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Mevorach, Ian. “Did Jesus Predict Muhammad? A Biblical Portal Between Christianity and Islam”. The Huffington Post. 25 April 2016.