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Barack (Rorschach) Obama
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 20 June 2008 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 06/20/2008 6:31:13 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

Run a Google search for the combination of Rorschach and Barack Obama. You’ll get about 49,000 hits. I’ve read a fraction of those, beginning in 2007 and including the June 2008 one when Obama called himself a Rorchach.

It is curious that apparently none of these reporters and pundits bothered to find out what that psychiatric test was for, how it worked, and what it meant. People assume that a Rorschach indicates a person or event that can mean different things to different people.

That is certainly true of Barack Obama as a candidate. It is also true of his vaunted speech on race relations in the United States, the second most common use of the Rorchach reference. But, that’s not what the test is.

The comparison is actually more apt than all these tens of thousands of reporters and pundits think. But reaching that conclusion requires homework on Rorschach himself.

Dr. Rorschach died only four years after he developed the test that bears his name. He wrote about it only preliminarily. Other psychoanalysts years later developed the test to its status as the second most used analytical tool today. Most people have never even seen a Rorschach Test, much less taken one.

Here’s how it works: Dr. Rorschach had a background in fine arts as well as medicine. With that combination, he discovered a certain fact about responses to certain stimuli. As “the Original Rorschach Website” explains. “While working in a psychiatric hospital with adolescents, he noticed that certain children gave characteristically different answers to a popular game known as blotto (Klecksographie).” Remember what the ink blots look like: they are all images of half a blot, mirrored left with right so the final image is symmetrical.

The images are abstract. None represents anything in the real world. There is no “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.” (See Marcel Duchamp, 1912.) There is no murderer with an ax. (See Jack Nicholson in The Shining, 1980.) In short, there is zero factual content in the Rorschach images.

What results from the use of the Rorschach Test in psychiatry? The paradox of the ink blots is that people with specific emotional states will “see” similar results in the same blot. Others, who do not share that emotional state, will not “see” that. What the test reveals is not the fact of what’s really on the paper. It reveals, instead, the emotional predilection of the patient.

Now, with an understanding of what a Rorschach test is, we can judge the common use of that phrase with respect to Barack Obama and certain of his speeches.

First, the phrase applies because there is no content in Barack Obama’s speeches. Like cotton candy at a carnival, they are spun with energy and heat from a teaspoon of sugar into a quart of confection. But, the candy melts down to nothing when one delves for factual content. Like Rorschach’s blots, the candidate and his speeches have no objective meaning. The viewer’s conclusions come from the viewer, and nowhere else.

Second, because there’s no real content, there are no “right” or “wrong” responses. The only reason to track the viewers’ responses is to look for patterns. Do certain people with certain emotional predilections have common responses? If so, who are they, and what are their psychiatric states?

Do the positive reactions to Barack Obama come primarily from people who are both desperate and impatient? Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, in 1854, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Is this half of the lesson learned from the Obama ink blots?

People who genuinely want “change” to occur, ought to be concerned with what change should happen? How it should be done? Who will benefit from it? Who will pay for it? These are logical questions about any public policy issue, from elementary school education to global thermonuclear war. Do the favorable responses to Obama indicate people who are too impatient to ask such obvious questions such as who, what, when, where, why and how?

It is particularly sad to see reporters nodding with assent when their supposed stock in trade is the asking of just such questions.

What diagnosis flows from the Obama Rorschach Test? Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist, No. 68, that the Electoral College would prevent anyone offering merely “talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity” from winning “the distinguished office of President of the United States.” Does today’s Rorschach suggest that Hamilton was wrong?

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About the Author: John Armor practiced law in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. He now lives in Highlands, NC, and is working on a book on Thomas Paine. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu

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TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cottoncandy; obama; objectivemeaning; rorchach
Odds are, a bunch of FReepers have considered the Obama/Rorchach connection. I think you'll appreciate this take on that connection.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 06/20/2008 6:31:14 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

2 posted on 06/20/2008 6:39:24 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Congressman Billybob
People who genuinely want “change” to occur, ought to be concerned with what change should happen? How it should be done? Who will benefit from it? Who will pay for it? These are logical questions about any public policy issue, from elementary school education to global thermonuclear war. Do the favorable responses to Obama indicate people who are too impatient to ask such obvious questions such as who, what, when, where, why and how?

Great post Bilybob. Thanks.

3 posted on 06/20/2008 6:45:06 AM PDT by GOPJ ("I'm afraid after I die, I'll be voting Democrat" - Freeper potlatch)
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To: Congressman Billybob
"Run a Google search for the combination of Rorschach and Barack Obama. You’ll get about 49,000 hits"

I never thought Google hits proved much of anything.


4 posted on 06/20/2008 6:49:44 AM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: GOPJ

The only “hope” and “change” Obama wants.....

He “hopes” to “change” his address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...


5 posted on 06/20/2008 6:50:04 AM PDT by Boonie
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To: Congressman Billybob
Very good job, John. I like that you've taken the Rorchach idea beyond the superficial of "see what they want to see" into the subconcious aspect. Many people miss that, I think.

Also, I believe that excluding Federalist from the public school curricula has been one of the most effective methods of liberal takeover of this country.

Though I would not likely support Hamilton on many things, if he were taken out of historical context, his point about the Electoral College is being demonstrated so well. Why we discard wisdom is beyond me.

6 posted on 06/20/2008 7:01:17 AM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: I see my hands; Congressman Billybob

Note the spelling. I misspelled it, but it seems that John did in places, too. :-)


7 posted on 06/20/2008 7:03:40 AM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: Boonie
The only “hope” and “change” Obama wants..... He “hopes” to “change” his address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...

LOL - good one.

8 posted on 06/20/2008 7:09:50 AM PDT by GOPJ (ANWR's a third the size of the UK-The drilling site is 1/7 the size of Manhattan Island-Krauthammer)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Give any thought to forwarding this to Charles Krauthammer?


9 posted on 06/20/2008 7:14:35 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Like cotton candy at a carnival, they are spun with energy and heat from a teaspoon of sugar into a quart of confection. But, the candy melts down to nothing when one delves for factual content.

That is an AWESOME piece of writing, and spot on about the Obamessiah!

}:-)4

10 posted on 06/20/2008 7:22:54 AM PDT by Moose4 (http://moosedroppings.wordpress.com -- Because 20 million self-important blogs just aren't enough.)
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To: Moose4

“But, the candy melts down to nothing when one delves for factual content.”

Some more “factual content” about Obama!
http://larrysinclair.org/press.html
(Video takes a minute to load.)


11 posted on 06/20/2008 7:30:54 AM PDT by seekthetruth
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To: Congressman Billybob
What results from the use of the Rorschach Test in psychiatry? The paradox of the ink blots is that people with specific emotional states will “see” similar results in the same blot. Others, who do not share that emotional state, will not “see” that. What the test reveals is not the fact of what’s really on the paper. It reveals, instead, the emotional predilection of the patient. Now, with an understanding of what a Rorschach test is, we can judge the common use of that phrase with respect to Barack Obama and certain of his speeches.

First, the phrase applies because there is no content in Barack Obama’s speeches. Like cotton candy at a carnival, they are spun with energy and heat from a teaspoon of sugar into a quart of confection. But, the candy melts down to nothing when one delves for factual content. Like Rorschach’s blots, the candidate and his speeches have no objective meaning. The viewer’s conclusions come from the viewer, and nowhere else.

Second, because there’s no real content, there are no “right” or “wrong” responses. The only reason to track the viewers’ responses is to look for patterns. Do certain people with certain emotional predilections have common responses? If so, who are they, and what are their psychiatric states?

This is a very good explaination of the Obama worshipers vs. Obama phobes. Love that cotton candy analogy. Can I use it?

12 posted on 06/20/2008 7:48:31 AM PDT by FrdmLvr
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To: FrdmLvr
Glad you liked the piece, and the analogy. Please feel free to reuse it as you choose. But remember to spell my name right. It's “Armor.” The folks who went into the meatpacking business in Chicago misspelled the name at Ellis Island. I've been bedeviled with that surplus “u” ever since.

John / Billybob

13 posted on 06/20/2008 8:20:41 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: DuncanWaring
Charles comes up with his own stuff, which I greatly and consistently admire. I'm sure he's thought of this analogy, also.

John / Billybob

14 posted on 06/20/2008 8:23:53 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob
The folks who went into the meatpacking business in Chicago misspelled the name at Ellis Island.

The scourge that is the "government worker" has plagued us from it's inception. And I will get it right, as I don't work any where near the government. ;)

15 posted on 06/20/2008 8:35:54 AM PDT by FrdmLvr
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To: Congressman Billybob

That is a great quote from Hamilton. I did not remember that.


16 posted on 06/21/2008 2:00:00 PM PDT by Bahbah (Typical white person)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good post John. Thanks!


17 posted on 06/21/2008 9:10:32 PM PDT by upchuck (As we doggedly march towards third-world status, my poor country is losing it's mind. God help us!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

BTTT!

BTW, what’s with the double “- 30 -”?


18 posted on 06/22/2008 2:05:32 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: seekthetruth

Thanks for the “factual content” about Obama.

I was surprised at his ability to handle the press and am half convinced that what he says is absolutely true.


19 posted on 06/22/2008 5:01:44 PM PDT by jtill (Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. E Hubbard)
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To: jtill

“I was surprised at his ability to handle the press and am half convinced that what he says is absolutely true.”

I also noticed that he answered every question and follow up question from the reporters and gave details that certainly could be checked out and verified. Whether there are any reporters that will actually check out the information Sinclair gave them remains to be seen. Of course Obama would need to release his phone records and schedules for those short time frames Sinclair mentioned. If Obama did that he could verify whether Sinclair is a liar or telling the truth. I just don’t think Obama will release his phone records and schedules or will he be asked to by the media who loves him or by the Chicago PD. The only way the information will be verified true or not is if there are honest reporters and cops who want to actually investigate.


20 posted on 06/22/2008 5:46:34 PM PDT by seekthetruth
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To: Congressman Billybob
WOW! OUTSTANDING article John! Thanks for writing/posting.

The comparison is actually more apt than all these tens of thousands of reporters and pundits think.

Propagandists have an easier time creating a candidate from a tabula rasa.

21 posted on 06/24/2008 8:02:27 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Congressman Billybob
Nice writing, John.

Where do you link to older articles?


22 posted on 06/24/2008 3:51:04 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The conceit of journalistic objectivity is profoundly subversive of democratic principle.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Very interesting insight.
Thanks for sharing.


23 posted on 06/27/2008 10:53:24 AM PDT by Redhd2
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