Barack Obama is a Narcissist and Other Urban Legends August 23, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Disinformation, Email Forwards, Faith Freedom, Is Obama a narcissist?, Narcissism, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Politics, Sam Vaknin, Snopes, The Internet, Urban Legends
Several friends and relatives forwarded me the email Obama is a Narcissist purportedly written by Sam Vaknin, “a world authority on narcissism.” It goes on to say, “He (Vaknin) understands the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism, everyone listens.” Whoa, let’s take a deep breath.
What the email fails to mention is that Sam Vaknin was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in 1984. And that title of Dr. before his name? Shmuel (Sam) Vaknin’s resume reports that he completed nine semesters at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. His doctorate is not in psychology, but philosophy, and was received from Pacific Western University, an unaccredited on-line diploma mill based in California. (Operators are standing by, if you too would like add Dr. to your name) Vaknin, an Israeli citizen, was incarcerated in Israel for white collar fraud and currently resides in Macedonia.
Although the Obama is a Narcissist email references some of Vaknin’s writing and includes a header suggesting he is the author, the article was actually published Sept. 8, 2008 by Ali Sina on the FaithFreedom.org (FFI) site as Understanding Obama: The Making of a Fuehrer. How do I know this? I credit Snopes.com. Since 1981, Snopes founders Barbara and David Mikkelson have made it their job to investigate information flying around out there on the internet and provide a much needed reality check.
FFI identifies itself as “a grassroots worldwide movement of ex-Muslims and all those who are concerned about the rise of the Islamic threat.” Its publisher, an Iranian who lives in Canada, uses the pseudonym “Ali Sina.”
If you’ve received the above email (there are numerous versions flying through cyberspace), you know it quickly goes off the deep end. Obama is likened to Jim Jones, the charismatic cult leader of the the People’s Temple who led over 900 of his followers to commit mass suicide. The email says they did so “cheerfully.” Sina’s ugly diatribe refers to Obama’s supporters as “worshippers” and wastes no time in comparing Obama to Stalin, and Hitler. Sina has said on the website that he hopes Obama will be executed by electrocution – it subscribes to the conspiracy about Barack Obama’s birth. Wingnuts unite!
My outrage about the above circulating email is two-fold. First, it’s a lie and a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. I only worked briefly as a journalist, but the journalistic mantra is “a reliable source.”
Secondly, as someone who’s written quite a bit on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I know those with NPD are pathological liars. So to my mind that negates Vaknin’s observations made from half-way around the world. Vaknin has provided incredible insights into his own narcissism for which I’m grateful. It’s important to note that those with NPD crave attention, but will settle for notoriety. The email circulating provides this to Vaknin in abundance.
I’m most disappointed with how quick people are to use and abuse the term “narcissist.” I realize many don’t know any better. That’s why I write what I do. For the record. narcissism runs on a continuum from healthy narcissism (Healthy Ego) to Destructive Narcissistic Patterns (Me is getting in the way of Us) to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or as Vaknin refers to his NPD, Malignant Narcissism.
I can’t imagine how any politician or leader could rise to power without a healthy/hefty dose of narcissistic traits. Think alpha male. But this doesn’t mean they have NPD? One tell-tale sign of those with NPD is they’re unable to maintain a healthy emotional relationship with significant others. Someone better tell Michelle and the girls.
I highly recommend that when an email is forwarded to you, you run it by Snopes.com. I recently was forwarded Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins University. When it started talking about how ingesting dairy products creates mucus and how some forms of cancer thrive in mucus, it got me to wondering. I went to Snopes and sure enough they’d already done the research. John Hopkins issued a rebuttal stating that the circulating email is a total fabrication.
If you have trouble remembering the name Snopes, you can do like I do. It rhymes with Scopes, as in the Scopes Monkey Trial. There’s a cure for ignorance – it’s called education.
Photo Credit: Google Images
Obama Poster – Barack Obama as American Mythology February 25, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Politics.
Tags: American Mythology, Art, Barack Obama, Norman Rockwell, Obama Art, Obama poster, Political Posters, Politics, Popular Culture, Populist, Scott Seidman, The Man from Illinois, Thomas Hart Benton
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On Election Day 2008, planetjan was featured as one of WordPress’ 100 “Growing Blogs.” This was in large part because of my “Obama Cholo” post featuring the artwork of artist David Cordova. It was the first time I’d dipped my toe in the political waters. Numerous sites linked to my post and my stats went through the roof. So both Obama and I had a good day.
Since then, my friend Nora Dunn (who makes cameos in some of my blog posts, as she’s a frequent visitor to our outpost of insanity) has introduced us to Scott Siedman’s art. Nora owns several of Scott’s paintings and when I first saw them, I was bowled over by Scott’s bold style.
When we finally met Scott, he brought and we bought a copy of “The Man from Illinois” poster, which is a reproduction of his original painting. There’s a strong stylistic nod to quintessential American artists Norman Rockwell and Thomas Hart Benton. When I asked Scott what book Obama is reading, he said he left that open to interpretation. Scott noted though that Abraham Lincoln, also an attorney (and the original Man from Illinois), was often seen reading the English Book of Common Law.
Not to sound like a late-night infommercial, (but wait, there’s more!), but at $32 to $34 a pop, the poster is a bargain (though I’m hoping to soon snatch up Citicorp at the 99 cent store nearest me). For details and to view a larger image of the print, click on manfromillinois.com. Thanks Nora and Sheila!
Fortune Has Arrived January 26, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Holidays, Personal, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Breast Cancer, Chinese New Year, Fortune Arrives, Hard Times, Hope, Mastectomy, Positive Thinking, Teaching, Third Grade, Year of the Ox
The mother of one of my students, who’s Chinese, came in Friday to talk to students about Chinese New Year. I love the color red so I was already sold on the holiday. Several years ago I didn’t have time to send out Christmas cards but saved face by sending Chinese New Year’s cards instead. She read stories and brought beautiful Chinese dolls and a gorgeous woman warrior puppet wielding a sword, “A woman can be a warrior,” I informed the skeptical boys (brandishing my own verbal sword).
She explained how it was important to clean everything to prepare for the luck and good fortune that a new year brings. (It’s the Year of the Ox, in case you didn’t know.) All of my “Dragons” cleaned the entire classroom along with two students who were born in the Year of the Rabbit. Because they were born at the end of the year, we learned they are officially “Rabbit Tails.”
I was also given the character fu above which means good fortune in a general sense – wealthy, happiness, success (a green card?). The character is to be hung upside down. (Like I would know the difference!) When turned upside down, the character creates an auspicious phrase (Chinese for pun) Fu dao le that rhymes with the character for “arrives” or “comes.” So you’re expressing your wish that fortune be directed to wherever the upside down character is found. That’s why you’ll find the upside down character throughout the year and why not? Everyone needs good fortune heading their way. When good fortune comes, you turn the character right side up to signal its arrival.
I love symbols or maybe it’s the ritual, as so much of modern life has been stripped of ritual (other than the ritualistic stop at Starbucks). It seems to me that just about everyone I know could use some good fortune, including our new president, Barack Obama. Boy, does he have a big mess to clean up, and I think he’s going to need some help from the likes of you and me. Just to be on the safe side, Obama needs to hang up a really big upside down fu above the steps to our nation’s Capitol.
There are lots of people I know and love who could use some good luck. They cling to Hope while they await its arrival. I’m thinking tonight of my sister-in-law Jane (“Janer”). At 47, she’s already survived two marriages, one to a narcissist. She has nine children (eight still at home) and learned just last month that she has breast cancer. Tomorrow she’s having a double mastectomy. I know she’s scared, but chooses to focus on the positive (“I’m getting a tummy tuck and they’re going to use all that extra skin for reconstructive surgery.”) Know this. A woman can be a warrior.
Yes You Can – Obamicon Me January 22, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Monthly Mao, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Facebook, Graphic Art, Mao, Obamicon, Political Posters, Popular Culture
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Hey, it works! My friend Elisse sent me a link to obamiconme.pastemagazine.com. You can upload a photo and choose the perfect word to go with then have it rendered in the style of Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster.
There’s an on-line gallery of all the images people have created. The only caveat is that you can’t upload graphic sexual images (Like who in the world?) You have to create an account using your email address, but it’s totally free and after you’ve created your “Obamicon” you can download it or post it on Facebook. My pets are submitting their headshots, but they’ll have to wait. First I have to “Obamicom” all my Republican friends.
Yes We Can – Watch the Inauguration January 17, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Politics, Teaching.
Tags: Barack Obama, Education, Room Parents, Students watching the inauguration, Teaching, Technology, The Inauguration, the state of technology in public schools, Third Grade
My third grade students almost missed watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. Last Tuesday it hit me. Although I have a TV in my classroom (won in a raffle), I’ve only used it to show videos and DVDs. Because of the mountains in Southern California, you can’t get decent TV reception unless you have cable or a satellite dish. So how were my students going to watch Barack Obama take the presidential oath? No matter your political bent, this is History with a capital H!
I talked to my husband aka “Tech Support” about our options. On any given day the internet is down in my classroom. (To be fair, when we got a new school superintendent, he was appalled at the sad state of technology in our district, but that’s Another Story). I know teachers who are taking Tuesday off because they don’t want to miss this historic event. How sad is that? .
I emailed my room parent to ask if she had any ideas. (And no, I don’t name names, but I am arranging to have her face carved on Mt. Rushmore.) I was willing to invite my students to watch the inauguration at my house (and yes, I would have obsessively cleaned for third graders), but parents aren’t allowed to drive students on field trips. Dedicated teacher that I am, I wasn’t willing to put my job security on the line and commandeer a bus (not in this economy).
My room parent is one of those “can do” people, who can move mountains. (I just point to where I want it moved.) When my sons were in school in New York City, I was always a room parent, and I’d like to think that my sons’ teachers thought of me in the same way. But then I was never “put to the test.” I excelled at collecting money from parents and making sure there were enough cupcakes for class parties.
Within 20 minutes of my email, my room parent had come up with a plan. I had to (take a deep breath) call my principal at home to get the okay. My principal thought it sounded “fabulous!” The very next day, each student received a personal invitation to the presidential inauguration.
So I don’t know how you’re spending Inauguration Day, but this is what my “future leaders of tomorrow” will be doing. As soon as the Start bell rings. we’re going on a “Walking Field Trip” to a restaurant three blocks from the school. My room parent knows the owner. Although the restaurant doesn’t open until lunch, they’re letting my class watch the inauguration in the back room on the big screen TV AND serving them breakfast. (My room parent said she’d take care of that.)
One of my students is bringing her mother and her grandmother, so you’re welcome to join us. All of the permission slips have been returned, and the students are psyched. Because they’re third graders, now they want to know about the really important stuff – like what’s to eat?
Why is this so important to me? This year I have a cluster of English Language Learners (ELLs) and most of their parents are here on student visas or aren’t citizens, so they didn’t even vote. And unlike in years past, I only have three African-American students this year. But I understand the significance of the election of the first African American president for ALL Americans. My students (who are 8 and 9) might not fully appreciate this now, but years from now I want to them to remember how they spent this day, and that they shared it with me – their teacher.
On Friday, as they got ready to leave, I asked my students, “Are you going to come to school on Monday?” I got a resounding NO. They all know it’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. (Third graders are SO smart.)
“Are you going to come to school on Tuesday?” I asked. “Yes!” they said in unison, barely able to contain their excitement. “Don’t be late, ” I reminded them. “We have a date with history!”
Note to Teachers: So many teachers have read this post after plugging in the search term “inauguration lesson plans for third grade.” My amazing room parent also bought me a subscription to edHelper.com. so I was able to put together a four-page Inauguration packet filled with puzzles and activities.
Planetjan in Pakistan? November 28, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Blogging, Humor, India, Islam, Mumbai, Pakistan, Politics, The Pakistani Spectator, War on Terror
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No sooner had I put up my post “Barack Obama as American Mythology” then I received a request for an interview from Ghazala Khan atThe Pakistani Spectator (TPS). “We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind,” he wrote. Who, me?
I checked out the link to the Pakistani Spectator, which seemed to me to provide relatively mainstream political and entertainment news. There were interviews with several other “notable” bloggers (one was in Bakersfield – a known hotbed of radical activity – and he admitted to drinking copious amounts of alcohol), so I figured no fatwah would be forthcoming. And there was that ad in the sidebar announcing that you CAN lose a pound a day without dieting. It was right next to an on-line poll about what to do with those Talibans. Here are the poll options: Dialogue with Them, Crush Them, Let America Deal with Them, Give Them a Free Hand, Jirgas(?) and Limited Operations, or finally, I am Confused.
I agreed to the interview and Ghazala Khan emailed me the interview questions, which required me to do some hard thinking. Not an easy thing to do when you’re overwhelmed with Parent/Teacher conferences and Thanksgiving looms. But I emailed my responses and woke up the next morning to find that the “Interview with Blogger Jan Marshall” was right below a photo of Barack Obama.
Political news is available through TPS in Urdu, but not entertainment news. So, boo hoo – no Urdu for you. You can read the interview by going to the following link. The Pakistani Spectator. Scroll down through the political news. Us “Notable Bloggers” are relegated to Entertainment under Interviews in the middle column. My interview has since been bumped by more recent interviews, but you can find it if you go to the top of the page and click on Interviews. The Interview archives are organized by the date published. My interview was published Nov. 24th just days before the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
With all of the turmoil in that region in the world, I think all of us can benefit by knowing more about each other.
Hope & Hip Hop October 29, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Artists, Music, Politics.
Tags: Art, Barack Obama, Hip hop, MC Yogi, Music, Politics, Popular Culture, Yoga
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Our friend, Dina (The Salsa Queen!) forwarded this link on Youtube. I must confess that my father warned me I should NEVER blog about politics or religion – but this is ART! MC Yogi grew up in a group home for “at risk youth” and then discovered the transformative power of yoga. Who would have thunk it? His music appears on the White Swan label, home to another of my faves, Deva Premal. Got art? If you want to see an AWESOME video, click here: MC Yogi: Obama ’08 Vote for Hope.
Obama Cholo October 26, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Politics.
Tags: Art, Barack Obama, California, Humor, Latino Voters, Latinos, Obama Cholo, Political Art, Politics, Popular Culture
My friend Angela had this poster on her front door, and it was love at first sight (a primera vista). She told me her hairstylist, David Cordova, had made it which led to an after school jaunt through the winding hills above Eagle Rock to meet him. He had an Obama event that night, and his supply was running dangerously low, but I bought four posters at $5 a pop ($10 at the event!) and was ecstatic.
David said he came up with the idea for the poster because many Latinos are still hesitant to vote for an African American (the brown vs. black issue that I’ve encountered in my own classroom over the years – though less so lately). But according to a front page story in the Los Angeles Times today, a growing number of Latino voters argue that anyone who has faced discrimination would be good for all minorities. Besides, for most voters, it’s no longer a white, black, or brown issue, or even a red or blue one. It all comes down to green – it’s the economy.
David said he took some of the color out of Obama’s skin, added the Mexican day laborer bandana, and the classic cholo shirt. Que milagro! Barack gone barrio. This way Latinos can see that Obama is not so very different from themselves.
I have to admit that in the poster, Obama looks surprisingly like the Mexican cook who works back in the kitchen at the local sushi bar. So in that sense, Obama Cholo (as David refers to him) IS every man – at least in Los Angeles.