Pool Party Anyone?

Even though it is the land of the ego, I am completely disinterested in politics.  From a psychological/observational and legal/forensic point of view, however, this was by far some of the most captivating television I think I’ve ever watched.  I sat glued to every second of every hour. Whilst the case was whipped up into the American political arena and played out, not in a criminal court but in a Senate forum, at the heart of the matter was a serious accusation about an alleged event that took place almost 40 years ago.  In a highly polished walnut shell, she (Dr Ford), accused him (Judge Kavanaugh) of an incident of serious sexual abuse that no woman or man should endure, that caused her PTSD, severe anxiety and a string of other life-long after effects.  And he, not surprisingly, denies everything.  It is a case that will go down in American history for a multitude of reasons.

Lots of logical thinkers will at once wonder, why did it take her so long to report it, especially if it was that bad?  Surely the timing, when the judge has just been nominated to preside over the most powerful courtroom in America, was politically motivated?  In reality, victims of sexual abuse do take years to report assaults, if ever, largely due to their coming to terms with it, or  realising later in life that they have to finally get the ordeal out.  I don’t believe this was especially politically motivated, but one has to wonder, if the doctor did want to keep the matter anonymous and confidential, what did she think would happen when she sent ‘that letter’ to the most senior female in the Senate?  Dear Mrs Feinstein, bless-her, who in the critical seconds of a life-changing whip round vote, was heard to say, “wait, what are we voting for?”   Shortly followed by the Chairman, who stunned absolutely everyone by suddenly initiating an ancient two-hour rule that brought the whole ensemble to a screeching halt and bolt.  Perhaps it was sushi for lunch or a pocket medical timer that went off, but I hope they all enjoyed their recommended mid-afternoon nap.

Now, where shall we begin with the analysis of Dr. Ford?   In Forensic Psychology, I teach all students that when they want to get to the bottom of truth, their best natural tool is to drop their eyes and ask their gut.  In psychotherapy, a similar thing is taught.  After the session, the therapist analyses their own feelings, that provides insight into the feelings of the person they were just with.  Whilst I do absolutely believe the doctor, that a frightening sexually motivated incident took place, search as I may, I was surprised after watching every second of her testimony, that I just didn’t find the absolute truth, or feel the emotional level of sympathy in my gut, that I thought I should have.  

It’s no secret that I have a particular distaste for women who speak like little girls, due to it being a high-level manipulation strategy over men and spectacularly, other women, that usually hides the dark side of the princess.  In transactional analysis, when anyone assumes the psychological child position, it unconsciously forces the other person into parent or adult mode.  The latter more swiftly assumed should the child emit sweet and innocent body language cues. Seeing facial cues of endearment on the other is sufficient to ensure more wind is blown into the charmer’s pipe.  Then there was the overly respectful bowing and scraping of the confused behind her bouncy hair Ph.D. doctor, reminiscent of Fagan perhaps, and the questionably deliberate and cunning subliminally installed use of the word ‘helpful’ into the minds of the senators.  And I wonder how much Coca-Cola, the company suspected to have used subliminal messaging in advertising enjoyed their bottle being in the same full view as the accuser throughout?  And whether they will share their enjoyment with her?  I am reminded of the words of a great philosopher who noted, fake humility is another face of arrogance.

Now over to the Judge, who will undoubtedly die by the sword he lives by.  Being highly skilled in courtroom psychology, he wheeled out all the usual criminal defence tactics of distraction, re-description, fudging, batting back and evading the question in the form of a true politician.  None of which instilled or installed endearment.  I don’t doubt that he has lived his life fully devoted to the upholding of the law and watching the caving in of a mind as he genuinely tried not to cry, did emit the sympathy missing in my experience of the doctor.  However, he showed a classic ‘tell’ of a liar.  When he answered no, he unconsciously nodded yes.  The likelihood of him attending a college party in the same area at the same time is beyond reasonable doubt.  And whilst that doesn’t mean he was the actual perpetrator, in his resilient striving to not use two of the most useful informational investigative processes of polygraphs and FBI investigations to clear his name, we can only assume that he does at least, smell the embers of the smoke of stupidity from a testosterone-fuelled youthful fire.

Overall, the viewing was completely captivating, thoroughly entertaining and truly hilarious.  I love watching smart and wise people debate contentious issues, as they muffle and smoother their natural emotional instincts to shout the ‘f’ word, in order to portray a balanced deameanour and argument.  Well, some didn’t quite manage it.  But I would just say something to any American who is today cringing with embarrassment at their senior senators’ circus behaviours on the world stage, have you seen our House of Parliament? 

There are lots of things that make me wonder?  Was that yogurt covered Rice Krispies the Chairman was seen to enthusiastically pop throughout?   Did the doctor really not know that the whole investigation could have been held in private?  And was the sudden shift in consciousness by sweet Mr Flaked’ motivated by his deer caught in a lift lamp incident, or was it the powerful call to his ego when the woman shouted to closing lift doors, ‘be a hero’?   But of all the questions I really, really want to be answered is this; on the day of the incident, why was she wearing a swimsuit?

The truth will out.

Carole Sawo