Monday, July 31, 2006

What A Psych BA Is Good For

Jonathan Alter on the animus the netroots are engendering against Lieberman:
But if the blogs aren't a force on the ground, they are becoming a powerful factor in directing the passions (and pocketbooks) of far-flung Democratic activists. They're helping fuel a collective version of what shrinks call "projection," where the anger of Democrats at Bush is projected on a handy target, in this case Lieberman.
He must have skipped the relevant lecture in Psych 101, because that's not what "projection" is. Projection, in psycholanalysis, is the act of imputing undesirable traits in one's own personality to someone else, such as when conservatives denounce liberals as racist. Alter is thinking of transference, wherein a particular emotion originally felt toward one person is directed toward someone else, usually on the basis of resemblance or convenience. It's always comforting to discover that my six-figure education is good for something.