Thursday, September 09, 2004

Zell: passionate, stirring, loyal, disloyal, dishonest, or...."crazy?"

Why do some people turn to the "C"-word when they are confronted with angry, vigorous opposition? Fortunately, we are hearing less of that word this week, and people are focusing on the merits (or lack of merits) of Zell Miller's arguments and accusations. Here's a comment from a fellow blogger, "Ontario Emperor":

"I don't have the details in front of me, but many presidential candidates have been accused of being insane because of their views. William Jennings Bryan comes to mind. While some practitioners participated in newspaper questionnaires about the sanity of particular political candidates, others refused to participate on the grounds that they had never examined the patient."

During the speech, I occasionally felt as if the senator was firing verbal cannonballs into my living room, but I would not use the word "crazy" to describe him. On further inspection, none of my furniture was damaged during the speech....the damage to his opponents, however, is still being calculated.


Blogger Ontario Emperor said...

The ironic part about the whole thing is that I missed the speech when he originally gave it. A couple of days later, I saw a repeat of portions of the speech on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

By the way, I found my source. This is from Paul F. Boller Jr., Presidential Campaigns:

"[William Jennings] Bryan was the first presidential candidate to attract the attention of professional psychologists (or "alienists," as they were then called). On September 27, the New York Times published an editorial entitled "Is Mr. Bryan Crazy?"...

"On September 29 the Times published a series of interviews with New York psychologists with the heading, 'Is Mr. Bryan a Mattoid?' The next day there were more interviews and a new headline: 'Paranoid or Mattoid?' Most of the psychologists interviewed regarded Bryan as mentally unfit...."

Before we get too high-handed about the primitive early days, consider the power of today's media. It could happen again.

7:29 PM  

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