Southern Politics

Flattery. Why does it work? Because conservatives want to be seduced and they want to believe good things about themselves. Besides, their lack of awareness keeps them from recognizing that the flattery is fake.

To the self-directed, fake flattery may seem abhorrent. In accordance with the golden rule, it’s not something they want to do. Indeed, it seems almost immoral. But, when you consider that conservatives are practically inept — that many, if not all, their endeavors end in failure and failure is, in turn, incapacitating — flattery based on even the most minimal achievement is a kindness. Conservatives deceive because they like to believe what they like to believe. Self-deception doesn’t make them thrive, but it does keep them going.

I think self-directed people need to reconsider their attitude towards the situationally unaware. It’s a disability. Having no sense of time or direction or “where the wind blows” (to use an old cliché) is disabling. People who are always late find it almost impossible to think ahead.

Which reminds me. Dubya was never late because his minders made sure he got where he was wanted on time and hit his marks on cue. It’s what working under the klieg lights does for one. The electronic media make losers look like winners by compensating for their deficits.

Manipulation. Some people thrive on it. Different strokes for different folks. Flattery, it would seem, is the antidote for the envy of the inept. Balm for the endemically insecure. And it’s free.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."