Quickpost – Revenge! But should she have seen it coming? (Come to think of it, should he?)

Talk about losing face!

Perhaps you’ve heard about the case of the very public humiliation of Zhang Bin, news director and premier newsreader for CCTV 5, China’s main sports channel.

A fuller account can be read here, but the gist of it follows.

At its relaunch as the the channel of the Beijing Olympics, Zhang’s wife, Hu Ziwei (also a well-known sports newsreader), walked on stage and announced to the audience that she’d just dicovered that her husband had been committing adultery. It can be viewed here. Ouch!

Hu did not hesitate to link her husband’s values to those of the country:

Zhang Bin can’t even face up to his own hurt wife. I think China, to succeed as a great power….Don’t any of you have any conscience?! Let go of me! We’re very far from being a great country.

The scene was edited out before broadcast but, as always happens, found its way onto the internet. According to the Free Republic report:

Opinion was divided. While many enjoyed the humiliation doled out to the CCTV anchor – a breed held in much contempt by internet users – others pointed out that Mrs Hu should not have been surprised at her treatment. After all, Zhang was already married to his first wife when he met her.

So, help me folks – what, if anything, can we draw from this?

Photo: photos2 033, originally uploaded by céd

11 thoughts on “Quickpost – Revenge! But should she have seen it coming? (Come to think of it, should he?)

  1. It brings to mind a small but glittering license plate-like banner attached to the back of my favorite P’s Harley Davidson cruiser (apologies to all in advance for purely unsophisticated glibness) . . . . “Wishful Thinking”

  2. Dr. Steve,
    You reap what you sow, but even more alarming to me is the need to put everything on public display these days. Revenge and humiliation (but any negative behavior) here are being taken to a whole new level and what I don’t understand is the thinking/behavior/motivation that would lead one to think making interpersonal relationships open to public debate (innocent or not) would improve his/her situation in the long run.

  3. benzthere – Quite so! I mean surely her job (as well as his, but presumably was the intention) is now in jeopardy?

    Perhaps she was so blinded by fury that she gave no thought to the consequences. Perhaps the reality in China is that if things are kept private no action is taken.

    Or perhaps publicity IS reality for her (she is a media-type after all).

  4. I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I’ve wondered if reparation of the ego may be the primary motivating factor rather than fury or retaliation? Are there data that tie public sensationalism to psychopathic behavior? Could publicity stunts signal underlying psychopathic behavior?

  5. benzthere – I’m pleased that you raise the issue of public sensationalism and psychopathy. This does concern a lot of people – is the fact that notoriety is guaranteed make it more likely that, say, Robert Hawkins will shoot up a mall?

    I don’t know of any research on this and would be happy to know of any.

    It doesn’t fit with Hare’s criteria, but the overlap/similarities with narcisssim have been pointed out. My guess? Some people may be primarily narcissists and score high-ish on Hare’s psychopathy scale. So They seek the gaze of others in the first instance and do heinous things to get it. The true psychopath, is the other way round – if he has strong narcissistic traits then fame would be an added bonus.

    But the meaning of that notoriety will be different for each. The true psychopath want’s he fame in the first instance to freak people out; to frighten and horrify them. To be a nightmare figure long they leave that job or die would be pretty gratifying too, is my guess.

  6. Was it sweeps week in China?

    No, seriously. Public sensationalism is interesting.

    Both are in the media? IMO, a narcissist would never have been this impulsive if she wanted to stay in the media business. There would have been an entire orchestrated behind the scenes PR campaign with a charm offensive and a smear campaign.

    If she was a true media narcissist, her publicist should have had visiting hospitals, charitable work propping up her image (think: Princess Di before Camilla). She would have been much smoother — and she could move on with her image.

    Storming the stage and globalizing to analogize to the whole country seems a bit dramatic and impulsive. Not a good image (at least in the Western culture, but in China it may be different culturally). This would seem to be a little more biochemical, perhaps (as long as I’m arm chair psychoanalyzing, I might as well prescribe some meds).;0

    Remember Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? The weekend before that broke, Mrs. Clinton allowed herself to be photographed in a bathing suit embracing Mr. Clinton on a tropical vacation. I remember thinking that she should fire her PR advance team for that photo (anyone but a supermodel is going to take a really bad swimsuit photo). Then when the Lewinsky thing broke, it all made sense. She was preparing for the affair-denial by demonstrating her passionate embrace.

    The mall shooter/school shooters, on the other hand, were outcasts by society. So, they identified with fictional characters for power .The identity allowed them to completely objectify their targets (hence they could kill dispassionately). The shootings were the instrumentality for the power.

    (I’ll have a post up on Jihadists in the next few days, this seems like similar psychology).

  7. swivelchair – The one time a narcissist would sabotage themselves is when in a narcissistic rage; this happens after narcissistic wounding.

    Or maybe, as you say re the Clintons, she has a longer perspective.

    ‘Dispassionately’ – this is not the same thing as without passion, right? Something like a hunter, perhaps? Excited, etc. but without fellow-feeling?

  8. Just to finish this one up: how do they control their rage to only let it rip in private?

    I’m thinking of the media diva who is charming on screen, but then is a terror to everyone else.

    As far as “dispassionately” — what I meant was “not in the heat of the moment and then feeling regret later” or maybe the coolness of malice aforethought. Basically, the difference between first degree and second degree murder.

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