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


An internet dating horror story PLUS a video of the perp paramoralising

Are you ‘virtually’ sharing your heart with an aged, obese person the opposite sex to what you imagine, perhaps?

We’ve all heard stories about internet relationships that are wrong in one way or another. People say it won’t happen to them, but people say a lot of things.

Do beware!
Wishful thinking will try to turn him or her into what want, but you have no idea. Even if you’ve spoken on the phone. Even if it goes on for a year and a half. 

You’ve been talking into a mirror.
Which could be harmless (actually, not really) but there’s someone behind that mirror. This story by Josh Olsen orginally appeared in LA Weekly:

Anyway, Janna knows this guy named Jesse, and she thinks he and Audrey would get along. She “introduces”them online, and they hit it off. Jesse is an amazing dude, a volunteer fireman, a cowboy, a tortured poet, a man with a past. He has an ex-wife he speaks of fondly, and a son. He lives on a ranch with llamas. He’s got posttraumatic stress disorder from having been in New York on 9/11. He knew some of the firemen who died, or something. An exceptional man. He and Audrey just click, in that special way we all hope can happen someday. Continue reading

The truthiness of the paramoralism

Copyblogger ends a recent post with: “And that’s the truthiness, the whole truthiness, and nothing but the truthiness“.

Are you familiar with this concept? Popularised by the satirist Stephen Colbert, truthiness is:

-thinking with your heart not your head
-being convinced by perception not facts
-what you want to be true vs what is true.     

Originally truthiness was used to used to satirise President Bush who said in defence of his nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court: “I know her heart”.

(He also said of President Putin: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul” – something many Russians found hilarious with regard this soulless ex-KGB man.)

Of course this president is not the first politician to be truthy. Nor the best – his predecessor was famous for resorting to empathy is order to convince/be convincing.

Truthiness is about claiming to simply know something.

Colbert’s own definition leads me to connect truthiness to paramoralisms: Continue reading

Quickpost – A perfect paramoralism

I’m trying something new here – writing a very brief post. Some ideas don’t need explication and elaboration; they can be simply stated and quickly read. I would be very pleased to hear any comments from readers on this format. (Additional query: do I post too often for your tastes?)

On his very first day as a sole – and very green – psychologist at a maximum security prison, Robert Hare encountered his first client, ‘Ray’. It went something like this:

Ray: Doc, I want to discuss a problem with you.
Hare: Sure, tell me about it.
Ray pulls out a knife. Hare decides not to press the alarm button.
Ray: I’m going to use this on an inmate who’s been making moves on my punk.

That’s it. A perfect paramoralism.

It has the emotional discombobulation: from gratification to fright to relief. It has the double-bind which leads to intellectual confusion: do I tell the authorities and ruin my trust among the inmates or do I not tell them and so break a professional rule and possibly get someone killed? And it has the moral corruption.

Someone has been ‘killed off’ – Hare himself. The psychologist may as well pack his bags and go home – no matter which of the two paths he takes he has been completely morally compromised.

A paramoralism has two goals: to get something and to erode another’s moral thinking. Here we see that for the psychopath the second of these goals – destruction of another person – is far more important that the first.

(This was long before – and one of the reasons why – Robert Hare went on to become the leading authority on psychopathy. For a good summary of his work see here.)

Paramoralism-watch. Lord Black’s ‘expression of regret’

Oh dear. Once again current events compel me to interupt my three-part series on psychopaths and lying in order to show what may be precisely what I have been describing at work.

Former media mogul, Lord Conrad Black, 63, has been sentenced to 6.5 years in prison. He was found guilty of one count of obstructing justice and three counts of defrauding shareholders of one-time newspaper publishing giant Hollinger International Inc. The sentence is at the low end of federal guidelines.

Black was also fined $125,000, and ordered to forfeit $6.1m – the amount a pre-trial report said he stole to fund a lavish lifestyle. (Prosecutors put the amount at about $31m.)

According a selection of three news outlets,
here’s what happened at the sentencing.

First RTE News:

Black told the judge before she passed sentence that he wanted to ‘express very profound regret and sadness’ to Hollinger shareholders for the evaporation of $1.85bn in value.

Here’s CTV Canada:

He complimented the judge on her handling of the trial, and said he regretted the loss suffered by Hollinger International shareholders.

How about TheStar.com:

“I have never once uttered one disrespectful word about this court, your honour, the jurors or the process.”
He thanked the judge for her openmindedness, considering that he came in with an “almost universal presumption of guilt.”
The former newspaper executive also apologized to shareholders of the defunct Hollinger International newspaper group, the company he was convicted of defrauding.

Respectuful, grateful, apologetic – what more could one ask?

It all sounds quite proper and dignified.
The old boy has behaved well, acknowledged his guilt, and expressed remorse. But let’s look a little more closely at what he actually said. (And then wonder about what the above reporters had stuffed in their ears that stopped them hearing it.) Continue reading