Yes, I Am Cold-Blooded!

There are people who know me well who will tell you that I can be the most cold-blooded person they’ve ever met.   They’ve seen me work on, look at, or talk about things that cause most people to run screaming, have hysterics, get violently ill, or have nightmares.  Yet it doesn’t seem to phase me in the slightest, if anything, I seem to be totally immune to it.   In reality, I’m not “immune” by any means, but what I have developed over the years is the ability to detach my emotional reactions in various situations.   It’s something doctors and others develop quite early on, it’s called “clinical detachment.”   What you do is focus on what you’re seeing, what it means, and what you’re going to do about it,  not on “OMG!  That’s awful!”

15 years ago, there was a horrific animal abuse case.  The investigator had taken a large number of pictures, and people  sent money to help pay for developing the pictures and getting high-quality prints made for the prosecution.  One of my friends received a copy of the prints,  made high-resolution scans of them and sent them to me.   As a part of my work, I had several image analysis programs, which I used to put the raw scans through a number of enhancements,  bringing out details that weren’t obvious in the raw scans.  These were used to help make the case to others as to just how bad this really was.   Someone else who saw the pictures told me that they couldn’t believe that I’d been able to do that.  They said they’d been physically ill just seeing the first one and had been unable to continue.   As I told them, I wanted that abuser put away, and I wanted to make damn sure that no one had any doubts about what he’d done. Yes, I had an emotional reaction, but it wasn’t going to help.  So I set aside my feelings, and focused on getting what was in those pictures clear, because that would help.

What does that have to do with anything?  In the past I’ve taken a number of shots at various bloggers on the Left, the ones I call the frustrati.  They get worked up easily about almost anything, and vent large amounts of prose about it.   Yes, they’re upset, they’re having fits about something, and they’re screaming all over the Internet about it.  I get it.  But when it comes down to it, that’s all they do.

Many of us have been watching what has been happening in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.  Far-right governors have been moving forward legislation that strips unions of collective bargaining rights, and implementing a set of policies which a solid majority of their constituents disagree with.  Wisconsin in particular has been a battlefield for this, as the governor and legislature have used a number of shady tricks  – including ignoring a court order – to get their way.  All of which attracted the attention and ire of the frustrati and various members of the Professional Left.  They’ve made appearances, they thundered on the media, they wrote lots of articles and blogs.  It lasted about two weeks, before they found something else to be outraged about and moved on.  In the meantime, the battle in Wisconsin goes on.  Recall election petitions are still gathering signatures, a judicial election is being conducted, and court cases are being fought.  The big protest marches have moved into the actual work of getting this changed.  It’s not glamorous, it’s not showy, and it’s hard work, but the real activists are in it for the long haul.  The frustrati and the Professional Left?  Well, they had hysterics on cue.  They’re the same as the person who got ill looking at the abuse case pictures.  Yes, they have an emotional reaction, but it’s not helping.

I have emotions, like anyone else. I get angry, I get scared, I feel sorry for someone, feel grief,  I can be disgusted or just outright horrified by something.  I see things happening in this world and in the political arena that evoke all of those emotions at times.  Then I take a deep breath, set that aside, focus, and decide what I’m going to do about it.  I “detach” my emotions and engage my intellect.  I start making plans, prioritizing, and getting awfully, terribly pragmatic at times.   I’m more interested in getting something done,  and I know that it’s going to be a long haul.   Yes, I could join in the hysterics, but you know what?  It’s counter-productive.  I’d rather do something that helps.  Cold-blooded of me, isn’t it?



Filed under Politics

17 responses to “Yes, I Am Cold-Blooded!

  1. majii

    I posted this on my FB page with the following caption: The PL and Frustrai Can Take a Leap Off the Nearest Cliff

    I get angry with them, too, Norbrook, because all they do is whine, whine, whine and are never willing to put any boots on the ground. Many of my former students and colleagues visit my FB page, and I’m hoping they’ll read your post. It describes my feelings regarding the PL, the frustrati, and the firebaggers to a “T.” I’m sick of them. They need to get out of the way of progress because talk is most definitely CHEAP.

  2. pamelabrown

    Hooray Majii, for disseminating the post. If only the PL and its frustrati followers limited themselves to whining. Instead, they take trumped up innuendo and emo pleas/freak-outs (which is why I liked your post, Norbrook) as as a huge assist to the republican agenda. Oh, and they’re telling the rest of us that they’re just “holding his [President Obama’s] feet to the fire”.

    • Mostly, all I can see them doing is regularly chanting “Obama Sucks!” in concert with the Republicans, and telling us that because of whatever he’s doing now, he’s “lost them.” Just like they’ve told us he “lost them” the previous 30 times. 🙄

  3. Obama has that quality, which is why the frustrati don’t really like him. Obama wants to get things done. He knows that’s the real reward and the real measure on which he will be judged by the voters. If he makes their life better, he will be re-elected despite the drama.

    If the people in Wisconsin, Ohio, wherever, take the actions to recall the Governors, register voters, and organize, things will be better. Hysterics are nice, but they don’t remove bastards like Walker.

    • Most of them really have no idea of what a President does, or the demands of the office. While something may be incredibly, OMG! important to them at the moment, it’s just one more thing that has to compete for his attention along with a large number of other items. At the same time, they’re demanding instant gratification for problems that not only took a long time to develop, but are going to take a long time to fix.

  4. Chris Andersen

    I have a similar detached quality. I’ve thought for some time that it probably disqualifies me from ever being able to win a political race since so many people seem to think that a politician who “feels their pain” and shows it is better than someone who actually wants to find ways to take away the thing that is causing them pain.

    The night my father died I didn’t cry. I was to caught up in worrying about keeping my mother’s mental state stable.

    The day of 9/11 I never freaked out about the attack. It never even occurred to me to freak out. It never occurred to me to feel personally threatened. In fact, it was years before I figured out that, for a large number of people, their first reaction to 9/11 was fear for their personal safety.

    I think qualities like this make a leader good in a crisis, which is what Obama has had to deal with over the last two years. But it can be difficult to persuade people that you have an emotional connection to their suffering when you don’t show obvious signs of it.

    • treestar

      Then one wonders what good is this emotional connection – does one want to be operated on by a doctor upset because of the suffering involved for the patient?

      And many of them are exaggerating and lying about their “suffering.”

      • Emotion is good in that it helps to spur you to action, but if it’s not, or helping solve the problem, it’s just having it for its own sake.

        I agree that many of them aren’t terribly “suffering,” and I think a good deal of their moaning and outrage is based on other factors that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  5. TiMT

    Brilliantly put Norbrook. Today I saw several diaries that just smack the POTUS as if it was coming from the Right. My blood boiled for a minute and then I started thinking how I am going to debunk all this crap in one diary. The sad part in all of this is that I can understand the urge to have to protect the POTUS from the Right but this feeling I must protect him from the frastrati professional left is so very unsettling. Anyway, I feel like I have to do a number on them fools.

    • Honestly, a majority of the time I think there’s no real difference. 🙄 With “friends” like these, who needs enemies?

      What people see from me these days is my being … nice. Even when they think I’m being “nasty” I’m actually being very controlled.
      I haven’t done it in well over a decade, but when I really get angry, I’ve been known to leave a trail of crispy critters along my route, and there are a few who would break down into hysterics at the mention of my name. No, I’m not exaggerating about that. Generally though, I go the cold-blooded route, or as I used to say, “I’m going to get all logical on them.” 😆

  6. gc

    You are perfect my friend.I cannot be that way. Infact I just posted on TPV about wanting to throttle the baggers. And that was my third self censorship. I never post what I REALLY want to because i’m surrounded by peaceful types 🙂 Generally I think ax throwing, having a Middle Ages fixation 🙂
    Buddhists use strategies such as non-judgmental curiosity. “I wonder how idiotic those kossaks will be today?” to detach. It’s fairly effective for me. (with a modicum of judging thrown in. I’ve got miles to go…)

    • No, I’m not perfect by any means. Believe me, my opinion of Jane Hamsher, slinkerwink, and a few others is generally best expressed by using a number of highly derogatory, non-politically correct terms. As I said, in the past I’ve been known to use a heavy-duty flamethrower. During the animal abuse case I mentioned, someone tried to defend one of the abuser’s associates, who had known what was going on, on one of the e-mail lists. My response led to the list owner sending me a note saying that in all their years on the Internet, they’d never seen a more brutal, vicious takedown of someone, and while they were impressed, I shouldn’t do that again on their list. One of my friends who read it said “remind me never to get you mad at me!” Even back then, I was known as the “reasonable” person, the one who would patiently rebut your arguments, who presented facts in a calm manner. After that incident, people realized that it was a good idea to keep me that way.

  7. Nathan Katungi

    Hey Norbrook, if speaking brutal truths equals being cold blooded then I am all for you being as cold blooded as you possibly can. I know we all have to try to be accommodating to people we disagree with, including fools; but there does come a time when you have to call a spade a spade.

    There is no way of sugar coating this truth: The PL, who claim to be pure progressive and the base of the Democratic party, spend more time and energy bashing their fellow Democrats instead spending that time and energy, in the trenches, trying to advance the Progressive Agenda. These people love to lead the Revolution behind their key boards and t.v. appearances; they just don’t bother dealing with the dirty work of organizing people, and in helping solve problems that may, at times require entering into compromises with Republicans. They are just so pure that they can’t stand dirtying their hands, even if that means that nothing gets done.

    So, for me, I don’t mind you being cold blooded, if that’s what it takes to knock real sense into some people.

  8. Brilliant post! I enjoyed reading this ever so much.
    I don’t believe it is being cold-blooded or hearted though!
    Sometimes, you become, say, de-sensitive to certain circumstances or situations, but wouldn’t suggest it is being cold-hearted.
    Take for example, a pathologist; they also have feelings and emotions, yet at a sight of a rotting corpse, they do not bat an eyelid. However, I bet if they were to go home and find out that their partner has left them for another person – it would hurt them deeply.

    I don’t know, perhaps, we are just conditioned to deal with things in a totally different way!
    If we were not able to handle different situations, certain jobs wouldn’t get done! Haha!

    Totally and utterly a great post – thank you!

    • It’s not quite desensitization, it’s more a conditioned reflex to set aside the emotional response to deal with the issue at hand. I’ve worked with pathologists in my time, and yes, I’ve been in on a number of autopsies as well as veterinary necropsies. For example, back when I was a dog breeder, I had a puppy that died at the age of 3 weeks. I was very upset about it, I’d gotten very attached to them, and I was heartbroken about it. But when I helped the veterinary do the necropsy, you wouldn’t have known that. I was looking to find out why it had died.