After a 2 week near-hiatus from the news, I woke up this morning to hear the recording of the President trying to gaslight the Georgia Secretary of State into giving him a phantom “11,780 votes” in a sloppy last ditch effort at autocracy.
Right after the election results were finally called, and Biden was able to make his speech in front of an elated and worn out crowd, there was a moment where the Trump noise was reduced to an inaudible din and replaced by a clarity and normalcy that hadn’t been heard in four long years. Ding dong the witch was dead, but we weren’t even thinking about the witch. We were looking ahead and skidding madly out of dodge away from crazytown.
The soothing effect, the twittering birds, blooming flowers, blue skies and rainbows, they were all so profound it seemed to sidestep the shellshock and PTSD of his reign. It didn’t last long but it felt like fresh air after having your head submerged in a toilet. You’re just glad to be alive. Your needs are minimal. You require only sanity. And a bath.
That sanity started on November 5th when for the first time, multiple networks cut away from a Trump speech where he spouted his usual lies, but it ended in short order as Trump’s lawsuits and rants began to pile up and his voice grew louder and more shrill. That only happened because we were listening again.
Then and only then, can we get down to the business of fixing this mess.
Well we don’t have to listen anymore, and on January 20th we really don’t have to listen. We’ve learned what’s frighteningly possible and we are well aware of the loss of identity and despair from the American right that led to this, but what we need to do now is focus on rebuilding and training that fear and incredulity on the next way more intelligent psychopath who tries to undermine our democracy. Because he or she is coming. We need to focus on fixing the problems that led to Karen. To George Floyd. To QAnon.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Trump, it’s time to grey rock the bastard. What does it mean to “grey rock”? As Psychology Today describes it, the grey rock method is a way of dealing with narcissists where you suck the air out of their sails by a lack of participation in dialogue. You limit your attention to a few syllables or a nod. You don’t outright ignore them, because that is a way of giving attention, but you stay them off by ‘making yourself so boring that the other person has no interest in you and will look elsewhere to get their needs met. Even if you’re accused, you might agree or say nothing. Your nonresistance makes it harder for them to project onto you. The idea is to blend into the background, like a gray rock.’
It’s like the monster in a movie who smells fear. They roar and beat their chest but as you remain frozen and limp and play dead, they amble away. They’re bored.
The media loves a sensation but journalism is supposed to focus on news. Stop making Trump news because he’s not. Grey rock him, and we will stop spreading his effect. We have bigger fish to fry so please let’s stop giving him attention and he’ll recede into the background of schmaltzy reality tv and the tabloid archives where he belongs. Then and only then, can we get down to the business of fixing this mess.