a deep state of denial

this is a post I wanted to write a few days ago.  then the town of Paradise was engulfed in flames. a lot of us in Chico hit the road Thursday night, and I was one of them.  I got back Sunday, and things are appearing to stabilize again.  It’s hard to imagine anything ever being stable again right now, but I’m feeling now like I need to write.  We’ll see where it goes.  so…

it’s an obvious play on words, “a deep state of denial.”  And google trends tells me that the phrase “deep state” has really taken off in the past two years. And then you’ve got “state of denial”, which is a phrase that has been around for as long as I can remember.  My best guess is that a psychologist invented it.

so, what do you do, but google it. and what you get back when you google this new play on words is a lot of hate.  and this is why i wanted to write this down and put it in front of you. i want to draw your attention to how words are being used, and hopefully help you to recognize when a person is using words to attack someone, and why.  because a lot of people are going to come across this new and somewhat humorous phrase, and immediately use it offensively*.  they’re going to say that someone (other than themselves) “is in a deep state of denial”, or that some group of people (not one they belong to) “are in a deep state of denial”.

whereas if you search specifically for *individuals* who “were in a deep state of denial”, you get many fewer hits, and mostly from the time before “deep state” really took off.  they weren’t referring to *the* deep state, but to their own, actual, deep state of denial.

similarly if you search for *individuals* who, currently, “are in a deep state of denial”, you’ll get roughly ten or so hits — as of 11/14/2018.

this is certainly obvious to anyone who’s been on the web for more than a day, but basically, on today’s internet, we’ve got roughly ten times more hateful and offensive* speech compared to the self-examining, introspective speech that you’ll find on personal blogs and support forums.

do i even mention Trump?  I guess i do, because here was President Trump’s first response to the Camp Fire:

There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

I hardly want to dwell on this at all, but only to point out that we have just experienced one of the most devastating natural disasters in years, and the first thing the president thinks to do is to go *on the attack*.

Who is he even talking to here? Who is supposed to “Remedy now?” Is it me? Is it you? Is it himself? I mean, is the man even sane? I … have to move on.

So.  Here we are.  The end of the post.  There’s going to be a lot more words after these ones, and most of them are going to be attacks.  I just attacked the president myself by questioning his sanity, I suppose. (Sorry!) But it should also be obvious by now, that attacks are not going to help the situation.

The situation is that we are all in a deep state of denial (about ourselves, the world), and we’re going to need as few attacks on each other as possible if we’re ever going to get out of it.

* I’m footnoting the word “offensive” here to indicate that I’m using this word a little differently than it is usually read. I mean “offensive” like the offense on a soccer team; not offensive like something that “offends” your sensibilities.