Cross-posted from My Firedoglake (which was hacked to make it appear as though I hated young children; everything I held dear was destroyed. Here is an example of the opposite of plagiarism; everything is original (except of course I did not write Freud's theory of the unconscious, pilfer from Richard Hofstader or Shirley Jackson). I never realized that people planned my death.
Violence, high unemployment and malaise pervade the atmosphere.
Things fall apart; the center will not hold.
It's time for witch trials
and a scapegoat carved out of sexual hysteria and the fear of
The discarded outcast is destroyed (or destroys
him/herself) for the sake of the community. She serves a vital purpose,
to draw the ire and inchoate hatreds of the group upon herself. She
exists to be the outsider and functions to enhance the well-being of
The only action to be taken to appease the community in
the face of this loathsome creature is to institute a form of social
control. Out of sight, out of mind. Social control used in this way
covers a multitude of sins. Snarking self-satisfaction and superiority,
the members of the community only wish her to be banished from their
This dynamic is seen starkly in the short story, "The
Lottery", by Shirley Jackson, which depicts a wholesome farming town
that depends on the community to gather together for the harvest day
ritual. Just ordinary people trying to guarantee their survival against
the prospect of famine. Spoiler alert: human sacrifice. It can happen
here. It can happen to you.
The fear that spread like a virus
through the country tore apart lives but helped put notches on the belt
of Roy Cohn and Richard Nixon, who later became President. In the late
17th century in Salem, Massachusetts, accusations of witchcraft ended
the lives of several women. The sexual hysteria whipped up serves
several functions: bind the group against a common enemy and project
internal hostility and rage upon an outsider.
Unfortunately, it is
probably difficult to actually be the outsider, the target on whose
destruction the group depends. There are many methods utilized against
the target: threats, attempts to discredit, or even driving her to the
brink of sanity. On a continuous basis, day in and day out, the
perpetrator cannot help but succeed, particularly if the group does not
step in for fear of becoming tainted themselves.