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The Bizarre Dr. Ford

September 29, 2018

The word “bizarre” best describes last week’s confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. That led to a discussion I had with a colleague–a former English literature professor–about Christine Blasey Ford.

Neither of us are psychologists and cannot bring knowledge of that discipline to explain Dr. Ford’s actions, but my colleague began the discussion by commenting that in a former era, Dr. Ford would be described as an “hysteric.” I commented that it would be interesting if someone in the field of Psychology– if we could find one who is not a Progressive leftist–would explore the range of behavior of “hysterics,” or other conditions related to repressed memory.

There is a similarity, I thought, to Dr. Ford’s recovery of an experience of sexual assault to the more common recovery of memory by some women that they were molested by their father. My colleague recalled the case of a friend who was, as she described it, “horrifically abused” by her stepfather as a young girl, with her mother’s consent. Her response, unlike the tremulous Dr. Ford’s, was to get a handgun.

I’m convinced that Dr. Ford falsely remembers that Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her when she was fifteen, and sees that event, and herself, in world historic terms. Once on track with a “confidential” allegation  that she knew would be made public, Dr. Ford cooperated with politicians and “attorneys” whom she knew would use her as a political weapon.

That Kavanaugh’s friends in prep school were heavy drinkers who enjoyed their “Animal House” reputation may explain how Dr. Ford connected Judge Kavanaugh with a repressed memory of an incident conveniently remembered at a time when that memory would command a large public.

The historian of Medieval millennialism, Norman Cohn, recounts many examples in Pursuit of the Millennium of persons who appear–seemingly from nowhere–carrying a letter from God. A gullible public believes their claims to be divinely inspired and  joins him on a journey leading to murder and mayhem. One such character was Hans Bohm, known as the Drummer of Niklashausen, who in 1476 had a vision that led to deadly consequences.

In the case of last week’s bizarre hearings, we are faced with two choices: accepting that Dr. Ford recovered her memory of an assault by Judge Kavanaugh only many years later when Kavanaugh became a public personality. Or, explaining her claims as similar to visionaries, half a millennium ago, whose apocalyptic claims disrupted civil society in late Medieval history.





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