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Crying is now a political weapon In the age of the sobbing selfie, it doesn't matter if your tears are real

Who needs policies when you have big wet tears? (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Who needs policies when you have big wet tears? (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)


June 3, 2021   6 mins

I can count on one hand the number of times since childhood that I’ve wept at a stranger to get my own way. The guiltiest one, though, took place at a small Guatemalan border post, while I was backpacking with two male friends. I forget the exact problem, but it was resolved with remarkable speed as soon as I turned on the waterworks.

I was genuinely exhausted after a long day, but remember feeling slightly ashamed at the possibility that I’d weaponised the guards’ machismo in the interests of my own convenience. I suppose, though, that it was a textbook example of the now oft-condemned “white women’s tears”.

This supposedly potent weapon is, we’re told, usually directed at less privileged classes of women, typically to avoid being “called out” for some moral infraction or other. This debate-ending power to weep on demand is supposedly predicated on the special, celestial status of white middle-class women as fragile entities whose emotional well-being must not be disturbed — even if that means warping all of politics and culture to accommodate their emotional comfort.

“Our sanctioned victim status shields privileged white women from accountability in interpersonal interactions and in the political sphere”, argues feminist Alison Phipps. But is it really just white women, like my younger self on the Guatemalan border, who get listened to when we weep? The debate reignited yesterday, after Keir Starmer’s tearful appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories on Tuesday evening.

The Labour leader recounted a number of painful personal events, including the loss of his mother, the devastating effect this had on his father and a house fire that killed the family dog. Morgan is the master of extracting a visceral confession, and it was affecting to see the usually very controlled Starmer in the grip of deep emotion.

Morgan described the interview as “searingly honest and intensely emotional”; it was an exchange that “shows the real him”. From this perspective, there’s something more real about tears than self-restraint: a stripping-away of artifice to reveal the person that’s really inside.

Britain, long notorious for emotional restraint, started to embrace this emotional openness more than two decades ago with the 1997 death of Princess Diana. Crowds piled bouquets in front of the Palace; people who’d never met Diana wept openly. The Royal Family initially remained in Scotland, only returning to London after public outrage at their reticence. Almost overnight, it didn’t just become acceptable to emote in public; failing to do so demonstrated crippling emotional inadequacy.

Tony Blair, a natural for the emerging aesthetic of public emotional display, declared that Diana had been the “People’s Princess”. She had been, as she hoped (and in a phrase reportedly borrowed from a novel by her step-grandmother, the romance writer Barbara Cartland) a “queen of people’s hearts”.

How times change. Diana was pursued by humans with cameras; but today the intrusive reach of the cameras is something we do to ourselves, via social media. As in the age of Diana, intense emotion remains a currency: weeping selfies garner a powerful reaction. But with so much more coin in circulation, the market is growing jaded.

The generation that came of age when Diana was still alive may treat tears as an “authentic” manifestation of the “real you”. But now we are all encouraged to be both a tearful Instagram Diana and also the paparazzi swarm. And the question of whose tears garner sympathy, and whose trigger cynicism, is itself becoming a battleground.

One individual regularly lionised as authentic for her weeping (despite being a white woman) is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Widely celebrated for her emotionally engaged political style and willingness to talk about wellness, compassion and empathy, Ardern herself argues: “you can be strong, and you can be kind”.

Perhaps that’s why Ardern regularly weeps in public: in 2017, for example, she wept while apologising to the family of murdered backpacker Grace Millane; she did the same two years later while commemorating the Christchurch mosque massacre. Again, last year, she openly cried at a service remembering the White Island volcano eruption. Crucially, her tears invariably make the headlines: evidence of her compassion and authenticity.

Elsewhere, the press luxuriates in stories about whether Kate Middleton made Meghan Markle cry before the royal wedding, or of Markle weeping into her pillow the night before the couple’s notorious Oprah interview. But even our royal emoter-in-chief, Prince Harry, has spoken of how surreal it was to follow his mother’s coffin as thousands who’d never met her lined the streets, sobbing.

Harry may be keen to make a career rejecting his repressed upbringing in favour of emotional authenticity as a route to mental health. But even he has, it seems, some concerns about that era-defining moment of emotion. No surprise, then, to find that our culture more generally is by no means unambiguously in favour of tears.

If the tears are low-status and male, for example, you can buy a t-shirt that celebrates bathing in them, as modelled by feminist Jessica Valenti. Even those tears emitted by Britain’s (male) Secretary of State for Health, on hearing of the first Covid jabs, were mocked as “pretending to cry”.

And despite what Phipps asserts, being a white woman is no guarantee that your tears will reach a sympathetic audience. Theresa May, long panned as the “Maybot” for her lack of warmth, was panned for breaking with her usual buttoned-up form as she announced her resignation. And when the classicist Mary Beard was rounded on for defending the sexually predatory behaviour of Oxfam workers in Haiti, the weeping face she posted in response triggered not sympathy but further condemnation.

It’s sometimes claimed that greater political participation by women will result in moral improvements to politics in general, thanks to women’s superior capacity for empathy and aversion to conflict. And perhaps it’s no coincidence that as more women have entered public life — Parliament is now 35% female, an all-time high — so too our embrace of emotional display in public life has grown alongside it. But while it’s true that women are statistically less violent than men, it’s less certain that this means we’re nicer human beings.

When I was at school in the Nineties, I often watched the Popular Girls amuse themselves by baiting less popular classmates with carefully calibrated and plausibly deniable barbs. When the victim retaliated, usually with less subtlety, the Popular Girl would respond by ostentatiously crying — a move that usually resulted in an outpouring of sympathy for the girl who had in fact been the aggressor.

Since then, along with the rest of social life, much of our political discourse has transferred to social media. And here, actual violence is off the table — it’s all words on a screen — but verbal cruelty and social ostracism are easy to mobilise if you’re popular. It’s the perfect hunting ground, in other words, for Popular Girl-style covert aggression.

I was reminded of this recently by one of the most noted weepers in American public life: the politician Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. After the Capitol riots, Ocasio-Cortez was mocked by conservatives for over-dramatising her own experience, after convincing herself that an officer who’d come to find and protect her was actually about to kill her. In response to her critics, she grew tearful and talked about being a sexual assault survivor.

The Hispanic Ocasio-Cortez, at least, challenges the idea that it’s the tears only of white women that reign supreme — at least contrasted with Mary Beard and Theresa May. The politics of the breaking voice and artfully dabbed eye are indisputably more female than male; its power-users are always women. But these examples suggest the effectiveness of this method is less about race, than something more like Popular Girls schoolyard ranking.

If you’re ugly, old or badly-dressed, don’t expect crying to work; if you’re male, it’s a gamble; and if you’re not in the in-group, you can forget it. But if your face fits (and you don’t ugly-cry) then you can do what you like. And as long as you sob in public now and then, you’ll be considered a paragon of compassion.

The policies Jacinda Ardern actually implements are, after all, often considerably less cuddly than her sometimes-weepy public persona. She may shed a tear to mark a terrorist attack or natural disaster, but she also intervened to water down public condemnation of the use of enslaved or forcibly sterilised workers in China’s Xinjiang region. Evidently, New Zealand’s compassionate Prime Minister prefers the pragmatic realpolitik of balancing export priorities to compassion for the plight of China’s Muslim minorities.

Yet watching Sir Keir, I had no sense that he was playing a game of tactical tears. A politician who came of age before the sobbing selfie, his emotion — rarely seen in political life — seemed unforced. But I also wondered how much longer we’ll see that kind of authenticity, as pre-internet politicians grow fewer, replaced by millennials steeped in the Mean Girls politics of social media.

There’s much to be said for a more emotionally open, less aggressive and more empathic style of politics — more feminine, in a word. But we should be under no illusions: embracing this will also bring a rise in the public use of emotion, Popular Girl style, as a weapon. And that, in turn, will breed cynicism — even of those tears, like Keir’s, that seem to come from the heart.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

“…Yet watching Sir Keir, I had no sense that he was playing a game of tactical tears. A politician who came of age before the sobbing selfie, his emotion — rarely seen in political life — seemed unforced…”

And yet, a few moments thought on the incident prints (to me at least) a different, more cynical picture, just like with the Arden (perhaps because I’m an inherently skeptical person). These are the actions of someone taking a sequence of conscious steps: activily choose to be interrogated by a two bit professional provocateur on the specific subject of your past traumas, at a time of mutual convenience (with question and response lengths carefully framed by all participants in between judiciously placed and priced advertisements). Real emotions simply don’t afford that level of control. I like to have a go on the wurlitzer ride when the fairground people are in town, but I’m doing so because I’m consciously seeking to provoke sensations that I enjoy while completely assured of personal emotional and physical safety. The sensations are real enough but the emotions are synthetic, because the context is manufactured. Ditto watching a horror movie. All participants of Morgan, Winfrey et al, including the watchers, are fully aware of this whether they articulate this explicitly to themselves or no.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You’ve expressed my view better than I could. Your contributions are typically more insightful than those in the article. You’ve corrected me on one occasion. Thank you.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Very well said.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

morgan is on a par with jerry springer but he s seen in some circles as a heavyweight interviewer.i m sure his wife will do her best to ensure that he returns to his rightful position.they deserve each other.

rbrown
rbrown
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Synthetic is the word

CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  rbrown

D.H. Lawrence dissected-out the difference between real and counterfeit emotion the thick end of a century ago.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

“From Wednesday, 9th June you’ll have to be a member to join the discussion.”
“(as ever, with a strong bias to freedom of speech)”

FREE SPEECH, get your Free speech here, only 95p a week. Free, free free, and only 95p a week! Come and get some free speech, Unherd is selling it cheap.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Really? I don’t see that message. Is Unherd popping up that message to non-members? That would be truly sad if true.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

They are popping it to me. Note how it says to cover moderation – well I think I cost more in moderation than any scores of other posters, my posts tend to the ‘awaiting for moderation’ place, usually to disappear, so I guess fair enough. When the membership fee was first declared they said there would not be a paywall – not that I care about the money, I just am insanely contrarian, and never have let anyone tell me what to do – I refused the mask totally, I refuse the vaccine, and I refuse the fee, as they told me I did not have to. – And the only reason I did not join is I did not want the ‘Member’ flag on my name – for my weird reasons, and they did not answer when I asked if I could not have that.

But, what the heck, I made a mess of my life by being such an a** and never doing as told, and I will not have the Vaccine Passport, nor the ‘Member’ flag..
Heads up, beloved commenters!From Wednesday, 9th June you’ll have to be a member to join the discussion. It takes a lot of work to keep it all moderated (as ever, with a strong bias to freedom of speech) and at only 95p a week for a host of benefits — so we hope you’ll sign up and carry on the conversation.”

They have a range of popups, this being the current one.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

This seems to be a Thing now on many websites running a forum — charging people to add value to the site. But it is easy to just not read a site, so I think this particular scheme is not going to pan out.
And so farewell….

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I don’t disagree with you, but it’s worth remembering that these things are transactional.

Whilst I’m sure advertising helps to absorb some of the costs ultimately the free to read concept on the internet is not sustainable for quality, ‘unbiased’ content in the longer term so there has to be an as yet unknown breaking point for it somewhere along the line.

Charging to ‘join the discussion’ rather than to read the content, which presumably remains free, is certainly worth a go.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Still thinking about it too Sanford.

Time being my biggest consideration.

Spill me beans over a cup o’ java of a morning then, for the most part, it’s off to work for the rest of the day. By the time I’ve come back of an evening the dissection is pretty much all over and most people have permanently effed off.

Still, if you and the likes of Charles Stanhope weren’t on here, whether I agree with you or not, it would be a major loss to be honest.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Indeed.
That must be the greatest betrayal of trust since the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

not too keen on that comparison – it would make us below the line either ‘the scum of the earth’ or the ‘bloody assassin of the workers’ !

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
3 years ago

There could be poll to choose our favourite BTL contributors who because of the value they add should not only be given lifetime free subscriptions but could also be paid

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

Yes, it’s a shame, because it’s been a pleasure to swap lines from Dante and Lucan or exchange tips on remote destinations… no doubt worth 95p a week, but in principle I’m rather averse to stumping up for it. Maybe it will have to be a cigar at the Reform Club after all!

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Totally agree with your points. I don’t like government trying to force me into being terrified of Covid and I would prefer to delete UnHerd rather than be dragooned into being a member.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You have been using up more than your fair share of moderation. As they claim they do it themselves why would they moderate the use of the surname of a famous British film director that a whole article was about? I could understand if it was someone continents away using their mandarin to english dictionary to check up on words who is unfamiliar with our names & expressions

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

To be fair to Unherd this was always going to happen.

It makes perfect sense as a transactional business model.

Get the at least slightly above average commenters onto your site with some above average content, ideally build up the base and then ‘encourage’ them to subscribe after a wee bit by withdrawing the privilege.

Don’t get me wrong it is a privilege and the urge to comment is, whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not, hugely addictive.

For the sake of my own vanity, intellectual curiously be damned, I’m certainly considering it as it does seem to offer something more consistently interesting than anywhere else plus the chance to sound off on it to boot.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I agree, the content on UnHerd is often excellent. And the crowd below the line here is great – interesting lively debate from smart and civilised people, and it would be a shame if that dies because far fewer posters are allowed.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Crying has seen Sir kneeler starmer drop in the Polls, it doesn’t seem to help Prince Harry & MeAgain ”Cod psychology podcasts”?..

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

I detest seeing people cry in public for whatever reason.

Chris Mackay
Chris Mackay
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

It is true – so, goodbye. Unfortunately, this is not the first organisation to make this mistake.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I believe that ‘hosting platforms’ should be treated like publishers, and, therefore, be responsible for their content. This responsibility has to be financed in order for the ‘content host’ to avoid punitive action. That finance must come from advertisers (who are vulnerable to the baying Splitterati) who may bring pressure to bear on what is and is not acceptable; or those who wish to comment freely must help meet the cost.
I am happy to have my belief stamped next to my name.
All the best.

Neil Cheshire
Neil Cheshire
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I took out membership to support a site which most of the time is an island of rationality in a progressively weird world. Stay with us Sanford your comments are appreciated.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Starmer’s tears were real, but would not have been unanticipated least of all by the man himself. Presumably well briefed by his aides, he would have been well aware that Morgan’s programme invariably requires of its interviewees that they return to some painful episode in their past. This milking of the emotions is standard procedure in many programmes from The Repair Shop to Bake Off, where we see the camera linger as it awaits the first sign of teardrops. If you argued that it was Blair’s insolent invitation “Show you care, Ma’am” to the Queen dropped the flag on serial public weeping, I wouldn’t disagree.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

They are trying to humanize him. Someone seems familiar with the Gilbert Harding interview on Face to Face where he breaks down as he describes seeing his mother die six years earlier. Unfortunately he then collapsed & died a few weeks later at age 53

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

I must vote for him now then, as he had a little cry?
1) tried to still my vote by overturning the eu referendum result
2) took a knee to a foriegn racist organisation
3)would rather go after journalists than asian grooming gangs
But he cried so all is forgiven, hell no

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

And he avoided making any clear statement about how he would sort out the labour party and what his policies will be.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

Since school – having had a similar sort of experience to the author in terms of learning to decode and deal with “popular girl” behaviour – I have applied a constant personal principle. Namely: when everybody is telling me “Oh, [Person X] is lovely!”, I inwardly take a big step back and assume the exact opposite until I am convinced otherwise. These “lovely” people far too often turned out to be vicious and manipulative operators that couldn’t be trusted.

Of course you get flack for not realising how wonderful, morally upstanding and generally awesome Person X is. Not running with the crowd and thinking independently should reflect well on your character really but the Realpolitik of it means the opposite happens. You end up looking like the baddie. And that’s exactly what happens when I say I don’t like Jacinda Ardern. She’s too sugar-sweet, too cloying, too emotional – and watching her press conferences at the start of covid was like watching a kindergarten teacher address 30 kids, not millions of adult voters. As Harrington points out, that doesn’t gel with the tough policies she implements.

And yet so many people fall for it. I noticed a wee while ago that NZ will now clamp down on low skilled immigration to give Kiwis a better chance of employment and getting on the property ladder. A connection was thus made between high levels of immigration and pressure on the housing & labour market and public services. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that this did not cause a single ripple in Guardian-land – whereas the British government pursuing the exact same policy causes years of complete meltdowns. Judging people differently for the exact same action is a sign of emotional and not rational thinking.Unfortunately, I think emotional thinking is gaining the upper hand in Western public life and it won’t end well for us.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I apply that constant personal principle as well- astonishing how useful it is. And I must say I admire your restraint when discussing the Ardern creature.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Good read, but not sure that “notorious” is the right word to describe British emotional restraint.
”Noted for” would arguably be more appropriate, especially as the often accompanying trait of stoicism has been frequently admired.
Having said that, I’m fairly sure that within a few years, anyone not producing floods of tears – merely at the appearance of a rainbow – will probably be considered to be a psychopath.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Matt M
Matt M
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I would never vote for a man who cries in public. I suspect I’m not alone.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Probably not. He more or less rules himself out of contention thereby actually. The concern is that in July 1940, faced with the prospect of a lot of deaths, Starmer would have burst into tears, stood the RAF down and surrendered to Germany. Being PM isn’t really a job for a quivering lipped crybaby.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yet even Churchill wept as Mr Prashant Kotak has so appositely mentioned below.

Surely it’s the moment that counts?
Even ‘Jesus wept’* or so we are told.

(*John:11.35.)

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

But here was one of those excitable Middle-Eastern types.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Yes, I had stupidly ignored that!

As for Winston, it must have been his very peculiar* American mother.

(* I think it was claimed that she had ‘exotic’ Native Blood in her, Iroquois I think.)

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

Churchill may have had slightly more to weep about!

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

He could be on one of those shows-X Factor I think. Sad back story -death of both father and dog-thats very good .Sing something-apparently he used to be in a boy band ( wasn’t Blair supposed to be in a rock group-is this a Labour thing , why not just chose one of the Gallagher brothers as their next leader?) . Then win or lose group hug & tears with Amanda Holden and co.

CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Blair was in a band called Ugly Rumours.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Whilst generally supporting that policy, Churchill did have the occasional “blub”, and was the more human for it; his public could see that (a) his grief was genuine, and (b) that the extraordinary decisions he had to make were searingly real to him.
I rather like Starmer so far, though would be most unlikely to vote for him. But I am suspicious of these tears; (c) they are for events that must always be with him and that are long past the stage at which they bring forth public grief, and (d) they burst forth at a time when his job is increasingly threatened.

Michael James
Michael James
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

In 1984 Bob Hawke, the Australian Prime Minister, publicly wept when talking about some family problems. It was sensational. I thought it was contrived and manipulative, but he went on to win several more elections.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael James

I always thought the first cry was genuine (it was in response to a journalist asking about his daughter, a heroin addict). However his subsequent episodes of weepiness were obviously contrived.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael James

Hawke’s tears were at the wrecking of his daughter’s life through drug abuse. They were genuine and heartfelt, and the nation spontaneously grieved with him.
I wonder that you could possibly discount a father’s tears over such a family tragedy as cynical and manipulative.
Hawke was a warmly emotional man, absolutely genuine, even in his famous infidelities. It was his successor, Paul Keating, whose personality tended more to the cold-blooded side.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I for one would warmly welcome a renaissance of the British stiff upper lip.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

The hysterical reaction to Diana’s death was the beginning of the end for Britain. The stiff upper lip and emotional resilience used to be our defining characteristics… without them, we’re just a bunch of crying whingers, desparate to blame others for our misfortune and give away control of our lives. We urgently need a return to self reliance and emotional resilience. I’d hoped Brexit might be the catalyst for this, but the reaction to covid doesn’t bode well.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

My thoughts exactly. Brexit voters (and those making the liberal case against lockdowns, lead by the admirable Lord Sumption) were the parts of the population who still hold those traditional values of freedom and self-reliance dear, with that clearly coming out in the respective situation. It seemed that those two groups overlapped significantly but weren’t concurrent – Lord Sumption being a notable example of a Remainer who argued against lockdown. Now Britain is back out in the world, commitment to those traditional values is, as you say, going to be required at every turn. but the division in society means that the fight between the two factions is going to be ongoing. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

There are probably more events that signalled the beginning of the end for Britain. Here’s another: Britain’s response to the 14 February 1989 fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie. 8 years before Diana’s death.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Fitzsimons
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Fair point, our reaction to that was despicably cowardly.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Salmonella Rushdie,Gets to his Safe house,and on Carpet is news he’s won Readers’ digest Lottery..Forgive its A 1989 joke

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Princess Diana hysteria was sparked by Princess Tony/

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

The stiff upper lip and emotional resilience used to be our defining characteristics
 
Oh dear! Do you mean the expressionless, atrophied facial muscles betraying a stunted, shrunken, prematurely aborted feeling development, which gave us a nation of sadistic bullies whose only alternative mode of being was its polar opposite—that narcissistic, self-enclosed, lisping, stuttering, nervous masochism which Fintan O’Toole has analysed so definitively.
Moreover, this is an English cultural characteristic; it does not describe the Scots, Welsh or Irish. Using “British” where “English” is meant displays another consequence of abusive child-rearing and Dickensian education methods: the blustering grandiosity disguising a complete inability to engage in even the most basic self-analysis, which results in projecting one’s faults and deficiencies wholesale out onto other people—immigrants, the EU, foreigners generally, women, conservationists, the greater spotted warbler, Eeyores, heffalumps, all wild things, even Where the Wild Things Are.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

There was a time when a man crying publicly would have been his political end. Especially a British politician. Can you imagine Churchill crying? Thatcher? The Queen just buried her husband of 75 years and shed barely a tear in public. The quintessential British stereotype belies the quivering lips of crying.

I’ve always thought we Americans could learn something from that. It appears instead we’ve exported our vulgarities eastward instead.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian Villanueva
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

On the contrary, Churchill was known to be emotional and able to turn on the waterworks, for example at the devastation in the east end in the early days of the blitz, which provoked riots there. Wallis Simpson had called him a ‘Cry-Baby’.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Al M
Al M
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

This said, the gravity of seeing your capital city in flames and decisions of life or death for citizens and soldiers may give cause for private, emotional reflection and all it entails.
Blubbing away on trash television over things that most of us must face at some time or other is little more than emotional incontinence and a terrible decision from his PR team.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Al M

I agree, Churchill was known to suffer from depression because he took on his shoulders responsibility for life and death decisions he took and mistakes he made during wars. He was simultaneously capable of both: real displays of emotion, and manipulating the projection of emotions while playing to the gallery. He was all sorts of things good and bad, none of which alters the fact that he was genuinely one of the great spirits of the twentieth century.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

Thatcher left Downing Street in tears.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

And those tears were understandable and justified given all that she had achieved and the way in which the Tory party shafted her.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

And I would imagine there was much rejoicing in the Jones household?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

Rejoicing would be a bit of a stretch but I was happy enough because I thought it would save the tories at the next election, well until they chose Major to replace her.

L Paw
L Paw
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Thatchers leaving No 10 for the last time was when the Tories ceased to be the Tories. Became the largely wet, centrist lot they mostly are now.

Chris Mackay
Chris Mackay
3 years ago
Reply to  L Paw

Especially with British environmental policy coming directly to the Cabinet Room from the Bedroom.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago

I mean not even talking of gigantic figures, it is to me impossible to imagine Harold MacMillan, Harold Wilson, Ted Heath or Jim Callaghan crying in public.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Churchill welled up when Lord halifax &Most of his June 1940 cabinet wanted to surrender to hitlers, ”Peace Treaty”

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

The policies Jacinda Ardern actually implements are, after all, often considerably less cuddly than her sometimes-weepy public persona. She may shed a tear to mark a terrorist attack or natural disaster, but she also intervened to water down public condemnation of the use of enslaved or forcibly sterilised workers in China’s Xinjiang region. Evidently, New Zealand’s compassionate Prime Minister prefers the pragmatic realpolitik of balancing export priorities to compassion for the plight of China’s Muslim minorities.

Thats the crux of it for me. She is clearly just as calculating as her mentor blair, unfortunately the kiwis are still falling for it.
As for starmer, i have no interest at all in his personal life, in the end whether he feels emotion or not he is clearly happily virtue signalling for the woke as required and therefore he will be putting my demographic at the bottom of the pile. Thats not to even think about how much his party hates me for my gender, skin colour and orientation.

Matt M
Matt M
3 years ago

Someone made the point (it might have been in UnHerd) that Boris doesn’t do this obnoxious heart-on-your-sleeve stuff. And it is what makes him popular. I agree – we are not yanks and prefer gallows humour to blubbing any day of the week.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

No quite – in that respect he does the stereotypical buffoonish toff act, which actually sits easier with most voters. He doesn’t actually try and pretend to be a normal person.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I think doing the buffoon thing sits well with British voters because it is a kind of self-deprecation. Acting like a bit of a fool when actually you aren’t. Open displays of your own cleverness in Britain are an absolute no-no, people will be turned right off – and that goes even if you’re a Nobel prize winner and are actually la crĂšme de la crĂšme of the intellectual world. Boris is by no means a fool. Chaotic and a bit disorganised – maybe. But not stupid.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Absolutely right. I first noticed Boris when he was promoting the London Olympics at the Beijing Olympics – playing the fool and bumbling around. He put a smile on my face and I’ve liked him ever since.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I’m a little more reserved about him. I like the willingness to take risks – this is very commendable and, at this point in history, absolutely necessary. However, the bumbling makes it hard to understand what is going on, and watching him is sometimes like watching someone going bungee jumping (with a whole land in tow), without checking the harness.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

His premiership is certainly not a comfortable ride (if you’ll pardon the expression) and I sometimes wish we could return to boring, but then I remember Cameron and May! At least BJ appears to be a real person -whether or not that image is carefully crafted it works for me and, it seems, many others.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I agree. His style constantly makes me wonder how much thought is behind his decisions.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agreed! I think he puts it on a bit, but doesn’t fail to drop in obscure references that (deliberately?) bely his education and intelligence.
I do not like him and did not vote for him – I think he is ultimately untrustworthy and egotistical. But at least he, paradoxically, seems more true to himself than ‘call me Dave’ or the arch smarm-ball Blair. For that at least he’s better. And voters tend to agree. Most don’t seem too fussed that he’s a philandering liar.

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Do you live in his constituency? If not you wouldn’t have voted for him no matter your views.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Ah a pedant. So technically nothing wrong with the statement then? I didn’t vote for him.
(although by extension you most certainly can vote for/against a particular candidate)

Bob Bepob
Bob Bepob
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Unrelated but this reminded me of a comment that no one has ever seen Trump laugh. Smile yes but not laugh.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

He’s tried everything else, so he may as well try crying.
The outcome of the next election was determined by the scale of Boris’ victory in the last. Nobody in politics says this out loud because Labour doesn’t want to look defeatist nor the Tories complacent, but that is the position. It’s a write-off and so probably is the one after that.
So Starmer figures it might conceivably help and it certainly can’t hurt. My suggestion to him would be that next, he should try sticking a cricket stump up his bottom, pouring treacle over his head and announcing that he identifies as a toffee apple. What’s the worst that could happen?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Now that is something that I would actually watch!

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It might actually be a vote winner

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yes..Given the Limp dims-Labour SNP Greens are inept Globalists ..Tories Could have Majority cut b.y 1_ Chumocracy =Awarding of Contracts..2) concreting over green fields not popular with rural dwellers..

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Maybe, but personally I reckon the Tory majority at the next election will be about the same as they have now.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Ocasio-Cortez was mocked by conservatives for over-dramatising her own experience,  And rightly so. AOC was nowhere near the scene. Worse, she has since tried to compare her experience with combat, which is insulting to anyone whose IQ is higher than their pulse.
There is nothing wrong with genuine emotion, but this type mostly serves to confirm the worst of stereotypes about women: at best, they are weak and prone to being overwrought; at worst, they are emotionally manipulative.
There is nothing inherently wrong with tears. They have their place, even in politics. In the wake of a disaster or terrorist attack or some other mass casualty event, for example. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging human tragedy. But like the f-word, tears become cheapened by overuse.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Yet watching Sir Keir, I had no sense that he was playing a game of tactical tears.’ 
In which case, I have a fake PCR test result to sell you. To the extent that any of these tears have any effect, I would imagine they lose a few more votes. Anyway, did anyone actually watch this nonsense?

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago

Adam Curtis wrote a great article about this subject on his BBC blog. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to link to it but if you search for Adam Curtis, BBC blog, “The Curse of TINA, Part Two” you’ll find it. In the opening two paragraphs he says:
Everywhere on television today people hug and burst into tears. It happens in drama a lot – but it has completely taken over factual programmes too. It usually comes at the end when the characters finally realise that they should express their true feelings. And they do this by crying and hugging everyone in sight.
It is part of something much wider in modern society – the belief that one should aim to be “authentic”, and the way to do this, to become authentically yourself, is to learn to get in touch with your inner feelings and express them. If you button yourself up, have a stiff upper lip, and control your emotions then you are both inauthentic and somehow damaged as a human being.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Stanley
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

For some reason this has just made me think of football. When I were a nipper and a goal was scored the scoree would get a few slaps on the back. Nowadays there’s virtually a whole team orgy on the pitch.

Is this expressing your inner feelings?

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
3 years ago

Another finely observed article by Mary.
These mawkish and public demonstrations of “emotion” are simply a variation on the wokeist theme of casting yourself as a “victim”.
For self-declared victimhood is intended merely to elicit sympathy and absolve you of any perceived transgressions.

Bob Bepob
Bob Bepob
3 years ago

I can’t stand it. It’s so dishonest and manipulative.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

Historically tougher men than nearly all of us wept openly. Plenty of examples in medieval onwards of tough warriors weeping openly. However they had something to weep about. Turning on the waterworks isn’t the same thing.

Fred Dibnah
Fred Dibnah
3 years ago

It is not just crying, it is gushing that I dislike. The opposite of “that’s not bad” or “that’ll do”. Possibly the positive opposite of crying.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

The Diana thing was pure mass hysteria. Something similar happened when Elvis died, by the way. Much smaller scale of course, but I knew people who were swept up in the communal wailing.
You can take your tears and shed them in private, please. I don’t care who you are. If you want real poignancy on a public stage take a look (if it can still be found) at Melvyn Bragg’s interview with the late Dennis Potter.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter
3 years ago

It’s nauseating. There is a real effort, demonstrated in this programme, to paint KS as someone who had a challenging childhood, which he patently didn’t – it sounds like a pretty average one for a person of his age, then he got into grammar school and never looked back – result! I suppose this narrative of childhood ‘deprivation’ is designed to improve his standing with ‘the left’.
I actually think he seems like an okay guy but, personally speaking, turning on the waterworks seems like an entirely cynical move to counter the view that he’s robotic and leaves me with a nasty taste.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Hunter

He’s an OK guy who tried to thwart the result of the referendum, knelt to a racist rabble and advocated the election as PM of a Marxist anti-Semite.
He’s an OK like Beria was an OK guy.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yep like saying Ted Bundy Was ”A Feminist” or Hirohito after H-bomb drop on hiroshima ”We have suffered a setback”..

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

Anything practised by AOC and the current China-loving lockdown zero covider premier of New Zealand should be condemned purely by association.
I didn’t even agree with the consensus that the (until then) un-British outpouring of emotion in relation to Diana was that healthy (I remember a placard imploring the two princes – at the time only children – to cry. What kind of needy adults need children to emote to validate their own feelings?).
Though much maligned, the ‘Stiff upper lip’ and the suggestion to ‘man up’ are sorely missing from the 21st century, leading to a huge currency being afforded perceived victimhood. Censorship; state intervention against your ‘aggressors’ (or should that be micro aggressors?); even apparently the whole suspension of civil liberties and freedom of movement can be delivered for those who cry loudest.
The persuasiveness of the emotion doesn’t even seem to matter. After all, do any of us really believe that those claiming to have been offended by x,y or z and demanding remedial action actually had any genuine feelings about them?
The weaponizing of emotion is really the weaponizing of victimhood – its one of the most destructive and divisive political tactics in use in the West.
Lets see a return to the stiff upper lip, before its too late.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

I agree with you, David. Governments are using minorities to control the majority. I worry that the backlash to this is going to be horrific.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago

‘it’s true that women are statistically less violent than men’.
That’s not what your link shows. Your link shows that men are more often prosecuted for violence. That’s because men are much, much more effective at doing violence than women. That’s why men do violence less often, they know how dangerous it is; and why they must be prosecuted, male violence damages people, and can destroy a society. Your own article shows however that women are more often aggressive.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

The term you may be looking for is ‘passive aggressive’. Men tend to use their fists; women play mind games (as illustrated in the article). That’s why with women’s entry into politics – and with the help of social media which favours female forms of aggression – we find ourselves mired in passive aggressive wokist manipulation (faux outrage and tears, mass pile-ons, social exclusion etc).

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Judy, that’s my take on it too, although I dare not voice it out loud to my contemporaries. Everything about woke politics screams passive aggressive feminine rage. I don’t mean to insult women here, I know men aren’t perfect either, but I’ve noticed a new level of emotional reasoning that wouldn’t be acceptable a decade or two ago, which in my mind started coming about when objectivity was deemed a weapon of the patriarchy.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Passive aggressive is yet another term which seems to have come into being to try and make something less than it is. I doubt very much that someone electing to use the word “aggressive” would want to substitute and excuse such as “passive aggressive”

All to often the term passive aggressive is used to mean “not agreeing with me” My favourite example is when I was accused of being passive aggressive when I pointed out to someone that they were 1) lying and 2) not having the faintest idea of what they were talking about. I was not being passive aggressive I was simply being blunt.

Peter LR
Peter LR
3 years ago

A girl I once taught said she was able to cry at will with no emotion involved. I found that astounding.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

I’m not sure more women in Parliament leads to a kinder, gentler politics. I recall the clutch of female Labour MPs shouting vicious insults across the Commons chamber because Boris had used the colourful but harmless phrase “surrender Act”.
Apparently, this phrase was going to inspire Brexiteers to carry out countless Jo Cox-style murders and by merely uttering those words Boris had “blood on his hands”. I recall some manipulative tears on demand too.
The stiff upper lip had much to recommend it.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

I see Mary has upped her game – now she starts talking about herself in the very first para.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

It’s a preamble, an illustrative anecdote, quite common in op-eds.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

“If you’re ugly, old or badly-dressed, don’t expect crying to work; if you’re male, it’s a gamble; and if you’re not in the in-group, you can forget it. But if your face fits (and you don’t ugly-cry) then you can do what you like. And as long as you sob in public now and then, you’ll be considered a paragon of compassion.”
Brilliant.
I haven’t watched the Starmer interview, and I don’t intend to. I’m sure the emotion was genuine, but suspect that it wasn’t unexpected, or even unplanned. I don’t expect politicians to cry in public, but wouldn’t think worse of them if they did – unless contrived.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

women are statistically less violent than men

Only if you exclude abortions from your data. People so inclined kill those weaker than themselves. Men therefore kill women and other men, while women recruit proxies to do the killing or they kill unarmed men and children.
There are about 1,000 homicides per year in the UK give or take, but also about 200,000 abortions. This puts the first figure very much into perspective. This assisted dying thing is an issue only because it’s mostly women who care for elderly parents, and they don’t want the job. Decrepit and dependent old people relying on female relatives to be keep them alive should be then very, very worried. If they’ll abort 200,000 children a year, how many tedious smelly old people will they happily finish off?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

You maybe too young to recall the terrible fuss over the hanging of Ruth Ellis in 1955.

Young and pretty, but clearly guiltily of premeditated murder, she was to be the last woman hanged in the UK.

For men on the other hand, the ‘trap door still sprung’ until 1964.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Of course it matters, if your tears are real. And AOC is the poster child for fake tears after being caught doubled-over crying at empty space at the border.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

A feminism that endorses crying to get your way is a broken feminism.

peter lucey
peter lucey
3 years ago

All the poor public emoters..

One recalls Peter Cook, dressed as Greta Garbo, being driven through London, in a convertible, standing tall and shouting “please leave me alone!” Through a megaphone.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

I cry beautifully. Many’s the time my crying has been compared favourably to Gielgud’s. I’m not joking, it is nothing short of tremendous. Sometimes I try to do it while the sun is setting, because there is something about the quality of light at that hour that makes my tears glisten ‘just so’.
I have also toyed with the idea of wearing mascara, so that it will run a little, but maybe that is too much drama for a straight white male.

eugene power
eugene power
3 years ago

Sir Kneel.. wants more respect for manual workers, like his dad.
Is that why he became a taxpayer funded lawyer ?

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

In a culture where feelings trump facts, no one should be surprised when rational discussion degenerates into a pity spiral, with the person who bursts into tears dominating all others. This technique is now an essential part of woke culture, because reliance on evidence and logic quickly undermines their rhetoric. Sidetracking conversations by crying and being offended are a feature, not a bug.

Nor should we be surprised that it is predominately females who manipulate others through this technique. I would hypothesize that this is an evolved gender-based trait. Because females depended on men for survival for hundreds of thousands of years, they came to rely on manipulation to get what they needed. Women who were more successful at these methods were more likely to survive, thus ensuring that crying, whining, complaining and nagging would become basic to female gender identity. This is the basis for female privilege, now weaponized by feminism, which seems to rely on exactly such emotional appeals.

Angus J
Angus J
3 years ago

“When the victim retaliated, usually with less subtlety, the Popular Girl would respond by ostentatiously crying — a move that usually resulted in an outpouring of sympathy for the girl who had in fact been the aggressor.”
Blame-manipulation and guilt-manipulation, deception and emotional blackmail are the typical ways that the less-violent women can be as equally nasty as men.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago

A worthwhile article, which gave me some food for thought, thankyou!
Your “Popular Girl” tag really struck home, since I spent all my school years on the receiving end of that type of female shadow behaviour.
I was moved to think about “Popular Boy”, and how the one who cries in the boys’ club is the weakling and the victim, the target of Popular Boy, and hence the inverse of Popular Girl, who herself does the crying from the top.
I wonder why Popular Boy isn’t allowed to cry to muster support?
More to the point, how sad that women who now sit on the throne themselves, rather than being merely the power behind it, appear not yet to have learnt how to use their power openly, transparently and upfront.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

‘I wonder why Popular Boy isn’t allowed to cry to muster support?’
Not a serious question, surely. Any boy who cried like that would cease to be popular boy immediately, and would be subject to unending ridicule.
I know, I went to an all male boarding school, and there you leave all sentiment at the entrance. You then wait another fifty years before experiencing an emotion again. If you are lucky the shock will kill you outright.
If you survive then you slowly come apart at the seams.
Thank God for the internet is all I say. You can mitigate some of the worst effects by punching your keyboard way into the wee small hours.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago

I was being rhetorical, inviting a comparison between the different treatment of and by the sexes.
How dreadful for you! You have my sympathy. I agree about the Internet. It must be the most sophisticated way to defuse the population’s accumulated rage and frustration yet devised.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago

i would no more trust what morgan says than i would boris johnson.they are both accomplished liars who do it to gain sympathy and to get out of tricky situations.i don t doubt that starmers tears were real but that is irrelevant.he will be judged on his skill and appeal as a politician and i fear he ll be found wanting.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

Another splendid gaffe to sit with sounding off at a (presumably former) Labour supporting publican; taking the knee with the Hon. Member for Shameless (then failing to sack her); carping on about the price of wallpaper.

He needs a new PR team. Mr Morgan remains popular with the working class voters that Sir Kneel pretends to belong to and wishes to win back. But they expect ‘boo-hoo-hoo’ on such programmes from vacuous, orange-tanned celebrities, not the prospective leader of the country.

Mickey John
Mickey John
3 years ago

I followed your link to the “White Women”s Tears”‘ piece and read it closely. It’s doubly rewarding in that not only is it a daft tissue of nonsense masquerading as theory , it’s also comically badly written.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Mickey John

I began to read it to the midway point and also noticed its poorly written structure and its appearance of a scholarly tract, with its referencing of other authors from the same ideological frame – for example, Bell Hooks.
In my view the piece lays out a conceptual interpretive framework that the author’s case examples conform to. Thus her case examples of behaviours are univariate in causation – there is no other analysis of them along other dimensions of motivation etc. The piece is a good example of confirmation bias IMO.

Mickey John
Mickey John
3 years ago

Very well put. She’s essentially giving a long example of ‘begging the question’. Especially useful for those confused souls who think that that means ‘asking the question’.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

In my experience, women despise men who display weakness.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

In this time labeled the post truth era, its contrived self induced emotional states of all types that have replaced truth facts evidence reason open debate and discussion.The woke crybullies that actually sobbed and simultaneosly demanded their their employer/ publisher Penguin boycott/ impoverish/ co target/hate/cancel Dr Peterson new book to assuage their tears of “anguish” was a revealing example of how the woke left mobs contrived ” pain” is used to manipulate , school girl bully clique style.
The manufactured outrage , contrived horror at those who dare not agree, the self induced anger, the fake tears , etc all.ingredients to weaponise faked emotions to tyrannically maliviously force a political agenda , sydyemically muzzle and persecute dissent, evoke guilt shame sympathy , from a faction that is completely indifferent merciless and even celebrates the real harm, deep pain , damage they coldly inflict on their targets.
The truthless hypocritical phony progressives are guilty of everything they accuse. The need to be brought to justice and fitting consequences for the violations and harms they have inflicted, suitably the same consequences they demand for their targets.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Imagine the therapy when AOC stands up to China or Russia or Iran.

ldbenj
ldbenj
3 years ago

John Boehner was mocked for crying, but that was the start of it becoming acceptable for powerful male politicians to cry in public. On the entertainment side, Glenn Beck went so far as to use an onion to make himself cry at opportune moments.
Trump, of course, would never cry on camera, but didn’t have a problem throwing temper tantrums. Hopefully that won’t become a thing in the future.

Jennifer Britton
Jennifer Britton
3 years ago

Anger and its outward expressions in the forms of shouting, insult, sneering, assault, murder, etc., are every where …. are anger and its expressions also to be regarded with suspicion as manipulative. What about happiness and its outward expressions such as laughter, smiling, also suspicious and manipulative, the latest “sensations” of the web?

This opinion piece on “crying”
seems just another opportunity to exploit a topic in a controversial social “unherd” way. But it, like crying, is a well worn ploy! People have been manipulating an audience with laughter, tears, anger, etc., since the beginning of time.

How about an essay on how Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and their ilk amp up supporters’ anger and paranoia or a historical piece on how autocratic personalities have manipulated anger and resentment by appealing to people’s sense of victim hood, of being surrounded by others who want to take stuff away from them. Or perhaps a detailed essay on Jacinda Ahern’s inconsistency? Maybe a more detailed examination would show more consistency.

If Unherd wants more paying readers, it needs to ditch the easy social marks beloved by those who fancy themselves free of the herd and bring some more nuanced and fact based matters to light.

Rita Smith
Rita Smith
3 years ago

What a waste of electrons! Some people cry, some don’t. Some cry for reasons that others don’t understand. You don’t like crying? Tough luck, it’s not a rare human reaction. Why is this even remotely an interesting topic?