November 12, 2011

#HermanCain: God convinced me to grope women

Herman Cain and Gloria Etchison Cain
I doubt we're going to hear that comment any time soon, but why shouldn't we?

Hey, Mr. HermanNutser, if you believe some invisible spirit entity told you to run for president, he/she/it is the person behind the other things you've done, too, right? Like allegedly making sexual advanced on multiple women? Like joking about sexual harassment with a stupid Anita Hill comment?

Like acting like a black stereotype to fill out a "token black Republican spot" for the GOP just because we have a black president?

Here's the HermanNutser:
“I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith, I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’d ever done before in my life. And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’” Cain told a crowd of over 100 people at the Young Republican National Federation, an event hosted by the Georgia Young Republicans at the Westin Peachtree Plaza.
So, did you pray over Sharon Bialek, something like this:
“Dear Lord, that's quite curvaceous woman with long blond hair there. What should I do?  ‘Grab her head and shove it toward my crotch?’ Really, Lord? Are you sure? Well, if you say so. You are the boss, after all.”
I don't suppose the HermanNutser will tell us any time soon that god told him to do that. Or to pray:
“Dear Lord, I forgot to ask last week. Did the National Restaurant Association upgrade its liability insurance? It did? You told the board of directors to do so? Lord, I just want to praise your name!”
And, softball interview alert: Mrs. HermanNutser, Gloria Etchison Cain, will be interviewed by Fox's Greta Van Susteren. What? Sarah Palin's not available to conduct this one?



Of course, in the larger scheme of things, this is just another example of how selective perception biases work in Homo sapiens. Sometimes, as in the case of the HermanNutser here, they're deliberate and conscious. Other times, they're subconscious and not willful. In some ways, those are the more dangerous ones. They often result from long-ingrained ways of thought, perhaps even dating back to childhood, that have never been questioned. If not religiously based, they're usually racially or socioeconomically driven. Because they are an unquestioned, unrecognized, "always on" perceptual filter, they produce automatic responses.

But the selective perception bias, especially when conscious, has its own problems. In religion, it produces things like the god of the gaps, the invention of evil/demonic forces (or human original sin) to blame for the bad things, etc. Tim Tebow never thanks god for letting him throw interceptions. Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers prayed to hit a home run in Game 6 of the World Series, but never mentioned that, in his world view, his god still let the St. Louis Cardinals win not only that game, but the whole shebang the next night.

Beyond stubbornness, such selective perception bias can even lead to outright arrogance. If one is convinced one has divine sanction from some "inner voice," and doesn't listen to other comments, it's easy to be arrogant.

Even Herman Cain's own scripture says: "Test the spirits." Somehow, whether he really believes a divine impulse nudged him on, or he's just making up bullshit, I don't he did. Whether with his run for president, or any of his alleged predatory moves toward women.

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