Monday, January 16, 2017

Gaslighting


I recently learned an interesting new (well, new to me, anyway) word - gaslighting.

The word derives from a 1944 noir film called Gaslight, in which a husband tries to drive his young wife insane by manipulating her perception of reality. The title comes from one of his ploys, which involves raising or dimming the gas lights in their home while telling his wife that there's no change in the level of the light, causing her to question her senses.


Gaslighting has thus become a term used to describe attempts by unscrupulous individuals to sow confusion by making people question their objective reality - to doubt known facts or question their beliefs on the basis of information which is false or willfully distorted. It uses such tactics as fake news, selective quotes taken out of context, denial of evidence contrary to one's beliefs, and the credulous belief without proof in anything that agrees with one's preconceived notions.

Freida Ghitis summed it up in this thoughtful article: Donald Trump is "Gaslighting" All of Us.

Don't let yourself be gaslit for the next four years. Watch. Read. Think.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

7 comments:

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

Sounds like an interesting concept.

John Hill said...

Silly me!
I thought this was going to be a post about lighting farts!

Sinner Bob said...

We've been gaslit for a long time.

Mike said...

Never heard the term before. But you can bet were going to be gaslit until he's impeached.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Gaslighting is a skill that b.s. artists have in profusion. And we're going to get it. I think I'll pass on the movie too.

allenwoodhaven said...

It is a great word. And not a bad description of the current situation...

KathyA said...

Yes, I noticed Agnes' look of incredulity the other night when I mentioned the "Gas Lamp District".