We just finished our binge-watch of “The Fall” on Netflix — it is a 17-episode crime drama based in Ireland, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. The acting and production is gripping, but my purpose is not to review. Rather, it is how the series raised interesting questions for my spouse and I to hit the pause-button and discuss. One of them was, have you ever wished anyone dead? (My answer: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.) This alone is worthy of a little reflection.
The antagonist of “The Fall” is clearly (from the viewer’s standpoint) a sociopath, and the tension and drama in the series is built around the other players discovering (or not) this fact and appropriately (or not) acting on it. This led us to discuss what people can do, here or anywhere, when confronted with desperate situations and despotic sociopathic leaders who cannot be un-elected. Start with Kim Jong-un. North Koreans suffer and their neighbors are threatened with nuclear weapons. But Kim is not going anywhere.
Should we hope Kim has a heart attack? What would such a hope say about us?
“The Fall” also showed how people like to believe other people, especially when it confirms their own beliefs. Sociopaths take advantage of this, telling us what we want to hear in order to gain credibility. The story-line of “The Fall” shows how we are particularly vulnerable to this in one-on-one encounters — a sociopath can sway one person more easily than a group. Unless we compare notes and connect dots, we may fail to see how we are being manipulated. When, at long last, people do come together and recognize the situation for what it is (and the person for who he is), we can collectively form a plan against the sociopath — if we have the power and resources to do so.
Point: until people amass, compare and confront, their response to a sociopath will be ineffective. Take this for what it’s worth, on this day after a destructive, insult-tossing, pussy-grabbing narcissist assumed the role of Supreme Leader of this nation.