A Place at the Table -or- Hilary Clinton Breaking the Glass Ceiling

This Field Note is about Hilary Diane Rodham Clinton the Democratic political heavyweight contender for the American Presidency. James T. Adams in his book "The Epic of America" had coined the idea of the rhetorical mythos of the "The American Dream"  (1). From a psychodynamic perspective, the epic rhetorical tides of American history are closely linked to the political history of America's political culture (2,3), and the dreams of Americans (4,5) and their American Presidents (6).

Kelly Bulkeley is an American dream researcher who has collected dreams about Presidential candidates for many political election cycles. Here is a more recent dream he has posted is from a 53 year old male writer from Oregon.

Hillary Clinton and lots of other people are in a room, sitting at a table....like a meeting or a seminar, the people are well dressed and look to her expectantly....She is the center of attention....At one point she says, "Everyone has ambition"....at another point, I see a husband getting food for his wife....The food is not leftovers....

American Table Talk -or- The Political Centre of Attention

Who will write the Western history about the dreams of political ambition (7,8,9,10)? Political ambition has been the historical driving force of the geo-political economy of Western civilization.  In the mythological rhetoric of human nature and nurture, food is a unifying body political metaphor. Those who "have supped full with horror" at Shakespeare's (11) dinner table (12,13,14) understand, that those who know food, also know the epic political hermeneutic (15,16) causation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality process of the psycho-archeology of history (17,18,19,20,21), language, culture and dream vision. Aesthetic tastes (22) are built around food being a political medium for cultivating social relationships, a traditional Western and Eastern mythological (23) means of creating community.  

The sociology of food feeds back into food studies which analyses food industry production, consumption and aesthetic tastes. Table manners and rituals of eating (24) are fundamental to social conditioning (25), often serving the tastes of the social class system. A political economic communication model of taste and consumption was created by the American sociologist Thorstein Veblen (26). That we find the rhetoric of nature, nurture and taste a perennial and enduring political economic theme in dreams, should be of no surprise. The "other people" (27,28) attending a political "meeting" or "seminar" in which table talk (29), eloquence,  manners, etiquette (30), and fashion are on display (31), is what civil politics and democracy is all about. Democratic food for thought builds rhetorical bridges between regional, ethnic, class, race and gender differences of American political communities and their diverse dream visions.

Hilary Clinton in her 2008 bid to become President of the United States, came up short. At the time, she told her supporters and stakeholders, "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it." The political metaphor of the "glass ceiling" references the history of the changing rhetorical role of women in American politics. The dreamer gives us a third person perspective of Clinton, and he understands that in this moment of American political history and lore, "she is the center of attention". In the everyday body political competition for media attention (32), we can see the center of attention (33,34) of Hilary Clinton's conversation is nurturing, empathetic, and allocentric, directed towards the literal and figurative commonwealth needs of the American "people". A political campaign talking point, I shall return to when politically contrasting the moral and body political dream visions of Clinton vs Trump.

In the postmodern era of mass media and mass consumption (35), creating a place where political economic election cycles are driven by partisan "spin doctors" who rhetorically manipulate (36) by feeding into the 24/7 news cycles at warp speed (37). In turn, the political and moral rhetoric of the global news cycles of the "culture wars" feeds into wake-sleep-dream cycles of the American and the global audience. The political framing (38) of this dreams' great historical "sound bite" of brevity, "Everyone has ambition"...is Hilary's answer to the political question, "Why is she running?" The writers' dream provides the Western rhetorical basis for an oneiric theory of the changing historical tides of democracy (39), political ambition, and women (40), entering the traditional male dominated political arena.

Chastised for his (and male dominated society's) past rhetoric about women, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his dream vision "Legends of Good Women" (41), which at the time was politically ineffectual and neglected (42).  Instead, it was the English social reformer Mary Wollstonecraft seminal work "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" that laid the causal political foundation for the dream of a literary project of self assertion (43,44,45,46) and the canonical ambition of creating a history of women. One of her central rhetorical arguments was that women should have the right to be educated, Wollstonecraft's Rights rhetorical style blends the prevalent male and female perspectives, rational logic and the poetic language of sensibility. In Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft responding to the political climate of the 18th century called for a woman's rights revolution, arguing that women's civil and political rights be equal to that of men because they educate their children and because their social roles should be as "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere house wives.

Instead of viewing women as political slaves, Wollstonecraft maintained that women have the same fundamental human rights as men. Long before Hegel, before Nietzsche, Wollstonecraft addressed the master-slave rhetoric of woman's abjection. In her own words; "They may be convenient slaves, but slavery will have its constant effect, degrading the master and the abject dependent." The first book of History of Woman Suffrage (published in 1881) was dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft. At the dramatic culmination of the suffrage movement in 1920, the 19th amendment to the US Constitution ended women's political disenfranchisement. Ninety six years later down the political road Hilary Diane Rodham Clinton represents the potential biographical pinnacle of the women's movement in American history.

Mary Wollstonecraft's husband William Godwin crafted a confessional memoir of his wife, which caused a scandal. Bill Clinton the 42nd  President of the United States (read interpretation, "Bill Clinton and the American Dream") also caused a political scandal that nearly led to his removal as President. The writers' dream vision talking point of the "leftovers" of political baggage between Bill and Hilary and the Nation caused by the revelations of a liaison with a White House intern seem to have been worked through and is "past history".  In Hilary Clinton's 2003 memoir (47) she would justify her decision to stay in the relationship and in the marriage saying; "...a love that has persisted for decades...", adding; "All I know is that no one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met." From the dream we can deduce that Bill Clinton is Hilary's companion and supports her bid to become President, and he is nurturing her, by helping her to set the table with body political food for thought.

Carl Jung in a dream seminar (48) provided American body political analogies; "I remember a Pueblo chief who said, ‘We hold that all Americans are crazy because they think with their heads, while we know that we think with our hearts.' A negro thinks in his stomach." Upton Sinclair the body political muckraker journalist in his 1906 book "The Jungle" brought public attention to the working conditions and exploitation of immigrants (49). Lacking sanitation, health and safety, factory workers in the search of the American Dream had found the American Nightmare of the American law of the jungle. Jack London reviewing the book stated that it is; "Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery." Sinclair himself surprised by the public's response of moral outrage, stated; "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." Sinclair's work caused a political response as well, President Theodore Roosevelt instituted reforms that eventually led to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration. We are now 110 years down the American political road from the time of the publication of "The Jungle", and yet we can still find people living there, experiencing similar nightmaric conditions.... Hunger in America and food security for a large segment of children remains a critical social, medical, forensic and political (50,51) issue in the 21st century....

Clinton vs Trump: Leadership of the Free World and the Global Body Politics

Seymour Martin Lipset, "Political Man" opening sentence reads; "ONE of political sociology's prime concerns is an analysis of the social conditions making for democracy." Aristotle had long ago warned about the undermining of forensic rhetoric, which could in-turn threaten democracy; "...in democracies which are the subject to the law the best citizens hold the first place, and there are no demagogues; but where the laws are not supreme, there demagogues spring up." In The Atlantic article, "What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Demagogues'" (Dec 10, 2015), we can read ; "In all that, he (Trump) may well represent just what Aristotle feared: democracy, feeding on itself. And thereby destroying itself. Which is a fear, it's worth noting, shared by the Founders. As Alexander Hamilton, summoning his reading of history and human nature, warned:  ‘Of those men who have overturned the liberty of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by playing an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.'" The forensic analysis of the polarized political rhetoric of the dream visions of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton is what this democratic election cycle is all about.

This election is about the American political arena's forensic juxtaposition of the conversation between the moral politics (52) and "free world" leadership skills of Hilary Clinton vs Donald Trump. The American voter's ideological choices in the race to the White House is based on the nature and nurture (53) political debate, which is at the heart of the social conditioning of the Clinton vs Trump dreams (read Field Note, "Dreaming of Donald Trump"). The Aesop fable of the "Belly and the Members" seems to be the political theatre modus vivendi in the current abject body political maelstrom (54) and moral melodrama of American partisan politics surrounding the divisions of nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, race (55) and class (56). E pluribus unum...?

Aesop fable delivers body political (57,58) wisdom about the pragmatic and forensic rhetoric of food for thought (59), cooperation and the commonwealth. A modern novel that envisioned such a body political rhetoric is William Golding's "Lord of the Flies(60) which makes the forensic linguistic case of the dramatic political interpersonal head to head tensions and abject dream vision conflicts (61) of human nature vs nurturing the common good, the totalitarian (62) vs democratic power styles which defines the spectral politics of the human condition.

The forensic aim of "Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" is to bring the public's attention to the screening of the global Aesopian psychodynamics of audience reception of the epic body political stage and the dreams and nightmares of all those living on the planet. Dreams reflect the forensic spectrum of the neuropolitical machinery of talk (63), conversation and discourse (64,65). In this American political election cycle (66) we are faced with the political priming (67) of the dreaming brain and the rhetoric of food for thought found in the Republican and Democrat dream visions of Trump vs Clinton. Trumps rhetorical appeal focuses on the clinical symptoms  of the American maelstrom of dark gothic tapestry of abjection (68,69,70,71). Read Field Note "The Gothic Tapestry.

Trump's trademark "biased" (72,73) rhetorical (74) message is focusing the voter's attention and the political conversation (75,76) on the American "territorial imperative" (77) and feeding on the cultural dissonance of voter's cultural pessimism (78). By rhetorically feeding the biased political perception and world view (79) of a glass half empty, of seeing what's wrong with America, is effectively fueling a psychological environment of abject "pessimism" (80).

The political psychological rhetoric of pessimism is rooted in the political unconscious traumas (81) of the abject horrors and terrors of the American nightmare (82). Trump's search for political scapegoats, by creating an environment of pessimism, paranoia (83) and "fear mongering" about the global bogeymen and women (84), is exactly what we can expect from demagogues and their demagoguery. Their world view culture war feeds an insatiable hunger for power and the dark instinctual "gut reaction" (85) return to the moral law of the global jungle.

Can Trump voters not see through the Trumpism's of the American territorial imperative of "building a wall" and his political platform of xenophobia (86) and wingnut politics (87) which uses his patent Trump University business playbook "art of the set" and its' "roller coaster of emotions", emphasizing to his audience the politics of moral panic (88,89), anger, hate (90) and blame (91)...¿  Trump has jettisoned the rich American political tradition of the pragmatic  (92,93) use of forensic facts when responding and solving the complex issues of social problems. Trump's alienating of Nato allies and undermining national security is not about "Making America Great Again", instead, about political demagoguery of dividing and conquering, in the service of  "home grown" autocratic self aggrandizement (94).

The Founding Father George Washington in his Presidential farewell address,  sounded the alarm of the public threat of trusting the political incendiary language of the demagogue (95,96); "It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions."

The "immanent danger" of agitating, inciting the maelstrom of dark animosities and passions, is the historic overriding of the American Enlightenment voices and political movement of reason  which supported the forensic cause of the American Revolution and the Framers of the Constitution. This political "sleep of reason" will in-turn violently undermine the American social, cultural and moral fabric of human nature and nurture, ultimately leading to the nightmarish Hobbesian body political trap of the cultural politics of fear and everyone against everyone else  (97). If the political animal Donald Trump succeeds in selling his rhetorical "frame-up" case of pessimism surrounding the abject problems in the nation, Washington politics and national security to the American voter, and becomes the self proclaimed "savior" and President, will this epic political linguistic turn of American democracy then cause it to nightmarishly feed on itself, and then be supped full with horror (98,99)...? Are we on the gothic Shakespearean (100) waste land road towards the "Eve of (Global) Destruction"... (101)?


1.      David Madden, American Dreams, American Nightmares

2.       Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious

3.       Michel Foucault, Nietzsche, Genealogy, History

4.       Richard Warrington Baldwin Lewis, The American Adam: Innocence, Tragedy, and Tradition in the Nineteenth Century

5.       Stewart Holbrook, Dreamers of the American Dream

6.       Autobiography of Ben Franklin

7.      Steven Forde, The ambition to rule: Alcibiades and the politics of imperialism in Thucydides

8.       J.A. Schlesinger, Ambition and Politics

9.       G.S. Black, A Theory of Ambition

10.   H. Liebert, Between City and Empires: Political Ambition and Political Form in Plutarch's Parallel Lives." PhD dissertation

11.  Jonathan Dollimore, Alan Sinfield (eds), Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism

12.  William Shakespeare, Coriolanus,

13.  Joan Fitzpatrick, Food in Shakespeare

14.  Mary Thomas Crane, Shakespeare's Brain

15.  Aristotle, On Politics

16.  Aristotle, On Interpretation

17.  Michel Foucault, Archeology of Knowledge

18.  Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia,

19.  Lucien Goldmann, Towards a Sociology of the Novel

20.  Carl Schorkse, Psychoarcheology of Civilization

21.  Hayden White, Metahistory

22.  Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction

23.  Claude Lévi-Strauss , Mythologiques

24.  Margaret Visser, Rituals of Dinner

25.  Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process

26.  George Ritzer,  Explorations in the Sociology of Consumption: Fast Food, Credit Cards and Casinos

27.  George H. Mead, Mind, Self, and Society

28.  H. Eulau, Politics, Self, Society

29.  Peter Pringle, A Place at the Table: The Crisis of 49 Million Hungry Americans and How to Solve It

30.  Emile Post, Etiquette

31.  Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

32.  Charles Derber, The Pursuit of Attention

33.  Bryan D. Jones, The Politics of Attention

34.  Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture

35.  Mary Douglas, World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption

36.  Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

37.  Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media

38.  Jim A. Kuypers, Presidential Crisis Rhetoric and the Press in the Post-Cold War World

39.  Noelle McAfee, Democracy and the Political Unconscious

40.  Marianne Githens, A Portrait of Marginality: The Political Behavior of the American Woman

41.  Christine de Pizan, Le livre du chemin de long estude 

42.  Carolyn P. Collette, The Legend of Good Women: Context and Reception

43.  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

44.  Kate Millet, Sexual Politics

45.  Anne Sexton, Transformations

46.  Angela Carter, The War of Dreams

47.  Hilary Clinton, Living History

48.  Carl Gustav Jung, Dream Analysis : Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928-30 (book 1), William McGuire (ed).

49.  William A. V. Clark, Immigrants and the American Dream

50.  Samuel Boerboom (ed), The Political Language of Food

51.  Alison Perelman, Political Appetites: Food as Rhetoric in American Politics

52.  George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think

53.  Susan Bardo, Hunger as Ideology, in Ron Scapp, Eating Culture

54.  Michael A. Cohen, American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division

55.  Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

56.  G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America?

57.  Christine de Pizan,  The Book of the Body Politic

58.  Stephen H. Rigby, The Body Politic in the Social and Political Thought of Christine de Pizan

59.  Peter Jackson, Food Words

60.  Jennifer Basil, Democratic and Totalitarian Power Systems

61.  P. Rau (ed), Conflict, Nationhood and Corporeality in Modern Literature: Bodies-at-War

62.  Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism

63.  Anne Freadman, The Machinery of Talk: Charles Peirce and the Sign Hypothesis

64.  Karl Deutsch, The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control

65.  Milton Wright,  The Art of Conversation

66.  Kelly Bulkeley, American Dreamers: What Dreams Tell Us about the Political Psychology of Conservatives, Liberals, and Everyone Else

67.  Drew Weston, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

68.  Imogen Tyler, Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain

69.  Mark J. Miller, Cast Down, Abjection in America

70.  Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror

71.  Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel

72.  Gorden Allport, The Nature of Prejudice

73.  Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Anatomy of Prejudices

74.  Harold Barrett, Rhetoric and Civility: Human Development, Narcissism, and the Good Audience

75.  Stephen Miller, Conversation: A History of a Declining Art

76.  Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism

77.  Robert Ardrey, The Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry Into the Animal Origins of Property and Nations

78.  Oliver Bennett,  Cultural Pessimism: Narratives of Decline in the Postmodern World

79.  James Underhill, Humboldt, Worldview and Language

80.  David Bryant, The Rhetoric of Pessimism and Strategies of Containment in the Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant

81.  Deirdre Barrett (ed), Trauma and Dreams

82.  Ernest Hartmann, Dreams and Nightmares

83.  Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics

84.  Benjamin B. Wolman, Children's Fears

85.  Jesse J. Prinz, Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion

86.  J. Gil Harris, Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic

87.  John Avlon Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America

88.  Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panic

89.  Kenneth Thompson, Moral Panics

90.  Hugo N. Gerstl, The Politics of Hate - a Piercing Insight Into American Politics

91.  Jessica LeAnn Urban, The politics of blame: nation, immigration, and environmental security in international relations

92.  Richard J. Bernstein, The Pragmatic Turn

93.  Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America

94.  Otto Kernberg, Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism

95.  Kenneth Burke, The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" 

96.  Gerald H. Fickenscher, Beware of Demagogues

97.  Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

98.  Winfried Menninghaus , Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation

99.  Mark Twain, Cannibalism in the Cars

100.                      John Drakakis, Dale Townshend (eds), Gothic Shakespeares

101.                      Erich Fromm, Anatomy of Destructiveness


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.