"You're slowly and systematically being driven out of your mind."
Joseph Cotton as Brian Cameron in Gaslight
The term "gaslighting" has been making the rounds in American political discourse. My advice? See this classic film.
Gaslighting, which is synonymous with manipulating a person or group into thinking that they are going out of their minds, comes from a classic play Gas Light that has been adapted to film twice. The 1944 version of Gaslight, staring the incandescent Ingrid Bergman, is my favorite.
Bergman stars as Paula, a troubled young woman who witnessed her aunt being murdered as a child. As an adult, Paula is caught up in a whirlwind romance, gets married, and is now living with her new husband in relative isolation. Unfortunately for Paula, her happiness in love is short-lived. Soon, she begins seeing and hearing things... a creaky floor, a flickering gaslight. Her husband assures her that she's mistaken. Eventually Paula begins to think that she is going mad. But is she?
Gaslight explores psychological abuse in a creepy, personal way. Watch it and you can decide for yourself whether or not it is a good metaphor for the state of our body politic.