October 20, 2019

I dreamed I had no idea who was President of the United States.

I was aware, in the dream, that "Who's the President of the United States?" is a question they ask you when they're trying to find out if you are brain damaged, so I was worried. Finally, someone informed me that the President of the United States is Killen. President Killen? It didn't even sound familiar. Killen. That should at least ring a bell. Thinking and thinking about it, I never arrived at the real answer, that the President of the United States is Trump.

I looked up "Killen" to see if it has any meaning. There's the near homophone — killing — that's obvious now but that didn't occur to me in the dream. Killen is a place name in Alabama and in Scotland and in Northern Ireland. It's also a surname, but no one on the list of Killens looks familar to me:
Chris Killen (born 1981), New Zealand professional footballer
Edgar Ray Killen (1925-2018), American criminal
Gerard Killen, British politician
James Killen (1925-2007), Australian politician
John Sidney Killen (1826-1903), American farmer and state legislator
Louisa Jo Killen, born Louis Killen (1934-2013), English folk singer
William Dool Killen (1806-1902), Irish Presbyterian minister and church historian
William M. Killen, (born 1938), American politician
William Wilson Killen (1860–1939), Australian politician
Clicking through on the American names, I see that the criminal, Edgar Ray Killen, is known to me through the crime:
Edgar Ray Killen (January 17, 1925 – January 11, 2018) was a Ku Klux Klan organizer who planned and directed the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, three civil rights activists participating in the Freedom Summer of 1964. He was found guilty in state court of three counts of manslaughter on June 21, 2005, the forty-first anniversary of the crime, and sentenced to 60 years in prison. He appealed the verdict, but the sentence was upheld on April 12, 2007, by the Supreme Court of Mississippi. He died in prison on January 11, 2018, six days before his 93rd birthday.
There was a substantial obituary in the NYT when he died last year, though I don't think I saw it, because I think I would have blogged it.

It's important but hard to remember the historical events that take place during your lifetime, and it should be very easy to remember who the President is. I'm sorry to have forgotten Edgar Ray Killen, but I'm quite happy to have had a dream in which I had no idea of President Trump. He's such a huge preoccupation these days. Every single thing he says or does. Every single day. It's a kind of madness.

So I'm reading my inability to answer the famous brain-damage question — "Who's the President of the United States?" — as a sign of mental health!


The Bergall said...

Some would say that is a good thing!

Shouting Thomas said...

Yeah, I'm a staunch supporter of the president.

But, I've had to bail in the past few months. I'm exhausted with the permanent emergency.

The constant pitched battle distracts from my ability to focus on what's really important to me, which is my grandkids and playing and writing music.

Prez Trump is going to have to win re-election minus me campaigning for him.

Off to church.

jaydub said...

There is no doubt that he's a huge preoccupation because of TDS. It is the left that won't let Trump disappear from the national psyche for a single moment.

dbp said...

"It's important but hard to remember the historical events that take place during your lifetime, and it should be very easy to remember who the President is."

I dream of a day when only political hobbyists know who is president.

Rick.T. said...

Sure. But remember it’s your brain telling you that...as the old joke goes.

Fernandistein said...

You're dreaming about the POTUS and posting about Trump.

I rarely recall my dreams but last night had one about the nutty dog not being able to login to the router or something like that.

rhhardin said...

Maybe it's a prophetic dream, about the future. Of course you don't know who the president is.

rehajm said...

He's such a huge preoccupation these days. Every single thing he says or does. Every single day. It's a kind of madness.

It is a madness but it isn't about Trump in the broader sense it's about the bureaucrats, socialism, and getting their way. Compare the parallels of the madness of the Brits and the EU over Boris. The people voted and yet the thing they voted for isn't happening. The bureaucracy is subverting the will of the people with the lawfare filibuster. It's the same thing.

Trump's just the latest. Check out the past one. Wait till the next one. It won't got away when Trump goes away.

jim said...

I wish I could have that dream

Unknown said...

The dream analysis website Dream Moods suggests the following interpretations:

To dream that you kill someone indicates that you are on the verge of losing your temper and self-control. Consider the person you have killed and ask yourself if you feel any rage towards her or him in your waking life. Your dream may be expressing some hidden anger. Alternatively, you may be trying to kill an aspect of yourself that is represented by the person killed. Identify the characteristics of this person and ask yourself which of these qualities you are trying to put an end to.

To dream that you have been killed suggests that your actions are disconnected from your emotions and conscience. The dream refers to drastic changes that you are trying to make. There is a characteristic that you want to get rid of or a habit that you want to end within yourself. Killing represents the killing off of the old parts and old habits. Alternatively, the dream represents feelings of being let down or betrayed by someone in your waking life. You are feeling overwhelmed, shocked and disappointed.

David Begley said...


You were asleep. While awake, you know who the President is. You are not mentally ill.

David D. Begley, M.D.

gilbar said...

when i got out of my coma, after the deer hit my motorcycle; they asked me these questions
and they kept the list.
I didn't know my name, or where i was; but i DID know that Bill Clinton was President (3-5-2000)
Now, THAT'S being BRAIN damaged

Ann Althouse said...

@David Begley Did you misread the post?

Rory said...

Frank Killen was a fine pitcher in the mid-1890s.

I think about politics quite a bit now, but not about the President unless he's right in front of me. He's grown on me, but remains an object. The fight's about the rule of law and equality before the law.

mikee said...

This dream. kike all dreams, is readily interpreted by an objective and disinterested observer. A President Killen should be seen as your subconscious wish that Trump would handle his opponents even more violently than he has. And President Trump was subsumed into President Killen in your mind, which suggests Trump is doing so well (Killing It, so to speak) that all you can see is his winning. So much winning. Not tired of it yet.

Sally327 said...

I think it means you (along with the rest of us) don't know who the next President is going to be. And the Killen is which candidate is going to kill it, as in do really well, take the win, so that's who the next President will be.

Although Killen, it could be your mixed up dream mind really thinking Dylan, as in Bob, as in wouldn't he be an interesting President?

Howard said...

Sarc tag, professor. Kill means Creek in Dutch

bwebster said...

Interesting. My last dream before waking was that I had somehow become a member of the House of Representatives. Also, I was several decades younger than I am now. An older Congressman from the Other Party (who looked like every stereotypical grey-haired, somewhat overweight and rumpled politician) was proposing that he and I co-sponsor a bill focused on 'young people' (of which I was apparently one) that would achieve some cost savings. I remember thinking I was going to go over the suggested legislation very carefully, knowing how bad or deceptive it can be. (I've actually downloaded and read legislation in real life.)

And then I woke up.

Leland said...

"I'm sorry to have forgotten Edgar Ray Killen, but I'm quite happy to have had a dream in which I had no idea of President Trump. "

The most Democrat, Old Southern Democrat, line I've ever read from Althouse. That cruel neutrality just went up like a cross on a lawn.

Shane said...

After you watched Ricky Gervais' "AfterLife"? There's a brilliant sequence where they discuss the penchant of others sharing their dreams...

rcocean said...

I'm not exhausted with Trump, I'm bored at the news-coverage and the constant, endless, ginning up of EVERYTHING to "Get Trump". And even more tired of all the supposed conservatives who behave like gullible rubes whenever the MSM has some new "The walls are closing in on Trump - Ukraine/Russia/Impeachment/etc. - he's finished now" fake news stories.

As for dreams, remember Freud? Remember how scienficify he was? He was one of the 3 intellectual "Giants" we were taught in college. Marx and Darwin being the others. John Huston even made a movie about what a great scientist/doctor Freud was in his 1962 movie with Montgomery Clift. But then real scientists found it was all brain chemicals and even psychologists found his theories to be bunk.

Anyway, I never dream about politics or pop culture. And most of my vivid dreams come after eating a spicy food.

Shane said...

Well said, Rory!

rcocean said...

There's a theory that the MSM is keeping up this barrage of Anti-Trump stories and controversy in the hope that moderate/centrist women like Althouse will vote against him in 2020, just to have some peace and quiet. Why its just women, and not all centrists, I don't know. I hope that's false, but the never ending stream of negative coverage must be costing trump at least 5 points in the polls.

rcocean said...

Dorothy Killallen (sic) on "What's my line" was the first one I thought of when you started listing her names. She was quite a cutie and a good reporter. Sadly, she died a mysterious, untimely death.

Unknown said...

Trump makes sure every day that he is the lead story. He can’t stand to not have the spotlight on him.

Anyone who disputes this obvious fact is delusional.

In contrast, you could tell that President Obama was happy during most of his presidency to be boring. And there was long stretches of time when the national focus was not on him and Washington. That was a more healthier time.

Lash LaRue said...

Edgar Ray Killen was prosecuted by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood who is currently running for Governor of Mississippi.

Michael K said...

This is reminiscent of the scene in "Back to the Future" where Marty finds out Reagan is president.

wild chicken said...

Well I think my dream about dropping down the elevator shaft with Trump telling me how great it is was pretty indicative of my mood.

But I knew it would be like this.

rehajm said...

The madness has a purpose. If you don't like the madness don't indulge it.

Molly said...


It may be a kind of madness, but worrying about its being a kind of madness is one step farther along the madness line. Then you know the madness has got you.

Fernandistein said...

Do electric sheep dream of androids?

Narayanan said...

You could be wishing to be in pre-Constitution days ready to pitch in the discussion

chuck said...

Penelope’s response to the beggar is this:
“Ah my friend, seasoned Penelope dissented,
Dreams are hard to unravel, wayward, drifting things-
Not all we glimpse in them will come to pass….
Two gates there are for our evanescent dreams,
One is made of ivory, the other made of horn.
Those that pass through the ivory cleanly carved
Are will-o’-the-wisps, their message bears no fruit.
The dreams that pass through the gates of polished horn
Are fraught with truth, for the dreamer who can see them.
But I can’t believe my strange dream has come that way,
Much as my son and I would love to have it so.”
(The Odyssey 19.630-640)

MikeR said...

Killen is wrong.

Right Man said...

Well, Trump is killin' it.

Amadeus 48 said...

I was at a lunch yesterday where we were discussing some political concepts with a group that includes a few center left and more center right to fully right-wing men. The few of the farther right guys kept trying to interject Trump into the conversation, at which point everyone veered off-topic into how they felt about Trump.

Trump, with all his merits and his faults, is a topic that dominates every discussion into which he is allowed. If you want to discuss Trump, then discuss Trump. But if you want to discuss hardening our electrical transmission grid, or why young people appear to be attracted to socialism, or what the social climate is like for right-wing students on college campuses, or what the right financial policy is for the state of Illinois, or the advantages and disadvantages of defined benefit plans for state workers and the taxpayers who support them, don't bring up Trump. The discussion of whatever you were talking about has ended. Now you have to talk about Trump.


David Begley said...


Your post was nuanced, but I stand firm with my diagnosis that you are NOT mentally ill.


Buck up. The gospel today was about praying always without become weary. If Trump can work from 6 to 6 and then give a 90 minute speech, you can vote for the guy.

reader said...

My mother has dementia and just spent five days in the hospital. Every time a doctor came to see her or there was a shift change for the nursing staff they would run her through the standard questions of a mini cog test. At our hospital they have dropped the question regarding the president. Our palliative car doctor explained that it was eliciting too much anger.

Amadeus 48 said...

Unknown at 8:29 wants to talk about Obama. OMG!

I can't stand Obama, that sanctimonious, clueless prig. Why did Unknown have to bring up Obama? That has ruined my whole day. And if they build that Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park (some irony there, huh?) I am going to be sick every time I drive by it to go to Michigan. Obama ruined this country, and if it weren't for Obama we would never have had Trump. And Trump...don't get me started. And Johnson and the goddamned war...and Nixon!!! Not to mention Hoover, Truman and FDR... Wilson was the worst, and who did that Teddy Roosevelt think he was?

I think I'll go read some Henry James...or William Faulkner.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Our palliative car doctor explained that it was eliciting too much anger."

When I was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery, I always said Barack Hussain Obama through gritted teeth with a smile.

Marc said...

Dorothy Kilgallen is where my mind took me. I hadn't realized that she plays a role in the vast melodrama of conspiracy theories about Mr Kennedy's assassination.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Trump-hatred won't allow us to go back to a usual, dull life. We are American and will know it, born fighting, just as all jealous non-Americans know. Michelle Obama told us this, but some folks have compression problems or just like to pretend America isn't worth the efforts needed to save it from Communism.

Quit bitching and start fighting the fight Obama voters guaranteed: They started this fight we love and live for.

Go play some fucking beanbag otherwise, while the men and women in the country unfuck ourselves.

David Begley said...

“Mississippi Burning” was really a great movie. Gene Hackman as the FBI agent was fabulous.

daskol said...

Boris Johnson was in my dream, and I was trying to make him feel better about his eventual place in the pantheon of British statesmen. If you think we have noise and tumult here about Trump, they've got it just as bad over there. Only thing is, they're Brits, so they're more polite about it and you don't realize at first that it's tumult.

Amadeus 48 said...

The arch and amusing etiquette column in The Spectator, "Dear Mary: Your Questions Answered", is written by Mary Killen, a long-time UK columnist. Her solutions to the social problems submitted by the English upper crust usually involve harmless but necessary lies and deceptions.

Kevin said...

Trump makes sure every day that he is the lead story. He can’t stand to not have the spotlight on him.

Anyone who disputes this obvious fact is delusional.

If Trump woke up one day and decided to spend the day in bed not doing anything, the press would still spend the next 24 hours trying to end his Presidency.

Anyone who disputes this fact is delusional.

Given that, Trump does his best to steer the inevitable coverage of him to his benefit.

bagoh20 said...

If it were not for the absurd over-reaction by the left to everything Trump says and does, I'd have little reason to say much about him. Things are going well, so I'd want to leave it alone. With so many people trying to drill hole in the bottom of our collective boat, you can't ignore it. It's dangerous, and not in some hypothetical distant way, but in our real pocketbooks and lives. Shut up, lefties, and smell the roses while you can afford to. He'll be gone soon enough, and you can have your malaise back.

Darrell said...

Your brain is telling you that you should come right out and support Trump and savage the Democrats and Never-Trumpers. You know the Left's path leads to destruction and you are doing very little to stop it.

n.n said...

Trump stands, does not kneel, and responds to the journolistic press, social media platforms, and partisan politicians, which is clearly a problem in a society that normalizes "diversity", "Jew... White privilege", "selective Jew... Child", redistributive change, social justice adventurism (e.g. elective wars, anti-nativism), etc.

Christy said...

I had my first Medicare wellness visit with the nurse asking me all those questions. I resented the questions and would get distracted by wondering about the purpose of specific ones and thinking about my responses now versus 10 years ago. Did I mention I got distracted by tangents? So a couple of times I asked her to repeat the question. Naturally the Doctor comes in and has his little short term memory test. I wish I could be proud of being his first patient to get all of the answers right, but of course they only give it to those showing signs of dementia. Are being contrary and over thinking every thing signs of mental illness?

Jim at said...

Trump makes sure every day that he is the lead story. He can’t stand to not have the spotlight on him.

Really? Trump is the one screaming about kids in cages? Trump is the one screaming about a phone call with Ukraine? Trump is the one screaming about the Russians? Trump is the one screaming about the Kurds being 'slaughtered?' Trump is the one screaming about the G-7 at Doral? Trump is the one who will be screaming about the next crisis this week?

You don't get it.

cubanbob said...

Forgetting Trump is the president and a Klansman is the president isn't a dream. It's a nightmare.

Phidippus said...

I dreamed I saw Saint Augustine, alive as you or me.

Separately, I agree with David Begley @9:45 AM. Keep the faith, but ignore the TV set.

"No martyr is among ye now
Whom you can call your own
So go on your way accordingly
But know you’re not alone”