Ron Polland (aka Ron Polarik) has been interviewed over at the Post & Email blog. It was a real love fest between him and interviewer Sharon Rondeau with her feeding him juicy questions and not asking any of the obvious tough follow-up questions, and Polland pontificating about how clever he is.
Polland’s image analysis has been discredited, and there’s no value in my plowing that field again. Anyone that believed Polland/Polarik the first time around isn’t going to be convinced by a rational argument anyway. For the original debunking, visit Bad Science: How Not To Do Image Analysis Part II.
No, what I want to try to focus on is what Polland reveals about himself in the piece. I was struck by this one very interesting statement (although not intentionally said about himself):
A person whose sole motive is to discredit someone else is a person who will lie, cheat, and steal to accomplish it…
Polland sees himself at the center of things and the victim of those “whose sole motive is to discredit him” as though he were that important.
Polland comes from the Israel right-wing side of the birther movement, and that perhaps explains his original pseudonymous entry into the disinformation campaign. However, the Polarik character grew, becoming a cult figure among the birthers, with his long Internet rants peppered with high-resolution scans of birth certificates and YouTube videos. Finally, after his identity was revealed, he had no choice but to continue or lose face.
I get the impression that Ron Polland has a narcissistic personality, one that is fed by the fawning praise of the birthers. Let’s see how well this fits. To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, one must have 5 of the following:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
I don’t have enough information about Polland to know whether he fits 5 of these. Obviously the first and last fit him like a glove. Clearly Polland believes that he is smarter than others and that others resent him for it, and thereby attack him scurrilously (see the Collins / Eddy section). I do know that it’s easy for a lay person to lay a diagnosis on someone, inserting their own lay understanding of technical terms, and inserting their own bias for objective observation. So I will leave the reader without a conclusion from me.
There is one substantive matter that I do want to comment on, and that is this remark from Polland:
DR. POLLAND: … Dr. Neal Krawetz [i]s the “image analysis expert” I mentioned above. He has a PhD in Computer Science but his expertise is in computer security, according to the credentials he posted on his website. What he does not have listed in those credentials is the word, “image,” or the word, “forgery,” or the phrase, “image analysis.” He proclaimed himself an image analysis expert, and is worshipped by liberals as the Image god who can lay waste to all those terrible “Birthers.” The irony of that is if Krawetz had used the same criteria on his own credentials as he used on mine; that is, looking for keywords, he would have to call himself a fraud!
When I first came across the Krawetz critique of Polarik, I did a little poking around. He is the real deal. He has authored software for image analysis and has done some remarkable work on images released by terrorists. He was an expert before the birth certificate. I had a brief exchange of correspondence with Krawetz over the Sun Yat-Sen Certificate of Hawaiian Birth and his technical analysis was accurate, and did not go beyond what he could reasonably infer. He makes Polland look like a clown. For some Krawetz image analysis, visit his web site.
There is a cute little online tool at the Krawetz web site that guesses the gender of a writer. I fed in the Sharon Rondeau article from the beginning through “Dr. Polland’s biographical statement is as follows:” and it said “MALE.” I wouldn’t be surprised of Polland wrote more of the article than it attributed to him.