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Kuzma Vladimirov
Kuzma Vladimirov

Why Me

Why Me? is a 1990 American caper comedy film directed by Gene Quintano and starring Christopher Lambert, Kim Greist, Christopher Lloyd, and J. T. Walsh. The screenplay is credited to Donald E. Westlake and Leonard Maas Jr. (a pseudonym of David Koepp), and is based on the fifth book in Westlake's series of John Dortmunder novels.

Why Me


The Byzantine Fire, a sacred ruby on loan from Turkey to the United States for exhibition, no sooner arrives in Los Angeles than it is stolen by Eastern religious extremists and hidden inside the safe of a local jewelry store. When professional burglar and jewel thief Gus Cardinale (Christopher Lambert) breaks into the store and inadvertently steals the Byzantine Fire, he finds himself being chased around Los Angeles by the LAPD, the entire Los Angeles criminal element (whom the police have been mercilessly harassing in order to find the thief), two less-than-competent CIA agents, Turkish government agents and a not-too-tightly wrapped female Armenian terrorist. Now Gus, with the help of his wacky partner Bruno (Christopher Lloyd) and his girlfriend June (Kim Greist), must figure out a way to not only return the Byzantine Fire without getting caught but also stay alive long enough to do so and just maybe make a profit out of the whole deal.

This short animation illustrates the reactions of one individual whose doctor has just told him he will soon die. In a terse and sometimes humorous dialogue with his doctor, Nesbitt Spoon runs the gamut of emotions commonly experienced by people trying to deal with this devastating yet universal situation.

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I strapped on my backpack, put on my dirtiest jeans, and headed back to university life. People were pretty good about hiding much trace of interest. Some of my friends wanted to respect my privacy of the moment, some smiled and went their way. But I knew that there were two Jodie Fosters. There was one as large as the screen, a Technicolor vision with flowing blond hair and a self-assured smile. She was the woman they had all been watching. But the second Jodie was a vision only I knew. She was shrouded in bravado and wit and was, underneath, a creature crippled, without self-esteem, a frail and alienated being.

Then it hit me. It felt like a ton of steel dropping from the top of a thirty-story building. Death. So simple, so elementary, so near. Pulling a trigger is as easy as changing the TV channel with remote control. What was I trying to prove by performing a college play three days after one of the most bizarre assassination attempts of our time? Who was I trying to impress? Why was it so important to look death in the eye and hurl victorious insults? Because I was the one who always found the chocolate basket on Easter morning? Because I always wanted to be the best, no matter what, no matter how?

More than a year after the day of the shooting I found myself in a Washington, D.C., courtroom waiting to give my deposition. It was all very orderly, very efficient. I brought my briefcase and answered questions with a sobriety and cool that seemed appropriate. No one had told me before I arrived in Washington, of course, that Hinckley was to be present. But I played cowboy and got through it all the best way I knew how, thinking this would be the end of it.

The feeling of guilt after a citation is normal, we just want to tell you not to be too hard on yourself. Here are some facts from our research. If we are honest with ourselves, we will agree that we commit at least one moving violation every time we drive but we simply do not get cited for it. We would all agree that most of us have not reference an updated driver handbook after attaining our driver license. Most of us fall victim to "the driver ahead of me made that maneuver or is driving above the speed limit so it should be okay for me to do this also". We seldom stop to think if that maneuver is legal or safe to do. We know you will find our course to be informative, entertaining and most of all, relevant to your every day driving.

All politicians, to some extent, utilize victimhood-cueing rhetoric in making their case to would-be constituents. They portray the masses as victims of all manner of policies and circumstances from the specific (e.g., high taxes, income inequality, rising healthcare costs) to the abstract (e.g., globalization, the media, the establishment). These are the problems that candidates claim they are best equipped to address. In making victim-centered pleas, politicians are able to foster a sense of victimhood in their supporters and potentially gain new supporters by portraying themselves as uniquely capable of identifying and treating that which causes victimhood.

Just as individuals can be arrayed along a continuum ranging from no/weak perceptions of victimhood to frequent/strong perceptions, elements of the environment can impact these perceptions. Given the well-established impact of elite communications on mass opinion formation (e.g., Zaller 1992), elite rhetoric is a prime example of how feelings of victimhood can be inflamed. We argue that elites can actually change the extent to which one feels victimized or alter the salience of previously-felt victimhood. Below, we explicitly test the proposition that politicians can cue feelings of victimhood in the mass public. Not only do we find that perceived victimhood is malleable, but we discover that individuals can be made to feel this way by political figures, such as Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Table 1 also includes estimates from a confirmatory factor analysis of the two sets of victimhood items. We specified a two-factor model with the items loading only onto their hypothesized factor, but allowing a correlation between the two factors (as the two expressions of victimhood are almost certainly related to some degree). A good model fit will signify construct validity. Each of the (standardized) factor loadings is statistically significant at the p

We observe support for our expectations in all cases but one: the statistically non-significant correlation between systemic victimhood and agreeableness. Both egocentric and systemic victims are more conspiratorial, perceive more governmental corruption, exhibit greater anti-elitist tendencies, and are more distrustful of a government that they do not believe they have a say in. Moreover, those who perceive themselves to be victims are also less emotionally stable, and egocentric victims are less agreeable, than their relatively less victimized counterparts.

Next, we consider the relationship between both perceived victimhood and other psychological constructs that it should not be synonymous with, or that should distinguish systemic from egocentric victimhood. The analyses presented in this section are conducted on an August 2020 survey of 800 U.S. adults fielded by Lucid. In addition to the measures necessary to establish discriminant validity, this second dataset allows us to replicate the victimhood factor structure presented in Table 1, which appears in the Supplemental Appendix.

In Table 3, we present the bivariate correlations between both manifestations of victimhood and six theoretically-related psychological constructs: trait-based narcissism (Back et al. 2013), state-based narcissism (Giacomin and Jordan 2016), collective narcissism (Marchlewska et al. 2018), general system justification (Jost et al. 2004), relative deprivation (Smith et al. 2012), and relative group deprivation (Marchlewska et al. 2018).Footnote 5 Though we expect to observe significant relationships (positive ones for all but system justification), we also expect that none of these psychological constructs heavily overlaps with either form of victimhood.

Validity established, the remainder of our analyses aim to showcase the differing relationships between the two expressions of perceived victimhood and salient political identities, beliefs, and choices. To begin, we consider the relationship between partisan and ideological self-identifications and perceived victimhood. We have no reason to expect that Democrats (liberals) differ from Republicans (conservatives) in their average level of egocentric victimhood. This is primarily because no one and nothing in particular is blamed by egocentric victims. However, liberals and Democrats may exhibit greater levels of systemic victimhood than conservatives and Republicans because they are more likely to identify, sympathize with, and support policies to correct systemic injustices that produce victims (e.g., supporting affirmative action policies, progressive taxes that impact low-income individuals less).

Scatterplot of the relationships between both expressions of perceived victimhood and partisan and ideological identities. Black curves represent lowess estimates; gray bands are 95% confidence intervals

We utilize two measures of Trump support to test these expectations. Reactions to Trump using feeling thermometers capture affective orientations toward him (i.e., the strength of positive or negative feelings). Retrospective vote choice captures more formal support for Trump, and is relative to other options (i.e., other candidates). In both models, we control for partisanship and ideological self-identification, religiosity, education, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and residence in the political South. Full model estimates appear in the Supplemental Appendix, though we note here that both expressions of victimhood are statistically significantly (p

In order to more clearly understand the substantive magnitude of relationships between perceived victimhood and Trump support, we plot the predicted probability of Trump voting and predicted thermometer scores across the range of victimhood in Fig. 4.Footnote 9 On the low end of egocentric victimhood, the predicted probability of voting for Trump over other candidates is about 0.42; on the high end, it is 0.58. Although an increase in probability of 0.16 may not seem particularly large, that the 0.50 threshold is crossed moving from low to high egocentric victimhood is substantively important given the dichotomous nature of the vote choice variable. We observe a nearly identical inverse pattern between systemic victimhood and vote choice. When it comes to feelings toward Trump, thermometer scores increase an average of 15 points moving from the minimum to maximum value of egocentric victimhood; they decrease by about 12 points as systemic victimhood increases. 041b061a72


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