Steve Mnuchin’s face: Have you seen it?
Neuroscience has revealed a striking ability of the human brain to recognize faces. We are born to run through savannahs and woodlands and forests and see faces aimed in our direction. Even now, you may feel your pulse rate speed up, just thinking of faces watching you. Think about it. Think about a face in the forest, watching you. Are you thinking about running? About fighting?
It’s entirely possible you are more evolved than I, and see strange faces as friendly, helpful persons until proven otherwise. It’s the “until proven otherwise” that less evolved people like me tend to consider. Until proven otherwise, strange faces looking at us are strange faces looking at us, and hold an unacceptable risk of harboring ill will toward our physical existence. Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Who the fuck is that? Who wears their hair like that? What weapons do they have?
OK. So I was once an Army expert marksman (and full-time 71Q). That doesn’t mean I’m paranoid. But I must confess, I typically scan rooflines for evidence of an enemy, aiming at me or my loved ones. Of course, I never discuss this with anyone. Except you. At this moment.
Add to that our ability to recognize microexpressions. It’s a skill taught to all intelligence personnel trained in facial recognition.
We all do it, even subconsciously. No person that we directly face avoids our scrutiny. Grocery clerks. Bank tellers. Car salesmen. Everyone. We are unrelenting. We are eternally ready for fight or flight, whether we know it or not.
Steve Mnuchin has a face for the ages. He has various disturbing tics. Perhaps these are symptomatic of an underlying pathology, about which we should understand and forgive. Perhaps he should be protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Some Trump supporters might label him retarded, in which case we would leap to his defense. Except that he was the CEO of OneWest. And he did what he did—what Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown questioned him about during his cabinet hearing.
We are not likely to leap to this billionaire’s defense. As with most disabled people, he is a person, with his own soul, his whole cognition, his individual judgment and morality.
He is what he is. So look at his face. You be the judge.