Denis Smith has noticed that some of his acquaintances have been pulling out their old psychology textbooks to try to understand Donald Trump. But he thinks we can learn more about Trump by remembering old films and classic literature.

There is, for example, George Orwell’s 1984, which recently hit the top of the charts on amazon, which explains how a powerful government with a Ministry of Truth can manipulate the news and shape reality and facts to fit the government’s needs.

He also recommends the classic Hitchcock thriller “Gaslight,” in which a smooth Charles Boyer distorts reality for a frightened Ingrid Bergmann.

In the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Gaslight, the vulnerable Bergmann is manipulated by – guess who – Charles Boyer, who does not invite her to the Casbah but, instead, masterfully controls his wife through questioning her memory, firm beliefs, and the otherwise mundane things in her home environment. The result is predictable. She becomes confused and questions her sanity and beliefs.

Again, while no sane person would compare the smooth Boyer with the Inspector Clouseau-like Trump, both achieve the same results in their gaslighting methods: Control the conscious environment, sow doubt on alternative explanations, and make receivers of the messages vulnerable as a result.

Perhaps you have some other suggestions. What have you read or seen that helps you make sense of this upside-down political environment?