The Left is Gripping
One of the great things about the living for years in the same room with more than thirty people where the toilets occasionally explode is that you gain tremendous stress management skills. Behaviors and events that would cause many to run screaming from the space barely cause you to lift your eyebrow. After I got out of the Navy I ran science fiction conventions and wore business suits. At first, strange people would try to "freak the mundane"; until it was rather conclusively proven that almost nobody could by being weird. They couldn't make me grip.
The term we used on my first ship often used to describe people who were not composed was "gripping". If your way of handling a situation was to take a death grip on anything solid and hold for dear life, you were gripping. People who had been afloat successfully for a number of years knew that the way you dealt with a fluid world was to stay mobile. The term was used to describe any kind of situation where excessive attachment to one particular was wasted effort and an imposition on those around you.
After 9/11, much of the Left is gripping. One of the things they are gripping to is the failed Presidency of Geo. Bush & Co., and all the rest of their world view circa September 10, 2001. Another thing they are gripping to: the notion that it is still acceptable to say out loud, "â€¦by any means necessary." With their world crumbling around them, they grip tight to anything they can hold, even if what or who they have attached themselves to is falling into the abyss.
I suppose this is a predictable form of behavior, not limited to Western intellectuals. It still doesn't make it pleasant to watch or be around. It's not the kind of thing you want to happen to your friends or family. It certainly is not the behavior you want in a leader, as I can tell you from too much experience. You can say what you want about Geo. Bush & Co., but you can't say that they are gripping.