For those who follow the insanity at Concordia, here is a new development. Remember, these cases get publicized very randomly. For every one that makes a splash, there is a dozen you’ve never heard about.
People who experienced childhood emotional abuse are very sensitive to the emotional states of others. Even if somebody tries very hard to conceal what they are feeling, a person with this kind of hard-won sensitivity won’t be fooled. And depending on the nature of the emotional abuse, such people might attribute the emotional states they intuit in others to something they did.
So they live to the constant accompaniment of worry, “He’s sad. What did I do to upset him? She’s irritated. What did I do to bug her?” Usually, whatever the others are experiencing isn’t about them at all but they are locked in the prison of their trauma and don’t get it.
On the positive side, such people work great in careers where you need to connect with others and understand their innermost feelings.
The only really popular (with thousands of likes and hundreds of comments) English-speaking Facebooker I read is a young working class accidental mom of two from Ireland. The rest of the really popular ones in my feed are Ukrainian and Russian journalists. The latter spend most of their time battling the efforts of the FB censorship team that tries to shut them down. There are whole groups of people whose only job is to manufacture reasons for FB to close down these journalists. But when they do manage to publish something, it’s really good. It’s so sad that they have no other platform than this really horrible one.
The problem with long sentences is that often they build up expectations only to collapse into utter triviality at the very end.
I’m wary of the carnavalesque protests and marches that are “against everything bad and in favor of everything good” because, as we have seen throughout the past 20 years, they always serve as harbingers of some new and enormous triumph of neoliberalism (aka liquid capital.) Whenever they happen – Spain, Russia, US, etc – it’s a sign that fifteen minutes later some massive neoliberal triumph is about to occur.
It’s obviously not a coincidence. The active, engaged, progressively-minded part of the population displaces its energies into the realm of the consumerist, infantile, and disengaged pseudo-protests. The path is open for capital to sweep in because it’s clear there’s nobody there to stop it.
Here is an example of what I mean by painful earnestness. Somebody posted the following poem on FB:
Oliver is not my favorite poet but it’s obvious from the format of the piece that it’s a poem. It’s clearly not an official statement from the American Psychiatric Association. Taking it as a statement of clinical fact is clearly an unproductive approach.
Immediately, though, somebody comments, in a tone of “passionate intensity” that what the poem says is wrong. Anxiety can’t be so easily overcome. You can’t just decide not to suffer from anxiety. And besides, if you haven’t gotten rheumatism yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it in the future.
The commenter is clearly sincere. And all she’s saying is actually true. What’s kind of scary, though, is her utter incapacity to see that delivering these truisms in response to a work of literature is silly and somewhat embarrassing.
Back in the USSR, there were the cynics who adopted the rhetoric and used it to enrich themselves. And there were the simpletons who actually believed it. The latter were a lot scarier than the former because their earnestness allowed for no critical distance between them and the slogans. Since then, the readiness earnestly to sloganeer has never ceased to scare me.