Oh Sigmund you lovable perv.

This is a very obscure reference, but there’s an episode of Red Dwarf (a BBC sci-fi comedy from the early 90s) where they all get trapped in a physical representation of one of the character’s psyche – kind of like a way darker version of Inside-Out. It’s an interesting concept, and it makes me wonder what my own brain-world would look like as an actual place, and just how strange/fucked my Id, Ego and Super -Ego would be as tiny little people with their own personalities. Also I wonder whether they get into adorable, tiny little fist fights while I’m in the middle of making a decision sometimes (like if I’m about to send a risky text, is my Super-Ego screaming ‘think of your dignity!!!’ while trying to overpower my Id who’s throwing chairs?)

So let’s utilise Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis to draw a very simplified map of our psyches. According to Freud our psyche consists of three parts:

  • The Id (or unconscious) is concerned with desire
  • The Ego is about negotiation with the real world and is driven with instinct to protect itself
  • The Super-Ego is the self-critical component of the Ego.

Our unconscious mind is sculpted by past experiences and repressed impulses; it is highly influential on our behaviour, beliefs, feelings and such, yet it is inaccessible to the conscious mind. However, unconscious thought can be revealed through methods such as interpreting dreams, or ‘parapraxis’ (aka Freudian slips). Interpretation of dreams is significant in psychoanalysis because when we are sleeping our conscious resistance is down (fuck knows what that dream I had the other night where my friend was dating a talking beach-ball with no face means). Specifically, in relation to reading, Freud believed that books and paper were female symbols, and that reading had the ‘unconscious significance of taking knowledge from the mother’s body’.

Our neuroses are the product of unconscious and conscious dishonesty, and additionally there’s the Oedipus complex side of psychoanalysis, which theorises that as children we go through developmental stages which include fancying the parent of the opposite sex (I love the idea of Freud pitching this theory and being like ‘we’ve all been there right guys? It’s not just me?’). So in summary according to Freud what our brain-world would look like a deep, possibly terrifying jungle with talking trees hurling your mamma jokes constantly (*side note: I do believe that Freud’s your mamma comebacks would have been second to none). But if you do want to have a good stare into the unconscious (or as I’ve dubbed mine the ‘heart of darkness’), maybe don’t discuss your deepest fears and feelings with Freud himself. His theory of transference suggested that strong feeling, particularly sexual ones, which were focused towards others, frequently become redirected towards the doctor during the process of analysis (oh Freud, you gorgeous thing, thinking you’re so darn irresistible).

On a serious note though: one particularly fascinating thing about Freud, from a literature perspective is when references to literature were utilised to support theories. For instance, the story of Tancred and Clorinda (from an epic poem); Tancred accidentally stabs Clorinda and does not hear her voice until the second wounding. This is used to describe ‘traumatic neurosis’, and suggests that what haunts a survivor when they replay traumatic experiences is what was unknowable to them during the incident. Psychoanalysis was also used by Marie Bonaparte (a friend of Freud’s) to analyse Edgar Allan Poe’s psyche through his stories (apparently if you marry your cousin, you get a rep as being a bit weird).

References
Thurschwell, P. (2000) Sigmund Freud, Routledge Critical Thinkers, London
Leys, R. (2000) Trauma: A Genealogy, University of Chicago Press 
Lyons, M. (2011) Books a Living History, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

 

Advertisements

Miss Marple Conspiracy Theory

Ok so this is a confession but I’m quite tragic and a hundred years old, and the only crime show I’ve ever taken a genuine interest in is the BBC adaptions of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple (but only the ones where Geraldine Mcewan played Miss Marple, those other old ladies couldn’t hold a candle to Geraldine!!).

She’s just so adorable, look at her! She can handle this shit! Unlike Poirot who’s probably just slacking off in the corner combing his precious little moustache. Poirot smells! He’s probably just planning on blaming the butler for everything again because he looks a bit shifty.

Anyway, I’ve read a few of the Miss Marple books but I watched the show first. I remember watching it for the first time at my grandparents house: I would have been twelve and it was the adaption of Body In The Library. This was before I was aware that I was a lesbian, and I remember at the time being super excited that a lesbian couple had done it (which is a really strange thing to be excited about).

What I love about Miss Marple is that the plot was never obvious, the murderer would always go to these great lengths to create a seemingly perfect alibi, and the brain of Jane Marple in general. But there’s one thing which raises doubts for me. The bulk of the time in the stories Miss Marple just happens to be visiting the village. And so often she’s attending a party then suddenly a murder happens. I’m starting to think that maybe she has done some of these murders because she gets a high from using her brilliant mind to pin it on somebody else? And maybe nobody ever suspects her even though she’s been present at so many murders, because she’s just so cute?

Jane! How could you? I trusted you!

 

 

Shitty Things Greek Gods Did

Momus was the Greek God of ridicule and sarcasm: that sounds like the god for me, I’d definitely build him a shrine. Anyway, this week I’ve written a quick list of my personal favourite times Greek Gods made a bit of a dick move, or had ego’s that were far too sensitive. Because the Greek Gods were quite entertaining: they were incredibly powerful and tended to be ridiculously attractive so their ability to handle disappoint in a calm, adult manner, left a lot to be desired.

Cronus – the God of time and father of Zeus swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born

Zeus – the ruler of heaven/Olympus. This’ll take a while, he was quite a prick. We may need to do this in dot-points

  • That time he was massively pissed off with Prometheus –Prometheus made an agreement with the Gods that he would slay an ox and half would be given to the Gods. Zeus selected one portion that would henceforth be set apart for them, but Prometheus tricked him by making the shitter half look more appealing and Zeus was not impressed. Zeus tried to punish Prometheus by refusing humans the gift of fire, but Prometheus gave Zeus a big fuck you by stealing some sparks from the sun. So finally Zeus took it up a notch: he sent the creation of Pandora as a gift to Prometheus’ house and she opened a jar filled with all the blessing reserved by the gods for mankind, which he had been forbidden to open. All the blessing flew away except for Hope. Then Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock and sent an eagle every day FOR THIRTY YEARS to gnaw away at his liver, which would grow back again every night. Dude you’re Zeus, is the ox that big a deal? Kill your own friggen ox lazybones
  • Tricking Europa – One day while Europa was innocently gathering flowers in a meadow, Zeus disguised himself as a white bull as some kind of bizarre dating tactic. Europa was surprised by the bull’s gentleness and seated herself on its back, Zeus immediately swam across the sea with her to the island of Crete. I like the reasoning behind this decision – I’ll dress up in a bull costume, bitches love bull’s right?
  • Persephone – Another example of why you shouldn’t go wandering around a lovely meadow, they are dangerous places dammit!! Persephone was gathering flowers one day when suddenly an abyss opened at her feet and Aides (ruler of the underworld) appeared and took her away to the underworld. It was Zeus who gave Aides permission to steal his daughter, in order that she could become his wife – and no he hadn’t discussed this decision with Persephone or her mother Demeter (prick).

Eris – the goddess of Discord. This particular story really does sound like some that would be on Real Housewives. So there was a wedding between a sea-nymph Thetis to a mortal Peleus, and all the Gods and Goddesses had been invited except Eris. Therefore, Eris was determined to ruin this wedding, and did this by throwing into the room a golden apple with the inscription ‘For the Fairest’. All the goddesses begun fighting over who was the hottest (love how no one thought maybe we should just give this to the bride to be nice), and finally after long debate it was agreed that the three finalists Hera, Athene and Aphrodite would accept Paris’ decision. Paris chose Aphrodite, and Hera never forgave him and persecuted Paris and his family.

Demeter – the goddess of agriculture. In general she was nice enough, but once she cracked the shits with a youth who made fun of her for eating porridge too quickly, and turned him into a lizard.

Phoebus-Apollo – the god of light, prophecy, music, poetry and the arts and sciences. I have two favourite times Apollo acted like a shit. The first was the contest he had with Pan (god of shepherds) over who sounded better – Pan on the flute or Apollo or his lyre. Apollo had WON this contest yet still chose to punish the one judge who disagreed with the decision by giving him the ears of a donkey.

The second story is once his favourite bird, the crow, told Apollo that his wife was in love with another. Apollo was so upset that he instantly killed her with one of his death-bringing arrows. Then he actually thought about it, realised he might have been too hasty there, and decided to punish the crow by changing the colours of his feathers from white to black.

Hephaestus –   the god of fire in its beneficial aspect and son of Zeus (who wasn’t though, try keeping it in your pants Zeus). As revenge he gave his mother, Hera, a golden throne which once she was seated she would be unable to get back up from.

Amphitrite – the wife of Poseidon, god of the sea. Because she was quite jealous of a beautiful maiden called Scylla, Amphitrite threw herbs into a well where Scylla was bathing and this transformed her into a monster with twelve feet, six heads and the voice that resembled the bark of a dog.

Artemis –  the goddess of hunting and chastity, and interesting fun-fact was raised by a she-bear. Once a King neglected to include her in a general sacrifice to the gods. Artemis responded to the snubbing by sending a huge boar to destroy his kingdoms grain and cause famine.

Dionysus – the  god of wine . He sounded like a bit of a ragamuffin you’d find on schoolies week, and was often depicted riding a panther. Dionysus invented wine and gained a devoted following, however the King of Thrace often had to have a stern word with him as he disapproved of the behavior of Dionysus’ followers.

 

Monsieur Mabeuf

There is no judgement at all if you’re not familiar with this character. Although Les Miserables is a beautiful book, its excruciatingly long. Seriously, if there’s ever a robbery at my house, my copy of Les Miserables will be my weapon of choice! If I threw it hard at somebody’s face it’s heavy enough that it could do damage, and it would have that element of surprise.

Anyway, although there’s a lot of grim happenings in this novel (huge understatement) there’s a character who only appears briefly that made me lose it the most. Monsieur Mabeuf is a gentle old man who falls into destitution, and is a character who any book crazed person can relate to. He is described as never leaving the house ‘without a book under his arm and he often came home with two’, and a ‘bouquiniste’ –one who is devoted to old books.

When sales of his own published work, A Flora of the Environs of Cauteretz, cease, he eventually is forced to pawn his own collection of books one by one. Mabeuf never had children, and his books are what he cherished the most; so to hear in detail Mabeuf’s struggle each night to decide which book to pawn for money to buy dinner is heartbreaking, and made me want to give Mabeuf and my book shelf a hug. Finally, when his housekeeper needs medicine after falling ill, he is forced to sell his copy of a rare book called The Diogenes Laertius – a book which the thought of made him smile – and after this ‘a sombre veil’ came over the ‘old man’s candid face and it never lifted again’.

I can relate to the sentimental worth Mabeuf’s books hold. I mean yes, most of my books have suffered: they are torn and damaged, and if my backup plan for money was to pawn my books I’d be screwed, I’d be better off making a fort out of them – but I love them dearly. Each reminds me what I was doing when I was reading them and of small moments of my life. They’re precious to me and Mabeuf’s buried away sub-plot makes me appreciate what a gift it is to own beautiful books.

The Most Notorious Nudist

(say what you will, he could do a strip-tease like a diamond)

I was a bit underwhelmed by The Invisible Man. In fairness though it was written in 1897, it was bound to age. Plus I don’t know why I was expecting big things from it, if I became invisible all I’d do different is make things move around, freak people out a bit for a laugh, and do a bit of eavesdropping. Anyway, for the most part of the book I was far too distracted to concentrate on the plot by the thought that it’s winter and the invisible man has to get naked every time he wants to be unseen. For some reason I initially assumed that he must be wearing an invisible pair of pants, but no he has to strut around nude in the dead of winter.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the invisible man is a scientist called Griffin, who can’t turn himself visible again so plans world domination and is a bit evil. This bad-boy street image is emphasized in the 1933 film adaption when he steals a bicycle and an old man’s hat, and everyone loses their shit, the utter maniac!

The character is unlikable but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him because he must be chilly. My heart also bled for Dr Kemp when the invisible man is in his house (each of his invisible ass cheeks are touching his lovely couch), and I shed a tear for the villagers who got more than they bargained for when he dies, becomes visible again and revealed the whole butcher shop to them.

Utilizing Philosophy to Become the Ultimate Victor in an argument

Although I spent the bulk of my high school philosophy classes turning the philosophers on the worksheets into drag-queens, I can still help you find an obscure philosophy reference that you can bring up in an argument, to win, or at least confuse the person you’re dealing with. So here’s some tips:

thumbnail_IMG_3886

(*side note – these techniques are enhanced ten-fold when you add “so shove that up your bollocks!!!!” to the end of the conversation. And possibly flip them the bird a few times in case there’s any confusion)

The old ‘that’s a fallacy’ defense 

Its surprisingly hard to completely avoid fallacies, and bringing up the word fallacy even, is quite intimidating. Common fallacies you could look for include:

  1. Slippery Slope – one course of action will invariably cause one particular consequence
  2. Straw Man – the arguer creates a simplified version of what you said and criticizes that, rather than your original argument
  3. Naturalistic fallacy – stating that something is moral because it exists in nature

Pull a Socrates

Engage them in a long, tedious dialogue where you insist on an in-depth analysis of every point they’ve just made and the meaning of each word they’ve just used (and do it in a toga for full effect)

If deep down you know that you’re the one who’s fucked up 

  1. Virtue Theory – this believes that a virtuous person will always make the right choice, so you could try making a big case about how you’re very virtuous to justify yourself
  2. Utilitarianism – If your course of action caused more pleasure for the most amount of people than it caused harm, you could bring up utilitarianism. OR you could say that it just caused so much happiness for you personally that it justifies it (but that might be rubbing salt  in the wound)
  3. Perspectivism – The truth differs depending on where it’s viewed from. Or you could really take it up a notch by asking ‘what is truth?’ and bringing up Dualism. They’ll be so distracted by pondering their existence and whether they’re a brain in a jar they might forget the whole unpleasantness.
  4. Idealism – this is perfect for if you’ve eaten some of your room-mates food for example. Simply state that an object/thing can only exist so long as its being perceived – if you can’t see your box of poptarts, maybe they never existed to begin with? Mention John Locke in there as well to really look like you know what you’re talking about
  5. Bringing up Lacan – Jacques Lacan wrote an analysis of a widely reported case of a woman called Aimee who had stabbed an actress. Lacan suggested that in stabbing the actress Aimee was stabbing herself, because the actress was the embodiment of who she wanted to be. You could use this to flatter somebody maybe? Like, I did the wrong thing by you because I think you’re the greatest! Lets hug!
  6. Bringing up Nietzsche – you could use the old ‘Will to Power’ argument that Nietzsche and Foucault were so fond of. A belief that meaning, ideas, rules, truth ect. do not emerge naturally but are created to support the strongest social group. So you didn’t do the wrong thing, you were making a stand against a  social construct! Or bring up Slave & Master Morality (also known as the ‘don’t hate me cause I’m awesome defense’) which in summary believes that your actions and character are not two separate entities:

‘popular morality separates strength from the manifestation of strength as though they were indifferent substratum’

   

Coming up with your Nom de Plume

There are various reasons why a writer might decide to go by a pen-name or nom de plume. Numerous female writers wrote under male-pseudonyms because their narratives did not fit the gender norms of their time, such as George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans. George Orwell created his for Down & Out in Paris & London because it described him living in poverty and he didn’t want to embarrass his family. And Neruda’s father disapproved of his poetry.

But another main reason is simply that a writer wants a name that stands out more than their given name does – like a stage name. They may even want to take it up a notch and create a second persona, comparable to when my Dad drinks, puts on a mullet wig and insists we all call him Uncle Neil. So anyway, if you’re currently struggling to come up with a nom de plume that will get everybody’s attention I’ve devised a method (unless you’re writing a book on hardware, in which case you have an obligation to make your pen-name ‘Hammertime’).

1. The first letter of your name

A = Pope
B = Josiah
C = Horace
D = Elijah
E = Saint
F = Valter
G = Vector
H = Erasmus
I = Phineas
J = Falk
K = Hercules
L = Anton
M = Cassius
N = Calvin
O = Thaddeus
P = Sven
Q = Chad
R = Ludvig
S = Sage
T = Virgil
U = Axel
V = Chester
W = Augustus
X = Luna
Y = Roger
Z = Dorian

2. Your month of birth (optional: this is to add a bit of a cool reputation to your second persona)

January = ‘wants no scrub’
February = ‘dolphin tramp stamp’
March = ‘squirrel army’
April = ‘hooks for hands’
May = ‘hips don’t lie’
June = ‘boycotting pants’
July = ‘the mud wrestler’
August = ‘power-ranger’
September = ‘duck-face’
October = ‘ghostbuster’
November = ‘Bond Villain’
December = ‘the booty shaker’

3. Your Middle Name

A = Cursive
B = Hawk
C= Latin
D = Potter
E = Beret
F = Absinthe
G = Existential
H = Grammar
I = Dante
J = Beowulf
K = Leather-bound
L = Finch
M = Codex
N = Font
O = Big-Words
P = Vermouth
Q = Index
R = Page
S = Seuss
T = Wilde
U = Sartre
V = Copperplate
W = Rat-king
X = Turtle-neck
Y = Speedo
Z = Sans Script

(So for instance mine is Saint ‘power-ranger’ Beowulf)

Or alternatively you can use some of these Simpson themed ones
• Dr. Colossus
• Joey Jo Junior Shabadoo
• Guy Incognito
• Zombie Shakespeare
• Any of the Moe prank call names

 

Roald Dahl baddies ranked in order of evilness

8. Mr & Mrs Twit – The Twits 

thumbnail_IMG_4229

In comparison to the rest of this list they’re fairly harmless. Their main crimes were torturing each other, looking gross, and attempting to make a bird pie. They weren’t the brightest given they managed to get themselves glued head first to the floor, and lost the battle between man & bird. But you have to admire their elaborate prank ideas – the funny stick is pure genius and would take commitment. This was my second favourite Roald Dahl book: mainly for the bit where Mr Twit ties Mrs Twit to some balloons to get rid of her.

7. Boggis, Bunce, & Bean – Fantastic Mr Fox  

In fairness, even though they do look gross, they’re just trying to protect their farms.

6. The Enormous Crocodile

In fairness kids can be annoying sometimes

5.  The Evil Giants – The BFG

The BFG was my favourite; and as an adult I like the idea that my weird dreams are simply the result of a giant outside the window with a trumpet, rather than reflecting an odd sub-conscious. Anyway, the evil giants ate humans every night and bullied the BFG for being nice. I didn’t put them higher up on the evil scale though cause they’re all living in a pit now, forced to eat snozzcumber – they’ve suffered for their crime.

4. Mr & Mrs Wormwood – Matilda 

thumbnail_IMG_4199

I ranked Mr and Mrs Wormwood higher than the giants because they’re neglectful parents who don’t even like their daughter. The only ‘nice’ thing they did for Matilda was let her stay with Miss Honey, and its pretty cold that they weren’t phased by giving her away.

Also on a less serious note, as a book lover the line ‘you chose books I chose looks’ cuts to the core. And Wormwood Motors was a crooked business too.

3. Grand High Witch – The Witches

This book when I first read it as a child scared me so much. Dead-set, for a while I was on the lookout for the signals (wearing gloves? I’m on to you!!!). The Grand High Witch, and Witches in general, go out in disguise and steal and kill children. And their motive is just that kids piss them off. I mean at least the Enormous Crocodile didn’t try and disguise himself, he was all ‘what you get is what you see’.

2. Aunt Spiker & Aunt Sponge – James & the Giant Peach

Poor James has to live with these two for three years before they’re thankfully left ‘as flat & thin & lifeless as a couple of paper dolls’ after a peach accident. They’ve made second place because James isn’t allowed off the hill to talk to anyone else, they abuse him and they threaten to lock him in the cellar for a week.

1. Mrs Trunchbull – Matilda

I remember first reading Matilda and thinking, I don’t think that’s legal, have they tried calling child welfare? How did Mrs Trunchbull get a job in teaching in the first place? She has such a raw hatred for children, I would’ve loved to see her try and bluff her way through that job interview. Or was she originally really nice then teaching broke her spirit? Her list of evil doings throughout Matilda include – grabbing children by the hair, and swinging a little girl by her pigtails because she hates pigtails – force-feeding Bruce Bogtrotter cake in front of an assembly – throwing children out the window for eating in class – locking children in a narrow cupboard called ‘the chokey’ – Most likely killed Miss Honey’s Dad –  Was a terrible guardian to Miss Honey after her parents died, and stole all her money

thumbnail_IMG_4210

(say what you will about Agatha though, but its nice in this picture to see a teacher feeling enriched by their job)

BONUS ROUND!

Ranking of who were the shittiest parents in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory 

5. Mr & Mrs Bucket

thumbnail_IMG_4180

They’re good parents and all, who are trying their best even though they don’t have a lot. But am I the only one who questioned their choice of guardian for this day long trip to the chocolate factory? Grandpa Joe  has been bedridden for years, and he’s not even taking a cane on this trip which will involve a lot of walking.

4. Mr & Mrs Gloop

Mrs Gloop has a very poor understanding of nutrition, seen in this quote ‘Its all vitamins anyway’.

3. Mr & Mrs Teevee

I can’t get too judgy I binge watch quite a lot of shows. Mike is an obnoxious shit though; and it probably wasn’t the best idea to just stand around while he shrunk himself.

2. Mr & Mrs Salt

I’m sure spoiling Veruca has come from a place of love but it has gotten a bit out of hand, nobody needs that many pets. And Veruca is a shit name to give your child.

1. Mr & Mrs  Beauregarde

I don’t have kids so I don’t want to get too preachy here, but if your child has been chewing on the same bit of gum for three months straight, you should really encourage them to throw out that bit of gum. Also Mr & Mrs Beauregarde heard Mr Wonka repeatedly say the his gum wasn’t ready before Violet tried it.