Thursday, April 23, 2009

Psychoanalysis: Like Psychology, but Creepy and Obscure

Let's reduce the full range of human motivation to greasy, sexualized energy metaphors and do a bunch of coke. Then when people inevitably tell us our ideas are stupid and wrong, we'll respond that they either want to have sex with their mothers or they're secretly in love with us. Finally, just when the world thinks it's rid of us, we'll all get tenured jobs in university English departments and make our students read how Lear's relationship with his daughters displays "all the characteristics of pseudo-incest."

Psychoanalysis, I want you to die.

RATING: 1% only because 0% looks too much like anyone's vag but my mom's.

(Image from www.andreixuereb.com.)

17 comments:

that grad student said...

oooo gross who said "Lear's relationship with his daughters displays 'all the characteristics of pseudo-incest'"? I think I threw up a little in my mouth. I think creepy little Chinese men who are in love with Psychoanalysis should fuck their mothers. Then everything would make sense.

Internet John said...

Diane Dreher, but looking back at the quote she actually said "Lear's intense love for Cordelia reflects all the symptoms of pseudo-incest."

Similar from Richard McCabe on Lear: "One way or another, he will be intimate with his daughters."

That seems to be the standard in psychoanalytical lit crit: take the basest, grossest, creepiest reading you can come up with, and then drop murky hints about it in a smug, knowing tone. Put everything in terms of forbidden desire and groveling helplessness in the face of prohibition.

Makes great literature seem as inspiring as a sweaty European man engaging in frotteurism with a crying woman on a leather couch.

Lars said...

I was told that we are now in a post-Freudian age. Psychoanalysis has, mostly, been discredited as a useful therapy for mental illness. Therapy based on the re-narratization of a person's life is ineffective. Knowing that a dude did or did not breast feed, or played with feces from his diapers, may titillate the psychoanalyst but that’s about its only use. I mean who actually remembers if they were suckeled? These so-called “talking cures” have been replaced by pharmaceutical ones. And if you take your meds (self-prescribed ones are the best...ha ha!) they make you happy.

PA survives mainly in english departments. It does little harm there except, perhaps, to students. I’m guessing that it’s used to confer an aura of scientific inquiry into non-scientific matters. That’s all I got, done, kaput, färdiga!!!!

Lars said...

Oh, and don't get me started on frotteurism.

Internet John said...

I think the "talking cure" has to be distinguished from psychoanalysis proper. It does some people (namely non-sociopathic, non-mentally ill people) good to talk about their lives with a caring, empathetic listener. That has absolutely nothing to do with highly sexualized theories of formative infantile experiences, however.

I guess you're right about Anglish departments. Most students and teachers of belles lettres seem content to engage in endless, pointless dialogue with ourselves, and the world at large seems content to let us. It's a damn shame, though.

laurie said...

And this is why I went to law school instead of going for a PhD in Anglish. Also, what the fuck is pseudo-incest and how is it different from actual incest?

Internet John said...

Dreher never says. That's the most annoying thing about psychoanalytical critics: they think they're mapping the no-man's land between objective and subjective truth, but really they're just trying to sound cute and failing miserably.

I'm going for a Ph D in Anglish, if I'm lucky enough to live that long. Someone has to clean up the mess, sort the trash from the recyclables, and make sure kids understand the value and necessity of reading and writing.

Internet John said...

Some of them can't even spell w-i-n-e, for Christ's sake.

Viking Andrew said...

Still, it's a hell of a lot of fun to talk about.

laurie said...

So you're telling me she just throws around a term like "pseudo-incest" without EVER defining it? That bitch wouldn't last 10 minutes as a lawyer.

Internet John said...

When you're preaching to the converted, which most psychoanalytical critics seem to think they're doing, you don't need to define your terms. Your "discursive practice" does it for you.

Viking Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viking Andrew said...

According to some random Wikipedia entry: "A similar theme sometimes explored in both media is pseudo-incest, which is most often depicted as romantic/sexual relationships between step-siblings. The plot in Marmalade Boy revolves around this theme."

So it's like incest only pseudo.

that grad student said...

So maybe pseudo incest is like 'acting' like your having incest, kinda like the actors are 'acting' in the play. But not really 'acting' on the impulse to en-act incest. Cause then they would really 'act' on their act-ions. In the end, what then, would be left to talk about?

Internet John said...

You deleted it.

You guys are forgetting to relate it to the absent (m)Other.

R. said...

OK, absent mother,but, what about absent father? Be careful. You're gonna have the masculinists all over R3's ass.

Internet John said...

Father is inadmissible because you can't use brackets to turn it into another, creepier word.