Thursday, August 29, 2019

False Positive

It’s always nice to find out that the positive test result for an ailment is false, but it’s not a great idea to be falsely positive. If you feel the obligation to put on a good face, even when you’re suffering inside, you run the danger of becoming an “as if” personality. Even within a culture which prizes self-revelation and emotional honesty, there’s always the pressure not be considered the kind of person who brings others down. When you're trying to sell an idea you require an upbeat demeanor. The only problem is that it’s a little like sludge building up in a drain pipe. If you keep too many things down, there’s eventually going to be toxic overflow. A rosy outlook is nice, but it's also the posture of the serial killer and the murderer who lures his victims into his lair with sweet nothings. Anthony Perkins the desk clerk at the Bates Motel is a perfectly genial and charming character until the famous shower scene in PsychoAdmittedly this kind of psychic aberration is an extreme example, but it points to the price to be paid by both the perpetrators and recipients of superficial nicety, not based on a reality principle. What makes for effective horror and terror in B movies is principally the break between a surface normalcy and calm and a lurking rage. Ebullience can, on a lesser level, mask dysthymia and turn into a kind of broken promise to those who expect that what they see is what they'll get.

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