Sunday, August 24, 2014

The expressions of the emotion in man and Presbyterian

The Baron watches a show occasionally, some Australian ABC drama thingy that on the face of it seems innocuous enough. But there's something about it that gets to me: I wasn't quite sure why until, one day, at the end of a show, I burst out with it: "These people are awful! They're openly and honestly talking about their feelings and emotions!"

And that is it, really. Talking about feelings. Who does that? Not only did these people talk about feelings and stuff, but the plot openly valorised it: I remember one episode where an old guy who'd been in a war is speaking to his daughter and she suggests that maybe he should see a psychiatrist. "One thing I don't envy about your generation", he says, "is your tendency to make a drama out of everything". Yes, I thought, doing an inner fist-pump! A man after my own heart! A man who doesn't share anything and everything! This guy is a hero! The episode, to my utter disgust, ended with him seeing a psychiatrist. (Actually, it was even worse than that, because he wasn't just talking to one psychiatrist, he was talking to a whole roomful of people. Ugh!)

Why would you talk about your feelings? The very word, 'feelings', is creepy, like a monster out of a horror movie. Say it out loud, slowly and softly. You sound like a perve. (I certainly do when I say it out loud).

Maybe it is just me, of course. I think it must be something deep in my ancestry; eons ago, when my ancestors, the primal Presbyterian male meets the primal Presbyterian female on the grim and foreboding primal Presbyterian landscape - and the primal Presbyterian male frowns, for life is solemn and serious - and the primal Presbyterian female grimaces, for life is dreadful and the world is a vale of tears - and a whole race of emotionally repressed, solemn and sober Presbyterians is born. It's a beautiful moment. Or it would be, if beauty hadn't been made illegal a generation or so back by John Calvin.

And besides. What, if after all of these years, I were to actually start talking about all that stuff I feel? (Not that I'm admitting to actual, you know, feelings). I'm reminded of a story told about a kid in the Catholic confessional, not remembering having committed any sin, and therefore making up a string of increasingly lurid crimes for their confessor. What if I end up the same way? No: best leave my feelings where they are, thank you very much. 

Feelings. They're weird and scary. Though naturally I'm not going to talk about that now because I don't want to talk about the feelings given to me by feelings. 

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