Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Effusion is a Red Flag

My posting "Effusion's Startlingly Brief Half-Life" noted that....
It unnerves me to be cursed with knowledge of how easily people can slip from "you're my hero" to "you're an asshole". There's a scene in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories" where a woman is speaking on the telephone as Woody's character (a filmmaker) walks by. She interrupts her call to gush to him about how she's his biggest fan, and asks him to say hello to her son, who's on the other line. He politely declines, whereupon her face contracts into a mask of rage. "Cancer!" she screams. "I hope you get cancer and die! I never liked you!" When I first saw the film at age 18, I assumed this was surreality. But, no, it's terrifyingly true. With a certain type of person, "beloved hero" and "despised asshole" are precisely one notch apart.
It truly never fails!

Slog reader's note on Sunday morning:
"Your thoughts have been a huge help to me."
Same reader's note on Sunday evening:
"Please go on with your vanity of a blog (no one reads it)."
People get angry, I get that. And when they get angry, they stomp away sniffily. I get that, too. That's all just normal human stuff. It's the rewriting ("I never liked you/your work!") that amazes. I think the truth is that neither the praise nor the contempt were worth much. When both are flippantly doled out, neither has value.

This is why you see some people (especially creative types) flinching uncomfortably at effusive praise. It's not a matter of modesty or embarrassment so much as the knowledge that the other gun's invariably locked and loaded.

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