Monday, 30 July 2012

Sadness as Homosexuality

The more I think about this analogy, the more complete it seems. One day, a comprehensive study may find that all of us appear somewhere on the sadness scale, with, say, 15% categorised as full-blown sad. Some time down the line, sadness will be permanently removed from the list of undesirable social phenomena, and it will become politically incorrect to regard it as a setback.

I am deliberately using the term sadness rather than depression, because the word depression is itself a kind of negative value judgement. Its apparently commoner meaning is a kind of casual and belittling appropriation of "clinical depression", signifying a momentary but undramatic deflation, but the meaning it's ripping off is that of the melancholic mental disease. I'm comfortable with calling it that, when it's active, but it's curious that we have no middle ground between a debilitating and life-threatening disease of intense sadness and the condition of being cheerful. To not toe the emotional line, like not toeing the sexual one, is to be a deviant, and to be either accused of perversion or compassionately pitied, and have earnest attempts made to cure you. Until, one day, someone will figure out that what you "have" is just a thing, like hair colour, and it's completely harmless, and if left alone we'd as soon forget to get excited about it.

It's not "psychiatric", or psychological, as much as it is political. The monotheistic world didn't want homosexuals, and it had them more or less forced upon it, because that's what reality eventually does. They screwed up its teleological paradigm. Sad people screw up somebody else's grand vision of what the world is supposed to be. My theory is that it's a conception of the world as rightfully static. Sad people, represented as a demographic most conspicuously by artists, are the ultimate subversives. They are the ones who take a look at the world and have a visceral reaction of "fuck this".

You can level the same accusations at sadness as at homosexuality. You can say it's unnatural, or unsound evolutionarily. You can worry that if left unchecked it will start to infect the populace, that your children might turn sad. You can say that you don't mind people being sad, as long as they don't "act" sad. You can point to their dubious emotional habits, and to the preponderance of emotional diseases among them. You'd have to be a callous dipshit and possibly an idiot, but it's not like that's stopping people now.

Nobody has to bother with any of these things now, because the sad are hiding in the corners, ashamed of their existence and of their emotional urges. You have some fronting rock bands like you always had gays fronting drag shows, but for the non-exhibitionist, or for the somewhat timid, which is something that seems to come with the territory, it's of only limited encouragement. For every Kurt Cobain defiantly screaming "Rape me" there are a million smiling-nodders terrified of being ostracised and humiliated if they ever lose their guard and express themselves.

I don't know what the price is that gays pay for living in the closet. I'm kind of curious to know. For sads, I'm fairly sure it results in clinical depression.

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