How To Spot One

We’ve all seen articles promising to tell us how to “spot a psychopath.” Psychopaths are the ones wearing masks, just waiting for “us” to let down “our” guard so they can harm “us.” What if everyone is wearing a mask? Why?

There was a great TV series in 1994 called My So-Called Life. It was about teenagers but, unlike Beverly Hills 90210, it only had 19 episodes. That’s one more episode than Freaks and Geeks. Why did these great series get cancelled? Because they were so good? Sure. But why? The sixth episode of My So-Called Life, called The Substitute, gives us a clue. A substitute teacher offers his students a different perspective to learning or, really, to living. The kids had written nice, conventional poems for a publication that was supposed to show who they were and what they were capable of. The first day the substitute came to class, he threw all these offerings out the window. He told them to see what they could produce NOW. With his encouragement, the kids wrote new more honest statements. When the principle of the school found out what some of these statements were, he banned the publication. That’s probably what happened to both of the series. As the principle put it, this new, honest Liberty Lit (note the irony of the name) didn’t meet the standards of the school. Maybe these two series about teenagers didn’t meet the standards of what we can admit about our own lives in America. People get judged just as TV series do.sociopath

Mayo Clinic Staff defines Anti-Social Personality Disorder, “Antisocial personality disorder is defined by a pervasive and persistent disregard for morals, social norms, and the rights and feelings of others.” Psychopaths don’t meet the standards of society. That’s why psychopathy or ASPD (as the American Psychiatric Association would have it) is called a disorder.

beverly-hills-90210-locandinaIf society doesn’t approve of one’s personality, it calls one “disordered.” If it doesn’t approve of a television series, it cancels the series. Both My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks were superior quality television dramas about the lives of teens. When I say they were superior, I mean they were more honest. Beverly Hills 90210 crawled up it’s own asshole long before it was mercifully ended. Not that it had never been any good. It just jumping_sharkwasn’t as good as the other two. It continued way beyond it’s artistic integrity should have allowed. It jumped the shark which means it got totally absurd. I would advise anyone diagnosed with a personality disorder not to fret about it. If the “disorder” makes your life  unpleasant or difficult, by all means, go to therapy and try to get “cured.” If you are OK, just enjoy your uniqueness.


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3 thoughts on “How To Spot One

  1. In my senior year of High School (1962-3 academic year), I was one of the editors of a collection of student writing. None of us on that committee were avid readers of the magazine, “17”, so we missed that one story was plagiarized from there, but that wasn’t part of the shit that hit the fan (a whole manure pile of it). There was the story of a pastor’s wife slitting her wrists in the bathtub (written by the Class Valedictorian, who had gotten very fond of the Russian novelists that year), and the poem in which the moon with a bit of red cloud around it was likened to a bullet hole in God’s brain. The uproar was enormous. Certain “standards” were clearly violated.

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