Trauma and Attention: Fixing the Victim

Inflicting trauma – or sumy threatening to – is one way to force a victim’s attention onto the perpetrator/abuser.  But it’s selective, a very personal show, typically a private show for an audience of immediate family.  Think Julie Gregory’s experience in Sickened.

Lead and Paradigm

if leaded gasoline changed cultural norms not only for crime, but for all behavior, then the “generational disconnect” observed between Boomers and adjacent generations could be partly explained by it.  With Millennials, it could be that a “mellow” generation is being judged harshly by older adults who have been neurologically affected by childhood lead exposure.…

Leaded Gasoline: Causality and the Unmeasurable

The study that correlated regional and national crime rates to the geographic distribution of leaded gasoline raises questions about whole generations of Anericans.  If lead instigated greater criminality, did it also change “noncriminal” behavior such as norms for sex, drinking, and drugs?  Could it have affected parenting norms, leading to increases in emotional abuse? Kevin…

The Rhetoric of Trauma

Trauma is by no means “purely rhetorical” – there is the documented fact of experiences that erode the efficacy of memory.  But some people, I think, see trauma only as rhetorical.  They imitate the narratives of trauma survivors through fabricated or hyperbolized autobiography. I don’t know whether these acts are an indication of a complete lack…

Threshold: What “counts” as trauma?

Bill O’Reilly doesn’t categorize his own upbringing as “abusive.”  Many Euro-Americans don’t see the treatment of Native Americans as genocide. How do we decide what “counts” as trauma?  Who decides this?  Does surviving one trauma grant one the authority to gauge the traumas of others?

Psychoanalysis and Credulity

Herman illustrates how Freud’s empathy for his female patients led to real progress in identifying childhood sexual trauma (8), but the sheer number of women diagnosed with “hysteria” indicated a ubiquity of sexual abyss that Freud couldn’t accept as possible (9).       From Herman (11):  I suspect that the initial analysis of hysteria had less…

Trauma and the Media

A book review from H-Net gets at what I’ll call the “practical” rhetoric of trauma in the media. Anne Rothe. Popular Trauma Culture: Selling the Pain of Others in the Mass Media. London: Rutgers University Press, 2011. 224 pp. $72.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8135-5128-9; $25.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8135-5129-6. Doug Underwood. Chronicling Trauma: Journalists and Writers on…