Thursday, February 01, 2007


Emotional Incontinence

Euripides, fr. 553 (Oedipus, tr. Christopher Collard):
It is stupid for a man to testify to his misfortunes in front of everybody; concealing them is wise.

ἐκμαρτυρεῖν γὰρ ἄνδρα τὰς αὑτοῦ τύχας
εἰς πάντας ἀμαθές, τὸ δ᾽ ἐπικρύπτεσθαι σοφόν.
Alfred Pennyworth, in Batman and Robin:
A gentleman does not discuss his ailments.
Theodore Dalrymple:
I recall an elderly working-class widow who has experienced many tragedies, none of her own making, who recently lost three of her four children unexpectedly. She told me how, in the privacy of her own home, she often cried, but how she did not do so in public because "it wouldn't be right, would it, doctor?"

Others, she said, had to get on with their lives without being inconvenienced or embarrassed by her, and so she kept her grief to herself, without making a public exhibition of it.

This fortitude struck me as noble, though it was much against the temper of the times, which is all in favour of emotional incontinence.

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