Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

"Other than That, He’s Perfectly Normal”

Originally posted on May 10, 2018

This line from a skit in the mid-1970s done by the British comedy troupe, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which was on public television at the time. The line would address the fallacy of normality —there are so many variables that no one could ever be “normal” —but rather everyone copes with the institutional requirements, and the great majority do it well enough to avoid institutionalization. Few know how to even begin to justify the way they deviate from normality.

One way is to assert our openness to expressive therapies in general, and reaching out to associated arts-based groups, as well as broadening our identity. The expressive therapies invite near-normal behaviors to express their variations of what we take to be outwardly normal. Indeed, I take as normal the situation of those who might also be called “borderline healthy.” We cultivate the arts to express the crazy,  mad parts. This is called "sublimation" and is a healthy defense mechanism. I do it all the time. I acknowledge that I’m a little crazy, but I sublimate my really crazy impulses (which I have, as well as other so-called-normal humans), so I play with them.

For example, I have a villainous alter ego, ‘Doctor” (if you please) Snidely Whip-lash, editor of the well-known (well, not so very well-known—in fact, I made it up) Journal of Punitive Psychiatry (motto: “I’ll give you what to cry for"), He looks just like a typical melodrama villain. (I have scores of characters that I cartoon and play with—like a “normal” cartoonist. But they serve as sublimations, as I said.)

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