The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

And merry Christmas, too

Walter Freeman, as we know, was a terrible poet. Like, think of the stuff you used to write when you were a teenager -- it was a lot like that. This isn't surprising given that he was a narcissist; from what I can tell, his emotions were few and shallow, and he lacked the empathy required to convey emotion to others in a creative way. But he was a good writer of scientific prose, because although he was a narcissist, he was a very smart one, possibly a genius, and he knew how a sentence worked. His narcissism worked in his favor here, because he needed his ideas to gain a wide audience, and this made him craft accessible sentences. The surprising thing is that sometimes, in describing his patients, he evokes the kind of emotion of which his embarrassingly bad poetry is the antithesis. Here's something I just came across in the book I'm currently reading, describing a patient ten days after lobotomy:

"Rose is a smiling, lazy and satisfactory patient with the personality of an oyster. She pours and pours from an empty coffee pot. She can't remember my name."

Isn't that haunting? It's almost a haiku. I think Walter was able to do that because he was a narcissist, because he handled human emotion with tongs, as it were. If he'd known what he was doing, he would have screwed it up by trying to make it rhyme.
Tags: walter freeman
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