Saturday, 26 May 2012

Emotional Cripple

This is a term of abuse frequently levelled at characters in fiction who are assassins or warlords or who simply refuse to weep in public.

The truth is that the phrase Emotional Cripple is a bit glib, a second-hand pop-psychology tag.

When talking about physical disability, the word "cripple" is currently unacceptable; so why is it fine when used to denigrate men who don't openly empathise or weep in public or do any of the other things Cosmopolitan and other modern lifestyle magazines declare that men ought to do? There's a lack of symmetry there.

Secondly, assassins and warlords are workers: the job is to kill people, so obviously there are certain qualifications needed for such a job. Callousness, lack of empathy, ruthlessness are some of the requirements needed when applying for such a position. It's the same with any job. A manual labourer requires a muscular physique and an ability to whistle. A factory worker in a bakery needs the ability to stand still and wear a hairnet while gossiping about television soap operas. These are the necessary qualifications. To regard such people as emotional cripples seems a bit unfair. They are merely fulfilling the terms of their job descriptions.

Was Genghis Khan an emotional cripple because he boiled his enemies alive in a pot? That was part of his job. If he wasn't able to do it, he wouldn't have deserved to be who he was.