There is an interesting plot point around the second half of Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller Shutter Island that’s been knocking around my head ever since we saw the movie last weekend.
It is revealed during a conversation about the perception of insanity. Forgive me that I don’t remember the actual quote, but the point of it is that if someone labels you as crazy, regardless of whether you are or not, the more you protest the point the crazier you appear. So everyone thinks you’re crazy. Yet, if you accept the diagnosis, then everyone agrees and thinks you’re crazy. Either way, you have been irreversibly characterized as crazy.
It’s a classic conundrum; an unwinnable argument. But it’s one with greater consequences than what direction the toilet paper roll should be hung – over or under? (The answer, by the way, is whichever direction the husband chooses… is wrong.)
It reminds me of an animated short featured a few times on the short-lived MTV series Liquid Television called Joe Normal. Joe was a crazy-eyed kid who jittered and twitched while trying to keep his composure as the house behind him swirled with insane activity, all the while adamantly screaming at the camera, “I’M NORMAL” which obviously, he was not. For some reason I loved the fact that the harder he tried to retain an outward illusion of sanity, the crazier he actually appeared.
I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole crazy question for a while now, probably because I identify with it a little too much.
Life is hectic and crazy enough as it is. But for some reason I keep taking on more projects and responsibility voluntarily. Why?
Because I’m sane.
Because I’m normal.
But with my personality I have one of two choices; continue to pile on work and keep making those impossible to-do lists, or be bored and sedentary, dying a slow and horrible death. It’s just who I am. So I’ve made my choice. It’s a no-brainer. The verdict has been returned…
“We the jury find the defendant (dramatic pause) CRAZY as charged!”