( Log Out / TV? They are more curious, more cognitively flexible, more open to new knowledge, and more willing to engage in non-traditional methods. Yes, Phantom Thread is beautifully shot and scored. And what does it say about how we view women in general? Statement: PopLurker is not owned by a corporation. When we are stressed out, anxious, miserable, forsaken, or tortured most of our cognitive capital goes to maintaining these negative emotions. IE: He’s an insufferable, entitled jerk who treats everyone around him (particularly women) like shit because he’s so “talented” and “good” at what he does, which makes it okay. Are you inside of my mind? Creativity — and the ability to have so-called genius ideas of your own — is something that is inherent in all of us and something that cognitive science shows we can learn through overcoming common cognitive biases and refuting common stereotypes. During his stay in the asylum, he was more lucid, more comfortable, and more in control of his life and his art. In “The Great Game” (season 1, episode 3), Molly introduces her new boyfriend (who, unbeknownst to the audience, is actually criminal mastermind Jim Moriarty). Vincent Van Gogh is the archetype of the tortured creative genius. Her husband was blowing up buildings, killing his rivals, and, you know, producing and selling obscene quantities of crystal meth. Like Reynolds in Phantom Thread, Sherlock is portrayed as a quixotic, tortured genius, and his behavior is brushed off as a quirky, inevitable side effect of his brilliance. The trope of the tortured creative genius has persisted since Plato proposed banning poetry —long enough to seem like more than mere coincidence. Walter White gets to be revered as “badass” and “awesome” because he’s good at making meth and killing people, while Skyler gets to be the nagging bitch. This idea remains prevalent today, because 30 years of scholarship does not automatically replace hundreds of years of scholarship, but divine madness is no longer the only association with human creativity that we have. ( Log Out / July 27, 2017 9:04 AM Subscribe I'm looking for the earliest examples of this particular trope, along with any theories as to why and how it originates and how it relates more broadly to other stereotypes of the anguished creative genius. By editor@pumirror on Feb 12, 2018 PU Mirror. Books? Some mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, have been said to have helped popular artists with their works. The ‘difficult genius’ trope was always problematic. Those who are intrinsically motivated are in a practically continuous state of curiosity. It seems almost redundant to bring up Fifty Shades of Grey. He pitches a tantrum when his love interest, Alma (played by Vicky Krieps), butters her toast too loudly, screams his head off when she has the nerve to bring him a cup of tea, and makes her physically remove one of his dresses from the body of a passed-out woman whom he no longer deems “worthy” of his precious designs. This is domestic violence. F or years the ‘tortured genius’ trope has been one that is attributed to many creatives. No, because of his famed talent for solving crimes. This attempt to create a more positive environment gave him the intrinsic motivation that he needed to create on a genius level. Intrinsic motivation is behavior that occurs when you are inherently interested in something, and motivated to find a solution for it without any external pressure or reward. The actual psychological torture Stanley Kubrick inflicted on Shelley Duvall in The Shining? Geniuses are the monsters we make. Change ). Tortured writers Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Plot. Creativity and mental illness have been connected over time. Around this time, the word “create” came into the English language in Chaucer’s, The Parson’s Tale, but the word “create” was still attributed to divine intervention. We are meant to believe that his abusive behavior is simply an occupational hazard of his success, a minor personality difference to overcome. Well, perhaps “saw” is a loose term, because I found myself so irritated with the film that I quietly exited the theater halfway through, along with my friend, fellow PopLurker writer Yennaedo Balloo. Sherlock gives her a list of all the reasons her new partner is clearly gay, (not realizing he has been manipulated to think so by Moriarty, but that’s beside the point) with all the tact and sensitivity of a blunt ax. 10 Steve Jobs. It’s a tradition that spans the centuries, from Dürer’s ‘Melacholia’ We are a small collective of writers trying to make content that will make the internet a happier place. Question: Where does the trope of the tortured genius film director originate? The genius of these characters can manifest itself in scientific ways, artistic ways or unexpected ways. Whereas if some genius dressmaker was rude to me, I’d say “Fuck off and go make a dress.” or if a genius billionaire was rude to me, I’d say, “Go fuck your money, asshole.” But if I was standing with Sherlock and he told me what I had to eat last Tuesday, what time and how I masturbated today, and how much a fart by the way I stand, I would run out of there screaming too. Check out Uprooted by Naomi Novak, a story about an angry wizard, stuck in his ways who treats his seventeen year old female apprentice like trash while throwing things and screaming at her. This got me thinking about how common this trope is at various levels of pop culture. “Genius” is always attached to a modifier and never one that connotes happiness, productivity, or well-being like “content genius”, “productive genius”, “thriving genius”, “effervescent genius” or “mindful genius.” We associate creative genius with terms such as “mad genius”, “insane genius”, “forsaken genius”, “suffering genius”, and “tortured genius.”. That famous story about how Alfred Hitchcock had real birds thrown at Tippi Hedren in The Birds? You are lucky, Keira, that you can take the medications. You're pretty happy being an island. She endures the torment because she believes that one day, he will change, and the abuse she experiences is a consequence of his brilliance. You know the one, the “it will get better, I just have to be patient” mentality tragically held by so many victims of abuse. We all know examples of creative geniuses that had tragic ends. Christian has “earned” this kind of patience and understanding merely by virtue of being a wealthy, successful man. actual psychological torture Stanley Kubrick inflicted on Shelley Duvall. We’ve got it in shows such as Sherlock and The Big Bang Theory; in biopics, such as Steve Jobs; and in countless real-life articles about how male directors have exploited and tormented their actors on set. That qualifies, at the very least, as workplace harassment. Skylar was berated so severely by the fandom that actress Anna Gunn […]. Similarly, Reynolds Woodcock exhibits controlling, possessive behavior towards his love interest, Alma, in Phantom Thread. Affably Evil: Herb, despite going along with Scarlet's every command, is a rather laid-back cool guy who when ordered to torture the minions in the torture chambers, instead quickly starts goofing around with them and taking pictures around various torture equipment. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the rant I went on after seeing The Phantom Thread in theaters this week. Well the director-as-auteur theory really originates in the film criticism surrounding the French New Wave. Brilliant in fact. Badly. 300 likes. Some of the greatest minds in history have been tormented. He was running an international drug empire, but Skyler was somehow the villain for not wanting to bring that kind of violence and danger into her home. The most important human resource for creative output is cognitive capital — even geniuses have a limit on what their minds can handle. The myth is of the genius “tortured” by some internal struggle the rest of us are not smart enough to understand, so that the best we can do is step out of their way. But it seems a common theme in movies that there is a dark side to their brilliance. In another episode, he mocks her lipstick, as well as “the size of her mouth and breasts”. […], […] The main highlight of the year, though, was pitching an idea to an online magazine and getting PUBLI… […], […] written about Skylar White’s unjust hate before, so I’ll keep this short. ( Log Out / This got me thinking about how common this trope is at various levels of pop culture. This behavior has led many scholars to believe that his mental illness was the cause of his creative genius. There are in-depth analyses and 15-minute YouTube video tributes plotting out every minute of Walter White’s descent into malice. / None of the rays, the shit that I don't deserve / This shit was never okay / Look in The best of Van Gogh’s artistic output, however, took place in an environment different from where his depression thrived which made him more intrinsically motivated to produce extraordinary output. They endure the torment because they want to believe the man (or woman) will change. I understand that it’s entertainment, but does the audience condemn Sherlock for his rude, childish behavior? … I have no idea, but we can all be creative if we find the intrinsic motivation to do the hard work to make our ideas a reality. In order to do their best work, creators of all stripes need to be in an environment where their talent and technique can thrive and not be stifled by a mental illness. Why does talent or success make a man exempt from basic human decency? Most people can’t see solutions a genius would consider obvious. When this happens, you lose your sense of autonomy control and focus. The Trope Of The Tortured Genius- English Literary Club Meet 0. Van Gogh most likely suffered from mental health issues that had limited if any treatment in the late 1800s. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse. [AUTHOR’S NOTE: For all intents and purposes, my discussion of Sherlock shall refer specifically to the modern BBC adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch]. From May of 1889 to May 1990 Van Gogh produced 150 paintings which was about one-sixth of his creative output. One of the most important stereotypes to refute is that the creative genius is an insane, miserable, tortured, and forsaken, creature. None of us will ever know what creative output we are capable of if we let stereotypes such as the trope of the tortured creative genius get in the way of our intrinsic motivation to get out and work to get to work. Their amazing minds often come with other hurdles to overcome or make them outcasts in society. aptly dubbed “The Forgotten Rape of Skyler White.”, a laundry list of controlling and abusive behavior, PopLurker: THE STRANGE AND TORTURED GENIUS: DECONSTRUCTING A (TOXIC) TROPE | QUINN HOPP. There was something unique about that year, Van Gogh voluntarily committed himself to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence — a mental asylum. Quinn Hopp can be found on her blog, Twitter, and Instagram. Genius Bonuses are most often seen in series with a Direct Demographic, ... a Real Life, underground illustrator who specialized in such family friendly subjects as bondage, rape, torture, dismemberment, and pedophilia, all of this with a voluntarily uncanny style of drawing (his characters often look like puppets). The fairy tale ending to this film is presented to women as evidence that the sadistic man who stalks her, controls her, and disrespects her requests for independence will change through the power of her love.”. Research from the very recent past overwhelmingly shows one key trait among the most creative — intrinsic motivation. Tortured Genius, Durban, South Africa. This was after the ear incident. When you are intrinsically motivated to do something you could easily lose your sense of time because you are so engaged with it or would do something for free instead of being paid. With all that in mind, hopefully The Queen's Gambit will live up to the promise of its intriguing trailer, and manage to avoid many of the tortured genius tropes that audiences have already seen a million times before. 7 TV Characters Who Got More Hate Than They Deserved – Hey, Can You Hear Me. E very suicide leaves behind mourners grasping for answers, but when the person in question is a high-profile celebrity known to have struggled with mental health issues, it's tempting to fall back on the age-old trope of the "tortured genius." Van Gogh most likely suffered from mental health issues that had limited if any treatment in the late 1800s. However, this pales in comparison to the oft-forgotten scene in season two where Walt violently shoves Skyler against the refrigerator and tries to rape her, a moment aptly dubbed “The Forgotten Rape of Skyler White.”. Woolf, Munch, and Fitzgerald and many others all had their creativity linked to their suffering. Like Alma in Phantom Thread, Skyler was expected to quietly accept her role as the collateral damage of a tortured genius, and was vilified by the fandom when she refused. He tells her when to stop eating, forces her to remove her lipstick on their first date, and lashes out at her for cooking him dinner, screeching that he will not tolerate any break from his patterns and routines. FX’s new biographical drama Fosse/Verdon explores the romantic and creative partnership between musical theater director Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and … Great Roman thinkers, Seneca the Younger and Petronius. "Tortured Genius" is an excerpt from the short film "Music For The Visually Impaired." check. He frequently declares everyone he encounters, from BFF John Watson to random barkeeps, to be incompetent, slow-minded, and generally lesser than him. You're uniquely brilliant - and completely misunderstood. The psychological side effects are worse than any good they do for me. Tortured Genius Lyrics: [Tor, tor tortured Brain, Tor, tor tortured brain / Tortured Brain, Tortured Brain] x 2 / This be the mind of a tortured genius / Rhymes are wrote and tore to pieces / Fly to In 2014, a study was conducted into the impact of an artist’s eccentricity and the way their work is perceived because of their eccentricity. Where does the trope of the tortured genius film director originate? Do you know why I'm afraid? This is a trope that’s all too familiar: talented and/or successful man as a quixotic, tortured genius who lashes out and behaves erratically in the name of passion. Most people can easily communicate and be understood by others. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Equating creative genius with a form of suffering or torture dates back to ancient times when the brightest minds theorized creatvitiy was only bestowed on those who were possessed by the Gods. The hard work, the trial and error, and the discipline that it takes to take an idea and make it work is not the result of a mind in mental distress. It's an idea deeply embedded in our culture: the artist, musician, poet, novelist or comedian who excels in his or her field, but is tormented by inner demons. From wild-eyed professors to obsessive and socially inept detectives to, perhaps the most prevalent variation of all, the ‘tortured artist’: the brilliant and radical painter, composer, or writer pursued by dark and unrelenting demons. His struggle with depression was not only seen in his letters and his writings, but also in his ill-advised decisions to cut off his ear and take his own life. I once read a surprisingly truthful observation in some bygone Tumblr thread, which stated that Fifty Shades “is only a love story because the guy is rich, if he lived in a trailer park, it would be a horror novel or crime thriller.” Christian’s actions are somehow justified because he’s painted as an unbearably brilliant billionaire with a disturbed past- in other words, a tortured genius. Perhaps the strongest hallmark sign of the abuse in Fifty Shades is the pervasive “he will change” mentality. A “brilliant” man is rarely held accountable for his actions, but a woman is practically crucified for her response. This makes most of us fear the label of creativity because the vast majority of us have nothing to do with and don’t want to be associated with such reckless esoterics. After this event, Van Gogh knew that he had to do something about “the sadness that will last forever.” By committing himself, he acknowledged that his mental illness was taking away the one thing that mattered to him and the only thing that motivated him — painting. But I want to give Sherlock a soft pass so much. You are smart. The trope of the tortured artist is thought to have been started by Plato. I understand and appreciate Walt’s transition into “evil” as a vital element of Breaking Bad, but the fact that his increasingly immoral acts are glorified as a transformation emphasize my point. During their separation in season three, Walt moves back into the house against Skyler’s will, refuses to leave when she calls the police, and unexpectedly shows up at Skyler’s workplace to threaten her boss. So let’s get out there and see what we can do! yup. But please- no more films or TV series about men who think success or skill gives them the right to be an emotionally abusive asshole. He forces her to sign a contract about everything from when she’s allowed to drink to how many times a week she exercises, demands sex at all times, shows up unexpectedly at her place of work, and furiously blames her when she eventually becomes pregnant. Link here THE STRANGE AND TORTURED GENIUS: DECONSTRUCTING A (TOXIC) TROPE Oscar-winning movies and toxic masculinity. The source of my irritation? Vincent Van Gogh is the archetype of the tortured creative genius. Much like Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey, Alma envisions her perfect future with Reynolds, completely emulating the previously mentioned “one day he will change” mentality of an abuse victim. He doesn’t even look up as Molly runs off in tears, because he has that little regard for her feelings. Speaking of “shrill harpy,” does anyone remember when hatred of Breaking Bad’s Skyler White became so extreme that actress Anna Gunn released a New York Times op-ed about it? My first instinct is that it’s a little too on the nose, but you can’t really have a conversation about a man’s abusive behavior being excused by talent or success without this hallmark example. So not only Feitan is a Complete Monster, Psycho for Hire who completely … Van Gogh only took up painting in the last nine years of his life and in less than a decade he produced 900 paintings. If you’re able to, please contribute so we can continue making more hilarious content! Mad Scientists rule the world. Oh and he's the world's deadliest assassins with insane combat skills from hand-to-hand to sniping. What does the trope of the “tortured genius” tell us about how we view men with even the tiniest shred of power…. This means when we have a positive state of mind we can focus, retain our sense of autonomy and control, and thus be intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation shows us that extraordinary output is born from ordinary intentions. If you like what you see here, you can follow PopLurker on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! The Conversation puts it best: “In reality, women stay in abusive relationships because they are physically, financially, or psychologically restricted or threatened. If a woman were to behave like that, she would be labeled a shrill harpy, but a successful man behaving like a toddler is another story. Two Years (and then some) Postgrad in Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Hey, Can You Hear Me? Sherlock’s defamatory behavior doesn’t end with Molly Hooper. Thus, like Van Gogh, their creative genius was not because of their mental illness but in spite of it. Creativity is a cognitive process, and like all cognitive processes the more we train our minds to execute these processes the better we become at them. The real torture is the one we enact by classifying people as geniuses, to serve our own fantasies of independence. The title character of the story is Miss Agatha Clay, who begins as a young apprentice to a type of Mad Scientist known to the world as a "Spark". … Our brains are spurred by enjoyment. It’s very real. The relationship between genius and mental illness has long been the subject of romantic lore. It wasn’t until the 1990s that we started to seriously research creativity as a cognitive process we could measure. Thomas Edison famously said that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. There are several instances where he manipulates and coerces her into sex, enraged by her pleas and excuses. While positivity, curiosity, and self-directedness, can all be personality traits, learning how to excel at these things is something we all can do. Here are some of the best movies about tortured geniuses, ranked. How DARE she not immediately throw her unwavering support behind him! : When something pretty mundane (or even harmless) is treated as a Fate Worse than Death. Not like you really want anyone to understand you anyway. The Tortured is a 2010 Canadian-American horror-thriller film directed by Robert Lieberman, written by Marek Posival, and starring Erika Christensen, Jesse Metcalfe, Fulvio Cecere, and Bill Moseley. Sure, I love the show, but I don’t consider Sherlock and Mycroft to be that human anyway, They don’t consider themselves that way either. This is emotional abuse. Interestingly, Alma eventually begins slowly poisoning Reynolds with mushroom shavings to reclaim her agency by weakening him, leading to another cycle of possession and control from both sides. Let me be clear: I love Breaking Bad and agree that it’s one of the greatest TV series of all time, but Walter White may be one of the biggest “tortured geniuses” I’ve ever seen. Books? Van Gogh is not the only tortured creative genius whose mental illness is seen as the cause of his creative output and not its greatest adversary. Born in Manchester, England, in August of 1785, De Quincey was a We’ve seen it in all works of fiction. Oscar-winning movies and toxic masculinity. Can we think, for a moment, about the absolute hell Skyler White went through, seeing the man she married become a murderous, meth-slinging drug lord? Tortured Genius by reesemyers | created - 19 Dec 2014 | updated - 19 Dec 2014 | Public Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc. It was published last month, check it out here. Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Being chained to a wall and left there until he died and became The Snatcher didn't exactly do wonders for his sense of morality. His insatiable need to isolate and control Ana is treated like a bad habit, the same as nail-biting or forgetting to take out the trash. Two topics that have been the epicenter of media attention lately. I'm one of those who can't take them. The Enlightenment was the first time the word create was explicitly credited to a human — albeit an extraordinary human such as DaVinci — source. Girl Genius is a webcomic (originally a print series) by Phil and Kaja Foglio, which has become one of the classics of the Steampunk (called Gaslamp Fantasy by the creators) genre.. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. male directors have exploited and tormented their actors on set. Tortured Lyrics: The Midnight Society / Is it the same? Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. It’s been thoroughly documented in article after article that Christian Grey exhibits a laundry list of controlling and abusive behavior towards Ana: isolation, intimidation, control, possessiveness, lack of consent, stalking, etc. I’m published, btw – Hey, Can You Hear Me? I submitted a piece to PopLurker on April 10, 2018. Golgo 13: medical knowledge? Anything but That! Sherlock leaps to mind because while the titular character is not in a relationship with any particular woman, he is often shown treating women (and men) with disrespect, disdain, or flat-out hostility. The idea of the tortured creative genius is one we all know well. The persperation from which genius is born does not come from misery, torture or, madness it comes from hard work and the intrinsic motivation that is a part of all of us. Do you think a female character would have gotten the same positive reception? Intrinsic motivation and the environment that it thrives in is not exclusive to a selective group either by genetics or luck. Cultivating and maintaining this ordinary mindset is what any genius — even the tortured ones — learned how to do at an extraordinary level. 2018-2020 Troublemakers Services, All Rights Reserved. This archetype of the tortured creative genius is dangerous because it not only implies that genius is a direct result of misery but creativity — the ability to create something that is both novel and useful — is inaccessible to those aren’t dealing with mental health issues or those who have a dogged, perennial urge to start drinking absinthe or slice off an ear (seriously, don’t do this). When they share a once a year smoke, they discuss people as if they were a couple of super computers watching ants go about their day. We’ve seen it in all works of fiction. Only because he’s so BRILLIANT, obviously. In order to create, they needed to be in environments where they would be intrinsically motivated to work hard, hone their craft, and master their technique. This is the mentality where even the most tortured of creative genius did their best work. Keep Going, Something Strange and Wonderful Might Happen, 5 Ways To Find Your Inner Picasso: How To Be More Creative At Work, Why Storytelling Is What Will Reunite the World, Physicality, Voice, and Emotion — Your Secret Improv Weapons. The Evil Genius avatar will also automatically go over to gloat at a Super Agent being tortured. Artists Vincent Van Gogh and Mark Rothko. Thus, Van Gogh’s creative genius was not because of his mental illness, but in spite of it. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the rant I went on after seeingThe Phantom Thread in theaters this… Genius is defined as “exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.” As the definition implies, geniuses have the power to transform, imagine, and most importantly create what is both novel and useful. so extreme that actress Anna Gunn released a New York Times op-ed about it? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Please LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE! Essentially the film is The Movie of this trope. Yet all behavior is immediately excused in the name of “art” or “brilliance,” because apparently a man being marginally skilled at something gives him a free pass on basic human decency, usually towards women. Mathematical genius? However, in true adherence to the spirit of the trope, gloating at any captive gives a chance for them to break out immediately, Super Agents especially. Two topics that have been the epicenter of media attention lately. In fact, creators and creative geniuses do their best work when they are in a very different state. Most people are able to be content with mediocrity. Basic Trope: A character who looks like The Big Guy reveals himself to be exceptionally intelligent as well. However, once again, these actions are apparently acceptable because of his “genius” and success. This mentality prevailed until the Renaissance when artists first signed their work — and by doing so they took ownership of their creative output. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. He, in turn, treats her like something he found floating in a public toilet. Why does media portray abuse as an unavoidable side effect or occupational hazard of a man’s talent or success, and all the women who suffer in his wake as collateral damage? Tortured Genius official fan page Other tropes about torture. Totally excusable. Now it’s obsolete. Like Van Gogh, their lowest points did not serve as an impetus for or come in the middle of their creative processes, but these lowest moments robbed them of their greatest joy — their ability to work. The novel and the useful shift our scientific, artistic, societal, cultural, and paradigms and worldviews. The trope of the mad genius is a familiar one. This quote reiterates that genius is not simply the idea that our brains come up with, but the ability to get into the zone where you can do your best work. The fact that the male lead, Reynolds (played by the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis, who deserves far better than this), is a renowned dressmaker whose genius and passion cause him to be a rude, obsessively picky ingrate who spends the majority of his screen time treating every woman who dares to encounter him like his verbal punching bag. Case in point: forensics professional Molly Hooper, who harbors an unfortunate crush on Sherlock. When you show our Patreon some love, you’re supporting the little guy whose sole mission is to help make your day a little brighter. Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst. Cool and Unusual Punishment: A punishment that gets the job done, even though it's ridiculous. What the word genius implies is remarkable, but in the context of those who history considers “creative geniuses” we don’t let the word and all of the power that it entails stand alone. One year in particular was his most creative. Perhaps I lack appreciation for dramatic cinema, but the last time I threw a tantrum about what someone cooked me for dinner was at the age of six. This means that until the very recent past, all of the writing and criticism that historians, scientists, and others relied about genius, creativity, and creative geniuses still mostly relied on ancient ideas — promulgated by generations of Romantics — that madness — divine intervention — was the source of all human creativity. […] Well, I pitched it to an amazing site called PopLurker with the idea of expanding it, and they ACCEPTED! So could we all be creative geniuses? Cold-Blooded Torture: Subjecting people to severe pain either for information, as punishment, or out of sadistic pleasure. ( Log Out / She's shown that she can play a tortured young woman before, most notably in films like The Witch and Split, and it looks like she really gets to flex her dramatic muscles here. This is a trope that’s all too familiar: talented and/or successful man as a quixotic, tortured genius who lashes out and behaves erratically in the name of passion.
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