Friday, July 03, 2009

He Took My What?

Certain cultures have special psychological disorders. I don't know why, and worse, I don't know why I am writing about this, but, let's looks at a few of my favorites:

In Inuit culture there is something called pibloqtoq, a hysterical reaction that causes seizures and irrational behavior. According to one report, it is characterized by people tearing off their clothing and running outside. Several accounts have people tearing off their clothes and dashing naked into the nearest snowbank. Not good if that means dashing out in the midst of Alaskan winter.

In Nigeria, there is something referred to as Missing Penis Syndrome. No, I'm not making any of this up.This is an irrational fear that one's genitals have gone missing (missing as opposed to the Australian concept of going on a Walkabout). In 1997, there is a report of a lynch mob in Senegal hunting sorcerers with the power to shrink men's penises. According to a recent article in the Times of Nigeria , taxi drivers gathered to protest against a client they accused of using pigeons to steal penises (I researched this, people...look it up).

Another cultural disorder, not quite as strange as having one's penis magically taken, is Paris Syndrome. Apparently this is a condition exclusive to Japanese tourists. While in Paris they will sometimes just suffer total collapse due to culture shock. It is so bad that the Japanese embassy provides a 24 hour hotline for emergency care.

Finally there's Capgras delusion, a disorder in which you believe that someone you know has been replaced by a doppelganger, an identical looking impostor. I know. I know, it certainly would explain why the divorce rate is so high.


Charles Gramlich said...

What about the idea that your blogosphere friends are slowly being replaced by blogogangers?

Akasha Savage said...

I wanted to comment on this post...but was lost for words!
Missing penis syndrome?!

SQT said...

When you said Paris syndrome I thought it was going to refer to a fear of Paris Hilton. That would make sense to me.

Steve Buchheit said...

I love my psychological disorder. And you'll only take it away from me from my cold dead hands.

And the shrinking penis thing. Yeah, I've seen news reports about that. I guess most of the water is warm there or they would have resorted to the old "cold water" excuse.

Stewart Sternberg said...

We are being replaced
Being at a loss for words is another syndrome altogether
I would think that since the death of Michael Jackson that maybe we would stop bashing shallow celebrity. No..wait.
Did you stop and think about the double entendre potential there?

SQT said...


I will never stop bashing shallow celebrity. I take too much pleasure from it.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Lincoln believed he had a doppleganger, even going so far as to tell Mary of him and how it predicted dark things to come.

The penis thing...I have nothing.

William Jones said...

I can't pass this one up. In a world were the original must always be improved upon, it's no wonder there is a fear of a personal ersatz.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I am going to research that thing about Lincoln. Pretty interesting. He would make a fascinating psychological study. I know many scholars have written about his depression.

A personal ersatz??? Really? ERSATZ? I don't think I've ever heard that word used in conversation or in polite company.

Barbara Martin said...

An interesting collection of syndromes, perfect background material for writers.

Anonymous said...