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September 19, 2009
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  The column of lasting insignificance  
       


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November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
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March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
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August 28, 2010
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March 27, 2010
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March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 



September 19, 2009

 

[my columns that follow appeared in the Village Voice long ago]

The Theatre of Psychodrama
by John Wilcock

Walter Allen's main problem with women has usually been that he wants to assume the submissive role. We went to the Theatre of Psychodrama together recently, and when Professor Richard Korn called for volunteers from the audience, Walter (who was actually Woody Allen) agreed to play out some of the unhappy incidents in his recent relationships.

Prompted by Dr. Korn and assisted by a girl he chose from the audience, Walter tried to get "Rebecca" a taxi on a wet night. To ascertain exactly how the incident had developed originally, Walter and Rebecca were frequently asked to reverse roles. "Okay, Walter," Korn would say, "Now you're Rebecca. Order Walter around in exactly the way you remember it happened." Or: "Walter, be Rebecca for a moment and put into words what she must have been thinking."

This very successful psychodrama technique enables the participants to reenact the original roles as accurately as possible. And very quickly, Walter found out that he wasn't merely "acting" as he'd intended but was as involved as he had been when the incident had first taken place.

And so the story unfolds. An incident at Rebecca's apartment ends with her telling Walter to move out. He accepts it placidly but with the resigned air that all women eventually fail to keep their bargain. "But it was pleasing to be held at arm's length and never really attain her," he comments revealingly.

Change of locale onstage as Dr. Korn has an objective consultation with "Dr. Who" (the analyst in Walter) played by Walter as objectively as he can.

Dr. Who: "Walter thinks of himself as a tragic hero -- sensitive, creative, and would-be perfect except, like Hamlet, for one tragic flaw."

     Dr. Korn: “Can you act out one of Walter's day-dreams? For the purposes of this Rebecca will be a robot. She will be absolutely positive and will do exactly as you say."

Walter acts out an imaginary incident in which he meets Rebecca, buys her a drink, takes her to his apartment to read his poetry, and seduces her. Korn: "Did it ever happen like that?" Walter: "No."

And now the descent into a lower level of subconscious, symbolically assisted at the Theatre of Psychodrama by lowering the lights. Back to the days of just after birth. Another girl from the audience plays mother, Walter with head in her lap.

Walter: "I like it. I don't want to grow up. I adore it: Just keep father away. I want this to go on endlessly."

Lights back on, another consultation with Dr. Korn. "The world says you're not a baby, though; you're 27. What do you do now?"

Walter: I'd like to go back."

Korn, to the women in the audience: "Is there one of you who wants to look after a 27-year-old baby who will do everything you want and fulfill all your needs as long as you feed and look after him?"

First girl: "Unfortunately, too much of me wants to do that."

Second girl: "For a little while I'd want that, but I'd get bored with it."

Third girl: "I don't want a big baby: I want a little baby."

Fourth girl: "I want what Walter wants the other way around. I want somebody to look after me."

The first woman acts out a relationship with Walter for a while -- does his bidding, takes charge and runs things (including him) in return for his witty, charming self and constant presence. She gets so emotionally involved in the part when this feminine role finally gets to her that she ends up actually striking Walter onstage and telling him not to be "a vegetable."

Walter, with a resigned air after the slapping: "I could have predicted that would happen. Women are always the same; they always renege on their bargain."

Korn: "The dominant female and the submissive male have this in common -- they are both very lonely. Where do you go from here?"

Walter: "I read and pass away the time until I find another girl I can beguile for a longer period."

        --Village Voice, June 13, 1963, Vol. VIII, No. 34


Come to the Aid of the Party

My friend Lyla is getting to be so ubiquitous wherever parties are given, or even contemplated, that there’s a definite possibility that hosts will soon start inviting their guest in code.  I imagine there must have been some parties this year that Lyla hasn’t known about, but they were probably those funny little get-togethers that people used to call parties—small groups of friends who all knew each other and where there was enough beer to go around.

The parties that Lyla goes to are a different thing altogether.  They’re invariably at addresses you didn’t even know existed, such as cold-water flats in the Washington Square monument or a penthouse in the basement of the Flatiron Building, and the hosts usually can’t be located for the simple reason that they’re away attending a party somewhere else.

Nobody knows how Lyla discovers all these jags, but when the weekend come around, there she is with this; pile of names and addresses (which looks for all the world like Jack Kerouac’s Christmas card list), and away we go.

Strongmen quail and beautiful girls weep when they see Lyla approaching.  But she sweeps past all, in regal splendor, her entourage following mute and self-conscious.  Rarely is her stay for longer than four minutes (she never takes a drink), but there is time to note down the time and place of next week’s parties. Last weekend, I believe, she even opened up her booking charts for 1962.


About Mensa

In an adventurous mood last month, I applied to join Mensa, a society that is so exclusive that potential members pass an intelligence test before being accepted.  A few days later I received a copy of the Cattell Intelligence Test, and fared as well as I could filling gaps in sentences, matching shapes, eliminating odd words from groups (e.g., page, word, brick, table, musical note), and solving puzzles in reasoning.

( A man bought a horse for $20 and paid for it with a $30 check.  The dealer got it changed by a storekeeper and gave the buyer $10 change.  The check later bounced, so the dealer refunded the storekeeper’s money.  The horse had originally cost the dealer $10.  What was his total loss? )

Last week’s mail brought from Mensa an evaluation of my test.  “On this evidence,” wrote secretary Victor Serebriakoff, “your intelligence quotient appears to be 143.  Put more simply, your score is higher than that of 96 per cent of the population.  While these figures are above average, they are unfortunately not up to the very high level we are looking for in our panel.”

With the letter came a printed sheet of information about intelligence tests in general and instructions on converting one’s Cattell I.Q. into the more familiar revised Binet I.Q. (my Binet would be 128.7). 

There was also a final note from Mensa explaining that the society’s lowest acceptance figure is I.Q. 155 on the Cattell scale (about 136 on the Binet or Wechsler).

This very high rating, by the way, represents only about 1 percent of the population.  But if you think you’re in that select group and you want to apply for membership, Mensa’s address is M.S.A., Sandringham, Briscot Road, Rainham, Essex, England.

(Note: It’s doubtful that this address is still valid, 50 years later)

[John Wilcock  is currently in England]

9/12/09

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