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The American Caliban

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Not all the world's a stage [Jul. 5th, 2005|02:48 pm]
The American Caliban
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I don't like the word "drama". I hear it a lot. Friends and coworkers use it and it's everywhere online.

What does "drama" mean? A big argument, an unpleasant revelation, a crappy public relationship breakup, a confrontation, raised voices. Any kind of emotional blowup that isn't hidden is called "drama".

What does it really mean? That someone is being neurotic or manipulative and creating a theatrical scene, that trivial items are being puffed up to great size, that someone is a "drama queen" who needs to create public messes for his or her own reasons. Okay, that happens and it's annoying as hell. We all know a few people who do their best to turn everyday life into a soap opera.

But the word "drama" gets applied to anything emotional and public. Whether it's someone who gets in a shouting match with his ex-girlfriend at a party or someone who hits the end of the rope and guzzles a fifth of vodka and a handful of pills and has to go to the ICU, it's "drama". Basically "drama" is anything that makes you have to notice that other people are in bad trouble and can't help communicating it. It's an inconvenience to you, and it makes you stop having fun, and you want to trivialize it. So here's your label for that purpose!

Not everyone who loses their shit in public is clamoring for attention. Occasionally it's a tragedy and not a soap opera, and not to be dismissed.
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Comments:
From: sachmet
2005-07-05 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'd even go one step further and say that "drama", in the sense given, is theater for theater's sake. That is, what distinguishes drama is a knowledge that what you're about to say is specifically designed to piss off, hurt, inflame or otherwise intentionally pollute discourse. There are other scenarios too, but they're minor in comparison.

Your recent situation with the photographer was not "drama". The asshole esteemed gentleman who caused everyone else hurt and pain by his actions turned a subsection of that into "drama".

People using "drama" in real tragic or crisis situations are the same ilk that refer to everything as "ironic" that is simply unexpected.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-07-05 10:12 pm (UTC)
People using "drama" in real tragic or crisis situations are the same ilk that refer to everything as "ironic" that is simply unexpected.

Great analogy.
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[User Picture]From: fattmike
2005-07-05 10:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, drama #1 is all Al Gore's fault for inventing the internet. I'd say nobody's seen the drama I've seen, but we know of too many of the same people on line ;)

Drama #2 is this process we call life.

Bravo :)
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[User Picture]From: vertamae
2005-07-05 10:16 pm (UTC)
Bravo!
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[User Picture]From: bruisedhips
2005-07-05 11:36 pm (UTC)
I try to use the word sparingly, and reserve it for people that I feel I know well enough to determine if they put themselves in positions exclusively to create a scene.
People who crave the excitement of causing a huge mess.
What I would like to call them is "asshole".

;)
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[User Picture]From: trinnit
2005-07-05 11:54 pm (UTC)
Sorry
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-07-05 11:58 pm (UTC)
Whatever that was, it certainly wasn't about you :) No apologies please!
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[User Picture]From: scromp
2005-07-06 01:01 am (UTC)
Hm. I believe that I am, in general, a pretty stable and serene person in my day to day life. I don't get too worked up about a lot of life-related things, but that is in part also because I take steps to make sure things go the way I want them to, at least to the best of my ability. Failing that, I usually have some kind of backup plan in place to deal with unexpected problems.

I have certain friends and extended family members who I interact with from time to time, and it always ends in some kind of pain. No matter how it starts out, they always wind up dropping some kind of problem or crisis or emotional shitfit on me, which is why I wind up not talking to them much for a while afterwards. It's exhausting and almost always unnecessary, and this is what I often refer to as "drama."

They are often real problems, to be sure, and I don't think most of them are doing this to me on purpose out of some twisted desire to be the center of attention or anything, but it *is* entirely too consistent to be a coincidence. They do this every time because that's the way they approach their lives, and they may not even see a problem with that.

I'm open to suggestions for a new label for this kind of behavior.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-07-06 01:59 am (UTC)
I think the original word is fine for what you're describing. People who need to aggressively live their lives all over you and demand your participation in their angst are probably worthy of the "dramatic" label. I think I get the kind of people you mean. Their interactions with others are almost entirely defined by the crises they present. That's "drama", whether they mean to ruin your life or not.

My objection to the way that word keeps popping up is that it seems to be a way for the cool kids to belittle others who lose their cool, which is totally different imho.
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From: switchstatement
2005-07-06 01:19 am (UTC)
good post.

i guess this is a bad comment.
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