September 28, 2009

...Because Mind Reader Sounds Better


I've been watching True Blood on Netflix. It's an all right show. Trashy, strange and full of nudity, blood and foul language. Plenty to keep you watching. The acting is kind of hit and miss, going full out soap opera sometimes. And the British actor who plays the Southern gentleman/former Civil War soldier tries his damnedest to hang onto his Southern accent, but there are times when he fails big time. Everytime he says "Sookie," the main character's (unfortunate) name, I laugh a little, especially in moments of grave seriousness. Maybe he gets better at it in season 2, I won't know until the DVDs come out.

Anyway, Sookie is a mind reader, right? So that means she can read all the thoughts in everyone else's head. That being exactly what mind readers do. So I've been thinking about the long history of mind reading that I've seen in movies and TV shows, and I'm just now having some problems with the concept of reading a mind.

1) During these moments, the one doing the mind reading is always gawking silently at the person who is having their mind read. And the one having their mind read is also silent, sometimes even nodding to the thoughts being broadcast. Now, put that moment in context of an actual conversation. How funny and awkward is that 5 second pause in the middle of a conversation where there are two people who were talking, stop (so the mind reading can take place), just sort of look at each other (for the mind reading), then carry on as if there wasn't this long caesura in the conversation. It would be weird. Go on, try it with someone. And how come that every time that awkward pause happens the thought of the person getting their mind read isn't "The fuck she looking at? I got a booger? What?" Then they would say, "What?" and wipe their nose. That may happen once in a while in mind reading scenarios, but, really, that should happen most of the time.

2) It's not really reading minds, it's reading what someone is thinking but not saying. There is a big difference. If it was mind reading, wouldn't they be hearing all the unconscious commands our brain sends out make the body function? Wouldn't mind readers be hearing all internal baggage, you know the psychoanalytical stuff, that really motivates our actions in life? Like reading the mind of the stripper wouldn't necessarily be, "Oh no, it's that trucker that smells like raw hamburger again!" as the internal, surface thought but may be instead the deep seeded motivation and buried thought of, "I hate my daddy so, so, so much." If mind reading is just limited to what we are not saying aloud, then mind reading doesn't seem like that big of a deal since what can be revealed to a mind reader can be controlled. And if it can go deeper, how come we haven't seen a mind reading psychoanalyst who is just awesome at his job? Also, I would like it very much if there was a mind reader just plagued with hearing the brain waves of people sending out the bodily functions messages...really wouldn't be much of a story there...just a guy, crying a lot.

3) Mind reading sure seems remarkably narrative. Shouldn't it be a bit more like a Joyce novel with these scattered bits of unconnected nonsense, or just pictures or abstract representations of feelings and emotions?

4) All mind reading concepts are pretty much the same. Well, at least True Blood has vampires and werewolves and shape shifters and who knows what other creepy crawlies.

viva el mustache

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