Saturday, January 19, 2008

The seven faces of me

The revelation of Herschel Walker's multiple personality disorder is bound to be discussed by scads of Monday-morning psychiatrists (I could have used 'arm-chair psychiatrists' but that's not a great differentiation is it?)

The phonologist in me says - His personalities are in complementary distribution.

The historical linguist in me says - I wonder if I can figure out what his parents' personalities were.

The semanticist in me says - Are are his personalities ±Herschel? Is 'Herschel' the prototype of his identity?

The syntactician in me says - This looks like a substitution test for constituency.

The experimental linguist in me says - His judgments of his personalities aren't reliable. I need to use various methods to elicit responses from a large enough group before I decide which personalities are possible.

And the prescriptivist in me will take this opportunity to say - Everybody is saying that he has schizophrenia but that's an incorrect use of the term. Schizophrenia is a different type of disorder distinct from dissociative identity disorder, which is included in the category of general dissociative disorders. So stop misusing the term unless you want to show that you have no education or training in mental disorders.

And "I" say - I actually agree with my prescriptivist-self on this one.


  1. Well, yes. Schizophrenics have enough problems without people thinking they're multiples as well.

  2. "Monday-morning" better invokes a sense of football commentary.

    Funny, I'm stuck in bed with bronchitis, so I've been watching a lot of crappy tv. And yesterday I saw a jovial Walker crush some everyday people in Spike's Pros vs. Joes.

  3. I saw that Pros vs. Joes too. He seemed to be the same for that episode anyway.


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