This is not about Harry Potter. The title of this post is, however, a quote from Hagrid, a character in the books, but this post is not about those books. Nope, I won’t do that to you again. Four or five posts running is plenty and we’re all adults here. Well, maybe some of you aren’t adults yet but it doesn’t really matter ‘cause I’m done with H.P..
And, no more Trump either, I’ve had enough of that shit! Oops, sorry kids.
And, while I’m at it, sorry about the post that only remained posted an hour, and the one that had no title for a day. I had second thoughts on the first one and no access to my site for the second. I didn’t even know it had been posted what with all the network problems.
Today we’re sticking to the subject. The subject is martyrs. Not the people blowing themselves up in crowded markets, I’m talking about the psychological condition: martyr complex.
My students often developed this complex due to always being at the theatre rehearsing, building, sewing, painting, dancing or whatever in preparation for a show. When one works that hard it’s not unusual to feel put-upon. Jumping into the next show when previous one closes is the nature of the business where earning a living is a challenge anyway. I would tell them, “The road to success in professional theatre is paved with obstacles; you have to enjoy climbing over, digging under, or blowing them up to achieve success.” Those who don’t appreciate or are overcome by that challenge seldom stick around.
Often non-pros still crave the joys and rewards of theatre and some become martyrs to the world of non-professional theatre. This person seems to avoid the obstacles and yet hangs around to complain about how much work they’ve done. They carry around a portable Port-a-Cross to hang upon so that everyone can see the suffering they have done for art. Theatre folk at the professional level don’t like that kind of person, while amateur theatre relies upon them, it just takes more of them the get anything done.
Pity the poor bar where theatre martyrs hang out. It’s hard to serve a table full of flamboyant, loud egos anyway, what is worse is never knowing when they are going to reach into their pockets and hoist themselves up onto those personalized port-a-crosses. Imagine the waitress with a tray full of drinks avoiding an ‘auto-inflate’ cross suddenly popping up without notice. There is a brand of Port-a-Cross with spring-loaded cross pieces for the arms that can knock a tray of drinks a good twenty-feet; it’s dangerous to sit next to those things.
On occasion the whole table feels the need to fly into Martyr Mode. Imagine a long table where everyone has their arms strapped at right angles to a portable stick up their backside. Not the iron-age rough-hewn torture device kind of cross, these are soft, down-filled, comfy crosses. They join hands and sing ‘Woe Is We’ until the impetus to publicly share suffering is satiated. They drive home afterwards feeling a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves; other artists have listened to them expound on the trials and tribulations of lives of dedication to the cause of “The Theatre.”
The most skillful of theatrical storytellers will weave a tale of humor, surprise and anticipation. You never see the Port-a-Cross until the punch line is dramatically given. By then, the laughter, or tears, are so profound that the speaker’s cross soars above all the others. The least-skillful storytellers over-use…the…dramatic…pause…. But they do it with a personal flair so we wait; we all wait, patiently or not, we wait. There is little choice – to interrupt the poor creature’s only technique for creating drama would be rude.
Speaking of poor creatures, (You knew this was coming didn’t you?) Donald Trump is a master martyr who surpasses anything any community can offer. (I know, I said I wouldn’t.) He has gone beyond the dramatic pause to a form of discourse that has its own set of rules and its own vocabulary. Even the spelling is a little funky.
Mr. Trump has mastered the misuse of grammar so well that a mere sentence leaves one baffled and bemused. It is only through the use of alternative facts that he can be understood. This opens up a panoply of possible interpretations. He gets mad at the press for guessing the wrong one. This makes him the best martyr of all.
Woe is he who can’t be understood, This is like one of those illnesses where you see and hear what’s going on around you, but you can’t interact in any meaningful way. Your sentences make sense to you but no-one else can understand. It is hard to be a martyr in that situation. If you can’t coherently get up on your Port-a-Tweet-Cross, how will people know you are suffering?
P.S. I made this a Post Script so as to avoid invalidating my whole first paragraph: Severus Snape is a genuine albeit fictional martyr. Sorry ’bout’ that, it’s a Potter-compulsion.