Testing, testing, over and definitely out

by Yule Heibel on November 18, 2003

Irrespective of today’s interesting international political developments, which may be much more important to blog about, it’s a “me me me” moment just now. I’m upset by the self-diagnostic tests that Chris Locke has been pointing to. First there was the which happy bunny are you? test that pegged me as “cute but psychotic.” To hell with that, I am not cute. Handsome, maybe. Manly even, especially in my dominatrix suit with add-on body-hair options, but “cute”? Nuh-uh. Then there was the more recent Personality Disorder Test. In keeping with my usual scientific approach, I answered “yes” to every question and ended up well and truly psychotic. Then I thought, “the truth will set you free,” and decided to play straight. But I still came out crazy, which might mean that this particular Truth’s sense of freedom wears a straightjacket. Or that the test is as idiotic as I suspected.

Rageboy has put a comment box (back) on his blog, which I guess means that I could just tell him outright that the test stinks. However, I have the impression he thinks I’m an idiot, so I won’t say so there, and instead say my unpeaceful piece here: these tests are stupid. Firstly, too many questions start with “Do you believe…?” “Do you prefer…?” “Do you tend…?” Talk about subjective airy-fairyness! But it’s worse than that: even the “objective” questions (“Do you find it hard to concentrate on one thing for a long time?”) are idiotic because it depends on what time of day, what time of month, and what the ages of your children are when you’re being asked the question! As IF it were the case that people are so bereft of imagination as to be unable to place themselves into these various situations: Is your appearance considered eccentric by other people? Well, yes, that mustard smeared along my lower arm might be considered a trifle eccentric since it doesn’t match the rest of my clown outfit, but I was distracted making the vinaigrette when one of my kids needed help with the formula for the area of a trapezoid. Are there really still people who cling to notions of eccentric appearance, with today’s abundance of body-piercings, butt-crack exposing clothing on outrageously fat people, and personal choices regarding stepping outside of the branding net? If I’m branded I’m normal, if I’m not, I’m ….? What’s eccentric here?

Or how about this stupid question: “Do you take actions without thinking about the consequences?” As in, do you defend your ideals regardless of “safety”? Or are you a political weasel? Let’s see, I guess it’s more “normal” to be a weasel. Or, “Do you sometimes profit at the expense of others, without being bothered by the pain or damage you may cause them?” Let’s see, if you answer truthfully — namely “yes” because you, yes YOU YOU YOU — are profitting daily from the pain of others as you shop at the big box store and drive your stinking SUV, you’ll instantly slide into some pseudo-“schizoid” category. But if you LIE — if you’re a weasel, in other words, or if you’re so deluded as to be unable to recognize your culpability in the global scheme of things — you will come out a saint of normality.

It’s bloody hopeless!

“Do you consider your needs to be more important to you [sic; emphasis added] than the needs of others?” Please, please: what honest person could possibly answer anything but “yes” to this? “Oh no, mater, honestly, I don’t consider my needs more important to me than the needs of my evil careless boss or my ingrate kids or the stupid neighbour across the street who endlessly worries his yard at every free moment but still manages to make it look like vanilla out of a bottle.” At least my yard looks like interesting trash!

“Do your moods fluctuate a lot?” Duh. No. I. am. robotic. I. never. have. mood.swings. beep beep.

“Are you prone to bouts of anger?” Actually, I am assiduous in taking my Evening Primrose Oil, which is a boon to anyone plagued by PMS, but yes, I do have bouts of anger. I just have to read the fcuking papers to have one. Or take a dumb test like this. Or read about “anger management,” another idiotic thing.

“Do you often feel like people are saying negative things about you behind your back?” Do I feel? Feel they are? Hey, I know they are. It’s a given, isn’t it, that if you’re writing a blog off the top of your head some person is going to say, “what a jerk”? And what’s often? Once a day? Twice? Once a month? A year? Doesn’t it depend on how good my memory is? So if I have a very good memory and a very keen visual imagination and I can remember things better than you brain-dead moron can, that makes me a psycho? And you normal? Come on!

But actually I answered “no” to that question, because — as the test told me — I’m anti-social and therefore don’t give a hoot about what other people think.

“Do you …see things in black and white terms?” Are you kidding, I live in grey on grey. I differentiate between the lettuce leaves I toss for that salad that got me smeared with Dijon mustard up to my elbow. Morons.

Am I uninterested in the feelings of others? Mostly. Yup. Why should I care? What others are we talking about, exactly? I mean, if I cared about the feelings of others, how could I continue to live in this exploiting environment? (See the question re. profitting at the expense of others, above.) I care very very much about some people concretely, and I care about all people abstractly. I just don’t care about you concretely.

Do people have trouble following my train of thought? I sure as hell hope so. I don’t want to sound like my neighbours with their endless supply of yard-vanilla.

Are you quick to anger when expectations aren’t met? Which expectation? That I can eat at least one lousy meal in peace, without feeling like a hunted animal? Or have a shower when I want one? Well, what do you think you’re going to feel about your expectations if you have young children and your life is momentarily GONE, as in: sacrificed. One of the truly woof-woof-nearly-new-agey experiences I’m having lately is that I do sometimes get 5 minutes to myself because the kids are getting older. Hurray. Again: it’s a stupid question ’cause it has no context. It purports to be abstract, but it can’t be, ’cause it’s a sociological/psychological question, and everything in questions of that nature depends on CONTEXT. If you want abstract, you have to know logic. And this test is sadly bereft of logic.

Do I intentionally injure myself? I have my poisons, yes. I indulge in weaknesses. But that’s because I’m normal, and not some freaking abnormal ram-rod straight fascist. I admit to my human weaknesses and frailties. So what?

“Do you consider yourself having a strong love for approval and praise?” Is this really English? Are they just looking for variants of the “Do you believe, do you believe, do you believe?” opener? Oh yeah, I believe, I believe.

That’s what this silly test is. Stupid new American religion. Get your 15 minutes of testing fame, and make it into an eternity of labelled salvation. Dumb.

Have I had recurrent thoughts of suicide? Again, this is the “superior imagination and memory” pitfall question. What context are we talking about? Thoughts of suicide when I was really sad, like when I lived in Boston? Working my soul down to my soles as an adjunct professor without prospects? Well, duh, that was depressing and according to the Red Line advert I read, I was clinically depressed. So do I include that and answer “yes,” or ignore it and lie by answering “no,” because I don’t feel like doing myself in just now, at this time? I mean, what level of truth are they interested in here?

Here’s a good one: “Have you ever been in jail or done something that you could be put in jail for?” Which state of the union? Huh? Which century? Which country? Which sex??? Hey, in Nigeria I could probably be stoned to death for things I’ve done. Again: where’s the context? How about asking the question, “To what extent have you internalised the Polizei in your life?”

Now, this test is going to tell me I’m anti-social. Well, I’m not. I’m just a whole lot smarter than the idiots who thought this stupid test up!!

Do other people accuse me of being self-centered? Well, they would if I were to let the idiots get to know me. As it is, I screen very very carefully.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase. When I score my results and look at the categories, I have to laugh out loud. Schizotypal, for example, is a riot. The description starts, “Many believe that schizotypal blahblahblah…” So here we are back to “belief.” Give me a break. This “personality disorder” is supposed to represent “mild schizophrenia.” How in hell’s bells name can a personality disorder represent another personality disorder? People with this mythical disorder of representation often have “elaborate and difficult to follow” speech. No, that’s completely wrong. People with this “disorder” just have better vision.

Borderline: characterised by mood instability and poor self-image. As far as I can tell, this again is a byproduct of being able to see things a bit more clearly than all the other drones. Who wouldn’t get depressed? The “diagnosis” also says we think in “black and white” terms, which is completely wrong in my case. There is nothing black and white to determine here. This test is crap, end of story.

Narcissist: choosy about choosing friends. Duh. Sounds like a plus as far as I can tell, given all the stupidos out there. We have difficulty maintaining longterm relationships. Good riddance, I say, especially if it’s a relationship with this idiotic typically American-media-tised therapy culture.

High on antisocial. Ah yes, poison of choice.

Now here’s the key: if you change your gender on this question, it will alter the results slightly, but not significantly. If, however, you answer the final question “no” instead of “yes,” you’re magically dubbed much more normal than if you answer “yes.” What is the last question?

“Were your parents cold and distant or treated you negatively when you were growing up?”

This means that if your parents were actually nice people who never made you crazy, you are magically given a leg-up to normality. (And as a survivor of truly off-the-charts parents, I can tell you I’m jealous of your normality. See, I’m normal; I can admit to it.) If you are in denial and lie about your parents having been nice people when in fact they were not, you will also be dubbed more normal than truth-tellers: that is, liers or people in denial “win.” If, however, you know the evil truth, if you have an inkling of the deformations that were performed on you in this “civilising” process called becoming “normal,” you will be classified as …abnormal.

Therapy culture: it’s the new Old Time Religion, very modern! Once you’ve borne witness, you get this “snapshot,” this crummy 15-minute version of your eternal self, and that’s your new faith. Sing it: Psycho am I, this I know, ’cause the tester tells me so…. Just don’t really rock the machine.

Beam me up, Scotty.

(PS: After reading Mike Golby’s wonderful comment on Chris Locke’s blog, I added my own two cents after all. So put “no self-control” on my list of sins. See if I care. Moron.)


Doug Alder November 19, 2003 at 9:16 pm

Those tests are almost as bad as psychiatrists 🙂

Dominatrix suit eh? Don’t tease! lol

Yule Heibel November 19, 2003 at 11:55 pm

Yeah, the reference to the suit was provoked by the mind-bending test, because it’s the sort of thing that brings out the best in me… ;~)

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