Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Is society trying to gaslight me with “gaslighting”?  I’ve been on this planet for almost 34 and a half years now, and in all that time, 34 years and roughly three months of it was spent hearing “gaslighting” mentioned casually every once in a while, and I really had no idea what the term meant.

In the last couple of months, suddenly, it’s everywhere.  I see the “gaslighting” term casually used in written articles on all topics, on TV, in the movies…of course, the term actually originates from a movie, the old 1944 Ingrid Bergman film “Gaslight” that won her an Academy Award.  I love it when something from pop culture takes over as the instantly-understood meaning of a phrase or situation.  Like, people will always cite “Groundhog Day” in reference to something repetitive, or any difficult decision is called a real “Sophie’s Choice.”  That latter term may be my favourite since it’s always used either incorrectly or for decisions that pale in comparison to Sophie’s actual choice.  I’m sorry, but deciding which of your children lives or dies carries a bit more gravitas than deciding to put mushrooms or green peppers on the pizza.

If you’re an ignorant wretch like me for 34.25 years of my life, “gaslighting” is simply when someone mentally torments another by creating doubt that the victim’s actual memories or perceptions are untrue, perhaps to the point that the victim starts to wonder if they’re crazy.  Given how bizarre things happen in the news every single day, perhaps I can’t blame people for wondering if what they’re seeing and hearing is real, or if everything they’ve been led to believe is a lie.  I mean, just the other day, I looked at the NHL standings and saw the Florida Panthers leading the division.  That surely can’t be real.

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