Category Archives: Culture

Gender and mental health talk

Being Human festival

This is a slightly different blog post about a talk I went to called ‘Gender and mental health: what can history teach us?’ that was part of the brilliant (and free!) Being Human festival of the humanities, now in its second year.

Consisting of a panel of highly intelligent and compassionate academic speakers, the talk’s topics ranged from the gendered environments of the mental asylums of the Victorian period and early twentieth century, to modern constructions of masculinity, mental health and “madness”.

This talk was hosted by publisher Palgrave Macmillan, who are the biggest publishers of humanities books, and the central purpose was to bring the relevance and importance of the humanities (such as history) to wider public awareness.

It focused on the perspectives that history can bring to modern discourse on mental health issues, how related social constructs such as masculinity change over time, and how our current models of mental health and illness are almost certainly inadequate.

I have to say, I haven’t heard anything as mind-blowingly true since university, when I found out I had been a victim of sexism all my life (who knew?!).

The speakers perfectly fused the near-crystal clarity of a historical perspective with far muddier modern discourse on mental health issues. It seems that with regard to Victorian “sanatoriums”, these institutions were presented as almost holiday resorts for the slightly deviant, before eventually morphing into the far darker “aslyums” that were prevalent until the 1980s. You can find out more in a book by Jane Hamlett called At Home in the Institution

It was fascinating to learn from another speaker, Louise Hide, that sanatoriums attracted former members of the armed forces to work there, due to their regimented structure, and emphasis on the physical burliness needed to restrain patients not under the control of modern psychotropic drugs.

Tim Lomas spoke about the relationship between masculinity, meditation and mental health, which is basically that increased emotional intelligence in men as a result of their practicing meditation techniques, though helpful, can often lead to unexpected social consequences such as peer pressure to return to their old, unhealthy ways of dealing with their emotions. I am sure this research study must be groundbreaking.

The panel, though dazzlingly interesting, was satisfyingly short to keep one wanting more, with most of the evening taken up by an audience Q&A. Psychologist Peter Kinderman was a fantastic chair and speaker, keeping up an exciting flow of conversation that gave lots of people a chance to speak.

All questions were interesting and relevant, testament to the intelligence and compassion bristling in the room. It was particularly delightful to hear from a recently-qualified mental health nurse, who successfully brought the less “academic” world into the discussion by revealing how mental health professionals in the NHS are bound to make diagnoses for people they treat, in order to receive payment for their time.

And of course the entire talk was about why psychiatric labels like “social anxiety disorder” and “depression” are unhelpful at best and potentially dangerous at worst, naturally presenting a huge challenge to any kind of call for change.

But we mustn’t forget the real people who are at the centre of the whole discussion who have actually suffered from a mental health problem, and that’s pretty much everyone. Many people know what it’s like to struggle with their own mental health issues or to support a loved one, and how it can be so hard to fight a system that frequently operates by reducing the variety of human experience to black and white categories.

And of course, it’s so important that new ideas like “the mental health system needs to change” are given a public platform, because inadequacies in our current system harm people every day.

In my opinion, the mental health system is one of the biggest problems in our society today, and Peter Kinderman presented an elegantly simple solution: fight inequality and poverty, and you also combat the causes of mental health problems, in line with all the evidence from research studies. So obvious, and yet so often ignored.

And that’s why it’s brilliant that Palgrave Macmillan were behind this particular talk (in partnership with the Being Human festival). It never occurred to me that such a big publishing house could be an agent of social change – and yet with only subtle branding hints present at the event – but my view has been forever changed.

This talk was a perfect example of a profit-motivated organisation like Palgrave Macmillan wielding its economic power to do some good in the world. They achieved this by teaming up with compassionate and insightful academics, and supporting an exciting, inspiring and forward-thinking cultural festival like Being Human that is promoting some real change in the conversations and thoughts of the public.

Not once did the atmosphere become angry or tense or judgmental, as it was totally inspiring and uplifting. It gave voice to an idea that begins as a quiet suspicion in one’s mind, which then grows to an obvious truth that no one else seems to be speaking – until now. And whether it’s a case of being preached to as the choir, or the joy of being in a room full of people who share your rather unusual (!) opinion, doesn’t really matter.

Another great thing about Being Human festival is that the events programme spans over 250 across the UK, with many taking place in universities, and thus deftly avoiding the tempting trap of focusing only on London.

It must be emphasised that this was a free event, and yet so well-organised with lovely staff too. I am very much looking forward to reading my signed copy of Peter Kinderman’s book A Prescription for Psychiatry and absorbing the amazing common-sense insights it certainly contains, though it must be said I would have bought all the books on sale last night if I could have afforded it.

This talk was free and held at The Stables in King’s Cross on 18th November 2015. Find more free events to go to for the Being Human festival or support its partner Palgrave Macmillan by buying one of their super interesting humanities books.

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Being a hippie in 2015

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First of all, it’s worth pointing out that it’s always possible to buy something. We are the ultimate consumer society – now, we are even consuming socially, online.

I love modern culture as much as I loathe some aspects of it.

Soon, babies will be born with smartphones automatically attached to their pudgy pink hands, ready to document their first smile, first word, first day at school. Then it will be shared on social media with the gawping world.

We’re not given any easy alternative to this way of living, because that doesn’t serve society’s model of consumer capitalism, but some of us care enough to battle it out and try to find another way.

Dirty hippies

You can reject the prevailing way of living, but I’ve found this tends to get you labelled as a “hippie” – “The sixties are over!”.

This has never happened to me but I’ve seen it happen to people I know, and observed it in the news media, film and television.

I believe society subtly uses words to dismiss ideas or ways of life before it’s even been possible to engage with them.

Counter-culture hippieness doesn’t fit with the ethic of consumerism, which is now even more pervasive than ever, so it is dismissed as irrational and unproductive.

What is a hippie?

Before we make the case for an alternative culture, we should define what is meant by the word “hippie”.

Society suggests that being a hippie is a rejection of mainstream culture by favouring alternative or bohemian lifestyles, mainly revolving around “freeloading” or believing in “free love”, being a “leftie”.

Urban Dictionary defines it as:

A Hippie is a person who was raised under the ideological system that came out of the tumultuous 1960’s in North America and western Europe. They are either of the flower-child/baby boomer generation or that generations’ subsequent offspring. They possess a core belief set revolving around the values of peace and love as being essential in an increasingly globalized society, and they are oftentimes associated with non-violent anti-governmental groups.

I personally believe being a hippie is equated with conscious, ethical living – in all spheres of life. We choose how we relate to ourselves, to others, society and the environment.

But there are many problems associated with this way of living – most of them to do with the difficulty of going against the grain.

Being a hippie is logical

So, money doesn’t make us happy?

It’s a fact so blindingly obvious as to be laughable, but we forget it all the time because we’re wrapped up in the business of living.

It’s also painful to admit the truth, to submit to the agony of self-reflection, once we’ve been chasing money for a long time.

Money is mesmerising, just like lust and power. This is a fact. It makes us forget ourselves. You could argue that money even confers elements of both lust and power.

It is also a fact that we should love everyone rather than hate or fear them. Love begets more love, obviously, and is good for us.

Not taking more than we give to the world seems like simple logic. And promoting love rather than war? That too.

So is it being a hippie to love everyone, and believe that we all are “one”, in the metaphysical sense?

I think it’s probably just idiotic to believe otherwise.

You quite obviously can expand the mind, and we are connected with nature. Does believing in the concept of a self that survives the years, that can and should be developed and protected, make me a hippie?

To be honest, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be a hippie.

Is this just normal?

If you decide to reject money as an end goal and instead embrace being loving, then decisions about life can be made on the basis of their practicality, ethicalness, aesthetic appeal and with consideration for self-development.

I suppose this is called growing up. Now I’ve managed to get and keep a job, I’m less concerned with basic survival, and am now moving on to think about how to live and flourish.

I believe channeling my inner hippie is a big part of that.

Some people are dismissive when I speak of my attempts to eat ethically, desire to help save the environment, and support of small businesses – especially those of individual artists.

But I still talk about my goals because I believe that we should all try to live without the masks and reach out to each other. Buying more and more stuff is not the way.

Does that make me a hippie? If so, then fine. I am a hippie.

Problems with being a hippie

Choosing how to live is a difficult business, and sometimes it seems easier just to submit to the way society wants us to live – stay slumped on the sofa, gorging on prepackaged TV and food. When we’re not doing that, scamper up the career ladder like trained monkeys, and fall in love with the first person to give us the time of day. Get married, pop out some kids, retire and die.

Seems easy enough. Seems harmless enough.

However, an absence of an idea is still a decision, it is not nothing. If we aren’t choosing a positive idea then we are still promoting negative ideas. We must submit to self-reflection and choose what we really believe.

Is not wanting to submit to preconceived labels, or wanting to fashion your own mode of existence in the limited time we have, kind of hippie-ish? Similarly, if I believe endless consumption can’t satisfy me, and use alternative cultural practices to support a functional life, like yoga, meditation and enjoy burning (endless) sticks of incense? Perhaps.

But I think labels stop us thinking, and critiquing, enabling us to dismiss things as uninteresting or unworthy of appraisal because it has already been ‘named’. Let’s not do it if we can help it.

If you want to learn more about being a hippie you could check out my other post about how people are quick to judge “New Age” practices. Or, find out about how your attitude towards experiencing pain can make you a better person

crop-catherineCatherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, meditating and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash

The Benefit of Pain

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Our minds are collections of ideas. Sometimes these ideas do not all fit together – they contradict one another and cannot all be true. When they lie together at once in the focus of consciousness, on the surface of thought, then we perceive their conflict clearly – we feel pain, and we feel sadness. The patterns in our minds are at war with each other, and we fear what will happen, and the possibility of losing parts of ourselves – parts of the idea web in which we emulate reality. The internal model we construct of the world around us needs to change, and it can seem scary and something to fear – but it isn’t.

The benefits of pain are overlooked. They go unseen because most people aren’t very introspective, and seldom probe deeply into their own lives. Most people behave as if their lives are something handed to them, almost immutable. They do not consider themselves actors, but observers – and so that’s what they are. The actors are the ones who accept that they can – and so do – use the power we have as beings: the power to shape and change reality. They are the ones engaging their instinctual urges to contribute to the creation of something greater than ourselves in the hierarchy and complexity of life. As cells are to us, we are to society, and societies will be to something else; we represent one shifting stage in the evolution of life: interactions growing more connected and more filled with delicate complexity. Those who do not accept life as given and absolute – they learn to question, to understand and to imagine. They learn to examine themselves and their own thoughts. They become more alive, and learn greater control over themselves and over their minds – the collection of thoughts – the intertwined web of ideas.


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Rain, Steam and Speed – Turner

The web of ideas needs maintenance. It is our life’s work to, thought by thought, puzzle out a picture of what is around us. We start off with a canvas full of conflicting colours and lines, that, stroke by stroke, grows slowly in clarity and depth until we feel the sharp sensation of our own existence, and experience the reality of the so-called ‘human condition’. It is difficult, but it is undeniably forward. To play well, you must understand the rules; to make choices about the world, you need to understand the world. The world is everything around us, and it includes ourselves. There lies the battle – the seemingly paradoxical feat – of making an image that includes itself. Overtime, more and more of us accept the burden, and once we make some headway with our own journeys we realise another awaits us, this one by nature not alone – the wagon train moving ever forward; the vanguard of humanity. To join, we must each find our way there – discover the parts that need playing, and the parts we want to play. This requires acceptance and clear vision of ourselves – Including acceptance, and clear vision of our pains.

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Hand with Reflecting Sphere – Escher

Pain helps us find our way. Pain, beyond scraped knees and broken bones, is the experience of conflict in our inner network – it is indication of a contradiction – and the chance for its examination, understanding, and potential resolution. Pain is a signal in our brain that something can and should be given attention: a knot must be undone; a bundle must be untangled; a problem must be solved. If we accept that it really is a signal, then it really can be used as such. We can calmly question and probe at the cause of the pain; we can carefully consider the ideas we hold close – and which closer – and we can weigh them against one another. We may come to question some ideas, and with the clarity induced by the sharp pain of holding those conflicting thoughts together for a time– we choose what we really want. The challenge is presented, and we have the opportunity to show courage and accept change.

Our feelings are guides to our minds. They cry out – they want to help us to understand the world better. Pain is just one aspect, one we struggle to integrate. When we harness its potential, we are able to live without fear – because every problem is a problem we work to solve. The map updates, the picture becomes clearer, the web becomes more complete, and our actions reflect this: we know better what is true, what is right, and what the way forward is for us all. Our separate webs become joined. Accept reality, join humanity, and know that there is infinitely more to experience.

If you’ve been inspired to enlarge your mental map, find out why an open relationship might be just the thing you were looking for, or delve into the wonderful world of personality typing systems

cropped-jamieBy Jamie Culkin

Jamie is currently working toward a master’s degree in experimental physics in Leiden, the Netherlands, and is contemplating both a creative and academic life. The things that drive him are: the world around us, real human connection and discussion, creation, and parkour.

Images: Unsplash | Wikimedia Commons

Morality versus logic

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I’ve been thinking about how human beings confuse morality with logic. People make what they consider to be logical arguments about the supposed pragmatism of a worldview or life choice but actually they are assessing whether they think it is good or bad.

Deciding moral worth

I find the concept of good and bad (i.e. moral worth) so intriguing because it actually doesn’t exist. The reason I don’t think it exists is because there is no system for measuring goodness or badness, whereas for example in the sciences we can assess whether something has empirically happened, or use mathematics to prove propositions. Even in philosophy, or specifically metaphysics, we can use logic to determine the likely truth or falsehood of a premise.

I think it is logical, for example, that some people would be motivated by their own interests, so pragmatically they might consider other people’s feelings dispensable because they don’t further the goal of personal gain. To find out whether a person’s action has utility for his or herself, we need to look inside their mind and heart to find out what they value or prioritise.

And this is where morality comes in. I think people confuse logic and morality because they are threatened by worldviews that conflict with the comforting stability of their own. Any chance that they might need to expand their mental map is instinctively met with resistance, using a defense that I visualise as a mental blindspot that truth falls into, sadly without you ever knowing it was so close.

And they dismiss interesting and potentially useful ideas as “wrong”.

A sprinkling of logic

I think we can make morality better by consciously infusing a bit of logic.

So, in order to evaluate the worth of propositions that are shrouded in emotion, such as “Are open relationships a good (or workable) idea?” we have to use both our minds and hearts. We have to evaluate what we mean by “good” (is the risk of hurting one another too great, for example) and, “workable” – perhaps we mean, does it foster the personal growth and development of both individuals?

Evaluating this kind of worth is a difficult task, but the criteria I would use in these particular cases, in order to assess an idea’s validity or worth, is: the quality of connection.

I would ask questions such as, does it increase connection between the individual and the world, or decrease it? Is the connection between the two people increased or diminished? There are many more questions like these one could ask, and there is no simple way to answer them.

Logically, more connection (and therefore growth) is better, because it spreads goodness and happiness. But how to measure? What system can we use?

I think we have to evaluate whether an action is speaking from the heart or not.

Looking outwards

It’s not easy for anyone to say whether someone else (or even themselves) is speaking from their heart.

I use the idea of open relationships as an example because it is such a divisive issue, threatening one of the very foundation stones of society – the ideal of the romantic relationship. Romantic love is a (very fun) chimera, which is virtually guaranteed to distract society’s members from looking anywhere outside themselves, or beyond their own domestic bliss.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for romance as much as the next person, but all I’m saying is it’s a very good distraction from the deeper issues of life. So I think to debate these kinds of questions, these questions of social worth or validity, we need to familiarise ourselves with a surprisingly unsung concept: the idea of selfhood.

Does the self really exist? 

We can conceptualise our physical selves, as the body and the brain and all. Some of us can also see the mind, which is us being aware and perceiving ourselves, others and the environment, as well as metaphysical concepts like ones I’m referencing here. We also have an emotional self, which I think lots of people struggle to understand, and it is characterised by the emotional soup that rolls and heaves with every experience that touches us. The physical is the easiest to perceive because it is really *there* and we can see it.

Altogether, these tripartite notions of self knit together to form “selfhood”, or, if you prefer, personhood. And we need to pay attention to the health of all three segments of the self to build ourselves up as people, and fulfil our potential.

So, to answer a question like “Is an open relationship a good or workable idea?” I would consider whether it would further the goal of developing and nurturing the personhood of both parties. And, in some instances, I think indeed it can. If both people are happy to be co-adventurers of life, without the weight of commitment and ephemeral promises of “forever”, then maybe an open relationship could be a good idea.

Of course it wouldn’t be without its pain, and confusion and upset, but no real relationship would be like that anyway. I feel like you’d be faced with an incredible opportunity to learn so much about yourself and others. Intellect cannot comprehend the worth of this pursuit; only the heart can.

But it’s so hard to get past the conditioning that monogamous romantic love is the highest ideal, that I doubt many people would be open to this idea (haha, ironically). It’s an interesting one to think about.

Thanks for reading. Maybe now you’d like to read about why getting married is such a stupid idea (haha) or how to develop your selfhood

Ccrop-catherineatherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, meditating and being in nature. 

Hackney to Holborn: from feminism to wedding fever

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I enjoyed going to Caitlin Moran’s recent talk immensely, which took place in a tiered Hackney theatre full of sweating bodies on the hottest day of the year so far.

Not surprisingly, it was about feminism, shame and insecurity, as well as her new book How to build a girl. Standing up and proclaiming the power of my womb with a room of a thousand other women and a few dozen men was a highlight of the evening.

Perhaps it revived the feminist in me, who went to sleep when I left the intellectual battleground of university and started working in my most recent job in Holborn, which is the least misogynistic place ever (apart from perhaps the Feminist Society).

Every single director in my office is female, and every one of them is currently off on maternity leave, having all recently had babies.

Wedding fever

At work, every time someone gets engaged, married or has a baby, we celebrate. I’m not an idiot; I can appreciate people getting exciting by these rites of passage, but I usually find it hard to muster the same enthusiasm.

Give me a gorgeous piece of poetry, a truly heart-wrenching story, or a thrilling new personality typing system, and then I’ll start waxing lyrical.

I’m happy if other people are happy, but the idea of wanting to get married so much amazes me. I’m wondering if this notion will fade over time, when the real possibility of dying alone filters properly down to my subconscious.

Right now, though, while the jury’s still out for me, wedding fever seems to have gripped my small team of nine. There have been two engagements in the past couple of weeks and another looms imminent.

I hope I don’t sound bitter but I’ve never *truly* appreciated how keen girls are to get married until now – though I’ve dimly noticed it through the diatribes of feminist rhetoric.

A classic game

It’s almost like a set of dominoes. Obviously, once one is knocked over, the rest soon follow in an unstoppable chain reaction. Perhaps it’s conditioning, and perhaps I have an unadmirable need just to be different from the herd.

Despite personal doubts about the authenticity of my opinion, I still have an unshaken conviction that I don’t want to find a boyfriend and get hitched – but a negation is not the same as a desire.

So what I really desire is to be independent and free, free to choose exactly where I move to, how to spend my days and exactly when and how to follow my countless passions.

I suppose one would say that if you find the perfect partner, they could do those things with you, but then they wouldn’t be your passions anymore, would they? Further, why is a romantic union the highest ideal we can aspire to? Certainly they are incredibly fun, at least for a while (in my experience).

Following your passion

This could be the bitterness of a recent dumping talking, or my youthful age of 25, but I feel that even though as a society we prize getting married and settling down as an ideal, when really there are many more worthy things you could be spending your time doing.

You could find a complete cure for all disease. This idea is terrifying, because we all need something to fight against, and surely eradicating disease would result in a new problem for humanity. We’d probably implode in nuclear fashion, instantly.

But truly, the idea of having a ring and buying a house and a wedding doesn’t fill me with any particular longing, though maybe I’m in denial.

What I can say is that publishing a book that changes someone’s life and touches their heart does. Living in Brighton and owning a teashop does, as does the prospect of spending days by the sea with the wind in my hair.

Hoping your sister ends up alone, too

Perhaps romance does fit into that. I certainly would like to think I won’t end up totally wizened and alone, but I don’t envision a typical path to getting there. Wedding fever really has baffled me; I am both intrigued and a little terrified.

Maybe all girls are secretly waiting for their handsome prince to come and rescue them from fading, slowly, on the shelf. Fuck changing the world; it’s doomed anyway…! Or perhaps not as important as self-gratification.

In terms of my work, I wonder what will happen next? Will someone soon announce their pregnancy and group conception will follow like wildfire, in some kind of fertility osmosis? The possibilities are endless, surely.

Read this incredible article from my favourite website Brain Pickings about how love and sex don’t always go together.

Re-watching nineties teen movies as an adult: Drive Me Crazy (1999)

Drive Me Crazy (1999)

So you know when you re-watch films from your childhood and you get that feeling of, wow, I did not get this film when I was a kid. I wasn’t quite expecting to have that feeling about Drive Me Crazy (1999), ostensibly a romantic teen comedy about two neighbours who pretend to fall in love as a way to manipulate their respective love interests (both have been spurned). Essentially, it stars Melissa Joan Hart, the actress who played Sabrina the teenage witch, and some other people.

Whilst I remember being distinctly unimpressed when I watched this film all those years ago, it turns out I may have just been confused. This time, I loved it. Aside from being side-splittingly funny and satisfying my feminine craving for a dose of romance, it imparted a deeply resonating moral that I simply wasn’t expecting.

As a writer, one dimension of character development (whether that be in book, film or on TV) that particularly interests me is how two people can have a transformative effect on one another – especially if the two characters are complementary opposites. Though this is probably most simply described as ‘character tension’, I am interested in how one can go beyond simply creating dramatic tension and instead exploring how two people, ostensibly clashing, can actually enrich one another, given fertile circumstances.

So, in this case, Melissa Joan Hart’s character is nicknamed “Miss School Spirit.” A girl called Nicole, her passion is high school and her ambition is to stage the centenary alumni dance (alumni are graduates of a school or university).

The story kicks off when her bitchy friend indirectly causes her love interest, Brad, to ask a cheerleader to the dance instead of Nicole. Now, while the concept of teenagers asking each other to dances is distinctly American, I think we can overlook this bizarre cultural convention in the interests of narrative analysis.

Paralleling this turn of events, Nicole’s neighbour, Chase, is dumped by his girlfriend for refusing to attend a protest against animal testing. In contrast to Nicole, Chase is a self-consciously-styled social anarchist who enjoys disrupting and mocking mainstream high school life. Nicole and Chase are neighbours, and in order to save face, Nicole insists that Chase take her to the upcoming dance – which will also serve as a way to make his ex-girlfriend jealous, and hopefully take him back.

So, to cut to the chase, whilst the two main characters initially hook up with one another as a means to an end, [spoiler alert] they ultimately end up transforming one another, and enabling each other to live more authentic, happier lives. I particularly like the character dynamic of Chase as a complex, brooding, disaffected youth being ‘loosened up’ by the peppy Nicole, who nevertheless has a slightly ironic, quirky, edgy side to her. She shows him the value of participating in wider society, whilst he imparts a sense of pride in the individual and being true to oneself.

The conclusion of the film, after the prerequisite emotional drama, is that Nicole and Chase’s mutual respect and trust for one another can override traditional social cliques, fostering a genuine human connection. Humanity and kindness are shown to be more important than tribalism, though the film displays unusual depth in that the ‘jocks’ and cheerleaders are not presented as sociopathic – rather, slightly unthinking and moronic but relatively good-natured.

Another moral of the film is that individual identity is not shackled to the temporal traits of personality; rather, the self is fluid and ever-changing. I think it’s incredible that the filmmakers manage to express this idea through a teen romantic comedy, which I spectacularly failed to grasp at the age of twelve.

The sophistication of this film, I think it’s fair to say, is breathtaking. I love characters – especially in romantic contexts – who relate to one another through tension and opposing worldviews. This opens the doorway for a reconciliation of opposites, through the medium of paradox: a process which I find uniquely satisfying.

Some of my other favourite literary and cinematic examples of this character dynamic are:

  • Eliza Bennett and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (eighteenth-century novel by Jane Austen)
  • Lyra and Will from His Dark Materials (children’s fantasy series by Phillip Pullmann)
  • Kat and Patrick from Ten Things I Hate about you (romantic comedy film by Gil Junger)
  • Suki and Eric from True Blood (vampire TV series by Alan Ball)
  • Rick Castle and Kate Beckett from Castle (comedy detective TV series from NBC)

The core of the relationship between the characters in Drive Me Crazy, and similar narratives, is based not on mutual reinforcement of familiar values but unswerving challenge of each other’s status quo. Neither character will compromise their independence, but both are willing to grow through a mutual exchange of ideas and support. I strongly recommend this film to everyone, though I may have oversold it a bit.

I’d really like more suggestions of films, TV shows or books where this transformative character dynamic is done really well. Any ideas?

NB: This blogger didn’t agree with my analysis in 2011. I’m not particularly surprised!