A couple on the trail, roughly my age, walking three sweet faced golden retrievers. They’re headed into town as I’m headed out and as we pass, the woman says, “You were in Child’s Christmas in Wales!'” That’s a show I did at Warehouse in 2004. “We loved it!” she says. Thank you, thank you, I say, and we go our separate ways, but I can’t help smiling.
An email copied to me that same day by the man who still produces scripts I wrote when I was a starving artist. He’s showing the teachers who’ll host this year’s tour how a set piece I built 25 years ago looks in situ and he credits me with its construction. Few if any will know who I am, but the provenance wonks among them might wonder if I’m related to Remington Steele. I get that a lot. In any case, it’s nice to be acknowledged.
A friend uses the word “gaslighting” in a sentence and when we realize that neither of us knows exactly what it means, I look it up.
“… a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, making them question their own memory, perception, or sanity.”
It refers to what Charles Boyer did to Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film Gaslight and I mention it here because the couple on the trail and the photo of the set piece remind me that self-perception is Silly Putty, that history is a he-said-she-said proposition, case never closed, that consensus reality itself is a gossamer thing, smoke curling on the winds of public opinion. More to the point, they remind me that gaslighters, be they consciously or carelessly so, well-intended or otherwise, are only as effective as we allow them to be.
Speaking of Kellyanne Conway.
Speaking of Sean Spicer.
Speaking of Tweetmaster DJ Drumpf.