Whenever I’m dealing with the authorities, I try to remember what Hannibal Lecter said to Clarice Starling after she was suspended from the FBI: “I have followed with enthusiasm the course of your disgrace and public shaming. My own never bothered me except for the inconvenience of being incarcerated, but you may lack perspective.”

No, haven’t been arrested or anything, just sharing a musing that has often helped me find perspective in many situations.

17 thoughts on “finding perspective

  1. Regarding a situation from one’s own perspective is what makes the human race so diverse and interesting.

    Good subject!

    Sarah x

  2. Don’t be so prickly. You’ll scare people off. I knew exactly what you meant. i just turned it back on itself. We can all have a perspective, you don’t own the franchise.

    Slightly miffed

  3. Sarah,

    I’ll be however I damn well please to be, thank you. If I scare people off, then they’re too-easily scared (and that’s their problem).

    No, I don’t know what you meant, your comment seemed to have missed the point. You still seem to be missing the point.

    However — nevermind. I’m not always going to post easily-accessible thoughts for everyone and sundry. This was one of those posts.

  4. Thinking about things “with perspective” is like looking at a three-dimensional scene with both eyes: it tells us which things are nearby and bothersome — and which things are distant and of no concern.

    For Lector, “the inconvenience of being incarcerated” is nearby. On the other hand, for him “disgrace and public shaming” is distant. It’s something that stirs up *their* little ant-pile, not *his* own heart.

    One of LE’s most important tools against sex workers is “disgrace and public shame.” They hope that it will deter people from entering or staying in that line of work. But if the sex workers do not feel disgraced or shamed when LE presents them to the public … then LE has lost that important tool.

    Amanda, what I’ve just written sounds abstract and impersonal. I *think* that you wrote your post to describe your personal heart’s-motion in the direction of being able to do that.

    Am I close?

    — RSRD

    (hope all’s going well lately, btw πŸ™‚ )

  5. RSRD,

    You NAILED it. I was writing this for myself for particular reasons and for anyone who has perhaps been arrested. This might cheer them up or help them find a new perspective as well.

    Nice to see you around again!


  6. Hmmm. I think I’m with Hannibal on this one. I was more concerned with the inconvenience of being incarcerated. I’ve done too many **other** things that were much more disgraceful and shameful than having sex with men.

  7. My own epiphany on perspective was from a Trekkie novel, where the scientist was looking as some weird shapeshifting fish as a kid and her dad saying, Imagine how weird you are to IT! It’s not always easy to see something as another person does, but once you do, their motivations become a lot clearer. Which in turn allows you to a)play it to your best advantage or b) tell them to eff off… πŸ˜‰

    Sorry, new to your blog. Forgive me if I missed the thread entirely.. πŸ˜‰

  8. Jason,

    Thanks for sharing where you found your shift in perspective. (I often go with B, as you may’ve noticed.) I try to remember this perspective in dealing with clients and media because what is normal/routine to me is quite exotic to them.

    Hope you enjoy some of my other posts!


  9. I have, thanks Amanda.

    Never had to deal with the media, but did get some slight harmless attention online because of a computer game related video(I was REALLY bad at that game) that was posted. It was quite funny to see what everyone was saying and how “speculation” became “fact”. Amusingly enough, most of it was so far from the truth it was ridiculous. But then I guess that when most people can’t see what you see, they MAKE it fit with their perspective. Safer, although limiting, not to go past that barrier, I guess… πŸ˜‰

    Keep smiling…

  10. Jason,

    It’s amusing when it’s harmless. It’s a lot less amusing when speculation becomes fact which is used to influence legislation that affects thousands and thousands of people — which is why I’m a sex worker activist. This human tendency causes real harm when applied to real issues. No, I don’t have much of a sense of humor about that. Read the recent CragisList hysteria if you want a real-life example.


  11. Like you said, it’s all about perspective. I must confess I haven’t really been following the Craig’s list thing, although I do remember something about the “authorities” trying to “clean it up”. AND make escorts PAY to use it? Seems daft as I would be hesitant to put my details, via a payment, with people who have proven their untrustworthiness already! All that will happen is that people will go elsewhere…

    People need a scapegoat to blame for pretty much everything that doesn’t work for them. And unfortunately in this case, it’s the sex workers who are being screwed. If it actually hurt people I could understand, but as it doesn’t I’ve never understood the problem? Personally I’ve tried to take responsibility for my OWN actions and it amazes me that “grown ups” can still blame others for their own shortcomings…

  12. Jason,

    πŸ™‚ The choir says “Preach it!”

    To be honest, a lot of online advertising venues require payment. The reasons CL started requiring payment are the crux of this particular matter, though. And everything that has followed. But that’s a whole different story. I was only using this an example for the discussion of perspective and it’s on my mind right now.


  13. “And unfortunately in this case, itÒ€ℒs the sex workers who are being screwed. ”

    I hope so! (Sorry, that just struck me as funny.)

  14. I know, I know I’m being pedantic….but Hannibal Lecter isn’t the world’s best role model. What you could argue is that Lecter is the kind of monster you can get in someone utterly devoid of shame (i.e., a psychopath). That is to say, shame is one of those emotions that links us with others, that sees ourselves in disgrace for having done something bad. Hannibal SHOULD be feeling shamed and disgraced…that he isn’t is why he continues to be a monster.

    My points here are (i.) shame has it’s place, (ii.) transgressing sexual norms shouldn’t be conflated with serial cannabalism (!) if you want to make a point about how to avoid sexual shame.

  15. Ivan,

    Hannibal is a fictional character, which means he isn’t real and hasn’t actually killed ANYBODY, much less eaten them. Thomas Harris is a real and living writer who penned those words of wisdom through his character Hannibal. Artists use lies to tell the truth. So I’m going to go with the fictional character on this one. You go with whomever you like.

    This wasn’t about sexual shame, BTW. Thanks for playing.


    PS: Read RSRD’s comment.

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