TV generation / diphasic personality

These quotes strike a chord very deeply with me:

“I was part of the TV generation. I was mediated. I was “Pop.” I didn’t feel connected in any way to my family, to my country, or to reality for that matter: the world seemed to me a media facade, and all history a fiction – a pack of lies. I was experiencing, I think, what has come to be known as the postmodern condition, a form of alienation quite different from postwar existentialism because it lacks any historical sense – there is no notion of a truth that has been lost. It is characterized by the feeling that there is a general evenness of meaning.”

Mike Kelley, 1999 Cross-Gender/Cross-Genre in Foul Perfection p.102

“My father talked about being a kid on the farm and going out hunting and doing things connected with the earth. Real stuff that kids of his generation had to deal with, life and death stuff. We barely had contact with the real world. We were silly, wimpy, suburban kids playing games inspired by movies, television, and comic books. For us it was all filtered through the mass media. Everything came out of the mass media. We were children of the media, the first TV generation.”

Robert Crumb, 2005 The R. Crumb Handbook p.25

The experiences that Robert Crumb and Mike Kelley are describing remind me of Robert D Keppel’s description of the “diphasic personality”. Keppel was Chief Criminal Investigator for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. He helped to develop psychological profiling systems, and believed that the diphasic personality type was typical of serial killers:

“A diphasic personality is one in which there is a split development into two phases. One phase consists of a construction and retreat into a fantasy world where it’s safe and the child is in complete control. He can crawl into that world in his mind whenever he wants and never have to confront the trials that are out there in the real world. The other phase of the child’s personality development takes place in the real world. He may not commit very much of himself to this personality, because it’s only out there as a placeholder. Because there’s little or no commitment, it’s as if the child’s not really there at all.”

Robert D Keppel, 1997 Signature Killers p.341
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