Dreaming about a long hard look at Sigmund Freud
As I was hungrily devouring this week's edition of the news feast we call Tech Talk, I was struck by a front page story with the alliterative headline "The Faults and Frauds of Freud."
It seems that Frank J. Sulloway, a visiting scholar in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, claims that Sigmund Freud adjusted his data to make his theories look better. Being a great follower of Freudian theory, I was a bit disturbed by this claim. Not only does it shake the foundation of psychoanalysis, but it makes it a lot less fun to analyze movies about trains.
After reading the article, I marched over to meet with Sulloway. Walking down the hall, I was surprised to see a man standing outside Sulloway's office. "Excuse me," I called, "are you Dr. Frank Sulloway?"
"Indeed I am," he responded, "What can I do for you?"
I explained that I wrote drivel for The Tech and I wanted to discuss his research on Freud, possibly as the basis for a column. He seemed delighted that I was interested and invited me in to talk.
"Let me unlock the door," he said. He pulled out his key and slid it into the lock. It didn't unlock at first, but he slid it back and forth a bit and it finally gave with a sigh.
I entered his office and took a seat. His office is nicely furnished, I thought. However, I also noted that there were two ashtrays on his desk. He was a smoker.
No sooner had I realized this than he pulled out a box of big Cuban cigars and offered me one. I declined, explaining that I wasn't a smoker. "I see," he said, writing something down. He helped himself to a cigar. Holding it tightly between his lips, he puffed once. "Now, what would you like to know about my research?"
I got out my reporter's notebook and a pencil. I held the pencil lightly and asked him to explain why he found fault with Freud's data.
"Freud chose to publish six principal case histories," he explained while pulling out a tall can of juice, "and those six are somewhat questionable." He shook the long can of juice up and down and then opened it. Juice bubbled out of it, foaming and spilling all over the floor.
"I see," I said, sliding the pencil through my fingers. "So do you see a tension between your research and current Freudian theorists?"
"Oh yes," he said, "I see tension everywhere. The current theorists do not agree with my research on Freud."
I bit the eraser off of my pencil and Sulloway winced and crossed his legs. "So," I asked, "what can be done to come to an agreement between the two sides on this issue?"
"Well," he said, "we need interaction between the two sides of the Freud issue. We need to join our two theories together and let them mesh."
I wiped my brow. "Really?"
"Yes," he continued breathlessly, "we need to allow the theories to interact, to get inside one another, to meld into one!"
"Could you open a window?" I asked, but Sulloway was lost in his ideas.
"And once the theories have interacted completely, causing much friction in the scientific community, we will have much debate, going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and suddenly there will be a sudden release of tension, an explosion of Freudian knowledge!"
"I think I'm all set to write the column now," I said, getting up to leave.
"No, please, stay and have a snack with me!" He pulled out a tray of eclairs.
"I really have to leave," I said, reaching for the doorknob.
"Oh, well. Do come back! I'm having a water fountain installed in the center of the room."
I left quickly, and in the process tripped over a huge, rolled up beige carpet in the hallway and hit my head on the floor.
That's when I woke up. I had fallen asleep on my desk. The latest Tech Talk was on my desk in front of me. I had never seen Sulloway at all. And considering that the real Sulloway is a well-known and highly respected Freudian scholar, I'm sure that whatever he says about Freud is right.
So I went to Buzzy's for a corn dog.
Opinion Editor Bill Jackson '93 is planning to write a letter to The Tech objecting to the drivel written by Opinion Editor Bill Jackson '93.
I explained that I wrote drivel for The Tech and I wanted to discuss his research on Freud.
Holding it tightly between his lips, he puffed once. "Now, what would you like to know about my research?"