The Beigeification of Affect
It’s not just psych meds that make us beige on the inside. It’s all the feedback that we get about being “too much”. We censor our emotional expression as children (masking), and soon enough we cease fully feeling. We’re adults now and it’s been a long time since we had our full palettes.
Sadness is not our only option
For me noticing all the colours inside me coincides with noticing all the colours around me. And noticing the ways I was personally beigeified, means noticing the ways we all are. Zooming out from the personal to the political, capitalism brings all of our sparkling diversity into the middle of the palette and washes it together. Greyification is capitalism’s normative project — the manufacture of conformity — from the police to the media to medicine, it’s all one big project to me. It’s grey.
And in a world of grey, beigeness is a colourful privilege.
When we say “neuronormative” i think of schools at the developmental end, media in the middle, and psychiatry, aged care facilities, and prisons at the carceral end. When we say “heteronormative” and “cis-normative”, I thnk of gender reveals, gendered toddler clothes, gendered names for infants at the developmental end, and legislature, cops, and psychiatric authority at the carceral end. There is so much in between.
The world is a child-care centre
Picture father Capitalism as the manager of a childcare facility. If the toys he’s provided the children (work, family, consumption) only pacify, say, 50% of them, what will you do with the remaining 50%? Shut them the fuck down. Psychiarists, cops, soldiers. So it’s no surprise to me that the characters in the clip above are feeling beige and forlorn. They are subs to an institution which aims to make creative dissenters feel that way.
Shrinks: No no, we just want to relieve people’s distress
Me: that’s what you want. Now examine what you’re obliged to do.