Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Hyacinth Effect

In a lighter vein...

I am guilty of falling sway to the Hyacinth effect. Who is Hyacinth and what is her effect...We-l-l... more on Hyacinth at the end of the post.

I'm really good at coffin polishing. Sound grim? Here's one more morbid: "'re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and all the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh."

This is performance based religion in a nutshell. And who better than Jesus could spot its slithery, slimy symptoms? This is why he used disturbing images to describe it. He wanted his listeners to realize and realize good performance based religion is rotten through and through.

I cut my teeth on performance based religion. Appearance MATTERED!!! And boy do I mean actual appearance. As the pastor of the cult was female outward neatness scored high with her. She was obsessed with neatly pressed clothes, perfectly cleaned houses, and Emily Post deportment.

Don't get me wrong-these things are good and healthy in perspective. However, they are not possible all the time. And that's what she demanded: PERFECTION ALL THE TIME.

But enough about her. This post will be funny and the harm she inflicted isn't funny.

Back to the Hyacinth Effect. I suffer with it. And poke fun at myself for doing so. Hyacinth is a character from a British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances, who labors mightily that her neighbors, friends, and family would recognize her to be the member of the upper-crust echelon she knows herself to be. For her pains, Hyacinth is arrested, misses a long-awaited cruise, loses the chance to talk to royalty and many others hilarious scenarios. The moral of the story: her slovenly older sister and her slutty younger sister enjoy life in so much more fullness because they don't strive to keep up an appearance (not that I am endorsing slovenliness or sluttiness...but it beats coffin-polishing by a mile)

So if you're tempted, as I am, to rush about, believing you are controlling other's opinion of you by keeping up an appearance, visualize yourself in this Hyacinth clip:


JunkerJorge said...

at the WOF seminary I was trained at........they called thsi the Spirit of Excellence!

Anonymous said...

My mother is british, and IS Hyacinth Boo-kay. For a long time I laughed at it, then realised there was a reason why my mother loved watching this show. Both women are narcissists. EVERYTHING is about them, they are convinced that they are genius undiscovered, they scare the life out of anyone with a sensitive nature (her neighbour for example) who simply can't do anything right. They have alienated their families and yet press on regardless because they are so confident of their own perfection in all things.

I don't think Hyacinth is quiet as cruel as most narcissts, but she certainly has every other characteristic.

Yes, religious narcissists, or just plain self-involved snobs, the church is full of them.

Anonymous said...

PS. Just realised that my last comment wasn't really in the lighter vein you were writing in. Sorry about that.

You are right, Hyacinth can be funny, but for me, it was also cringe-making, because at the heart of my mother's behaviour was a warped person.

Hopewell said...

Hyacinth is one of my all-time favorite tv characters! Also poor Richard and never-seen son Sheridan! Good post!