Sybil Tartuffe Berlin

The Beer: Heretic Tartuffe Berliner Weissbier

The thing I love about sour beers is that so often they’re low alcohol and easy to drink without going completely over the edge of sloppy–which is why I’m happy to see that they’re coming back en vogue. Tartuffe is not the most Berliner Weiss-y sour I’ve ever had, but it is reminiscent enough to be enjoyable. As long as you’re not expecting full throttle sourness, this is a decent beverage–and Heretic makes some tasty brews so I’m willing to forgive them an only-kinda-good beer from time to time.

And on a related note: expect the rest of the month to be full of even more sour beers and lambics. That is not an April Fool’s joke.

Heretic sour beer.

Tartuffe, loosely explained, is a hypocrite and a fraud (and a character/title of a play by Moliere). And as such, it goes pretty well with a book that I recently finished.

The Book: Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

Not sure if you ever had to watch “Sybil” starring Sally Field in high school, but I certainly did. It was all about a woman with 16 different personalities, and her therapist’s valiant struggle to “integrate” her into a whole person. Sybil was, of course, a real person–but Multiple Personality Disorder is definitely one of those things I was discussing last week: a culturally dependent disorder. In fact, the real Sybil–named Shirley Mason–only started manifesting new personalities under hypnosis and sodium-pentathol injections. Plus she was guided by sensational leading questions from her doctor–Dr. Connie Wilbur–sometimes in marathon “therapy” sessions that lasted 12 hours a day seven days in a row.

Without “Sybil”, there probably wouldn’t have been a Satanic Panic in the ’80s. After MPD was introduced to the world, the resulting false memories landed lots of child care providers in jail and put patients in expensive therapy for huge chunks of their lives. In fact, they removed multiple personality disorder from the DSM and renamed it Dissociative Identity Disorder and included multiple warnings and caveats.

I listened to this book after getting it with my monthly Audible credit (LOVING that right now), and there were a few commutes where I was actually put into a pretty dark mood listening to details about the history of mental asylums and psychiatric medicine. In a lot of ways constituted a pseudo-science for a lot longer of a time than I originally thought. For instance–I had NO idea that before electro-shock therapy, psychiatrists would induce shock by giving patients overdoses of insulin. And yes, lots and lots of people died from it. Jeez.

Talk about true-life horror.



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2 thoughts on “Sybil Tartuffe Berlin

    • I know! I can’t believe that they’re still showing that movie in high school psychology classes–they showed it to us in 2004. It’s super compelling (which is also something that they examine in the book–why that is), but it definitely should be reserved for literature classes at least!

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