dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The Gobsmacked look: a possible explanation.

You can't fail to notice that the standard reaction of the characters to almost anything is a mortified, frozen-faced glare which is sometimes accompanied by a slack-jawed gasp. This display of panic is referred to by the slang expression 'gobsmacked'. Why this panic at non-events? I have the feeling that it has a lot to do with their refusal to accept criticism. When people come to realize that a person will get all defensive and hostile when you say anything that might ruffle a feather or two, they avoid talking to that person. That means that the Pattersons haven;t had a real conversation with their neighbors in years. Since they don't hear criticism from outsiders and don't accept it from themselves, it would seem that they thing everything is all right and the universe unfolding as it should. Their inner critics, however, cannot be denied. Somewhere behind their vapid smiles are powerful voices telling them that everything they believe is bullshit and they're one mistake away from public humiliation. Their reaction to the slightest misstep is, therefore, one of blind panic lest it be the occasion where it all falls apart. Like liberty, the price of narcissism is eternal vigilance.
Tags: foobs vs common decency, one big oblivious family

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