New Mental Disorder, The Filibuster Reflex, Just Identified

The Filibuster Reflex: The brain trust here has identified a new mental disorder that’s been lurking under our noses. Last year, the same team of deep thinkers also identified the Elbow From Ass Distinction disorder (EADD), a heartbreaking illness that prevents even Ivy Leaguers from thinking clearly.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

Filibuster Reflex in action.
Even Governor Cuomo couldn’t cut down the de Blasio verbal avalanche.

Where does the Filibuster Reflex Fit In?

A mental disorder is a condition that affects a person’s mental state. It can cause problems with how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Mental disorders can make it hard to cope with the demands of life. They can also make it hard to keep a job or take care of family and friends. Mental disorders are common. One in four adults will have a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Mental disorders are real, and they are treatable. With treatment, most people with mental disorders can get better and live healthy productive lives.

The new mental disorder in plain sight…

Here in New York, the Filibuster Reflex was unavoidable during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s eight years in office. His unofficial motto was, “Why say something in a simple sentence when a good five or six or even seven paragraphs will do?”

As a journalist, I waded through transcripts of his media availabilities. My mind thickened, trying to figure out if he was actually making a point or working hard to avoid it.

One conclusion was that the Filibuster Reflex triggers when a speaker doesn’t believe what he or she is saying but goes on anyway, hoping volume overcomes lack. This very common among politicians, although extreme in some, because they rarely believe what they are saying.

Or in fiction…

“Maggie, it’s worth mentioning, was the unfortunate victim of a seldom diagnosed genetic defect called the Filibuster Reflex. In the right circumstances, stress chiseled deep with guilt, for example, the ability to simply shut up abandoned her, even while no other skill was diminished. Words flowed with the least encouragement, unedited, dancing, marching, kicking their heels, sprinting, diving. No slouch where verbal aesthetics were concerned, she tossed them into perfect, complex sentences and woven paragraphs, and there they stood, primly and proudly, like row after row of little picket fences. These were pathetic, of course, as defenses go, and if you waited long enough, the fences grew to this crazy, unmanageable clutter. How many verbs can be deployed to contain or describe the borders of a single yard, after all? Finally, without any detectable delicacy, she tripped and stumbled among clattering syllables.” – The Garden of What Was and Was Not by David Stone.

In the above example, the victim, Maggie was unable to shut up as stress opened the gates to a verbal stream that led to a confession.

But you may have witnessed it in ordinary circumstances. For example, have you ever been stuck seated next to a table of friends where one never stops talking? He or she barely catches a breath while holding the floor and saying very little in fits and starts? There you have it – the Filibuster Reflex or Can’t Shut Up Disease.

How to identify the Filibuster Reflex in your neighborhood…

The Filibuster Reflex is often identified by the following behaviors:

– A person who talks too much

– A person who doesn’t know when to stop talking

– A person who talks without making a point

– A person who uses big words and long sentences when simple words and short sentences would do

If you or someone you know exhibits these behaviors, you or they may be suffering from the Filibuster Reflex. The good news is that there is help available. Treatment for the Filibuster Reflex can be very effective. If you or someone you know is struggling with the Filibuster Reflex, please seek help from someone with a sense of humor.

In any instance, don’t vote for them. While most politicians, when cornered, respond with abject, insincere contrition or hostility, the Filibuster Reflex politician will talk you to death or to sleep, whichever comes first.


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