Ask any psychologist about displacement - whether in theory or in practice - and prepare for a bumpy ride. Perhaps the most disputed branch of psycho-sensual-manipulative behavioural studies, the fundamental idea - that we can avoid, put-off, control and perhaps even diminish the psychological impact of one event by making a subject think of something even worse - is, to say the least, controversial - some might say delusionally heretical. As a physical analogue: think, for example, pain. Think real excruciating pain in perhaps the thumb, the elbow or even the big toe and then imagine that someone [a trained professional of course] jabs you in the eye with a very sharp cocktail stick minus the pimento-stuffed olive [but with perhaps just sufficient trace of vinegar to intensify the effect]. Might the agony of that assault make one forget the stubbed toe? Some experimentalists report that this is indeed the case and that subject to repeated assaults of this type [up to 24 times in a three-hour session] subjects soon forget which particular stabbing hurt the most. Their experience/memory/fear/phobia of the stubbed toe has been displaced by a more recent and more visceral event and is now relegated to a relatively minor [even forgotten] torment in the now more generalised scheme of things. Well, that's the theory.
So let's go a step further and make the whole thing emotional rather than physical - the hurt or fear of an unseen - perhaps half-remembered - psychotic episode relegated [or more accurately displaced] to the subconscious by an even greater fear or even more traumatic encounter. Generalise this into a more systemic group consciousness and that's displacement theory squared. In short: make a sufferer - or better still a whole community - think of something so much worse.
This general approach seems to be the one adopted by the Threadbone Press * whose recent re-issue of Emma Roid's Herston General Hospital Mystery Romance titles is designed - a recent press statement says - to divert the public's mind from CONTRIK-69 concerns by immersing them in the life and death struggles of a top fictionalised A&E Department. It is, in-house psychologists say, a classic example of displacement as affirmative action and a potential text-book illustration for the future for those in the mind- and mood-altering industries. A spokesperson for the Press's Crimeshelf imprint - Amata Slüthe - said today that "Reprinting these novels at a time of national medical panic, when members of the public are suffering from the devastating effects of Separated-from-friends-and-locked-in-with-their-relatives Syndrome, and in fear of a hospital admission makes a lot of sense. People need to be distracted from their real-life concerns and encouraged to read highly fictionalised medical stories in which everyone recovers and nobody dies who doesn't deserve to".
*as well as by the interference squads of the RDC whose self-evident delight in stopping decent citizens going about their lawful business is a daily stain on their reputation and our status as a free country [Ed]
First published more than two years ago, Emma Roid's series became an instant hit, but sales have slumped recently; perhaps another reason for the series' current and wholly-unexpected promotion. Three titles - Emergency Ward Love, A Spoonful of Love and Accident and Engagement - will be available again shortly, the previous edition having been pulped in 2019. [For details of the series go to The Threadbone Press's Crimeshelf webpage HERE]
A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR:
Emma Roid is the nom de plume of Mr Ahmed Aziz [DHRA member since 2016]. An NHS consultant for more than 30 years and a private practitioner since 2016, Ahmed has performed thousands of largely successful operations and is generally regarded as "a safe pair of hands early in the week". Winner in 2018 of the silver scalpel for medical crime fiction for his debut novel Emergency Ward Love, he has gone on to write more than one other book (2). He is married to Polly Deathridge [who he freely admits is his model and inspiration for much loved fictional nurse Sally Wellbeloved] and lives with her in Dorset. They have 15 children. Between operations, he splits his time between writing, research and abstinence. He recently appeared before the Disciplinary Committee of the GMC but prefers not to talk about it.
That PROMO video HERE