He was not crazy, he was simply wrong. Who else had even attempted to do what he was doing before him? Mental illness had always been previously described in terms of bodily problems, demons, spirits, or lies. He was among the first to recognize that other things may be doing on, and he did managed to keep an open mind and formulate new and different ideas. That more or less all his ideas were completely wrong is beside the point. What alternatives were available at that point in history?
He was wrong and crazy. His ideas, his methods, his assumptions - the lot. I am not comparing him to his peers or popular superstitions at the time, because that is a shitty measure of insanity - as modern psychologists who are not Freud will no doubt tell you. I am talking about what he really was. He gets points for thinking different… but gets no points for deluding himself into thinking he was actually being scientific. He just invented new superstitions. There are plenty of people throughout history who examined things honestly but were wrong about a great many things, and these people are fucking legends. Freud was not one of these people.
Sexual Politics is one of the foundation texts of modern feminism, introducing words such as patriarchy.
It gained some degree of fame by also analysing DH Lawrence, Norman Mailer and a couple of other male authors.
Freud introduced some important, foundational concepts for modern psychology. And he was also very weird in many ways, and wrong on some issues. Like a lot of pioneers, he was a combination of genius and freak.
While on the issue of making stuff up, Masters and Johnson created a lot of problems with some absolutely wrong conclusions on sex, with really lousy at best and fraudulent at worst methods.
It also has absolutely the hottest intro paragraph of any book I’ve read in years, thanks to Henry Miller.
Edit: Agreed with Jeff regarding Freud. He’s just flat wrong about many things, but he pulled Psychology out of the dark ages. And if you read some of his other works (I’m thinking specifically about Moses and Monotheism here) he has some damned interesting insights outside of psychology. I’m hard pressed to treat psychology as a hard science even today, so I’m not inclined to be too harsh on Freud’s methodology.
I heard a piece on NPR that asserted that Freud merely popularized analytical psychology. Everything he was right about was someone else’s idea. His own ideas were all pretty stupid. But he did raise the profile of psychology and make it seem like a real area of study in the public mind.
I like the way this discussion goes for radical feminism and Freud without ever heading toward the chasm of postmodernism-- rather like the way one mocks the stupid with relish, but not the mentally ill, because it is both cruel and impossible to win.
That a woman would attempt to make money finding fault with a piece of art for the fashion in which it depicts the relationship of one woman and two men is absurd. Some people just make a living being scandalous, and there is nothing more than hot air to their bloviating.
The work of Norman Mailer is not meant to be a text on how to live as a society. Accusing tiny little pieces of meaningless escape of near totalitarian levels of control over society is the domain of schizophrenia.
This stuck up cunt may as well be writing angry letters to the Tolkien estate for it’s depiction of the orcish underclass. It’s a fucking story, grow the fuck up and write your own fan-fucking fiction if you don’t like how it ends. And good work for her, she really changed the way we write, now we can’t have hot nasty scenes in our books, so the vast majority overly sexualized female characters are relegated to the role of perennial cocktease. Way to go, slugrutting rugslut. You really crashed through the doors of the patriachal conspiracy on that one. Also, thanks for manufacturing an entire subset of the population that angrily guards the secret of their womanhood, lest it be discovered by the horrid, horrid men and used against them to turn them into tender baby factories. There’s nothing I love more than seducing a man-hater.