This presentation will consider the toxic nature of nostalgia by locating it in an intermediate position between mourning and melancholy. Thus, rather than trauma being remembered and worked through, nostalgia maintains repetition and unbearable emotional existence, even across generations. This is particularly true for the trauma related to the painful history of racism in the United States.
Premiering in late 2019, HBO’s limited series Watchmen is simultaneously a superhero origin story, a detective story and, first and foremost, a powerful portrayal of how racial trauma is embedded psychically and transmitted genetically. The series was prescient in anticipating the turbulent events of 2020 related to systemic racism, including the murder of George Floyd, resulting in the ensuing demonstrations and riots, as well as in the emergence of Black Lives Matter. “This Extraordinary Being,” Episode 6 of the series, asks us to consider the nature of inheritance and the ways trauma is etched upon a family, passed down through generations.
A short clip from the episode will be shown as part of this presentation.
About the Presenter
Maxine Nelson, LICSW, FIPA is a graduate of NPSI, where she currently serves on the faculty. In addition to her role as NPSI Secretary/Treasurer, Maxine is also President-Elect and Chair of Admissions. Her paper “Blade Runner as Metaphor: Encapsulation in Virtual Reality as a Defense Against Psychic Annihilation” (2014) will be included in the volume Trauma, Destruction and Transformative Potential: Clinical Perspectives, to be published by Karnac in 2018 as part of the CIPS book series. Maxine is in private practice in Bellevue where she offers psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and clinical consultation.