Cake tray emotionalism

This is going to be one of those mental pogo leap posts but, hey, if you can’t think in incongruous images on your own blog, where can you?

First of all, recall the iMac G4 (ca. 2002–2004), best personified in this ‘Window Shopping’ advertisment:

A friend of mine calls it the ‘cake tray’ model, referring to the CD tray that pops out like a rude taunt.

That image is apt and useful for me to describe people who lay bare their emotions to you — as if on a tray — like it were your responsibility to deal with them.

Common examples:

  • ‘I’m hurt.’
  • ‘I’m attracted to you.’
  • ‘Can’t you see I’m hurt?’
  • ‘Why can’t you be nicer to me cos I’m hurt?’
  • ‘I’m hurt you can’t appreciate that I’m attracted to you.’
  • ‘I’m hurt you can’t appreciate I’m hurt.’

In other words, ‘I’m unable to take responsibility for my feelings, and it’s all your fault.’

My response?



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