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Jones, E. (1930). An Over-Determined Remark. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 11:344-345.

(1930). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 11:344-345

An Over-Determined Remark

Ernest Jones

On the day after the recent storm at Ascot a patient opened his hour of treatment with the remark, 'I suppose you are glad you didn't go to Ascot'. Socially no remark could have appeared more harmless or devoid of significance. In an analytical situation, however, from the very circumstances there can be no such thing as an insignificant remark. Besides, the patient knew very well that nothing could be more unlikely than that I should have abandoned my work to attend a fashionable function. So I naturally asked him 'Why?' His answer did not allay my curiosity, for it was 'Because you would have got your top hat spoilt'. This was no doubt true enough, but I was bound to inquire further into the source of his solicitude for my 'top hat'.

Analysis of the remark revealed an unusually rich group of unconscious associations. In the patient's opinion people who frequented racecourses were patronizing an effete mode of progression, and were therefore likely to be inadequately enthusiastic about the triumphs of the internal combustion engine. Now the patient suffered greatly from innumerable inhibitions, and the only occasion when he felt even approximately free and in command of his personality was when driving a car. This represented his maximum potency, and indeed one might almost say his only accessible form of potency; specific association explained how it had come to signify his main sexual outlet. It will be understood, therefore, that he was greatly concerned about the slightest criticism of motorists, or, as he termed it, the 'incredibly stupid and malicious attacks' on them. Hence his prejudice against those who took any interest in horses. May their 'top hats' be blasted, for they were in his mind connected with his deadliest foes.

The patient was the victim of a glove fetishism. The sight of gloves of a particular kind excited him, though his inhibitions were so great as to preclude any form of relief even along these devious paths; there was, for instance, never any masturbation.

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