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Father Mulcahy syndromeJoe Segen2016-12-08T20:47:42+00:00
Father Mulcahy syndrome
Father Mulcahy on MASH
A term derives from Virtual Light, a novel by William Gibson, which refers to decisions and actions informed by the Hollywood fiction of happily ever after as portrayed in “feel good” TV or movies, rather than by real life experience.
In Virtual Light, the hostage negotiator brought the kidnapper’s priest (a Father Mulcahy) along to talk the kidnapper out, which ended very badly, because the negotiator let himself think that movies portray the realities of hostage negotiation.
While Father Mulcahy syndrome is not a syndrome per se, it fills a lexical void in that, in absence of real life experience, a person may try to perform an act that he or she saw in a movie or on TV. The chalk fairy (elsewhere on this website) is a clear example of the Father Mulcahy syndrome. Father Mulcahy was a main character in the TV show, MASH, which was based on a highly stylised version of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.