The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?

Posted on | November 20, 2013 | 40 Comments

It’s astounding.
Time is fleeting.
Madness takes its toll
. . .

“The Time Warp,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Mental illness is a serious problem, but taking your problems too seriously? That will drive you nuts — says the guy who’s being sued for $1 million by a convicted bomber.

Amid the swirling madness of life in the Obama Age, having a sense of humor is the only hope for maintaining sanity. The ability to laugh at your problems is an indication that you have sufficient emotional distance to see how objectively absurd your situation is.

The ghastly seriousness of what happened Tuesday in Virginia cannot be overemphasized. The New York Times reports:

On Monday, state mental health officials unsuccessfully sought to find a bed in a hospital psychiatric ward for Gus Deeds, who had undergone an evaluation, according to Mary Ann Bergeron, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards.
None could be found and he returned home, even though a magistrate had issued an order of involuntary commitment. “In that particular rural area of the state, it is not unusual to have contacted anywhere from seven to 15 hospitals” looking for an available bed, Ms. Bergeron said.
Dennis A. Cropper, executive director of Rockbridge Area Community Services, said Gus Deeds was evaluated at Bath Community Hospital, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Mr. Cropper issued a statement late Tuesday declining to elaborate, citing the family’s wish for privacy.
In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 by a mentally ill gunman, the state made it easier to get involuntary commitment orders.

It is important to note that we do not yet know what kind of problem led to this involuntary commitment order. A lot of commenters were speculating last night that Gus Deeds was suffering from schizophrenia, but I felt obliged to caution against such speculation.

Historian and blogger Clayton Cramer is the author of My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill. Cramer advocates “assisted outpatient treatment, a step in between doing nothing at all, and involuntary commitment . . . an effective strategy that reduces self-harm and harm to others.” One of the problems is that too many “experts” don’t have the kind of personal experience with insanity necessary to understand it.

Look, I joke about this, but there is nothing remotely funny about that kind of total freak-out, when you’re the one freaking out. It was a serious psychiatric situation at the time, and thank God I made it through. The point is, when I joke about kooks and lunatics, I’m speaking with the authority of direct personal experience. And if my sarcasm seems somewhat insensitive to the plight of the demented, it’s because I know that the pitiful hand-wringing pose of sensitivity isn’t really helpful to nutjobs and schizos. Unfortunately, other people don’t see it that way:

Since the 1970s, a general policy of deinstitutionalization has meant that most people suffering from mental illness are treated on an out-patient basis, with strict legal limits on involuntary commitment, which is only for those who can be proven a danger to themselves or others. Deinstitutionalization has been facilitated by improvements in psychiatric medication, especially the development of advanced anti-depressants like Prozac and Paxil, known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Such drugs have side-effects, however, and outpatient treatment means that there is no supervision of whether the medications are being taken as prescribed, so that there is always the problem of people who are, in the colloquial phrase, “off their meds.”
Colloquial phrases for mental illness are frowned upon in an age where sympathy for the deranged is supposed to override our concern for public safety. To call them nuts, lunatics, or wackos might hurt their feelings or perpetuate a social stigma. People who pride themselves on being well-meaning, enlightened, and sophisticated — “the anointed,” as Thomas Sowell called them — regard the mentally ill as victims of society. . . .

Please read the whole thing at The American Spectator. And next time I tell you somebody’s crazy, trust me: I’m an expert in crazy.




40 Responses to “Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?”

  1. MrEvilMatt
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  2. CHideout
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  3. jwbrown1969
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  4. Lockestep1776
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  5. Resista38176897
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  6. Citzcom
    November 20th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time…

  7. rsmccain
    November 20th, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    “It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll …”

  8. rsmccain
    November 20th, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    RT @Citzcom: Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time……

  9. ddurbin1963
    November 20th, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    RT @Citzcom: Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure?: It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll . . . – “The Time……

  10. Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure? | Dead Citizen's Rights Society
    November 20th, 2013 @ 11:16 am

    […] Read the rest … […]

  11. Benjamin Dover
    November 20th, 2013 @ 11:49 am

    One has to wonder if the “substance abuse” allegedly associated with Gus Deeds included marijuana.

    From what I’ve seen, marijuana abuse has very serious effects on mental state and can lead to serious violence.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 20th, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    Kimberlin and Co. are terminal bat shit crazy…

  13. Virginia State Democrat Senator Creigh Deeds stabbed by mentally ill son, who then committed suicide… | Batshit Crazy News
    November 20th, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    […] TOM: Sarcasm Therapy: Is there a cure? […]

  14. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 20th, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    We (I mean most of us collectively) do not know what Gus Deeds was suffering from (but obviously it was something), but do personally hope his suffering is over. RIP to him and condolences to his father and family. I suspect this attack is less about evil culpability and more tragic mental instability (but that is for police, psychiatrists, and others to determine based on the facts).

    I am a conservative. So I am not generally in favor of government boondogles. But there is definitely a role for government in this issue. The acutely mentally ill need places to stay. And as a society we need to spend the bucks to provide safe and effective treatment facilities for the mentally ill. For our sake and theirs.

  15. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 20th, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    Benjamin, I am not discounting marijuana’s negative psychotropic effects, but from years of observations in my yooth, in a variety of social settings, marijuana sparking violence is way down the spectrum from alcohol’s violence prompting tendencies. Still, I am not saying smoking weed is harmless. Usually the classic problem with too much weed is wasted youth. I have seen that effect way too often. And it does devastate people’s lives, although they mostly don’t recognize it till it is too late (usually when mom and dad stop supplying financial support for Cheetos and White Castle burgers for them).

    The best advice remains less is more with alcohol and none at all is best with other drugs.

    And since RSM can’t stop the Rocky Horror references, there is this.

  16. Quartermaster
    November 20th, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    If things were bad enough for an order for Involuntary Commitment, then the county lock up would have been the place to go if a bed was not immediately available. Sending someone home like that is a very bad idea, worse than sending them to the county lock up.

  17. Benjamin Dover
    November 20th, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    I’m not referring to violence being sparked by the immediate marijuana use, but rather about the the brain damage and mental issues that marijuana causes over the medium to long term.

    As I understand it, if one may be prone to mental issues, marijuana can also exacerbate those problems.

    Another example:

    Of course, I’m speculating about the Deeds case because “substance abuse” was mentioned and yet no reference to marijuana.

  18. RS
    November 20th, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    The treatment of mental illness in this country is such a multifaceted issue that it’s difficult to no where to begin. We’ve moved over decades from more to less restrictive environments, which have diminished the number of public facilities, leaving private hospitals to take up the slack. Add in an ever increasing set of DSM pathologies, people seeking legal prescription drugs for imagined problems or recreational use, a legal system which rightfully abhors the thought of “warehousing” the disturbed people and you have a situation which unfortunately can lead to tragedies like this one. There is the temptation always to do something when such news breaks, but I wonder how prevalent such things are in reality. That is how many involuntary commitments are turned away for want of a placement only to have the alleged mentally ill person commit an act such as this one. It seems, that defining the scope of the problem is the first step toward determining whether a solution is possible and affordable for our society. It’s sounds crass, I know, but affording all people personal freedom and autonomy except under the gravest circumstances is the price we pay for living in a classical liberal society.

  19. Quartermaster
    November 20th, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    We ceased living in a classical liberal society over 50 years ago. What we have now is a lawless society that uses law as a convenient cover when it’s convenient, and ignores it otherwise.
    What we have now can only be classed as a regime of insanity that refuses to face the facts on the ground. The big killings we have had recently are a result of “mainstreaming” the insane. The left is simply using the constitution as a suicide pact because they themselves are insane.

  20. BeccaJLower
    November 20th, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    @rsmccain: Too many “experts” don’t have the kind of personal experience w/ insanity necessary to understand it #tcot

  21. Alessandra
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    There just isn’t enough money… Because al-Qaeda.

  22. Alessandra
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Amid the swirling madness of life in the Obama Age, having a sense of humor is the only hope for maintaining sanity.
    This is so true! But to me it refers to modernity in general. Or whatever you want to call what we live in now, independently of who is president.

    p.s. loved “swirling madness of life”

    Speaking of humor, and switching gears to something much more lighthearted, check out Sebastian Maniscalco on youtube – stand-up comedian who does a bunch of humor under the title “What’s wrong with people!” One of my favorites is the tattoo skit

  23. tlk244182
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    No deadly weapons in the county lockup (usually.)

  24. Finrod Felagund
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.”

  25. Finrod Felagund
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

    In the shuffling madness of the locomotive breath, runs the all-time loser headlong to his death.

  26. RS
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    I was speaking rhetorically regarding a classical liberal society, in that there are always trade-offs and the certain knowledge that one can never be 100% secure.

    As for recent “big” killings, while we may agree that the perpetrators were insane, my question is how many of those were deemed to be a danger to themselves or others before the fact, only to be denied treatment, which is the case we have here. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of people who suffer from DSM defined pathologies, who don’t go around killing people. I think we can all agree, we don’t want to institutionalize everyone who may be clinically depressed or have some other malady the professional shrinks determine to exist. That way lies madness as countless stories behind the Iron Curtain bear out.

  27. Quartermaster
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

    I understand where you are coming from and, alas, we are both right. We have our tails in a sling in these things. I think in the CT case there were indications that he should have been institutionalized, forcibly if necessary, but I can understand the reluctance because I have problems with allowing any level of Gov to have that kind of power.

  28. Finrod Felagund
    November 20th, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” — Hunter S. Thompson

  29. Nan
    November 20th, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    CT doesn’t have 72-hr hold aka involuntary temporary commitment for the purpose of evaluation.

  30. Nan
    November 20th, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    My mom was a psych OT her whole working life and loved working with people who had some form of the crazies. She always said that the big problem with living on your own and being on psych meds is that once people start feeling fine, they don’t think they need the meds anymore, not having the insight to realize they feel fine because of the meds. And when people’s behavior is erratic I wonder whether they’re on drugs or aren’t and should be.

  31. richard mcenroe
    November 20th, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

    Same with the Giffords shooting. They knew the fugbuck was fugbuck, but Sheriff Dirty Dupnik kept kicking him loose cause Mama worked for the county.

  32. The Bearded Bastard of Babylon
    November 20th, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

    No way to slow down…

  33. The Bearded Bastard of Babylon
    November 20th, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

    I’m not going to click on that last link because it’s either that photograph of our esteemed host sporting a Speedo, or “Riff Raff” from RHPS, or both…

  34. Socialism: Organized Evil
    November 20th, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Pretty much.

    The delusional nature of mulattoes, for example, was chronicled by Th. Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia.

    Not that anyone reads that kind of stuff anymore.

  35. Bob Belvedere
    November 20th, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

    The key, I think, Evi is to keep any government involvement in the incarceration of the mentally ill at the localist possible level, so that more control over their treatment is possible. As part of this, towns and counties could provide funding to religious groups to run asylums – they can offer spiritual comfort to the mentally ill that may aid them greatly.

    Of course, even this localization will not work if the people of said communities do not do their duty in this situation.

  36. The Bearded Bastard of Babylon
    November 20th, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    Those communities that do would be a hell of a lot safer!

  37. The Bearded Bastard of Babylon
    November 20th, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

    Was this young man, perchance, a homosexual?

  38. DaveO
    November 20th, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    In Virginia, if one is considered at risk of harm (either to one’s self, or others), the sheriffs provide a bed in the solitary lockup. The docs didn’t look hard enough, although they were probably sensitive to a state senator’s son being put in solitary confinement.

  39. Socialism: Organized Evil
    November 22nd, 2013 @ 10:53 am

    Certainly, the correlation between serious mental illness and a propensity for homosexual sodomy is very well established.

  40. Saturday Boredom Linkfest | Dead Republican Party (DeRP)
    November 23rd, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    […] Sarcasm Therapy: A Hope for Cure? […]