As I scrawl the sloppy copy for my latest manifesto on a windowpane between my thoughts on string theory and Kevin Bacon’s connection to 9/11 (Madoff made him do it!), I am sincerely struck by America’s latest outpouring of affection for the pathologically eccentric. We may be on the veranda of a new black death but it has never been a better time to be mad in America. Not only is the evening news waxing hysterical and joining the angrier voices in my head like a Henry Rollins gospel ensemble, but every corporate huckster from Viacom to Disney apparently wants to be alone with me (I’ll be Daria if you play Snow White).
Even before this country was strapped down into the straitjacket of corona pandemonia, a movement to normalize and destigmatize the scarlet letter of mental illness in mainstream America was well underway. Finally, it’s OK to be nuts! Fuck, it’s downright sexy. But this brings to mind a question that has long haunted me. What exactly is mental illness in this age of post-modern collapse and synergistic corporate hysteria? What does it mean to be crazy in such a sick sad world?
According to all the back-slapping do-gooders in the medical establishment, as well as the cultural icons who pander in their jabber, mental illness is just that, an illness of the mind. But just try and ask your therapist what the fuck that really means and he’ll likely smugly reply, “Well, what do you think that means?”, before charging you half a grand for his insightful Freudian evasive maneuver. The fine folks at the DSM seem to agree that mental illness is a condition affecting mood, thinking, or behavior in a way that negatively affects functioning in mainstream society. But that’s just it, have you taken a fucking look at mainstream society lately?
Palestinian children are starving next door to wealthy kibbutz’s, the coral reefs are bleaching like goddamn gym socks, the Amazon is burning to the fucking ground, supposed democracies are fighting a plague with a growing police state, and you fuckers still care more about Kylie Jenner’s bleached asshole than your own impending doom. If this is what passes for mainstream society, why the fuck would any person with half a conscience even want to function in it? I may be sick, but you people are fucking depraved. Let’s have another Whopper and bomb Iran, oh what a normal world!
I have always been pathologically at odds with the normal world and the normal world has never made their disdain for my inability to conform to its wishes a secret. At a very young age, I learned the harsh lesson that I was different and that wasn’t OK with the upstanding adults in my life. My issues with what is commonly known as mental illness have always been deeply intertwined with my dizzyingly fluid gender identity, and why not? Just like gender (not to mention race, sexuality, and adulthood), mental illness is essentially a social construct defined by class and civilization.
In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that the DSM considered all queer bodies to be insane. I happen to agree with them. Your average Jane is just peachy with normal. She puts on the appropriate uniform, performs wage slavery, and goes home to accept all the right organs in all the right holes. Us queer and crazy folk are biologically driven not to blindly embrace such preconceived notions and for that sin we must be carefully categorized and heavily medicated before we can serve the only role deemed fit for us to play by the sane world, as well behaved tokens of progress and tolerance. Ooh! Doesn’t it just feel yummy to belong?
But some of us don’t want to fucking belong. We’ve had a look at your beige Barbie Dreamworld and we can smell the corpses baked beneath the plastic veneer. And now there are more of us, more every single day. You see, it is society, with its amoral global capitalist bloodbath and the diseases this fosters, which is truly unhinged, and the harder this hard truth becomes to ignore, the more insane people proliferate. Do you really think all the mass shooters work for the NRA? Do you honestly believe that kids are throwing themselves from tall buildings because they’re simply bummed out? We’ve had enough. We see the writing on the fucking wall and we don’t like what it says. Coronavirus is just a dress rehearsal for the upheaval that is to come. So civilization finally sees us, and welcomes us, and cherishes us, just so long as the growing horde of pathological malcontents stays home and stays properly medicated.
Well, I’ve got some writing for your wall- Fuck. You. This is one crazy person who won’t keep quiet while the sane savages rape and pillage what’s left of this planet in one big craven mass suicide attempt. I will rage like a proud lunatic against your twisted designs and you’re gonna need to build bigger pills and bigger prisons to shut me up. Better get to work. Your time is running out. The dawn of the day of the mad dog is upon us.