What does a psycho look like? In real life he can be handsome, like Ted Bundy
, or non-descript, like Donald Neilson
. Sometimes though he looks like the character in the photograph below.
If you don't recognise him, he is from a genre known as the slasher movie. At one time these were very popular with younger cinema audiences, but eventually the novelty wore off. A film that has no real plot but is basically a series of gruesome murders strung together for 90 minutes or so has only a limited appeal.
The character in the mask is what used to be called a lunatic or madman. Other terms include psycho, psychopath or real names, in this case, Michael Meyers.
With Halloween approaching, two major supermarket chains decided this year to offer mental patient outfits for sale. The reaction was, to put it mildly, over the top. ASDA
came under fire
from people on Twitter, those suffering from mental afflictions, and, surprise, surprise, Alastair Campbell
, who called these offerings crass, offensive and stupid.
If the name is not familiar to you, Alastair Campbell was what used to be called a professional propagandist, but is now alluded to as a spin doctor. This is him below at Chatham House, the American arm of the Council on Foreign Relations, the organisation that was not
set up by the banksters and their political dupes to control the world
from behind the scenes.
Campbell and others have come out with all the usual babble about insensitivity, including the trite comment that most of the mentally ill are not dangerous psychopaths, indeed they are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Their whining has led not only to the supermarkets pulling these items from their shelves but to them digging into their pockets, ie their shareholders' profits. Each is to donate £25,000 to MIND
According to its accounts
for the year ending March 31, 2012, MIND received 38% of its income in the form of grants, so some would class it as a fake charity. Leaving that aside, this is a storm in a tea cup. Alastair Campbell has himself suffered from depression and alcoholism, so might be said to have a vested in the destigmatisation of mental illness, but he is clearly barking up the wrong tree.
Campbell was born into a fairly privileged family, and has done well for himself. If he had been born two hundred years ago into a working class family he would have faced an entirely different future, probably working long hours for a pittance, no holidays abroad, no instant communications, and don't let's mention little things like refrigeration - including chilled beer - hot running water, and antibiotics. For many ordinary people at that time, alcohol was not an addiction but a pleasant release from a very unpleasant reality, hence the expression
drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence.
At that time, mental illness was a lot less common than it is today, not because of poor diagnoses, but because people couldn't afford the luxury of being mentally ill. They had simply to get on with life or, at the worse, die.
In the 21st Century we are probably all a little mad, but most of us are not so far gone that we can't retain a sense of humour. Yes, most "mental" patients are not psychos, and of course many psychos are not mentally ill. Branding someone as suffering from a "severe personality disorder" is simply a fashionable way of saying this individual is not like us, he doesn't care who he hurts. Give him a wide berth.
Cruelty is not a disease, and neither is alcoholism; it doesn't take Thomas Szasz
to tell us that. As for depression, who hasn't suffered from it to some degree? Most mothers have suffered some form of post-natal depression, albeit very slight. And who has not experienced grief? True, for some of us it can at times be very bad. Anyone who has suffered from constant or near constant pain is likely also to suffer depression at some point. We don't like others to laugh at our pain, but at times we laugh at it ourselves. Maybe Alastair Campbell and all those other people who jumped on ASDA and Tesco should try to develop a sense of humour instead of advocating censorship, because that is what this hysteria amounts to.
There is already a long list of people we are not supposed to "mock" beginning with women - 51% of the population; Moslems and Arabs - Islamophobia
; homosexuals, blacks, the physically disabled. How many more?
Ever heard of Redball
? It is the only Australian film ever to be banned in Britain, apparently because of
its portrayal of "its bleak portrayal of police life. Drug taking, violence, laziness, corruption, framing, sexual harassment - it's all there up on the screen."
Sure, we know all police officers are not thugs like Simon Harwood
; some are more than simply relatively honest
, unlike Detective Sergeant Challenor
and his cohorts. What though would be the reaction if the police were to call for a blanket ban on their portrayal as less than pure? And perish the thought that politicians should ever be stereotyped and stigmatised as corrupt.