Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quote of the day

From Dr. X, discussing whether using "crazy" as a pejorative should be considered offensive to people with mental illnesses and therefore be stricken from the lexicon of a considerate person:
Political correctness most certainly is about passing tests of radicals who are more interested in group identity signifiers than substance and true decency. P.C is a greatly overused accusation by the right, but it’s a concept invented on the left to describe the use of signifiers as shackling rules that, IMO, are bristling with the narcissism of small differences.  
Things aren’t much different on the right. Not using the signifier “God” in a Thanksgiving address can “offend” certain Christians. Signifiers divorced from awareness of common usages and context–from intent, from speaker, from audience, time, place, and attitude are really about identity politics. . .  
Craziness and madness, one’s own and the insanity of the world, can render the best efforts to bring comforting coherence to our existence absolutely futile sometimes.  
So despite not satisfying your club rules on the use of language, I will continue to refer to being driven mad with grief, crazy with rage, nuts, out of my mind with pain and whatever else I feel useful to explain that time in my life and my experience. Those words make flesh and blood out of the reality of a long period of unremitting agony. And I think those very frank words help people to empathize with the depth of suffering and disorientation I experienced. You don’t own those words. They have uses that help people know what the hell we’re talking about sometimes.  
We live in a world that is often much more crazy than sane. We deal with people going nuts. We have crackpots in politics. I also won’t apologize for saying someone lacks a conscience or they’re a heartless bastard because it might offend psychopaths. They have a mental disorder too. So let’s not use any language that could offend them; they’re just victims of a brain disorder.  
If you actually live an examined life, you’ll notice madness all around, in all the people who are deemed sane. There are no exceptions, only a certain amount of necessary denial to forge ahead in life, but crazy is on a continuum that is part of all humanity. 

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this comment by Azkyroth on a Blag Hag thread:

    I have someone of a different take on this, as I’ve been an advocate for a while of acknowledging and promoting the use of “crazy” to refer to bizarre, irrational, alarming, and possibly dangerous behavior, whether or not produced by mental illness, because the concept is useful in both a descriptive and normaitve sense. Only a minority of mentally ill people are actually crazy, and it is likely that only a minority of crazy people are actually mentally ill.


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