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7 COMMENTS

  1. While I would never scold anyone for laughing (well, almost never) I think that, no matter what one’s reaction to this, we should pay attention to the underlying messages.

    Some people I know think they’re being clever or astute or something by making cases for this or that personality (or corporation) being labeled “psychotic,” “sociopathic,” etc. The supposed “point” is to identify who’s “really” or “more” “mentally ill” — some person in an institution or Dick Cheney. And so on. This SNL skit is a variation on this theme.

    But while the comedic turnaround may feel satisfying, it’s important to remember that no one is “mentally ill,” and that using the notion to mock or invalidate someone we disapprove of is generally uncool, as it implicitly validates the concept of “mental illness.” Moreover, in this case, by suggesting that taking Abilify is something that regular people regularly do when they’re getting screwy, it is literally acting as an advert for the drug.

    SNL is really accumulating a poor track record when it comes to its psychiatric “humor”; just last week cast member Pete Davidson outed himself as an ex-psychiatric inmate, then went into a denigrating spiel about his fellow inmates and why no one with “mental illness” should be allowed to have guns:

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-pete-davidson-on-gun-control/2969851

    Hard to know if this is intended as an anti-gun or anti-survivor bit; at any rate it accomplishes both.

    What do people think about this sort of “humor”? I’m sure others have their own examples.

    • I don’t see this as mocking psychiatry or pharma, I see it as an attempt to mock Republican presidential candidates by implying that they are “mentally ill.” So it’s really dissing us, which doesn’t take courage at all; it’s open season as usual.

        • It points to the low regard in which people given “mental illness” labels are held in the sense that it’s okay to socially and chemically end the aspirations of certain people, but in the political arena it makes good parody. It’s sort of like having a designated celebrity do your living for you.

          As long as politicians, and political candidates, have been calling their opponents bonkers, it’s the leading contenders, “winners” like corporate CEO and reality television host Trump, this skit would suggest, who aren’t bonkers.

          We all know better than that. The lot of them are bonkers.

          I’m so over the two party system.